Conscription - A Critical Response Paper on Articles Written by R.J. Blythe (Colonel) and Dennis De Souza on the Subject

Conscription - A Critical Response Paper on Articles Written by R.J. Blythe (Colonel) and Dennis De Souza on the Subject

The first article presents the opinion of R. J. Blythe (Colonel) a proponent of “some form of conscription” for his country. His argument is based on the fact that the personnel working in armed forces is decreasing each year, and he thinks that the best way to change this trend is introducing a national service for young people. Blythe argues that conscription is very positive and gives some reasons to support it. The second article shows Dennis De Souza's opinion, a family man who absolutely disagrees about the idea of a compulsory military service for young men. The reasons of De Souza are based on his personal values which are against to war, the Army and weapons.

Colonel Blythe argues that conscription is very positive and gives some reasons, in addition to the obvious protection of the country. First, Blythe explains that the environment of the military has several personal benefits: young people can learn about “teamwork, discipline, responsibility and self-respect”. Second, the military service provides useful abilities for different kind of jobs, like computers or mechanical skills. Third, it gives the opportunity to travel and know new people and new places. Finally, national service is fair, in his opinion, because it gives opportunities to poor people to earn money.

The arguments of Colonel Blythe are expressed in a persuasive way. He uses a formal language to express his ideas, because he is a professional. He tries to show authority to talk on these issues. However, his reasons are not objective. He is a member of the Army and is not independent. He could have a personal benefit to promote compulsory service, or another kind of service related to the Army. Thus, his statements are always positive, but some of them are false and others are overlooked. For example, Blythe states that national service can give more self-knowledge than schools or universities in a short time, which is not necessarily true. In addition, he says nothing about the real risks when people practice with weapons or go to war zones. The main question about the statements of Colonel Blythe is how real his arguments are. He mentions other countries with similar systems but there is not evidence or testimonials about how those systems work. It is possible that a compulsory national service is beneficial for people that want to join to the Army later (that is the original idea), but for people with other interests this could not be true.

In contrast, the Dennis De Souza's opinion is an opposition based on personal values very important to him (respect and peace). These values are very different to the Army, and he does not want them for his family. De Souza warns us that the Army always uses positive ideas about conscription, but it does not mention things about wars, “fighting or being killed”. For him, there are no risks of a possible war, at this time, and conscription service could be a wrong message to other countries. He thinks that there are other ways to stimulate the military career like better pay. Finally, he agrees the idea of a compulsory service not related to the Army.

It is possible that De Souza is confused about some concepts, because he is wrong on the risk s in a war, when the topic is about a national service in times of peace. However, he uses language with the intention to build an opposition stronger in the public opinion about the idea of conscription. Thus, he mentions words like “war”, “kill” or “fight” to produce a shock to the readers. De Souza is more emotional than Blythe with his language, because he wants to be more effective in his message to readers who are concerned for their families. He is not a specialist in defence. He is not a professional and does not have authority like Colonel Blythe, but he can express his opinion because the idea of conscription could directly affect his family. That is the reason why he presents himself as a “father of two teenage boys”. In this way, he can became more effective his subjective arguments based on personal values against apparently to the Army and wars.

In conclusion, both articles are seemingly opposite each other, but, the analysis in this paper has shown some similarities. The first article is not so objective, because its writer is not umbiased, and the second is emotional and based on personal reasons. In addition, they agree when they suggest optional services to military service, and this could be a half-way point. The idea of a social contribution system not related to the Army could be more successful for societies when they live in times of peace.

Blythe, R.J., 2010. Bring back conscription. Daily Tribune, 27 Oct.
De Souza, D., 2010. Conscription? No way! Daily Tribune, 3 Nov.