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Should serving your country be required?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by veryoldschool, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. Jun 3, 2009 #1 of 58
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    While I'm not questioning which path was right for you, there is something about those that put in the time for the country instead of themselves.
    I've always though everyone should do two years service for this country. Be it military, or some other service that benefits "the common good".
     
  2. Jun 3, 2009 #2 of 58
    redfiver

    redfiver DBSTalk Club Member

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    I have put much more than 2 years of service in for my country and community and will continue to do so. I don't think there is something with those who put in time for their country/community, I think there is something strange with those who don't. I'm not talking about anything specific, it can be something as simple as working on a clean-up project at a local creek or volunteering some time at your kid's school. Those are both wonderful bits of service that strengthens a community. I'm not passing judgement or trying to start any arguments over this, just an observation.
     
  3. Jun 3, 2009 #3 of 58
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    It's a nice sentiment, and I don't wholly disagree with you... but, requiring such service would be something a socialistic or communistic country might do. For us to be the democracy (democratic republic more accurately) that we aspire to be, such "requirements" really can't and shouldn't be considered.

    I haven't served, though I actually considered for about 5 minutes once. My father was in the Air Force for 4 years... but he will be the first to tell you he doesn't consider himself a "veteran" in the same sense as those who actually served in dangerous areas or saw combat. Some of his older brothers were in other wars, and saw more than he did.

    From my perspective, I respect anyone willing to offer to serve for his/her country, whether he actually fights or not during his/her term... because the joining means the willingness to put his/her life on the line whether it actually happens or not.
     
  4. Jun 3, 2009 #4 of 58
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    The first thing that comes to mind, are the several other countries that do require national service, and I don't recall them being a "socialistic or communistic country". Would you consider Israel one? Others are in western Europe.
    Now I don't think this will ever happen as it would take a change in mindset and I'm sure Kennedy's speech "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" has made an impact on me.
    Another part is why should someone that does spend two years of their life doing something for the country, then come back to the civilian world and find themselves behind those that didn't in the job market?
    Whether it's the military, the conservation corp, habitats for humanity, etc., imagine the good that could be done if by age "x" everyone invested two years of their life helping out this country.
    I know sometimes I'm a dreamer, but what the hell. It's not socialism or communist, it's just a less selfish/self centered outlook.
     
  5. Jun 3, 2009 #5 of 58
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I certainly wouldn't consider them a pure democracy if they require military service. In fact, the US used to decry countries that required service whether you wanted to serve or not.

    I remember when the US used to brag about being the largest and best voluntary military in the world... Not only do we have the freedom not to serve in the armed forces, but the nation is so great that we have enough people willing to volunteer.

    Now I grant you that I think highly of a person who does volunteer, but I cannot think less of a person who does not. Where would you draw the line?

    In theory, one of the rights our military serves to protect is the freedom to not serve in the military.

    Now this would take the discussion in a different direction, as it implies service in the military is a waste of time. I always thought (and our armed forces advertise themselves as such) that a person serving in the military gets pay, experience, training, and now assistance in job-finding or college tuition upon completing their service to the country.

    Basically, I thought a lot of perks came with serving your country.

    Now a lot of soldiers are let down too (medical care is high on the list) post-service... but I can't advocate placing a veteran in a job over an otherwise qualified candidate who has already been doing the job.

    If we are talking choosing to hire candiate A vs candidate B and both are equally qualified but B also served in the military... then I'll agree with you, and hire candidate B over A in most cases where all else is equal. But I won't elevate candidate B just because of his military service alone, despite the respect I have for his choice in serving.

    I think you miss my point. It's a grand notion... and I helped on a Habitat for Humanity home, and found that to be rewarding to me as well as the people who were going to ultimately own that home...

    BUT there is a huge difference in people volunteering, and requiring them to serve.

    You and I might believe it nice if more, or maybe everyone, would volunteer... BUT we can't become a country that requires that "volunteering"...
     
