Sunday, July 24, 2005

Mercenary Revolution

Alex Tabarrok over at Marginal Revolution suggests hiring “mercenaries” to supplement the US military recruiting. I don’t know if “mercenary” is the right word since what he suggests isn’t analogous to the example of Roman Auxiliaries (unlike Halliburton and Blackwater). He is suggesting that naturalization could be linked to military service as in the French Foreign Legion. This would produce a volunteer army that would be motivated and loyal. They are trying to gain citizenship and military training is a great socialization mechanism. It would produce disciplined immigrants that all speak English well enough to take orders and work with Anglophones.

However, I would find it disturbingly anti-American to suggest that in order to gain the rights and privileges of freedom as an American citizen a person must first give up those rights and take orders from the government. It is one thing for a citizen to voluntarily give up their rights in order to help defend them, it is completely different to demand a period of indentured servitude from a person in order for them to earn their (inalienable) rights.

None the less, I’d be willing to entertain the idea of using this as a temporary and small stop-gap measure. We naturalize about half a million individuals every year. Our current recruiting shortfalls in the military are about fifty thousand per year. As long as this method of naturalization was temporary (id est sunseted) and no larger then a tenth of our naturalizations, it may not pose a danger to the Republic.


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