Service Guarantees Citizenship (Part III)

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Mon, Nov 16 - 9:00 am EST | 3 years ago by
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Lines of Departure - Service Guarantees Citizenship

Don’t miss Part I and Part II in this series.

So how do we get from where we are to a form of government such as we’ve been discussing? I don’t know that we necessarily do by any road any of us would especially care to travel, though we might find that road a little less bumpy and potholed than the others we look to be facing.

We had a chance, back in 1781, when the Articles of Confederation were being ratified, and again, in 1789, when the Constitution was being drawn up. There may have been a slight echo of the notion with the Society of the Cincinnati, post-revolution, and also a chance to have done something via the Newburgh Conspiracy, which George Washington suppressed using not much more than sheer force of character.

While the country might have been better off if something like that system had been adopted on any of those occasions, honesty should compel us to admit it might not have, either. After all, the system we did adopt has seen us through a couple of often turbulent centuries. Were it not that, as I mentioned last week, it looks like that system’s time has run, we wouldn’t be talking about this now. At least I wouldn’t.

There are several routes we might take to get us from where we are to where we think we ought to go. These include coup, as discussed here, or recovery from something like total societal breakdown, as discussed here.

Neither of those routes should be undertaken lightly, by which I mean, avoid like the plague as long as possible. Moreover, each is fraught with problems. In the first case, would anyone with two brain cells to rub together really be all that certain that our flag officers, once they had the power in their own fragrant hands, would then turn over political power to mere discharged privates? One doubts. In the latter case, we’re probably not talking about a national restoration but the creation of a bastion or two somewhere, which may or may not survive the rising seas of barbarism around them. In either case, we will not have saved the country.

I don’t have a lot more faith in the prospect of salvation via normal constitutional amendment. It would certainly be legal; it has that going for it. But actually getting enough or our more left wing states to go along? Even if it meant the ruination of our country and civilization if they didn’t?

Especially “if.” Let me tell you a few little somethings I’ve gathered about the bulk of the modern western left: When it comes to societal ruin – ruin of their own societies – their urge to ruin is overwhelming; their instincts are unerring; their energy is inexhaustible, and their ruthlessness is absolute. Wrecking the country and Western civilization would be a feature, not a bug. So go down the list of states and see which thirteen left-dominated states would object. And that’s assuming a two-thirds vote in congress, when rather few congress-critters would qualify under the system and would thus lose their jobs. Frankly, that last item seems to me to make it impossible even to offer a compromise, a twofer, so to speak, where they might get something they want – statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, say – in exchange for ratification of “Service Guarantees Citizenship.”

So, no, except possibly as a result of a military coup, where the amendment process was forced through at bayonet point (unconstitutional in itself, of course, though there is that nasty precedent of the formerly seceded states and the reconstruction amendments), it cannot get through as an amendment to take effect immediately..

Hopeless, then, right?

Well, no, it isn’t necessarily hopeless. I can see two ways to do it. The first is, despite what I wrote above, through the amendment process. No, neither liberal states’ non-veteran legislators nor national non-veteran senators and representatives would go along…if it affected them, personally. There is, however, a thing called grandfathering. It’s used all the time to try to get some good in the future without paying the political price for it in the present. With grandfathering, everyone currently entitled to vote or run for and hold public office wouldn’t lose those rights, but everyone below the age of eighteen would have to volunteer for and serve their term before they could. Whether that would be enough to save the country…well…I did mention previously, did I not, that the percentages that are leading us to ruin are not that great? It might be enough. Guaranteed? No, I only look stupid and then only when I drink, and that’s been years. But it could be a chance.

The other way is easier to effect, could also be grandfathered, but is also easier to modify or dispense with than actual amendment to the Constitution.