  6. Jun 3, 2009 #6 of 58
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I see we have some very different views/experiences. I served and while I was in and later out, formed these opinions/ideas.
    You'll never know what freedom really is until you've lost part of it. The closest I can describe being an enlisted member of a volunteer Arm Forces is to remember what an indentured servant was in colonial days.
    While the services offer, as you call it, "perks", the best one I learned was no matter what may come, I know I've been through worse in the service, and nobody ever shot at me, though I was "on the line" waiting for the war to start 24/7.
    We don't have to agree and clearly it doesn't look like we're from the same cloth. Mine was blue, but I mostly wore fatigues, and had stripes on my sleeves.
     
  7. Jun 3, 2009 #7 of 58
    Supramom2000

    Supramom2000 In Loving Memory of Onyx-2/23/09

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    Stewart,

    I thnk VOS was referring to Reservists and National Guardsmen who get called up and then come back to find themselves behind in their civilian job. If not, then VOS, I apologize for putting words in your mouth. There are many laws to try and accomodate for this, but it all depends on the employers. I know of one woman who lost her job before being activated because her employers knew she was going to be called up.

    And as far as perks, not many perks make up for living in the worst parts of the country at the whim of Uncle Sam and living in 5 states in 8 years. The "perks" I have been left with are arthritic knees and a divorce from another career Army officer.

    But it is voluntary and we knew that going in.
     
  8. Jun 3, 2009 #8 of 58
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I wasn't "limiting" it to just those, but by the rest of your post, Howdy, you know what it's all about. :)
     
  9. Jun 4, 2009 #9 of 58
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Let me revisit my earlier reply to make sure what I meant to say and what I actually say are closer to the same :)

    First and foremost I respect those who serve, in whatever capacity that they serve.

    There are many "perks" that come with serving, should you not suffer an injury (mental or physical) in the process... but I do not mean to say those are enough or that they automatically equal repayment for the service done for the country. Some debts are hard to quantify or repay, so I don't mean to imply that.

    All that said...

    My real plot-points were meant to be:

    The notion of EVERYONE contributing in some meaningful way is a great one, and if all people would volunteer in some way to make the country better or serve in the military, I agree many things would be better. But, we can't require such service. It is 100% counter to our concept of the USA to require such service, even if it would be better.

    Where would you draw that line? Lots of things would be better, but do we legislate everything that should be better for the majority? We do not want to go down that dangerous path, and I would think that anyone who actually has served in the military would know that they fought in part to not only defend those who can't defend themselves but also for those people to have the right not to defend.

    As a US citizen, I do NOT have the right to undermine my military... but I do have the right not to sign up... and I should not be thought any less of a person or citizen because I didn't serve.

    Now, the flip side of that...

    I honor and respect those that have served... and in an otherwise equal footing scenario, would give more credit for an ex-military person over a civilian when it came to a job placement situation.

    But that can't translate to always giving the ex-soldier everything.

    A guy who works for 4 years gains experience, while a guy who goes to college learns but gains no in-field experience. It is debatable how much the college education is worth when you've had a guy in the field already 4 years learning the craft.

    The same applies to the military... No doubt a guy just released from service has invaluable experience, but compared to someone who already performed the specific job for the past 4 years I couldn't just automatically hire the ex-military guy who may or may not adapt.

    Meanwhile... If I have a job for 4 years in carpentry, but leave my job... I have no right to automatically be first in line for a job in a different field... just because I gave in the form of building homes for years.

    Same goes for the military. Now, if you told me that our soldiers got no pay, and no education, and no training, and were essentially "held hostage" for years... I'd agree they were owed something in terms of replacing those "lost" years.

    But, to me, when you say they are owed something because they had those years taken away from them... it strongly implies that what they were doing in the service was not of value. That's what I read into it anyway.

