2005 June 03 Friday
Military Service Increasingly Unpopular With Parents
Parents don't want their kids to join the US Army.
A Department of Defense survey last November, the latest, shows that only 25 percent of parents would recommend military service to their children, down from 42 percent in August 2003.
"Parents," said one recruiter in Ohio who insisted on anonymity because the Army ordered all recruiters not to talk to reporters, "are the biggest hurdle we face."
Recruiters who cold call are getting increasing hostility and a lot more parents hang up.
Recruiters, in interviews over the past six months, said that opposition can be fierce. Three years ago, perhaps 1 or 2 of 10 parents would hang up immediately on a cold call to a potential recruit's home, said a recruiter in New York who, like most others interviewed, insisted on anonymity to protect his career. "Now," he said, "in the past year or two, people hang up all the time. "
The No Child Left Behind law includes a clause that gives military recruiters access to students for the purpose of recruiting. Parents have one way to reduce recruiter access: Ask to have their children's names, addresses, and phone numbers taken off of public lists of students attending a high school.
The US Army Major General in charge of recruiting questions whether the US can stay in Iraq given the growing parental resistance to recruiting.
Military officials are clearly concerned. In an interview last month, Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, commander of Army recruiting, said parental resistance could put the all-volunteer force in jeopardy. When parents and other influential adults dissuade young people from enlisting, he said, "it begs the question of what our national staying power might be for what certainly appears to be a long fight."
One General quoted in the article claims the alternative to a volunteer Army to fight in Iraq is a draft. Well, I can think of another really obvious alternative.
The US Army recruiting shortfall in April was a whopping 42%. How can the US military stay in Iraq with current troop levels? At the same time, given the unpopularity of the war the odds of getting a draft through Congress seem slim. But a US troop reduction would open up parts of Iraq to greater insurgent control.
US officers in Iraq have become more pessimistic. The Bush Admnistration's latest gambit appears to be paramilitary forces modelled after paramilitaries the US has supported in Latin America. Basically, the paramilitaries try to be even more menacing and brutal than the insurgents. This might work. Though only if most of the people the paramilitaries kill are really insurgents and only if most of the familiy members they kidnap to extort insurgent relatives really have insurgent relatives. But competency in the anti-insurgent cause is just so hard to come by in Iraq. Sorry in advance to those innocent civilians who get tortured, raped, and killed. To make a democracy omelette you have to break some civilian eggs. Though perhaps there isn't enough time to try the paramilitary gambit. I'm worried rival militias will destroy the government and plunge the place into civil war. I expect the recruitment shortfall to hasten the shift toward the paramilitary gambit.
The Iraq Debacle continues to unfold.
Randall, its already a civil war we just hesitate to call iot that. The question now is which side to we support-or just say we won, which actually we did if the objective was to insure that Iraq had no weapons of mass distruction,and pull up our pants and go home.
I'm for pulling out and letting them fight it out. If the Iraqi people want some semblance of economic and political freedom then they are going to have to fight for it. I do think that we should pick a side to support-see who France and Germany are supporting and take the opposite and will probably pick the right side-and trade them arms for oil. Maybe drop the occasional bunker buster to let them know we are still around. In the meantime let the rest of the world know that it is a private fight. They can supply arms but no troops. Might make for an interesting scenario.
So long as the government uses our troops as targets to draw fire away from stateside civilians, there will be lower and lower success in recruitment for such a sacrificial position. The administration refuses for its own nihlistic reasons, to defend the borders of America and identify and deport hostiles within the borders.
Now you see why the lefties in the nightly news love body counts and photos of dead soldiers. They're trying to dry up the volunteer military to necessitate a draft. Then, oh happy day, it will be the 60s all over again.
[ParaPundit edited the Author on this post because the guy used another guy's pseudonym]
Pac Man, How many more lives would your agenda claim for Vietnam? Perhaps the wall would be a few feet longer...an for what? The draft would be the best thing for all the other boys waiting to give their lives for a bunch of neo con crap. You call it left, I call it life.
