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May 12, 2005 3:33 PM   Subscribe

Join the Army for just fifteen months! Visit exciting foriegn lands! Now with "ultra-lite" benefits!
(Warning: Requires an additional two years of service in the Army Reserve / National Guard, may contain additional deployments overseas, stop-loss, 4 1/2 years in the inactive reserve, and possible devil's bargains.)
posted by insomnia_lj (113 comments total)

 
You forgot to mention that if deployed overseas, you might not get proper protection, and could possibly be killed.
posted by Lusy P Hur at 3:35 PM on May 12, 2005


Oh yeah... that too.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:36 PM on May 12, 2005


It's a pretty sad sign when the draft starts looking appealing again to our President.

Lusy: "might not" -> "will not"
Let's be realistic. Remember, our generals are starting courts martial over troops scrounging armor so they don't return under a draped flag.

Damn. How many more lies do we need...On the upside, anyone who falls for this after having rejected previous recruitment terms deserves to be on the front lines. Think of it as passive eugenics.
posted by mystyk at 3:40 PM on May 12, 2005


I think the potential "customers" of this sort of sell are the kind of people who tend to answer these "419" emails from mysterious Nigerian gentlemen...
posted by clevershark at 3:41 PM on May 12, 2005


They're so in trouble.

And the Iran talk is already heating up.
posted by amberglow at 3:44 PM on May 12, 2005


PBS' Newshour covered military recruiting techniques tonight. A transcript should probably be available within a day. Recruiters seem emphatic that a draft is not how the military works, but the recent congressional deposition from the Joint Chiefs of Staff seems to imply otherwise. Recruiters are using shady techniques to sign people up already.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:47 PM on May 12, 2005


I don't buy the whole "only stupid people would take this offer" line. Enlistment is marketed to kids who are still in high school as a fantastic opportunity, by recruiters who don't hesitate to tell half the truth. The Army has a marketing machine, just like Nike or Wal-Mart or Coke, and this is just another tool for them.

Just like Nike or Wal-Mart or Coke, the target of the Army's marketing machine is the poor and disadvantaged.
posted by gurple at 3:53 PM on May 12, 2005


The Army is examining allegations recruiters offered to help people cheat on drug tests.

Hah, I just met a group of three marines here in DC who were being dishonorably discharged for failing a drug test, the happiest guys I've just about ever seen.

In case anyone was interesting in signing up, NORML's standard advise is just to drink ALOT of water (like 2 gallons plus, to dilute traces of drug in urine), make sure its not your first piss of the day (to eliminate all the traces which were processed during your sleep), and take B-Complex vitamins (which hide the fact that your urine in extremely diluted).
posted by slm303 at 3:57 PM on May 12, 2005


gurple writes " I don't buy the whole 'only stupid people would take this offer' line. Enlistment is marketed to kids who are still in high school as a fantastic opportunity, by recruiters who don't hesitate to tell half the truth."

It's up to potential recruits to educate themselves, frankly. It's sad that people have to regard members of their own national army as potentially shady salesmen, but that seems to be a fact of life.
posted by clevershark at 3:58 PM on May 12, 2005


For years after the draft was ended, it slowly became clear that an "army of volunteers" far surpassed an "army of the volunteered." The problem is, now we have recruiting goals that can only be met by lying and lowering the bar for what passes as a soldier.

I'm in Military Intelligence, which is stationed in the rear most times. Still, I'm scared that a round will come in to our tent from some hotshot private with a low-double-digit IQ firing in the wrong direction from his "waaay coool" M1A2 turret.
posted by mystyk at 3:59 PM on May 12, 2005


Join the army... Meet interesting people... and kill them.
posted by TreeHugger at 4:00 PM on May 12, 2005


I'm in Military Intelligence

OXYMORON! HA HA! ROFLMAO!!! ROFL!
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:06 PM on May 12, 2005



It's up to potential recruits to educate themselves, frankly. It's sad that people have to regard members of their own national army as potentially shady salesmen, but that seems to be a fact of life.


It's up to potential obese type-2 diabetics to educate themselves, frankly. It's sad that people have to regard the food industry, and even the FDA, as potentially shady salesmen, but that seems to be a fact of life.

It's the same cause, and the same effect -- overenthusiastic, unregulated marketing filled with half-truths causes people to make unhealthy decisions. There's certainly an argument in there for personal responsibility, but the truth is that in large enough numbers of people the marketing wins over a lot of 'em.
posted by gurple at 4:07 PM on May 12, 2005


With the army repeatedly missing their recruiting goals and the insurgency in Iraq continuing unabated and the more withdrawals coming it is interesting to speculate when there HAS to be a change to introduce a draft or do something. How far off is it? A year? Two years?
posted by sien at 4:07 PM on May 12, 2005


Thank you gurple and mysyk, for your comments. This is an incredibly serious issue and suggesting that it is the signee's fault, even going as far as saying jokingly (?) that it is some kind of eugenics, is just plain nasty - people are dying.

This issue is terribly complicated and indicates a break-down, if you will, at many levels of government and society.


It may be still be fashionable and make the speaker feel better about themselves to suggest that people in that forces are somehow defective, but that is just small thinking. Like it or not (present war not included) the U.S. does need a national defense. The issue at had is what we are willing to do, and allow to be done, to get it.
posted by johnj at 4:14 PM on May 12, 2005


gurple writes " It's up to potential obese type-2 diabetics to educate themselves, frankly. It's sad that people have to regard the food industry, and even the FDA, as potentially shady salesmen, but that seems to be a fact of life."

Well, yes. The world doesn't always -- or even often -- run the way it should. If I gorge myself on sweets all day long I will in fact end up with late-onset diabetes, and that is indeed a fact of life.
posted by clevershark at 4:16 PM on May 12, 2005


I see they're willing to accept recruits for the reserves up to 39 years old. I'll make a bet that before this is over, we'll see them drafting adult males up to 45 years of age for the regular army. . .

You heard it here first.
posted by mk1gti at 4:16 PM on May 12, 2005


Just like Germany at the close of WWII
posted by mk1gti at 4:17 PM on May 12, 2005


Perhaps people would rethink their support for the war if they, or people they knew, were forced to actually go fight it. However that's not the case, nor would a draft really change that.
posted by clevershark at 4:21 PM on May 12, 2005


A draft would at least be up front and honest, and would bring out the antiwar crowd in real numbers.
posted by gurple at 4:22 PM on May 12, 2005


wow, clevershark, you and I are just not seeing eye to eye today!
posted by gurple at 4:23 PM on May 12, 2005


     I'm in Military Intelligence
OXYMORON! HA HA! ROFLMAO!!! ROFL!


Is that the best you got, devil? C'mon, I've heard better caps on MI from a babbling baby.
ChallengeFilter: Ok MeFites, what's the best Military Intelligence joke you got?