    What about firefighters and policemen? They do similar life-risking and life-altering work... but you don't just kick an engineer to the curb to make room for an ex-fireman who wants to change careers no matter how respected a man (or woman) he is for his past service.
     
  10. coldsteel

    coldsteel Hall Of Fame

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    THAT is awesome. Wish more people were like that.
     
  11. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    point 1: do you remember the draft? It wasn't voluntary and went on in time of war and peace.
    point 2: military aren't "owed" anything [other than maybe some respect]. We do it because "it's our job" [which is a concept that I noticed was lost on the civilian side]. Duty, honor... seem to go hand in hand.

    "My point" was more to "equalize" the four year college grad with those that served. Before the college grad enters the workforce, they serve, and those that served can go to school.
    Firefighting,..., you name it, anything that is for the good of others/country.
    Current Military is four years + [and lately "the plus" is being pushed too far].
    During my time, I noticed around the 2 year mark, some would have had enough and started wanting out/fighting a system they'll never win.
    This seems like a good time for all to serve. Not too long, yet long enough to to make it amount to something.
    Will this ever happen? Probably not, but it doesn't mean this is a bad idea.
    Some European countries do this. Are the Swiss, Israelis, the Finns [or Swedes can't remember which] socialist or communists?
    Your first & second post, may have hit me wrong, as it seemed so unaware of what "those that serve" go through and seemed to be from someone sitting in a nice fat chair, enjoying what we defend, and doing weekend "do good projects" when it was convenient.
    I'm not saying this is you, but why my "feathers got ruffled". :)
     
  12. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    The draft was a very different animal than what we have been discussing, to be fair.

    I had to register, of course, when I turned 18... but I was born in 1970 so I missed by a longshot all the enforced draft situations.

    The draft itself is a grey area for me... I would have disagreed with the draft during the Vietnam war. I would have supported our soldiers, but not that war. IF I were alive at that time and of age, I can't say 100% what I would have done... I wouldn't have been a "dodger" and wouldn't have left the country or anything, but not sure I would have been enthused to fight in that war.

    Back during WWI and WWII it was much easier to be patriotic basically is all I'm saying there... so signing up or honoring the draft, and understanding the need for a draft, is less of an argument for those wars.

    So I can't really say because I was too young (or didn't yet exist) and am now too old if a draft came up again.

    And I think my point is that I don't see the need to equalize. I grant you that IF we were talking about a draft, the rules shift somewhat and I would shift more to your way of thinking in terms of the equalizing.

    But right now, without a draft... military service is a choice, just like college, or beginning a career or apprenticeship. I see no reason to try and "equalize" experiences like that because everyone is reasonably equally presented with an opportunity at that age to decide to go military, college, or start working somewhere.

    If you don't want to serve, go to college or start taking a job somewhere to begin a career path. If you don't want to go to college, get a job or join the service. If, 3-4 years later, you decide on a different path then that is another choice you can make. No need to equalize or balance or anything in my opinion.

    Again, IF we had an enforced draft, and IF you were drafted into service as opposed to enlisting... then I think you and I would be closer to agreeing in that being drafted is not the individual's choice anymore and so he should get a chance to go to school or something afterwards differently than if he was a voluntary enlistee.

    Well, they might not be communist or fully socialist... but you can't argue they are democratic either if they require such service. Again, for me, it's just a fundamental part of what our country was supposedly founded upon... that being, freedom.

    I also agree with you it would be nice for everyone to take part in some social-building activity that would be good for the country AND good for the individual. On that point I absolutely agree with the benefits to everyone.

    I just can't agree with ever wanting to enforce it as a mandatory thing.

    I understand... and that's why I've been attempting to clarify. I understand a lot more than my personal experience would indicate that I ought to... and I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt for a lot of other things that I know I have no first-hand knowledge or experience.

    To be truthful... some of my own ideas of how the people in this country might be better off follow similar lines to your way of thinking... I don't know if this country ever was like this... but the "old days" way of thinking of community and your neighbors being more involved with each other, is a good place to start.

