Starship Troopers Here We Go…

Rep. Charles Rangel of New York wants to make military service mandatory in the United States. He’s not serious about this, he’s trying to make a political point, but he’s also making an ass out of himself.

Our military is the best in the world, hands down. This is partially because we’re an all-volunteer force. There are a lot of people in the military who are there because they wanted to be. Mandatory service would only decrease the overall quality of our military. Furthermore, I’d love to see Mr. Rangel make the massive increases in defense spending needed to feed, house, and train all these new recruits. I’d also love to see what enforcement mechanisms Mr. Rangel would implement to achieve this goal.

What Mr. Rangel is trying to do is say that lawmakers are too callous in going to war – it’s not often their sons and daughters going to war. However, I would guess that a significant fraction of members of Congress are former soldiers, sailors, aviators, or Marines and know precisely what they’re getting our military into. Nor does it follow that one has to serve in the military to know the risks.

On the other hand, military service tends to distill values like patriotism, self-sufficiency, high standards of achievement, and personal discipline into individuals who choose to serve. Those are values that would make people less likely to vote for people like Mr. Rangel.

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