Friday, November 11, 2005

Desperate Times at the Five-Sided Building

Our government seems to be having a harder and harder time fighting a little war that they keep trying to tell us is a popular one. Not only are the Shrub’s poll figures falling month after month, but our armed forces aren’t coming anywhere close to their recruitment targets. If the “war” is so darned popular, why aren’t people volunteering in droves?

Convincing folks to sign up is getting so difficult that the military brass now are resorting to all sorts of gimmicks to pump up troop numbers. As Gene C. Gerard reported Wednesday at the Alternative Press Review, “Any Soldier Will Do”:
The Army has taken various approaches to its lackluster recruitment efforts. It increased it advertising budget by $130 million for 2006. Over the course of fiscal year 2005, the Army handed out $207 million in bonuses to recruits and those who re-enlisted. This was a sizable increase over 2004, when $125 million was distributed as bonuses. The Army gave a bonus of a least $1,000 to 53 percent of new recruits between October 2004 and June 2005; the average bonus was $5,589.
That’s a lot of greenbacks! But, according to Gerard, it gets worse.
Last Month, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey announced that due to the recruitment shortages the Army will now double the number of recruits it accepts who score the lowest on the intelligence test administered to all potential recruits. Secretary Harvey also announced that the Army was decreasing its requirement that the recruiting class each year be comprised of at least 67 percent of applicants who scored in the top half of the intelligence test. The portion has now been lowered to 60 percent.
While increasing monetary inducements and lowering test score requirements might seem bad, that’s still not the worst of it.
What has not been known until now is that recruitment shortages have resulted in the Pentagon calling up reservists who are ill or medically unfit. According to the GAO report, this includes reservists who have suffered from heart attacks, those with severe asthma (weather conditions in the desert exacerbates this condition), hernias, severe hypertension, and a woman who was four months into chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. It also includes reservists suffering from sleep apnea who need medical equipment to help them breath, yet large portions of Iraq and Afghanistan lack the electricity necessary to run the equipment.

Reserve forces that are diabetic and require insulin pumps have been called to active duty. A soldier was called up only two weeks after receiving a kidney transplant. Other reservists have required kidney dialysis. The GAO report also found that reserve soldiers have been called to active duty that suffer from psychiatric problems, including bipolar disorder. By one estimate as much as ten percent of the reservists who have been medically evacuated out of the Middle East was attributable to pre-existing medical conditions that could not be treated properly.
Ah yes, we live in desperate times!

2 comments:

  1. It makes me proud to be an Amurrican. It's like the last days of Hitler when he started using young kids and old men in battle.

    If we impeach Bush, will Cheney become president? UGH...

    ReplyDelete
  2. It brings home that old 60s slogan "What if we had a war and nobody showed up?" The truth of the matter is that it wouldn't matter. Our lives or security wouldn't be affected at all. Which demonstrates how worthless this war is.

    ReplyDelete

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