On Preview: johnj, you're absolutely right. It is a serious issue. I've had a friend die ten minutes after last seeing them because his HMMWV didn't have adequate armor. The problem is, recruitors are lying, and it's worse than it used to be because of the fact that there's no draft, higher quotas, and fewer interested potential recruits. In some sense, it may actually be better to bring on the draft, simply to fill the required slots. Stoplosses and mass re-deployments are inevitably going to get worse, but they wreak havoc on the families back home. All that said, I wasn't joking about my fears over unqualified soldiers being pushed through and endangering the lives of the rest of their units, as well as those units designated to support them. I may joke a lot, but you must realize that sometimes I have to laugh so that I don't cry.
posted by mystyk at 4:24 PM on May 12, 2005


Sorry mystyk, I was not referring to your comments on the troops whose, as you say, bullets you have to dodge. I admit I joke too, but today, for some reason, this issue is making me cry.
Maybe you guys are right and a draft is a good idea for the reasons above. At least we would all HAVE TO stand and fight for what we believe, with fists instead of silly political conniving.

posted by johnj at 4:32 PM on May 12, 2005


Don't get me wrong -- I'm not going to say "they signed up, tough for them". Yeah, it sucks, to be sure, not just for those who signed up for the reserves or NG in recent times, but also for those who signed up in the late 90s, for example, and thought that they were done.

But we're talking about a new recruitment drive, and it's already known that tours of duty are being stretched an extended far beyond their original terms. I'm just saying that it's important that those who sign now view the whole enlistment deal with a great deal of skepticism. The fact that recruiters stretch the truth is much more widely known now than it was even just three or four years ago.

I can't believe that the Army Reserve is still running their old "one weekend a month, two weeks a year" ads... but they are, even when everyone should know that it's basically dishonest to do so.
posted by clevershark at 4:35 PM on May 12, 2005


Everyone I know who is in the armed forces joined because they were poor and either needed a steady job. Some of them wanted to go to college or get specialised training (flight training for example) and it was the only way they could swing it financially. I know quite a few people whose family or siginificant others pressured them to join for those reasons- they were helping to support parents, younger siblings or SOs from an early age. None of them are stupid, they all knew what they were getting into, they just didn't feel like they had a choice.
posted by fshgrl at 4:38 PM on May 12, 2005


Yeah, from the article it sounded like the Reserve is having an extra hard time meeting its numbers, so maybe their recruiters aren't as cutting edge. Maybe they need another new type of hat or something.
posted by gurple at 4:39 PM on May 12, 2005


This, too (as alumshubby previously noted):
But the recruiter wouldn't take no for an answer -- with a phone message threatening Monarch with arrest if he didn't show.

"By federal law you got an appointment with me at two o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall." said Kelt. "OK, you fail to appear and we'll have a warrant, OK? So give me a call back."
posted by kirkaracha at 4:42 PM on May 12, 2005


kirkaracha, I'd say that little story alone is a clear sign that the military mind-set is getting ready for a draft.
posted by telstar at 4:48 PM on May 12, 2005


And still little Jonah Goldberg hasn't signed up, nor any of the 101st keyboard warriors, nor has Rush, or any of the cheerleaders for war. Don't they want to get in on the "fratboy hazing" antics at Abu Ghraib?
posted by amberglow at 4:55 PM on May 12, 2005


"In case anyone was interesting in signing up, NORML's standard advise is just to drink ALOT of water (like 2 gallons plus, to dilute traces of drug in urine), make sure its not your first piss of the day (to eliminate all the traces which were processed during your sleep), and take B-Complex vitamins (which hide the fact that your urine in extremely diluted)."

There are people who try NOT to fail military drug tests?
posted by I EAT TAPES at 5:04 PM on May 12, 2005


mystyk
Just from me re the troops overseas and such, I don't like what they're doing over there, but then again I don't want any soldier getting killed because the government is to damn greedy and short-sighted to provide them with adequate protection and tools and a poorly defined, invalid objective to pursue.
My father was former military and he got out when crap was at it's worst back in the late 70's. Never looked back. Now with things the way they are, it seems like we see a re-visitation of those same problems: the lowest common denominators filling the ranks.
Not good for the service and not good for the host country by any means. Not good for freedom or democracy or this country's image in the eyes of the world.
posted by mk1gti at 5:21 PM on May 12, 2005


I'm almost looking forward to what a draft would result in. After all, all those liberal commie anti-patriots are so high on drugs and having gay sex that they could never get in the military, and the conservatives will have to cover their oh-so-immoral entertainment, or face public humiliation en masse.

However, it'd be a horrible result. There's a good faction of the country who would truly be pissed if they were sent off to wars like this. Conscription has been a stupid idea since day one, but it only gets stupider as casualties become less acceptable and the military relies on high tech weapons. Who's to say some disgruntled soldier wouldn't get himself a DD by tearing apart $100k of military gear? Who'd actually trust a pissed off conscript to watch a hawk's back? Even if they DID try to perform like they should, they're inexperienced and of a terrible mindset for being a soldier. Casualties will skyrocket, and troop morale will hit rock bottom in weeks. Not only would the malefactors in the Middle East have an easy time working around military hindrances, they'd even be able to recruit a few of the worst eggs in the military.

A draft only works when the homeland is threatened and the jingoistic patriotism is actually backed up by actions. At this point, it'd not only be political suicide, but it'd demoralize the nation in ways that bin Laden could only have wet dreams of.

We need to strip down what waste we can, focus our efforts in Iraq into stabilizing the area as best we can and training Iraqi forces to do the best we can. No more aggression in other nations, we can't just start another conflict this stretched out.
posted by Saydur at 5:23 PM on May 12, 2005


the U.S. does need a national defense. The issue at had is what we are willing to do, and allow to be done, to get it.
posted by johnj at 4:14 PM PST on May 12 [!]


It is obvious that the US of A is unwilling to actually PAY for a military. But buy yellow ribbons to CLAIM 'support'? Yup.

And for those who worry about a more aggressive stance of the US of A - the rest of the world buys the US bond and sells the US of A oil. When the rest of the world has had enough, the rest of the world can take their bat and ball and tell the US of A that they don't like the way the US plays and how they are gonna play elsewhere.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:24 PM on May 12, 2005


Oh yes, the poor people who join the army because they're poor; the poor people, and they need money, and a steady job, because they're poor. Poor, poor people. Working class. No prospects but to become government contract killers.

Bullshit. Happy, silly, fairyland bullshit. I'm from a poor working class background. My dad was unemployed for most of the last 15 years of his "working" life. Some of my mates joined up; some of us didn't. The ones that did were the thick ones who didn't read the news and didn't read books and didn't PAY ATTENTION. Oh yeah - and the nutters, the psychos, the unbalanced, the ones who liked to shoot guns and YES SUH CAN I DO PRESS UPS SUH HUT HUT HUT DID I DO GOOD SUH?

Beds. The making thereof, and the lying therein. We take responsibilty for ourselves in this life. You join up, that's on YOU. No one else. You did it. Your decision. You're an ADULT. You have choices. No... no... forget this whining background nonsense, you really do have choices. Even if you're poor.

I am so damned tired of this knee-jerk desire to stick up for the fucking troops. Nobody made them join. The poorest in America and Britain are still a hell of a lot better off than most of those who constitute the poor in the wider world. You do not have to join the forces if you are poor and working class in the US and Europe. No. Enough of this sentimental, cliched crap.
posted by Decani at 5:35 PM on May 12, 2005


We need to strip down what waste we can

Waste? There's no waste. Haliburton EARNED the $27.5 million to ship $88,100 in LPG.

If they can't get body armor, it looks like the military needs MORE money, not less.


