Required Military Service: Where’s The Logic?

With the reason of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the dwindling evidence of the success of these actions has become more evident, a topic of discussion is the low recruitment rate of new soldiers into the needed services. This ultimately leads to a mention of a draft. Not an issue to be covered here. However, while having the discussions many of my more military oriented friends and acquaintances have expressed a belief that all "boys" should be required to spend time in the "service" after high school. I asked by "service", if he meant in the peace core, as a firefighter, as a guinea pig in a research lab, or picking up litter in the local state parks and roadways. (My reputation of thinly veiled sarcasm precedes me.) It turns out that what he meant by "service" is in the armed forces.

There are so many flaws in that logic I don’t really know where to start. So let me try by picking apart the mood, nature, and cause that would move a person to have such a sediment. I often ask why they feel that it should be required. The responses vary but a few are common. One is "kids these days are not disciplined and it would instill some sense of respect in them." Another common sediment goes along the lines "the country needs to ensure it has ample people to ensure the freedom." Neither of these two statements logically lead to the requirement of military service for the male population of the country.

Looking at the assertion that children are disorderly, one thing jumps out right away. Is it just boys that need instilled a sense of discipline? What if he is gay? Should he still be required to join the service, even though the service still rejects openly gay members? What attributes constitutes a lack of respect, discipline, and/ or self-control? They stay out all night, sleep in, don’t get jobs, and waste money on clothing, music, and gadgets? Is it because they use drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes? They are having sex, making babies, dropping out, and committing crimes. If these are the attributes that one is hoping to correct, then why would one feel that forced military service could be the solve all, or even a possible approach for all boys. Many will claim, "it worked for me." However, they chose to join. The very act of volunteering removes an obstacle in the way of changing a degenerate juvenile into a well-rounded productive member of society. If you ask me, they ought to be forced to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, be exposed to all the popular drugs of the day, and stay up for days on end just parting and playing music. That is what worked for me. SO maybe every kid should be forced into the life of a struggling wannabe rock star with a back up plan of being a pirate. That is how I got here.

The claim that "children these days lack discipline and respect" is a farce that has been said by every evolving generation of the following generations since probably time began. I can hear it now, "these kids these days go out and whoop it up listening to that ‘Mozart’ music. Back in our day we listen to ‘Bach’ and we didn’t go around spoiling the place like the kids these days. They just have no respect." Your parents said it about you, and their parents said it about them. The 90’s had the "Generation X" and lollapalooza. The 80’s the punk rock/ heavy metal, crack, and MTV. The 70’s well "disco" is all I have to say about that. The 60’s was the age of "free love", communal living, and of course Woodstock. The 50’s had Elvis and the Ed Sullivan Show. I could keep going.

The shrinking of the world through media coverage combined with the population growth seems to help re-enforce the "lack of respect" concept. There is a "law of records" that also plays a part. We all know it as, "records were made to be broken" assertion. This is a fact true whether you are talking about a sports accomplishment or a heinous crime. No matter how ridiculous you think the worst crime of your time was, someday an even more unexpected and horrifying crime will be perpetrated. Media coverage of these incidents and population explosion seems to only have speed up the process.

Of course that is not the most perplexing part of the "children are so out of control these days that they should be forced to join the military" assertion. We can expect that the "non-respectful kids" referred to include kids in gangs, using drugs, getting in fights, or any other form of childish, dangerous, or rude activities they might engaged in. They engage in these activities that demonstrate a lack of regaurd for the law, remorse, and self-responsibility. So a valid response is to this behavior is to give them guns and teach them to be killers? Then under pay them, expose them to risks, and group them with other like minded individuals. I don’t want a kid who has the inability to understand American history enough to make it through a high school class being forced to defend the Constitution. Whatever reasons you have for considering the kid "undisciplined" are probably valid reason. I don’t want them to be trained to use firearms and combat tactics. What if you don’t change them into more disciplined individuals? Now you have an undisciplined well-trained hooligan. We need only to look to John Allen Muhammad to see the result of that situation.

The second most prominent notion is the need to force people into servitude to retain freedom is so counterintuitive that my head spins. So let me get this straight, in order to ensure freedom, we have to force you into near tortuous conditions, brainwash you, dictate your morality and restrict your movement. If the military is such a great form of government, why even have a democracy with freedom. Why not run the country as a military state. I mean it is so great right?