Pac Man, How many more lives would your agenda claim for Vietnam? Perhaps the wall would be a few feet longer...an for what? The draft would be the best thing for all the other boys waiting to give their lives for a bunch of neo con crap. You call it left, I call it life.
Childishly impersonating someone and then wishing death upon those willing to risk life-and-limb for a selfless cause--how courageous.
PacRim, I don't believe that the recruiting situation can be blamed on a left/right political divide. It seems to me that citizens have the right to know details like body counts so that they can make informed decisions, and they're deciding that they don't want their children to have any part of it.
GUYK, I don't think its reached the civil war stage just yet because the sides are structured around pro-US & anti-US positions. But once the US retreats or once the US starts to use ethnic/religious based militia, then it will definitely be a civil war.
As for the US choosing sides after it withdraws, politically (and probably literally), it'd be a kiss of death for any group to have US support.
If there's a civil war after the US withdrawal, my guess is that Iran will eventually fill the vacuum in the south and seize Basra and the gulf ports, leaving the rest of Iraq land locked. If nothing else, they'll claim the territory as war reparations. Turkey might be tempted to take the north if they decide that they're never going to be admitted to the EU - they'd use the US excuse and claim that there are Kurdish terrorists there.
No idea who might want the middle bit - Osama could probably open a branch office there.
is the guy who mentioned vietnam impersonating PacRim? Or more charitably, maybe the guy thought he was replying to PacRim by typing his name in the Post form?? Stretching credulity I know.
If Saudi Arabia exits the American sphere of influence in the future, Bush will have 2 choices:
A) Start the draft
B) Accept the defeat and use less oil
Invisible, Bush's term will be about finished when the shit hits the fan. In the mean time I think he'll keep feeding troops into the Iraqi meat-grinder rather than face his political failure.
If the Saudi's collapse, my guess is that the US will steadily increase its demonisation of Venezuela until hysteria is at a point where it can invade on some pretext that will coincidentally give it access to V's oil.
I wonder how the next election campaign will look? Could a republican be selected to stand on a get-out-of-Iraq policy? Or will they feel obliged to select a pro-war candidate?
The US doesn't have to demonize Venezuela; Hugo Chavez is making himself quite unpopular in the region (except with Cuba) and his own people without our help.
Venezuelan "crude" is pretty much asphalt anyway. If we were going to make heavy use of it we'd need specialized refineries, and that's not going to happen overnight.
In fact we have the specialized refineries like no other country. Venezuela's problem is that few countries can buy their crude due to the special refinery requirements. Chavez is negotiating long term contracts with other countries in order to reduce his dependence on the United States as a customer.
As for Chavez making himself unpopular: Only with the upper middle and upper classes. The much larger lower classes have stood by him when the upper classes have tried (possibly with US support) to overthrow him.
Regards Saudi Arabia: Shouldn't we accelerate advancement of energy technologies that obsolesce oil so that the world stops sending money to Saudi Arabia where it then gets used to spread Wahhabism Islam and jihad?
You know my answer to that: not just yes. HELL, YES!
Lets say the US stops buying tomorrow and the price of oil drops 80%. We still have several hundred billion dollars worth of Saudi controlled investments which will take a century or two to spend, plus a few tens of millions of fresh annual oil income. So there'd still be plenty of money to spend on luxuries like shiny new jihads.
Anyway, how much does it cost to fund Osama? Its not as if he's paying for a penthouse apartment and a coke habit. And hiring suicide bombers isn't that expensive - its not as if the Saudi's have to fund the guy's retirement.
If the Saudis are faced with a choice between keeping their population happy at home and financing the Wahhabi expansion program abroad, which do you think they're going to do?
