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Mandatory Conscription

  1. Jun 19, 2006 #1

    siddharth

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    I'm curious about the legality of mandatory military service in different countries, such as the US and Singapore. I only recently came across this concept when reading about the Vietnam war. I'm very surprised that such a barbaric(IMO) thing still exists today. In my opinion, mandatory military service looks very similar to slavery.
    So, I have a couple of questions.
    • Is there any way to completely avoid this military service? I read on there existing a provision of conscientious objection, but I don't understand how it works now. What happens to anyone who opposes conscription as a conscientious objector?
    • In the Iraq war, the US army consists only of volunteers? If so, is there any possibility that compulsory conscription may be introduced?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2006 #2
    We have Mandatory Military Service in Greece still. Greece doesnt have the problem of having to force people to fight when they are at war (Conscription).. Most men will join anyway. The reason we still have Force Military service is due to Turkey and our history with them, including Cyprus.

    The main way people get out of Military Service is by having 'Health' problems, or by have a lot of dependents.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_in_Greece

    heres some info on it.
     
  4. Jun 19, 2006 #3

    rcgldr

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    At 54 years old, I was in the second year of the lottery system version of the draft. My number was 185, and this was close, as they got to 175 in some counties in southern California. This was close to the peak of activity in Viet Nam, which by then was very unpopular.

    Prior to the lottery, the way to avoid the draft was to stay in school / college. A lot of young people became "professional" students, and there was probably a higher percentage of students getting post graduate degrees during the 1960's, than at any other time in USA history.

    A lot of young men moved to Canada to avoid the draft.

    Regarding conscientious objectors, there were two types. One was that a person's beliefs meant that the person wouldn't fire a weapon, but would still get drafted and probably end up as medical support in the field. The other type was a total belief in not supporting a war of any kind. This is what Muhammad Ali, as a Black Muslim, did. For Catholics or Protestants, the prevailing religions at that time, it was very tough to do this.
     
  5. Jun 19, 2006 #4

    Gokul43201

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    Yes, that's true. Though this doesn't mean that someone fighting in Iraq volunteered specifically to fight in Iraq.

    Is is possible - yes. Is it likely - not at all, for the moment. It would take something big coming out or Iran or NK for the draft to come up in any serious debate.
     
  6. Jun 19, 2006 #5

    Astronuc

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    One can avoid conscription as a conscientious objector, but one must have compelling evidence, such as membership in a religious organization like the Quakers or Friends, who actively oppose war.

    People like Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and others use education deferments to avoid serving in the military.

    http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=48151

    George Bush served in the Air National Guard and received training in the F102, which was more or less obsolete at the time. While he did wear a uniform, he avoided service in Viet Nam.


    I oppose war, but I would serve in the medical corps, even if on the front lines. I prefer not to be used by others (or governments) as a tool of destruction.

    As for the second question, certainly compulsory conscription could be reintroduced, although it appears unlikely for now. The regular military and National Guard seem to have sufficient numbers available.
     
  7. Jun 19, 2006 #6
    I'm 56 and was in the first lottery. My number was 296 which was not close as they only got to 195 that year. I never served in the military. However, I don't feel that the military is immoral. As the saying goes: freedom is not free. As for the draft, if the lottery system were strictly enforced so that only those who are unfit need not serve, then I wouldn't consider it immoral either. Allowing for student deferments and the like is immoral. My grandfather enlisted in the army in 1914 in order to get out of going to college.
     
  8. Jun 19, 2006 #7

    siddharth

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    Thanks for the info so far.
    Why so?

    So, if a person objects to war as a matter of principle, and doesn't participate in any anti-war organisation? Is it compulsory to enlist then?

    Well, I think it's wrong that the government takes away the freedom of choice, by enforcing conscription. In my opinion, whether a person should actively participate in war or not, should be his/her decision.
     
  9. Jun 19, 2006 #8
    Tell that to the folks in Darfur.
     
  10. Jun 19, 2006 #9

    siddharth

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    That's different. What I meant was that, in a functioning democracy, whether a person should actively participate a war the country participates in or not, should be his/her decision.

    Also, diverting from the main topic for a bit, Darfur is a very sad reality, and we should try to correct that. Ideally, the people there should have a choice of whether to participate in war or not, but that's not happening. There, the Sudaneese government actually provides arms to the janjaweed and carries out attacks against its own people. So it's different, it's more like genocide, and I'm appalled that agencies such as the UN, which were set up to stop such events, are ineffective. After all, one of the reasons for invading Iraq was the human rights abuses?

    I know the situation there is complicated and the Sudaneese government resists outside interference, but something has to be done, and the best way would be to send troops to protect the civilians.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  11. Jun 19, 2006 #10

    dav2008

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    :rofl:

    10 characters
     
  12. Jun 19, 2006 #11
    I'm in. In a functioning democracy, people should be allowed to decide whether or not to participate in the tax system that the country participates in too.
     
  13. Jun 19, 2006 #12

    Integral

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    Like Jimmysnyder, I was in the first Vietnam era draft lottery, I drew something like 350. Trouble was, early in the summer of '69, before the lottery, after struggling to get up to a 2.00 cumulative GPA for my first year of college, I enlisted in the Navy. I was in boot camp when they held the first lottery, and learned that I never would have been drafted.

