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The Compulsory Military System

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The Compulsory Military System

A certain degree of force is required for a peaceful society or a country¡¯s safety, so military system exists to develop the strength. While some countries give the citizens freedom of choice, citizens in other countries are forced to serve in the military. The issue of whether the military service should be mandatory has long been controversial. Many people actually think that it should be mandatory due to high cost of maintaining the military system, and some advantages the system has. However, there is many evidence that the conditions of the conscription is poor in many countries, such as South Korea, Iran, Taiwan and Israel.

South Korea

Although the payment depends on the position, South Korean soldiers who are currently in the army receive ¡°96,000 won ($90) on average¡± for a month of salary (Kim, 2013). Compared to the average cost of living of university students, the soldiers¡¯ average salary is too low. All the men in Korea who are physically and psychologically healthy are required to serve in the army ¡°between the ages of 18 and 35¡± ("Celebrities and military," 2013). Many of them actually tend to enter the military during the college or university; they stop studying for a few years, and instead, they learn how to use weapons. With the government¡¯s spending GDP on the military service of 2.7% in 2011, the high amount of salary of soldiers cannot be expected ("Country comparison," 2011). However, despite the low amount of government¡¯s spending GDP, the Korean army ranks the 8th in the world (Writer, 2013). Many Korean men in their 20¡¯s who have already been to the army say that the compulsory system enabled them to become responsible. They claimed that although they were too busy with their full schedule every day, they had a chance to learn how to cook, do the dishes and have thought about the importance of family before they get married. What is emphasized about the Korean military is that many celebrities tried to escape from the compulsory system, and they were sentenced to a few years of jail term.

Figure 1. The chart above is to compare the salary of the conscripted soldiers and the average cost of living of university students in Korea


The military system is compulsory in Iran as well. By the law of Iran, the age of 18 is when the Iranian men are automatically enrolled in the military ("Military service age"). The Iranian soldiers have less freedom of choice about the military than the Korean soldiers, since they cannot delay the service. However, more men are free from the conscription. According to the UN Refugee Agency website, ¡°A number of exemptions for exigency service are granted for reasons of guardianship, education, or religion, however, doctors ¡®shall be permanently exempted from fulfilling the exigency period of military service if they are unable to carry out their own medical practice¡¯¡±(Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada, 1990). Also, compared to the Korean soldiers, the Iranian soldiers serve relatively for a short time. According to the chief conscription officer of the armed forces, "In the areas that (military) operations are being carried out, the term was 17 months... and now it has been cut to 16 months¡± (Pyruz, 2008). Their service is 4 months less than that of Korean, and 4 months in the military is a long time. Moreover, the Iranian soldiers have a little chance of receiving good amount of pay, with the government¡¯s spending GDP of 2.9% ("Military expenditure," 2013). Compared to other Middle East countries, the Iranian government does not spend much on the military system. What is interesting about the military service in Iran is that the ¡°Iranians residing in foreign countries are able to purchase the military service and become exempt. It costs 10 million to men, which is about 3 thousand US dollars that way [he] never [has] to worry about it again¡± ("Iranian military service?," 2013).

Figure 2. This chart shows that the Iranian government spends little amount of their expenditure, compared to other Middle East countries.


In Taiwan, males aged between 18 and 35 are to serve in the compulsory army for two years ("Military service age"). The military expenditure in Taiwan is pretty close to that in Korea with the percent GDP 2.73 and 2.7, respectively (¡°Country comparison,¡± 2011). Although the Taiwanese government has planned to remove the conscription by 2014, the plan is delayed by two years ¡°due to insufficient recruitment¡± of volunteers ("Taiwan military delays," 2013). Another research shows more updated information. It says the compulsory system in Taiwan will change to ¡°all-voluntary military by 2014,¡± which is resulted by a protest against the conscription, ¡°after an inmate dies following a repetitive drill on an artificial hill in the blazing desert sun¡±(Shadbolt & , 2013).

¡°Taiwan protests throw spotlight on Asia's military service¡±

Picture 1. People are holding placards during the protest in front of Taiwan¡¯s government building in Taipei. Shadbolt, P. S. (2013, 08 13). Taiwan protests throw spotlight on asia's military service. CNN. Retrieved from


Israel has the most unique conscription system in



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