A draft only works when the homeland is threatened ...No more aggression in other nations,


Look at history of nations - then as yourself 'Would a nation be willing to engineer an attack on itself for political ends'? And if the nation was to do such, would the citizens know the difference between an external VS a faked external attack?

Of course the US government has a history of honesty with its citizens, so it can't happen there.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:41 PM on May 12, 2005


yeah. those troops are all a bunch of uneducated amoral racist killers. fuck 'em, right.
posted by tkchrist at 5:43 PM on May 12, 2005


'Would a nation be willing to engineer an attack on itself for political ends'?

rough ashlar, are you honestly still claiming that the government set up 9/11? Extraordinary claims require extraodinary proof, my friend. Let's see it.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 6:24 PM on May 12, 2005


I agree with Decani. Everyone has a choice. If you go into the US military, you know you are going to be trained to kill people and very possibly actually kill people when there's the next war.

"I was only following orders" wasn't a defense for the Nazis and it's not a defense now.

At some point, individuals have to take responsibilities for their own acts.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:27 PM on May 12, 2005


rough ashlar, are you honestly still claiming that the government set up 9/11?

I've said nothing of the sort.

I did say:
Of course the US government has a history of honesty with its citizens, so it can't happen there.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:40 PM on May 12, 2005


I've said nothing of the sort.
I did say:


Fine, you insinuated it. If you're going to insinuate it then let's see some proof.

Incidentally, are you from the US? "There" seems to imply not.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 6:50 PM on May 12, 2005


dayam TAPES where u been?!

/ah want VEINS in mah teeth
posted by dorian at 7:14 PM on May 12, 2005




I've said nothing of the sort.
I did say:

Fine, you insinuated it.


No. YOUR own head made it up out of whole cloth.

History has shown nations are willing to create strife within their own borders for political gain or 'fake' an attack.

Reistach(sp) fire.
"Remember the Maine"
Gulf of Tompkin
"Arab" stone throwing in the Israel conflict. (local cops pretending to be Arabs who throw stones at the other cops)

You seem a little touchy over 9/11. But there was an investigation and it explained everything, even how WTC #7 fell down, right? Do you fear that the American Government might not be any better than any of the other nation states and would fake an attack on itself?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:26 PM on May 12, 2005


None of them are stupid, they all knew what they were getting into, they just didn't feel like they had a choice.

Ahh, I see, all victims. Such a neat, tidy package you got there. Have you been talking to amberglow?
posted by justgary at 7:49 PM on May 12, 2005


No. YOUR own head made it up out of whole cloth.
... But there was an investigation and it explained everything, even how WTC #7 fell down, right? Do you fear that the American Government might not be any better than any of the other nation states and would fake an attack on itself?

Wait, you're saying that I made up the fact that you think 9/11 was a hoax, and then going on to defend the fact that you think 9/11 was a hoax anyway? I'm either psychic or right that you meant that you think 9/11 is a hoax.

You said "The US gov't would never *cough* attack its own citizens to start a war" in the context of a MeFi thread about the army. That means absolutely nothing when you've previously accused the CIA of being involved in domestic affairs? BS. Get out of here.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 7:50 PM on May 12, 2005


The vast majority of the military sign up for service realizing both the benefits and the drawbacks. They read the contract, and agree to perform the function. It is a good way for an individual to better themselves with schooling while paying room and board.
posted by CivilWolf at 8:28 PM on May 12, 2005


BS. Get out of here.

The only BS is what you are claiming I have said in this thread.

I did not claim that 9/11 was 'a hoax', that is all you. I spoke of history and nations.

I have not stated "The US gov't would never *cough* attack its own citizens to start a war". That is all you and your head.

You are confused thedevildancedlightly. I said:


Of course the US government has a history of honesty with its citizens, so it can't happen there.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:41 PM PST on May 12 [!]


Are you saying that I'm wrong about the honesty of the US goverment to its citizens?!?!? It seems you have some form of opinion as you keep creating quotes of what you think I've said.

And where did I accuse the CIA of anything in this thread?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:39 PM on May 12, 2005


The vast majority of the military sign up for service realizing both the benefits and the drawbacks. They read the contract, and agree to perform the function. It is a good way for an individual to better themselves with schooling while paying room and board.
But now that we're in war, they're not signing up, thank God. So--what happens now? They need people, and aren't getting them.

Ahh, I see, all victims. Such a neat, tidy package you got there. Have you been talking to amberglow?
Go fuck yourself, justgary--truly. How stupid are you? Recruiters are now breaking all sorts of laws to entrap people.
posted by amberglow at 8:43 PM on May 12, 2005


And where did I accuse the CIA of anything
The statement about the 'dress and the DNA' and the 'big brother' are FAR more worrysome. The CIA is not supposed to be involved in domestic affairs.
I did not claim that 9/11 was 'a hoax', that is all you. I spoke of history and nations.
But there was an investigation and it explained everything, even how WTC #7 fell down, right? Do you fear that the American Government might not be any better than any of the other nation states and would fake an attack on itself?
You're right, you never "claimed" it. You insinuated it very careful. Wink wink, nudge nudge, "it's all explained, isn't it?" Stop being such chicken and either own up to your insinuations or stop making them. If I said "it's not like you would like cock in your ass, or anything, right?" it's insinuating that you like cock in your ass. Saying "The U.S. has always beeen honest... and there's a video that explains Tower #7" is insinuating that there's a problem with 9/11. Just be a man and own up to it.

It's fine if you believe that the government was behind 9/11, but just own up to it instead of this passive-aggressive bullshit. If you're going to insinuate something be ready to defend it instead of trying to shirk out of responsibility.

Sucks when you get caught in your own web, huh?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:01 PM on May 12, 2005


So--what happens now? They need people, and aren't getting them.

2 options exist:

1) Adjust the demand side of the equation. Create situations where American soldiers are not needed.
2) Get more soldiers via a different way than how the soldiers are now aquired.

If the demand side is not adjusted down via limiting the places where the soldiers are needed, then adjusting the demand side down via technology or mercenaries seem to be the answer. Higher Tech/Mercenaries mean more expense to the treasury.

A draft for keeping the freedom-loving people of need-to-be-freeded whereever-stan might be less expensive then robots/whatever-tech/Mercenaries. And watching the budget has been important to the American Citizens. Who knows, for economic reasons there may be a draft of able-bodiied citizens to keep freedom on the March. Or freedom on the May. Or whatever months need freedom.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:02 PM on May 12, 2005


"Recruiters are now breaking all sorts of laws to entrap people."

Some are. I'd say the vast, huge majority are not. How about you head down to the local recruiting station and chat with a real human about their job? Make it clear you've no interest in joining and that you're not a reporter, you're just curious what it's like. Here's what my recruiter said on the way back from my recent swearing-in: "Whatever you do, don't become a recruiter." It's not a fun job. My job counselor was chatting with another guy when I was finalizing paperwork. His blood pressure went down some huge amount when he moved off recruiting duty.

Just sayin'. Maybe you should avoid generalizations.

For me? I read every line of fine print. I verified everything I was told with multiple other sources, easily located online. I know exactly what I'm guaranteed. I signed on the dotted line for my own reasons. I did it and it's my responsibility. And for what it's worth, everything my recruiters told me matched up with what's in my contract.

