Both in the civilian and the military population, the issue of legal drinking age has been a contentious issue. The proposal to lower the minimum drinking age among members of the military in different states has attracted a lot of debate all over the United States. The basic argument has been individuals who are able to defend the country and participate in combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq among other areas are responsible enough to be allowed to legally buy and consume alcoholic drinks irrespective of the age.
However, any debate that deals with changes in the law is always a controversial issue. There are a large number of people in support of the lowering of the drinking age in the military to 18 years irrespective of the laws in the state in which the military base is located. On the other hand, it has been opposed by a large number of individuals and groups (Bray & Hourani, 2007). However, it is important to note that if an individual is mature enough to take part in military duties, he is mature enough to drinking and therefore the drinking age in the military should be lowered to 18 years.
Surveys carried out in the United States have always indicated that majority of Americans support the abolishment of legal drinking age limits in the military. The Americans are generally for the argument that all individuals in active duties in the armed forces should not be limited by the law to consume beer. Being a democratic country, the policy makers have no option but act according to the will of the majority.
In the past, all military officials in active duty were allowed to consume alcohol in their military bases irrespective of the laws limiting the drinking age in the state. This changed in the 1980s when the congress enacted laws that required the states and federal laws on legal drinking age be enforced in the military bases (Powers, 2009). Since then, there have been suggestions to abolish this law in different states. The basic argument has always been if the individual is man enough to be in a battlefield, he should be able to handle beer responsibly.
Common sense indicates that an individual is recruited and allowed to work in the military because they are adults and therefore should not be limited by the law (Hoellwarth, 2007). An 18 years individual in the United States has attained the majority age and is considered to have the ability to make informed decisions such as participating in general elections. The person can also take a weapon to defend his country. Does it make sense really for such a person to be denied the right to consume alcohol?
I don’t think so. The common believe that tolerance to alcohol increases with age is not necessarily true. There are cases where younger people have been found to be more tolerant. Moreover, tolerance to alcohol is an issue of responsibility and discipline rather than age. Many young people serving in the US military are more responsible that some senior members of the society (Jacobson, et al, 2008). In conclusion, it does not make sense the limit the military personnel from consuming alcohol based on their age.
The fact that they are mature enough to take part in combat missions and defend their country suggests that they are mature enough to control their drinking. Moreover, majority of the Americans are in support of abolishing legal drinking age in the military. Reference Bray R. M & Hourani L. L. (2007). “Substance use trends among active duty military personnel: findings from the United States Department of Defense Health Related Behavior Surveys,” 1980-2005. Addiction; 102(7):1092-101 Gittins, R. A. (1996).
The Military Commander & the Law, ISBN 0788172603, DIANE Publishing Hoellwarth, J. (2007). Corps lowers drinking age to 18 in some cases, Retrieved on July 22, 2010 from: http://www. marinecorpstimes. com/news/2007/05/marine_alcohol_070511/ Jacobson I. G, Ryan MAK, Hooper TI, Smith TC, et al. (2008). “Alcohol use and alcohol-related problems before and after military combat deployment. ” JAMA; 300:663–675. Powers, R. (2009). U. S. Military: Military Drinking Age. Retrieved on July 22, 2010 from: http://usmilitary. about. com/library/polls/blmildrinkingage. htm