Military Service in Taiwan, why doesn't anyone care?"

I have a number of male friends who are just about to or have been involved in Taiwan’s military. They hate to do it, and clearly it is a waste of time and resources. Why does Taiwan persist in this, and further still why does there seem to be little or no public discussion of the topic??

It has been written: "Compulsory military service involves the continual and severe violation of a broad spectrum of human rights. There are hardly any human rights that are not infringed. The violation of human rights on such a massive scale, is unacceptable in any other field of life in a modern democracy. Radically speaking: compulsory military service is the institution of modern state slavery. Many people find this radical phrase harsh and reject it. However, if we think about the fact that this institution strictly controls almost every aspect of a citizen

“…why doesn’t anyone care?”
Well, I wouldn’t say that I’m passionately, vehemently against compulsory military service, however I do “care” enough to add a comment or four.

If I’m not mistaken, compulsory military service in Taiwan was instigated by the one and only Chang Kai Shek (Jiang Zhong Zheng). This was because after extorting and sucking everything that he could out of China and then being chased out by Mao and the “revolution”, he never gave up the dream of taking back the mainland. Before anyone screams “Anti-Taiwan!” at me for casting a stone at Chang, I’d like to state that I love Taiwan, AND I also know that Chang, just like a certain Chairman we all know of, was no angel. Read up on your history and see what Chang did to the original Taiwanese after he got here, not pretty. Then read up on what Mao did to the Chinese after he took over from Chang. But I digress…

The military was set up to be on-call and ready to take back the mainland whenever Chang deemed the timing was right. As the years passed, that time never came, but Chang’s dream also never died.

Also as the years passed, the military, in true Taiwanese fashion, became more and more corrupt, and more and more set up to line the pockets of Generals who wouldn’t know a tank if it ran over them (no Tian An Men Square pun intended). I worked with a guy who’s dad was an army bigwig. He lived very, VERY well, but his commissioned salary was less than your average bu xi ban foreign English teacher (my former colleagues…I salute you!)

So now, the military with it’s compulsory service “policy” is a cyst that’s a little old and dried up, but not worth the pain and trouble of cutting off. The government knows that if it started cleaning up the corruption in the military, what they found would just be the tip of the iceberg. A lot of things that came out would be a little too close to home for the likings of many a government official/politician - as was seen in the James Soong case, when it was suddenly dropped like a hot potato after the investigators realized how wide-spread the roots of that tree grew.

Thus, the human rights issue is a moot point in a way, because it’s never going to be an issue with those who are profiting from it. In addition, with all the sabre-rattling that’s been happening in China, perhaps it comforts the average Taiwanese citizen a little to know that the ‘lads’ are out there doing their push-ups.

What I’ve said here is purely an observation, not a personal opinion. If you want my personal opinion (you’re gonna get it anyway), I am against compulsory military service. It’s particularly distressing to hear that the suicide rate amongst young men in the Taiwanese army is very high (no statistics to support that one, just hearsay). My girlfriend’s little brother is about to “do his part”, and he having had a fairly traumatic upbringing, we’re a little worried about him. So, I personally hope that compulsory military service is abolished before this coming August.

Taipei Times Letter on Volunteer Military

I agree with that US officer. The real root of the problem is being “Chinese”. The second root is that the current status of the Taiwan military readiness is not equal to Israel but that of Panama. Taiwan is nowhere near close to being ready to implement the NATO standards or to even abolish compulsory service. Part of the problem lies in the sub-standard policies of the ROC conscription system including no true standards for any bonafided conscientious objectors, and Chinese practices which have just historically violated the civilized norms of international military law from the start. If you think Taiwan is safe from PLA attack, then wake up and realize you’re living in a “combat zone”.

The alternative national service system is a step forward. However, it is really incomplete and is experimental. There is the Swiss militia concept which would abolish the entire national army and the alternative of the draft is to have an active reserve of “part-time” soldiers until about 26. Then it is secondary reserve status until 60 but really only being subject to annual national mobilization practices. Within 12 hours, there is a standing army ready to fight.

quote[quote]If you think Taiwan is safe from PLA attack, then wake up and realize you're living in a "combat zone".[/quote]

Oh… POOH! That’s what happens when you get these armchair theorists spouting off from halfway around the world.

