Should the U.S. institute mandatory military service for every able-bodied person exiting high school or college?
I’m of two minds about it. Some or many of our Dopers live in countries that have mandatory service, and I can’t remember hearing any of them complain. I friend of mine enlisted in the U.S. Army and said it had a positive experience on his life. I was unable to join due to injuries in high school. I believe mandatory service would:
[ul][li]Ensure that our forces are fully-staffed[/li][li]Instill a sense of discipline that seems to be sadly lacking in these days of ‘indigo children’[/li][li]Provide skills that exiting members can use ‘in real life’[/li][li]Teach young people both teamwork and self-reliancy[/li][li]Provide opportunities to break out of one’s little corner of the world[/li][li]Allow people to develop a wider world-view[/ul][/li]
On the other hand, it seems un-American. Yes, there have been drafts (and may well be again); but there’s something about saying ‘You will serve in the military or else!’ that is antethetical to Freedom of Choice.
And then there’s our current involvement in Iraq. Many of us believe that the war is illegal and unjust. It seems immoral to force people to fight in a war to which they might be morally opposed. Perhaps mandatory service would encourage voters to exercise more control over our leaders? After all, few people want to die; and probably no parent wants his or her child to be killed.
Thus I’m on the fence. The benefits I listed are attractive, but the moral issues are not. What do you think?