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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by niploteksi, Mar 10, 2017.
So what's the general opinion on conscription for the military?
War time, peace time or never?
Selective service always. Draft when necessary.
To be fair, I think your question needs a little bit of context.
Sweden is currently considering introducing limited conscription as a means of increasing the number of people available to serve in its armed forces. Sweden is not a member of NATO (although it frequently trains and cooperates with neighboring NATO countries along with Finland) and has become alarmed over Russian moves such as the annexation of Crimea and moves to destabilize countries in the Baltic region. (This is a topic for much discussion later.)
In general terms, Conscription makes for bad macroeconomic policy. Especially in today's world where even the lowest ranked military roles require at least a year or two of training. From the military's standpoint, people they conscript (as opposed to volunteers) tend to leave service as soon as their obligation is up, meaning that the Army has spent a great deal of time and money training someone - while receiving very little time when that person could be an effective soldier.
From the perspective of the person being conscripted, it ends up being a dreadfully unfair "lottery" - where those unlucky enough to be picked are forced to delay their education, their career, and their lives for a period of several years, and to spend that time doing something they might not want to. Conscription also introduces a system where the rich and well-connected use various strategies to avoid serving, leaving the burden to fall disproportionately on the poor and less well-connected.
Sweden's military requirements are such that it believes it would need to Conscript between one and two thousand people per year, out of a demographic "class" of 150,000 or so persons coming of age. That would be very bad news indeed for the "unlucky" one percent.
It would, in my opinion, be a better policy for Sweden to increase the attractiveness of service in it's military: Better pay; more educational and career opportunities. Better housing and food. Sweden is a wealthy, advanced, and progressive society. Whatever it took to encourage a slightly higher percentage of young Swedes to volunteer, and make a career out of service.
But on a larger scale, the solution to this problem might be Sweden to reconsider its traditional position of Neutrality, at least until such time as Vladimir Putin's Russia is seen as less of a threat to the stability and peace of Europe.
Kinda depends on the role you want your country to have in the world, how things are turning out in your local neighbourhood and whether a volunteer army is working out. Sweden has reinstated conscription due to their local neighbourhood and the fact Swedes no longer are interested in joining a professional army in the number required.
The only strong opinion I have is if it exists it applies to everyone equally except for age restrictions.
There is the consideration about who is going into the military. There's the whole democratic issue about having a service that represents the society.
When the conscription system was ditched in Sweden, the parliament just snuck it in there without any national referendum. In my opinion it was a very undemocratic way of deciding something so monumental, even if it was done by elective representatives of the people.
No when they decide to enforce it again, I'm not so sure it's a good idea. Once it started to be a very small part of all the qualified conscripts who actually had to do service time, the whole point of a conscription seems silly.
Women should have to sign up for Selective Service as men to get financial aid and student loans!
Women should have to sign up for selective service period.
If there are no exceptions, I'd support it. Although I'd admit my views of service are wholly unconstitutional. No religious deferments, no "I'm going to college excuse", no extreme hardships exemptions, and if you want to act crazy like Nugent, then you're institutionalized for 10 years with no eligibility for early release.
Military service should always be optional.
I agree. If the war effort is popular, and the pay at the end is sufficient, there will be more than enough volunteers. If there aren't enough volunteers no matter matter how high the government sets the pay, then perhaps that should be a sign that we shouldn't into such an unpopular to war. If the US mainland is attacked, @jkcerda has guns and will protect me.
No exceptions? What about criminals? Drug addicts? People with severe mental, emotional, or physical disabilities? The reality is that, out of any population, there is always going to be a significant fraction that you don't want in the military. Under any circumstances.
A few years ago I read a paper put out by the Pentagon that argued - quite convincingly, IMHO - that the US military could not have done what it has without being an all-volunteer force.
At present, I believe the minimum enlistment contract for the US Army is four years active service, and two years Reserve beyond that. And there is a good reason for that: There simply aren't any "non-skilled" jobs in a modern military.
Back in the days when armies were made up of masses of men standing in a line firing rifles, you could arguably justify conscription. But you cannot do that now. It takes, at a minimum, two years to create any sort of effective soldier. Six months just to learn the basics of military courtesy and discipline, and some sort of physical conditioning. But to be actually useful in a combat role? How long does it take to train someone to be an aircraft maintainer? To be an electronic warfare specialist? A medic? A combat engineer?
How much training, how many exercises under various conditions of terrain and climate, does it take to make an effective combat infantryman? Today's infantryman needs to understand not just a host of tactical techniques and skills, but also how to deal with communications systems, fire control, with chemical, biological, and nuclear agents.
An untrained individual is worse than useless in a modern combat environment. And since it takes such a long time to turn even the most enthusiastic civilian into a trained soldier, I think the argument for conscription - which inevitably has to be for a relatively short period of time - just doesn't make much sense any more.
How about a two year stint from 18 - 20 in a kind of full time reserve training alongside any new recruits to the full timed armed forces? Not to be used as front line troops unless absolutely necessary but I can't see how a couple of years of fitness training and a bit of technical stuff can hurt the youth of today
A short-ish and optional military service oriented towards useful skills would be ok. For instance: a six month or one year optional service after professional trade schools so that kids get the chance to get hands on experience in their relevant skill along with normal military training.
