Palaver from Persimmon Crossing — Where Will We Get the Troops
|March 24, 2005||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Palaver from Persimmon Crossing
with Warren Faulk Since U.S. citizens committed torture against prisoners, what do you expect might happen to U.S. soldiers who get captured? Small wonder that fewer people are interested in joining the military.
Today columnist Warren Faulk shares the results of his asking a difficult and touchy question to a dozen people.
Where Will We Get the Troops
I still feel pretty certain that Iraq is a beginning of sorts and not an end to our problems. I am convinced that this “antiterrorist, I can have nukes but you can’t ” conflict is going to widen to the point where we need perhaps 100,000 or even 200,000 additional active duty military personnel for an extended period of time. I don’t think it matters much right now whether one agrees … it may just happen. Someone else may push the button. Maybe Iran. Maybe North Korea .
Several weeks ago I asked a dozen people from different walks of life how they thought we might come up with the manpower. Two of these got so upset at my raising the question that they laid into me about how the administration wouldn’t precipitate such a crisis … and failed to answer the basic question. These responses serve to highlight the fact that this is a hot button issue.
One response came from a trusted friend who has connections in the Department of Defense. His view is that end strength authorization increases coupled with vigorous recruiting will suffice. Maybe so. Another saw a link between immigration, legal and otherwise, and possibilities for adding to the military rolls. I did some checking and found that there is a policy against recruiting outside our borders but I also learned that if you have a Green Card you can sign up assuming you meet the basic physical and mental requirements. This looks like a fertile area to me and it wouldn’t take much more than a policy change … exchanging Green Cards for enlistments … to take advantage of it. This respondent allowed as how he doubts we deserve the folks we might acquire this way.
One person did not respond. Nobody talked much about paying recruits more money but clearly that would help some.
Everyone else saw a military draft as the likely choice.
This afternoon I heard a broadcast on National Public Radio concerning the status of military recruiting. For the month of February 2005, all services came up short of their recruiting goals. The marines were down by 3% from their goal which is but a few hands. The army was down by 24% or 1900 people short of quota. That’s well over a battalion of infantry. Is this a trend? We’ll soon see. Do we have a plan? I don’t know. Maybe I should pose my question to the script writers on The West Wing. I’d love to hear Josh, Toby, Leo and Sam chew on this.
— Warren Faulk
Warren Faulk has written a book called “Still Looking For My Hinny,” an online book about animal husbandry, fishing, hunting and war. Available from authorhouse.com
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