Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Operation Truth: Army Misses Recruiting Goal--We Told You So!

Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Operation Truth, posted a very powerful piece last week about the Army missing it's recruitment goals.
From USA Today:
"In what could be a troubling sign for the military, the active-duty Army missed its February recruiting goal by more than 27%. It was the first time in almost five years that the Army has failed to meet a monthly target.

'It's just going to be a rough year,' said Doug Smith, a spokesman for U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox in Kentucky."
Gee, Mr. Smith. Ya think? I'd say it is going to be a VERY rough year. The Army misses by 27%! The Guard recently missed its' recruiting goal by 30%. The Army Reserve was 10% short going in to February. Even the Marine Corps just flopped on its' monthly target. That is the first time that has happened since Chesty Puller shot a rifle! It is going to be a rough year indeed, Mr. Smith.

The US is stressing the hell out of our forces, and the troops have been telling people about it for almost two years now. But no one was listening. They said we were undermining the war. They said we should shut our mouths. They said were not supporting the troops. We ARE the friggin' troops and we know the truth and how to REALLY support them. We also know the current trend is not good for the military--or the USA.

Rieckhoff gives some of the reasons why he thinks recruitment has fallen:

The Army and USMC are getting used up more and more every day. About 50% of our people in Iraq are there for a second time. Less than half the country thinks going to Iraq was a good idea. We just passed the 1500 KIA mark. There is no clear exit strategy. No wonder recruiting is down. These guys in Washington are saying everything is cool when the house is clearly on fire.

The bottom line is that we have not taken care of our own. That is the most important reason why recruiters are pulling the hair out of their flattops lately.

We might not be very loud in public, but in bars and at dinner tables, troops and vets have definitely been talking. We talk to each other, and we have been talking to our friends who are thinking about joining--and their parents. We have told them about the Armor problems. We told them about the divorce rates. They have learned about the VA being under-funded every year. They have heard us talk about Guard and Reserve families not getting taken care of. They saw Rumsfeld give a crap answer to young soldier who tried to find out why he and his buddies had to scrounge through junkyards to protect themselves from IEDs. They have read about how Stop Loss has voided contracts and locked thousands in the military after their terms have ended. They hear about Halliburton and Blackwater employees making ten times what we make. Potential recruits have heard all this. America's young people are not stupid. Yet the politicians seem to be closing their eyes and hoping this problem will go away. Well, I had a CO in Iraq who used to have a saying that they should learn: "Hope is not a course of action".

Washington and the Pentagon have tried nothing but Band-Aid solutions, and they misled the American people about the manpower crisis we face now--and will continue to face in the future. They need to seriously sweeten the pot for those who want to join up. A "Go Army" boonie cap and some money for college ain't enough anymore. They better start getting creative.

And who does he think should be called on for these creative ideas? The Soldiers who were there- who have plenty of ideas.

If I was you Paul I wouldn't hold my breath, this administration has nothing but contempt for anybody who doesn't share their grand illusions about the world.

They won't listen, so the only choice I can see is to get soldiers like Paul or Zinni elected into office, where at the very least, they can speak the truth on behalf of their fellow soldiers and the entire American people.