Barno’s main issue in “A New Moral Compact” covers the American Military and the moral compact or pact between our government, our people, and our soldiers. He compares today’s military to the military during the Vietnam War. Barno points out, “having a cadre of admirable willing volunteers, has made it too easy for us to go to war.” Barno highlights the deficiency of determination and awareness by the majority of America’s population that should be rightfully shown to our armed forces, specifically pointing out how easy it is for the population to brush off the idea of having any personal risk when going to war. Barno’s main claim is in this essay is his stand on the military draft and references Governor Tom Ridge. Barno states, as Americans, we must have a limit of what we will ask of our men and women in uniform before the rest of us feel some moral obligation to step in.
Barno attempts persuasion and offers evidence by citing factual statistics of successive combat operations, the existing size of the armed forces, and the lengthy timeframe America has been at war in the middle east. Barno contrasts the current ongoing war with the only comparable war, the Vietnam War. By doing so he effectively argues the dire need for some kind of change in the way America treats and handles the real risk takers in times of war, the need for a new moral compact between America’s citizens and the ones who protect them.
The main audience that Barno reaches out to in this short essay would be government officials, potential military, and upper military. His assumption in this essay is that reiterating the military draft would give the American people a better feel for the country’s military as everyone would be a part of it. “Every family in the country would now be exposed to the potential consequences of our wars and come to recognize in a personal way that they had a stake in the outcome.”
One detail of our soldiers overseas that Barno parallels with the soldiers of the Vietnam war era is the amount of time in which each member serves, emphasizing combat campaigns. He states that these lengthy terms of service that is unique to this modern wartime have put an incredible stress on our soldier’s physical state as well as their psyche. There seems to be no relief for a volunteer soldier, as when one signs up for the military today, they’re in for the long haul. With a scarcity of new recruits, the recycling of soldiers to return to combat is unyielding. This is the downside of having a strictly volunteer armed forces.
The extent of Barno’s argument relies heavily on logos, the rational material of a Barno’s case. Barno focuses on showing readers his claims are sound by comparing his claims with evidence-based material. Barno’s reputational ethos does not matter as much to his readers. Instead, his ethos is created as his readers read the text. Barno’s gained the reader’s trust by laying out his claims, reasons, and evidence. Barno’s avoided harsh anger and lashing out about his differing views of a volunteer-based military vs the draft system.
Barno’s use of pathos in his argument is most noticeable when he shares his son’s careers in the military. The belief that upsets Barno the most is having a loved one caught in a series of deployments risking his life overseas to protect his country filled with people who are unfamiliar with any such risk during this wartime. With direct use of pathos, Barno asks the question; is the majority of our nation content with a choice few to bear such suffering in order for the rest to wander through life 100% risk-free? Barno argues that this impression is the basis of a crippled moral structure between the population and the ones who protect them.