Besides, if we cut our oil demand enough to make Saudi pumping capacity surplus - or if an event such as the naval blockade following a Chinese move against Taiwan removes enough demand elsewhere - we could disrupt the Saudi oil networks ourselves (I'm sure we could manage plausible deniabilty) and render them penniless overnight.
But I'm saying they've got enough money in the bank to keep the citizens in milk & honey for a century or more while at the same time giving some spare change to Osama and his ilk - even if the taps were turned off right now. In fact, I'd guess that the entire nation could live comfortably off of the dividends of their non-oil investments.
As for the Wahhabi expansion, that seems to be a grass roots movement rather than something driven by government/royal policy. My guess is that the biggest threat to the Saudi's isn't the US, but some Wahhabist deciding to martyr himself and taking the royal family with him.
You're wrong. The Saudis got used to a high sandard of living without working: revenues stabilized while the population grew rapidly. It has tripled in the last 25 years. They were spending faster than revenue and living off capital for years - untl the recent big increaSe in oil prices.
It takes about five minutes to find this out: if you routinely paid enough attention to these issues to have an informed opimnion, you already knew that the Saudis total exterior investments weren't very big (about one year's revenue)
You beat me to it. Yes, the Saudis have had to borrow money in some years when oil prices were low. Check out the the CIA World Factbook entry on Saudi Arabia. Total public debt is about 75% of GDP. Foreign exchange reserves are $23 bil and external debt is $34 bil. Those are 2004 estimates and likely the numbers have improved due to the continued high price of oil. But Saudi Arabia has a $300 billion a year economy according to the CIA.
Think about that from the perspective of oil. They are making about 9 or 10 million barrels of oil per day. Assume they can put it at 10 million and keep it there. At $50 per barrel that is $500 million a day or about $182 billion per year. Well, suppose the industrialized countries replace oil used in transportation with nukes to charge lithium polymer batteries to operate cars and other vehicles. If the price of oil dropped to $10 per barrel the Saudis would be out about half their GDP. Ouch. They'd actually have to work for a living. The amount of money appropriated by the government to spread Wahhabism (including in US mosques and Islamic schools) would plummet.
The Saudi infrastructure is run by non-Saudis. Saudis cannot manage their own country, their own technology, their own economy. They are totally dependent on outsiders. What happens when the royal family is deposed and the Wahabists finally get control? Total disaster, as the outsiders flee for their lives and the infrastructure collapses. Think Taliban Afghanistan, the only other country ever controlled by Wahabists. But this would be different. Taliban Afghanistan had continuous infusions of cash from wealthy Saudis. Where will "Taliban" Saudi Arabis get its cash from after its economy dies? Think Uganda after the expulsions, Zimbabwe after the expulsions.
The rest of the world will be wallowing in depression as oil goes above $100 a barrel. Mr. Parker, there is no technology remotely close enough to maturity that can take over for petroleum.
Unless the Wahabists can be brought to heel, this depression is inevitable. Terrorism will have more recruits under those circumstances than any other.
Mr. Parker, there is no technology remotely close enough to maturity that can take over for petroleum.
All the more reason to accelerate technological developments. Why have the US and world economy so vulnerable to the court intrigues, the Wahhabi mullahs, and Al Qaeda rebels in Saudi Arabia? Just because we can't eliminate that vulnerability quickly does not mean that we should not attach a high value to ending that vulnerability.
Advances in battery technology would allow us to replace oil with nukes, coal, wind, and photovoltaicss.
Energy policy is national security policy.
G & R, I don't think its appropriate to measure SA's economy in terms of national product because its formal economy is a mere shell. The real economy remains almost entirely unrecorded by official figures because the Saudi's have never really had to bother with a formal taxation system or formal economic ecology. Talking about 'public debt' is just as misleading because the public sphere is more like a hobby to keep various prince royals amused. Even the SA military is a state funded hobby.
The only accounting the Saudi's care about is tracking oil revenues - they're very good at that.
