Why should the USA not require 2 years of military service for all eighteen years old? Some points for why I think they don't: It is unfair; In order to continue to college; It's against the...

Why should the USA not require 2 years of military service for all eighteen years old?

Some points for why I think they don't:

It is unfair; In order to continue to college; It's against the constitutional rights.

Any input is much appreciated.

Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many countries do have this mandatory military service policy, and it does have its benefits.  For one, countries think more seriously about whether or not to go to war, as does the population since it is their kids going, possibly against their will.

As for arguments against it, a continual rotation of troops in and out of the military makes for a less efficient, well-trained military force.  From a practical standpoint, there are more than 10 million Americans aged 18 - 20 (US Census estimates for 2009).  We have no need for that many soldiers, nor do we have the facilities or funding to train and pay them.  What's more, volunteer soldiers serve longer hitches, and are therefore better trained and experienced.

In the Vietnam War, we constantly cycled out new recruits every 15 months, just when they were learning how to do their jobs and fight a war, then we would bring in new soldiers to learn all over again.  Compare that with the Iraq War, where professional soldiers have served multiple tours, and become more effective as they return for the 2nd and 3rd tour.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The wonderful thing about living in the United States of America is that it is a free country. We enjoy freedoms that many other countries do not. If it became a requirement that all eighteen year old citizens had to join the military for two years there would a huge uproar and many people would be very upset. I do not think that people would do a very good job at something that they were being forced to do.

Another aspect of this question is gender. Would females be required to join the military as well? If they weren't required to put in two years of service then I would say that this is unfair.

Another question to ponder is whether people that are living in the United States but aren't full fledged citizens would have to put put in two years of service or not and what decision would be fair.



Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your points are very well taken.  I think that all of them could drive an essay.  I would submit that mandatory military service might have another negative aspect in being that it predisposes the state to a constant state of war.  With such a steady stream of people in the military, there might be a greater penchant to ensure that waging war would be "in the health of the state."  This might help to create a more militaristic arena than originally thought.  At the same time, I think that such a steady and consistent stream of draftees would help to bolster the military over others aspects of the government, developing the potential for collusion in the interests of the state and that of the military.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that you have identified all of the major arguments against military service.  They mainly have to do with the idea that the United States is basically a country of freedom and that any attempt by the government to force us to give up two years of our lives is unAmerican.  (I would note that it is certainly not unconstitutional, however.)

One thing I would add, though, is that most military people would not welcome this.  The last time the US had a draft (during the Vietnam War) the results were very bad.  The military tends to feel that it can do better with an all-volunteer force than it would be able to do with a bunch of unhappy draftees.

krishna-agrawala | Student

The arguments in support of compulsory military service could include the following:

  • It creates a pool of people with some basic military training, which enable a country to quickly prepare for a war.
  • It develops sense of discipline among the citizens.
  • It fosters the feeling of patriotism among the people.

The arguments against this are:

  • It is wastage of national resources including the time of the citizen if there is no war.
  • Even in event of war, it is wasteful to in respect of  people not asked to perform military duties subsequently.
  • It impinges on individual right to choice of profession. While compulsory conscription may be justified in time of war, it amounts to coercion in time of peace.

When we weigh these pros and cons of compulsory military service in relation to USA, it appears that arguments against it are stronger than those for it. Currently, USA is perhaps the militarily the most powerful nation in the world. It faces no visible threat of war, particularly chances of the country getting invaded are very low. Also i do not thing USA is planning to take initiative to wage war against peaceful nations. Further even if there is an attack on USA, it has sufficient military power of its standing army and the defence system to repel the attack and hold on for long enough to conscript and train additional people to fight the war.

Thus, it appears that USA will do well to not to introduce compulsory military service under present circumstances.

mkcapen1 | Student

One of the first thoughts that comes to mind is that we live in a democracy and for it to become a law it would have to be voted on.  I could see a lot of parents as well as other citizens voting against it.  I, for one, would not be in favor of it because I have friends from Israel who have had to have their children serve in the military.

One of the great things about our country has been that we have freedom of choice, and we can make our own decisions about military enlistment.  We had the draft during the Vietnam War and it was very unfairly done.  The government stated that unless it was impossible not to reinstate the draft that we would not have one again.