Pookas on Patrol

No Virginia, there is no such thing as a “citizen soldier” OR Santa Claus. Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 11.37.14 AM

In this country it you want to take part in any hostilities you must be a member of a unit of the Guard, the Reserves, or the regular services.  That’s the way it is now, and truth be told that is the way it has been since the get go. Unfortunately, the delusional Rockwellian right, always keen to rewrite history, has embarked on a propaganda campaign that now argues that the U. S. is alive and well because of these fictitious citizen soldiers, persons who engage in some voluntary and undefined association to violently repel threats to the policy; some anarchic defense force.

I am aware of two recent instances where the term has been used and in each it was specifically defined as something OTHER than as the term has now been bandied about by 2nd Amendment Crusaders.   One refers to those who were drafted, in that their primary societal role was not soldier.  The other is in reference to those whose duty does not require them to be in uniform all the time, as in the case of the Reserves and the Guard.

The concept of people just showing up to shoot at stuff and then wandering away has never existed in the US or in the British commonwealth. One reason for that, of course, is that people lived close to starvation, and you just could not leave what you were doing without being able to cover what would not get done, so people joined for a specific period, and expected to get fed, clothed, armed (shot and ball), AND paid. Whether you took the King’s shilling or enlisted with the Continental Army, once “in”, you were subject to military discipline and your term of enlistment. Of course, another important aspect of enlistment or conscription is the need for military discipline. In a situation where you were shot for not obeying orders, one had to be very clear whether one was in the service, and if so, under whose command one served.

Yes, the “Revolution” was fought by regulars, irregulars as well as some partisans,  but the concept that these participants did not surrender their civil liberties to military authority is nonsensical.

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