Iraq is the elephant in the room


The House Armed Services subcomittee recently discussed how the war in Iraq is hurting recruiting, according to an article in Star and Stripes, the "Department of Defense-authorized
daily newspaper distributed overseas for the U.S. military community."

"Deep into a four-hour congressional hearing on why the active Army and its reserve components are missing recruiting goals, Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., turned a spotlight on the elephant in the room.

The war in Iraq, Snyder said, is unpopular with many Americans, a fact that needs airing, given the all-volunteer nature of the U.S. military.

Until that moment in the July 19 House armed services subcommittee hearing, blame for recruiting shortfalls had focused on negative news coverage of the war, an improving economy, the pace of military operations and an unexplained drop in propensity of parents and other “influencers” of American youth to recommend military service.

Nothing was said of a nation that, polls show, is souring on a war that was launched to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and shifted, after none was found, into an open-ended occupation and a Herculean effort to turn a fractionalized Muslim nation into a democracy.

David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, blamed the slow recruiting partly on "older advisors" advising young people against enlisting.  The Army’s personnel chief, Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, mentioned " ‘skewed’ news coverage."  And "Vice Adm. Gerald Hoewing, the Navy’s top personnel officer, pressed for a ‘national communications strategy’ to emphasize the ‘positive things that are taking place around the world.’ "

The Air Force personnel chief, Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, said “a barrage of negative press” combined with “a reduced ability to have access to young people to tell our story in schools” hurts recruiting, although Brady said the Air Force is hitting its numbers and quality goals.

Rep. McHugh suggested that new enlistment bonuses may help increase the recruiting numbers, but said “I just have to begin to wonder, however,” said McHugh, “at what point can we continue to buy a force.” 


6 Responses to “Iraq is the elephant in the room”

  1. Ali Says:

    How do you reconcile being against the US military and their recruiters while there is a growing military threat from China, as well as the ongoing War on Terrorism.

    Is it your belief that the US should not have a military? Because that would be the logical conclusion of your position.

    Please clarify.

  2. Recruiter Says:

    I’ve tried to ask them the same thing. But in every response they skirt around the question and start bashing the military and America again. I truely believe that they don’t know what they want. I hope somebody responds with an intelligent response.


  3. Ali Says:

    Try asking them if they feel the same way about Iran’s military.

    Or ask them what they think about Palestinians recruiting children by brainwashing them and planting promises of glory in the afterlife in the impressionable heads…

    That will give you some perspective.

  4. Army Soldier 05 Says:

    I whole heartedly agree with both Recruiter and Ali.
    As a soldier, I agree with the fact we should not have to buy an enlistment. The money is nice, but we should not have to pay someone exorbent amounts money to convince them serving their country is a good cause.
    If you have no desire to serve, don’t do it. I don’t come to your job and screw you out of a days work, so don’t do it to me. You preach your fairness and equality, but that doesn’t keep you from interfering with a military recruiter’s quality of life. But I guess it’s okay, because soldiers are substandard citizens or something.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    What war on terrorism? Bush recently changed it to the “worldwide struggle against violent extremism,” acknowledging the fact that the military is not the sole answer. Imagine that, even Bush finally getting an inkling of a clue?

    The next step is for him to figure out that the military has been a CAUSE of violent extremism and retribution against us in Iraq, effectively multiplying Sept 11. How many years will it take for the neocons to figure this out ?

  6. Army Soldier 05 Says:

    Way to go unknown poster! If the military is not the sole answer, then in turn we cannot be the sole reason. It is then safe to construe that there is something more to the issue, namely a 2,000 year old power struggle in the Middle East between rival factions, religions, and cultures.

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