Sunday, September 19, 2021

Deserters in South Korea

If you're looking for a military justice themed show to stream, D.P., short for Deserter Patrol, trails military police in South Korea looking for AWOL soldiers. The Netflix series has landed amidst a debate in South Korea over its conscription laws, which requires all men to serve up to 21 months. The debate bears faint echoes to U.S. reforms, in the sense that a few claim the South Korean military tolerates a culture of abuse, some if it sexual. The situations are certainly not 100% parallel, as the South Korean conscription law is justified by a belligerent sitting on the other side of the 38th. According to the article linked above, the conscription debate also weighs the consequences of compulsory service for economically disadvantaged men who must give up work and education and fall further behind. 

I'm curious to see if D.P. addresses economic inequality in the show, as I've been interested in discussions about what drives people to volunteer for the United States military. I would have assumed there was some economic benefit for those at the bottom to compulsory service, as it would serve as an equalizer during that time of service. Some quick googling just now came up  empty, but I've also assumed the military, at least the British and American, has historically been a way for some to move up in social caste. At the very least, I firmly believe that if you are a patriotic sort without a safety net of your own, the only avenue to an American socialist paradise of free health care and free college is the United States military. In any case, a new show to check out.   

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