There is no such a thing as a volunteer army...

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Syzygys, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Man, you are 1 inch away entering my Ignore list...

    What the fuck this has to do with anything? I quoted 4 different websites refering to 4 different European countries' armies as professional armies and they are exactly the same as the US army in the way they get their soldiers. So argue why the US army shouldn't be called professional, the same way?

    Now try really hard, because you will have only 1 more chance....
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  3. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle, take it as a honest feedback, but you talk too much and quite occassionally you agree with the person you are trying to refute. Just something to think about...

    OK, so we agree. Unless you are trying to argue that US soldiers are underpaid, you are just proving why we should use the professional adjective, instead of volunteer.

    They use professional in the meaning of carrier soldier.

    I did 1 year of mandatory national military service. In no way was I a professional soldier during that year, even when I did get paid some kind of pocket money, which was not sufficient to make a livelihood. Had I decided to extend this service, and sign up, I would have become a professional soldier and I would have got a decent salary, not pocket money. I think the distinction is pretty clear.

    Now I will argue against my OP. One could have pointed out the dictionary usage of volunteer, because there is a special military usage. I guess Nasor was correct in this regard. That is the reason why we don't call people working for fastfood restaurants volunteer, because the special military meaning doesn't apply.

    You still haven't addressed the European usage of professional army, it looks like they seem to agree on it and they prefer it to volunteer....
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  5. Nasor Valued Senior Member

    Most armies are made up of people who are only in for 2-4 years. Some people stay in longer and make it a career, but most don't. If you mean for "professional" to imply that people make it a long-term career, then I don't know of any countries with a "professional" army. Under that definition, it's the people who call armies "professional" when in fact the vast majority of their soldiers only serve for a few years who are using language wrong.

    Virtually every army pays its soldiers regardless of whether or not they were conscripted and whether or not they want to make the military a career, so using that as a standard for determining whether or not an army is "professional" is also pointless.

    About the only way you could usefully apply the "professional" to an army is if you use it to mean an army that takes its job seriously and is good at what they do. As in "their conduct was very professional." But that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with whether or not the soldiers were conscripted or even whether or not they were paid.

    The point of calling an army a "volunteer army" is to differentiate between armies where people join voluntarily vs. ones where people are conscripted. You can call an army full of people who joined voluntarily a "professional" army if you want, but I don't think that you're really using the word properly according to its standard definition.
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The bottom line is that the United States deliberately coined the phrase "all-volunteer army" to make the point that it's possible to have a defense force without conscription. We went through some turbulent times in the 1960s and 70s over the draft. People burned their ID cards, some emigrated to Canada and Sweden, a few went to prison. We felt that having a draft enabled the government to go to war whenever it would profit the corporations that support it, with no regard for the will of the people.

    With no draft, they're having a much more difficult time today with their little unconstitutional adventure in Iraq. They can't get as many soldiers as they need to occupy the entire Middle East and restart the Crusades.

    This choice of words means something very important to Americans.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  8. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    I agree completely.

    The whole problem is that he doesn't truly understand the meaning of the word "professional" at all. The ONLY soldiers that meet that true definition are the ones that have chosen to make a career in the military and mercenaries who are up for hire by any government - as long as the price is right.

    Some countries may choose to call their armed forces 'professional' but that's a gross misuse of the term.

    And that's the extent of it - period.
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    In the capitalist paradise of America, the ONLY definition of "professional" is someone who is sufficiently competent in an activity that people will pay him for his work. As I pointed out, I'm a professional musician even though I only play a few times a year, because I play well enough for people to pay me.

    Yes, career soldiers and mercenaries are certainly professionals because they're paid for their services. But so are the people who volunteer for a four-year enlistment, and so are the draftees who are conscripted into a two-year enlistment. Both types of soldiers are given sufficient training to do the job satisfactorily and to qualify for payment.
    You don't get to make these decisions, sorry. The people who comprise the United States armed forces are professionals, even though the vast majority of them will leave the service as soon as they're allowed to.

    I don't recommend that you walk into a bar near a U.S. military base and attempt to pursue your argument.

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  10. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    I wouldn't hesitate to go into a bar near the base OR a PX or beer garden ON base and say that, thank you very little, Fraggle. I spent three years in the army ( I wasn't drafted) and your "vast majority" is a gross understatement. Contrary to what you might think, in excess of 90% had NO plans of remaining in the service. Even among those like myself that had volunteered.

    And I also dispute your broad usage of the term to include everyone who is paid to perform a job/service. The kid of 15 that I pay to cut my grass sure isn't a professional - and neither are many of the people who work for lawn-care companies. The only ones who could be considered such are generally the owners/operators of such companies and the specific individuals who have DECIDED to make it their profession. The rest are just common workers - and come and go like 90% of the people in the armed services do. It's only the hard-core 10% and mercenaries that qualify for the label 'professional.'

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