Oh, for the days before Crecy! claims that “fetishizing the good old days [WWII] as a model for today’s modern military is about as useful as longing for the era of chivalry following the Battle of Crecy” (where English archers wiped out a force of French knights).
I particularly enjoyed this comment by FDChief:
This thread reminds me of the evening I sat and talked with my FDO — a hell of a bright guy who is now an attorney (Erik, if you’re reading this, take a bow, sir) — and we agreed that since 1972 (when the draft was ended) we had entered the ‘Marian’ period of the Republic. The general public no longer has an obligation to serve (as in the early Republic) but the old tradition of a small peacetime army, mobilizing the people and electing consuls (read, officers) for wartime service (the Cincinnatus tradition) has given way to a large standing professional Army with long-service troopers. And if you think back, you can recall what happened to the Republic once its fortunes were in the hands of men who, while tough, smart and honorable, thought of themselves as soldiers first, citizens second…
What the Fido and I reasoned was that by using the excuse of the ‘increasingly complex’ nature of war and the need for a ‘highly trained’ Army the folks who wanted to USE the Army — the civilian leadership and most specifically the service chiefs and the Joint Staff — had removed the most fundamental of democratic checks to the military, the participation of the citizenry, and replaced them with ‘Marius’ Mules’. That this would provide a new window for military adventurism — it’s a lot easier to fight Fuzzy-Wuzzies with Ortheris and Learoyd than with Joe Public. The Legion can do things that the ‘troupes metropolitains’ just can’t do, politically…and that, just as the Romans had, we Americans might find that somewhere in our future was our Caesar, and we could wake up to find that were were no longer citizens of the Republic but subjects of empire.
The is not to say that we haven’t produced a superbly trained Army — we have. But to concentrate the instruments of military power in the hands of a professional military class, regardless of the need, is to give that class the ultimate authority over civilians.
So let’s be realistic about the choice we’ve made: in order to provide the country with an Army that is unsurpassed in defending the country, we have produced an Army politically isolated and socially distinct from that country that it defends. This IS a potential danger to the country, and we would be well informed to be cognisant of that fact.
You can either have a house pet that barks indifferently well or a savage guard dog that views anything weaker than itself as prey. The war dog is by far the better at protecting the house but is an ever-present risk to maul the children.