Why do people enlist?

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I'm an Israeli pre-draft teenager.
As I expect you to know, we all *have* to serve in the army (of course with exceptions (girls usually aren't sent to the front-lines, and ultra-orthodox Jews, well... Aren't yet integrated)).

Anyway, to the discussion at hand.
A few years ago I thought of the army service as a waste of time, something that will hold me back from learning the trade I wanted, or just to have a normal life as you may call it. Then I got older (funny saying that as a 18-year-old), and I just wanted to try and make the most of it. Hell, I even trained. That doesn't mean I like what I have to do... but still, it's the way of life here.

I've always wondered why people in other countries enlist. Why would they? It isn't mandatory, nor it is directly protecting your loved ones (you aren't guarding a border 20 miles from home, just saying).

So, to the question: Why do people enlist? (where it is non-mandatory)
(I meant no offence or insult, just trying to figure out a state of mind that isn't familiar to me)

P.S. If I made any grammar or spelling mistakes, sorry. English isn't my first language...

Well, I understand that in the US for example enlisting comes with a few goodies on the side. Then there's also the people who like weapons, seek adventure or prefer the clear working structure.

Isn't there any option for you to do substitute social work or something?

Alon Doron:
I'm an Israeli pre-draft teenager.
As I expect you to know, we all *have* to serve in the army (of course with exceptions (girls usually aren't sent to the front-lines, and ultra-orthodox Jews, well... Aren't yet integrated)).

Anyway, to the discussion at hand.
A few years ago I thought of the army service as a waste of time, something that will hold me back from learning the trade I wanted, or just to have a normal life as you may call it. Then I got older (funny saying that as a 18-year-old), and I just wanted to try and make the most of it. Hell, I even trained. That doesn't mean I like what I have to do... but still, it's the way of life here.

I've always wondered why people in other countries enlist. Why would they? It isn't mandatory, nor it is directly protecting your loved ones (you aren't guarding a border 20 miles from home, just saying).

So, to the question: Why do people enlist? (where it is non-mandatory)
(I meant no offence or insult, just trying to figure out a state of mind that isn't familiar to me)

P.S. If I made any grammar or spelling mistakes, sorry. English isn't my first language...

Hey dude! I'm doing the same thing! My physical is 82 so I can still do full combat , but I'm still waiting on intelligence corps route response.

Same. Intel doesn't want me for some unknown reason. Navy instead I suppose.

Unlikely to get fired, social experience, some places have extra goodies and in the European armies it is unlikely that you will have to actually risk your life, so there isn't much deterrent there. There's also the prestige thing of being a soldier in some places or perhaps nationalism.

Personally I got out of being drafted on account of aspergers syndrome and I was pleased with it.

In the US you get pretty decent money for college as well as a chance to get in shape and learn some useful skills. I'm on and off about joining, might just do it for the chance to see another country (and because I'm pretty sure by the time I get my degree it'll be useless :P). What I've noticed is there are very few who join up because they think they're protecting their country or loved ones - I think most of us in the US between 15 and 30 understand that the military has it's own agenda and isn't as worried about protecting anyone as it is about maintaining corporate interests overseas.

I have a few buddies who are in the military or have already finished their service, and they said that you have to eat a lot of shit while you're in, but that it was a pretty significant experience that made them better people.

Quaxar:
Well, I understand that in the US for example enlisting comes with a few goodies on the side. Then there's also the people who like weapons, seek adventure or prefer the clear working structure.

Isn't there any option for you to do substitute social work or something?

Well, not really. I'm fit for combat (the army does something called "combat profiling"). I have no real reason, as far as the army's concerned, to exchange my service, nor do I want to do so. Why escape something that's a big part of my society, anyway?

You can learn new things in the army, self defense, driving vehicles(Car is most practical).

Luca72:
In the US you get pretty decent money for college as well as a chance to get in shape and learn some useful skills. I'm on and off about joining, might just do it for the chance to see another country (and because I'm pretty sure by the time I get my degree it'll be useless :P). What I've noticed is there are very few who join up because they think they're protecting their country or loved ones - I think most of us in the US between 15 and 30 understand that the military has it's own agenda and isn't as worried about protecting anyone as it is about maintaining corporate interests overseas.

