Sunday, September 10, 2017

More Propaganda to Bring Back the Military Draft

The Atlantic Council counts among its board members Brent Scowcroft,   Henry Kissinger,   David Petraeus (whom National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster calls every night) and James Woolsey.

Honorary directors include  Madeleine Albright,  Frank Carlucci,   Robert Gates, Colin Powell and  Condoleezza Rice.

In other words, this is a very powerful insider group.

Which makes a recent Financial Times essay by Atlantic Council senior fellow, Elizabeth Braw, something to sit up and take notice of.\

In the essay, she argues that
other countries should follow the example of Sweden, Finland and Israel and take up the military draft.

She states that conscription brings economic benefits in addition to military benefits:
According to a study of the social effects of conscription in Israel by Ori Swed, an Israeli-born professor of sociology at the University of Texas, and his colleague John Sibley Butler, service in the Israel Defense Forces “cultivates new skills (human capital), new social networks (social capital), and new social norms and codes of behaviour (cultural capital)”. That yields what Messrs Swed and Butler call “military capital”. 
A Finnish academic, Jukka Määttä, has drawn similar conclusions. He found that while conscripts with defined career plans suffered a professional delay of one to two years, military service develops general skills useful “in any sector, such as adaptation, managing and social skills”...
Other countries, too, should take advantage of conscripts’ talents. Imagine the results if, say, Greek companies used the skills learned by the tens of thousands of young men who each year perform military service. More than 47 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds in Greece are unemployed.
This means that Braw not only fails to understand economic development,  ignores the violations of individual liberty that conscription entails, but that she is clueless about the problems in the Greek economy, which are completely the result of government regulations. Or does she think 47% unemployment is a natural state?

Braw closes her essay this way:
To be sure, conscripts have to learn military techniques regardless of whether they will be useful outside the barracks. And there is no doubt that some 19-year-olds view military service as a burden. But what if it helps their careers? The armed forces will benefit from inspired conscripts, and the economy will win too.
Yes, "military techniques," like how to kill people. And, yes, she understands everyone's value scale better than they do. To her, taking early years aware from work or study to learn how to kill people (that governments want killed) is merely a short-term "burden."

Be on alert, that such an idea is coming out of an Atlantic Council fellow, and published at FT, is not a good sign.

The elites would love to reinstitute the draft in the United States. President Trump's chief-of-staff General John Kelly has made noises that he desires such. But at this point, the elites are afraid of the backlash, though they will continue to attempt to soften public resistance with articles like this one by Braw that tell us that drafting young men to become trained government killers is wonderful for the economy and for the men (if they don't get blown to pieces).




  1. Maybe it'll get those punks out of sociology class and into the streets. Worked in the '60's.

    1. The Patriotism isnt there anymore to make this an easy sell for sure

  2. A decidedly darker rendition of the old "idle resources" fallacy.

  3. Not all drafts are the same.

    Some smaller nations -e.g. Switzerland - have had draft based universal military training (UMT) for decades. This has enabled their independence to have some teeth and keep them out of their neighbors wars.

    I don't think western elites want a draft like that. Corporate statism has different demands. They would prefer a longer draft for a smaller slice of the population to pad out military for overseas duty. Current US military interventionism is a highly capital intensive operation, and there is some evidence that greater manpower is ultimately required if any counter-insurgency campaign is ever going to be successful.

    That being said, advocates of the draft today are probably more likely to come from the center left than the more military industrial complex aligned right.

    The center left dream of a draft for population socialization purposes -
    with a "non-military" civil works component -using draftees to help little old ladies cross the street -that sort of thing.

    Milton Friedman penned some excellent free market critiques of the draft back in the sixties and these may have influenced Nixon. Of course, for Nixon, ending the draft also pulled the rug out from under the student revolt and the New Left. These went from mass movements to a remnant of left behind fanatics after Nixon removed their grass roots.

    A UMT system may make sense for a world of limited governments (minarchy?) and popular militias were seen as the basis of defense for classical republics. In a sense both Switzerland's defense arrangements and the US second amendment have a common ancestry.