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Mandatory Military Service

I've long thought that requiring a 2 or 3 year stint in the military branch of your choice would be an excellent way to instill discipline and educational opportunities for our countries' young men & women.

I must confess that such an idea comes naturally to me - my father retired from the Navy, and I spent over a decade in the Marine Corps… so I have a very high regard for the opportunities that were afforded me by my service to my country.

By requiring all men & women, fresh out of High School, or College, to serve their country for a few years - we would have, as a country; a wide range of talent to help move our country forward, and yet, at the same time, provide discipline and education that many young people never receive in our educational system. It would also allow the country to lower the pay, thus making the military cheaper to maintain. The high cost of the military today is directly related to the fact that as a volunteer military - you have to entice people with relatively higher pay to join.

peacecorps.jpgOf course, for those who object to military service, we should offer the Peace Corps, or similar organizations. I certainly don't intend to protect the freedom of the country by demanding that people violate their religious beliefs - so if someone has a moral objection to war, let them serve the country for a few years in some non-military role. The cost to the U.S. would be small in comparison to the benefits such a plan would achieve.

Unfortunately, I'm pragmatic enough to know that freedom-loving Americans would never put up with such an 'invasion' into their freedom. But it doesn't stop me from dreaming about it. Other countries have done quite well with mandatory military service. As well as lowering the costs associated with their country's defense, it helps to mold the people of a particular country closer together… or at least, I'm convinced of it.

Freedom such that we have in America deserves respect, and by serving in our country's military - you show respect to those who've died to maintain it. I've often been amused to see bumper stickers that claim that war never accomplished anything, the 'Make Peace, Not War' type of slogans - but the response is simple: Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, War Has Never Solved Anything.

Of course, joining the military doesn't mean you want to go around and rape, pillage and kill people. It can simply mean that you want the education and character molding that you can get in service to your country. Yes, you'll learn to fight, and the best defense for a country is a strong military. But you'll learn a healthy lifestyle, you'll learn to work with other people, you'll learn how to both follow and lead.

Interestingly, I've seen online polling that puts this question about requiring mandatory military service at 50/50. Which, judging from the liberal slide of America - seems to be an amazing high percentage that would agree with me that some freedom can be rightfully taken from young adults. The arguments against mandatory service are, for the most part, rather silly. One person argued that it would increase racism… clearly not understanding that learning about, and working with others only lessens any 'racism'.

I saw another person argue that ”People in the military are required to be obedient and submissive”… not realizing that without learning to obey orders, you can never get to the point of being able to lead people. It's silly to think that 18 year olds don't need direction in their life - most people old enough to think back on their life at age 18-25 would quickly admit that they were far dumber than they thought they were at that age.

If you're the parent of a young man or woman… military service (or other, such as the Peace Corps), is service to our country that your child will never forget, and will mold him/her in ways that they will live with for the rest of their lives. My parents never forced my way… they simply prepared me to leave the 'nest' at age 18… I'm quite sure that they were proud that I chose a path similar to my father. Nowadays, all too many people aren't prepared to leave home at age 18… and I just bless my parents for not allowing such nonsense to happen.

If you've graduated high school, the only excuse I can think of to still live at home is if you are attending a nearby college, and even then, it's better to start learning to live life. If you don't have the option of attending college, or if you've graduated college and don't know where to go from there - you can do far worse than a tour in the military branch of your choice.

usmc.jpgNaturally, I recommend the Marine Corps :-) - But any branch of service will offer you opportunities for further education, and travel opportunities that you'll likely never otherwise have. How many people in America have traveled around the world, and lived for years in countries where English isn't the native language? Kono basu wa Naha ni ikimasu ka? You get to learn at least tidbits of a foreign language, and see a different culture in ways you never will here in the United States.

Now, obviously I'm writing this as an American - but my arguments would equally apply to many other countries. Unless, of course, you already have mandatory military service.

I recall once reading a book about Marine Corps boot camp, where the author asserted that he'd not take a million dollars to go back through boot camp, nor would he take a million dollars to remove the memories he had of the military. I can well understand such thoughts… the military was quite good to me - and has affected my life in ways too complex to describe easily. I can tell you horror stories about my time in Marine boot camp - as probably every Marine can … but I hold those memories proudly. As someone once put it - if you make it through boot camp, __you will never again have to defend your masculinity & courage. Your manhood has been forever established. (I'm not sure how this will play out for our female Marines :-) but I don't discount the strength it takes for women to succeed and serve.)

If you are at a crossroads in your life, or if you have children who don't know what to do after they leave school… military service can almost never be a bad idea to contemplate. I'd like to encourage people to think about military service. The benefits you'll get from it will be life altering.

Society | Military


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