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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Never too young to serve?

"Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man" - St. Ignatius of Loyola

As has been reported in various and sundry points around the media, the U.S. Armed Forces is seriously undermanned and in response to various complaints is taking measures to maintain troop levels which were inadequate to begin with and have been declining steadily.

"You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is hell!" - Gen. William T. Sherman

He had it right, and a lot of people understand what Sherman was saying. When a lot of people don't want to fight a war (and a lot of those in the war just want out) it's very difficult to replenish/rotate troops in the field.

Naturally the usual hodge-podge of Congresscritters and chickenhawks (many of whom supported sending the lower troop levels AND cutting funding to the military) are running around wringing their hands and crying "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!"

But what?

Choice One: Reinstate the draft

Make no mistake: even though most Americans are against conscription, if America wants to keep going down the path it's going, the draft will eventually become a reality (no matter how much the government tries to deny it).

Choice Two: Keep hold of what you have

The U.S. government has already moved on this one, instituting measures to prevent troops from leaving the services. This is not helping the complaint situation.

Choice Three: Increase recruitment

Well, they're doing this too..but the Army has admitted to widespread problems.

The most insidious problem hasn't been widely reported, and we find the seeds of it in the No Child Left Behind Act:

Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act states that each local educational agency receiving assistance under the act shall provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary-school students' names, addresses and telephone listings.

A secondary-school student or the parent of the student may request that the student's name, address and telephone listing not be released without prior written parental consent.

Essentially this collection of personal data is being abused by military recruiters, using the justification of the need for new troops, and puts a new spin on the corporatist practice of headhunting.

15 year-olds? How third world.

Yes...I do feel a draft in the air....