Attention Millennials: Daddy Warbucks Wants You!
By Philippe Gastonne - June 23, 2015

I know a better way to fight ISIS. It starts with an idea that should appeal the better angels of both hawks and doves: National service for all 18- to 28-year-olds.

Require virtually every young American—the civic-minded millennial generation—to complete a year of service through programs such as Teach for America, AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or the U.S. military, and two things will happen:

1. Virtually every American family will become intimately invested in the nation's biggest challenges, including poverty, education, income inequality, and America's place in a world afire.

2. Military recruiting will rise to meet threats posed by ISIS and other terrorist networks, giving more people skin in a very dangerous game. – Ron Fournier, National Journal, June 16, 2015

Ron Fournier of National Journal knows "a better way to fight ISIS." Obviously, Pentagon planners should have consulted him months ago. He has just the ticket to solve their vexing challenge.

What is this solution? Give more people "skin in a very dangerous game."

Fighting ISIS certainly is a dangerous game. Do you know who won't have more skin in it under Ron Fournier's plan? Ron Fournier. As is customary in the Baby Boomer generation, he proposed this idea only after he was safely out of the vulnerable age range.

A brief aside: your humble correspondent was in military service, stateside, before and during the 1990-91 first Gulf War. Even in the late 1980s, wearing the uniform in certain places still brought ugly stares and Vietnam baby-killer comments.

That changed almost overnight in August 1990. Suddenly yellow ribbons were everywhere and people were buying us drinks.

What was different? Among other things, the youngest Boomers were in their 30s and safe from any potential service obligations. Civilian thirty-somethings were the group that thanked us for our service most profusely, too.

Coincidence? You decide.

Back on the subject at hand, Fournier's idea is statist nonsense. Free citizens do not owe the government a year of their lives for military service or anything else.

Were the United States to face a truly serious, existential threat, both young and old Americans would volunteer in adequate numbers. ISIS, while certainly evil, is not such a threat.

Even if ISIS were an existential threat, mandatory service would still make no sense. Having the majority try to preserve its freedom by compelling a sub-group to sacrifice itself accomplishes nothing. A war the nation can't win with volunteers is a war it should not fight.

Of course, what Fournier proposes isn't exactly conscription. He knows a "draft" is a non-starter. He instead offers a plan in which privileged Millennials can be teachers and aid workers, while the uneducated serve as cannon fodder.

He then sets up the Mother of All False Dichotomies:

If we don't deal with ISIS by sending the Millennials into battle, we will have to accept "the slave-holding, woman-raping, Christian- and Jew-killing territory known as the Islamic State, which will not pause to relish victory but instead set sights on Europe and the United States.

Well, when you put it that way… you mainly prove your own disconnection from reality, Mr. Fournier.

ISIS is not coming to the United States. They don't need to come here because if Fournier gets his way, the United States will have gone there. Thousands will die there, too, just as thousands already died elsewhere in the region.

All national service would accomplish is to keep the U.S. mired in wars it should avoid and pad the Daddy Warbucks profit margin. In fact, that may be the real idea. United Technologies, a top defense contractor, had a very large ad on the National Journal home page when I wrote this article.

What a strange coincidence.

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  • Bruce C.

    I’ve been developing another idea that might make a difference. It involves a lottery that every member of Congress and the President have to play. It goes like this: The names of all of the American combat soldiers in the Middle East are placed in the proverbial hat and each politician must take a name. That politician has to then share the fate of that combat soldier for the next month. If that soldier survives that month then so does Congressman so-and-so, but if he looses a few limbs, then our Congressman would have the same ones amputated. However, if that soldier is killed then his “representative” has to take two names next time. And so on.

    Oh, btw, the politicians don’t get to know whose name they’re in solidarity with, so they can’t reassign them to the mess hall or whatever.

    • The real world application of this is to eliminate standing armies in favor of a massive national guard. When the troops being risked the most are constituents sons and daughters the politicians have reason to be cautious involving the nation in war.

