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More on Conscription AND Hemingway

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Speaking of conscription and of Hemingway, I can’t help but tie the two together. Here again is Hemingway from For Whom the Bell Tolls. The character speaking is Karkov, a Russian military leader fighting in Spain against the fascists:

But an army that is made up of good and bad elements cannot win a war. All must be brought to a certain level of political development; all must know why they are fighting, and its importance. All must believe in the fight they are to make and all must accept the discipline. We are making a huge conscript army without the time to implant the discipline that a conscript army must have, to behave properly under fire. We call it a people’s army but it will not have the assets of a true people’s army and it will not have the iron discipline that a conscript army needs. You will see. It is a very dangerous procedure.

Does Sen. Hagel, who recently called [2] for a return to conscription, believe that a disciplined and well-functioning army can be easily molded out of young men and women forced to serve — many of whom oppose the war? Or does Sen. Hagel want an army consisting of enslaved soldiers who can be made to fight effectively only through “iron discipline” rather than through the pride and self-motivation that likely is the driving force behind the typical soldier who joins the military voluntarily?

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