There are undesireable jobs that must be done. Ex-cons need jobs too. Have at least one hand? Then the person can work a chow line.
For the people who don't want to be in the military for any reason, as you said, I'll take that as they don't want the responsibility of defending the country for any reason.
I would only support conscription in the event of a defensive war, that is if Canada or Mexico decides to expand their borders. Canadian Invasion!
To paraphrase LBJ: American boys shouldn't be sent 9 to 10 thousand miles away to do what Asian/Middle Eastern/European boys should be doing for themselves.
The US military has found that it's considerably more cost-effective to outsource that sort of work to contractors.
The sort of work being done on, as you say, a "chow line", doesn't require six months basic training in the niceties of military courtesy and discipline. It doesn't require any sort of weapons training or physical conditioning.
If you want to make an argument for some form of "National Service" - be it in the military, or in more civilian roles such as environmental remediation, education, child- or elder-care, infrastructure projects, etc. - I'd say I'm all in favor.
But being a uniformed member of a nation's military is now a very demanding role. It requires a high degree of trust and responsibility. You simply cannot have untrustworthy or unreliable individuals being part of the same organization, and held to the same standards, as the men and women who do go out and perform the tasks required of a modern military.
I've always been for a 2 year commitment after finishing high-school or turning 18 if you drop out. But that service can be in the military or in civil service.
That way everyone is giving back to the country. If you can't hack it in the military (or don't even want to) you can join civil service which could be anything from cleaning roads, taking care of the homeless, emergency relief, etc...
During that time, everyone would get a straight amount of pay, room and board.
I'm against conscription/drafting, it's slavery in my eyes(yes I know in the US they got paid). A Country that finds itself drafting people to fight a war, should either rethink it's strategy or it's reasoning for existence.
You should never be required to be someone who may be forced to kill another human. And despite what a handful of you are saying, no one should be obligated to any of this mandatory two years of either military or civil service after turning 18. It's the opposite of personal autonomy, and is the ultimate form of government overreach into your personal life. Eliminate selective service.
What you're calling for here would be the end of the Democratic party. Youths would learn structure, accountability and how the real world really is.
Not a bad idea at all.
That was fine before we had missiles that could be sent directly from one country to another. If N. Korea is threatening the US, you can't expect Europe or anywhere else to take care of them for us.
Part of me says that healthy fit people who are drawing unemployment benefits should perform some community service - be it the military or something like the Peace Corps. However, it shouldn't be the case that the military is full only of people from poor families with no alternative.
I do think that the more deterrent we can provide the more likely we'll be at peace, and having trained reserves is part of that. Does that require conscription? I'm not sure.
I'll agree with you. The military shouldn't be used as a jobs program. I say we bring back the Civilian Conservation Corps. During the Great Depression, my Grandfather was in the CCC planting trees in what is now a hunting/wildlife/recreation area.
My own experience. You judge.
I was 19 when Ike sent me my "Greetings" letter. I wasn't necessarily a screwed-up guy, but I had no clue as to what I wanted from life, for a career.
Began Basic Training 1/1954. Wound up doing 15 months of occupation duty in South Korea. Seven months as a REMF in Battalion Supply, then eight months as a squad leader in the gun line. Ack-ack outfit; M-19 light tanks, M-16 half-tracks. Made me believe that bombs and heavy artillery are not the proper tools for urban renewal or landscaping. Reinforced what I'd seen on Midway, Wake and Corregidor in 1949 as a young teeny-bopper.
Re-upped for the chance of a tour in Paris at the "Little Pentagon", Hq USAEurope. 700 officers, mostly colonels and generals, 500 enlisted as clerical and motor pool. Easy duty. But, 1956 saw the Suez and Hungarian crises, with the latter scaring the generals in fear of Soviet ICBMs. Me? I was a documents control clerk. Top Secret clearance.
I got out in May of 1958. GI Bill. Got my bachelor's in mechanical engineering. Done okay, ever since.
For me, the army was a growing-up experience. In retrospect, I'd say it worked that way for many others, as well. Guys from all walks of life. I recall one draftee who intended to take the bar exam after discharge; he'd already finished law school. Had a black kid with a degree in accounting from CCNY; he was the only guy I found who could give me any competition in chess. For some Riqueños it was a step up the ladder of life.
Harking back to the Vietnam era, I've heard just about every argument there is, both pro and con, about the Draft. My opinion is that there is merit on both sides of the argument.
For now, I'm against it. IMO, our hostile foreign policy in following the Wolfiowitz Doctrine against Russia is flat-out stupid. I don't like war-mongers like Hillary and that claque of war hawks. Our national interest IMO does in no way call for regime change, with the ensuing deaths and refugee problems. NATO became superfluous in 1991 with the demise of the Soviet Union. Again, IMO, Putin is far more correct in pursuing the obvious Russian national interest and is no threat to us or our European allies.
I don't see any point to drafting cannon fodder for no useful purpose.
What was the reason fr NATO prior to 1991? Surely there wasn't much danger of the Soviets invading the US.