  • Impending Sky

    Oh, now I see. ISIS exists because of the citizen’s lack of nationalist fervor, not because the intelligence agencies armed them to fight against Assad.

  • Centurian

    If you want to fix “America’s place in a world afire” I would suggest to stop lighting the freaking fires!

  • Joelg

    Absolutely top-notch article, PG. You got it right on every point you cite. Seems to me this also functions as a Bismarck style plan to further homogenize and indoctrinate the sub-population (18-30 age group). The schools are obvious failures for much of the population, and function more like pork barrels for distributing government money to high-income bureaucrats running the schools. Proof of the failure of schools is that you have kids running wild and burning down and looting Baltimore et al. when there is the opportunity.

    So, in place of the failed lower level schools you have a post-graduate conscription where between the military and other government agencies you administer further indoctrination and get the people off the streets and employed at less cost than imprisonment. Then you let ISIS and other assorted CIA-, Israeli- and Saudi-sponsored villains in the Middle East unleash the head rolling in response to the invading USA youth and thereby reduce the USA’s youth unemployment and urban problems.

    Having heads roll directly in the streets of Baltimore and other cities would face too much resistance. Better to have a Holy Crusade in the Middle East in the name of Saving the World from Climate Change and Terrorism. All that is missing is courageous leaders, like Richard Lionheart from the ancient times when leaders actually led the battles and even got killed on the front lines. Perhaps some crazed, burnt-out Baby Boomers could be bribed or drafted into carrying the Cross for the Holy War on Terrorists in the Middle East.

    Bottom line, more Central Planning machinations by the Neo-Con/War Party elite. I guess the case can be made that it is better to destroy more Middle Eastern countries instead of USA cities like Baltimore.

  • Gil G

    It’ll be fine if America is transforming into a tyranny then the those who refuse to be drafted will form underground guerrillas with the umpteen guns in the country and take their country back 2A-style.

  • Hey You

    Top heavy edifices typically tumble down. When? Probably within the next 3 years.

  • So the liberal media ignores the war unless they want to sympathize with terrorists. Faux News schlocks the war up to sell Navy Seal porn-umentaries.

    In Afghanistan I hated going to the larger FOBs because they had Armed Forces Channel on 24/7 (There are more reasons than that to hate the FOB). However you couldn’t eat a meal in the dining facility without an announcement, that started with a cannon boom and Taps; that finished with the names of all the recent KIA scrolling across the screen.

    I hate to admit that if our media did that every half an hour like AFTV, our citizenry would have lost their taste for this sort of thing early on.

  • Fabian

    This “solution” comes on and off each time somebody doesn’t know what to write. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the millennial don’t oppose the idea. With these carefully planed economic crisis, the army could be perceived (and is already, I think) as a way out of misery.

    • Joelg

      It is not that they are “for” or “against.” It is just the reality they must deal with.

      I know of some who have joined the U.S. Navy, got some valuable training, and then to school with vet benefits to learn a better trade. Others the Marines or Peace Corp. Economy a reason to go back to school, too. Going back to school enables a breather from paying back old student debt (even as additional new debt accumulates).

  • gerry d welder

    ISIS Camp a Few Miles from Texas, Mexican Authorities Confirm … blog/ 2015/ 04/ isis-camp-a-few-miles-from-texas-mexican-authorities-confirm/

    April 14, 2015… ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, … has established its base is around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area …

    (Hasn’t it now become obvious which side our federal government will support as ISIS is ‘allowed’ to invade the USA and as the effort to dis-arm US citizens is stepped up? What next ‘false flag’ will coincide with ISIS on our streets, EMP or dirty bomb?)

    American warplanes strike Iraqi Army bases in Fallujah IN SUPPORT OF ISIS

    Fars News Agency Proxy Highlight

    Jun 6, 2015 … US Warplanes Strike Iraqi Army Bases in Fallujah, Kill 6 Soldiers … The US-led coalition warplanes hit the bases of Iraqi army’s Hezbollah …