Service to the Country
Service to the Country
While the choice of service to your country, on a national, state, or local government level, is an admirable and important endeavor, the choice must be driven by one’s own conscience. To think globally, or for the good of the nation and even for the future – cannot be forced. To compel someone to serve their country, as with the military draft(conscription), is a non effective notion that will neither guarantee the strength and quality of a nation nor its military. Some say that the all-volunteer force is not necessarily good for the country or the military.
Some think to maintain a serious fighting force this country needs to find ways to staff and pay for the military. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, called for reinstating the draft. “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game (Ricks). ” Some feel a strong military denotes the real strength of a nation and patriotism has a great role in decisions made regarding service to this Nation.
Some propose a revision of the draft that include both males and females and offer various options for the new conscripts. They want to offer the choice to give 18 months of military service with low pay but great post-service benefits like free college tuition. These conscripts would not be deployed into combat but could perform tasks currently outsourced at great cost to the government: paperwork, painting barracks, mowing lawns, driving generals around, and generally doing lower-skills tasks so professional soldiers don’t have to.
If a new conscript wants to remain in military service after the designated time frame they would move into the professional force and receive weapons training, higher pay and better benefits (Ricks). It is also suggested that those who object to a draft could opt out. “Those who declined to help Uncle Sam would in return pledge to ask nothing from him — no Medicare, no subsidized college loans and no mortgage guarantees. Those who want minimal government can have it (Ricks). ” Compelling someone to serve and taking away the rights of those who chose not to has already been proven to not be effective.
Soldiers serving in the Vietnam conflict had many problems, some problems due to their choice to serve being taken away. It seems that what the citizen soldier felt about his choice to serve would have been directly related to how they received their training and subsequently their performance during the war. Many turned to drugs as a way to cope and many suffered injuries mentally and physically because of the things they encountered. Nothing can be changed about the latter in the Vietnam conflict or any future wars but at least a person would have a say in whether they want to experience war.
There is something to be said regarding the draft when the military leaders, those involved in the day to day actions of the military, do not even want to force individuals to join. The leaders hear what the troops have to say regarding war and enlistment, and they know and understand what it is and what it takes to be a Soldier. Very seldom does Patriotism even come up in the conversation. It is all about how an individual may feel about their relationship to the military. Forcing someone to commit to service is not a way to make a stronger military.
A matter of patriotism can not be governed by politicians and gauged by others who have different views from the individual. Thinking on a broader scale of one’s devotion to their country must include thoughts on more than just the military to make this country stronger. Many people feel that the draft is the only solution available to ensure and maintain a strong military and keep costs of war at a minimum. The only way to resolve their serious shortages is to bring back the draft.
It is time to construct a new form of American conscription that will restore the citizen soldier, properly compensate the career force, and allow other essential security work to be done at a reasonable cost to the nation. A draft would dramatically upgrade the quality of US recruits because it would give the military a true cross-section of our youth. (Korb 146)” Forcing a citizen to serve cannot promise this person would be best suited to be a soldier. There is no way to foresee how a person may react to the training, the physical fitness or the rigid discipline.
The draft would indeed include quality people but if the quality person does not desire to be a soldier, then he will not become the soldier they hope him to be. Taking away a person’s choices encourages rebellion, this is not a good trait of a quality soldier. Proponents of the draft all fail to concern themselves with what the “individual desires. They all fail to consider the rights of a person to choose to go into military service or if they desire to service this nation in another capacity. You cannot say someone is not a patriot if they wish do do neither.
It comes down to the individual and how they measure their own patriotism and duty to their country. Whatever reason someone may choose to join or not join the military, the decision is only theirs to make. Compelling someone to join does not compel someone to serve to the best of their ability. War is devastating and life changing, and everyone should have a say in how they would participate if needed. The decisions to serve may differ for everyone. Some do not decide to join because they love their country or are great patriots, but because they need a job and may want to travel.
Although an individual reason may appear to be totally selfish, most know to expect the possibility of going to war if need be. Some know that the military can offer some of the things people want – the military expects something in return. When the draft ended in 1973 followed by ending the Selective Service registration two years later, many thought this was the end of compulsory service obligations. Yet, only five years later it was reinstated for men ages 18 – 35 years old. And still some men refuse to register regardless of the penalty. It can be agreed upon that for a nation to survive it needs to be strong.
A strong military for security is but only one way to achieve this goal. A nation should always be concerned with how it shows it’s gratitude towards its people. Concern in this area may not be at the forefront when asking its people to do something for their country. People need to desire to help their country and feel a connect with where they live. An individual’s devotion to the welfare of their country, or patriotism, and the passion which inspires one to serve comes from within. Patriotism has to be a part of who you are, what you stand for, and your ability to see beyond your own need.
How can a country help inspire its citizens to be patriotic? A nation that can help inspire its people to want to be patriots should be of great concern. It goes far beyond singing patriotic songs and reciting the pledge of allegiance – it has to be felt and practiced. One must feel the need to want to help their country to become stronger by making their people stronger. This would include economic, physical and emotional strength. It is hard to love a country that one may feel doesn’t love and appreciate them or their acts of patriotism, no matter how large or small.
During the devastation of 9/11 the people of this country showed huge acts of patriotism because as bad as the event was, it was a shared experience. An experience that the country went through together. This type of patriotism was not seen before that day. That cowardly act bought Americans closer together. It is through shared experiences that this country can rely on for patriotism not individualism. Weighing a citizen’s patriotism by whether they served in the military against the validity of a citizen simply serving this country by serving others is a better way and offers the chance for more people to participate.
During 9/11, while many citizens did in fact join the military to help, countless others performed selfless acts to simply help their neighbors. This country rallied around each other and tried to make sense of something senseless because we love our country and our neighbors. No one made the assumption that acts performed short of joining the military were insignificant. Every act of valor, patriotism and kindness was important not just for those directly affected but for this entire nation. This feeling must continue everyday. All acts given freely by the people in service to their country should be greatly appreciated and desired.
The gratitude must be expressed so that the people have a connection like the shared experience of 9/11. If someone desires to serve their country, there are many other ways in lieu of joining the military. This country has national service organizations like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps to name a few. And there are countless programs within one’s own community that are indeed worthy of being designated as service to the nation because they help people in various ways. These programs are not advertised as being a service to the country which leads someone to think the only way to serve is by joining the military.
By not putting as much emphasis on these service programs seemingly forces an individual to choose service by joining a branch of the military because that actually gauges one’s patriotism. Even with the great amount of volunteers to service organizations, this country can do more within our own communities that will have a ripple effect to change our society. The government can make service organizations more adequate more inviting to a wider range of its citizens. What works for one culture may not work for another in this country and each culture must identify with the problem in order to offer a solution.
There is no limit to the problems that volunteers can solve. “Not only do volunteers help people in need; they elevate and refine their own lives by virtue of the service they give. Young volunteers almost invariably become better citizens themselves, enriching their families, communities and their nation over a lifetime (A Call to National Service). ” Young people love their country but some do not feel that going into the military is how they desire to show their patriotism. “For those young people who do not feel moved by patriotism or propelled by economics to enlist in the military, there should be other options for national service.
Forcing the issue, with a draft, is no solution (Anonymous790). ” People join the military for different reasons. Some join because they do not have a job, some because they do not have money or they need money for college, and often out of family tradition. Only a small portion actually join because of patriotism. “George Bush likes to say it’s because they’re patriots, but the truth may have more to do with financial need and recruiters targeting those with limited economic options. (Mariscal)”
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 2 October 2016
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