Mandatory Military Service Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2500 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Military

Mandatory Military Service

Each year around the world, millions of young men reach the age of majority, kiss their families goodbye and go off to join the military. This is not because they dreamed of becoming soldier while they were growing up. It is not because they understand and appreciate the benefits that a military training camp can give them. They join because the law says they must. Mandatory military service is not a new concept in the world. It has been practiced in many nations, for many reasons with many different programs. The United States disbanded its only mandatory military service when it dismantled the military draft program in 1973(Conscription in the United States (http://www.answers.com/topic/conscription-in-the-united-states).

For three decades the United States enjoyed a draft free existence depending only on a volunteer military service to provide for its needs. Following the events of 9-11 however, attention turned to the question. Does the United States need to reinstate its mandatory military program? While American men have been mandated for years to register for military service upon turning 18 years old, the actual service has not been requested by one person. In addition, the way it has been set up it will take an act of Congress to reinstate the draft.

Since the war in Iraq began several bills have been introduced to try and start another mandatory military service in the United States. One only has to look at the dissatisfaction of other nation programs and the people forced to serve in them to realize that a mandatory military service program in America would not be beneficial.

US History

The first time a draft system was used in the United States was 1812, though the Act that made it possible was adopted in 1792. The National Conscription Act of 1792 provided the right for the nation to order young men into service (Conscription in the United States (http://www.answers.com/topic/conscription-in-the-united-states).

The first draft riots occurred in 1863 when the Confederate Army instituted conscription the previous year. The resistance to such forced service was not only widespread it was violent and angry with many people comparing it to slavery (Conscription in the United States (http://www.answers.com/topic/conscription-in-the-united-states).

Since that time every war that America was a part of there was men drafted to serve through a conscription program.

Following the end of Vietnam the mandatory military service program in America was halted and in its place young men took part in Selective Service Registration where they register at the age of 18 but are not in danger of being drafted without an act of Congress to allow it to happen (Conscription in the United States (http://www.answers.com/topic/conscription-in-the-united-states).

Around the World

In many nations around the world, young men grow up knowing that they will spend at least part of their life as a soldier. In Israeli for example when young boys become young men they are required to put their plans on hold and go through basic training in the military (Dunbar, 2002). Following their basic training they are then sent through officer training and finally if the nation is at war they are required to submit to a tour of duty in which they may be required to take part in combat.

In Turkey young men are expected to devote between 16-18 months of their life in active military duty if they are between the ages of 18-38.

In Israel, both men and women serve in the military after high school or when they turn 18. Women serve two years and men serve three (Dunbar, 2002).

Michal Greenfield, a senior psychology student, said she didn't think much about Israel being the only country that requires women to serve in the army (Dunbar, 2002).

A grew up knowing that I would be in the army and looking forward to helping my country," she said (Dunbar, 2002)."

In addition to the mandatory year of service, Israel residents are required to serve one month each year until they are 55 years old (Dunbar, 2002).

Norwegian men are required to serve a mandatory 12 months in the infantry, however, if they are against the war they are allowed to opt for 18 months of community service instead (Dunbar, 2002).

For populations residing in nations that have mandatory military service demands the young men are always aware that it is waiting for them and they accept it as a life responsibility. In recent years however, resistance to mandatory military service has been growing.

Protests

While mandatory military service is still a fact of life for many nations, there have been recent cries of protests from some of the affected populations (Tragedy, 2005).

Young men in Chile have long since been required to serve a mandatory year at the age of 18 or 19 but recently 45 young men died in a blizzard while performing that service. It was a tragedy that brought a public cry to end mandatory military service and instead have a voluntary professional military service (Tragedy, 2005).

The soldiers, mainly aged 18 and 19, had just begun a year's mandatory service. They were caught in what authorities described as the worst snowstorm in the area in three decades, as they returned from a mountain drill (Tragedy, 2005).

We are going to have to make a major effort to give security to those doing their military service and to their families," Defense Minister Jaime Ravinet said (Tragedy, 2005)."

From that blizzard more than 300 soldiers were rescued and given the option of going home without punishment of they wanted to do so. Only eight took the government up on that offer and went home while the others chose to return to active duty.

More that 15,000 Chilean youth are currently drafted each year. To begin a professional army it will cost an estimated $237 Euro (Tragedy, 2005).

Conscript armies around the world, including Chile have been accused of mistreating their soldiers for years. In the past few months alone two draftees died of bullet wounds while a third drowned during basic training exercises (Tragedy, 2005).

Several nations have recently made the decision to end their mandatory military service. France stopped forcing its young adults to serve in 2001. That decision sent more than 200,000-16-year-olds home instead of to barracks.

French youth are now required to register in a program similar to America's Selective Service Program but the nation is working toward building a completely professional military corps and not having to draft anyone for service (France, 2001).

America's Latest Developments

In America there have been several bills introduced in the effort to bring back mandatory military service.

This year a bill will be introduced to the House Ways and Means Committee that if passed with make it mandatory to sign up for a new draft upon turning 18 years old.

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y." who authored the bill alleges it will help prevent America from going to war in the future (Heilprin, 2006).

He believes if members of Congress have to worry not only about their own sons and daughters being called to war, but also about the sons and daughters of their constituents being called they will be less willing to sign on to a war.

There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way (Heilprin, 2006)," Rangel said.

Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, has said the all-volunteer military disproportionately puts the burden of war on minorities and lower-income families.

Rangel said he will propose a measure early next year. While he said he is serious about the proposal, there is little evident support among the public or lawmakers for it (Heilprin, 2006). "

This is not the first time that Rangel has proposed such a bill. In 2003 he brought a measure that would impose draft on 18- to 26-year-olds. He was defeated with a sound 402-2 vote that year (Heilprin, 2006).

This year's bill brings an even wider age range to the table. This bill will offer a plan mandating military service for all women and men in America between the ages of 18 and 42 years old (Heilprin, 2006).

So far the bill has been ignored and has not made it off the floor even to be discussed with any seriousness, however he has made it clear he will bring it to the floor again this season (Heilprin, 2006).

At a time when some lawmakers are urging the military to send more troops to Iraq, "I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft," said Rangel, who also proposed a draft in January 2003, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. "I think to do so is hypocritical (Heilprin, 2006)."

Senator Lindsey Graham, a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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