Skip to comments.Neutral Austria votes to keep military draft
Posted on 01/21/2013 8:59:40 AM PST by JerseyanExile
Austrians voted to keep military conscription on Sunday, bucking a trend towards replacing conscripts with professional armies in Western Europe that began with the end of the Cold War.
The neutral Alpine nation that once stood at the frontier between the Warsaw Pact and NATO voted 60 percent in favor of maintaining the draft, which is seen as binding civil society to the military and instilling a sense of citizenship in young men.
The result is a blow to Chancellor Werner Faymann's Social Democrats, who had argued a smaller, professional force would be more suited to modern military reality, more cost-efficient and fairer to young people.
The 45,000 strong Austrian armed forces fight no wars but are active in international peacekeeping, especially in ex-Yugoslavia and the Golan Heights, and are also highly visible in dealing with domestic natural catastrophes such as floods.
"I'm happier having people of all psychological types in the army, not just people who are really into it," said Andreas Gorbach, a 53-year-old advertising consultant who voted for the draft despite saying he did not enjoy his own time in the army.
Much of Western Europe has scrapped compulsory military service in the last two decades. Germany phased it out in 2011, following France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and others who have switched to voluntary forces.
Britain scrapped conscription in 1960.
Many experts had argued that Austria, where six months in the military or nine months of community service are still compulsory for all 18-year-old men, should follow suit.
"What Austria requires is a professional army that is perhaps smaller but more capable," said Henrik Heidenkamp, research fellow in defense, industries and society at the Royal United Services Institute in London.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
Wiki claims that they are all male, but this may have recently become outdated, (I think it is probably since the last 5 years).
“”Women have never been accepted for service in the Austrian armed forces. In a public opinion survey in 1988, about 66 percent of those polled approved of opening the military to voluntary service by women; only 9 percent favored obligatory service. Although consideration had been given to opening certain specialties to female volunteers, the question is apparently in abeyance in an army already facing retrenchment.””
Here is a recruiting video as which was criticized. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQRBjLAW6_8
The video opens on a countryside scene, in which a macho-looking man offers four young women a spin in his sports car. The women seem ready to agree, but suddenly a tank comes to a screeching halt in front of the car.
A young soldier pops out of the top of the Leopard 2A4 tank, rubs his hand suggestively along the barrel of hte cannon, and calls: “Do you want a joy ride ladies?”
The women, who are shot from many angles in their revealing clothes, quickly leave the would-be Romeo alone with his sports car and chase after the tank.
The Austrian army has seen a sharp fall in young men enlisting in recent years, and the video is clearly designed to appeal to a youthful population.
To that end, the pun in the young soldier’s question was “fully intended”, an army spokesman admitted.
“Our clip is so dorky it’s brilliant,” said Col Johann Millonig, from the army’s marketing department.
But the fine line between sexy and sexist was crossed, according to feminists, who heaped so much scorn on the Austrian high command that the advert was dropped.
“The video is trashy and an embarrassment,” said Judith Goetz, who is in charge of feminist issues at the Austrian Students’ Union.