Letters to the Editor 11/18/15
Make military service mandatory…
You are correct in suggesting that all American citizens should serve two years, mandatory, in service to our nation. We should all be vested and involved in our nation. Perhaps, immigrants under 30 should be obligated to serve, as well. I would never know how to put together a project so huge, but someone in the USA could organize it.
— Candi Leonetti
That’s actually a really terrible idea. Universal military service, which by its very nature would have to be short – about two years on the outside, but possibly even shorter – would degrade the quality of our military. The amount of turnover it would cause in the military would mean spending a lot more time and money than we currently do to train new conscripts, only to see the vast majority of them walk out the door 12 to 18 months later. Defense costs would soar. It would also create an immense experience drain. Furthermore, filling the military with ranks of people who are forced to be there instead of who chose to be there would do further damage to the quality of service. There is no such thing as involuntary volunteerism, your quaint beliefs about the moral effects of universal military service are naive. Was Lt. William Calley of My Lai a better person because of his military service? How about Lynndie England, Charles Graner, Ivan Frederick, etc. of Abu Ghraib? A servicewoman is more likely to be raped (and by her fellow servicemembers) than a civilian woman is. Requiring the military to find a place for everyone instead of allowing it the degree of selectivity it has would mean a lot more problems, a lot more dregs of society causing a lot more need for policing and prosecution, while these dregs would collectively bring down the quality of work the military does. Furthermore, requiring military service would delay getting new doctors, scientists, educators, and on top of that would be an affront to the concept of valuing individual liberty that is the foundation of our society. A really, really terrible idea.