When the Army was Democratic

William Pfaff in NYRB:

ArmyUp to Vietnam, the United States Army had been a people’s army. When the country thought it had to fight a war, it raised an army of citizens. The citizens defended the country and its beliefs, often making family and economic sacrifices to support the war effort. They enabled America’s wars. They also prevented them. The army was a democratic army, and the government was compelled to recognize and respect the popular will and the will of the civilian soldiers and ROTC and OCS officers who manned it. What fundamentally was destroyed in Vietnam was the democratic army. The all-volunteer professional army enables undemocratic wars, ideological in nature and inspiration, and, it would seem, without real end.

Read the full article here.