So let us say that you can run, jump, exercise, clean, scream, sleep deprive, haze and shoot these boys into a well chiseled version of a disciplined American. Whose vision of an American do they become? The idea of freedom is the ability to become an individual manifest of your own choices. In system design we have a term known as "pinch points" or "single point of failure". There are points in the system where if the system fails, the whole thing will be brought down. Forcing Children into military service at a time when they are very susceptible to influence provides a "single point of influence." There is no doubt that the military produces a base more supportive of conservative agendas. There is no denying that the views on issues like gun control, freedom of speech, meaning of patriotism, approach to foreign policy, and personal privacy are very conservative (and very aggressive for that fact) in nature. The training and restructuring of boot camp directly leads to this type of thinking. For example, If you and all of your buddies sleep eat and live with a gun everyday, your views on the right to own one, as a private citizen would change.

What has given America its strength is its diversity. That has lead to very different approaches to solving problems and creating inventions. More unified cultures have a hard time thinking their way out of complex problems. Military boot camps attempt is to break that individual spirit and rebuild a conforming, team oriented piece of a larger unit. Great qualities, however I wouldn’t want everybody to be that way. The thinking outside the box and resistance and confronting of the authority kind of thinking that is indicative to being a Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, or any of the great inventors created by our culture. The military is not very tolerant of insubordination, homosexuality, physical weakness, unfocused thought process, or passive diplomacy to name a few.

Forcing military service takes a child away from other options that could be equally crucial to continued strength of the community. College, tech school, a family business may all be required paths for some emerging adult citizens. To address the issues of concern I would agree that some kind of program that would force a young adult to at least pick a direction to take after school should be required. If they are not going to go to college, then other "service" programs that are governmentally sponsored. Forcing non-college bound students to spend 2 years in their choice of medical, culinary, trade, technical, or even, yes military internships would be acceptable.

So give kids a choice. Choice is the very definition of freedom. In order to kill a monster you can not replace the monster. The sum of that equation still results in the existence of a monster.

"I had other priorities in the 60's than military service" -Dick Cheney


Anonymous said…
This is bullshit!!!
I don't know who you are, and in fact I'm glad I don't, but the youth is not as bad as you describe. I'm looking for the logic in your essay, because I have the question: what have the 50ies and Elvis together with military servie in the 21st century??? Linked directly: NOTHING! For me this is a poor try, of a old fashioned person who cannot accept the fact that times change and that especially you can't adjust to it. I'm sorry but this essay does not deal with required military service AT ALL!!! Yes you pissed me enough to write a comment. The "thinking outside the box", which you mentioned, is not your greatest strengh. In order to get required military service the american military system MUST change also!!! I do believe that nobody should be made to kill somebody, but why can't you do something else for your county?? Why don't you do a little resaerch of countries that actually HAVE required military service and find out what Germany for example is able to offer to its citizens.

There is just nothing else I can add to that statement!! No more words left to say!!
Lord of Logic said…
Man, it has been so long since I wrote this post, I had to go back and figure out what I had said and if I still believe it. Yep.

First let me see if I can generate some points to your comment. It occurs to me that you didn’t even read the dam post! I am starting to wonder if this isn’t another clever spammer. I believe this because you said, “But the youth is not at bad as you describe”. If you had read the post you would have realized A) I am relatively young, B) my only mention of “degenerate youth” was a tongue in cheek” (sarcastic for those less gifted) shot at older people who make these claims. In fact you parroted my exact sentiment. I said that every generation before us thought their children needed to be taught lessons of respect. The previous generation never seems to understand the next.

Second you say that, “this essay does not deal with required military service at all.” I name the 3 most common reason people give for implying that “requiring military service” will solve their ill-conceived notions of possible problems. They are Children need discipline, People must be forced to fight for our freedom, AND it would train them for jobs. I debunk these notions by saying the youth are no more unruly then the last generation, freedom must be fought for my those that desire it, and forced service in things like medical teaching, and community services would better serve the greater good.

Unfortunately, my child, you waited too long to get to work on your dammed paper. Now you are scurrying and skimming over my essay only reading the portions that come to your attention and not the actual whole work in context. Now, you are trying to blame me for the result of your procrastination and bad grades. Your teacher probably assigned this paper weeks ago and you are now just getting to it. That is not my fault. I’ll be your scape goat if you want. I can take it. But in the end you will be less enlightened and your paper will still be nothing more then a C at best. Nest time start your paper a little earlier and read essays in their completeness.