Watch this:

Now go look at YouTube for any of a large number of “bring back the draft,” statements, claims, and suggested programs. Note that what they tend to have in common is that the proponents seek to make the military less usable. This could be a good or bad thing, if true. However, I don’t think it is true. To a large extent they seem to be caught up in their own lies and ideological myths about the makeup of the armed forces in Vietnam. Only a not particularly large minority of troops in Vietnam were draftees. Most were volunteers.1

Now picture a universal draft enacted into law. Men, women, the handicapped; everybody gets a draft notice on their 18th birthday. And they’d better show up, too, on penalty of…not very much really…umm, absolutely nothing really. No jail time, certainly. No fine, to be sure. No end date. No drop dead date. No penalty at all except that you can’t vote or run for and hold public office until you complete your service. Civilized, is it not? Democratic, too, isn’t it? And choice, oh, dear God, choice just abounds.

Tugs at the heartstrings, doesn’t it?

And that’s the best I can offer.



Photo by Andrey Popov/Getty Images

Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through

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  • Jack Withrow

    I think you might have missed something in your ways to institute this. I highly doubt that the current Flag Rank leadership of the military would be invited to play if a coup happened. To most enlisted and junior officers they are seen as part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    • Tom Kratman

      The colonels rarely have the scope to do so; there are just too damned many of them.

    • Jack Withrow

      Not exactly what I meant. I was referring to the Service Chiefs and any Flag Officer with more than two stars. What I mean is the rank and file trust them no farther than they do the politicians. I don’t know who the leadership will be, but I doubt anyone over two star rank will be trusted, and even then I am not sure trust will be given to an officer that senior.

    • Tom Kratman

      Then we get another problem. Those two stars are going to need someone they trust. I can think of a candidate or two, but don’t think they’d be interested.

    • Jack Withrow

      But would the Rank and File trust who ever the two stars trusted? As near as I can tell, Iraq and Afghanistan has pretty much destroyed any trust between the Rank and File and any Senior (three stars and up) Officer no matter if the Div Cmdrs trusted them.

    • Tom Kratman

      Hard to say. If someone knows what they’re doing, dragging the troops along just isn’t that hard. Most at that level know, at least, how to do that much.

    • Daniel Mioque

      The coup d’état that turned Suriname into a military dictatorship was done by 16 sergeants. Apparently you don’t need dudes with stars to topple a state.'%C3%A9tat

    • Ming the Merciless

      The USA is not Suriname or Liberia. A Sergeant and his pals taking over a battalion is plausible… but not taking over even one division, let alone however many we supposedly have now.

    • Tom Kratman

      Yes, it’s in good part a problem of scale, though experience, training, and intellect count as well. Luttwak did a book on how to launch a coup, which may be worth reading for someone thinking upon the matter.

  • Astrosorceror

    In fictional Balboa everyone goes though the full brutal training. As a result they have a first rate army. I expect even Balboa though still has a minority of their population as transverse and reservists though.

    For something like the last part, truly universal service, what role do the handicapped and such have? Females might make a very light infantry (like in your Amazons book) but the physically crippled are another matter. Would they be clerical staff in bases, or maybe drive convoys though dangerous territories freeing up men for infantry duty?

    • Tom Kratman

      Well, speaking of Balboa, the handicapped are, in goodly part, used to man “do svidanya, Rodina” (farewell, Motherland) positions. Doubt we could use them for than, exactly, though one suspects they could man Minuteman launch control bunkers. Me, I’d create a regiment or branch entirely oriented to finding them something miserable to do.

    • Matthew

      Tercio Santa Cecilia, yes?

    • Tom Kratman


    • Brigadon

      Drone pilots

    • Tom Kratman


    • Brigadon

      Tom, would you mind if I wrote a fanfic about precisely that in your Carreraverse?

    • Tom Kratman

      I can’t stop someone from writing fanfic, I don’t think. But I’m not a huge fan of the prospect.

    • Brigadon

      Right. That’s why I asked. I was Navy, So while I am always interested in Writing Milfic, I don’t have the background to write compelling ground war stories unless someone else has laid out the environment.

