Max Boot's Recruiting Plan Deserves the Boot

Max 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.

June 18, 2005