The Pentagon's 12-Step Program to Create a Misfit Military
By Nicholas Turse, Tomdispatch and AlterNet
Iraq is driving down the number of new enlistees, and in desperation recruiters are bringing in a motley mix of underage teens, foreign fighters, neo-Nazis, and ex-cons.
Military recruiting in 2006 has been marked by upbeat pronouncements from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, claims of success by the White House, propaganda releases by the Pentagon, and a spate of recent press reports touting the way the military has made its wo/manpower goals.
But the armed forces have only met with success through a fundamental "transformation," and not the transformation of the military -- that "co-evolution of concepts, processes, organizations and technology" -- Rumsfeld is always talking about either.
While the Secretary of Defense's longstanding goal of transforming the planet's most powerful military into its highest tech, most agile, most futuristic fighting force has, in the words of the Washington Post's David Von Drehle, "melted away," the very makeup of the Armed Forces has been mutating before our collective eyes under the pressure of the war in Iraq. This actual transformation has been reported, but only in scattered articles on the new recruitment landscape in America.
Last year, despite NASCAR, professional bull-riding, and Arena Football sponsorships; popular video games that doubled as recruiting tools; TV commercials dripping with seductive scenes of military glory; a "joint marketing communications and market research and studies" program actively engaged in measures to target for military service Hispanics, drop outs, and those with criminal records; and at least $16,000 in promotional costs for each soldier it managed to sign up, the U.S. military failed to meet its recruiting goals. This year those methods have been pumped up and taken over the top in twelve critical areas of recruitment that make the old Army ad-line, "Be All That You Can Be," into material for late night TV punch lines of the future.
To Read the Rest of the Article and the Twelve New Tactics of Military Recruiting