There are two ways to experience war. One is to experience it first hand and be in the actual battlefield: to feel the bullets flying past you just barely missing your head, to listen to explosions everywhere as if it were as common as the sound of chirping birds in a forest, and to see the destruction all around you to wherever you eyes could reach. In this kind of war experience, you can take part in it either as a soldier (taking part in making the destruction), or as a victim (being a part of the destruction). The other way to experience war is through a safer, more comfortable, and even enjoyable means.
You experience it through various mediums. One example is the news. Be it written on the newspaper or be it shown on TV, you could get to know about wars all in the comfort of your own home or office while sitting on your favorite couch, chair, toilet seat, or wherever else you prefer see or read the news. Another example is the more enjoyable means, which is watching it in movies. You get to see your favorite actor perform the role of a very brave, very heroic soldier who never seems to die easily even with several wounds, several injuries, and several bullets lodged in his body.
Then there is this new and even more enjoyable medium called the video game. What makes this more enjoyable than the movie is its interactivity. Instead of just watching your favorite movie star become the hero, in this medium, you get to be the actual hero. It tries to simulate to the best it can the feeling of being a soldier in a battlefield. You get to shoot the enemies and save the world with the benefit of instant reincarnation in case you die and the help of cheat codes. Most people would probably opt for the second safer option. No one would probably choose to go through the real pain and agony of a war.
People would want to stay away from that as much as possible. However, how would you feel if your government suddenly decrees a mandatory military enlistment? Your government will require you to partake in such suffering, or at least prepare you for it. You will have no choice but to go through the first option. Mandatory Military Enlistment, or conscription, is the involuntary drafting of the citizens of a certain nation to serve in its military. In this service, you could just be receiving military training and becoming a part of the reserve forces or you could be sent to the real battlefield.
This policy more commonly applies to adult males. In a few occasions however, women have also been conscripted into doing military service. One such example was during WWII when British women (save for some who were exempted due to special circumstances) were required under the Emergency Powers (Defense) Act of 1940 to sign up for service in the military. Some countries who employ mandatory military enlistments are South Korea, China, Brazil, Iran, Russia, Germany, Egypt, etc. Countries that currently do not have mandatory conscriptions include the United States, Canada, France, India, Iraq, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
As for the United States, they presently do not have mandatory military enlistment. But in their long history of involvement in various wars, they used to employ mandatory conscription dating back to the colonial periods during the 1600s and 1700s, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Vietnam war, and more. Throughout time, there have been various protests against mandatory military enlistments. Is it necessary to implement such a policy? It is quite easy to see how many people are against it. It would be like sending a battalion of soldiers into a war they do not even believe in.
Naturally, there would be a motivation for them to survive and fight for their life in that war, but they probably will not have enough drive to want to win the war for their country. Maybe if the case was that a certain nation was unwittingly attacked by another country, then that nation could probably mandate their people to help defend their country. Self-defense, as some murder suspect could plea. But if the war was waged upon by a certain country upon another, this is then a case the citizens should not be mandated to do military service.
The people of one nation do not just wage war against the people of another, the politicians do. Wars are started and fueled primarily by politics. Why should the politicians send off their people to fight and die for a war that the people probably did not even want? Why don’t they fight the battles they started instead? Moreover, when the government, through mandated conscription has many soldiers (which is to say the tools for war) ready for battle, it would be easier for them to always look at war as a solution. War is what they want, they have the tools and necessities needed for it, and then why not take part in it?
Therefore, if there in no mandated conscription, then there would probably be fewer soldiers. Fewer soldiers could mean a weaker attack force. And with a weaker attack force, the politicians would probably not have the courage to start a war. Back in 2003 however, there was one certain American congressman had a different way of looking at this issue and called for mandatory military service. Washington Rep. Charles Rangel created a bill to the Congress that would re-establish mandatory military service for Americans.
His reasoning for this was that the higher government officials are too quick to wage war against opposing nations knowing that their own children, relatives and loved ones will be safe in their homes knowing about the war only through the second, more comfortable and enjoyable means. According to him, if mandated conscription would be reinstated, then these government officials would probably think twice before choosing war as the only option and start seeing other less violent solutions knowing that their loved ones would more likely have to experience an actual war and be a part of the violence and destruction.
If this were true, then mandated military enlistments would have a deeper and more altruistic purpose, which is to prevent wars from even being initiated. They say that the purpose of war is ultimately peace. The very first emperor of China during his time wanted tried conquering the other six states in China by waging war upon them in the hope creating unity among all seven Chinese states. In the hopes for ultimate peace is it always necessary to have to first go though an agonizing and destructive war? If there is a less violent means for resolving disputes, why not opt for those.
Wouldn’t it all be better if people would just have to experience war battles in videogames where everything that is destroyed could easily be reconstructed by just pressing the restart button?
Roller, Julia. “Congressman calls for mandatory military service. ” April 2003. ProQuest Information and Learning Company. 5 December 2008. <http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_qa3835/is_200303/ai_n9235451> “Timeline of conscription (mandatory military enlistment) in the U. S. ” 2001. News Hour Extra. 5 December 2008. <www. pbs. org/newshour/extra> “Women and War. ” Imperial War Museum. 5 December 2008. <www. iwm. org. uk>