Compulsory military service

EDF 2013 = Estonian Defence Forces. Compulsory military service. Online. Accessed 22th Feb 2013. Available: http://www.mil.ee/en/defence-forces/compulsory-military-service

The Constitution of the Republic of Estonia foresees compulsory military service in the Defence Forces of all physically and mentally healthy male citizens. (EDF 2013)
A) It is the constitution (põhiseadus) which is used to justify compulsory military service. That is: the law says so, and there is no argument! Even the (Rahvusringhääling) video commercial for state defence was premised on "§ 124. Eesti kodanikud on kohustatud osa võtma riigikaitsest seaduse sätestatud alustel ja korras." E.g. defence of Estonian state is everyone's obligation because it is written in the constitution. B) Translated as "foresees" (ette nägema) it sounds like a prediction when in fact it is "obliges". C) All physically and mentally healthy male citizens are obliged to take part of compulsory military service. There is no question of whether the male citizen wishes to defend his state, whether the state is worthy of being defended, or any other option. It does not matter who you are and what you think, if you are fit and obedient then you have no decision in the matter.
The duration of the compulsory military service is 8 or 11 months, depending on the education and position provided by the Defence Forces to the conscript. In the compulsory military service conscripts acquire basic knowledge necessary for them to act as specialists in wartime military units. (EDF 2013)
Because the constitution says so male citizens have to give away 8 to 11 months of their lives. The words "conscript" and "convict" sound very similar. The basic knowledge of how to act ("as specialists") in wartime military units is presumed necessary. Based on what? Why is it necessary? This is an indication of Estonian mindset - that wartime is inevitable, thus this basic knowledge is necessary.
Conscription to the compulsory military service is conducted on the territorial principle. Conscripts originating from one area study together in one unit. When sent to the reserve, they make up one reserve unit led by commanders who have been trained during the compulsory service and who come from the same unit. (EDF 2013)
This kind of territorial principle is evident in the justification itself: if you are male and living in Estonian territory, then you are obliged to compulsory service. It is as if by being borne in Estonian territory obliges you to have special interest in maintaining current power relation. This does not take into account the fact that the information technology of the 21st century has produced a shift in where you live (territory) and who you are (identity). It is presumed that territory and nationality go hand in hand, when more and more this is less and less so.
After the compulsory military service reservists are called up for trainings for reserve in every five years. There the skills mastered during the compulsory service are reinforced and new arms and equipment are introduced. (EDF 2013)
In every five years you ara obliged to renew your training. Forseeing and calling up sound lax when in fact these obligations are backed up by coercive measures such as financial fines (640 euros for not appearing to the comision at a certain time and place).
What you learn in the compulsory military service? (EDF 2013)
This sounds like an oxymoron. I am compulsed (forced, obliged to) learn something? What chance is there of me learning something I do not wish to learn? It is likely that many conscripts learn little to nothing while in service because people tend to forget that which is not important to them. It is now an interesting question to pose - how will they make this seem important? By inducing fear in neighboring countries? Instilling Estonian ideology? By sheer repetition of exercises? These should be investigated.
8-month service:
Soldier's basic course (SBC) - 12 weeks

In the first months of the service soldiers acquire the main skills of a single fighter.
In the basic course you learn about arms, orientation and first aid, you also acquire skills for forest camps, knowledge about the basics of tactics, behaviour in the Defence Forces and legislation.
The level of basic knowledge is checked with a theoretical and practical soldier's exam. Those who pass it successfully are awarded a badge. (EDF 2013)
Behavior is what I am interested in; legislation is that which I could not care less about. It is already indicative here that "behaviour in the Defence Forces" is a specialty that needs to be taught. How exactly is this done? What does this behavior consist of? Is it only physical behavior or does it come wrapped in attitudes, opinions, ideological utterances and maintenance of power relations?
Soldier's specialty basic course (SSBC) - 6 weeks
The soldier's specialty basic course provides knowledge and skills necessary for such specialists as riflemen, machine gunners, anti-tank grenade launchers, drivers, paramedics, etc. The length of the course depends on the complexity of the specialty. The specialty training terminates with a 3-week combat pair course where conscripts train the performance of combat tasks as members of combat pairs. (EDF 2013)
So I am assigned a specialty I do not wish to possess? I imagine an analogy with a corporate business conscripting me as an intern and giving me "knowledge and skills necessary for" the specialty of scanning documents.
Unit course (UC) - 17 weeks
The course teaches co-operation as a member of a squad, platoon, company and battalion (EDF 2013)
Alas the social interactionist aspect.
11-month service:
Those conscripts who select the 11-month service option take longer specialty courses. This applies to conscripts who graduate from the junior NCO course or reserve officer course, pass signals or IT training, or serve on the ships of the Navy. (EDF 2013)
For better or worse I have background in both IT and signals (semiotics).
What will happen to you after the compulsory military service? (EDF 2013)
This is a detestable translation. Not what "will become" but what "will hapen." It is something abrupt. The estonian language version states that you are either enlisted in the reserve or deleted from the registry of conscript. I did not know the latter is possible.
The Estonian Defence Forces are a reserve force and, if necessary, Estonia will be defended by units formed of reservists.
During the compulsory military service you acquire basic knowledge of national defence and are provided training to enable you to fight as a member of a consolidated team. After the compulsory military service you are sent to the reserve and your actual service as a defender of Estonia starts. (EDF 2013)
That is, all physically and mentally healthy male citizens are forced to a life-long dedication to the defence of this territory and state. The analogy with slavery is palpable - you have no decision in the matter, and no option of quitting.
As a reservist you may be called up for training at a unit, training centre or defence force educational institution. You may be called up for trainings no more frequently than once in three years. At reserve trainings the knowledge and skills acquired in the compulsory military service are refreshed. As the technology and requirements in the Defence Forces are changing, it is necessary for the reserve to keep up to date and to learn to know and handle new technology. You are going to be called up to reserve trainings together with the people with whom you were in the compulsory military service. (EDF 2013)
The only chance of not being enlisted as a live-long duty-slave is to get out as quick as one can (emigration).
Junior NCO course - 8 weeks
The course is divided in two: the NCO basic course of 4 weeks and the NCO specialty course of 4 weeks.
The basic course gives the future NCOs kernel knowledge necessary for a squad commander. The specialty course teaches a definite specialty, such as anti-tank action, fire control or signals and leadership of the respective teams.
The objective of the junior NCO specialty course is to teach the performance of a squad commander's tasks in peacetime and wartime, i.e. to lead a 10-man squad. A great emphasis is laid on practical exercises.
In the junior NCO specialty course conscripts can supplement their knowledge in the tactics of squad combat (defence, attack, guerrilla war, ambush), pedagogy, military psychology, leadership, combat engineering, medicine and signals, they are also taught to apply the above skills as squad commanders. The squad commander course ends with an NCO examination.
In the course of the squad commander course suitable candidates for reserve officer courses are selected. (EDF 2013)
This is why there are so many books on leadership at the military school's library. Also, all the interesting stuff is "supplementary".

