I'm new to this whole forum thing (that is 20 years old) and so please forgive any novice-ish-ness I may display. So I wanted to ask a few questions to the general population on this essay.
First of all, basic miltary training always involves the complete and total revocation of all freedoms for a period of time. The "indoc" or "boot camp" phase of any and every miltaries training provides a basis for future training. Would this "American Military" that maintains it's members rights and freedom to choose still include this aspect? I think it should, for all of the good ideas presented in Mr Chui's essay, the one aspect that isn't given enough attention is the face of death. I don't know that a soldier who feels completely free would acutally stay and fight when people start dying around him. To take that a step further, even if a free soldier did make it through his first combat experience, it would be a huge leap of faith to do it again if at any time you could hop a plane home. In my own training, i think the nasty hazing called basic training is part of what helps me face dangerous situations without hesitation. Even more importantly the shared experiences of unpleasant situations, like boot camp and infantry training, are what bonds Marines together so closely (can't speak for any other branch). We called it our "collective suck awareness group." We shared the sae horrible experience and it was enough of bond to be willing to die for eachother.
The second issue is that of private contractors. I wonder how similar to Mr Chui's suggestion is the current use of private secutiry contractors. They got a lot of press after a couple were strung across a bridge, but since they have faded into the black. Despite the lack of coverage, they are still there in force. They are free to choose their commanders, not by vote exactly, but by choosing who to work for and what company to stay with. They also are responsible as a sompany for maintaining equipment and uniforms. Could an extension of this private contractor idea fill the needs of an "American Military."
Since by now you are bored of reading this, my last point is about maintaining a pool of "militias" large enough to fill all the potential conflicts. It would be nice to have each militia volunteer for an assignment, kind of a bidding system similar to most military contracts with the private sector. The problm arises when the contract is for a support role with the UN where the rules of engagement are overbearing and the local populace is not friendly. Who would do that? Not I, unless of course my Colonel told me to, because I am not a "free soldier/Marine"
Please tear my arguments apart and let me know where I err. Cheers!
Posts: 58 | Registered: Oct 2006
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About the only examples of a "free individual army" that I can come up with in modern context would have to be something like the Yugoslavian Partisans during World War II. Essentially you had an army that grew from united individuals and units. Which meant that the soldiers tended to be enthusiastic in willingness to fight, but often less enthusiastic in terms of drill and order or adherence to tactical command. It created a case where often differing tactics would be engaged simply due to one unit preferring one style of engagement vs. another.
On a tactical level, this often meant Yugoslavian troops engaged the Germans and Italians in suicidally avoidable ways. The fact is the Germans routinely eradicated Yugoslavian Partisan units. What they could not complete however, is the willingness of Yugoslavians to continually opt to taking arms against the Axis forces in Yugoslavia. It was a case where the Axis forces routinely decimated their foe, but never overcame the foe's willingness to field yet another new army. The fact that Yugoslavian troops never seemed to learn that their tactics sucked and might go over better if they were a bit more organized and regimented provides an example of how an army such as Richard's would work in reality.
One thing that allowed the Yugoslavians to conduct their war as they did was that they were not footing the bill in terms of money and material. The United Kingdom simply kept supplying the loot that made the suicidal tactics of Tito sustainable. In fact Tito's partisans were little removed in experience from their conscripted Soviet counterparts on the Eastern Front, with the sole exception that the Yugoslavians generally were fighting willingly.
It is a great idea in theory, but in reality such an army would be unsustainable.
Posts: 6333 | Registered: Nov 2000
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Interesting bit of history. It does strike me as somewhat familiar, and I'm wondering if any of you military or history buffs know about how this compares to modern jihadist militas such as Hezbollah (supplied by Iran) or maybe Hamas, Fatah, and name-of-the-day splinter factions (supplied by international aid)? Or am I overlooking something in the comparsion? (Leaving aside the obvious differences in tactics such as use of kidnappings and terrorist actions)
Posts: 523 | Registered: Jul 2003
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