Personally, the fifteen month thing seems like a bad idea to me. That's just enough time for training and about a year, give or take, of active duty. Training isn't cheap, and continually training new 15-month recruits doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Maybe this is a stop-gap measure to get those two new divisions they want off the ground, and once they exist and the recruiting goals sink to a normal level they'll go back to normal enlistments.
posted by kavasa at 9:02 PM on May 12, 2005


You do not have to join the forces if you are poor and working class in the US and Europe.

I don't know what sort of ideas you may have about how America supports its jobless citizens, but perhaps it would surprise you to know that we are not a real social democracy over here, unlike Europe. If the military is the only job you can find, you pretty much have to take it unless you have a friend, relative, or significant other who is going to support your ass. Unless you like being homeless. Welfare and housing assistance and food stamps are not going to take care of you - these are piecemeal solutions at best. My understanding is that in Europe such things are generally a much more viable option than they are in America.

kavasa, my dear friend buzzman just signed up for the Air Force Reserves and swore in a couple weeks ago. He had agreed to go in for three years. They presented him with a six-year contract to sign. C'mon, be realistic, not every recruiter is as nice as the one you encountered. Not everyone is equipped with the facts to counter their bullshit.
posted by beth at 9:20 PM on May 12, 2005


And where did I accuse the CIA of anything in this thread?

Amazing how your text editing missed "in this thread".

But there was an investigation and it explained everything, even how WTC #7 fell down, right?

You might not have been aware of it, but there was an official report. http://www.fema.gov/library/wtcstudy.shtm

No where in this thread did I say a thing about a hoax. It seems in your head you have issues WRT 9/11 as you keep bringing up that there is more going on than in the offical report.

In fact, you seem desperate to see something beyond the official report when you pleaded:
Extraordinary claims require extraodinary proof, my friend. Let's see it.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 6:24 PM PST on May 12 [!]


Why do you distrust the report from the US Government so much? Why do you hate America?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:20 PM on May 12, 2005


Why do you hate America?

Come up with a new troll. You know, more recent than 2003.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:24 PM on May 12, 2005


PS - still waiting for you to substantiate your allegation that I made up a quote over on the other thread.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:25 PM on May 12, 2005


I've always wondered why the military wouldn't do something simple to increase recruitment like doubling the pay of incoming recruits. Isn't it currently around 19k? With all the money being thrown around for the war that it wouldn't be too expensive to allocate an extra billion or two for increased salaries and benefits.

And recruitment would probably jump significantly. The prospect of starting pay at 38k with room to move upwards would really increase not only the raw numbers of recruits but also the quality.
posted by pandaharma at 9:25 PM on May 12, 2005


Personally, the fifteen month thing seems like a bad idea to me.

With stop loss and IRR, what makes you think it will be just 15 months?

once they exist and the recruiting goals sink to a normal level they'll go back to normal enlistments.

But how is that downward adjustment in demand going to happen? Under what conditions will the bases in Iraq be as calm as the bases in Saudi Arabia generally were? (Calm == not dodging incomming shells) Or as calm as Germany or Japan or many other places? Under what conditions would America leave Iraq 99.9% - no occupided bases?

In short - what is your plan to bring things back to the previous enlistment needs? I don't see one, other than leaving a large number of bases in many places.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:28 PM on May 12, 2005


PS - still waiting for you to substantiate your allegation that I made up a quote over on the other thread.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:25 PM PST on May 12 [!]



You said "The US gov't would never *cough* attack its own citizens to start a war"
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 7:50 PM PST on May 12 [!]



Looks like the standard 'this is a direct quote' claim. What with the "You said" and the text inside the "". No where to be seen in this thread, other than where you state it or I restate your orginal statement.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:38 PM on May 12, 2005


missed "in this thread".

Wait a second, you accused me of being in the wrong by bringing a quote from another thread here, and then you drag something from this thread to another one? In addition to being a liar you're a hypocrite. You just don't know when to quit, do you?

You said "The US gov't would never *cough* attack its own citizens to start a war"
addition to being a passive-aggr


If you'll notice, whenever I am quoting directly I use the <em> tag. I was knowingly paraphrasing and you were fully aware of that. To accuse me of "making up a quote" by paraphrasing and clearly differentiating that from a direct quote is just petty. Grow up.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:42 PM on May 12, 2005


I just saw a blog post somewhere about how Halliburton and other companies are hiring people at 60k to start for "support" in Iraq/Kuwait/etc.

kavasa, of course the job sucks--they have to meet quotas, and can't meet them. they have to promote a service that is more likely to get recruits killed than at any time since Vietnam. There are more and more stories coming out from all over the country about recruiters helping kids lie and cheat, or intimidating them and/or their parents.--Responding to reports about widespread abuses of the rules for recruitment, Army officials said yesterday that they would suspend all recruiting May 20 and use the day to retrain its personnel in military ethics and the laws that govern what can and cannot be done to enlist an applicant.

Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the recruiting command at its headquarters in Fort Knox, Ky., said every member of the command, including some 7,500 recruiters nationwide and senior officers, would take part in the day of instruction, called a "values stand-down."
...
In the past, the Army has used stand-downs to reemphasize safety precautions after serious accidents. In 20 years, Smith said, the Army has never set aside a full day to specifically address recruitment abuses.

The one-day suspension comes at a time when the Army has been reporting monthly shortfalls in replenishing the ranks of the all-volunteer military. The Army has missed its target three months in a row. The Marines have been falling short since January.

It also comes as reports of so-called recruiting improprieties have begun to appear around the country. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:44 PM on May 12, 2005


Don't ever believe a recruiter when they say they'll pencil you in to some catagory.
I entered the Air Force in 1987. The threat of war was low.
I had somehow scored higher for mechanics than electronics. (maybe)
The recruiter saw a score, and mechanics recruits was low. (back when they might even refuse you if the specialism was overcrowded)
I was to leave 6 months away, but under a specialism I didn't want.
Pencil turned into carved stone.
He raised a stink that he had my signature on something...etc...
I wrote my congressman, Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell, and all it took was an official letterhead to turn my recruiter around.
But I was to leave under electronics in 3 weeks.

Don't think they've EVER taken a simple NO, or even a convincing "my way", They've ALWAYS been under the pressure, And have NEVER been afraid to use underhanded means to get you to sign.

That said, it wasn't until Basic that they finally tell you that they couldn't stop you from running away, or going AWOL without reprocussions up until the class that they tell you it is officially against the rules. But from here on out, you are subject to the UCMJ. They tell you this, and it serves as official notice. You can be at boot camp, and standing in line waiting to get your head shaved, and have people yelling at you, and you are scared, but it's still legal to tell them to fuck off, drop everything, and run out the gates, until you have the official class telling you that you can't.
The fact that you have received the class is noted in your record, and untill it is, you can still leave.

Just a little something for the new recruits to think about.
posted by Balisong at 9:45 PM on May 12, 2005


The prospect of starting pay at 38k with room to move upwards would really increase not only the raw numbers of recruits but also the quality.
posted by pandaharma at 9:25 PM PST on May 12 [!]


And at likely tax free and have all felonies removed from your record, or not have to pay income tax for 10 years out of the military or whatever carrot one wants to offer, I'd bet that would up the number of people wanting in the army also.

