Monday, September 27, 2021

Mandatory military service

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War has been ongoing in different parts of the world for centuries. While concentrated mostly in Africa and the Middle East, countries from other parts of the world want and need to be prepared for any outbreak. With that in mind, many have made it compulsory by law for their citizens, sometimes both men and women, to partake in mandatory military service. This is usually enforced between the ages of 18 and 30 and can take any time from between nine months up to three years in some countries.

Military service consists of doing military exercise and generally being prepared for the outbreak of war. Military service doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be training with a gun as jobs can range anywhere from being a chef to being a marksman. After service is finished, citizens may have to do refresher courses on what they have learned from year to year.

Among those who have laws that enforce conscription of women are North Korea, China, Israel and Peru while many African countries enforce conscription on men as well as South Korea and Singapore in Asia. North Korea has by the longest enforced military service, men must complete 11 years and women will do seven.

Countries around the world have different laws around the issue of military service. In the US it is not mandatory to do military service, all males upon reaching 18 must register in the Selective Service System, in case war breaks out and they are needed. In Bolivia, conscription can be taken to the extreme. If the military runs low on numbers, men and women between the ages of 18-49 can be forced to do military service.

In the European country of Finland, if a man fails to report for military duty, a warrant is put out for their arrest while on applying for a passport, citizens must provide proof of service completion meaning that dodging the draft is nearly non-existent.

Most countries allow exemptions to military service. People with disabilities or severe injuries are not required to do it, while if an individual has a certain achievement they can also be exempt. In South Korea, if an athlete wins a medal at an international games such as the Olympics or Asian Games they won’t have to do military service.  Korea has also had some issues regarding special treatment to celebrities. The highest profile recent cases involve MC Mong, a Korean musician, who had his molar teeth removed to skip service. He was punished with a suspended sentence. While Yoo Seung Jun, a pop singer, took out American citizenship so that he would not be conscripted. He was banned from Korea indefinitely and deported.

Conscription became less and less popular after the second world war with many countries deciding that it should no longer be written into law as mandatory. However, with the relatively new threat of terrorism, many countries in Europe has re-opened the debate including Poland, Sweden and Germany. With the added benefit of promoting nationalism, many countries see it as one of the only ways to combat outside threats.

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