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Hazing is defined as the practice of various rituals and activities that involve harassment, abuse, or even humiliation as a means of initiating a person into a group. When it comes to hazing, most people think of college fraternities. However, there is a long and equally controversial history and practice of military hazing, Military hazing has been criticized as going beyond simple pranks and leading to physical or mental damage to the individual that can, and has, resulted in stress or even death.
At one time, military hazing was regarding as a normal practice, part of the rite of passage for new recruits. Defenders of military hazing argue that hazing is essential to military culture, especially in combat units.
- Hazing, it is said, is vital in conditioning the individual to serve in a role during which suffering, and even death, is a routine part of life.
- Soldiers, it is argued, must be tough enough to kill for the nation, and military hazing is a vital means of preparing someone for that role.
Critics, however, charge that military hazing actually undermines military readiness. The branches of the military do not track hazing incidents and that, through indifference and inaction, condone hazing, despite the fact that there have been several deaths as the result of military hazing in recent years. Much like fraternity hazing, the days of tolerating military hazing seem to have come to an end.