But each bump in pay means an increased cost to the treasury and the American Citizen will spend sub $5 for a magnetic ribbon that says they support the troops, but few Americans are saying "Yes, I'll pay more in taxes to fund the Iraq war".

To channel the dead:


"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes...known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

- James Madison, Political Observations, 1795

Breaking Breton Woods kept America from going bankrupt over Vietnam. Having oil and raw materials keep America from going bankrupt in WWII. I don't see a way to keep war on the cheap this time around, the raw materials to keep the war machine going are not able to be supplied 100% from within America's borders.

Eventually the American Tax payer will pay for this war and all the rest of the actions of the Washington DC crew. At some point the tax payer's back will break under the weight of the obligations.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:53 PM on May 12, 2005


At some point the tax payer's back will break under the weight of the obligations.

Given that the US has about half the total tax burden of Sweden, one-third less than Germany, and less than Italy, Canada, Austria, Norway, Hungary, France, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Italy, Luxemborg, or Finland I'd say we have a long way to go before that happens. The only industrialized nation with lower taxes is Japan. Sorry?
Total Tax Pressure:
Sweden 52,0%
Germany 37,0%
Australia 29,9%
United States 28,9%
Japan 28,4%
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:04 PM on May 12, 2005


The only industrialized nation with lower taxes is Japan.
Japan 28,4%

What's their model? All new 50 year old infrastructure?
Man!! Let's be more like them!
posted by Balisong at 10:08 PM on May 12, 2005


What's their model? All new 50 year old infrastructure?

My argument wasn't that we should lower taxes and be more like Japan, but rather there's plenty of room to raise taxes before society collapses. I'm not saying that we "should" raise taxes, nor that there won't be political costs. But, given that there are perfectly funcitonal systems with double the net tax rate the argument that "one more tax burden and the US economy will implode" doesn't fly real far.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:10 PM on May 12, 2005


We can't even stomach un-subsidised gasoline, food, textiles, steel, airfare, you-name-it.
How do you think that will be responded to?
I sure hope a republican, preferably Bush, proposes doubling current US tax..
"Daddy finally convined me..."
posted by Balisong at 10:15 PM on May 12, 2005


I bet this is the first time you have ever pointed to a European model and said that it works and not wretched into the trashcan, huh...
posted by Balisong at 10:17 PM on May 12, 2005


I bet this is the first time you have ever pointed to a European model and said that it works and not wretched into the trashcan, huh...

I didn't say it worked well. I just said it worked far enough to disprove rough ashlar's hysterics that the US economy is about to collapse under the tax burden of paying soldiers more.

People probably wouldn't be happy to pay more, but there will be no "back breaking" (not a direct quote, don't sue me).
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:21 PM on May 12, 2005


I'd say we have a long way to go before that happens. The only industrialized nation with lower taxes is Japan.

Total Tax Burden != debt outstanding. But thanks for playing.

WWII had ~= 125% debt/GDP ratio. But America had oil to feed the growth engine. That free-flowing cheap oil is gone. The present debt/GDP ratio is 62+%

Without cheap energy as feedstock to the industrial engine, the model of growth the US is used to will not exist.

Right now the tax payer has an increase in fuel costs - mostly inelastic demand. Government program funding tends to be a growing demand. Body armor, signing bonuses, et la are all increases on the treasury.
All of this will crush Americans in a vice if kept up - and I don't see a drop in energy prices unless there is a global pandemic to reduce demand or some major-tech-breakthrough-WRT-energy and I don't see the US of A shrinking its government. Discretionary spending will get squeezed and dollars/resources will leave the US of A chasing oil, and eventual fall in tax receipts as jobs continue to be lost. Meanwhile the bond repayments will still be there. *squish*
posted by rough ashlar at 10:41 PM on May 12, 2005


"Given that the US has about half the total tax burden of Sweden..."

Apples and oranges.

The Swedes don't have to pay for a lot of things that you have to pay for in the U.S. Healthcare, for instance... Also, the mean tax burden matters more than the average tax burden, which in Sweden is only 31.6%.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:52 PM on May 12, 2005


Total Tax Burden != debt outstanding

No kidding. Your statement was that it was impossible to pay the troops more since it was impossible to increase current expenditures without crushing the "American Tax payer"[sic]. By increasing current tax rates it is quite possible to pay more without racking up debt. Do I like that plan? Not at all. But you said it was impossible.

WWII had ~= 125% debt/GDP ratio. ... The present debt/GDP ratio is 62+%

So we're half as deep in debt now as we were in WWII, and we have the second-lowest tax burden of all industrialized nations, but somehow we're still in more imminent danger of collapse than those countries that are already over-taxing their citizens and who are also facing the same energy cost increases? I'm not arguing that there won't be effects, but you're predicting all kinds of disaster that's just not supported. I hold a BA in economics and I can smell BS from here.

(BTW, the elipses indicate where I removed extraneous material from your quote. That doesn't mean I "made it up")
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:52 PM on May 12, 2005


beth - did he refuse to sign until he got clarification? I can't speak for the way other branches do it, but in the Army, you sign up for eight years period. This is something that's mentioned in the initial article. You are in for eight years. However, your period of active duty or ready reserves/national guard service can be and often is shorter. After that period, you're in the inactive ready reserves, and there have to be exceptional circumstances (such as attempting to pacify a foreign country) to call you up.

I never said every recruiter was fine and upstanding. I just said that I think all but a few of them are. I think they're decent people trying to do a hard job within the ethical and legal constraints they're bound to.

balisong - that's not entirely correct. While it's true that the airforce, navy, and marines do not sign contracts for specific jobs, the army does. I enlisted for a specific MOS, and unless I fail out of AIT, that's the MOS I'll get. Further, that's the MOS I'll stay in for the four years I'm in the Army unless I personally take steps to get myself reclassified elsewhere*. Yes, this is all in my contract, which spans several pages of tiny typeface. If I do fail out of AIT, I'll probably be kicked out of the Army (not that there's a chance in hell I'll do so).

amberglow - Some of these stories are probably even true. I'm sure some of them are not. I mean, a lot of stories about ritualized child abuse at daycares came out in the 80s. I'm not saying it's exactly analogous, clearly it's not. But this is a recent scare with an excellent prepared ground launched by a staged sting on a very bad recruiter.

The national recruiting stand-down is a good idea. And they've never done it before because they never had a reason to. This is the first time since Viet Nam when we've missed goals like this.

Finally! The marines have been missing their goal by less than 5%. I'm not too worried about them.

*I fully intend on doing so, but who knows how successful I'll be at working the gears and levers of the bureaucratic machinery.
posted by kavasa at 10:54 PM on May 12, 2005


As far as dirty recruitment tricks go:

At my high school, every year the senior class is required to take a skills assessment for the Army. After you take it, if you score well, they call you non-stop and bug you about enlisting. I am still getting calls from these people and I graduated last year. Additionally, there was a recruitment table from at least one branch of the military in my high school cafeteria every day. They pushed the "money for college" angle, and glossed over the amount of time you'd actually be in ther service. My high school was in the public housing projects and had a fairly high number of low-income students. To my knowledge, recruitment was not nearly as intense at high schools in my area with higher-income students. Just to reiterate some facts: yes, time was set aside during the school day to take this test; yes, the school gave our contact information to the military; and yes, many people I know enrolled in the hopes that they could get money to go to school. The others enrolled because they had already dropped out of college or weren't going at all, and realized around 20 that you absolutely can't live on a minimum wage job.

