For years, mandatory military service has been in the sights of various “pragmatic” politicians and “youth organizations” clamoring for its complete abrogation. Greece’s so-called “conservatives,” concerned as they are with the effects of openly supporting sending Greek youth to serve under arms on the ballot box, have been unable to offer any effective rebuttal to this nonstop “progressive” buzz. Just like so many other vital issues in this country, military service has been thus relegated to the playing field of political propagandists, media talking heads, and parliamentarians primarily concerned with clutching onto their precious seats.
This not so unusual brew has had deadly affects on hearts and minds. Coupled with the increased tendency of a placid, flaccid society to keep on veering off toward comfortable thoughts, and undying visions of perpetual consumerism, boosted by ersatz “experts” and the media circus, it has undermined every and any thought of service for the common defense and effectively negated the idea of national preparedness to fight enemy action against the Nation.
We have stressed many times in the past Greece’s self evident, and rather unique, position among the countries of the Western alliance. Greece lies in an unsettled part of the world, to put it politely. Her neighbors are either countries held together with “spit and duct tape” where organized crime and violent ethnic or other minorities hold sway or, turning to the east, a Turkey brimming with guns and expressed expansionist aims in the Aegean, not to mention active plans for separatist agitating among the “Turks” of Greek Thrace and the Dodecanese islands.
None of Greece’s “alliances” offers any specific, hard, coalition guarantees against such disagreeable neighbors. The European Union, the most prominent excuse of the Greek political establishment for doing nothing on critical strategic issues, is big on words but woefully small to non-existent in punch. NATO, the aging, cumbersome “guarantor” of peace and security in Europe, now frayed around the edges and seeking new “global” missions in the wilderness of Afghanistan and the sphere of the former USSR, remains a silent onlooker of Turkish belligerence in the Aegean.
We wonder about the exact thinking of those in government who are now effectively introducing the concept of an Army of part timers, augmented by long-term volunteers, that produces no effective reserves and requires significant cash outlays for no value added; and a Navy and Air Force depending entirely on mercenary lower ranks which would only add, along with the salaries and benefits of Army volunteers, yet another break-the-camel’s-back burden on a national economy that is hovering near bankruptcy by every practical measure.
We wonder about the “decision making” of these luminous minds who discard every shred of national experience with defense and security for the sake of cheap politics; who reveal themselves ignorant of, and amateurish with, the lessons delivered via the experiences of other countries with AVFs (All Volunteer Forces); and who wade into military matters with the heartening joy of beginners which is only matched by their woeful inability to understand and appreciate facts of the utmost importance.
But let us be realists. It was almost mathematically preordained that our current crop of political “leaders” would have arrived at the above decisions without fail. The whole of Greek society and politics, wrapped as it is in denial and evasion of painful but essential questions, and fed a steady diet of irrelevant morsels, could produce no other outcome.
Our society today appears unwilling to face the catastrophic implications of, say, a sudden “incident” in the Aegean that could produce mass, even if short lived, Turkish military action against this country; or, the need to deal with “disturbances” just inside our northern and/or eastern borders by “liberation fighters” the likes of which we have already watched in action here in the post-communist Balkans in harmonious interaction with some of our most powerful “allies;” or, the possibility that locally minted proponents of the jihad would move to punish infidel Greece, in collaboration with an outside fanatical Islamic arm, for her “disrespect” toward masses of pious illegal immigrants.
These are challenges that cannot be dealt with the few dressing up like troops, shouldering an obsolete rifle with no ammo, and parading up and down dusty parade grounds with one eye fixed on the clock and the other on discharge papers.
These are challenges that cannot be managed with the sole help of minuscule, valiant elite bands of the distant descendants of the Greek hoplites now standing alone guard over this country.
These are plays for the full complement of serious Greek boys and girls, who either grow up fast, bite the bullet, and face up to the demands of the threat… or go quickly back home to update their Facebook page lest their “social networking” suffers – until they actually lose their Internet connection along with other, much more important possessions held dear and non-negotiable only by those who know how to appreciate them.