While I've always enjoyed the Friedman/Westmoreland exchange and while (barring an existential crisis) I am on Friedman's side of the AVF question, I do sympathize strongly with commenter Will's point:
"There is something extremely
perverse about describing as "slaves" people who live in a democratic
country, are monetarily compensated for their service, and receive
special consideration for the rest of their lives after this service
ends. Ask anybody who served in World War II whether they considered
I would say this: Westmoreland decided to be a smart-ass first, so Friedman was a smart-ass right back to him. The exchange is a poignant illustration of the issues at stake in the debate, and a great example of Friedman doing what Friedman does best.
I don't literally think of draftees as slaves any more than I think of the current military as mercenaries. It was precisely Westmoreland's reductionism that Friedman was mocking, I think.
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