Despite harsh images coming out of Iraq (and made to look even harsher by a traditional media elite determined to make Iraq another Vietnam), which had recruitment well behind schedule for much of the first half of this year, June saw a reversal in recruitment trends:
The U.S. Army, hard pressed to attract new soldiers amid the Iraq war, exceeded its monthly recruiting goal in June, ending four straight months of shortfalls, the top U.S. military officer said on Wednesday.
But the active-duty Army, three-quarters through fiscal 2005, remained 14 percent — about 7,800 recruits — behind its year-to-date target and was in danger of missing its first annual recruiting goal since 1999, officials said. Its goal for fiscal 2005, ending on Sept. 30, is 80,000 recruits.
“I will tell you that for the month of June, the United States Army active recruiting is over 100 percent of its goal, which is a turnaround from where they’ve been the last several months,” Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an audience of Pentagon employees.
“So there’s a bit of good news in here. We’ll see how it works out the rest of the year,” Myers added.
Well, it seems to me that if there weren’t so many bans on military recruitment on campuses, perhaps the shortfall wouldn’t be so great. The bans make no sense if you support the troops, even if you opposed the war itself.
Nonetheless, now that school is out, perhaps young men and women looking to serve their country will no longer be blinded by their teachers to the military option. In fact, that may be the greatest factor in explaining the uptick.
It’s worth considering, too, that perhaps, with a war going on, our youngsters are thinking a little more thoroughly about what military service entails, instead of viewing it as simply an obligation-free way to pay for college or get out of the hood. Indeed, this deeper soul-searching makes each new warrior even more valuable, even in later civilian life, because he or she will have decided, more unequivocally than ever, that a life worth having (thanks to help from the government) is a life worth fighting, even dying, for.
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]