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26RE: A Voluntary Draft vs. a Mandatory One

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  • Chen Shapira
    May 11, 2002
      > What are your thoughts about making the IDF a voluntary army,
      > and about
      > voluntary draft vs. a mandatory one in general. The recent situation
      > seemed to inspire me a lot in this regard. I recall that Ayn
      > Rand opposed
      > a mandatory draft, but I don't know in what book she expressed her
      > sentiments against it, nor read this particular text of hers.

      The book you are looking for is "Capitalism - the unknown ideal".
      She has number of Vietnam comments there.

      If you had written this article few month ago, I would have agreed with
      every word.
      But today, a month after many of my friends disappeard with Turtle-8, I'm
      not sure any more.

      It seems to me that there's a severe shortage of fighters. So severe that
      soliders who are unqualified for fighting (Tironut 02 + Profil 45) are now
      going a short (2 days) course, and sent to protect settlements. The need to
      quickly recruit Miluim for some operations seems to be another indication
      for this shortage.

      If we had a volunteer army, would we have enough people? Would people stay
      there long enough to justify their training?
      If we paid our solifers fair wages, could we still balance our economy? (And
      a fair wage would need to be quite high for those who sleep in tents and
      risk their lives)

      I hate slave labor, and I think that forcing people to spend 3 productive
      years as slave labor is a moral crime.
      Perhaps a country that requires 3 years of slave labor from every man and
      woman doesn't have the right to exist?

      What if too few people volunteered? Would that mean that only few people
      think that this country worth fighting for? Would it mean that we must pack
      our bags and immigrate?

      I don't dare asking myself that question. Would I volunteer? I'm not sure. I
      can't honestly say to myself that this country is worth my blood.

      > 1. First of all, a military with a mandatory draft has little
      > motivation
      > to improve the conditions it offers those who join it, improve the way
      > they are treated and they feel about it, etc. It tends to put
      > people in
      > arbitrary positions, regardless of their capabilities or desires, and
      > other such non-competitive side-effects.

      Almost true. Some sections make every effort to get the best people. The
      special units, air-force, Navi. Our intelligence units as well.

      > 2. More over, a malicious government can decide to abuse a
      > military so it
      > follows its whims, and involve in an activity that its
      > soldiers and/or the
      > public in general does not approve of.

      I believe that a mandatory army is more difficult to abuse.
      Many people do things they have moral problems with, because they need the
      job.
      In a mandatory army, it may be easier to quite.
      Note how many Miluim people refuse to serve in the occupied territories, as
      opposed to Keva people.
      Miluim people know that at most they'll spend a month in prision. Keva
      soliders may find themselves in the street for life.

      > 3. The word "must" is a very big de-motivator. We can see it in the
      > increasing number of people who choose to get a release from
      > the army in
      > a myriad of ways. I got a release too, (albeit I actually
      > wanted to join
      > the army in the first place), and since then I heard from
      > many people who
      > served their before their academic studies, that I missed
      > very little, and
      > that their service was a waste of time. I've encountered a very small
      > number of people who claimed they enjoyed their army service.

      I agree. Few people have high motivation in the army.

      Personally, I believe that the army service wasn't a complete waste of time
      (And I was a secretary!), but I didn't know it during the service.

      > 4. I'm not sure that a non-mandatory draft necessarily
      > implies less people
      > joining. I take the stand that the majority of people out there are
      > responsible and would voluntarily join the military if they
      > see it fit.
      > Those who do not wish to join only de-motivate the rest and
      > make the lives
      > of those who do miserable, anyhow. Would you like to be
      > forced to work in
      > your workplace? (If only the Technion understood that and
      > gave me a 4 1/2
      > years/115 points degree - ;-)).

      Thats where we differ.
      There's no way to prove it, but I'm not sure that everyone who serves now
      would also serve if he had to volunteer.
      Remember that we are part of a culture that thinks theres nothing worse than
      being a sucker.
      Volunteering won't be such a hit.
      Also, consider that most of those who would join would probably militaristic
      types, perhaps from only one side of the political scale. This can make the
      military a political organ, with political views, as opposed to the mostly
      neutral army we have now.

      > 5. The army can potentially get more qualified engineers or other
      > qualified people of such sort, because some people would
      > decide to join it
      > only after they finish their studies.

      I agree here.

      > Naturally, you can see that I'm almost entirely convinced
      > that a voluntary
      > army would be a good thing. What are your thoughts about it?

      As I said, half a year ago, I would have agreed.
      Now I have second thoughts.
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