Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Army, Services, meet 2006 recruiting goals

How is it that the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force had all met their respective 2006 recruiting goals, after a disappointing 2005. In the midst of a very unpopular war, which the majority of Americans oppose, and nightly images on the news of still more young American women and men dying in a war about which the president has finally agreed needs some tweaking in "tactics", how is it possible that recruiting of volunteers to possibly make the ultimate sacrifice, is not more difficult than it is? Add to this the facts that we now enjoy low unemployment and a relatively strong economy, on the surface at least, and comprehending this becomes even more difficult.

I have nothing but respect for the organization. It afforded me educational, training and leadership opportunities that would have been otherwise completely outside of my reach. Despite the very serious scandals involving torture and other alleged unforgivable acts, I still believe that the crux of the culture within our military rests on honestly, morality, discipline and selflessness. Still, in this day and age, under the current leadership at the top levels, I could not with a clear conscience advise or recommend to anyone I know and care for that they embark on a military career, or even a term in service, though I know that under normal circumstances, that avenue can open many opportunities that might not otherwise be available to some of them.

This week's Army Times is a reminder of the explanation for meeting the recruiting numbers goal is the result of lowering the standards for enlistment. It also reviews the arguments over why doing so is such a bad (and dangerous) idea on many levels, most of which I've already commented on here, but are worth refreshing. I won't detail them here yet again, and hence repeat myself, but if you have a few minutes, the article, linked above, is worth that short time. Lowering those standards for enlistment is unfair to the enlistees themselves, the troops with whom they'll serve, the commanders in the field, the parents and friends of all those just mentioned, and the Armed Services and their legacies as well.

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