Friday, May 11, 2007

Military Sees Parents As Part Of The Problem

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The biggest obstacle for U.S. military recruiters is not finding young Americans willing to enlist in wartime, it's dealing with their parents, according to the Pentagon.

That reality, which has emerged over the past year through polling data and recruiters' experiences throughout the United States, has led some parts of the U.S. military to seek new ways to either convince parents or simply bypass them.

Bypass the parents indeed. Why would we want a seventeen year old to listen to their parent, who might actually remember Vietnam, in addition to a recruiter, who needs to get as many warm bodies into the service as possible, otherwise they may not be a recruiter any more and get themselves shipped to Iraq? Seriously. You don't join the military as a recruiter, you are assigned there. You don't do a good job, and instead of living in a civilian city, working 9-5, Kirkuk looks lovely this time of year. Does that give you incentive to "shade the truth" a bit? The parents are giving their kids the bad advice of not joining the military during Commander Codpiece's Excellent Adventure into trying to reshape the Middle East without knowing anything about it. You are promised a 15 month stay now though. What is not to love?

At 18, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, or what I wanted to major in in college, I enlisted. My mother didn't exactly agree with my decision, but it was a rational choice. The college money was something I needed, and discipline was something I was lacking.

The recruiters lie! They lie, they lie, oh and they lie. One of my character flaws was smoking. The recruiter said, no problem. You are allowed to smoke in basic. (ummm, no you aren't). The recruiter also talked me out of military intelligence (I test well), because it would have taken a lot of background checks and it was "really boring". He said the signal corps was just as good. (He lied). I ended up being a communications specialist attached to a light infantry unit in Alaska. I asked for something on the west coast. Technically, I was on the west coast sorta.

If my kids were military age, and we had a recruiter trying to convince them of joining, I very well might be considered a problem. I would make them tell the truth. The first casualty of war is the truth. The rest of the casualties are hidden at Walter Reed or in Arlington because we are too delicate to handle the real truth of war.