So the government is having trouble convincing the Moms and Dads of America that their sons and daughters should join the military so they can fight and die in Iraq? Perhaps the government should concentrate its efforts exclusively in the red states – after all, they’re the folks who put the Warmonger in Chief back into office. Aren’t these the red-blooded, flag waving, Bible-toting, Bush-loving patriots who believe that we need to be fighting the terrorists “over there” so we don’t have to fight them “over here”? Surely these folks must realize that someone’s got to go to Iraq and die so that America can be free.
Could it be that these people have finally stopped believing the Bush lie? Have they stopped believing that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was such a threat to our security that we needed to invade the country? Have they stopped believing that getting Saddam was of greater importance than getting Osama? Have they stopped believing that our invasion, which has turned Iraq into a terrorist training camp, somehow makes America “safer”?
Or just maybe the Moms and Dads of America don’t believe that Bush’s war is worth the lives of their children. If so, Bush and Cheney could help to change these minds by showing some leadership by example. Mom and Dad Bush should demonstrate to the nation their commitment to the nobleness of the cause in Iraq by “convincing” their two daughters to join up and serve their country in uniform. Same for the Cheney daughters. What better example for the nation than to see the Bush daughters and the Cheney daughters fighting the good fight in Iraq. Surely George W. Bush and Dick Cheney shouldn’t have a problem with their children helping to spread democracy in Iraq. Right?
Oh, wait. I just remembered. Chickhawks like Bush, Cheney, and Wolfowitz are in favor of wars, as long as they don’t actually have to fight in them. So don’t expect to see the girls helping to fight Daddy’s war anytime soon.
If it ever comes to the point where it seems a draft is likely, the youth of America will have to decide if they’re willing to put their lives on the line in Iraq because Bush foolishly started a war for no good reason. I hope the answer is loud and clear: HELL NO WE WON’T GO
To summarize again, since we shall be in Iraq for another decade at the minimum, assuming that we are spending $100 billion per year for the war in Iraq (excluding the cost of taking care of the families of the casualties), within 8 more years, we will have spent $1 trillion on this highly productive enterprise.
I am sure that $1 trillion would have been enough to create an alternative infrastructure to make oil obsolete (at least for cars).
I like this little "alternatives" game. Well, here's one for you. Your country is attacked. You can A: Sit on your ass and do nothing. Or B: Attack you most vocal enemy and overthrow him. Put him on trial. Liberate his people. Pressure every other regime in the area to lighten up.
Audacious? Perhaps. But when everyone else seems to be content to disappear down their anti-semitic hole with their soon to be worthless currency I kind of like it. Cheer up. Soldiers know they might die. Their only wish is to make a difference.
And watching poor, depressed Saddam face is accusers is going to be worth quite a lot.
David2 seems to be suggesting that arabs may think differently than the "BushitlerCheneyHalliburtonRepublicansarevil" crowd. Many westerners may simply be incapable of understanding the near eastern mentality. Being indoctrinated in multiculturalism "all cultures are equally good except western culture is bad" certainly prevents one from making the distinctions necessary for critical thinking in this area.
(some of us are here because the indoctrination didn't take. sometimes several different types, on multiple occasions.)
Do not use my name to make cowardly posts. Your immorality is evident.
Iraq war is being fought in Politically Correct way with 2 hands tied behind US Military back. Emphasis is on building "Democracy" (whatever it means in a tribal society), schools and roads and generally fighting for "Hearts and Minds". Ruthless termination of enemy most definetly is NOT the top priority.
Our military is by far the best of what we have in our country. Is it a big surprise that warriors resent PC way of war?
Casualties mount and moral has no way to go but down. Recruitment falls.
What GWB goverment has to do? To put their money where their mouth is would be very refreshing.
A simple but high impact publis gesture -- very uncharacteristic of GWB and neo-con desk-warriors:
Sign Up Bush and Cheney Daughters!
