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A Case Against Mandatory Military Service

Essay by   •  November 9, 2012  •  Case Study  •  816 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,389 Views

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Many countries around the world, including the United States, struggle with the idea of mandatory military service. For years, people and politicians have argued the issue. Mandatory military service should not be implemented in the United States because it would comprise the nation's security, would not better an individual's character or morals and be cost prohibitive.

Mandatory military service would actually compromise America's national security. People drafted into service would not perform as well as those that volunteered. Retired Army four-star General, Barry McCaffery believes that the idea of national service would lead to lesser quality soldiers (Thompson, 2007). No one likes being told what to do and having two years of your life dictated is no exception. Draftees would see this as an obligation and not an opportunity. Some may consider it a sentence that must be performed before they could start the rest of their life. Mandatory military service would bring people unfit to serve into the ranks and compromise the military's mission. According to the Pentagon, 35 percent of military aged Americans are unqualified for military service (McMichael, 2009). The majority of which are disqualified due to obesity (McMichael, 2009). The draftees would not only be putting their own health at risk but the lives of the other soldiers as well. If other soldiers are tending to their overweight comrades instead of putting lead downrange and accomplishing the mission, missions could fail and America's national security could be at risk. Another group of people that the military and nation would deem as undesirable for military service would be the group with criminal records and or gang affiliations. However, this group would comprise America's security in another way. They could be drafted into the military, where they would receive training in weapons and tactical operations that they could take back with them to civilian life, potentially train other gang members and commit violent crimes with more proficiency.

Some will argue the last point and cite one of the most popular stereotypes of military service; that it will improve an individual's character or morals. While this stereotype may be true in some cases, it is certainly not true of everyone that serves. This statement is easily supported because in fiscal year 2010, there were 2,410 reported sexual assaults in the military (Department of defense, 2011). If everyone had the values that the military advocated there would not be sexual assaults in the military. However, it is impossible to change someone's morals if they are an unwilling participant. The same is said about drug addicts and alcoholics, all the rehab in the world is not going to help if the person has not hit rock bottom or is actually asking for the help. Mandatory service would also drain the virtue of service (Stengel, 2007). If everyone is required



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