Monday, March 30, 2009

That Civilian Security Force, Again?

A while ago, I commented briefly and with alarm on this bizarre clip in which BHO, speaking through a drizzle of applause, calls for a civilian security force, "just as powerful" and just as expensive as our combined military establishment.

Just consider how well-funded our military is. Here is America's military budget compared to the rest of the top ten best-funded military establishments on earth (click to enlarge):

And the other day, he seemed to be bringing it up again, in a speech at the National Defense University:
And that’s why my administration is committed to renewing diplomacy as a tool of American power, and to developing our civilian nationanl security capabilities… … We have to enlist our civilians in the same way that we enlist those members of the armed services in understanding this broad mission that we have.
What the heck is he talking about? I can't seem to come up with an interpretation of this that isn't horrible. Here is one right-wing radio commentator wondering about it:

I think he makes a good point: you'd think our so-called journalists would at least ask for an explanation, but they don't seem to be doing that. (By the way, people like him would have a lot less influence if mainstream journalists just did their job.)

Can anybody help me with this? Just what is BHO planning on doing, and why?

Later: I think I might have an answer to my question, at least the "what" if not the "why"? Here is a quote from the Obama/Biden campaign literature:
Obama and Biden will set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year, and will establish a new tax credit that is worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.
But why would this be called a "civillian security force," or anything like that? The answer is suggested by another quote, this one from Rahm Emanuel's book, The Plan: Big Ideas for America (BTW, right now, I can't think of a scarier book title, except of course for Mein Kampf):
Here’s how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They’ll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we’re hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities’ most pressing needs.
(Source of these quotes.) So perhaps the idea is to force young people, without pay, to get in harm's way in the event of various sorts of "attack." I suppose the government might come to find this idea particularly attractive in the event that they come to expect violent demonstrations, tax revolts, food riots, and civil unrest here in the US during the next few years.

I think this is a really frightening idea, if this is what the idea really is. I'll try to blog about the ethics of this sort of involuntary servitude soon.
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