Tuesday, October 26, 2004

What Dictatorial Conscription is Really Like

The Democrats have tried to insinuate that President Bush will institute a draft despite all the evidence to the contrary. They also have criticized the way the war has been fought. Some of the armchair generals have suggested that we should have used elements of the Iraqi army to fight the insurgency. There are complaints that we expected to be treated as liberators and got hostility instead.

Before they get all carried it might add some perspective to recognize that the Iraqi army was built on the Soviet model. An excellent summary is Inside the Soviet Army by Viktor Suvorov. The current Russian army follows the same model. So what is the Russian army like? How does it treat its conscripts? Try reading the Human Rights Watch report on the Russian Army. See those topics: Torture, Servility, Confiscation of Salaries, Drunken Abuse, Sexual Abuse? Maybe we don’t want to work with that kind of army!

During World War II the Soviets used penal brigades. They took the great unwashed and sent them into battle with Spetznaz brigades armed with machine guns behind them. The penal brigade faced potential death going either forward or back. Their chance of living was greater going forward so the Soviets attrited the Wehrmacht with the lives of the penal brigades. A similar action was seen on the Kurdish front of the Iraq war. Iraqis who attempted to surrender were shot by their Iraqi overlords.

And as to expecting to be treated like liberators, it first requires being a liberator from a foreign enemy. American GIs were given the liberator treatment in Rome & Paris. But not in Germany itself. There we were a conqueror. We should not have expected the hero treatment. Facing a sullen populace should have been anticipated. Our native optimism got the better of us.


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