Bush got 2 perfectly healthy girls. Cheney got 2 perfectly healthy slightly older girls.
Among these 4 daughters of privilidge they should be able to find 2 girls to sign-up for Iraq service in Marines.
If War in Iraq, War on Terrorism is as important as genius from Texas says it is, he should be able to sacrifice his daughter before he asks millions of americans to sacrifice their sons and daughters.
After all Bush Senior was 5 years younger then Bush girls now and a son of privilidge when he signed up to become a youngest pilot in US Navy in WWII.
How things have changed. Bush I's son, a drunkard and a slacker, fought Vietnam war in Texas. Nobody ever mentions his grand-daughters - closest thing to being American princesses- did not do a jack in this supposedly supremely important War on Terrorism. Whatever happened to the concept of Elite responsibility? Even (admittedly very minor) Saudi oil-ticks princes serve in their "military".
Perhaps GWB would prosecute war quite differently, in non-PC fashion if his daughters were on the ground.
Bush gots healthy girls. Why not them be going and fighting? Cheney gots healthy girls, one of thems being gay. Why not gay girl be going and fighting? US gots lots of healthy illegal mexicans. Why not them be going and fighting? Why not Bush be telling mexicans if theys wanting to work theys be having to fight first? These necons be needing to send more antiwar protestors to be going and fighting. Why not these protestors be fighting? Pampered princess protesters? What be the matter with thems?
I've been musing on the history of the offspring of US Presidents and other leaders serving in the US military. It's a good question, and I do think the Bush and Cheney girls should be leading the charge against the enemies of democracy. (Over the top! On to Belgrad! No prisoners!)
My memory's a little fuzzy here, but I think the last sitting President to have a son serve in combat was FDR. Since then, I can't recall any offspring of the Prez who have served, although, as I readily acknowledge, I may have missed some. Did any of the Kennedy's sign up? What about Johnson's daughters? It was these idiots who got us involved in the Vietnam mess. What about the children of Robert MacNamera, Dean Rusk, or Henry Kissinger, to mention just a few names? How about Nixon, Ford, Carter or Reagan? The list goes on....
I know that, with the sole exception of Slick Willie Clinton, who lied to avoid the draft, all the recent Presidents have served in the US military (I guess FDR was the last one who didn't). And I wouldn't denegrate Bush's National Guard servive flying jets - maybe he didn't serve with the distinction of a Kennedy or an Eisenhower, but he did more than Johnson or Reagan, who mostly commanded desks.
Anyway, with the all-volunteer military, it seems mostly a cultural thing, that it's the kids from poor or lower middle class backgrounds that sign up. Children from more affluent backgrounds just have many more opportunities. Unfair, perhaps, but that's the way life works. But do not loose sight of the fact that the all-volunteer military serves as a powerful check on wars such as Iraq - just look at the effect its having already. If we had had an all-volunteer military in the 1960's, we probably would not have become so deeply enmeshed in the Vietnam quagmire.
Gee, I can't see why any parent would not want to send their
child off to die or be wounded or exposed to DU in a war for
(err, what is this about again?).
The fact that most are reservists or national guard and get
no medical benefits to help offset the costs of staying
alive is a plus I'm sure.
Heck, I saw a special on public TV, seems that our front line
hospitals are treating wounded enemy combatants, just to help em get
back at firing at our troops. What's next, a de-militarized
BTW, there's talk of re-instituting the draft. Seems they can't
get enough volunteers. And for some reason, retention sucks,
so they just don't let em go when their stint is up.
I mean, where's the downside? Well, least if your name is
I keep theorizing on why Bush thought starting this war was important. We now know the Bushies were aware that their WMD intelligence was dodgy. So the motive must lie elsewhere. The Israelis saw Iran as a bigger threat and Iraq as a distraction. So Israel didn't ask for the war. Maybe the neocons were just fools. But what about Bush? Did he take seriously the claim that Saddam tried to have Bush's daddy killed? If not, then what?
