Day by Day



17 August 2007

Young People Should Find Ways to Serve, not Just at McDonalds...

Peter Pace, the ejected former CJCS, has an opinion about national service.  While I agree in principal, I think the prospect is at odds with the founding basis of our nation.  We must be a nation which freely gives.  Service should come from an inner desire, not an outward compulsion.  This topic seems to be a recurring theme in the blogosphere and in philosophical circles.  Where do our obligations as citizens begin and end?  What are we abrogating by not engaging within our society? 
 
Is the "service" rendered by a staunch anti-war activist any less important than that of a soldier in combat?  It would be easy for me to say that that person picketing safely at home is not doing their nation any service - and I would offer just that assessment when their tactics exceed the bounds of our society's laws.  But our nation is built upon freedom, tenets which I strongly support.  These allow individuals to make choices about how they will "serve" their nation.  If our nation, as a whole, decides not to protect their individual and sovereign rights, then we must live with our decision.
 
Every person must do an equation in their head.  What have I received and what shall I give?  To each their talents and measure for the same.  We live in an amazing time.  It is a rare period of civilization where self-sacrifice is not a requirement for survival in the industrialized world.  One can live quite comfortably on the margins of society (the slacker / working poor) lifestyle and not suffer appreciably (compared to prior centuries).  In short, we can "tune in and drop out" and not suffer any real consequences.
 

Young People Should Find Ways to Serve, Pace Says
Thu, 16 Aug 2007 14:34:00 -0500

American Forces Press Service


Young People Should Find Ways to Serve, Pace Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

YONGSAN, South Korea, Aug. 16, 2007 - Whether it's through military service or another means, young Americans should find some way to serve their country, the U.S. military's top officer said here today.

"I do believe that each of us who has had the blessing of the accident of birth of being born in a free country ought to find some way to repay our country," Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a town hall meeting at Collier Field House here.

"If we have a system that allowed people to join the Peace Corps or allowed people to do good work inside the United States where it's needed, or join the military," it would help the country.

Young people should give a year or two of their lives to making society better, and U.S. leaders should take such a commitment seriously, Pace said. "We would be a much stronger society, and we would be giving back to the world what we should be giving back," he said.

The general also put to rest rumors about a possible U.S. military draft. "Nobody in any leadership position is having any serious discussion about a draft," he said.

Biographies:
Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

Related Articles:
Pace Receives Korean Award, Thanks U.S. Servicemembers
All-Volunteer Force Meets Nation's Needs, Official Says


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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Romans said the same thing. :)


My Friend,
While appreciate your sentiment, I must disagree with you on this point. I agree that each citizen SHOULD serve, in some capacity for some period of time. Just as you, eventually, have your children clean their own rooms, so too should you have citizens serve. What you accomplish, hopefully, is "buy-in". They have invested into the whole. Without investment, especially on a country with no defined nation, we WILL collapse. Many would say we have begun down the road already, and I could easily be lead into that group. Multi culturalism will eventually destroy us. The ONLY unifying force in this country is a sense that we belong. There is no unifying language (any longer...a trip to Lowes will confirm this), there is no prescribed religion, there is not even a proscribed national history lesson. All we have is theortical buy-in. Well, I support a more tangible "national" bonding method.

Standing by for slings, arrows, and other such.

"Democracies are by their nature, self destructive...thats why we don't have one! :)

S/F
Mud Shark

Citizen Deux said...

Interesting! The last person who I expected such sentiment from! By the way, just came from a dining out in which the Vice was performed by a USMC Major, a RECCE BATT CO no less...

captjackharkness said...

Wow. Mud Shark, what eloquence! I wholeheartedly agree!

BTW, Deux: when you say If our nation, as a whole, decides not to protect their individual and sovereign rights, then we must live with our decision. what exactly do you mean? If the majority makes a choice which is morally reprehensible, deprives other of their rights, does not choose to protect the rights of others, we should just shrug and say "oh well?" Sorry-but I still hold these truths to be self-evident. Just because we are a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people does not mean the majority is always correct-if we were to just "live with the decision" we would still have separate but equal schools, water fountains and bathrooms, not to mention my inability to hold a teaching a job....

Anonymous said...

I used to teach a class to all my Lt’s on a required USMC reading book. You may have heard of it...Starship Troopers? :) Some folks viewed it a bit fascist. But, from another angle, its home schooling. :)
S/F
Mud-Shark

BostonMaggie said...

Couldn't agree more with the sentiments expressed here. This was how I was raised and how I raised my children. Not everyone is suited to military service. I have two sons, one will definitely go into the service. My older son, however, would not do well there at all. But service is still important. Tom joined City Year (part of Americorp) right out of high school and it was a fabulous experience for him.

captjackharkness said...

Home schooling? Isn't that where kids are taught that God invented the Winchester to kill the dinosaurs and the homosexuals? (Credit herewith given to the script of MEAN GIRLS)

Citizen Deux said...

CAPT,

Interesting post. If I may, address a few items.

If the majority makes a choice which is morally reprehensible, deprives other of their rights, does not choose to protect the rights of others, we should just shrug and say "oh well?" Sorry-but I still hold these truths to be self-evident. Just because we are a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people does not mean the majority is always correct-if we were to just "live with the decision" we would still have separate but equal schools, water fountains and bathrooms, not to mention my inability to hold a teaching a job....