I have a few buddies who are in the military or have already finished their service, and they said that you have to eat a lot of shit while you're in, but that it was a pretty significant experience that made them better people.

So, what you're actually saying is the decision to enlist is usually because of financial reasons?

Some people I know have done it for college sponsorship, and one guy joined straight up because (as far as I could tell) he just wanted to shoot people.
I'm glad some people do though, otherwise it'd probably be mandatory. And I have no wish to get shot at, or live under the full command of other people. I did CCF at school and that was enough of a taste for me to decide it wasn't for me.

Alon, from the people I've talked to about it that's what I gather. Note that they all would fall into the category of generally middle class college students, so it probably doesn't represent the full spectrum of reasons.

I've got a question for you though - do you think having a mandatory required enlistment is a good or bad idea? Because I've done some thinking, and it seems to me that countries with short mandatory enlistment produce citizens that are a lot more self-motivated, confident, and generally skillful. Right now in the US there's a big problem with young men going to college for degrees they don't know how to use, with little to no sense of direction and zero job skills. It's disheartening to watch, and it seems to me like some military service could remedy that. Just food for thought.

Alon Doron:

Quaxar:
Well, I understand that in the US for example enlisting comes with a few goodies on the side. Then there's also the people who like weapons, seek adventure or prefer the clear working structure.

Isn't there any option for you to do substitute social work or something?

Well, not really. I'm fit for combat (the army does something called "combat profiling"). I have no real reason, as far as the army's concerned, to exchange my service, nor do I want to do so. Why escape something that's a big part of my society, anyway?

Here, if you're deemed fit to serve, we have the choice of going with it for six months or rather doing something in a caring professions for nine months instead. So I was wondering if Israel had the same system or if there was only one way.

Captcha: be my friend ... that's sweet

Luca72:

I've got a question for you though - do you think having a mandatory required enlistment is a good or bad idea

No, to me it is tantamount to slavery.

Quaxar:

Alon Doron:

Quaxar:
Well, I understand that in the US for example enlisting comes with a few goodies on the side. Then there's also the people who like weapons, seek adventure or prefer the clear working structure.

Isn't there any option for you to do substitute social work or something?

Well, not really. I'm fit for combat (the army does something called "combat profiling"). I have no real reason, as far as the army's concerned, to exchange my service, nor do I want to do so. Why escape something that's a big part of my society, anyway?

Here, if you're deemed fit to serve, we have the choice of going with it for six months or rather doing something in a caring professions for nine months instead. So I was wondering if Israel had the same system or if there was only one way.

Captcha: be my friend ... that's sweet

"Caring professions"? What does that mean?

Matthew94:

Luca72:

I've got a question for you though - do you think having a mandatory required enlistment is a good or bad idea

No, to me it is tantamount to slavery.

What I'm getting at is that it's something accepted as a social duty in some countries, and only seems like enslavement to us because we've never tried it. We're happy to pay taxes for things we don't support and send our kids to a broken public school system just because that's how it's been done since before we were born. Maybe military service isn't such a bad idea as long as mandatory positions aren't deployed into combat zones.

If mandatory service meant you only had to serve for two years, and you would be trained in combat and other general skills, AND you were put into a defense role where you remain in the US and serve a National Guard type role, what would be so bad about that? We're spread so thin these days into other countries that a planned invasion could do some significant damage - this way you would have a stable, constantly rotating guard force.

On a personal level, I did ROTC at a military high school, and I feel like that was certainly the most important thing I did as a teenager. It got me in shape and taught me some skills like basic first aid, which I probably wouldn't have bothered to learn otherwise.

Luca72:
Alon, from the people I've talked to about it that's what I gather. Note that they all would fall into the category of generally middle class college students, so it probably doesn't represent the full spectrum of reasons.

