When I heard that Obama was proposing a national civilian security force that was to be "just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as our military, I couldn't believe my ears. It sounded like something between a Praetorian Guard and the groundwork for a civil war. But then I heard the man himself announcing it:
He says: "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." But if he is planning the overthrow of the constitution in this way, then...
(1) why would he announce it in a campaign speech,
(2) why wouldn't the press pick up on it (sorry, that's a stupid question), and
(3) why would he not just use the courts as liberals have been doing for years?
The answer to all these questions is that he is not actually planning a para-military organization, and, if he is, he hasn't told us.
Here is the twenty-four minute context missing from the seemingly incriminating clip that you just viewed. He is talking about a specifically non-military civilian service. His idea is that our national security depends not only on military might but also on serving one another at home, international goodwill in response to kindnesses rendered abroad, and some nonsense about saving the planet.
Colorado Springs, CO; July 2, 2008: [As] president I will expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots [from 75,000] and make that increased service a vehicle to meet national goals, like providing health care and education, saving our planet and restoring our standing in the world, so that citizens see their effort connected to a common purpose.
People of all ages, stations and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem – they are the answer. So we are going to send more college graduates to teach and mentor our young people. We'll call on Americans to join an energy corps, to conduct renewable energy and environmental clean-up projects in their neighborhoods all across the country.
We will enlist our veterans to find jobs and support for other vets, and to be there for our military families. And we're going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy. We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set.
We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded. We need to use technology to connect people to service. We'll expand USA Freedom Corps to create online networks where American can browse opportunities to volunteer. You'll be able to search by category, time commitment and skill sets. You'll be able to rate service opportunities, build service networks, and create your own service pages to track your hours and activities.
This will empower more Americans to craft their own service agenda and make their own change from the bottom up. (FactCheck.org)
For those who have the time, here is the twenty-four minute clip of Obama's speech.
Having cleared that up, however, there are rumors that Obama plans to establish a mandatory national service program, something like a draft, or what in Britain they called National Service. Under the British program (do they still do this? is it just for men?), people had to complete a particular period of military training. I have pictures of my dad in Scotland, all skinny and precious in his uniform with a gun over his shoulder. They do the same thing in Israel and Switzerland, except much more seriously, for obvious reasons.
We're looking into it.