The Bundeswehr has other concerns than training half-motivated 19-year-olds
War is raging in Europe and some are thinking aloud about the return of conscription. But the arguments against it are the same twelve years after the end as when it was suspended in 2011.
When conscription ended twelve and a half years ago, the last troops were withdrawing from Iraq, Syria had not yet descended into a terrible civil war and nobody suspected that Russia would snatch Crimea from Ukraine, let alone invade it. Times were different, back in 2011, but the arguments against conscription, which some are now calling for its reintroduction, still apply.
Military service: unfair and expensive
When service with arms was still compulsory, almost half of the young people were decommissioned and around half of those who were fit preferred to do community service. There was no question of the idea of a citizen in uniform – let alone a citizen in uniform. Any kind of justice, the cornerstone of every military service, would hardly be achievable even today.
War service was also abolished for reasons of cost – the ratio of personnel to efficiency was the decisive factor at the time. Because just because there are many soldiers does not mean that the Bundeswehr is also a powerful army.
The German military is and remains significantly underfinanced, despite a special fund of 100 billion euros. Those responsible should have better things to do with the scarce money than to rebuild the recently abolished infrastructure for drafting, accommodation and food for half-motivated 19-year-old conscripts.
The question also remains as to what the Bundeswehr soldiers are actually supposed to be fighting for. In any case, those doing military service are out of the question for NATO and foreign missions. And should the case of defense arise, military service will come into force again, since it was only suspended but never finally abolished.
Society year debate
That’s why those who describe the discussion about a return to military service as a “ghost discussion”, such as FDP leader Christian Lindner, are right.
But of course it would be conceivable that service with arms could be reintroduced via a general civil service or year of service or year of society. But then only as one of many variants to make a year of his life available to the country, i.e. to all of us. Whether in the army, in retirement homes, as a leaf sweeper or for climate protection. This debate will certainly come up again – if only because there are fewer and fewer people who can or want to get involved.