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Compulsory Military Requirements Fight Freedom – Not Protect It

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Flickr / Joyce, April 2017

Brianna Wilson
Staff Writer

National military service requirements consists of compulsory enlistment of people into the military where the individuals are given no choice in their enlistment. They are prevalent in countries all over the world. Sixty-one countries have some length of required military service for the male population. Some countries require it of the female population as well.

Proponents of mandatory military service have argued that women should be included in mandatory military service in some countries and registering for the draft in our own, but that would be a step in the wrong direction. To force someone to work for a government or fight in a war they do not support is to deprive them of freedom of speech.

An argument I have heard in support of mandatory military service is that people need to learn to respect their country and to be a part of something greater, but serving in the military is not always something greater to everyone.

To me, I feel I am being a part of something greater by teaching. When I am in a classroom, I feel like I am doing something important because I am educating young adults in our community.

Demanding that our citizens respect our government and military is a form of nationalism that can be detrimental to our society. If our citizens are forced to support the actions of our government by serving in the armed forces, what power do we have to stand against the actions of our government?

We have the right to freedom of speech and to peaceful assembly written in the Constitution so we are ensured a voice within our country. That voice is also made more important to our government when we have the power to not support wars that are started by a few powerful individuals. If we as citizens are forced to give our bodies to a cause we do not support, then what good is our voice? If we verbally stand against the actions of our government and our military but are forced to serve in the military, what good is our voice? Deciding not to serve in the military is to use free speech and one’s own bodily autonomy, and that should be protected.

If you support the actions of the military, you have the power to support it with your service. If military service is optional, it is a good way to gauge how much support the actions of our government are getting. That is a very powerful tool for the masses to use to influence the choices of our government. I would argue that the draft is as morally wrong mandatory military service.

There are plenty of ways to learn valuable skills, respect for others and responsibility without serving in the armed forces. There are ways to be part of something greater without being forced to serve our military. Requiring volunteer hours of high school students is one of those ways.

I learned a lot about service by volunteering in high school. I felt like I was a part of something bigger because I was helping people in my community. I used my right to free speech and my bodily autonomy to work for causes I supported.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, The United States spends the highest amount of money on our military of all the countries in the world. We also have plenty of people who volunteer to join our armed forces without making service mandatory. There is no need for our country to have mandatory military service because we do not need it. Our military is currently powerful enough to keep us safe, and there are enough systems in place to keep foreign terrorists from getting into our country despite the opinions of our current president.

I want to be safe as much as the next person, but that doesn’t make it right to put lives at risk or take away others’ rights. While I understand the argument for mandatory military service and the draft, I do not think it’s necessary, and I believe it is immoral to force people to serve in the armed forces and risk their lives against their will.

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Categories: Columns, Opinions

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