Thank you for responding though. Have a great day,
Anonymous said…
What if kids were allowed to go through college if they so choose and then had to serve for a while. In my opinion, the pros of required service outway the cons. I think in 95 out of a 100 cases discipline is instilled if commanding officers are worth anything. Health would be inproved at least temporarily, possibly long term if they like being in shape. Maybe things like requiring a high school diploma would keep the really bad people out, like gangsters and such. Also, think about the country as a whole, not just the individual. Politicians would now what it was like to have to take orders and crawl in the dirt. The nation would be safer because it would have more people to guard its borders. With two generations in the army at once, along with volunteers that stay, there would be like 6,000,000 something men and women in the army at once. By the way I don't think it should be just boys. Girls may not be allowed in combat areas right now (not saying there aren't girls that could handle it) they could still fill the various support positions. Also I think everyone wants freedom, some people just take it for granted. Taking some of those freedoms away might help them realize how blessed they are. People that protest and yell and disrespect miltary funerals saying they deserved to die make me so angry. Those people should be lined up and shot. They're out there fighting so that they can say stuff like that, and they dishonor them like that. That is a broken society that needs to be fixed.
Lord of Logic said…

Thank you for responding. Sorry this took so long. As mentioned above, I believe some kind of “service” in lieu of college. That “service” might not be necessarily military in nature. A person who wants to be a doctor can come back and “serve” in hospitals ran by the government. In this way the government can encourage growth in sections of occupations that are in need.

I am going to assume by the rhythm and tone of your post that you are quite young. 13 to 15 I would gather. As I posted I disagree. I will handle your points one by one.

1) Where do you get this figure of “95 to 100%”? AND how do you define “discipline”? Of my friends and acquaintances who have all went through the military, many have emerged far from disciplined. They emerge “conservative”. But they certainly are not idols of moral, legal, financial, or academic virtues. If we were in discussion I would ask you to define the meaning of “disciplined”. And ask if discipline shouldn’t be a function of parenthood? Are you saying our cultures parents are failing on a regular basis.

2) Health? SO many people leave the military broken and with lasting dysfunctions. Back, knee, ankle, and other bone related injuries lead to a life where exercise is difficult. Then there is the promoted heavy drinking by many soldiers, that many never shake after leaving service. Then if you end up getting called to war that turns out to have been unnecessary and political in nature, what of your mental health?

3) What about gay people, borderline, bipolar, schizophrenic people? These people can function as normally as you and I? But their condition can cause some extreme actions. Should they be forced to serve? What about pacifists and religions that require non aggressive morality. What about natives? Should they be forced into serving?

On the flip side of that, do you really want to be in a combat situation whit a person who has no desire to be there, that thinks all killing is wrong, or that empathizes with the other side because his heritage is from there? If I decide I don’t want to be there, can I flunk out of riffle qualifications? What do you do with me if I flunked out?

4) Where is your evidence that people take freedom for granted? That is just a statement? In the US it isn’t freedom people are taking for granted, but rather, the consequences. Whose job is it to dictate who is not being “Thankful enough?” Name one freedom that is commonly “taken for granted”. Further, what is the benefit of people appreciating it more?

5) I agree that protesting military funerals are in poor taste. However, executing them forsakes everything the soldiers supposedly died for. First of all, there might be people who have a legitimate argument to the assertion. We now know (undiscernibly) that the US went to war in Iraq under false pretences. I have many friends who are Iraqis. They have lost many family members as a result of this poor decision. Some of their family members live here. Maybe they are the protestors. Blind allegiance can never be an excuse. It is what cause the deaths of millions in WWII.

Thanks again for contacting me. Keep digging, keep thinking, question every thought that comes into your head. Ask why you believe things. Faith is great for spirituality, but it makes for horrible policy.
sulingw said…
So that u know who I am, I made up the 95 out of 100 statistic.

Yes, I do think that parents are failing on a regular basis. I see/hear about kids who mouth off to parents in public, jump from friends home to friends home because of conflict, or do largely whatever they want without parents intervening. I know there are parents out there who have kids and do little more than let them live in the house and occasionally feed them, other than that they fend for themselves. Many parents today act like they still have little or no responsibilities, almost like they're still in high school. I hate it that the lack of morals that should have been taught by parents causes people to cheat the system, and only look out for themselves. All the while with a clear conscience. People tell me they know people who choose not to work so they can get well fare because who wants to work when you get paid way more than enough money to support yourself. To support my "more than enough money" comment my economics teacher told me that when he had three kids and a fourth on the way, he fed his family on $250 a month. They ate cheap food but they certainly weren't starving. He knows a couple that at the same time were on well fare and got paid $500 a month for food and it was just the two of them, no kids. Not saying well fare is a bad idea but lets not reward people for being out of a job.