I've got a question for you though - do you think having a mandatory required enlistment is a good or bad idea? Because I've done some thinking, and it seems to me that countries with short mandatory enlistment produce citizens that are a lot more self-motivated, confident, and generally skillful. Right now in the US there's a big problem with young men going to college for degrees they don't know how to use, with little to no sense of direction and zero job skills. It's disheartening to watch, and it seems to me like some military service could remedy that. Just food for thought.

Look, I'm just before my service, so I'm probably thinking differently than what I'd think at the end of my service.

First of all, if the U.S. had the same mandatory service like we have here, you'd have a HUGE army, and a lot more people handling the bureaucracy.
Sure, the army seems to 'produce' citizens that are more skillful etc.

It also produces corpses.

It's a fast lane to growing up, with all the good and the bad (and the extreme bad). My country aspires to be like yours in that manner - not having the need to enlist, not having wars near your home... The army service is a part of a much greater culture, and it has shaped it. It's something that unites the people, obviously.

It's a matter of culture. It all starts at home, at what values your brought up with. With my culture, it might work. With yours? I'm not so sure. What I mean is that there's no immediate threat to the existence of your country - that is forcing you to enlist. It will just cause anger at the government.

There are no magic, quick solutions. An army service, in my opinion, will not remedy your problem, but will most likely cause more. Besides, you have no real reason to have such mandatory service. You have a big, sophisticated army without any drafts.

Here are the reasons I went in:

1. I had no idea what I wanted to do, which direction to take, or otherwise in regards to life.
2. It provided me a way out of the state I was living in.
3. Payed for college.

A distant fourth, would be the "travel" one...despite having to know someone in the assignments office in order to get to Germany, Italy, England, etc... :P

All in all, there are multiple reasons.

Luca72:

Matthew94:

Luca72:

I've got a question for you though - do you think having a mandatory required enlistment is a good or bad idea

No, to me it is tantamount to slavery.

What I'm getting at is that it's something accepted as a social duty in some countries, and only seems like enslavement to us because we've never tried it. We're happy to pay taxes for things we don't support and send our kids to a broken public school system just because that's how it's been done since before we were born. Maybe military service isn't such a bad idea as long as mandatory positions aren't deployed into combat zones.

If mandatory service meant you only had to serve for two years, and you would be trained in combat and other general skills, AND you were put into a defense role where you remain in the US and serve a National Guard type role, what would be so bad about that? We're spread so thin these days into other countries that a planned invasion could do some significant damage - this way you would have a stable, constantly rotating guard force.

On a personal level, I did ROTC at a military high school, and I feel like that was certainly the most important thing I did as a teenager. It got me in shape and taught me some skills like basic first aid, which I probably wouldn't have bothered to learn otherwise.

You're missing the big picture. What you say is a 'buttered', easy mandatory service. Here it's at least 3 years long, with long periods away from home for combat soldiers, and with a high chance you'll be called to serve again at any time after your service as a reservoir soldier.
I believe there are less dangerous and more flexible alternatives. I think it all starts with education.

Luca72:

What I'm getting at is that it's something accepted as a social duty in some countries, and only seems like enslavement to us because we've never tried it. We're happy to pay taxes for things we don't support and send our kids to a broken public school system just because that's how it's been done since before we were born. Maybe military service isn't such a bad idea as long as mandatory positions aren't deployed into combat zones.

If mandatory service meant you only had to serve for two years, and you would be trained in combat and other general skills, AND you were put into a defense role where you remain in the US and serve a National Guard type role, what would be so bad about that? We're spread so thin these days into other countries that a planned invasion could do some significant damage - this way you would have a stable, constantly rotating guard force.

On a personal level, I did ROTC at a military high school, and I feel like that was certainly the most important thing I did as a teenager. It got me in shape and taught me some skills like basic first aid, which I probably wouldn't have bothered to learn otherwise.

That's 2 years you are taking away from their life, they should have no right to do that. Those 2 years could be much more productive for many and it isn't right, you should not force people to enlist.

You say only 2 years, I say 2 years. It's a breach of human rights in my books.

