Archive for Army

National Military Service – A Cure For What Ails Us?

Posted in Britain, Child Discipline, Children, England, Justice, Prison, Teen alcohol abuse, Teens, Theft, UK with tags , , , , , , on 18/01/2010 by floroy1942

Yahoo’s editor has posed the question in his column: Should the UK reintroduce national service in the Armed Forces? In the last decade Britain’s youth has become the most savage on the planet, and it is clear that neither government policies, nor the intervention of all the ‘limp wristed’ Goody Goodies have made an iota of difference. The British justice system is in tatters, with the courts incapable of handing out proper sentences for crimes committed by youths because the prisons are overcrowded or the Law considers them too young. The best the Government and Courts have been able to come up with is the infamous ASBO or Anti-Social Behaviour Order, which only places certain restrictions on them. These have become so ineffectual that they are viewed by most toe-rags as a badge of honour and are completely ignored anyway.

So what is the answer? Is the reintroduction of national service the solution to sorting out these malcontents once and for all? In short, I think the answer is yes, but not as we have known it in the past.

Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Greece have all reintroduced national service successfully to combat youth crime and the ‘yob’ culture. So why not Britain?

Comments on the news column show that many people are afraid their loved ones, once committed to national service, could end up in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and this fact is turning people away from the idea. To make this work a compromise is needed.

It has been suggested that young criminals be given the choice of jail time or serving in the army, with repeat offenders having the choice removed and being committed to serve a fixed term.  This could work in some cases but not all. The compromise suggested earlier would mean that young offenders be given the assurance they would not be sent to a war zone during their period of sentence. That takes care of parents concerns.

But what of the time spent in the Army? David Cameron of the Tory Party has suggested a non-obligatory period of six weeks for all 16 year olds, note the non-obligatory! Six weeks could never provide the necessary deterrent with violent youth because just as the malcontents got used to the idea they would be free with insufficient time to learn anything useful. Young criminals would need to spend a minimum of nine months in the loving bosom of the Army before any sort of character changes could manifest themselves. Within that time, it is fairly certain the constant application of strict discipline could begin to change the way these people think of themselves, and their place in society.

Each ‘soldier’ could in that time be fairly accurately judged by their instructors as to whether they are fit to re-enter society. If they are deemed not to have learnt anything they stay in until they have. Simple.

But what of the army? What could they do with all these nasty individuals? We are constantly hearing the army is under-manned and there is insufficient manpower to fight two wars, i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan. I am sure that handing over some of the UK Base tasks to the criminal element after sufficient training, would make more manpower available for the front from our volunteer army. But what jobs? Well, how about Transport, Administration, Security, Supply and Catering just to quote some examples. These are jobs that do not require intensive long drawn out training and could be done by many criminals. The added advantage is it would teach them a trade for use when they are released.

So how could you be sure those working in ‘Supply’ for example, (thinking they have been handed a golden opportunity to make some money on the sly) don’t start selling army property behind everyone’s back? Well, after finishing their ‘Basic Training’ and before any of them start becoming productive, they should be given a guided tour of the the National Military Detention Centre at Colchester. Just the sight of what goes on in that military prison will scare the pants off them. Normal prisons are holiday camps by comparison (well, come to think of it, they are anyway). After all, why should they not be subject to military justice while serving their sentence? If they do not break the rules they have nothing to fear.

There would of course need to be one major change to army thinking. The new ‘softly softly’ attitude to recruits would have to go out the window for the detainees. A soft hand with them would make the whole exercise a wasted effort. They need the iron fist to instil the normal  attitudes of decency, respect and responsibility that the rest of us take for granted. There are more than enough drill instructors who would love to put these misfits through the hoop.

The hard cases will only respond to men who are tougher and stronger than they are, and in any army drill instructor they will meet their match. It’s the story of the ages; power respects power! I am sure any low-life who thinks he is tough will soon wilt when he is doing a ten mile run through the Cairngorms in pouring rain with a 30lb pack and an Army instructor yelling at his heels.

I am no psychologist, but I am fairly sure that nine months of army training will make for a more mature and responsible citizen. Once these young people have finished their ‘sentence’ they could be given the choice of staying in.

Some readers may now be thinking they have found a flaw in my plan, because many of the youth criminals today are as young as 10 and 11 years old. Does that matter? Naturally, there are ways to downscale the action plan to cover these junior horrors. Many of them think they are tough anyway, and their age is no reason to go soft on them because they are only 10 years old. If they are old enough to commit murder, as many have, they are old enough for a taste of junior army life.

One concession to their age could be made by making them do only six months instead of nine months or a year. No! Young as they are, they can still turn out for inspection and parade at 06.00hrs every morning just like army recruits. If they spend the day learning to march, to keep themselves and their environment clean plus continuing their education under strict supervision they are sure to learn the error of their ways. Many of the normal infantry training tactics used in the army today such as physical education and assault courses, scaled to fit the trainees of course, would be a benefit in teaching them to work as a team, to help and respect each other. After all, if it can work in other countries, why not Britain?

There will always be the few hard cases who think they are tougher than the system, and some will run away because after all, an army camp is not a prison. But that’s OK, 48 hours in a real army prison will soon make them realise that co-operation is the best way out, and 48 hours is all it will take.

All this would place a burden on the army, and would be expensive to set up, but consider this! In the medium to long term, how much government money would be saved by getting these criminals off the streets, along with the eventual major reduction in the crime rates across the country? I am well aware that the Upper Brass of the Army has already said it is against the idea of the army being used as a sort of ‘prison service’, but what other effective solution is there. I am sure that with the proper organization this whole plan could be made to benefit the Army in many ways.

Life in  the army can be hard, and training would be structured such that we would eventually get back to the situation where criminals, once they have been through the mill, will not return to crime for fear of having to go through it all again. As in the old days, the only way to fight perpetual crime is to make the punishment such that criminals will not wish to subject themselves to it again.

Say what you will, but the best deterrent for crime is the fear of punishment.

The days when a youth can commit murder and get away with it because of his/her age has to end. Only then can we all live in peace and without fear of a group of youths hanging around on a street corner. It is time we stopped being soft on criminals or we will end up with total anarchy.

It’s time for positive action, but who will dare?

Roy.

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