|Writer's Block: War and peace
||[Oct. 22nd, 2009|03:25 pm]
Many countries require all citizens to fulfill a mandatory period of service in the armed forces. Do you agree or disagree with this policy? Do you think the current recruitment system creates or sustains socioeconomic inequality?
I don't normally do these, but this one...
I am STRONGLY opposed to mandatory service.
Let's be honest, there are a lot of good arguments in favor of it. It creates a large military, and that's good for the nation. It also instills discipline and a sense of group membership in the conscripts, as well as giving them technical training that can be useful for the future, and that's good for the individuals conscripted. Additionally, done right it's fair and equitable, not viewing race, sex, class, economic status, and etc. as privileging someone. (The U.S. Drafts during the Civil War, WWII, and Vietnam were all very inequal, allowing college students to be exempt, rich drafties could buy their way out of it, etc.) Note: The only nation truly fair in this is Israel, which conscripts all 18 year old citizens, regardless of sex. Yes, that means Israel not only allows women to serve, it REQUIRES them to.
There is one REALLY big reason I am opposed to it. I, having three combat tours under my belt, would NEVER feel comfortable being in a combat zone knowing that the people there with me hadn't chosen to serve along side of me. This is not to say that draftees and conscripts are universally worthless. Most of those drafted for the Civil War, WWII, or Vietnam served honorably and well, some of them receiving the highest honors the nation could give them. But there were enough who resented being drafted and thus did the barest necessary to not get shot by their own side that it created bad situations where the ability to trust the person next to you in the foxhole did not exist. When you're getting shot at, you HAVE to trust that the people there beside you are going to do their best to keep you alive. Conscription destroys that trust.
And that's my 2c. Don't spend it all in one place.