TFD 2013 = The Free Dictionary. Conscription. Online. Accessed 23th Feb 2013. Available: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Compulsory+military+service

Compulsory enrollment and induction into the military service. (TFD 2013)
Induction is "The action or process of inducting someone to a position or organization: "induction into the Hall of Fame"."
Conscription is commonly known as the draft, but the concepts are not exactly the same. Conscription is the compulsory induction of individuals into the Armed Services, whereas the draft is the procedure by which individuals are chosen for conscription. Men within a certain age group must register with the Selective Service for possible conscription, but conscription itself was suspended in 1973. (TFD 2013)
Thus it seems that in compulsory conscription a step is skipped.
Conscription first came into use as a legal term in France in 1798. It derives from the Latin conscriptionem, which refers to the gathering of troops by written orders, and conscribere, which means "to put a name on a list or roll, especially a list of soldiers." A person who becomes a member of the armed forces through the process of conscription is called a conscript. (TFD 2013)
Simple origin: your name is put on a list, ergo you are con-scribed.
Conscription typically involves individuals who are deemed fit for military service. At times, however, governments have instituted universal military service, in which all men or all people of a certain age are conscripted. (TFD 2013)
At least our case is not "universal". Females have been able to (choose to) join the armed forces since 2010 in Estonia.
Most governments use conscription at some time, usually when the voluntary enlistment of soldiers fails to meet military needs. Conscription by national governments became widespread in Europe during the nineteenth century. (TFD 2013)
I believe voluntary enlistment should be established instead of compulsory conscription. It seems to be the case that many practices of our current state are still at the 19th century level.
The United States has never conscripted women into military service, nor has it ever instituted universal military service. It has conscripted only individuals meeting certain age, mental, and physical standards. Congress has allowed the deferral of conscription for certain individuals, including those who need to support dependents or are pursuing an education. Among those who have been declared exempt from service are sole surviving sons, conscientious objectors to war, and ministers of religion. (TFD 2013)
In my case I am conscripted despite pursuing an educatation. This is because between vocational school and university I took a 6-moths extra course for adults to fill the time between two schools. Because my education is not "continuous" (the extra course is not considered education) I am now conscripted in the middle of my studies at the university. And I am also a conscientious objector to war, but if I proclaim this as an excuse I will not be freed from service, but made to do replacement-service which consists of 8-11 months of involuntary service at a public service institution (old people's home and the like). Thus the only reasonable decision is to perform the darned service and incororate it in my academic work.

Anonymous 1890. The "Curse" of Conscription. The American Advocate of Peace and Arbitration 52(1): 4.

I have no hesitation in saying that I consider Conscription the curse of Europe. The effects of the law, which renders military service compulsory, are entirely disastrous to the nations of the continent. ... Italy bleeds at every pore. ... The small country proprietors are mercilessly ruined, the cities are tazed until it is scarcely possible to live in them; and, worst of all, the peasantry is neglected and despised, and only remembered when it is necessary to demand from it the healthiest and the strongest of its sons to sacrifice to the vanity and blindness of its political policy. (Anonymous 1890: 4)
Amen for the abolition of compulsory conscription.


Post a Comment