Monday, July 25, 2005

More on the Military

I noted an earlier Op-Ed showing that economic enlistment incentives lead to higher rural mortality in Iraq. Today, an Op-Ed asks for The Best Army We Can Buy, concluding:
The life of a robust democratic society should be strenuous; it should make demands on its citizens when they are asked to engage with issues of life and death. The "revolution in military affairs" has made obsolete the kind of huge army that fought World War II, but a universal duty to service - perhaps in the form of a lottery, or of compulsory national service with military duty as one option among several - would at least ensure that the civilian and military sectors do not become dangerously separate spheres. War is too important to be left either to the generals or the politicians. It must be the people's business.
What do we think? Compulsory national service, including the option of military service, Peace Corps, Americorps, etc.? Upside, downside?

The Op-Ed lays out the broad social benefits that might accrue. The downside is the obvious libertarian concern; compulsory service is a massive intrusion in personal freedom. What else?

What if everyone who participated in the compulsory service got a lifetime of VA healthcare? It wouldn't be total health insurance, but it would provide basic coverage or some sort to every adult, and maybe every covered adult's children.

I don't know. Could this work, or is it just crazy talk?