Defining today's military
Author James Wright on why the military has shifted away from the 'citizen soldier'
- Duration 8:57
- Date May 16, 2012
Author James Wright on why the military has shifted away from the 'citizen soldier'
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Three and -- Tina brown and joining me is a man who has warned to cast their unusual.
To have to where -- with career military.
Thought in the military fought in Vietnam no -- I was about career it was a three -- and -- -- came -- we just had a former four star marine general.
It makes you very nervous right because also James Wright was the president.
After college and somebody who spent an enormous amount of time.
Looking at not just how we fire wars -- -- five cents if you've written a great -- those who have borne the battle.
I read it cover to cover and you go all the way back from the revolutionary war.
All the way up to today's soldier.
Now you talk not just about how we fight -- what kind of wars we fight he talked about what kind of military we've had to fight those wars.
And the whole notion of a citizen soldier when we go back to the revolutionary times we think that's the foundation.
Of the American military -- you -- we've.
Switch gears and turned away from until we -- as a citizen soldier today.
We've certainly shifted away from -- I think -- World War II was was perhaps the best examples citizen soldier because it was obviously a much larger military force.
And 1012% of the population was -- all.
Only in the civil -- we have proportion.
Of the population ball.
And so since since.
World War II.
We've we've we've had deferments -- -- we had exemptions.
We had investments.
And whenever you have deferments and exemptions enlistment.
You end up with lesson with -- with less of -- true cross section of the population.
I would not have any draft at all so the military today.
Is it is -- remarkable professional group but it's not representative of the population.
Now our military will ask you any when you ask them questions like what should we go back to the draft.
They don't wanna -- because though.
They don't have an and I agree with them but it's an interesting proposition because I do say that if the unfortunate that we're not more represented in the military -- -- But right now other than in 2010 there -- like.
Four point 44000018.
Year -- in the United States in the military is they called -- accession.
Here which is less than 4%.
Of that -- so which less than 4% which US to join the military.
And I think there's many people say well I guess that might as well be those who prefer to be there in the military certainly.
We're who would would far better rather have there.
In the military those who have signed up -- most of them dragged off the street but then we have to recognize that the military today is more rural and urban.
That's more southern and western that it is eastern and north and northern.
It is not marked by a lot of college graduates -- and people -- -- the college.
It is more black and white -- the population as a whole is less Hispanic.
And and Asian American -- the population as a whole it is not representative who's not an army.
Of the four and the minorities and many people predicted in nineteenth century.
And yes it's it's current statistics -- -- 75%.
Of eighteen to my four year olds.
Are not qualified.
To being well -- I think that that's a terribly important point here if you can do because.
First of all of the military now does it really sets it has a set of standards.
That that they want to maintain and so they want high school graduation.
And that that cuts out a fair number of kids -- -- something like 67% of our of our population graduates from high school they want.
They want population of people -- you have a good medical profile.
Want people who were not overweight or not obese.
And they want people who do not have any sort of -- military -- -- criminal record and so it's it's fewer and fewer.
Of the funerals that are there are eligible to join.
So what does that fluorescence and -- Well I I I think what happened to me first of all George Washington during the American revolution.
Said that that citizens and in a free society such disorders.
Have an obligation to share.
Of their personal wealth.
As well as their own personal energy by serving in the military we need to pay for -- we need to serve.
We don't serve anymore we don't pay for the -- of the first wars in American history.
-- don't have frighteningly deficits span where you are my that we don't matter I don't know passes down through Vietnam there were taxes of one sort or another you know taxes and naughty word today nobody's gonna talk about more taxes.
This year they probably won't talk about it next here but the result is.
There's less than 1% of the population was fighting the war also come back and help retire some of the death from -- And then what does that do that to advance -- sense of civic cooperation.
Well I don't think most most people and so so so far remove people and not gonna do not know anyone.
Who was serving in the military it was served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
It's it's it's it's a video game war people really reached out -- to the veterans when they come home and -- tremendous warm applause when.
When somebody in a wheelchair we recognize that a baseball game -- concert.
But we don't know there are.
And and one of my arguments is that there is finally nothing more human than war.
Maybe -- -- -- -- you may be a lot of things with with young people are forced to make some basic choices there.
We we raise our children.
Remember to basic principles one don't put yourself in harm's way at all don't take any risks and two don't hurt other people.
They came ninety and we still hear you better forget those but now we're gonna ask do we really reversed that.
And then after three or four years they get out -- and I go back the other way it's hard to go back it's hard to forget it's harder.
To forget the experience that -- -- had a fifth -- Most of us.
Can't even begin to fathom what that's like that so that's what I want to talk about this -- And talk about -- you mean that the responsibility that an individual has.
This country but also when he finishes and lays down his arms how -- -- I don't know how do we really great hands how do we take care of them we we we have a lot more serious and we're receiving more -- today's.
Only about 10% even less than 10%.
Of the casualties in Iraq Afghanistan.
Have directors as a result of those casualties in Vietnam was more like when he 5%.
Which it is remarkable what military technology armor.
How much they Wear the medevac system the military hospitals.
The field hospital it's really quite remarkable we're saving kids.
We're seriously banged up.
They did not want to reward for the state for the rest of we have to provide ways for them to -- on them to live.
A rich and a full life and that's we have to encourage them to do.
That's we have to do a better job of I've been committed for the last several years to try it.
He did his superpowers.
And visit the hospital since 2005.
Been down to Bethesda Walter Reed.
Elbow between 45 and thirty times I go bed to bed and I talked to these guys they go to school you can you can do it you can do anything.
Well think -- -- of one of the advantages of this show that we do is that people can be watching you on their computer their hand held and then they can send me questions to ask you.
So one of the questions we have is.
-- talk about the history of immigration and how out of the military.
Provide a path to citizenship for immigrants.
I think historically it did do -- -- there was a tremendous.
Few years prior -- the civil war that that there are too many immigrants.
In the military there's too many Irish and German immigrants were serving in the military.
By the late nineteenth century really backed off from that little bit it was more represented it was it was a lot of farm kids were coming in the military but have the Spanish American war.
But certainly World War II.
Vietnam a lot of immigrants -- these immigrants often used that as a path to citizenship.
Obviously there there are a lot of a first generation Americans but there are citizens when they joined today.
And in nearly every case and they they serve because this is their country and I think that's the way.
For us that -- just recognize.
Committed some of these immigrants since have.
Okay well thank you so much for joining us James Wright author of those who have borne the battle.
And a man who -- come back again and talk to me about were credit strategies and whether we're going to risk my old college gates says.
Any president who would commit American persons to land war in Asia -- headed to.
I would love to have been reviewed and do this and look in your work on the -- -- -- so thank you -- and.
Thank thank you.