Today’s proposal by the administration that brought us (and them) interminable war in the Middle East to greatly increase the death benefit for combatants may incent American soldiers to take more risks in battle, especially on bad days. While this could improve their effectiveness against opponents who themselves sometimes seem to value their personal lives relatively little, it could disquiet those of the soldiers’ relatives who pause to take the economic view of things.
Eventually, this benefit may also reduce the resistance faced by recruiters—join up, die for your country, and enrich your beneficiary (who dumped you in favor of that nerd who couldn’t find the business end of an M-16). Those with especially venal prospective beneficiaries may even find themselves more encouraged to pursue a military career, the more valorous, the better. Was it Nathan Hale who said, “I regret that I have but one life to sell to my country”?
The families of Muslims who volunteer for suicide missions are compensated well for the loss of their son or daughter. It would seem their adversaries are catching on to the power of this device.