Sunday, March 04, 2007

ABC News -- Misleading Candidates for Military Service Recruiting

They report.
You decide.
I have been saying for some time that unless there is a slowdown in American military adventures, a military draft is inevitable.

To be clear, recruiting still seems to be going well. At the end of this snip we hear the reporter say...

Two thousand and six is going well for the Army. They've brought in eighty thousand new recruits this fiscal year. And in part because they've doubled the sign-up bonus from twenty to forty thousand. They've also increased the maximum allowable age from thirty-five to forty-two. They've dramatically increased recruiting forces, up some twenty percent. But part of the problem, according to military experts, is this tremendous pressure to meet quota. That serves as a catalyst for some of the undercover tactics we've seen in this undercover investigation.
Money is indeed an incentive that will attract new recruits, especially our children. Oh, yes, I said children. The "maximum allowable age" may have been adjusted upward, but that little soundbite cleverly obscures the impact that money has on younger candidates as well. And when you are as old as I am, anyone who is still a teenager is still a child. At eighteen or nineteen, according to some sources, we still have not formed a mature understanding of risk.
In this morning's Iraq Slogger Eason Jordan's summary of news coverage as reported by the New York Times and Washington Post says plainly that...

Both papers are relatively shallow on the hard news of Saturday, and neither mentions what is arguably the biggest Iraq news Saturday – Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s comments in an interview with the AP that he intends to re-organize the Iraqi government, fire several ministers, make his cabinet smaller, and, perhaps most importantly, that he intends to prosecute politicians allied with extremists.

The Washington Post limits its Iraq-focused hard news reporting to 10 measly paragraphs.
And he points to a story from the Times underscoring exactly the point I just made, that money is a powerful incentive for children.

Dan Barry provides a page one feature about an 18-year-old Arizona woman, Resha Kane, shipping off to join the U.S. Fourth Infantry Division, presumably destined for Iraq. Her motivation in signing up: money. She says she’d rather not go to Iraq but she needs the money to go to college.

I didn't read the report because I don't subscribe to Times Select, but the picture of this child looking up at her Dad with moist eyes is all I needed to see. I'm sorry, but I cannot us the word woman when I think of someone less than a year away from her school prom. It makes me angry and sad just to remember the image.

March 30 followup:

So here's a warm fuzzy [see October followup] for Resha Kane, provided, of course, she returns alive from her tour of duty.

Actor Alec Baldwin was so moved by the story of an 18-year-old Army soldier who is scheduled to serve in Iraq, he's going to help pay for her college education after she leaves the military.

The story of Pvt. Resha Kane of Needles, Calif., was on the front page of The New York Times on March 4 and was written as a narrative about the day Kane said goodbye to her friends and family on Feb. 27 in Mohave Valley, Ariz., six miles northeast of Needles. Accompanying the article was a large photo of a teary-eyed Kane looking into her father's eyes as he tenderly held her shoulders.

If every young recruit had such a benefactor this would not be much of a story. Reality is that her good fortune is more like a lottery win than an everyday occurance.

October followup:

That last link went inactive, but here is another story from another blog, with photo...

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