Do We Have An Obligation?

Closing Thought–05Feb19

Conversations With my Granddaughter

In this case the obligation is that of military service.

I have been having an internal debate (was hoping there would be an expanded debate…but it did not work out that why) on the necessity for some form of conscription for military service… easy term would be ….the Draft.

Should I give a short synopsis?  Not a chance because this topic is more complex than a simple short synopsis.  The posts that I have written in the past…..

But what are the pros and cons of a military draft?

First the pros……

1. It eliminates multiple re-deployments and provides a stronger military.
With more soldiers, there can be a sufficient number of fresh reserves ready to defend the country in case war breaks out. Aside from that, since there are more troops there is less tendency for individuals to be re-deployed several times during their service period, allowing them more ‘down time’ and hopefully decreasing the number of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases.

2. It promotes stronger national unity.
A large number of individuals who volunteer for the United States army are in need of a career or money for higher education. Conscription can diversify the military since people from all classes of society should enlist. This removes the disproportionate amount of burden from ethnic minorities and the poor, and creates better integration of races and economic class and stronger national unity.

3. It creates a more competitive workforce.
Military training equips young people with skills and knowledge that make them better equipped and more competitive even when transitioning to a career outside the armed forces.

4. It promotes discipline and public service in the youth.
Youth who have no direction or drop out of school due to bad behavior can learn essential life skills when joining the military. They learn about responsibility, working for a greater cause, and protecting freedom.

Now the cons…….

1. It violates individual liberties.
Freedom of choice is a right that many Americans firmly believe in. By taking away this liberty, citizens can feel resentment towards the government and even towards the armed forces.

2. It can cause civil unrest.
It won’t be just those who are forced to enlist who will harbor negative opinions about the government and military. Loved ones and anti-war advocates will also be disapproving of the idea, especially since they know it is putting the lives of so many young citizens at risk. Rallies and demonstrations were very common during the Vietnam War draft.

3. It demands more financing from the national budget.
Currently, the military already takes more than half of the national budget. By increasing the size of the armed forces, more funds are required. So, more money will be taken from other government sectors and projects, affecting social resources and programs.

4. It increases the number of wartime injury cases.
Even if troops can have more down time, it does not guarantee that they won’t incur physical and emotional injuries during deployment. Cases of PTSD are still highly common among current volunteer military and veterans, and they will most likely increase as more individuals witness the ravages of war first hand.

With all that info at hand….what prompt me to write this post was something I read about the “obligation of military service”…..

In 1778, Samuel Johnson said that “every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier,” but should that still be the case today? John Stuart Mill claimed:

a man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for…is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

Was Mill right? Does every able-bodied citizen have an obligation to put him or herself in harm’s way if needed? Should the United States compel such service by a draft? Perhaps most importantly, is a fully-informed discussion about these issues overdue in America?

What had me going to rite about something I detest was the simple fact that our troops are stretched too thin……all have multiple deployments as many as ten times…..and the society does not care…..time for the nation to share the burden…..

I hate to admit that as an antiwar person for over 50 years I would support a re-introduction of conscription as an obligation to this society.  Why?  The Society needs to share the experience of wars on families.

8 thoughts on “Do We Have An Obligation?

  1. I have to agree. Although conscription ended not that long before I would have had to join up, I was ready to go, and saw it as something that might toughen me up, and give me a different outlook on life. If everyone had to serve, there might be less desire for war.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I believe we all have a duty to maintain the strength of your country – no matter what country. That # 2 on the con list, civil unrest – you can scratch that. No matter WHAT the subject these days – there WILL be whiners and protesters.

  3. Being a product of the Vietnam “Era”, as the VA classifies me, I have always wondered about the “new” use of soldiers since Desert Shield. Back in the day if you were a first termer you expected to have a least one year of your enlistment at an overseas, unaccompanied tour of duty. This included the possibility of going to Vietnam and being shot at or yourself killing someone else. Once you served, that was it… no going back. Now, if you re-enlisted.. well, that changed things later. Also, if you volunteered to go back, that was your choice. I was USAF and likely the other branches had their own quirks… but from what I witnessed at the time there was a similarity in assignments across the branches… for enlistees.

    Then comes Desert Shield/Storm and reservists are deploying to fighting areas?? These folks enlisted for the education bennies for the most part, and the weekend service and a summer camp. And these are now front line troops?? It never made sense to me and just made me think why the Pentagon wanted service people ill-trained in combat.. to die or become maimed. Now toss into that mix… Iraq War, Afghanistan, etc. and these same people are doing back & forth deployments? It still makes no sense.. and then we wonder why there’s so my PTSD and vet suicides. Personally, the draft should be implemented each time we begin a new conflict that requires putting troops in danger. If nothing else it would make the public pause, if even for a short time, to think about their high school senior going off somewhere in the world and being placed in harm’s way.. before agreeing to the next military involvement.

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