Saturday, February 03, 2007

why not just bounce it and see just what goes well

Jamie K, hence the Madchester title, takes issue with a Johann Hari column arguing in favour of National Service on the grounds that it will make politicians less likely to go to war. Two points: first, as a commenter points out, making the army less efficient as a way of preventing war is stupid. It's also as bad, morally, as promoting wars to be fought by someone else - in the event that there is a war, you are effectively hoping that someone else is more likely to get killed.

Second, and more importantly, we have a practical experiment to inform us. Consider Desmond Swayne, Conservative MP for New Forest West. He is the only British legislator to have taken part in the war with Iraq. Despite knowing that he had a mobilisation commitment, he voted repeatedly for the invasion of Iraq, and answered the call when it came. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, he is the only pro-war politician in any coalition nation to have risked his personal comfort and safety, not to mention a significant chunk of his income, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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