1) What is morally reprehensible in one era is the norm in a prior. We advance and evolve. I have not seen any instance of the above mentioned event occurring.

2) Integration, for example, was implemented as a majority decision, enforced by the courts.

3) You CHOSE your circumstance with regard to your career.

As for service, compulsory is counter to what I think the nation needs. As for parents "encouraging" this behavior, that is a different story.

The social work Bowling Alone provides an insight into the insulation of our society and culture. The more "diverse" we become the less likely we are to engage in general social work.

Anonymous said...

My Brother,
I have found this to be an amusing discussion. There are two things that apply. The system is designed to prevent the tyranny of the majority AND the tyranny of the minority (I think I sense a trend here). We are a nation of rewards. That is, one expects to receive something in return for one's efforts (at least that is what I see). So, rather than simply "require" service, I say we reward it. Those that serve, Vote. Those that don't, don't. Now I know this will ellicit howls from all corners. But, to examine the founders ideals and INTENT, I think (not feel) that this is a legitimate method to achive a national identity. Israel uses it, as do other organization (not that I am a big fan of our allies in the eastern med, but it has its merits). .....the red and white orb rests gently on the surface, suspending its charge inches below the surface...waiting...
Semper Fi!
Mud Shark

Citizen Deux said...

Brother,
Indeed there is strong merit to a reinforce a system of incentives. Humans ultimately respond to them. And of course, there is no free lunch.

I have been more a proponent of mandatory service in the political process (via voting or some other means of engagement).

Let us ask a more basic question. What is the quid pro quo in our system of government? What is given in exchange for the things we enjoy? Can we agree on the things we enjoy as a benefit of our government? I would posit that they are indeed the rights proclaimed in the Constitution. Summarily expressed as freedom of choice (thank you Devo!).

By the way, Israel's incentives stem more from self-preservation than any other obvious benefit. A VERY powerful motivator!

captjackharkness said...

Integration, for example, was implemented as a majority decision, enforced by the courts....um do you really believe that? Look at the riots, protests, etc. over BROWN VS. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, the murders of the freedom riders, etc. Integration was implemented by the courts, I don't think if it had been brought to a vote it would have occurred....

You CHOSE your circumstance with regard to your career. HUH? I chose to be a teacher. There are many out there who would say that I am unfit for the mere reason of who I am....

Scott Kohlhaas said...

Sevice is fine, just keep it voluntary!

Would you be willing to spread the word about www.draftresistance.org? It's a site dedicated to shattering the myths surrounding the selective slavery system and building mass civil disobedience to stop the draft before it starts!

Our banner on a website, printing and posting the anti-draft flyer or just telling friends would help.

Thanks!

Scott Kohlhaas

PS. When it comes to conscription, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Anonymous said...

Brother Deux,
Mandatory voting raises some interesting possibilities. Thailand has it. Everyone travels back to their home town to vote and failure to vote has some rather hefty penalties. WRT the Israeli model and self preservation, isn't that what we are talking about?
WRT to military service, I am opposed to a draft, but, do not rule it out ISO a MAJOR conflict. Mandatory service shatters our current social paradigm and it makes people VERY uncomfortable, yet without an open and honest discussion on what is at stake and what WE, as leaders, can do to fix some of these problems, we do ourselves and our fellows a grave disservice.
Now onto the show!
I have read a couple of posts on the elimination of segregation, the integration of our society, yadda yadda. Where were the models for this societal shift developed, tested and validated? A conscription based military! Forced acceptance, forced tolerance, etc etc. Left to our own devices, self-segregation is a natural standard. Going back to your last post, what is the quid pro quo? I concur with you WRT the constitution. Though, I suspect there are some interpretations of the document that may need to be aired. From my little knuckle-dragging view of the universe, the government’s foremost duty is to provide 1. Security and 2. A functioning society. Now we get to the brass tacks. I would think most folks could agree on what security is. But, I already know they can't. So the "mushy" part of the contract, a functioning society, is off the "friction of understanding” meter’s dial. So, what say you? What is security? And what is a functioning society, and...does a government have a responsibility and/or right to perpetuate it? If so, what are the responsibilities of its citizens to that end?
Semper Fi!
Mud Shark

Time flies like an arrow...
Fruit Flies like bananas.

Citizen Deux said...

Great posts all. Mr. Kohlhaas is advocating violation of a federal law on his website. While I personally support the act of public disagreement and discourse, I definitively reject his methods.

At one time I was a member of the Libertarian party, as is Mr. Kohlhaas. In his native state of Alaska he served as its chairman. Senator Paul, also a former member (although still tied heavily) reflects the challenges of the Libertarian ideal - but that is for another post.

Let me make sure my position is understood. Our system of government, though imperfect, is the best existing on the planet. It is representative and evolving. Societal issues, although frequently advanced in arenas like the military, are always developed in small pockets and then expanded.

The Capt's career is his own - despite individual opinion - there was nothing to prevent him from pursuing it as he saw fit. We have, thankfully, moved from violent opposition to more civilized debates (even Mr. Kohlhaas' misguided site is better than some ridiculous confrontation in DC).

Doonesbury in the August 26th strip, beautifully captures what many serving now feel about their place in American society. Adding compulsory participants is not the right approach.