Bad Economy = Easier Military Recruiting

"The economy, together with easing worries about the violence in Iraq and even President Barack Obama's election" is benefiting the U.S. Army. With the "constant reporting that we are going to downsize and leave" Iraq, it's been easier for the Army to meet recruiting goals, said Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley. "How long we stay there is still being worked out, but it's fairly well-understood that we are going to lower the number of troops in Iraq, regardless of how long we stay there." In 2008, the Army recruited 517 more people than its goal of 80,000. Still, recruiting isn't easy, especially with the build-up of troops in Afghanistan. The Army's attempts to deliver "a precise, tailored message to the 17- to 24-year-olds and their parents" include Nascar and NHRA race sponsorship, online ads and games, the website and "a Yahoo instant-messaging product that has gotten more than 1 million hits."


My saintly and sage maternal grandmother told me of her duties in a mustard-gas hospital ward during and after the “Great War”. Soldiers struggled for years, barely able to breath. They would be laid, hours on end, in clay trenches. The clay seem to promote some healing in some patients. The experience amounted to laying in a open grave, hour after hour.

She asked me to remember this story if I only could:

Nana overheard two Bay-Street moguls, (fat cats), discussing the war on the streetcar. The more-fatter one commented on how the war was good for the economy. He prayed that it would never end. If you think Granny was good with her gun, you should have seen Nana with her banana. The moguls were nary seen again.

As a former Marine who served in the Middle East, I opposed and still oppose the war in Iraq as an unnecessary war of choice, sold to the American people on a bed of lies. Having said that, I can make the case - as can any intelligent, informed person - that the situation in Afghanistan is far different and was a just war, entirely botched and neglected by the Bush administration.

In that or any context, faulting the US Army for working to meet its recruiting goals, and/or blaming the Army for the sad state of the economy is cheap, specious and, well, silly. Military recruiting is always easier in tough economic times.

We need an Army. We need to recruit for that Army. Place your attention instead on our civilian government and our society. Grow up.