From the New York Times’ article “Growing Problem for Military Recruiters: Parents”:
Two years into the war in Iraq, as the Army and Marines struggle to refill their ranks, parents have become boulders of opposition that recruiters cannot move. Mothers and fathers around the country said they are terrified that their child will have to be killed – or kill – in a war that many see as unnecessary and without end.
A Department of Defense survey last November, the latest, shows that only 25 percent of parents would recommend military service to their children, down from 42 percent in August 2003. “Parents,” said one recruiter in Ohio who insisted on anonymity because the Army ordered all recruiters not to talk to reporters, “are the biggest hurdle we face.” …
Recruiters, in interviews over the past six months, said that opposition can be fierce. Three years ago, perhaps 1 or 2 of 10 parents would hang up immediately on a cold call to a potential recruit’s home, said a recruiter in New York who, like most others interviewed, insisted on anonymity to protect his career. “Now,” he said, “in the past year or two, people hang up all the time. ”
Military officials are clearly concerned. In an interview last month, Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, commander of United States Army recruiting, said parental resistance could put the all-volunteer force in jeopardy. When parents and other influential adults dissuade young people from enlisting, he said, “it begs the question of what our national staying power might be for what certainly appears to be a long fight.”