What Are Pros and Cons of the Military Draft?

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Drafts give the military troops who can fight in war and perform other needed roles, which helps the military fight and win; however, it also puts people at risk. In addition, drafts often lead to widespread protests.

Some pros of a military draft include a strong national security force, reduced unemployment, increased character and diversity in society, and reduced government budgets for military recruitment. Some cons of a military draft include increased government cost for training of larger groups of people, young recruits often losing parts of their youth in military service, recruits with families sometimes leaving their families behind, and the amount of training of a drafted soldier is often less than a professional soldier.

Another pro of having a military draft is that the country has plenty of soldiers in the event that there is an outbreak of war. Also, a draft enforces equality of the nation's citizens because it randomizes the selection of recruits and includes people from all walks of life. Along with this, a draft advocates the sacrifices military people make to defend their country, giving citizens a chance to have a better understanding of the need for a military and what military people's lives are like while in service.

Conversely, a draft takes away people's right to chose; their free will is compromised. People who are recruited have to put their lives on hold, including having or raising families, completing their education, furthering their careers and completing life goals.

In times of war, the side that has more troops has a significant advantage. While automation has made technology more important over the years, having more soldiers gives one side a significant advantage. Drafts allow a military to get the troops needed to continue fighting if their losses have been heavy. If one side has a draft, the other side might be forced to follow suit.

Military drafts demonstrate a commitment to keep fighting, which may make it more difficult to reach a peaceful resolution. In addition, they put more people at risk, and there is a strong moral component as well. Voluntary service only puts people who sign up at risk; drafts put everyone who is selected at risk.

Drafts can also be dangerous to the governments that implement them. Protests are likely to intensify as young people who do not want to fight may be required to do so, and popular resistance to a war can grow as a result. Before implementing a draft, governments need to ensure that they have enough popular support.