Those people that might not want to fight because they have ties to the opposing culture will simply have to choose sides. You can't appease everyone, it is simply impossible. For instance I believe that we should go ahead and completely support Israel so long as they don't do anything outrageous. We try to make Islamic nations happy by only half-heartily supporting them, but they still hate us for other reasons. And because of our timidness, Israel is basically preparing to stand on its own. Besides Israel, Egypt was the only nation in the region that didn't hate us but no Obama has managed to alienate both the people and Mubarak because he couldn't choose a side. So it is likely that whatever power rises in Egypt it won't be friendly to us. So because we won't choose sides, we now have NO strong allies in the region.......OK my rant is over, sorry I got off track. By the way the execution remark was a result of passion against those people.
sulingw said…
I had to split my comment in two, it was too long.

I get aggravated when i hear comments about how people are so badly injured psychologically when they go to war. I'm sure that is it is extremely stressful but consider the fact that the men that fought in WWII. They experienced a lot to say the least and they still came back and did their part at home. And the things they experienced don't even come close to soldiers from earlier periods. Can you imagine standing in line formation shoulder to should in the open while dozens of artillery guns take shot that pulverize groups of men at once and just stand there for hours while you wait your turn to go stand less than 50 yards from an enemy line and exchange fire for and hour. I'm just saying that coddling everyone that goes through even a slight hardship will only result in weakness. As a powerful nation that used to be/is at the head of the pack, we are failing to make sure we don't get complacent. My economics teacher calls us "fat and sassy."
To end the comment I would like to take the opportunity to use you as a sound board for an idea since your views oppose mine. What would you say about a school for political recruits that was run by the government. Any parent can submit their child but when they do, the child's primary job when they grow up would be to serve in public office. The best of the class would hold public office positions while lower scoring students held supporting jobs. In this school they would be taught all the things they would be taught in a public school in addition to things like public speaking. They would also be taught morals that would try to impress upon them the importance of working together, self-sacrifice(they can still enjoy themselves but they hopefully would only do so if it didn't harm anyone else) and being humble but strong. The exact teaching could be approved by the voters and people could observe what happens in the school everyday. Something similar to jury duty were someone observes each class, every day. What I'm trying to do is create a fail-safe way to weed out greed, corruption, and weakness out of the government. Please, instead of just criticizing the idea, provide suggestions for further fail-safes if possible. By the way the kids wouldn't be separated from the parents unless it was necessary. They would still get to go home every day. This also wouldn't be one school, they would be all over the nation. They would also have sports and other co-curricular activities to foster competitiveness and pride.
Lord of Logic said…
Hi sulingw, (Part 1)

Again, I apologize for taking so long to get back to this. Life is a very busy place for me. I rarely post here anymore since starting Plus it took me a while to understand where the “95 out of 100” reference was coming from.

Since even writing that response to you, I have had many epiphanies and shaped (or maybe better said, “solidified”) my concepts, beliefs, understandings, and their for plans for the future have changed. So I should caveat this with my utter disdain for this country and everything it stands for. (That is not to be confused with everything it “markets” that is stands for. The reality doesn’t jibe with assertions. But that is a long post I will get to in the near future I hope.) I sat horrified as this system took from me everything that I held dear. I am working on kicking off this rock called the US for the open seas ASAP. There is a revolution about to happen here. In the past when the government has stopped supporting the working class and continued to fund the military, the result has been one of much unnecessary blood shed. This country has become the epitome of gluttonous selfish behavior and voting is done by “tools” of the resulting generations who long lost what the purpose of this doctrine was. If I actually believed in Satan, the US would be a prime example of what such a “dark lord” would strive to achieve on Earth. LOL, thank God I don’t believe in the devil.

So, let me answer your points as best as I can. Your made up figure of “95 out of 100” is an example of the dysfunction of “everybody gets to vote”. You made the statement out of an unconfirmed and indeed irrational “feeling”. Too many people from both of the major political persuasions vote on “feelings” they believe to be “facts” but are inherently dysfunctional if policies are generated from them. Such a strong conservative belief in “Supply side” or “trickledown” economics is (or has ever been) functional, displays a complete ignorance of the purpose of “money” and “wealth” and how it operates in an economic system. Too many people have voted based on “feelings” instead of “understanding”.

I am not certain where you live. Where I am from, the description of “how kids act” is not “the norm” by any stretch of the imagination. I do believe things that we consider “the norm” these days should be looked upon as appalling. The fact that behaviors displayed on TV show such as Jerry Springer, any of the judge shows, and most of the reality shows, and that of video games are celebrated and normalized is a sign of things to come. I am by no means saying that these things alone are responsible for “bad behavior”. But too many children are being raised by these sources while their parents are either physically of emotionally absent.

