Saturday, May 21, 2005


For the past three months the Army has failed to meet its recruiting quotas, and some recruiters have been accused of signing up young men and women they knew were not qualified. The head of the army recruiting command says that recruiting these days is the toughest he's ever seen.

One of my oft repeated mantras used to be that every young man and woman in America could benefit from a time in the military. In fact, with great regularity I use to recommend it to kids at my Church, those I saw on the bus, wherever: "Have you ever considered the military?" I thought that the youngsters who mostly would benefit were the ones who didn't have a clue what they wanted to do with their lives. Little or no resources and for sure were not going to college. They could go in the military and get some discipline, build up some bucks for college and come out with some relative direction. A few actually followed my advice.

And, then something happened to me: I quit recommending the military. Why? In a word, Iraqnam. And, I suddenly discovered that I am, like many Americans who care, are part of the reasons that the Volunteer Military is in a world of hurts. We have cease to be the influencers to our children, our neighbors, our friends. And, according to the head knocker of the Recruiting Command, General Michael D. Rochelle, recognizes this is why it has become so difficult for recruitment. Recruiters have lost the support of parents, grandparents, and friends to influence America's youth to sign up.

And, in a sense, maybe this is a good thing. When we realize that the All Volunteer Military is not working, then we are in a position to consider what we should have had all along, an AllServe military. The All Volunteer force is workable when we are at peace and it has been sold on that basis. It's a job. Now, that we are war, these parents are reluctant to put their children in harms way. For most, they probably haven't thought much about putting other peoples' children at war but now that they do, noway are they going to encourage it.

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