Recruitment continues to not go very well; Republican failures in the promotion of our national security
Via Atrios, this article from the Associated Press (via the Miami Herald) provides a summary of the military recruitment issue.
Key points for concern from the article:
1. 2005 is going to produce the largest shortfall in recruiting since 1979--at least as far as not meeting recruiting goals;
2. This occurred despite the military offering record bonuses (see my earlier post on this subject);
3. While my friend at Karmic Inquisition believes re-enlistment (as opposed to enlistment) is strong because people want to fight in the "cause" of a free Iraq, I found the comment from an army recruitment spokesperson, Lt. Col. Bryan HIfferty, intriguing:
"The factors working against the Army, Hilferty said, are a strong national economy that offers young people other choices, and 'continued negative news from the Middle East.' To offset that the Army has vastly increased the number of recruiters on the street, offered bigger signup bonuses and boosted advertising.'"
Isn't he really saying the military is the last resort for people with no economic prospects? The bit about the national economy doing well, though, is not quite accurate, particularly for those who do not have college degrees. Therefore, just imagine the recruiting results so far this year had the military not lowered its recruitment quota and not significantly increased its bonus offers.
Those who support an activist role for our military in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, among other hot spots, owe it to the American people to say, "We need a draft." The Terrible President seems to want to make it a habit of sending our young people to various hot spots to put their lives on the line with not enough support in terms of people--and without providing adequate or enough equipment.
The only good news from the article in terms of recruiting is that the goals (lowered from previous years) on a monthly basis have been met since June 2005. However, a military sociologist from the mid-west was quoted in the article as saying the "future looks even grimmer" because, as the Army chief of staff admitted, the delayed entry recruits are going to be "the smallest in history"--which we must suppose means smallest by percentage or smallest in terms of numbers of delayed entry recruits compared to other years.
I guess the thing that most amazes me is this: Who would have imagined it would be the most right-wing presidency in the past 100 years that would do so much damage to the CIA and to the military? Really. At long last, can anyone who claims to be a Republican be proud of the record of this Republican-dominated Congress and the Terrible President? It's like everything they feared from a George McGovern presidency* has occurred: record budget deficits and debt accumulation, reckless governance as opposed to good governance, and a disrespect for the military and CIA.
* I admire McGovern and as a 15 year old, I supported him. I still think he'd a have made a better president than Nixon and would likely have pleasantly surprised "cultural conservatives" with a governance based upon one's love of one's country--including a respect for those who serve in the military to the police, fire, etc.
UPDATE: Kevin Drum, at the Washington Monthly, analyzes the latest bad news from statements made by military spokespersons who are vainly attempted to spin it to be a "positive." I would also note that the people who are declining recruitment most likely don't get the news about what is happening on the ground in Iraq from PBS or NPR or some "liberal" newspaper or even CNN. They get it, if my knowledge of past wars is a valid guide, from their neighborhood where they hear from the loved ones of those who are currently serving. This is why the 101st Fighting Keyboarders are full of crap when they try to say how it is "negative waves" (to quote Oddball in "Kelly's Heroes") that make it hard to recruit.
Oh, and I must say this: Karmic Inquisition's proprietor is not a member of that Keyboard squadron. He served in the military, unlike me, and he served well. And he is past the age to go back to war in any event. I don't like the chickenhawk argument for that reason, but I am talking about a certain type (Jonah Goldberg, John Podhoretz, and others) who didn't serve but rah-rah any war pushed by Republican leaders under any circumstances. That is what should be called out.