Through it all -- throughout all the deceptions, denials, evasions, rationalizations and insultingly useless advice given over the years by Americans in civilian government, the military and academia -- there is one question relating to U.S. tolerance for Pakistan's proxy war against NATO and Afghanistan that towers above all others. And yet it's the one question that has never been asked of a public figure. So in the title of this post I've put the question to the public.
I'd say the answer to the question is "Very unlikely."
By this I don't mean to shift blame to Americans at large, nor am I arguing to restore conscription. I'm simply pointing out that if service in the U.S. military was compulsory, there would have been such a large number of Americans personally involved in the outcome of the Afghan War that there would have been no 'dark' or 'lost' years in the war while the U.S. was fighting in Iraq.
Combine this with the instant era in global communications, and I think the outcome would have been that factions in Washington that managed for the better part of a decade to hide Pakistan's proxy war from the American public would have found their machinations quickly overwhelmed by the volume of complaints from conscripted Americans and their parents -- many of those parents veterans of the Vietnam War, I might add.
This would have forced the U.S. news media to dig deeper and faster into the conditions that kept Pakistanis pouring across the Afghan-Pakistan border to kill Afghans and Americans and troops from other NATO countries. This would have quickly destroyed the rationalizations voiced by factions in Washington and Brussels that wanted to hand off Afghanistan to Pakistan's junta, or which preferred to see American troops die as a tradeoff for what they term "geostrategic" reasons; e.g., keeping Russia off balance, placating Saudi Arabia, etc.
Again, I'm not arguing for conscription but I am asking whether it's possible for the United States to field an all-volunteer fighting force that's not treated as a mercenary army. The question needs to be answered. Unless you want to subscribe to the thesis I floated several weeks ago, which is that card-carrying fiends attached themselves to the U.S.-NATO prosecution of the Afghan War. By the way, my thesis does carry some weight. Let's face it: even history's most sadistic tyrants wouldn't have paid a military to murder and maim the tyrant's own troops. Even Vlad the Impaler wouldn't have thought of that one.
So we have very little wiggle room when it comes to explaining why the U.S. regime did pay Pakistan's junta to murder and maim American troops, then spent years lying to cover up this practice, then more years attempting to rationalize the practice when it finally came to public light -- a cycle of betrayal, deception and denial that continues to this day.
If you want to run with the fiend thesis, it's possible the entire problem of the U.S. approach to Pakistan could be solved by deploying a contingent of exorcists around various civilian government and military buildings, lobbying firms and academic institutions in Washington and Brussels.
But if you pooh-pooh the idea that Hell somehow got loose in those two seats of power you might want to opt for the only other proposition I can see that covers all the bases. This is that U.S. soldiers wouldn't be treated with such contempt if they weren't considered disposable; i.e., as mercenary hirelings. And as corollary that this treatment wouldn't occur if U.S. military service was compulsory.