Granted, Taiwan is not safe from PLA attack. Neither is Japan or Vietnam for that matter. But there’s a world of difference between a potential flashpoint and a combat zone!

Put on a hat, Taiwanstatus, that Nevada sun must be fryin’ your brain

The biggest problem facing the world today is military service…period. And that means military service of any sort. Its good that the Taiwanese look down on the military as a profession. It just shows that at times, Taiwan can be a remarkably civilized place.

“Combat zone” is anyplace coming within the range of a SCUD missile. When and if these start flying I’ll bet not many of you will still be in Taiwan.

Jimbo,

A few corrections in from my perspective.
1-I would not call anyone anti-Taiwan for “casting stones” against CKS. In fact I encourage it. I would consider it as anti-KMT or anti-ROC which I see as different from Taiwan. I consider myself a native of Taiwan and not of ROC.
2-It should be “Also as the years passed, the military, in true CHINESE/KMT fashion, became more and more corrupt, and more and more set up to line the pockets of Generals who wouldn’t know a tank if it ran over them…” It’s still the KMT generals that are in charge of the military.

I have said it before in this forum, the military here is not really prepared for a war with China. They are still thinking of a land war and not thinking about how to stop any possible defense against sea and air attacks. They still think that they will fight PLA on the ground and most of their resources are used to train the army instead of the air force or the navy. They are thinking about buying M1A1 tanks instead of F-16s and Aegis cruisers. The US knows that Taiwan does not have the manpower at sea to run Aegis cruisers because more people are trained for land duty than for sea duty. I really don’t see the point of how guard duty is going to help Taiwan fight off an attack from anyone. Taiwan also needs a full time military that they can depend on so they can mantain a high level of readiness to defend Taiwan. A conscript army is just a waste of time and resources. 10000 men with M16s and M1A1 tanks is not going to stop the missles and the planes. The Taiwan military needs to get some real perspective.

Mark

Historically, southeast Asian nations with a strong navy were generally the dominant countries of the region. In more modern history, the same has been true of air superiority for regions all over the world. It would only make sense that this should be the priority and emphasis.

As for the “Combat Zone”…isn’t that where all the fellas go to have a drink?

quote:
Originally posted by markshih: Jimbo, I have said it before in this forum, the military here is not really prepared for a war with China. They are still thinking of a land war and not thinking about how to stop any possible defense against sea and air attacks. They still think that they will fight PLA on the ground and most of their resources are used to train the army instead of the air force or the navy. They are thinking about buying M1A1 tanks instead of F-16s and Aegis cruisers.

. . . I really don’t see the point of how guard duty is going to help Taiwan fight off an attack from anyone.


A few questions:

  1. If the army is actually the main emphasis, why did the air force recieve modernization first? The army, as I understand it, is using second generation main battle tanks – whereas the PLA already has 3rd and 4th generation MBTs.

  2. Do you or do you not believe that the Taiwanese military is adopting a French approach to defense, which is to inflict upon an enemy damage which is equivalent what one would receive – not necessarily destroy it completely as an entity.

  3. What is your opinion about the concept of “detterence”.

quote:
Originally posted by taiwanstatus: "Combat zone" is anyplace coming within the range of a SCUD missile. When and if these start flying I'll bet not many of you will still be in Taiwan.

Take it from someone who grew up in a place where, at one time, one could find decapitated heads behind friend’s houses, or hear automatic fire in the distance at night – Taiwan ain’t no combat zone.

In the modern sphere of combat and SCUDs, it is a “combat zone”. When bodies can be pulled from the wreckage of residential buildings or neighboring wharehouses, decapitated heads are still part of the definition of a combat zone.
I guess you’d tell anyone whom has lived in NYC during the recent WTC crisis they would be safer in Taipei?

You’re more vulnerable than you want to admit.

Jeez, what kind of war-mongering carpet-biting crap IS this?

And who the fark are you to tell me what I would or wouldn’t do in the event of a mainland attack. The ONLY think you know for sure about me is that I’m about 50 times smarter and more rational than you are, Taiwan Status.

