who should become a soldier


I don’t like war. I find it a poor method to resolve differences between nations or tribes. This then shouldn’t be read as my approval of war.

In ancient Rome, before the decline of the Republic, the poor- that is those that occupied the lowest rank of the social strata could not even volunteer men to fight as soldiers for it was thought, and rightly so, I think, they had nothing to defend or fight for.

In most of today’s societies, almost anyone can become a soldier including the poor classes. Is this a good thing? Shouldn’t we insist only that those who have property to protect should volunteer as soldiers (not that am about to volunteer.)

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

42 thoughts on “who should become a soldier

  1. archaeopteryx1 says:

    If that were to happen in a democracy, Mak, how long would it be before some genius came up with the idea that if you can’t fight for your country, you have no right to vote?

    Besides, how could the rich get rid of the poor if they couldn’t throw them out in front of someone else’s guns?

    I’d rather see the leaders fight, winner take all, while the rest of us sit back with hot dogs, popcorn and frosty mugs of beer.

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    • makagutu says:

      and that is what used to happen in the Republic, that very class did not vote.

      and don’t you think it is better for the rich, and the leaders to be at the battlefront for they are the instigators of war. Mainly it is them that want to expand territory or grab resources, not the poor.

      I agree with you, let the generals go fight as we drink beer over BBQ

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  2. interesting. My husband served as a combat engineer/sapper for 8 years (2 years active, 6 reserve). My father was a Army missileman back in the 60s and my brother was a Marine during the first Gulf war.

    My husband served to get money for college (I don’t know if that’s common elsewhere than the US) and wanted to have a combat specialty since he saw that as the real soldiers, my father was drafted and my brother always wanted to be a Marine (he was one of those kids whose room was always spotless. Mine was…….less so 🙂 ).

    I think being a soldier can be more than about protecting property. I think it can be to protect a way of life. The thing I think should determine if someone could be a soldier and also police, is that they are intelligent, won’t blindly follow orders and have a degree of compassion. Unfortunately, those qualities are not sought in most militaries or policing groups.

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    • makagutu says:

      The thing I think should determine if someone could be a soldier and also police, is that they are intelligent, won’t blindly follow orders and have a degree of compassion.

      Last I checked our recruitment requirement to the army and police, those qualities were not in the list.

      My husband served to get money for college (I don’t know if that’s common elsewhere than the US)

      Most of the time, those who join the army after high school I think only grow in the ranks. Those who join as specialists have a higher chance of pursuing higher education.

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  3. john zande says:

    Wow, I didn’t know that about Rome. Makes perfect sense, too.

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  4. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Honestly, I think it should be the world’s leaders who should battle each other, one-on-one. Imagine, Obama vs. Putin. My money goes on Obama!

    Have a great weekend, my Nairobi brother! 🙂

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  5. Just a couple points, Mak.

    After the reforms of Gaius Marius, landless peasants were able to enlist. Officers were still restricted to owning land, because they had a greater stake in the Republic. The terms of service were 20 years or so, but they were given land if they survived their service.

    Secondly, I don’t think that limiting enlistment to land ownership would necessarily limit warfare. In times of war, this restriction could get removed anyways. Instead, I think that maybe nations should view armies and their sizes like nations view nuclear weapon stockpiles and naval vessel tonnage. After all, armies have killed more human beings than naval ships or nuclear weapons have.

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    • makagutu says:

      The terms of service were not that long, they always had to take oaths. It is for such a reason that Caesar was expected to disarm on his way back which when he didn’t do was a violation of the old law.

      In the face of danger, even the landless were enlisted to serve in the army, that I agree.

      Lastly, I agree with you limiting enlistment to the landowners would not see an end to wars and that was never my suggestion.

      I wish I had a solution to wars, maybe men and women stop enlisting

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We in America have a system where, supposedly, anyone can sign up to kill for Uncle Sam. However, unlike Rome, our service is made up largely of poor to middle class folks. Rich dudes don’t usually go out of their way to volunteer to kill for America. Some do, but if you don’t HAVE to, why do it? I would be a horrible soldier because I hate violence and abhor war. War kinda sucks.

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  7. Yes, and let’s start by forcing the leaders who begin wars to fight them themselves!

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  8. I served in the Romanian military when it was compulsory, as a border guard and paramedic. It was both glorious and horrible, but I knew I am defending my country. Having said that, I believe no country has the right to deploy troops to another, except for specific rescue missione, clearly justified. Anything less amounts to aggression, regardless of what the concocted motives are, e.g. “defending interests etc.” and as such the invaded countries should incriminate the aggressor in international courts of justice.

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    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      Frankly, I think Bush and his bunch should have been indicted for war crimes in the World Court – they knew damn well there were no WMD’s in Iraq.

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      • Same with the Syrian conflict. It looks more and more that ISIS has been ushered into existence via Langley as a destabilising force against an uncooperative Assad, and once again got out of control. But that doesn’t seem to bother anyone as long as the interested contractors are getting their business rolling…

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        • archaeopteryx1 says:

          I see it didn’t take you long to figure out how America works.

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          • Oh my friend, I wasn’t hard at all. Everyone with an IQ above a cabbage knows…
            What’s hard is pull one’s head out of the sand, and stop pretending they don’t know.
            I wonder how long it’ll take for the American people to see that their cheap, subsidiesd gasoline is subsidised with blood money…

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            Knowing human nature as I do, I suspect that as long as they’re able to go from point A to point B, they’re not going to give it a great deal of thought.

            Sadly too, Americans tend to see things in terms of “us” and “them,” and as long as the blood is theirs, not ours – again, not much thought.

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      • makagutu says:

        I agree with you

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    • makagutu says:

      defending interests is an interesting term. I remember that is what our government said when they were invading Somalia instead of just making the boarder secure

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  9. […] posts by Makagutu (here and here) had got me thinking about a post I wrote a while back. Granted, these posts are not about […]

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  10. Everyone should have the option to be a soldier.

    Armies tend to try to erase differences between people. In an army, all that really matters is the cause you’re fighting for. Everyone also starts from the same low rank – rich, poor, pretty, ugly, everyone starts from the bottom. Atleast, this is how it is where I live.

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    • makagutu says:

      why do we need soldiers is for me the question? are our military spending justified? would it better to spend more on agriculture to provide subsistence for citizens and education to make citizens?

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      • I’m not in the USA, so I don’t know. I’m also not buying the “USA is a supervillain that ruins everything it touches” narrative until I study some history.

        Why does my country need the millitary? Because there are people who want to kill us for who we are. This is not an exeggeration. In truth, there are horrible people. There are sometimes ideologies whose ideas are so incompatible with ours that a war ensues. Criticizing only oneself is just as painting the other side is a faceless enemy.

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  11. themodernidiot says:

    I repeat, war is lazy thinking.

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  12. archaeopteryx1 says:

    The REAL question, is defending whose interests?

    Like

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