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COMMENTARY: Military service should be mandatory in America

Michael Sudhalter

Michael Sudhalter

Republican Party presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has ideas on how to make America great again.

I think America is already great — the greatest to be exact. We should celebrate that fact on Veterans Day and throughout the year.

But Veterans Day is very important because we recognize the men and women who sacrificed so much to ensure our liberty and freedom.

Living in a relatively safe and open society, complacency has a tendency to become commonplace.

But it shouldn’t.

The challenges that we face as a country are different than those before us 200, 100, 50 or even 15 years ago.

So what I’m about to say may come across as controversial to some folks.

It’s time to make two years of military service mandatory to all able-bodied Americans when they turn 18 years old.

Many of today’s young people lack discipline, respect for authority and direction in their lives. They arrive at college with that entitled mindset and often waste thousands of their parents’ hard-earned dollars.

Joining the military would give these young adults a chance to learn about discipline and gain valuable skills.

After two years of service, they can take those skills into the workforce or enter college with a sense of perspective about themselves and the world around them.

Our challenges are much different than traditional armies that we faced in previous wars.

In 21st Century America, war is also about winning the hearts and minds of people halfway across the world. War can also include battling Cyberattacks and social media propaganda.

Why not have some of America’s best and brightest serve their country to keep us safe in Cyberspace before they go on to earn high-dollar salaries at Google or Facebook?

America’s closest ally, Israel, has a mandatory military service policy. The circumstances are different since it is a smaller country in the middle of a volatile region.

But youth in Israel have a much stronger appreciation for the sacrifice of their military personnel because everyone has a family member that either served or is currently serving.

In recent years, we’ve all heard about veterans receiving low quality or delayed service at the Veteran’s Administration Hospitals.

The majority of Americans were in disbelief, but later shrugged their collective shoulders and moved on to the next news cycle.

If all Americans were serving, the interest in how veterans were treated would be exponentially higher and our leaders — Democrat and Republican — would be held accountable.

Plus, aspiring medical doctors could serve their country before going on to achieve accolades at major hospitals and research centers.

1 Comment for “COMMENTARY: Military service should be mandatory in America”

  1. badblogcollection

    That’s actually a really terrible idea. Universal military service, which by its very nature would have to be short – about 2 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. Really, really terrible idea.

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