So yeah, next time you guys criticize people who enlist for "being too dumb to realize," remember that they're going after teenagers.
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 11:02 PM on May 12, 2005


TDDY, you are also implying that we are at least as efficent as these other countries.
We aren't. We have magitudes larger expenditures. and magnitudes larger population.
Percentages are cool when it suits your model, but it fails when you consider what it takes in over what it spends.
Do you think for a moment that we could be at the tax rate of say Germany, and still provide all the services that Germans now "enjoy"?
no. It would be wrought full of regional politics, fraud, and corruption.. Beacuse... That's what built America to it's current standard!
If more money was dumped into the trough, it would be sucked up by the money sponges that are the US beauacracy.
Very little would filter down to those that any increase in spending would benefit.
It's the gaddamn American Way!
I know some who are close to retirement in the state-national beauracracy, and that's the only thing that they can contribute, The beauracracy will become bigger and suck up more funds thrown at it. And beg for more, feigning starvation.
In order to do any real change to anything that you think might benefit from an increase in funding, must be computed by a factor of (squared) in order to make any observable difference.
posted by Balisong at 11:08 PM on May 12, 2005


'X said that Y.' is an indirect quotation, possibly a paraphrase.
'X said: "Y."' is a direct, exact, quotation.

Of course, this is just a convention, but it's a convention which carries semantic meaning. It's similar to agreeing to what "is" is.

I sincerely thought that you mean that rough had said those exact words.
posted by cytherea at 11:11 PM on May 12, 2005


Who called in the grammar Austrians?
posted by Balisong at 11:15 PM on May 12, 2005


Well, it seemed like it might be something we could all agree on. Perhaps I just have a strange sense of humor.
posted by cytherea at 11:16 PM on May 12, 2005


My appologies to any real Austrians.

And yes, I have a strange sence of humor, and atribute any grammar faux-pax to the dipshit teaching I got at public schools.. that I was too busy living through to pay attention.
posted by Balisong at 11:19 PM on May 12, 2005


Of course, this is just a convention, but it's a convention which carries semantic meaning.

If we were working in a traditional print medium I'd agree fully. The problem is that there is a different convention online, particularly in MeFi that direct quotations get treated with either blockquotes or italics. Given how easy it is to verify a direct quote (cntl-f) I think the online standard works.

The "X said that" phrasing doesn't work when the whole point is to capture the insinuation.

So, what does "is" really mean? ;)
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:21 PM on May 12, 2005


So, what does "is" really mean? ;)

Hehe!! LOL!! No, wait... Clinton??

LOL!!
posted by Balisong at 11:23 PM on May 12, 2005


you are also implying that we are at least as efficent as these other countries.

Not at all. Another poster claims that it's impossible to pay the troops more because we're in danger of financial collapse. (in short) Given that we pay relatively low taxes now, and are less in debt that we are in the past, that's simply not the case. It doesn't matter to my argument whether additional revenue would be used perfectly efficiently - I'm sure it wouldn't be. The point is that there is room to increase revenue before hitting the doom-and-gloom "broken backs" scenario that has been alluded-to. I'm not suggesting that the US should increase taxes, I'm simply stating that the US is nowhere near a financial collapse due to over-taxation.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:25 PM on May 12, 2005


But, tddl, those higher rates of taxation are used for social services, such as health care or day care, which our social democratic friends would otherwise have to pay out of pocket for.

I think that a higher taxation rate, without that kind of compensation, would have a direct effect on the standard of living, and make the war quite a bit more unpopular than it is now.
posted by cytherea at 11:33 PM on May 12, 2005


would have a direct effect on the standard of living, and make the war quite a bit more unpopular than it is now.

Fully agreed. It would probably be the honest thing to raise taxes now so that we're paying the costs up-front and openly instead of hiding in a debt to be paid by future generations.

All I'm refuting is the assertion that "All of this will crush Americans in a vice if kept up" (direct quote), and that "At some point the tax payer's back will break under the weight of the obligations." (direct quote)

Yes, raising taxes is unpopular. Yes, it's the honest thing. But there's no "vice" or "crushing" or "back-breaking" looming.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:39 PM on May 12, 2005


How about if Bush came rigot out and said it.

I need 15 Trillion dollars to "complete" the Iraqi mission.

Surely 2005 dollars are cheaper than any dollars will be in the future. Why not allocate it now?
It's not like these aren't theoretical dollars to be gained in the future anyways.. why not ask for the whole sum now?
He's gonna spend them anyways, why keep comming in front of congress with a ransom demand every 8-9 months pointing out their underfunding, and take care of it all at once.
It's not like the American Public can't handle the truth, is it?
posted by Balisong at 11:46 PM on May 12, 2005


Balisong writes " Surely 2005 dollars are cheaper than any dollars will be in the future."

Actually you got that one backwards. Inflation cause most currency units to be worth less with time.
posted by clevershark at 11:51 PM on May 12, 2005


Oh, OK, make that 15 Bazikajillion dollars.
posted by Balisong at 11:52 PM on May 12, 2005


Why would Bush stop doing what he's already been doing from the start of the Iraqi invasion anyway? Instead of being seen as forcing Congress to approve anything which might be debated in any sort of serious way, he can pose as the benevolent father figure who browbeats Congress into approving something for troops standing in the field of battle. This way no serious debate takes place, the administration always gets as much money as it wants, and no one looks into the ongoing atrociously bad planning on the part of the White House and Pentagon. It's quite brilliant, really.

And if a politician so much as takes a little too long to voice his support of the bill, you can bloody well crucify him as a traitor to his country.
posted by clevershark at 12:02 AM on May 13, 2005


And if a politician so much as takes a little too long to voice his support of the bill

No, only if he votes for the bill before he votes against it. Or votes against it before he votes for it. I forget.

Otherwise, point well taken. Brilliant strategy by the White House or dumb luck?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:11 AM on May 13, 2005


Yes, because we all know that hesitating to back a bill because of its riders, or the inability to pay for what's in the bill, are way more important than, say, whether an individual actually went to fight for his country when his country actually asked him to.

But of course I'm just throwing that out there as an impossibly abstract example...
posted by clevershark at 12:13 AM on May 13, 2005


William Nordhaus wrote a paper (500k PDF) on the projected cost of the war in December 2002 in the New York Times Book Review. It's summarized on alternet.

In it, he projected a low of $121 billion based on a short war with no complications, and a high of $1.6 trillion in the case of a protracted war with lots of problems.
posted by cytherea at 12:19 AM on May 13, 2005


Yes, because we all know that hesitating to back a bill because of its riders...

Was totally joking based on how overly sersious the whole "I voted for it before I voted against it" thing was taken - in fact, I was trying to agree with you by pointing out the absurd example.

I totally agree that the current "emergency funding" system is killing debate.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:27 AM on May 13, 2005


At my high school, every year the senior class is required to take a skills assessment for the Army.

Holy crap. That seriously boggles me.

'course, I suppose it's easy enough to deliberately answer each question on the test with stuff like badly-drawn happy faces and 'I LIEK PIE!!'