    I have no trouble with some form of mandatory national service for the citizens of a nation. It need not be military service, though that should be a option. It should also be unavoidable by anyone in the age range, male or female, poor or rich, black, white, yellow or brown.
     
  14. Jun 19, 2006 #13

    rcgldr

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    Because those religions didn't actively oppose war, so this made it an individual decision.
     
  15. Jun 19, 2006 #14

    Astronuc

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    One can get an education deferment or other type as Dick Cheney did in the example I provided.

    I think some form of national service is appropriate.

    In Switzerland, IIRC, there was a mandatory military service, for defensive purposes only.

    from http://www.answers.com/topic/military-of-switzerland

    Sometimes are comes to the person, as in Darfur, Kosovo, or Afghanistan or Iraq, and many other places. The people there did not go to war, it came to them.
     
  16. Jun 19, 2006 #15
    I personally feel that mandatory conscription is just wrong. I understand that freedom must be defended...but if I am forced to serve in the military then I don't feel that I am free. Liberty or death. I understand that people can not be absolutely free, but forcing someone to kill others is crossing the line. You may call me a coward, but I simply couldn't kill other human beings like that. Murder is wrong, but it is ok to slaughter people in the name of your country? Killing in any shape or form (humans) is just plain wrong (of course there are some extenuating circumstances, some may include war, but I don't). The thought of mass numbers of people killing each other seems ridiculous. If there is no way to live free other than through war, then life isn't even worth it.

    So, no matter what legal issues I would face for refusing to serve, there is absolutely NO way I would do it.

    Please note that I am not a religious person (nor do I believe in some ultimate judge).

    I understand the different types of situations that one can become involved in a war, but I honestly don't think I would be able to do it no matter what the case.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  17. Jun 19, 2006 #16
    barbaric? I don't like the idea of froce milltary recuritment but I don't think babaric or slavery is good way of describing it. You may be froce to join but sometimes it's neccery just like happend in WWI.
    Yes. Kind of...We can improve technology and improve the quailty of soilders that would requrie less troops. But sometimes no matter what we will sometimes need more soilders to fight a war.
    I doupt it. As the Iraqi army becomes better trained the U.S. milltary won't be requried to stay in Iraq.
     
  18. Jun 19, 2006 #17

    russ_watters

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    That is kinda meandering, isn't it? Just plain wrong or extenuating circumstances? It can't be both. And if there are extenuating circumstances, then by definition, it is not murder.

    Also, that seems to me to be a naive view considering world history. Sure, war is bad and should be avoided, but there have been times in our history when no other solution is possible. Yes, the past 50 years have seen some debateable wars, but overall, about of 90% of the American soldiers to die in war have died in unquestionably necessary wars.
    Just out of curiosity, how old are you and do you have any children? I'm about that age, though I don't have any kids yet, but it is my understanding that few parents would not be willing to kill or die for their children if necessary. The sense of patriotism that causes people to join the military is very similar to that. Protecting the freedom - even the very life - of other people drives people in the military (or in the police or fire fighting professions, for that matter) to risk their lives for the sake of others.
    Well, that is understandable, at least. Killing another person for any reason is a terrible thing, even if justified. Few people are comfortable with it and it is understandable if you wouldn't be able to do it under any circumstances. But you don't always have the choice to avoid such situations - I just hope you are lucky enough that you never encounter one.
     
  19. Jun 19, 2006 #18

    Evo

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    Another way around it was what my brother and ex-husband did during the Vietnam War. My brother did some research and found that there was a certain type of teletype machine used only in Germany. He enlisted, and had the recruiter stipulate that he was to be trained only on this specific machine and to work only on it (recruiters will do anything to make their numbers). So, my brother spent two years in Weisbaden, Germany and then took an "early out", got training, and all GI benefits and never set foot in Viet Nam.

    My ex was working at Nasa and it looked like he might get drafted, so he enlisted in the Navy with a stipulation that he would would be a "photo interpreter", this placed him in Naval Intelligence in Washington DC at a desk job, the only time he ever set foot on a ship was to supervise the installation of a spy satellite data base. He never went to Viet Nam.

    If you had a brain, you could manipulate the draft system easily.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  20. Jun 20, 2006 #19
    It is most definitely meandering...there are certainly some situations where it would be necessary. However, some of the more recent wars can not be justified in my opinion. At the very least, war should be the LAST resort. There was really no way for me to say that killing can always be avoided, nothing is ever so clear cut (but again it should be avoided unless absolutely necessary).
    I'm 18 and I don't have any kids, nor do I plan on having any. Please don't think that I am not grateful for what people who serve in the military (or police officers) do. I just want the chance to live out my life, and I feel that everybody else deserves the same. I simply do not understand why anybody feels different.
     
  21. Jun 20, 2006 #20

    russ_watters

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    You don't need to understand it, but you do need to accept it as a reality. Ie, I doubt anyone really understands what made Hitler Hitler, but refusal to accept the reality of what he was delayed the start of WWII and likely cost several million lives. With guys like him (or Saddam Hussein in 1990), they'll force you to accept that reality one way or another. And many people join the military specifically for the purpose of dealing with that reality so others don't have to.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2006
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