Success of all-volunteer military in question

Success of all-volunteer military in question

Denver : CO : USA | Nov 08, 2012 at 11:17 AM PST
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Movie Gladiator Shows Roman Army At Its Best

Three military hearings, on both coasts and in Kansas, raise questions about whether an all-volunteer military is consistent with the American dream.

It didn’t work in Rome, and helped contribute to the fall of the empire. In this country, it is raising the cost of our military when money is needed to rebuild our infrastructure.

A pretrial hearing is underway in Fort Bragg for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, who is accused of sexual misconduct with female officers in command and threatening to harm them if they complained.

He is alleged to have defended misogynistic comments by saying: "I'm a general, I'll do whatever the (expletive) I want”

The chain of command had expressed its concern about a rising tide of sexual assault of female military members before the hearing for the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division began.

A military investigation has determined that the head of the U.S. European Command, Navy Adm. James Stavridis, committed no crimes or intentional efforts but failed to adequately oversee his command, especially concerning record-keeping, and also made mistakes in reimbursing family for expenses on personal trips.

Before the investigation he had been a leading candidate to become chief Navy commander.

After two years, the court martial of an Army enlisted man accused of helping Wikileaks still has not begun, though hearings have been under way for months. The military has been accused of mistreating Bradley Manning while holding him, including keep him in solitary confinement for extended periods.

An Army sergeant is going through a pretrial hearing for allegedly murdering 16 civilians in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was on his fourth deployment.

His defense may argue that he was suffering from PTSD. The Army’s own medical studies dating back to 1944 have predicted soldiers would break if in combat too long.

This is the inevitable result of replacing the draft with an all-volunteer army. With a draft, combat soldiers would be replaced by new recruits.

A draft also would make it more difficult to get the U.S. involved in foreign conflicts.

To attract and keep soldiers, higher pay and re-enlistment bonuses have made the cost of maintaining an adequately large enough force more expensive.

The use of unstaffed drones is perhaps the clearest example of how commanders want to keep U.S. casualities to a minimum. Their use is of questionable legality under international laws and treaties.

It is not possible to put a cost on what repeated deployments will cost the nation because of PTSD, brain damages and other wounds.

On the other hand, much of the military relies on complicated weapons’ systems, so there needs to be a large number of soldiers, sailors and airmen who will make the military a career. Too much will be spent on educating these men and women to see them leave after a few years and go to private industry.


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The soldiers depicted in this movie were all citizens who owned land. Only land owners were allowed in the army.
Robert Weller is based in Denver, Colorado, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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