Then again, maybe that'd encourage them to try and recruit you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:01 AM on May 13, 2005


"there's no "vice" or "crushing" or "back-breaking" looming."

Unless you consider all the economic costs of the war, in which case it's merely ball-busting.

Take oil, for instance. When you increase the cost of oil one dollar, we lose almost 6 billion dollars of GDP per year. Given the price of oil prior to Bush's buildup to the war and what it is now, you're talking about nearly $150 billion a year, with a good portion of that increase based on instability caused by the Bush administration's actions.

Of course, oil isn't the only indirect cost of the war. There are many others. That's why those economists who looked at both the potential direct *AND* indirect costs of Iraq before the war came up with figures such as "up to $1.9 trillion" and "between $1-3 trillion".

Deficit spending during the Vietnam War helped spur the 'stagflation' of the 1970s - so why should we expect anything different if we don't change our course?
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:02 AM on May 13, 2005


Deficit spending during the Vietnam War helped spur the 'stagflation' of the 1970s

Actually a lot of people would say that defecit spending helps stimulate economic growth at the cost of inflation. You boost present economic growth and pay for it with inflation. That's the theory behind a lot of the New Deal and it's still pretty well believed that in normal conditions the government trades between economic growth and inflation throguh fiscal policy.

Many economists think that stagflation was a result of the OPEC oil shocks. Basicaly, the continued increase in oil price caused massive supply shocks - pushing the supply curve for any energy-intensive good upward without any offsetting change in demand. If you think of the supply and demand curves for normal goods as an intersection "X" then pushing up the supply curve raises prices (inflation) and decreases production (stagnation).

Oil in 1970: $1.70 per barrel
Oil in 1972: $2.20 per barrel
Oil in 1974: $11.58 per barrel
Oil in 1979: $30.00 per barrel

Given the direction oil has been heading you might be right for the wrong reasons.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:14 AM on May 13, 2005


I apoligize for linking an animated gif, but here's a good explanation of staglation:


posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:20 AM on May 13, 2005


And, to pre-empt political criticism ("when you can't argue that facts, attack the messenger"), that's a rule of economics that applies under Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Regan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, etc... it's any macroeconomics textbook published written since the Great Depression and oil is the standard example in textbooks published from 1980 onward. I'll drag out my mid-90's book and scan the example if I have to.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:34 AM on May 13, 2005


... but nevermind the economics. Here's what a few of the OIF soldiers I know have told me on my journal in response to this story.

"It's funny you mention that. Even though people complain about getting deployed and how they hate the Army I see so many of my co-workers re-enlisting because they got offered a good assignment or just so they can get out of this unit. 5 of my co-workers some of who are the biggest complainers just re-enlisted till 2011!!!! 2011!!!!! Just to go to another unit. I keep telling people that you can do things outside of the Army. They just don't want to take the chance.

I re-enlisted in 2003 for the chance to go back to the United Nations Band in Seoul, Korea. It was my first band and I had the best time and was happier than I ever have been. They told me yesterday that they forgot I was leaving and didn't process any of my paperwork so I would have to start outprocessing today and leave in 19 days! Then they told me I would have to extend my contract to go to Korea because my time is short! Haha! I told them they can keep it I will suffer here for another 10 months instead of extending my contract another 4 months and get stuck in another deployment. Some things are not worth it. They are trying though. They offered me Japan if I extended. ha!

It's just another tactic to try to keep retention from going down the tubes as it is doing right now. The solution is not temp soldiers. The solution lies within better personnel management, infrastructure upgrades, post consolidation, shorter deployments, and restoring pride to a service that is so big it has lost of it. "


--------------------------

"If the military weren't a shitty place to be, we wouldn't get the dregs of society signing up and retention would be through the roof. But it is, so it isn't."

--------------------------

"One of the moments I will treasure forever was during our National Guard unit's outprocessing briefings when we got back from Iraq in march. After the VA guys talked our ears off, some poor staff sergeant got up and introduced himself as retention NCO, here to gives us a retention briefing. He was resoundingly, mockingly laughed at by almost every soldier there. He asked all those soldiers who were ETSing in the next 90 days to stand up. Then he asked those who were re-upping to remain standing. We ALL sat down.

I enlisted six years ago when Clinton was president, and my recruiter told me that our unit wouldn't be called up for anything less than foreign troops landing on our shores. I joined for the college money, to assist in state emergency, and to drive cool army vehicles one weekend a month. A large percentage of the Guard are former active duty who want a stable family and a civilian job, but genuinely like doing Army stuff. The basic fact is that soldiers join the Guard and stay in the Guard because it's fun. And when it stops being fun, and their civilian lives and families are disrupted (like when they are sent to Iraq), they quit."

posted by insomnia_lj at 1:47 AM on May 13, 2005


Unless you consider all the economic costs of the war...
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:02 AM PST on May 13 [!]

... but nevermind the economics
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:47 AM PST on May 13 [!]


As for the blog responses they are totally self-selecting (as in the types of people likely to be reading your blog are likely to have a lot in common with you), but good to hear them none the less.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:57 AM on May 13, 2005


Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Regan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, etc

The Sweeney!
posted by Grangousier at 6:42 AM on May 13, 2005


"I enlisted six years ago when Clinton was president, and my recruiter told me that our unit wouldn't be called up for anything less than foreign troops landing on our shores. I joined for the college money, to assist in state emergency, and to drive cool army vehicles one weekend a month."

What a naive idiot. Anyone who believed that they "wouldn't be called up for anything less than foreign troops landing on our shores" is either willfully being deceived or dumber than a box of rocks. The Army is better off with out him.

When I joined the Wisconsin National Guard I was told the unit I was joining had not been called up since the Berlin Crisis in 1961. But in no way was I naive enough to think that there was no chance that it would ever get called up in the future.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:00 AM on May 13, 2005


At my high school, every year the senior class is required to take a skills assessment for the Army.
--
Holy crap. That seriously boggles me.


It shouldn't. I went to a middle class high school and, in the mid 90s, I did, too. About Fourteen thousand schools test their kids.

It's called the ASVAB, which stands for "Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Test" (no one told us that at the time, though). We were also told it was mandatory, and although the party line at school was that it would help us find a career, everyone knew it was related to the guys in uniforms watching the honors classes and athletes.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:17 AM on May 13, 2005


"Actually a lot of people would say that deficit spending helps stimulate economic growth at the cost of inflation . . . That's the theory behind a lot of the New Deal..."

Except, of course, that during the New Deal, such deficit spending was allocated directly and efficiently to provide jobs in the U.S. and improve our infrastructure, investing in efficiencies, opening new land for development and economic growth, and stimulating the local economy.

Increasing our deficit by spending the money on stabilizing Iraq, however, is by any economic measure, a very inefficient way to stimulate the American economy, especially since the industrial-military complex is a much smaller part of our economy relative to what it was in the past.

The economic stimulus of a war of occupation overseas is too narrow and inefficient to sufficiently jumpstart the economy, but the effects are enough for us to get higher inflation.

