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Via email, a note from a former student of Stanford history professor David Kennedy (background here):
Full disclosure: David Kennedy was a professor of mine my freshman year, and I enjoyed his History of Democracy class very much. Anyways, I think you may have the wrong idea about the Mercenary Army idea. You see, Kennedy asked me to join that army.I encourage readers to follow that link. I'll likely post additional commentary on this topic later. For those interested I also recommend this response to Kennedy's NY Times oped from a Minnesota National Guard member who's currently serving in Iraq.
Kennedy was the chosen faculty speaker the day before graduation at Stanford this year, and he gave a very good speech, part of which contained everything in that Op-Ed. He may have reworked a few of the paragraphs, but the language looks very familiar. Live, though, there was much more. He challenged us, the graduating seniors, to see to it that the costs of American military action were not borne by only a tiny minority by choosing to serve, among other things. It's lost in the translation to the Op-Ed, but when the speech was given Kennedy more or less told us that we should join the army. He was more forceful about the distinctions between the army and Hessians too, going out of his way to praise men and women in uniform.
I wrote about the speech at the time, and you can still find my reaction at my blog
Update/correction: Originally mis-identified the author of the second link - corrected!
If the good Doctor wants more flow between civilian and military society, maybe he should campaign on universities for the support and inclusion of ROTC. However, I don't think that is going to make much headway.Posted by Don at July 31, 2005 01:37 AM
I think what Kennedy is really describing is "occupationalization" of the military. As far back as the 1950's, sociologists (most notably Samuel P. Huntington and Morris Janowitz) viewed the military as a profession akin to to doctors, lawyers, and such.
Huntington described a model of what a "profession" is, and identified characteristics unique to professions -- long, specialized training, a sense of service to the greater society, and a self-policing organization.
Sociologists like Charles Moskos identified trends in the 1960s and 1970s that indicated the military was moving toward a more occupational model. One of the "trends" identified in the 1970s was the all-volunteer force. I guess the argument was that using bonuses and other benefit packages to attract and retain members made the military seem more like "just a job". There was also a brief period in the late 1970s when unionization was a real issue for the DoD.
My career in the Air Force was in the 1980s and 1990s. It started to reverse in the 1980s, but was sliding back to the "just a job" model in the mid to late 90s. There were a lot of reasons for this, but it's interesting to note who was president during those periods.Posted by C-141 Crew Dog at July 31, 2005 05:31 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)