      And apparently, “I was a space sailor” Stories are not particularly popular or appreciated, the Genre seems to be overreprented. Have high hopes for Castalia, though.

    • Tom Kratman

      Well…if you want a suggestion, consider doing that in a setting something like Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Perhaps the crew are paraplegics manning one of the armored vehicles that may have made up the “brigade of heavy weapons, standing by” when then went down to snag a bug brain. You might even be able to get his estate to sign off on it.

    • Brigadon

      great idea, thank you.

    • Tom Kratman

      No sweat, and now I’ll tell you why I’m not a huge fan of having folks do fanfic in my universe. Firstly, it’s a very complex universe, so the odds of screwing something up are high. Secondly, it’s either for publication or not for publication. If not, no BFD, but if so, I’d have to read and edit. I promised God I would avoid that in the future, after losing a couple of friends by editing them honestly.

    • Brigadon

      I actually thought it was because you didn’t want some person you have never met getting an ‘authorized’ license to mess up your universe canonically. Not to mention you have never read anything I have written so I could also b e an utterly talentless hack.

      Which I completely understand. for all you know I may be some psycho prog looking for an excuse to strike a blow against the evil patriarchial military industrial manspreading rape culture. Thank you for your reply, however, sir. I really appreciate the time you took out to answer me.

    • Tom Kratman

      Again, no sweat. Now what what with this Maria bimbo? Have you acquired your very own concern troll?

    • Brigadon

      I don’t know. I think… maybe she is responding to an article I did a couple of years ago about the ‘deal’ between men and women… They trade us their youth and beauty, we give them in return our support and love and protection for the rest of our lives… and how girls today broke that ‘deal’, wasting their youth and beauty on party town, and still expecting men to put up the second half.

      It was a bit of a scathing indictment of feminism and social liberalism, as well as an explanation of WHY religious morality was important, even if you don’t actually believe in heaven or hell.

      It was…several years ago, and my viewpoints have been considerably refined in some cases and expanded in others since then (I no longer believe in ‘equality’, for example, and instead of ‘women get it so men should too’ leftism, I am now a firm believer that NO ONE should get it without earning it) but every once in a while some rabid freak decides to put in their necroposting opinion…

      I really didn’t expect someone to post it HERE though, that was beyond rude. Although… in a way it justifies my writing.

      Tens of thousands of hits and my very own stalker certainly implies I may have potential to write something compelling. With such high examples of craftsmanship to look up to… You, Niven, Foster, Correia, Vox, Ringo, Heinlein… I was starting to despair, only bouying myself with the Mantra “Even Piers Anthony and John Norman were bestsellers…”

    • Jale Sari Turner

      Brigadon I am a female and a very attractive.. I totally understand you, even though it is sad for people who have feelings,you are right it is as you say,but people dont want to hear that, they get scared, it is the truth but it hurts. What should I do then when I am forty I have to shot myself in my head because that shows me that in13 years I have no value anymore,but listen we are humans, we shouldnt be animals even when it is difficult, but we can try to act on what we feel instead of instincts ,we can be quiet ,we dont need to reproduce , dont be scared man, your reproduced children wont save your life you will be under the earth and eaten by worms even when you have kids, and what is it you want to have kids to help the species?? we should start to ask ourselves if we as individuals are more important than the rest????do you understand my point?? I dont think you will because you are just an animal , but let me tell you something you will die and I know why you want to have a pussy to shit out your kids you want to be remembered but believe me brigadon they wont!!!they might even think you are an idiot what then brigadon??then no one will remember you anymore brigadon.. your childrens flesh will be eaten by worms too.accept it nothing will help your dying flesh not even when you have millions of pussys who shit out millions shit babies that wont help you do you understand you fucking animal and thank you thank you because of you I have to have a bullet in my fucking brain in 13 years thank you brigadon,but you dont know we dont know what comes afterlife ,maybe nothing but maybe you will suffer for making other people scared are you not scared???Oh and if you value reproduction that much: I am very attractive and you would want to fuck me for sure but high quality women need high quality men for having good healthy offspring, go to the mirror now and look how is the shape of your nose? is it long then you are out, do you have a manly chin brigadon? or not? if not you are out.are you wealthy brigadon?if not you are i wouldnt have my focus only on that because i dont think that you have what it requires to be one of the high quality people.You know what the best thing will be one second before you die you see your own children die that would be perfect that would take you your arrogance and would change your thinking that you will be remembered hahahah I love you human people so stupid. I never treated men bad I never flirted, I want to have children I am still young, I would give my heart and my sould for just soemone that would love me for who I am and not for my young pussy or my beautiful hair , I cant stand it anymore because of animals like you I have to kill myself

