January 23, 2008 5:39 AM

Perhaps because they've killed off the smart ones?

Texas rated No. 1 in Army recruiting, but ‘quality’ down

The good news on the Army recruiting front is that Texas is No. 1. The bad news: The young boots are less educated. A report released Tuesday by the National Priorities Project found that Texas and Harris County produced more Army recruits last year than any other state or county in the nation. Bexar County ranked fourth, sending 814 people to boot camp. But the number of “high-quality” recruits has continued a downward slide nationwide since 2004. Recruits in that group hold a traditional high school diploma and score in the upper half of the Armed Forces Qualification Test. Only 44.6 percent did that last year, down from 60.9 percent in 2004.

After close to five years of a pointless meatgrinder of a war, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s becoming more difficult to find young men and women willing to fill body bags. The post-9.11 uber-patriotic surge has long since diminished, and young men and women who have other options have largely been pursuing them. And it’s not as if Generation Chickenhawk is rushing to fill the void. Young Republicans may remain steadfast steadfase in their support of the war in Iraq- just as long as someone else is doing the fighting and dying- but their support rarely extends beyond drunken patriotic pronouncements at a campus kegger.

The army is rapidly becoming the choice of the undereducated and those who hail from small towns with few meaningful economic opportunities in their future. There’s certainly nothing wrong with serving your country, but why don’t you see more wealthy, college-educated aspiring doctors and lawyers making the same choice? Hmm…well, perhaps it’s because they know they can make significantly more money without having to worry about becoming IED fodder?

Let’s face it; the only way the burden of service will ever be shared equally is by bringing back the draft- something few Americans, myself included, will ever support. Even if the draft were to be reinstated, the rich and well-connected will always find a way to avoid being called to serve (see Bush, George W.). It seems that not only are we OK with the underclass doing the fighting and dying on our behalf, we really have no incentive to change the current system. Just as long as someone else is doing the fighting and dying….

It would be nice to think that a country that prides itself on the philosophy that all men are created equal could find a way to convince rich, young Chickenhawks to pull their weight. Then again, someone has to become our Senators and CEOs, right?

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on January 23, 2008 5:39 AM.

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