Max Boot's Recruiting Plan Deserves the Boot

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Boot, one of the most ardent boosters of the U.S. government’s invasion of
Iraq and one of the most pro-empire proponents you’ll ever find, is lamenting the difficulty that military recruiters are
having in signing up young American men to give their lives for foreign democracy
and the establishment of an Islamic regime in Iraq. Given his enthusiastic devotion
to the U.S. government’s military occupation of Iraq, Boot rejects withdrawing
from Iraq, but he also rejects the idea of a draft because the latter would “dilute
the high quality of the all-volunteer force.”

So, what does Boot suggest? He says that the military should recruit foreigners
to do the fighting, dying, and killing in exchange for U.S. citizenship. Yes,
you read that right — he didn’t say simply recruit illegal aliens living
in the United States — he said recruit foreigners living anywhere
in the world and make them American citizens in return! Presumably Boot feels
that this would not “dilute the high quality of the all-volunteer force.”
He even uses the French (!) Foreign Legion as his model.

Anticipating the rabid reaction that he knows will come from many in the anti-immigrant
(and anti-French) crowd, Boot says, “There is no better way to build [a cultural
bond to America] than through military training and discipline. Drill sergeants
have been forging cohesive units out of disparate elements since the days of the
Roman legions.”

So, how about that? According to Boot, culture and militarism now go hand in hand,
just as they did in the Roman Empire (or, for that matter, in the Soviet and British
empires as well). Military boot camp, humiliation, right-face and left-face, cadence
songs, obeying orders, spit-shining, and “yes sir” and “no sir.”
Now, that’s what the culture of a free country is all about, according to
neoconservative icon Max Boot.

Boot fails to address a critical moral point: If Americans are refusing to sign
up to become cannon fodder or killers of innocent people in the war of aggression
and illegal occupation of Iraq, why is it moral to encourage or pay citizens of
foreign countries to do so?

I’ve got another solution that perhaps Boot hasn’t considered: Rather
than doling out advice on how the U.S. government should run the occupation of
a country that never attacked the United States and that had nothing to do with
the 9/11 attacks, and rather than coming up with a bizarre solution to the U.S.
government’s recruiting woes, why doesn’t Boot himself volunteer for
the army, just as Pat Tillman did after the 9/11 attacks?

That is, if Boot honestly believes that the security of the nation (or the government)
is at stake or if he feels that democracy or the establishment of an Islamic Shi’ite
regime in Iraq are so important, why is he wasting his time coming up with ludicrous
plans to fill the military’s ranks? Why doesn’t he instead go down to
his recruiter’s office and simply sign up and volunteer for service in Iraq?
Wouldn’t that be the “patriotic” thing to do? Doesn’t genuine
leadership entail his doing what he is asking others to do?

Or does Boot feel that only the poor, uneducated people of Latin America, Africa,
and Asia (or the United States), and not the elite, well-to-do, intellectual pointy-heads
of America should be put in the position of fighting, dying, and killing for the
U.S. government’s military adventures overseas?

What better reflection of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the neoconservative
vision for our nation than Boot’s military-recruitment plan? Not only have
these people destroyed Iraq, unless they’re stopped their pro-militarism
and pro-empire vision will ultimately destroy our nation as well.

18, 2005

Hornberger [send him mail] is founder
and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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