Sam wants your kids ... now!
By Col. David Hackworth, WorldNet Daily, column Defending America, December 7, 2004
We'll soon have 150,000 U.S. troops stuck in the ever-expanding Iraqi quagmire, a number that will probably grow even larger before Iraq holds elections presently scheduled for the end of January '05.
Maintaining such a force is a logistical and personnel nightmare for every grunt in Iraq. And according to several Pentagon number crunchers, it's also driving the top brass bonkers.
Meanwhile the insurgents continue cutting our supply lines and whacking our fighting platoons and supporters, who attrit daily as soldiers and Marines fall to enemy shots, sickness or accidents. Empty platoons lose fights, so these casualties have to be replaced ASAP.
Since this tragic war kicked off in March 2003, the United States has evacuated an estimated 50,000 KIA (killed in action), WIA (wounded in action) and non-battle casualties from Iraq back to the States - leaving 50,000 slots that have had to be filled.
The job of finding fresh bodies to keep our units topped off falls mainly to the Army Recruiting Command. But the "making-quota" jazz put out by the Recruiting Command and the Pentagon to hype their billion-dollar recruiting effort, with its huge TV expenditure and big expansion of recruiters during the past year, is pure unadulterated spin. Not that this is anything new. The Command has a sorry reputation for using smoke and mirrors to cover up poor performance.
"Hack, here's a snapshot of how little of our first-quarter mission has been achieved," says an Army recruiter. "Look at it from a perspective of a business releasing quarterly earnings information. To keep unit manning levels up out in the field, especially in Iraq, there's no question our recruiting mission is in serious trouble.
"These are totals for the 41 USAREC (Recruiting Command) Battalions, so these stats represent the USAREC mission accomplishment:
"Regular Army Volume (all RA contracts): "Mission: 25,322 "Achieved: 12,703 (50.17 percent)
"Army Reserve Volume: "Mission: 7,373 "Achieved: 3,206 (43.48 percent)."
The Army National Guard is faring no better. A Guard retention NCO says: "The word is out on the streets of Washington, D.C. 'Do not join the Guard.' I see these words echoing right across the U.S.A."
By the end of this recruiting year, the Regular Army, Reserves and Guard could fall short more than 50 percent of its projected requirement, or about 60,000 new soldiers. And according to many recruiters, quality recruits are giving way to mental midgets who have a hard time telling their left foot from their right.
Shades of our last years in Vietnam.
"The bottom line is that Recruiting Command is in trouble," says another recruiter with almost 30 years of service. "The Army has re-instituted 'stop loss,' which is basically a backdoor draft. They're stopping people from retiring or completing their enlistment and leaving the Army. They do this fairly often, mostly in August and September, depending upon how far behind they believe they'll be at the end of September.
"I believe the Army will have to drastically change what they offer to enlistees to overcome what's happening in Iraq. The war is ugly, and not many kids want to enlist to be blown up."
Moms and dads are outraged about desperate Army recruiters on a relentless campaign to sign up their teenagers. High-school kids are running away from recruiters like they were George Romero's living dead.
"Recruiters have called my son a minimum of 20 times in the two years since he finished high school," a dad reports. "The phone calls usually come in clusters. I answered five calls in a two- or three-week span. Each time a recruiter calls, he receives the same polite, respectful response from me or my son ... no interest, and please take the name off the list. When asked why the name hasn't been removed, excuses are made. While recruiters are brief with me, when my son is on the phone, the sales tactics are clever, prolonged and very high-pressure.
"I took the latest recruiting call. This time I also called the supervisor at the local Army recruiting office, who's promised to take his name off the list. She made excuses for the repeated calls despite the fact that five calls were on her watch."
Unless a miracle happens and the new Iraqi security force decides to stop running and start fighting, we'll be in Iraq for a long time. Most likely with a draftee force.
Col. David H. Hackworth, author of his new best-selling "Steel My Soldiers' Hearts," "Price of Honor" and "About Face," has seen duty or reported as a sailor, soldier and military correspondent in nearly a dozen wars and conflicts - from the end of World War II to the recent fights against international terrorism.
Editor's note: Eilhys England contributed to this column. http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=41798
|Military Sees Sharp Fall In Black Recruits
GI Special, 18 December, 2004
Dolly Wilson's father proudly served in the Second World War and her husband in Vietnam. But her children will not join the military if she has any say in it.
"We don't want our kids to go into no war for nothing," said Mrs Wilson, snatching a cigarette with colleagues outside her Washington office.
"Bush has two daughters. Let them go over and fight," she added, to a chorus of "That's not our war" from the others.
James Golladay served in the US coastguard, but would discourage his two teenagers if they came home talking about enlisting. "I wouldn't want them to experience anything like that," he said, as he passed a US army recruiting office on 14th Street, Washington.
Constance Allen's husband, grandfather, uncle and son all served, but she would "never" let her grandson join up.
Mrs Wilson, Mr Golladay and Mrs Allen are not typical of America as a whole. But their views are enough to give the Pentagon cause for alarm. The reason? All three of them are black.
For years, black Americans have formed the backbone of the all-volunteer US army, filling a quarter of its ranks, though blacks account for only 13 per cent of the population.
But the proportion of black recruits into the army was only 15.6 per cent, down from 22.3 per cent in the fiscal year 2001. In the part-time army reserve, the drop is sharper.
That hostility increased exponentially with the invasion of Iraq, which was opposed by a large majority of black Americans, amid suspicion over the reasons given for toppling Saddam Hussein and anger at billions of dollars spent overseas, rather than at home.
Mrs Allen pointed to the rain-lashed streets of Washington, a large, poor, mainly black city that also happens to be the nation's capital.
"You've got so many homeless people here, they were in the military, half of them. You look at that, people ask, 'Why should I go fight the white man's war when there's nothing for us here?' " she said.
Pentagon statistics from 2003 back him up, showing that 67 per cent of black soldiers served in support or rearguard units, working as technicians, medical assistants, clerks or cooks. Only 16 per cent of black soldiers were in combat units.
Asked why blacks chose rear-line units, Mr Golloday answered: "People looked to the military as a way of receiving benefits. People want to transition into a civilian life later. Being a chief gunner isn't something that people will pay a lot for." Then he laughed, and added: "And they don't want to die."
Kayla Roach, a black woman, said: "I know families whose kids want to join the military, and their parents are saying no. Maybe they have just one or two children and it's scary to them."
The perception has spread among black Americans that in the war on terrorism, rear-line units are as vulnerable as front-line infantry squads.
To Mr Golladay, the military is not the problem. "People join understanding that they might go to war," he said. "But this war now, I feel it's unnecessary."