    I would like to see more community efforts, and more people willing to sacrifice for the common good... and I think most people would be better off for it... so in that sense, I share the dream you have advocated.

    It just needs to be all voluntary, in my mind, though... If you have to mandate it, then it really isn't real and wouldn't sustain... and it certainly wouldn't be the free country we strive to be. I will, though, continue to hope that one day we naturally evolve to that point to where everyone wants to pitch in as you say in some meaningful way.
     
  13. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

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    Regarding the discussions here about requiring military service for young people, while I think most people would benefit from military service, the most vibrant military force is one comprised entirely of volunteers.

    Regarding leveling the field between college graduates and servicemen and women, we live in a country where we can go as far as our abilities will take us. For example, I don't have a college degree (I served six years in the Marines rather than going to college) and I'm design technology manager for a large architectural firm, and I make six figures. Could I make more with a college degree? Yes, but not substantially more.

    In the US we can each go as far as our skills and motivation will carry us; it would be counter productive to try to artificially stimulate this. That my friends would be called socialism.
     
  14. phrelin

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    The draft in the United States was never "universal" in the sense that everyone served doing something. People paid other people to serve in their stead in the Civil War. The New York Draft Riots of July 1863 are described in Wikipedia as "the largest civil insurrection in American history apart from the Civil War itself."

    Fast forward. The fact the neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush saw action in Vietnam speaks volumes about the fairness of the draft as American politicians are inclined to use it.

    As far as I'm concerned a draft should never be used unless Congress declares war pursuant to the Constitution and then it should automatically be implemented and deferments or exceptions should be few and far between. Nor do I think the National Guard should be called up unless Congress declares war pursuant to the Constitution.

    Just one old guy's opinion about how to keep Presidents and Congress honest about what's a war and when is it justified.
     
  15. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Think it's time to either break this out into another thread for further discussion, or bring this to a close and let the original topic proceed.
    I never thought this would become such a side track to the thread, by simply posting a though I've had. :)
     
  16. phrelin

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    Thinking can be dangerous.:grin:
     
  17. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I think this is a good topic off-shoot, and some good + healthy discussion... so I've broken it into its own thread now.
     
  18. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    This is what I get for picking on a mod. :lol:
    Now with this broken out:

    Some of your thoughts about what to do with a war you wouldn't support, I had.
    Before you were born, I was marching in the streets protesting. It wasn't against those fighting it, but our country's involvement in something I didn't understand/agree with.
    Later I volunteered to defend this country that gave me the freedom to protest, listened to the people and got out of that war. Few other country's have this freedom.
    In doing so, I learned I'd lost some of these freedoms. I couldn't protest. I was no longer "free" to control what/where/how long I would be doing anything. I had a commitment to honor or I faced imprisonment. In Uncle Sam's humor, imprisonment [bad time] didn't even count towards my commitment. After serving [bad] time, I'd still be required to finish my first commitment.
    Then there is the 4 year active commitment with two years inactive, but "oh by the way" we can extend your commitment without your consent or call you back if we want to.
    I'm not bitter and really only trying to give someone that hasn't been through it some idea of what it is.
    "Perks" [oh yeah] living is some god forsaken place, eating some fairly poor food, living with little to no privacy, and then the health care...
    "It is a great way of life", or "it's more than a job, it's an adventure". There are many of these, but it really comes down to "Uncle Sam needs you".

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program:

    Instead of "Uncle Sam", how about "Your Country needs you" ?
    Are you willing to step up and be counted? Are you ready to put yourself out, take time away from "your life", for the good of this country? Help make this a better place?
    We could use the help.
     
  19. fluffybear

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    Agreed!
     
  20. dodge boy

    dodge boy R.I.P. Chris Henry

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    Simply Yes I do think it should be mandatory.....
     

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