You are spread thin??? Bullshit, you spend more on your military than the 14 next highest spending countries combined.

Arsen:
Here are the reasons I went in:

1. I had no idea what I wanted to do, which direction to take, or otherwise in regards to life.
2. It provided me a way out of the state I was living in.
3. Payed for college.

A distant fourth, would be the "travel" one...despite having to know someone in the assignments office in order to get to Germany, Italy, England, etc... :P

All in all, there are multiple reasons.

What was your profession?

I enlisted because I wanted to get a good education and serve my country.

Luca72:

Matthew94:

Luca72:

I've got a question for you though - do you think having a mandatory required enlistment is a good or bad idea

No, to me it is tantamount to slavery.

What I'm getting at is that it's something accepted as a social duty in some countries, and only seems like enslavement to us because we've never tried it.

Not true. I agree with Matthew here, and not just because we never tried it. It is forced labor. You're being forced to do work whether you want to or not. That some countries accept it does not change this.

We're happy to pay taxes for things we don't support and send our kids to a broken public school system just because that's how it's been done since before we were born. Maybe military service isn't such a bad idea as long as mandatory positions aren't deployed into combat zones.

What does paying taxes have to do with someone taking control of your life for a few years? And how did you determine that people do it because that's how it's been done before we were born? Sounds like a huge oversimplification, if not being outright wrong in most cases. Especially in regards to school which is useful for well... obtaining any job.

And why isn't it a bad idea? What does it provide? I do not want anyone to try to install some kind of military mentality in me or anyone else who is unwilling.

If mandatory service meant you only had to serve for two years, and you would be trained in combat and other general skills, AND you were put into a defense role where you remain in the US and serve a National Guard type role, what would be so bad about that? We're spread so thin these days into other countries that a planned invasion could do some significant damage - this way you would have a stable, constantly rotating guard force.

That I am unwilling to do it. That it interferes with my education by throwing me useless combat crap. Gives me general skills I probably don't plan to use while denying me the time to acquire the skills I actually want. And the idea of invasion of a first world country right now is fairly laughable. Attack one of those countries and you'll get all their allies piling on you.

On a personal level, I did ROTC at a military high school, and I feel like that was certainly the most important thing I did as a teenager. It got me in shape and taught me some skills like basic first aid, which I probably wouldn't have bothered to learn otherwise.

And I probably would not have felt the same way. First aid? Not something I find particularly important for me.

- Some people use it as a way out of a bad situation. The army will give free training and a paying job to almost anyone with four functioning limbs and half a brain cell.

- Some people are bastar patriots who want to contribute to the defense of their country.

- Some people want to kill.

- Some people just want a job that involves playing with big guns.

- Some people enlist because it's expected of them, particularly those that come from 'military families'.

- Some people enlist simply for lack of a better idea.

These are all reasons I've heard while talking to recruits, serving soldiers and veterans.

Alon Doron:

Quaxar:

Alon Doron:

Well, not really. I'm fit for combat (the army does something called "combat profiling"). I have no real reason, as far as the army's concerned, to exchange my service, nor do I want to do so. Why escape something that's a big part of my society, anyway?

Here, if you're deemed fit to serve, we have the choice of going with it for six months or rather doing something in a caring professions for nine months instead. So I was wondering if Israel had the same system or if there was only one way.

Captcha: be my friend ... that's sweet

"Caring professions"? What does that mean?

Uh, something like helping in a retirement home, a hospital, social services like a soup kitchen or I don't know what else. Personally, I went with emergency medical services and had a jolly good time.

As far as I'm aware it's because some people just don't have the grades to live a worthwhile career. I've only heard this from one of my teachers who told us about had a student who said that the infantry was his only option for a job.

Of course there'll always be some nutter who wants to shoot the crap out of everything, so I suppose it's better for them to be in the army.

Slightly off-topic: I had no idea that joining the army paid for college in America. Seems to me like a bit of a dirty method of getting more people to enlist. Please tell me if I'm wrong in thinking that, I don't mean to sound ignorant.