    • Brigadon

      What the hell are you talking about?

    • maria

      I get your attention by repeating your stupid name .you have no clue about psychology you fucking idiot and yes of course my comment is under a different topic. If you would be just a little smart you would know why I did that.and I already expected you wouldnt understand anything that I wrote…. brigadon.hahaha may “god” be with you or whatever bullshit it is that you believe in .and no I am no troll and no one you know .just someone who is very very very angry at arrogant people like you brigadon and hopes they die as soon as possible so that this world is free

    • Brigadon

      Wow, it’s like pulling the string on a wind-up toy.

    • maria

      Your reaction was everything I needed you fool. I just tell you this: be careful ..really be careful

    • Brigadon

      Oh, are you threatening me?

      Very well, I live in Salt lake City. I work out at the UFC training center in West Valley on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 to 4:00 You can recognize me by my optimus prime workout shirt.
      Oh, and after you attack me, I will be calling an ambulance and the police. Enjoy your stay at city expense (assuming you survive multiple gunshot wounds). I hear the pork loin is actually quite tasty.

    • maria

      Hahaha gay man ..I dont threat you. I am just a girl. why are americans always so scared and paranoid.haha dont be scared gay man you should be careful in General you idiot you didnt understand what I was trying to tell is more dangerous than just people trying to attack each other: accidents tumor cancer Alzheimer all oft those things that can kill a strong manly brigadon. Who is so scared about one post that he is thinking about police. Be a man no man needs police

    • Brigadon

      Try paragraph breaks. People don’t understand you because you write terribly.

      Every time you end a sentence, hit the ‘enter’ key. and then hit it again. That will break up your comment into structure that can be followed by others.

      I have spent plenty of time in Turkey. if I wanted to spend my life smashing midgets with my head I’d be your pimp.

    • James

      Who was ranting at you?

    • Brigadon

      Beats me.

    • maria

      It is strange .if you would See me in the street you would Fall in love with me ist that strange

    • Brigadon

      I’m sorry, I have never paid for sex, and I never will. I suggest you solicit elsewhere. I am quite happy with my pets.

    • Brigadon

      I strongly suggest that if you have a problem with something I have written in the past, you discuss it in a ‘reply’ to the actual comment in question. I was trying to talk to the colonel about writing, and your commentary is not only off topic but utterly irrelevant.

  • gaige

    Why do we want to avoid the collapse and/or civil war for as long as possible, exactly?

    Doesn’t the old maxim of, “The longer we wait, the worse it will be,” apply to those two horrid events?

    • Tom Kratman

      Because a) we might avoid it yet, and b) it would be nice to see one’s grandchildren grown and alive, as oppposed to roasting over low coals on spits.

    • Steven Schwartz

      Just wanted to pop in and say that, while we might disagree vehemently on methods, we definitely agree on this point.

    • James

      Tom gives the best but consider this. Everything a people see and do marks them in some way. What type of people will come from a collapsed state like ours. I guarantee that if worse comes to worse you will see everything from genocide to ethnic clensing to slaver and ever worse.

