Thursday, March 24, 2005

What If They Gave a War and Nobody Came? 

Dogen Hannah over at a Knight Ridder paper in Contra Costa has an interesting one about the Army failing to make its recruiting goals for two months in a row:

The recruiting problems won't immediately hurt the Army's fighting capabilities, but they're another sign of how hard it's become to recruit new soldiers, military analysts said.

"The failure to meet recruiting goals can't really come as a big shocker to anybody," said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, a conservative think tank. "The war is unpopular, and the Army is bearing the brunt of the fighting.

"People who viewed the Army as a career move are probably finding that option less attractive as the war drags on," Thompson said. The Army's recruiting difficulties also suggest that "maybe the all-volunteer force only works well when we're not at war," he said.

Harvey [US Army] dismissed the possibility that the Army's manpower woes would revive interest in a draft. "The `D' word is the farthest thing from my thoughts. ... The all-volunteer force has proven its value."
The Army secretary said he's pushed the Army to come up with innovative ways of finding volunteers.

"We're going to be ... very proactive to pointing out to recruits and their parents the value of serving the country," Harvey said.

Charles Pena, the director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian policy organization in Washington, said he's skeptical such appeals will make a big difference. They might persuade people already inclined to enlist, he said, but otherwise fall on deaf ears.

"We're a very divided country on whether this is a war that matters," Pena said. "Iraq is not clearly a war of U.S. national survival. As long as it's not perceived that way, you're going to have a hard time with the patriotic appeal."

Okay, let’s see if I got this straight: There is no need for a draft because appealing to “patriotism” will make people want to enlist and go to fight a pointless war and we don’t need that many soldiers anyway, because the volunteer army is a great success, people are joining in droves, but just not right now because there’s a chance they’ll have to fight in a pointless war and maybe get killed or mutilated.

Do I have this straight?

via Army to use patriotic appeal to meet goal

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