Jan 26, 2009
The military met or exceeded their recruitment goals for the first time since 2004. It was a banner year – the Army exceeded its targets – bringing in 21,443 new soldiers. Did new recruits sign up because of patriotism? The war on terror? No. They signed up because they needed a job. The Department of Defense so much as admitted it. “When the economy slackens and unemployment rises and jobs become more scarce in civilian society, recruiting is less challenging,” observed the director of recruitment.
As casualties mounted in Iraq, recruitment went down. The military began to pull more tricks out of its bag to convince potential new recruits. The Army increased signing bonuses for recruits, accepted a greater number of people who had medical and criminal histories, and people who scored lower on entrance exams and those who failed to graduate for high school. They also increase the age limit from 35 to 42. This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives the idea.
The economy alone does not account for the military’s success in recent recruitment. The media has both hidden these wars and bombarded people with propaganda that the wars are almost over. Recruiters have been able to play on these illusions.
Apparently, this is what Obama meant by providing more jobs for Americans – offering the unemployed the possibility to become cannon fodder for the U.S.’s bloody wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.