Monday, August 22, 2005

I Know: Let's Handcuff the Army!

Salesmen sell. It’s what they do. When you go in to a car dealer to buy a new Cadillac Escalade, the pitchman there will hit you with image, style, comfort, luxury, maybe even sex appeal. He is not likely to mention, in an era of $3.00 per gallon pump prices that you’ll be lucky to get sixteen miles to the gallon. It’s not in his interest, and if you were all that concerned about fuel economy you’d be in the Honda dealership across the street. Everybody knows SUVs are gas guzzlers; he doesn’t need to point it out.

NY Times editorial columnist Bob Herbert (view it if you must) would have you believe that Military recruiters should act differently. Apparently he doesn’t think that America’s adolescents understand that joining the Army can be dangerous. This is in spite of the constant reminders in the media that the combined death toll since 2001 is now over 2000.

According to Mr. Herbert America’s youth are so “especially impressionable and vulnerable” that a sales pitch concentrating on some of the great benefits of the military is enough to make them forget that people are fighting and dying in a war. Apparently when recruiters talk about things like money for college, travel, health benefits, career opportunities and more, America’s youth become so entranced by these sugarplum visions that they become putty in the hands of recruiters.

The reality of recruiting couldn’t be further from that image.

Army recruiters often have work weeks that run to eighty hours. A typical day can involve a 3 AM wake up call to chauffer a prospect to a Military Entrance Processing Station for initial entry evaluation. When finished at MEPS in the afternoon, there are cold calls and follow ups to be made. Evenings are often spent pitching to prospects at High School ball games, job fairs or the mall.

Family life suffers. Recruiters need to meet quotas or fail. Failure in the military is not a pleasant sensation. Sanctions range from reassignment to loss of certain benefits. And recruiters like all soldiers have pride.

Recruiters need to sort through hundreds of prospects just to get the usual quota of two a month “shipped”, that is sent on to basic training. It’s a grueling way of life. These days the war has made it tougher. Parents have become a greater hurdle. While many prospects are over eighteen, parents can still have a major influence, and many are resisting their children’s enlistment.

Recruiters facing these hurdles, naturally play up the positives. Even in peacetime, recruiters are far from the most popular characters within the military community. Derogatory comments and exaggerated horror stories abound. While outright lying is rare, recruiters are masters of the positive spin. Thus it has ever been.

Parental resistance and consistent shortfalls in recruiting goals indicate that America’s young men and women are not nearly as gullible as Mr. Herbert would have you believe. The hesitancy to enlist is an obvious side effect of the war. It is the goals of recruiters to show why military life can still be an attractive option despite the risks. And certainly young people risk their lives often enough in causes less worthy then national security.

Mr. Herbert reveals his real agenda near the end of his article:

“Stop unnecessary wars or restore the draft.”

Why not just write a piece about why he thinks that our current fights are unnecessary? The draft is a non-starter and he knows it. This military is based on the quality of soldiering that results voluntary enlistments. Mr. Herbert would assuredly be among the forefront of protesters against the draft.

Leftist are constantly waving that red flag. Why? Because they know a draft would enhance their image and stature. Even recent rumors of a new draft, engineered from the left, fueled fears and increased the amount of irrational discourse on the war.

As to the non-“necessity” of the war? With Afghanistan, as they say, that dog won’t hunt. Iraq? Maybe back in 2002 there was a rational position against the war in Iraq. But that argument was lost by the left. We went to war in Iraq. And now we are faced with the consequences. That means defeating the insurgency plain and simple.

To do that we need quality troops, so recruiters, must go on recruiting. They will continue to pitch the best parts of their product, like all salesmen. Young Americans hear enough negatives about the military from the mainstream media, from the left, from academia and seemingly from their parents these days. It seems fair that the Army’s only representative in their life gets to focus on the positive

Just so you know Mr. Herbert: In today’s Army all recruits are tested for minimum intelligence standards and screened for drugs. That should serve to keep out those who do not understand that the nation is at war.


Blogger LargeBill said...

"Just so you know Mr. Herbert: In today’s Army all recruits are tested for minimum intelligence standards and screened for drugs. That should serve to keep out those who do not understand that the nation is at war."

However, in today's newpapers a$$-clowns are not tested for minimum intelligence and what are the chances of Herbert, Dowd or any of their ilk passing a piss test? Hah!

Mon Aug 22, 10:07:00 PM 2005  

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