Mercenaries and America’s Defense

Regarding Linda Robinson’s review of Ann Hagedorn‘s “The Invisible Soldiers” (Bookshelf, Oct. 23): Ronald Reagan would never have countenanced an Army whose allegiance was split between Wall Street and the flag. And he wouldn’t have been so naive to hold, as Linda Robinson does in her review, that such a division of allegiance was anything less than the result of a plot.

If there is any valid criticism of Ms. Hagedorn‘s book, it lies in its measured and nonjudgmental survey of an inherently immoral and self-destructive use of American war power. Ms. Robinson’s review proves the point. Her cost-benefit analysis of our use of mercenary force structure is meant to validate further the divorce of the American people from the men and women who kill in their name. At the same time, her analysis ignores the true human costs to the American people of the mercenary smudge pots suffocating our young volunteers, the billions squandered on equipment left in the wastelands of Iraq and Afghanistan and the rank criminality of our military-industrial leadership to obliterate the sight of our returning volunteer dead for eight years of our mercenary-infused war on terror.

Ms. Hagedorn has accurately and objectively begun what should be a national dialogue on the true costs of our use of a mercenary force structure. Ms. Robinson can add considerably to that dialogue by revealing to us the hitherto covert military doctrine for the use our mercenary force structure.

Delbert Spurlock

Reston, Va.

Mr. Spurlock was Army general counsel 1981-83 and an assistant secretary of the Army 1983-89.

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