The army has about 492,000 soldiers. With the demise of the Cold War, one can only wonder “why?” When do we wind down the military and disarm in a comprehensive, multilateral manner? Leaving aside this “idealistic” but essential goal in order to advance the cause of civilisation, consider the following.
The army has a recruiting goal of 60,000 in 2006. With risk aversion increasing during war, only the economic draft can sustain these numbers. Perhaps there is disincentive to have a full-employment economy in that fewer recruits will be available as cannon fodder for power maximisers in the District of Columbia and their assorted sycophantic think tanks.
Another way for the army to get around this problem of having adequate numbers to wage Wall Street’s wars is to lower the admission standards. Indeed, the army of American freedom, peace and democracy is now accepting recruits in greater numbers who score in the lower third on their aptitude test. For fifteen years, 2% of recruits were from the bottom third; it is now being increased to 4%. In fact 73,000 in this category were recruited into the army in 2005. Their recruiting year is September 30 which is the federal government’s fiscal year. It would be a lot simpler if such matters were coterminous with calendar years beginning in January.
The National Guard has also increased to 4% its percentage of recruits who scored in the bottom third of their aptitude test. About 50,000 were admitted into the Guard in 2005 and 4% of that total were lower-scoring applicants.
I also wonder if these Americans are even less likely to have options other than military service during war and in a sense are the most vulnerable to recruiting and the promise of a “career” in Falluja, Ramadi or Al Anbar province or some other distant land that is resisting the empire. Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 had an interesting scene in Flint, Michigan where military recruiters were focusing on the most vulnerable and economically challenged.
I am not questioning the motives of those who enlist. I am suggesting that motives may be higher among those who are least capable in securing occupational choices such as safer civilian employment. While I wish no one would enlist in the United States military, or any other nation-state’s armed services for that matter, the reality is that war is frequently a “rich person’s war, a poor person’s fight.”
Mr. Bush’s twin daughters are not currently serving in the military.