      Humanity itself will catch the flame. It may well be a hundred years or more before we come back to where we were technology wise. Numbers wise? The US basically feeds much of the world with our farms. Without them…war. The bad old days…

  • Mark Andrew Edwards

    I like elements of the idea of sneaking this in while giving the Left what they want: the Draft. You’d need a second step, though. Going back to a volunteer force while keeping the citizenship requirement intact. That would take some smart and clever politicians…which is where I see the problem.

    In Starship Troopers, the political system was upended when masses of veterans returned home and declined to return to serving under the yoke of fools. I think we would need some kind of catastrophic upheaval to allow this change to take place. A big war might also serve to have the right kind of generals rise to positions of power. Peace-time, you get political jackals.

    I don’t know. Maybe it will come down to civil war. In the bad moments, I think so. In the really bad moments, I’m afraid civil war will be prevented by Xbox, internet porn and television.

    But thanks for your words as always, sir, food for thought.

  • Dan

    You weren’t seriously considering putting the generals in charge were you? If a military coup did come they should be the first against the wall. First for massive incompetence, they haven’t won a war since 1946, second for betraying their oath to defend the constitution. You do remember the part against all enemies foreign and domestic don’t you?

    I find it troubling that you know most people don’t agree with you (or atleast enough to make voting in your suggestions unlikely) but instead of considering that they might know somthing you don’t, or a least their life and experiences have given them a different but ligtimate perspective, you declare “the left” to be willfully stupid and evil.

    • Steven Schwartz

      First for massive incompetence, they haven’t won a war since 1946

      For what they were tasked to do, they managed to win in Iraq twice, to be fair. And the U.N. did not permit South Korea to cease to exist, so by that standard, they won that war.

      second for betraying their oath to defend the constitution. You do
      remember the part against all enemies foreign and domestic don’t you?

      I’m presuming you mean that if they led a coup, they’d be betraying their oaths, yes?

      you declare “the left” to be willfully stupid and evil.

      It’s the only way he can justify what he apparently wants to do — so he believes it to be true.

    • James

      We’ll they are pretty stupid and no offense a lot of the stuff they do can be described as evil if you look at the consequences that they later brought about. That’s ignoring the unpleasantness the leftist in this country participated in in the early 1900′s.

  • Dan

    I realize you have moved past this part but I will take one more swing. The problem of Martin Luthor King, would his protest clearly dangerous and done in the service of his country, qualify him for citizenship? You say no. I say it should but suspect it would be difficult for a sitting government to recognize the “civic virtue” of people protesting them.

    I will go back to the source material. In one of the Deans other books, I think ‘Podkayne of Mars’ they enter a Martian city, in the main entrence right in the middle of the thoroughfare sits a Martian completely withdrawn. Eyes ears legs hands everything is pulled inside its shell so it looks very much like a rock. In Martian society the worst thing you can do is refuse to associate with someone.

    That Martian is publicly protesting (over the decision not to exterminate the humans on Mars incidentally). All of Hienliens books were instructions for perfect societies, since he included that kind of public protest we know he valued public protest.

    I hope I have been clear about how I see the issue. Now some questions. Do you understand my position?
    Does a democratic society benefit from public protest?
    I am claiming that MLK protest was both more dangerous and more beneficial to the country than service in Viet Nam, would you agree?
    If you recognize some danger and benefit to the country, even if not as much as I do, should ‘civic virtue’ be recognized by granting citizenship?
    Could that system or any system be capable of recognizing the ‘civic virtue’ of those who are protesting the system and specificly those in charge of the system.

    Thank you.

  • Ming the Merciless

    If you have a universal draft… and all they have to do is complete their service… how have you solved the problems that universal suffrage creates? The Left will obviously create “alternative forms of service” in which the prospective future voter doesn’t have to do much in order to qualify to vote. And the Left will make sure that “military service” is so un-demanding that anyone with a pulse can sit through it for two years and thus earn the right to vote.

    The whole point of Starship Troopers is that earning the right to vote is hard. How would you address the problem of the Left dumbing down “service” to the point that it is easy and thus meaningless?

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