Do We Have An Obligation?

Closing Thought–05Feb19

Conversations With my Granddaughter

In this case the obligation is that of military service.

I have been having an internal debate (was hoping there would be an expanded debate…but it did not work out that why) on the necessity for some form of conscription for military service… easy term would be ….the Draft.

Should I give a short synopsis?  Not a chance because this topic is more complex than a simple short synopsis.  The posts that I have written in the past…..

But what are the pros and cons of a military draft?

First the pros……

1. It eliminates multiple re-deployments and provides a stronger military.
With more soldiers, there can be a sufficient number of fresh reserves ready to defend the country in case war breaks out. Aside from that, since there are more troops there is less tendency for individuals to be re-deployed several times during their service period, allowing them more ‘down time’ and hopefully decreasing the number of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases.

2. It promotes stronger national unity.
A large number of individuals who volunteer for the United States army are in need of a career or money for higher education. Conscription can diversify the military since people from all classes of society should enlist. This removes the disproportionate amount of burden from ethnic minorities and the poor, and creates better integration of races and economic class and stronger national unity.

3. It creates a more competitive workforce.
Military training equips young people with skills and knowledge that make them better equipped and more competitive even when transitioning to a career outside the armed forces.

4. It promotes discipline and public service in the youth.
Youth who have no direction or drop out of school due to bad behavior can learn essential life skills when joining the military. They learn about responsibility, working for a greater cause, and protecting freedom.

Now the cons…….

1. It violates individual liberties.
Freedom of choice is a right that many Americans firmly believe in. By taking away this liberty, citizens can feel resentment towards the government and even towards the armed forces.

2. It can cause civil unrest.
It won’t be just those who are forced to enlist who will harbor negative opinions about the government and military. Loved ones and anti-war advocates will also be disapproving of the idea, especially since they know it is putting the lives of so many young citizens at risk. Rallies and demonstrations were very common during the Vietnam War draft.

3. It demands more financing from the national budget.
Currently, the military already takes more than half of the national budget. By increasing the size of the armed forces, more funds are required. So, more money will be taken from other government sectors and projects, affecting social resources and programs.

4. It increases the number of wartime injury cases.
Even if troops can have more down time, it does not guarantee that they won’t incur physical and emotional injuries during deployment. Cases of PTSD are still highly common among current volunteer military and veterans, and they will most likely increase as more individuals witness the ravages of war first hand.

With all that info at hand….what prompt me to write this post was something I read about the “obligation of military service”…..

In 1778, Samuel Johnson said that “every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier,” but should that still be the case today? John Stuart Mill claimed:

a man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for…is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

Was Mill right? Does every able-bodied citizen have an obligation to put him or herself in harm’s way if needed? Should the United States compel such service by a draft? Perhaps most importantly, is a fully-informed discussion about these issues overdue in America?

What had me going to rite about something I detest was the simple fact that our troops are stretched too thin……all have multiple deployments as many as ten times…..and the society does not care…..time for the nation to share the burden…..

I hate to admit that as an antiwar person for over 50 years I would support a re-introduction of conscription as an obligation to this society.  Why?  The Society needs to share the experience of wars on families.


Trump has picked a new “enemy” and he will use a tried and true tactic…..sanctions!

But ask yourself just how effective are sanctions?

Plus what is meant by economic sanctions?

These are……

restrictions, i.e., a form of punishment, which a country or group of countries impose on another nation. The sanctions aim to persuade it to change policy.

The most common economic sanctions include trade barriers and refusing visas. Governments may also restrict financial activities.

An embargo may be placed on just one product, as occurred in the 1970s when OPEC imposed an oil embargo.

And here is the telling part of the Trump policy…..The country initiating economic sanctions may not necessarily have noble motives. It could well be using its economic might to coerce another nation into doing what it wants

With that said and defined….the BBC did an excellent analysis of the policy of economic sanctions….

Professor Adam Roberts is a research fellow at Oxford University – one of the great British figures in the study of international relations.

“There are very few cases where you can definitely identify sanctions as having had a success, except sometimes in combination with other factors,” he says.

“Arguably they contributed something to the change in white minority Rhodesia that led to black majority rule; arguably the sanctions against South Africa were one factor that contributed to change there.”

But, he insists, sanctions were only one factor among many, including guerrilla opposition in the country itself.

Then the Brookings released a report on sanctions…..

Economic sanctions are increasingly being used to promote the full range of American foreign policy objectives. Yet all too often sanctions turn out to be little more than expressions of U.S. preferences that hurt American economic interests without changing the target’s behavior for the better. As a rule, sanctions need to be less unilateral and more focused on the problem at hand. Congress and the executive branch need to institute far more rigorous oversight of sanctions, both prior to adopting them and regularly thereafter, to ensure that the expected benefits outweigh likely costs and that sanctions accomplish more than alternative foreign policy tools.

Sanctions are a great slogan but do very little to change things….one good example was Iraq of the 1990s…they faced sanctions but the only thing it did was make things worse for the Iraqi people…..

In August of 1990, Saddam Hussein sent Iraqi troops into Kuwait, Iraq’s oil-rich neighbor, mistakenly assuming that other Arab countries in the region and the United States would offer no support to Kuwait. The United Nations reacted immediately and, at the urging of the US and the UK, put in place economic sanctions through Resolution 661 along with a naval blockade to enforce the sanctions with Resolution 665. In November, the UN passed Resolution 668 giving Iraq until January 15, 1991, to withdraw or face military consequences from United Nations troops.

There are so many things wrong with sanctions…..

Challenging United States hegemony is never an easy course. A county need not be socialist — it is enough to either voice aspirations toward socialism, or merely demonstrate a pattern of not doing as Washington dictates.

So here we go again, this time with Venezuela. Ironically for a country that the corporate media insistently claims has been ruled by two “dictators” (remember that Hugo Chávez was routinely denounced in the same ways that Nicolás Maduro is today) it would be difficult to find a country with more opportunities for grassroots democracy and for everyday people to participate in the decisions that affect their lives and neighborhoods. There has been backtracking on some of this, and there are legitimate complaints about the top-down manner in which the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is run. The U.S. government is in no position to point fingers, however, given its history in Latin America and the widespread voter suppression that is a regular feature of U.S. elections.

Socialist is a great theme to prey of the fears of idiots…use it liberally and the people will accept anything….not matter how stupid it is…….

Since you have become more educated on the economic sanctions things we move on to call it something different….a form of WMD.

American economic sanctions have been the worst crime against humanity since World War Two. America’s economic sanctions have killed more innocent people than all of the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ever used in the history of mankind.

The fact that for America the issue in Venezuela is oil, not democracy, will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves on the planet.

America seeks control of Venezuela because it sits atop the strategic intersection of the Caribbean, South and Central American worlds. Control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

Time to watch the Hawks in the country, Bolton, Pompeo and a president that cannot move beyond some political symbol like a “wall”……if this continues then it could not end well for all involved.