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.

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?

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Replies to This Discussion

Why not? That's a good additional way for people to choose to be Americans. I didn't know about the Foreign Legion when I joined the National Guard. I could be French by now :(
Believe it or not...the French Foreign Legion does have it's own website. I think the cut off age for enlistment is 40.
If you do twenty years you can retire. They in fact have their own retirement community. I hear it's nice.
I know after WWII a lot of Frenchmen who fought with the Nazis against the communists went into it. As did a lot of Germans after the war.
The Spanish Legion was deactivated in the 1980s. I forget the reason for doing so.
You really never heard of that group.
I'm looking at what I see as the attitude of the American people in general. After the shootings at Hood a retired LTG spoke about how the US Military was at "war" but the people of the United States were not.
I think only those who have ever served could actually understand what he said. I've said that for years. Our government has not declared war since December 1941.
Some on discussing the war actually respond (and this gets my blood boiling) about those who have died, "but they volunteered....."
That does not justify in any way shape or form their deaths on a mission that has no stated conclusion, objective, goal, that was furthermore based upon lie after lie after lie.
The concept I have is using those who would be willing to fight for the right of citizenship. A person cannot have access to classified information unless they are a citizen of the United States.
And it would also allow the Americans not to be "put upon" or "imposed upon." In other words you can have a war but don't call us to do it. Fine. Then offer to those who want citizenship and who will appreciate it the opportunity to prove themselves worthy by fighting and serving the country they want to be citizens of.

