Monday, November 15, 2004


Democracy Now:

So I was very much involved in the resistance, but I was never against the draft. I disagreed with a lot of my friends and associates on that, for a very good reason, I think at least as nobody seems to agree. In my view, if there's going to be an army, I think it ought to be a citizen's army. Now, here I do agree with some people, the top brass, they don't want a citizen's army. They want a mercenary army, what we call a volunteer army. A mercenary army of the disadvantaged. And in fact, in the Vietnam war, the U.S. military realized, they had made a very bad mistake. I mean, for the first time I think ever in the history of European imperialism, including us, they had used a citizen's army to fight a vicious, brutal, colonial war, and civilians just cannot do that kind of a thing. For that, you need the French foreign legion, the Gurkhas or something like that. Every predecessor has used mercenaries, often drawn from the country that they're attacking like England ran India with Indian mercenaries. You take them from one place and send them to kill people in the other place. That's the standard way to run imperial wars. They're just too brutal and violent and murderous. Civilians are not going to be able to do it for very long.

here for the rest (and you can either read a transcript of the speech, listen to it, or watch a video of it).

Chomsky raises a very good point about the draft: the only possible moderating influence on the military is the citizen soldier. However, at this point in my life, even though I'm too old to be drafted, I couldn't see myself actually going off to fight in the oil wars: I think I'd move to Canada or something. I also don't think I could stop myself from advising my friends and acquaintances of draft age to resist as well. This is probably irrational, but sometimes it's hard to argue with gut instinct.