Alon Doron:
[quote="Luca72" post="18.375453.14577283"][quote="Matthew94" post="18.375453.14577187"][quote="Luca72" post="18.375453.14577106"]

You're missing the big picture. What you say is a 'buttered', easy mandatory service. Here it's at least 3 years long, with long periods away from home for combat soldiers, and with a high chance you'll be called to serve again at any time after your service as a reservoir soldier.
I believe there are less dangerous and more flexible alternatives. I think it all starts with education.

The reason I describe it as "buttered" is because I think it's the only way it would fly if it was presented in the US today. You make a good point though, that the mandatory service isn't there in Israel primarily because it's deemed "good for society", but because it's necessary for survival.

I watched a documentary about a few areas in Israel where ex-military twentysomethings had basically "retired" to for a while to deal with PTSD, and how a lot of them now had strong anti-war and anti-establishment views. What was interesting though was that whenever they were asked they all said that their service was something they looked back on fondly, saying it brought them together and that they were generally proud to serve their country. I personally feel like the US military as a whole is causing more problems globally than its fixing, so I was impressed to learn that Israel seems to have a lot of good ideas about its own.

I haven't enlisted personally so I can't speak for myself but I do know a fair few people who have and for them the main reason has been because there wasn't very many good alternatives. I mean it's not really a good time to be a young person without a degree, jobs are scarce and most of them don't want people with no degree or experience, I know one guy who signed up largely because it was a choice between that and working in Woolworths forever (which certainly wouldn't have worked out given that it shut down just after he joined). The Army not only gives you a job but it houses you, feeds you, trains you and makes you much more employable in the future. It also helps give you purpose and direction which they desperately needed, joining the army has improved their lives immeasurably.

So I think a lot of people join because its just a fairly good thing to do overall.

I enlisted in the army after high school and as a result I learned Mandarin Chinese for free in a year and a half (granted, I didn't pick the language). I don't know any colleges who can offer that.

All of the people I know who've joined the armed services (Navy, Army, Air Force, National Guard) have all had the same reason: For the money.

Why enlist? Well, it's a job. I'd imagine that's the #1 reason. You also get other perks but in the U.S. the biggest perk is the government will pay for your college if you serve for so many years. Plus you get to play with really cool equipment and if you're lucky enough, you get to see many different parts of the world.

Well the way I understand it, in the US, the most common reason is poverty. The Military usually offers a reasonably secure job with benefits that you don't have to go through an interview process for. I saw a video once that talked about the recruitment methods of the US Armed Forces and it featured recruitment officers going around to the most poverty stricken slums in the US and handing out brochures to any and all young people they could find.

To those folks saying the U.S. has never tried it. You are wrong. The U.S. had a conscription army until after Vietnam. It did not work out so well for either the Korean conflict nor the Vietnam conflict, hence why we switched to all volunteer army.

As for my reasons for joining? I was a directionless 18 year old, it gave me some stability, discipline, training in a career, and money for college. Also turned my pudgy ass into a better shape as well.

Matthew94:

Luca72:

I've got a question for you though - do you think having a mandatory required enlistment is a good or bad idea

No, to me it is tantamount to slavery.

Do you think that for the US, or for every nation in every situation? Because I could very well see mandatory enlistment being important for some situations, especially back in the day when you couldn't partially substitute manpower with technology.

Because they want to. Whatever the reason is, its a personal one.

Sometimes you do learn jobs skills in military service, I sometimes wish I had enlisted to be a helicopter pilot, and after the military you can fly for EMT services and such. Some employers offer special considerations for former military members.

Some people are very into the military, they want the danger/adventure.

Also, for some it's the brotherhood that comes from being in a volunteer military. This may be diminished for mandatory service.

I think that mandatory military service is not a good thing. You'll get a lot of people that don't want to be there and they can end up dragging down the morale of the whole unit. Volunteer military soldiers asked for it. They are better motivated than draft troops. This is why the US military doesn't want draft troops. They'd have to mix them up with the better troops and would end up causing more harm than good.

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