As for LGBT service members, I have no problem with that. I knew LGBT and Bi service members. They were good soldiers. I think they cared more about being seen as a good soldier and tried harder because they felt they had more to prove.
I also feel this way. If they are willing to serve then by God they have every right to. When I see these individuals who'll sit on their asses and watch others go off to fight and do nothing, well I honestly believe that those who serve are the better citizen and person.
As I've said to others on here....and I'll say it to you Larry...please...don't hold back!
I know where you're coming from. I myself have never seen any sexual harassment. I've not had any charges brought against me nor have I ever brought any. Does it exist? Yes it does.
Do both sexes do it? Yes they do.
As for the kill "rag heads" or "camel jockeys" they did the same thing in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam et al. Cripes I remember when "Jodies" were really colorful. Some would make some troops today blush.
Yup the calender did change. I don't remember the amount but it did change. Having gotten a degree in History I've seen and heard things that were totally wrong historically. And I've heard a lot of stuff that has been interpreted.
A lot of stuff I hear from bible pounders today would have gotten them burned at the stake 500 years ago. Piety they can't be burned today at the
It's like the American Civil War. If you're from the North then it was fought against slavery.
If you're from the South then it was fought for States Rights.
People will sit and debate it's cause for hours. There was not a single cause. There were a lot of causes.
People use, what in marketing is called "Self Reference Criterion." They make their judgments based on what they know or their experiences. People do that when looking at another culture or say, history.
As for Craig, well, let's face the ugly truth...hee hee hee....he got caught with his pants down....ROLF! Literally.
There's nothing that affects a persons or organizations "view" of history/current events like the type and magnitude of religion they follow. At the Catholic school I attended, the Crusades recieved zero mention in an Ancient History class (0-17th century).
And there's WAY too many psycho bible-beaters in the military. Better to have the crazies around to catch bullets I guess.
Hi guys I'm new to the boards.
I have to say that this is a facinating idea and one that I have never heard of or thought of. It may be that my ignorance of the Foreign Legion (beyond, "oh yeah those french guys with the hats...") is to blame.
In my opinion is that the success of such a program would be directly related to it's management and much less to the potential service people. For security it would require a method of background checking at least equivilant to what we have and use for our service people and I think that may eliminate most countries from being eligible to participate. Then again, we routinely train and equip foreign peoples to conduct their own military operations, and how is this not a much more organized and effective way to do just that? It would also be expensive (how expensive IDK) and we're currently trimming down. Granted we probably don't need all of the ordinance/gadgets we buy, but it sure is nice isn't it (Naval or close air support, AFVs and UAVs)? Still, I'd love it if we could/would create a sort of Foreign Legion if it were done right.
Well the French Foreign Legion does a background check. We could do the same. There is a French Foreign Legion web page. Google it and check it out.
Management could be done. There'd be a learning curve with it as with all things. We've let people in with minor criminal records. Some were ok and others were not. We've seen them lower the standards in the past few years.
Just because someone made one or two mistakes, to me at least, would not preclude them from service. For some people they need the experience to grow up. I've meet a few people who were given the option of jail or the service. Not a one of them ever regretted going into the service.
It helped some and others it didn't. But those who understood what they were being given, it paid off in spades.
As for military spending it goes in cycles. We're going to have to rebuild a lot of equipment worn down in Iraq.
The Foreign Legion teachers their trainees "French" in order to function in the Legion. It works well.
The high tech stuff is nice and way cool. The advances in just combat first aid is stunning. When I came into the military you carried one compress bandage. If you were smart you carried two of them. But the stuff they have now. Along with the Combat lifesaver training is beyond belief. I think it's one of the best things the service ever came up with.
Sorry you didn't get any schooling in the Crusades. As with any history lesson, when you peel back the outer layers you start to get to the truth. A lot of the truth flies right in the face of what people have been lead to believe.
Some can handle it. Others can't.
But I do think there would be a niche in the services for a Foreign Legion.
Couldn't agree with you more Rick. Myself along with most of my close Army friends had minor criminal backgrounds going into the service, though I can only remember one who was given the choice of military or jail. What I've found (possibly somewhat biased) is that soldiers of this circumstance tend to represent the best and worst of the military with very few meeting that "in between" area (mediocrity). In essence the best an most inspiring troops were nearly all those with criminal backgrounds but then so were most of the guys recieving constant reprimand.
Spending is the point where I disconnect from any real understanding. I kind of feel that the golden hammer and toilet seat methods are still being applied, but the results of our tech is hard to refute. Like you said, we've upgraded a bit from compress bandages and flak jackets. I guess, at least there's not a lot to rebuild in Afganistan (sorry that was tasteless).
Way way back when.... the out going President, Dwight David Eisenhower warned the American people about the Military Industrial Complex. What he originally wanted to say but was wared not too was, "The Congressional Military Industrial Complex."
Every congressmen, every senator, every governor, every county leader, and every mayor wants those nice fat government contracts given to businesses in their districts or states.
Words that ring true to this day.....
As for rebuilding Afghanistan, we had 7.5 years to do a lot of things. A lot. A friend of mine was there about 3 or 4 years ago. he spent 21 months there. He told me when he was there that we needed to reduce the military presence in Iraq by about 90% and move it to Afghanistan.
If not, we were going to loose what we had achieved there.
No truer words were ever said.
Just on a side note, I'm not a Fox new fan. I was an Army Journalist. If we even tried to pull a tiny fraction of what they pull we'd have been hanged.... Credibility was the watch word.
Well, a few years ago Fox was just ripping Cindy Sheehan apart every chance they got. Well the other day they had a women whose son had died in Afghanistan. They used it to bash Obama. Not Bush who got us in there and then turned their back on it.
And they milked that women's statement for all they could.
BASTARDS. What two faced BASTARDS they are.
Most of them have never served in the military. Some were blatant draft dodgers. And when they do get a vet to be a regular contributor it's Oliver North. A drunk vis-a-vis alcoholic who found God. Just like Glen Beck. Another I found God and got off the bottle clown.
As Herman Melville said in his book "Moby-Dick" about Ishmael sharing a bed with Queequeg who was a cannibal, "Better a reformed cannibal then a reformed drunk.."

By the way, I had a friend who use to work at Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). North use to call their office and they'd take turns putting him on hold and then passing him off to another co-worker until he'd hang up.
That's what the Intel World thought of LTC Oliver North, United States Marine Corps, White House military attaché...




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