As quoted from the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . shall exist within the United States.” Mandatory military service is, in a way, forced servitude in compliance to any decision by the commander-in-chief. Selective service is unconstitutional, outdated, and far too morally unacceptable for the modern United States of America.
World War II – which ended 62 years ago – stands as the last war that required a large standing army to succeed. Modern wars – now euphemistically referred to as “police actions” – now achieve success with precision-guided missiles, artillery barrages, and superior technology, not a military force of several million soldiers. Therefore, the standing army is obsolete for most countries. Only countries that maintain a neutral stance on warfare and have no superior technology to support themselves may require a standing army to defend itself; however, a capable and powerful country like the United States needs no standing army to maintain its position in international warfare.
While a selective service may provide a reliable future for those who lack one, it would prevent prospective students from earning a full-time college education. The workforce, especially businesses like franchises that rely on the nation’s youth, would significantly weaken, dragging the presently wrecked economy with it. A military presence without a withdrawal timetable and heavy casualties, akin to Operation: Iraqi Freedom, could devastate the nation’s youth if all over 18 years old enlisted. The dire economic situation would worsen if women were conscripted, as a plethora of service industries rely more on women than men. Atrocities associated with selective service such as World War I Germany’s “lost generation” of 18-30 year olds serve as an ominous reminder of the risk implicated in mass conscription.
Conscription, one’s involuntary enlistment into the armed forces, violates one of the most important, founding United States Constitutional Amendments. The theory behind the standing army is obsolete for the United States, and the risks involved significantly outweigh any reasons for its employment. The youth of the nation should live in pursuit of his or her own goal, not that of the government.