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War on the Cheap

Even with low combat death rates, the unemployed aren't signing up for Afghanistan.

by James Leroy Wilson
October 8, 2009

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War on the Cheap

Latest official reports say the jobless rate is at 9.8%, with the real rate probably closer to 17%.

Yet, the military can't find enough troops to pacify Afghanistan. Even if it doubles its efforts and puts 129,000 troops on the ground along with 35,000 from other NATO countries, that is still about one-fourth of what is needed if textbook counter-insurgency operations can work.

Makes one wonder, how many of that 17% of unemployed people are men qualified to enlist?

It has to number in the several million.

And why don't they?

Why doesn't President Obama recruit them, and tell the Pentagon to prepare the infrastructure for a much larger military? Why doesn't Congress increase the Pentagon budget for this?

It shouldn't be that difficult to do. After all, if Obama is really the hopeful and inspiring leader he's cracked up to be, surely many a young man would want to fight for this commander-in-chief.

Instead, each branch set modest recruitment goals, and does not show interest in going over them too much. Recruiting is up from a few years ago, but they're not exactly overwhelmed with applicants.

You see, it's easier for the young progressive to rail against "tea-baggers." It's a lot more fun to scream at Republicans in Congress who are obstructing health-care legislation, than it is to get shot at.

They may like Obama compared to the previous guy. That doesn't mean they have confidence in what he's doing in Afghanistan. At least, not enough to risk their own lives.

The Bush Administration had the same problem. There were countless millions of young Republican men who could have enlisted, but chose not to. Their faith in their President could go only so far.

This all makes perfect sense. It's one thing to support a President. It's one thing to support a war ideologically. It's quite another to put one's life on the line for partisanship and ideology.

And that's all it is in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are ideological wars with mild partisan differences in how to wage them.

The Iraqi resistance is not a threat to the American people. The Afghani resistance is not a threat to the American people. They are only a threat to American troops who are occupying their countries. The American citizen knows this. That's why he won't enlist unless he's really desperate to find work.

If the American people actually felt threatened by our enemies in these wars, the military would have adjusted to accommodate a much larger force. Young men would sign up in droves out of honor or peer pressure.

They don't. The military is just not an attractive career option. Young men don't want to fight against people who otherwise would not be a threat to us. The Bush-Obama strategy to win wars that are "cheap" in terms of a low number of boots on the ground and low numbers of casualties has proven its futility. After Vietnam, we know the American people will not be drafted, and they refuse to be I.E.D. fodder.

I almost wonder if we're still engaged in these wars because the federal government wouldn't want to confront greater numbers of unemployed ex-soldiers and the loss of war-related civilian jobs.

Because in every other sense, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not in America's best interests. The only sensible thing is to end both.

Comments (2)

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Jim Davidson from Johannesburg writes:
October 10, 2009
Why aren't they recruiting, or drafting, hundreds of thousands more troops? Very simple. These wars are not about actually defeating the resistance. They are about feeding the defense contractor companies, also known as death merchants. As long as there are tens of billions of dollars to waste every year on new weapons, new ammo, and new toyz, the evil vicious scum who run the war department are going to keep killing women in children in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One approach is to divest from these death merchant stocks. Divestfromdeath dot wordpress offers thoughts on that topic. Another is to cut the military budget until they bring all the troops home - from 805 military bases in over 130 countries.

elm from 98801 writes:
October 12, 2009
Our U.S. President Barack Obama didn't win the Noble Peace Prize cause he was a war-monger but right after award announcment the news broke with a header reading -- "Rush Limbaugh's head exploded." SHAME ON HIM! Afterall, no secret that Barack Obama's mother was a devoted member of the Peace Corp. It rubbed off on Barack. "Apples don't fall far from the tree." Other raving Anti-Obama malcontents, that never quit raving over anything & anything our U.S. President elected by the MAJORITY does, were quick to join Russ's Bashing Party. SHAME ON THEM TOO!

Time to wake up & smell the roses rather than running, supporting, & sponsoring backwater hate campaigns against one who supports PEACE TALKS OVER WAR AND PEACE OVER HATE. "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Hate breeds hate, grows ugly tentacles and spreads like cancer! Persons who consistently ridicule & put others down for no other reason than their own over-blown EGO display their mean spirit. If called on it, the reply is -- " I was only kidding." No, it's RIDICULE. An attempt at elevating themself. Ridicule lowers the user in the eyes of even the most simple-minded human.

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