"... but nevermind the economics"

Absolutely. While I feel that economics of war are worth discussing, I think it's only right to keep the primary focus of this post on the soldiers and how it effects them personally. It's oddly dehumanizing to see so many Iraq posts switch tracks from the sacrifices we're asking of our soldiers to discussion of macroeconomics, law, politics, or anything else that distracts us from the fact that we've collectively sent our military thousands of miles away from home for an unspecified amount of time to kill or die.

"As for the blog responses they are totally self-selecting"

Partially, but not totally. I know (and recieve comments from) a lot of soldiers over in Iraq, because I oversee a private online community for them. I read their journals and comment in them, whether they're conservative, liberal, or somewhere inbetween. I presume they read me and comment in mine primarily for the same reason, as opposed to there being any political motivation for them to do so.

Here's a few more of their points of view worth sharing:

"15 months service isn't a bad idea. it gives you initial training, and a more experienced National Guard soldier instead of some of the Yahoos i have to deal with on a daily basis.

True, it takes a good three years of service to make a real soldier. But until someone fixes the big picture, I'd rather have a 15 month soldier with me than a bitter guy who is burnt out after 4 years..."


-----------------------

"you keep referring to this as a war. when we invaded, it was a war. this is an occupation. different palate of hors'd'eurves.

conning pimple faced youths to pick up a rifle and land on foreign soil is NOTHING new in the face of history. conning pimple faced youths to pick up a rifle, land on foreign soil and (en force) guard a country where they will be blown up and never even know who the enemy was...Now that is relatively new in the face of history. At least in Vietnam they could have the opportunity to fire back. we might aswell not even have rifles. and god forbid you shoot and you don't absolutely double check to make sure that the dude you are shooting at is as heavily armed as you...that equals prison time.

conning pimple faced youths to land on foreign soil and then serve consecutive jail sentences after being charged with first degree murder because they didn't know if the taxi driver was armed or not...yeah, fuck that. you can draft my little brother before i'll walk him down to the recruiting office.

unrealistic expectations, unrealistic numbers, uncompromising people = a military that scrambles to keep numbers where they should be, regardless of WHO those numbers are.

we just cannot keep doing this type of work. seeing your friend shipped home after losing a hand or a foot or part of his face and knowing that you can't protect yourself even though you're heavily armed...SERIOUSLY? my blood pressure jumps everytime i think about it.

if i ever see a recruiter at my door for my little brother, i'm going to kindly ask him to leave. i don't think my little brother needs to go through that sort of crap."

posted by insomnia_lj at 7:28 AM on May 13, 2005


I'm wondering if today's base closings are a way to get more bodies for Iraq?
posted by amberglow at 7:42 AM on May 13, 2005


And this horrible young employment rate?--...For example, a recent report from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston tells us that the employment rate for the nation's teenagers in the first 11 months of 2004 - just 36.3 percent - was the lowest it has ever been since the federal government began tracking teenage employment in 1948.

Those 20 to 24 years old are also faring poorly. In 2000, 72.2 percent were employed during a typical month. By last year that percentage had dropped to 67.9 percent. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:44 AM on May 13, 2005


Actually a lot of people would say that defecit spending helps stimulate economic growth at the cost of inflation. You boost present economic growth and pay for it with inflation. That's the theory behind a lot of the New Deal and it's still pretty well believed that in normal conditions the government trades between economic growth and inflation throguh fiscal policy.

Depends on what that spending is done on.

Spending on infrastucture in the US of A, using US of A labor, and US of A materials is going to have a different effect than spending it on, oh say, graft and payoffs in lands-o-sand far away.


Many economists think that stagflation was a result of the OPEC oil shocks

Whistle loud while you pass that graveyard.

Note how costs are going up for consumers and wages are not.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:03 AM on May 13, 2005


Whistle loud while you pass that graveyard.

Note how costs are going up for consumers and wages are not.


Oil today is going up. Unless you know something that the rest of the world doesn't, then it's pretty obvious that stagflation is a natural result. Way to point out what was already said.

While I feel that economics of war are worth discussing, I think it's only right to keep the primary focus of this post

Dude, you're the one who brought the economics up!
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:30 AM on May 13, 2005


God bless you Amberglow. Keep up the good fight. Many of these kids ARE getting screwed.

A good deal of the people here who are so vociferously condescending to the fighting man are virtually guaranteeing another far right republican victory in the US.

Listen up people and listen good. You may think anybody that joins the military is stupid or racist or amoral or whatever shit-headed generalization you want make BUT you will need them.

When these kids get back - like every war before (think about WWI it was Vets that started the progressive movements) - the combat vets are a mighty pissed off political force. As their truths come out you better NOT alienate them away from you. You can bet the political Right -- that will nurse them and kiss their ass and pet them lightly with one hand while fucking over their futures with the other -- will try work to get the poor kids to HATE you and every cause you hold dear. If you lose them they will not only work against YOUR interests but also their own. And that will be an enduring tragedy that could easily be avoided by compassion.

I would love one of you pussy's that says soldiers are ignorant or amoral or racists to say that shit to my face. I live in Seattle. Let me know when your close by.

PS. The economic stuff above was really good.
posted by tkchrist at 9:42 AM on May 13, 2005


"Dude, you're the one who brought the economics up!"

Dude, no I wasn't! Infact, who was it who made the second economics-oriented comment in this post? Hm, let me see... could it be you?! I simply responded to what I thought was an overly rosy economic argument that you made.

Enormous deficits that require a massive, historic stripping of people's social security benefits to get out of may not be "crushing" to you, but I'm sure others would beg to differ. Thanks to Bush's deficit spending, I face the possibility of getting 46% of my retirement benefits cut, and not retiring until I am 73.6. Frankly, given my family history, I'd feel lucky just to live that long.

Presumably, you think the idea of me working until my early 70's isn't crushing. Hah. It would be crushing to me. I work in high-tech. Do you *really* think that Microsoft/Apple/Google etc. is going to provide quality jobs in the future to a bunch of 70-year-olds? (Good thing Walmart is hiring, right?!)

I remember when ordinary people -- not millionaires -- used to retire at 55. Do you?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:48 AM on May 13, 2005


Thanks to Bush's deficit spending, I face the possibility of getting 46% of my retirement benefits cut, and not retiring until I am 73.6.

Excellent point. Why is it this new breed of conservative doesn't pay their bills? Is that ok now? Using that as my model, can I run a personal deficit? I wonder how the bank would feel about that?


I remember when ordinary people -- not millionaires -- used to retire at 55. Do you?!

Yes. I do.

But I also remember when people never really retired. Much of my family were dairy ranchers and farmers. They worked until they dropped dead. The good old days.

Ah. A return to the good 'ol guided age where the peasants new their place.
posted by tkchrist at 9:56 AM on May 13, 2005


"knew"
posted by tkchrist at 10:04 AM on May 13, 2005


Just for the record, it's the "Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery".
:)
posted by mystyk at 10:07 AM on May 13, 2005


...it only gets stupider as casualties...
"Stupider" is not a word! You're looking for "more stupid."
posted by nlindstrom at 11:10 AM on May 13, 2005


Just for the record, it's the "Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery".
Do'h.

Serves me right for copy/pasting so I wouldn't have to worry about spelling.

I did hate that damn thing, though. I apparently fit some profile they were looking for and, even after I was semi-crippled in a car wreck, they continued to call me once a month without fail.
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:13 AM on May 13, 2005


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