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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Drafting the Ignorant 

I've seen reports (sorry too lazy to find a link at the moment) about how the Army is going to introduce a 15 month enlistment for 11 Bravos (that would be an infantryman) and other MOS's that are currently in short supply in today's Army of One®. This just has to be the Army's way of drafting the ignorant. Their current Stop Loss policy of keeping soldiers in uniform after their terms of enlistment are up is routinely refered to as a Backdoor Draft. This new enlistment will entice those poor souls who think that 15 months isn't too bad (and who haven't been following the news closely enough to hear about Stop Loss), only to be informed after the swearing in that the current situation requires Uncle Sam to extend the 15 months by just a little while. I have never served in the Armed Forces, so I don't know how long training takes, but you have to figure that Rummy really wants you to go to Iraq for at least a year. There is no way that you can become a functional infantryman in 3 months. I'd bet that 9 months is much closer to the length of time basic training, advanced infantry training, integrating into your permanent unit, Iraq-specific training with your unit and traveling to Iraq would take. Plus there's getting back to CONUS and processing out of the Army, with special pressure to re-enlist. I figure that a 15 month enlistment is really a bait and switch for a minimum of 2 years.

Digression: When I was going to high school in LaCrosse, WI (go Red Raiders! (I'll bet that's a mascot that's been changed since then)), I rode my bike to school in nice weather. My route took me past the local Army Recruiting Center. At the time you could enlist for either 4 years or 2 years. The windows of the recruiting center had posters showing all the cool things you could do in the Army. The ones for the 4-year term showed people using computers, fixing helicopters, fixing tanks, staring into radar screens, etc. The ones for the 2-year term showed people driving tanks, jumping out of airplanes, shooting guns, etc. At least then, even without a war going on, they were honest enough to tell you that doing the armed part of the armed forces required a couple of years of your time for it to be worthwhile.

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