The reason the founders chafed at the idea of an American standing army and vested the power of war making in the cumbersome legislature was not to disadvantage us against future enemies, but to disincline us toward war as a general matter... With citizen-soldiers, with the certainty of a vigorous political debate over the use of a military subject to politicians' control, the idea was for us to feel it- uncomfortably- every second we were at war. But after a generation or two of shedding the deliberate political encumbrances to war that they left us... war making has become almost an autonomous function of the American state. It never stops.
The Army's new pitch was simple. Good pay, good benefits, a manageable amount of adventure... but don't worry, we're not looking to pick fights these days. For a country that had paid so dear a price for its recent military buccaneering, the message was comforting. We still had the largest and most technologically advanced standing army in the world, the most nuclear weapons, the best and most powerful conventional weapons systems, the biggest navy. At the same time, to the average recruit the promise wasn't some imminent and dangerous combat deployment; it was 288 bucks a month ( month), training, travel, and experience. Selling the post-Vietnam military as a career choice meant selling the idea of peacetime service. It meant selling the idea of peacetime. Barf.