For some time I've pondered this idea.
It's not a new idea by any means.
In fact, there have been two countries that I know of who have used this option.
One still uses it.
The other quite doing it back in the 1980's.
One was Spain and the other France.
They both had "Foreign Legions" as part of their military.
I know almost nothing of the Spanish Legion.
In the last few years we’ve seen the US use “private” security services and “contractors” to fill roles and “missions” previously done by military personnel.
Part of this goes back to the first Bush administration where Dick Chaney was the Secretary of Defense. During his time there he promoted shifting certain jobs performed by the military to the private sector.
Back in the 1980’s the US Military began to down size. The plan for the “future” US military, set forth in the 1980’s was to have 70% of the military composed of the Reserves and National Guard. The remaining 30% would be composed of the active duty services.
Many pointed out the need for more military personnel to help maintain control in Iraq if the US invaded and occupied the country. Even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs pointed this out to Secretary Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld dismissed this. Others point out what the financial costs would run. Rumsfeld dismissed this as well. As a side note, the costs estimated by Rumsfeld and dismissed by Rumsfeld have been far exceeded.
So what can one assume from this? The Bush Administration was going to invade Iraq no matter what. Come hell or high water they were going in.
One way to maintain support by the people of the US was not to have a draft. The Bush Administration had been told many times that there were not enough people in the military to perform the mission properly. Normally if there are not enough military personnel and enlistments are not enough then a draft is instituted.
But many Americans would see this as an “imposition” upon them. And since the Bush Administration was touting Weapons of Mass Destruction as the reason for the attack upon Iraq, if none were found the American peoples support for the most part would be lost. Then questions would arise as to the reason for the invasion of Iraq AND the reason why the hunt for bin Laudin was not followed through.
So in order to perform the mission “contractors” were used in various area to free up military personnel to fill mission needs. This in turn reduced the need to expand the military. The Reserves and Guard would just be called up. If need be, their tours would be extended.
Besides, as people like to point out about those who’ve died in the service of their country and I quote, “…but they volunteered…..”
I won’t go in to the times I’ve almost blown my stack at a couple of people who’ve made this statement.
But this leads me to the topic of this discussion. Sorry if it’s taken a while to get to it but I felt the above needed to be covered. And it’s the short version.
SHOULD THE UNITED STATES CREATE A MILITARY SERVICE BASED ON THE
FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION?
We have a number of people who want to immigrate to the United States. Many would be willing to serve in order to be granted citizenship. Currently it takes about 7 years to become a US citizen. Others are coming into the country illegally. Many do so because it takes so long to submit and have the paperwork process and approved.
Now while those with various criminal backgrounds are not admitted citizenship to the US, the same applies to those who apply to join the French Foreign Legion. They no longer take murders and thieves. Those days are long gone.
But, if they are willing to “fight” for France, they can, after their initial enlistment, apply for French citizenship. One of the stipulations is that they must pay back taxes on their pay for their five years in the Legion. So if you want to be a citizen, save your money.
They also receive French classes. You can join the Legion and not speak a word of French. But by the time your finish your training you will. Take that and apply it to America where people come here and are not required to learn to speak English. So those who join the French Foreign Legion will adapt to France. France will not adapt to them.
They will go any where, any time. And as one Legionnaire stated, “it’s better to send us then some poor French kid to die…” Grim, but true in a way. Grim also in that Americans upon hearing that might approve of such a service.
Little Johnny or Suzie wouldn’t have to drop out of school and go off to some nasty war. Johnny or Suzie can stay home and play with their Xbox. Their lives won’t be “interrupted.”
An argument against this would be that this would hollow out the US military. It would no longer be “American” but foreign. The soldiers would be mercenaries. Well in a way that is true. But historically “national” armies are a relatively new thing.
The use of soldiers for higher or mercenaries have been around for centuries. The concept of fighting for “King and Country” is not that old. And the thing about mercenaries is that after a bit they tend to go away.
While an American Legion soldiers would not “go away” after the end of a military action it would less of a burden or conceived burden on the American people in general. There would be a steady flow of recruits. You can be choosy on who to let in. And they agree to “fight for America” any where and any time.
What are your thought on this idea?