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Volunteer or Conscript?

Talk of reinstating the draft in the US is making the rounds again.

While I wouldn't wish military service on anyone, at least in todays world (except maybe Howdy Doody and Dracula), I have to wonder. In the volunteer system the US uses now, the majority of recruits come from lower income households, with many using the military to try and escape their likely economic fate. If there were a draft, and if, if it were done transparently, then recruits would represent all portions of society in equal amounts according to demographics. I contend that, if the politicians and corporate executives stood as much of a chance of having their son or daughter killed in a war, there would be far less of them, even with the militarization of the economy. Actually, potentially this could start a reversal of that.

There is also the question of what the armed forces could ethically ask a soldier to do if he/she were serving involuntarily. For example; in an army of volunteers it would be easier, I think, to dismiss soldiers' concerns and to justify unethical orders - " Hey, you volunteered remember? Shut the hell up." Whereas under conscription, the onus is on the military to justify itself to it's members, which is potentially everyone in that society (after a few generations).

But I think there is a third option. Why not a draft in which draftees have a choice of service? Germany, for instance, requires two years service to their country from their youth. But they have an option of choosing two years of community service in varying capacities instead of military service. I learned of this through my Parents, who regularly volunteer at a home for the mentally disabled. The organization is called L'arche, and exists across Canada and Internationally. A large portion of the full-time staff (people who spend most of their days helping the mentally disabled live a fulfilling life) are Germans who chose community service over military.

Maybe not a bad idea.
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