Wednesday, March 01, 2006

An army of mercenaries?

Here is a really bad idea that I think we will be hearing more of. Wayne Long, a retired Colonel in the US Army, thinks the United States should have a Foreign Legion.

The good news is that there is a large untapped resource of potential manpower that has not ever been considered by the army: huge numbers of young foreign military age males who have green cards and are eagerly seeking U.S. citizenship, or are awaiting visas in their homelands.

In exchange for U.S. citizenship at end of enlistment, these young men could be vetted and recruited by the army on five-year terms at recruiting stations in the United States and around the world. Placed in their own infantry units, and led by seasoned U.S. citizen officers and noncommissioned officers, they could be trained in the latest techniques of light infantry tactics and counterinsurgent warfare, and appropriately equipped for that mission - forming, in essence, an American Foreign Legion.

All superpowers, from ancient times to the modern era, have seen their civilian populations grow more and more disinclined to serve in their national defense forces. Inevitably they have all turned to mercenaries to defend their interests, thereby extending their national integrity, their ways of life and their unchallenged supremacy.

There is a kind of "crackpot realism" to this notion, at least from a certain perspective. If we are going to be an Empire, then we will need mercenaries. Clearly, the majority of American families do not like the idea of their sons dying in wars of empire.


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