Island Dweller offers a closing argument for his position on national service:
Most esteemed majesty –
You are correct in your position what I am proposing re: Universal Military Service is an impossibility at this time. It is impossible because we have allowed ourselves to slip to such an extent public sentiment will not support such an endeavor. Both political parties would play with this concept, the Democrats in a far more malevolent fashion than the Republicans, I would think. If it could be implemented, with proper public backing, and the first few “classes,” or years, of servicemembers rotated through the system and returned back to society without their heads having been messed with by their political masters, we might indeed be well on the way toward inculcating some responsible citizenship in this country – instead of the chorus of “gimme – gimme – gimme” we are hearing right now.
It is interesting to note Gen. Eisenhower was very much in favor of Universal Military Service, and said so in the early 1960s.
We kinda had something like that with the CCC, which Dad also attended during the 30s, because he had to eat. I think it would be an interesting research project for some historian of that time to determine if anything even remotely like political education or indoctrination occurred in those camps.
Thanks! The Czar knew folks in the CCC, and there was no overt political indoctrination: on the other hand, you pretty much couldnt go too far in 1930s America without seeing FDR worship. Posters, billboards, movie trailers, radio spots, newspaper storiesall of these reminded you who brought you the things you enjoy.
The Czar will add that citing Eisenhower can cut both ways, since he also warned heavily of the political takeover of the military he witnessed under Truman. Speaking of whom, Retired Spook has a few thoughts on Truman:
Having dozed through my CPR recert this morning, I find myself somewhat refreshed, and prepared to launch a new offensive into one of the current myths, i.e., that Harry Truman was a “pro-military Democratic president.”
Truman was only slightly more pro-military than his predecessor, FDR (may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his crotch and armpits!), a the fact that he had served as a battery commander in WW I does not improve his standing.
Truman was president when Berlin fell. And he’s the one who ordered Patton to hold outside Berlin and let the Russians enter. (Apparently so they’d feel good about themselves.) And while I’m not a big fan of Douglas MacArthur, it was only his willingness to stand up to the Russians in the Far East that kept Japan from being partioned just like Korea. And while Truman is to be commended for his willingness to use atomic weapons on Japan, the fact is that no one knew for sure if the bombs would work or not, and his fallback position was going to be a massive invasion of Japan. As opposed to Adms. Halsey and Nimitz, who advocated a complete blockade of the Japanese islands until “they get tired of eating each other, and surrender.”
When Truman agreed to the partition of Korea, it was simply because he couldn’t be bothered to read the intel reports that crossed his desk. Had he done so, or had some of his staff bothered to do their jobs, he would have known that the Imperial Japanese Army had only token forces on the Korean penninsula, and that he needed the Russians to “stabilize the area” like he needed another armpit.
After disbanding the OSS, and only after some pressure from the military intel community chartering the CIA, he left the fledgling agency floundering, since all the OSS assets had been either retired, discharged, or otherwise cut loose, and the CIA was forced to begin operations with practically nothing. This is why the Late Korean Unpleasantness was such a “surprise”, because the people who knew that it was coming had been shunted off to positions of relative obscurity and ineffectiveness.
Likewise, the reason that U.S. Forces Korea got off to such a rocky start was due to the draconian budget cuts that Truman’s administration inflicted on the military. There was no money to train, no money to buy new equipment, (during their extended stroll down from the Chosin Reservoir, the Marines lost more men to frostbite and hypothermia than to enemy actions, because they did not have suitable cold weather gear) or to upgrade or repair the equipment that they did have.
So let’s recap: Truman gave us the Cold War, the Korean “Police Action”, and a strong case can be made that he also gifted us with Communist China, and the Greater Southeast Asian War Games, either because of his direct input and effort, or because he couldn’t be bothered to learn the details of the situation that he was pontificating about.
Anf finally, his famous “The Buck Stops Here!” is bullshit, pure and simply. The buck stopped with the PFC who either ran from his position because he’d never been trained, or who died there, for the same reason.
Not a big Harry Truman fan. Could you tell?
Tired of getting involved in politicians’ messes,
The Czar maintains that Harry was among the most pro-military Democratic presidents. And the Czar acknowledges every one of your points is true, which says something about the other Democrats. Compare Truman to Carter, Johnson, Clinton, and Obama.
Kennedy was not so much pro-military as he was pro-paramilitary. He loved his spies, special operations, taskforces, and so on, but let the military-industrial complex call the shots.
And Roosevelt? Actually, the jury is still sort of out on that. He came to depend on the military in the 1940s, but FDR seemed more interested in militarizing the American public.
Truman, by the way, was a military man who saw a lot of first-hand action in World War I, and had a keen military mind. He loved the men under his command, but wasted little time dealing with their individual issues. He believed if you fed them well, showed them how to do their jobs, and punished the lazy, you would get a good fighting group. He got a good fighting group.
Also, check into his work on the Truman Commission. Harry was so horrified by how Roosevelt and his men were preparing the country for World War II that he launched a series of investigations that rooted out horrific rot and corruption in the heart of the War Department. Roosevelt despised Truman and his cost-cutting interference until he realized around 1942 that Truman was right. Millions, if not billions, of dollars were spent rewarding Democratic donors in exchange for giving the men substandard equipment or letting brand new equipment rust in fields. Senator Truman wasnt doing this as a re-election stunt (he already was re-elected), but wrote to Bess that he imagined he and his men in World War I being treated this way and it angered him intensely.
Truman loved the American fighting man. It was all the rest of it, however, that he cared little for: he was no general. You are certainly not incorrect to despise Truman, but everything does seem to think he cared a lot about that PFC.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.