Weaknesses in military conscription systems
Avoiding military service
Some governments conscript in peace-time on a regular basis, usually when young men attain a certain age. This is for a period ranging from several months up to four years. Few men are exempt as this is considered a universal military training defence necessity. Other countries draft only during international or civil crises and conflicts. Under both systems, among those who are obliged to serve there are numerous legal and illegal evasions. Legal evasions to serving in fighting and active support units include: the purchase of an exemption, as for example, recently in Turkey; to elect alternate service in civilian status, an alternative some countries provide for conscientious objectors. Others, while accepting conscription, may retain virtual civilian status, living in comfortable quarters and in no danger, such as some higher reserve officers and those who by political influence have only nominal duties. In both latter cases the intent, if not the letter, of the draft law has been evaded. Under military law these people could be court-martialed for non-performance of duties or related offences and this does occur on rare occasions. Illegal evasion is accomplished by non-registration, especially if there was an unrecorded birth, living under assumed names, flight and migration. Instances of illegal evasion are severely prosecuted as a discouragement to others. It can include failure to report for induction, refusing induction, or refusing or failing to perform required alternative civilian work. The problem of administering and enforcing massive conscription efforts is that draft evasion be so successfully accomplished due to inadequate records and enforcement resources.
In 1993, it was claimed that 33,000 had dodged the draft in Russia in the first six months of the year.
The draft system in the USA during the Vietnam war was grossly unfair. By granting liberal deferrals to those enrolled in university, it effectively allowed the clever and the rich to avoid service, while condemning the rest (mainly blacks and blue-collar whites) to fight and, often, die. Even within the services, the proportion of blacks in combat roles was higher than in non-combat roles (something that is not true of today's forces).