Thursday, October 19, 2006

Good Idea. It Won't Solve the Problem They Want to Fix

This article by Max Boot and Michael O'Hanlon calls for recruiting an American Foreign Legion by recruiting foreigners into our military with citizenship as the reward:

We could solve the No. 1 problem facing the Army and Marine Corps: the fact that these services need to grow to meet current commitments yet cannot easily do so (absent a draft) given the current recruiting environment.

Boot has called for this more than a year ago. It is puzzling since we already recruit foreigners. We have about 35,000 foreigners on active duty in our military. Boot and O'Hanlon aren't calling for separate foreign units so I don't know what they want that we aren't doing.

Since we are actually meeting our recruiting goals I don't know how their proposal helps.

Nor can even adding 150,000 foreign recruits over the next three years help with anything other than the lowest ranks. This would have very little impact on our NCO and officer corps over the next decade and zero impact in the next four years.

If they are saying recruit foreigners to increase our end strength, why not simply call for an increase in our end strength? Why advocate recruiting only foreigners for that extra amount? If we need a larger Army and Marine Corps, we should simply increase the end strength and recruit citizens or foreigners as we do now. The relatively small numbers they are talking about for foreign recruiting aren't so great that we couldn't raise incentives and recruiting to reach it with a combination of recruiting foreigners and citizens. The idea we need a draft for fifty thousand more recruits per year is hardly a given as far as I'm concerned.

I guess I can't oppose recruiting foreigners since I called for a Liberty Corps program some time ago to do exactly this (and first entertained this thought over a year ago in reaction to Boot's article and others at the time). As I wrote about the Libery Corps:

If we can't get full commitment to fight at our side by more nations, lets get their willing citizens to join us. We already are moving toward seeing our enemies and potential enemies as sub-national entities rather than relying on the the outlook of the old Westphalian system of nation-states as the basic unit of international relations. Why not see our allies and potential allies that way, too?

Since Americans purportedly flee abroad (though our Hollywood types annoyingly remain despite promises) to live in a country more in tune with their beliefs, couldn't we host foreigners who wish to fight for our common freedoms and civilization despite their home governments' disinclination to fight?

This would also be a nice counter to the UN worship that some "citizens of the world" are prone to. Let's welcome Citizens of the West to our shores--and our military. We are in an ideological struggle and it isn't just for the hearts and minds of the Moslem world as we struggle to keep the jihadis from having the Moslem world's support. We need to struggle for the hearts and minds of Westerners so we will defend our common Western heritage.

It would be good to get those who would defend freedom in uniform no matter where they come from. Our enemies recruit from any Moslem area. We certainly should recruit from any place that makes men who want to be free and reward such men with citizenship.

But I don't get how the proposal given solves the problem of stress on our military. The Boot/O'Hanlon proposal makes absolutely no sense in that regard.