Your John Wayne, gung ho bravura is really laughable when one manages to get over the irritation.

“THE COMMIES ARE COMING, THE COMMIES ARE COMING! EVERYBODY, FLEE, FLEE WHILE YOU STILL HAVE THE CHANCE!”

Don’t you guys think this is getting a little abstract? Barring terrorist attacks, I don’t think Taipei will be looking much like a war zone until the day China attack. The issue of this post is whether in that scenario Taiwan would benefit from having put young men through conscription.

The attack scenario goes something like this:

(1) Taiwan’s air fighters either destroyed on base by tactical missiles or are engaged by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air force.
(2) China lands marines at Taoyuan or Ilan and takes one or more major airports. Probably at Chinese New Year when everyone is at home watching TV or setting off firecrackers and would not notice.
(3) China’s civil airline fleet (now very large) assists in ferrying large numbers of ground forces to Taiwan. Military planes move heavy equipment.
(4) The force then spreads out and takes most of the island within a few days. Chen Shui Bian makes last stand on Kinmen like CKS 53 years before, he might even prevail… intersting discussion topic :slight_smile:

Okay, so this is pretty much a repeat scenario with Kuwait. What happens next is important:

(5) UN pass some resolutions. US debates whether China is still a friend and how this is a ‘one-China’ policy come true. The economic lobby may be worried about semiconductor and computer part sanctions by China. A month is wasted. In the end NATO force is assembled to take Taiwan back.
(6) Now what - assuming neither side wants to resort to nuclear weapons? Don’t forget with their space program, China can strike population centers in Europe and USA with ICBMs. Would the US engage in a war where direct retaliation was very likely? We are talking numerous direct hits on major US cities if a missile exchange was started.

In the meantime Taiwan has become a garrision for the PLA. USA might be able to use the Philippines or Naha as a base, but mounting a landing would be tough. An invasion force would be detected hours before it was even close. Kuwait and Afganistan were straightforward to retake since they were land battles where civilian casualties could be kept low. B52’s over crowded Taiwan would quickly look like Vietnam with CNN on-the-ground to watch the result.

I don’t think that ex-conscripts are going to make any big difference in this scenario. I’m inclined to agree with the view that conscription serves non-military purposes, most likely graft. Don’t forget that this was also an issue when conscription was ended in other countries – even without corruption, a lot of people’s livelyhoods depend on the military.

Just a question. Are all of the people on this thread foreigners, or are some actually locals?

Malkie is getting closer to the probable scenarios of the professional military wargamers I’ve known.

However, if and when, an attack occurs has been a reoccurring problem for that past few years. The Iraqis actually started making the preparations as early as 1982.

Sandman needs to take a chill pill. Just face the fact that missiles are present right across the Taiwan Straits, and that the PRC has a very small ICBM deterrent compared just to the SLBMs lurking off the coast of China.

SLBM are sea-launched ballastic missiles on the US Navy nuclear submarines. One US submarine has more nearby nuclear firepower than a handfull of ICBMs of China. So just forget about the 7th Fleet sailing into the Taiwan Straits when PLA cruise missiles are now nuclear warhead capable.

China will be hit quicker than one could imagine.

The newspapers are reporting that the PRC may attack soon. Does this mean that more males will have to be conscripted into the military? Does anyone have an update on this?

Hartzell,

Where did you get that news. I’ve heard nothing of that mentioned.
The most recent spat I heard was China pressuring the USA on ROC as USA pressures China on NK.

That and Pres Chen just admitting his lineage can be traced to the mainland and he has a little piece of paper with the town in China where his family came from.

No news on attacks or military movements in China.

Since when as the PRC not been ‘ready’ to attack? I thought the threat was daily. What has made it more ‘real’ now?

Obviously you did not understand the reasoning behind the referrendums. :wink:

That is just KMT/PFP controlled newspapers fear mongering. They are in cohoots with the CCP. The same thing was said after the last election by the Pro-China faction. It is just some 1949er Opium pipe dream. Anyway, I wish the PRC would bring it on, then the USA could slap some sense into those uppity arrogant goose stepping Commies.