My disdain doesn’t stop at conservatives. Welfare is the epitome of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The reason it still exists is not because it has no support from the extreme right who condemn it. Supporting illegal immigrants might be a good Christian philosophy, but it plays hell on the economic system. Especially dragging down the worth of labor.
Lord of Logic said…
(Part 2)
“People with ties to the ‘opposing’ culture will have to choose sides”. I don’t have ties to those culture we have opposed in recent history. Heck a large portion of my “ties” are to the people that were genocide in order to form this country. My people were called animals, less then human, terrorist, and heathens who didn’t deserve to inhabit our native lands. That didn’t stop as cowards dressed up as my people to start a war in an event known as “the Boston Tea Party”. Rebel tradoers who couldn’t even take credit for their own actions. At any rate, simply saying “choose sides” from the people who you stole the freedom from (by forcing them into military service) doesn’t seem to uphold “American virtues” as I had been taught them. This is why the post was written. Forced military service makes no sense.

Your comment about WWII and how they “came back and did their part” frustrates me. This past two year has been a real journey for me. It was one that lead me to dive deep into psychological research. What is now understood by the mental health community as to what the effects of WWII on the culture and its behaviors. The mental health community understands it, BUT it isn’t transferring to policies directed towards children who grew up in PTSD driven abusive homes. These children have grown up to have children when they, themselves were not properly trained in child rearing. And in turn their children have grown to have children.

You can say, “it was worse before” but you are forgetting the topic of this post. I don’t believe you should force anybody to go to war. I don’t care if you have already joined. If a soldier is conscious enough to think for himself that “I don’t believe in the merits of this war. I believe it doesn’t support American Values or protect the country in any way.” If they come to that realization, then they should not be forced to jeopardize their lives.

A theme running throughout yours and my discussion is “Parenting”. I will share this. I watched as the medical community gave my (now ex) a drug that spun her 180 degrees in personality shortly after the birth of our daughter. I woke up next to a person I no longer recognized. My hobby was being a good dad. Some people are into sports, fantasy sports, cars, guns, making money, or whatever. I was into being a good parent. I spent 9 years, before my munchkin got here, researching what that meant, how to raise a happy and functional positive member of the society. I walk down the street with my daughter, into a store, hang with family and it is very common for me to hear “you are such a great dad! It is amazing!” In the mean time my wife spiraled out of control into drunken, abusive, “risky” behaviors. We both took mental health tests where the examiner expressed deep concern over my exes mental health statement. BUT, all that mattered in the end was that her attorney contributed to the judge’s campaign fund. Now, my daughter resides in the custody of this horrible example of a parent in a very dysfunctional home. I have very limited interaction to my best friend and cohort (my daughter). The problem is the judge is not a mental health professional making a decision based on knowledge and science, but a lawyer and a politician making social decisions based upon financial gain.
Lord of Logic said…
(part 3)

We have a system that rewards bad behavior and bad parenting. Don’t accept the mistake and failure as part of the system and try to fix it with duct tape. Replace the part. We need to encourage people to not have children if they are not responsible enough to have them. We need to see to it that bad parents don’t get children simply because of out dated ideals about motherhood and/ or social connections to the judge.

No parent should be making such decisions for a child at any age. Good parents are not afraid to let their kids make choices because they instilled confidence and values that are functional and healthy long before they have to make critical decisions. I am a fan of home schooling. I am a fan of the government taxing the crap out of a second income in a family unit. At least one of the parents needs to say home and educate the child. If you can’t teach your child to read, do simple math, and make healthy decisions, you shouldn’t be a parent. So I would be opposed to schools as you explained them. But on the other hand, the parents need to be allowed to make their own choices.

Thanks for getting back to me. I am sorry for the delay
sulingw said…
I'm terribly sorry about your child, the Judicial system should be immun to influences like that. Problem is people can't get into office without being funded because getting their name out there takes a lot of money. Perhaps if there was a way to campaign for free but be limited on how many ads they an post or else the tv would become nothing more than a place to go watch ads.
I understand that early americans treated native americans badly and cruelly. But if positions had been reversed, native americans would have done the same. Everyone is looking out for number 1 in some sense or extreme. You can't hate a country because it wantedto expand its borders and become more prosperous. All countries want that. You cant tell me that if there was no law and you had no connections to someone with a bigger house that you would be content to live in your shack. You would take his house if you could in a heart beat Everything is backed by strength. If a kid misbehaves in class then eventually someone will come and forcibly remove him.

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