President Trump, who received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, said on Friday that he is considering issuing a pardon to legendary boxer and civil rights activist Muhammad Ali, whose conviction for refusing to be inducted was already overturned by the Supreme Court more than four decades ago.
French President Emmanuel Macron is seriously considering bringing back military conscription. While the U.S. hasn't had mandatory military service since 1973, some think that it has many positive aspects.
Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class America A. Henry
Sweden just brought back conscription — and this time, women will be required to sign up too. Under the plan approved on Mar. 3, all of Sweden’s 18-year-olds could be called on to sign up for service each year.
There are signs that today’s vets have greater problems reintegrating into society that in previous eras. Perhaps most consequentially, today’s vets suffer from higher unemployment than not only their civilian peers, but also vets of previous generations.
2016 promises to be a year of demographic revolution in the military on par with the racial desegregation of troops in 1948. But making a change as enormous as introducing women to combat jobs isn’t like flicking a switch. Even after President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, integrating the armed forces on paper, it took decades to deal with issues like equal housing, promotions, and so on.
“Military veteran” is one of the few terms — and experiences — that binds people from different backgrounds who don’t know one another. The question, “Where’d you serve,” is a social level-setter, and points to something much deeper than being alumni of the same school or having grown up in the same hometown. It’s such a strong bond, in fact, that many military vets have trouble connecting with people who haven’t had that experience.