Here's my latest highly speculative attempt to explain Dubya's War: It is a Machiavellian conservative attempt to undermine faith in government by demonstrating that the government can not be trusted.
But that explanation really gives Dubya more credit than he deserves.
"Here's my latest highly speculative attempt to explain Dubya's War: It is a Machiavellian conservative attempt to undermine faith in government by demonstrating that the government can not be trusted."
This has to be one of the most diabolical plots ever. :^}
One question though. Faith in the government? The words are
english but I'm having trouble extracting meaning from them.
Randall, I think that does give too much credit to George - he's just not that deep a thinker.
The only reason I can find that fits the facts (so far as are known) is that George simply channeled a national desire for revenge post 9/11. Knowing in his gut that the US had to punish an arab country, it just came down to choosing which one. So which one would pop into his mind? Right, that bit of unfinished business his dad left - Iraq. The administration then attempted to rationalise the decision by emphasising the Iraq-is-bad intel and minimising the Iraq-isn't-much intel. I think that this theory also neatly explains why the public and media followed along tamely, and why they don't really care too much about the things that are happening in Iraq.
Just be thankful that Iraq was the country that came to his mind - imagine the hell of a mess we'd be in if his eye went to Iran!
Randall Parker writes:
"We now know the Bushies were aware that their WMD intelligence was dodgy."
And we know that how?
Bush mediocre presidency provides a rich target environment - from worst job creation record since Hoover to PC war for tribal islamic "democracy" in Iraq - Bush is a huge target.
Why one needs to claim that Bushies knew that WMD was a crock? From what we know Russkies, Frogs, Krauts and Brits thought the same.
"Just be thankful that Iraq was the country that came to his mind - imagine the hell of a mess we'd be in if his eye went to Iran!"
One possibility, highly unlikely, Bush would have been forced to abandon principles of PC war.
Hell, he even might have allowed our military to kill more enemy combatants than fingers on one hand.
When you are finished whining about how Iraqis can elect their own government for the first time in decades, perhaps you can devote a little attention to the genuine human tragedy that is occurring in Zimbabwe as we are enjoying western freedoms. Comparing Mugabe to Pol Pot is no exaggeration. Where have you been?
Maybe I ought to take the time to write a post that links to lots of info about what was known about WMDs in Iraq before and after the Iraq invasion. I've read the various revelations over a period of years and can see a lot of people wouldn't be aware of the weight of the evidence about what was going on in the Bush Administration in the run-up to the war.
Are you aware of the document the Times of London reported a month or two ago on what some intelligence agency head in Britain wrote before the war about how weak the WMD evidence really was? Or about how the Department of Energy analysts who showed why the aluninum tubes couldn't be used for uranium enrichement were told to shut up? See "Iraq
Aluminum Tubes Intelligence Analysts Rewarded". See how the fix was put in place.
I could collect up about a couple of dozen such damning revelations together into a single post. I'm just really busy at the moment though.
I would appreciate it if anyone who comes across detailed original reports on dodgy WMD evidence would either post it in the "Iraq Aluminum Tubes Intelligence Analysts Rewarded" thread or email it to me. I want to collect it together for a post.
Here's a link to the so-called Downing Street Memo, based on the minutes of a British Cabinet meeting, in which it seems that the decision was made to invade Iraq first and then arrange the intelligence "facts" later in order to provide support for the invasion:
It is sad when hearsay thrice-removed raises this kind of ruckus, especially since a version had been reported three years ago. As smoking guns go, it is not high caliber.
The best description of the Downing Street "memo" that I have read.
"Downing Street Memo Gets Fresh Attention" from USA Today
Here's a link to the full text of the Downing Street Memo. "C" of course is the head of MI6.
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
And the other bit worthy of highlighting...
There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
Agreed. And now America is deep in a mess.