Reports today that the US Army has exceeded their recruitment goals for 2007 have been verified. US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates told reporters with Black recruitment down 58%, the Army's top brass had no other choice but to think "out of the box."
"With 35 million Americans 65 years or older," Gates said, "we decided to institute a special draft for baby-boomers. Since this group is going to be a continuous drain on our social security system, we feel that having a few of them 'knocked off' during wartime will help."
Gates went on to say that many baby boomers, having already served in Vietnam, have great military experience, so they do not need as much training and will do better under fire.
"They already know what to do," he said. "And many are able to go right into leadership positions. Besides, these guys need something else to do with their time besides play golf, drink beer, watch sports and wait in VA Hospital waiting rooms."
Gates also spoke to the advantages of recruiting the 85+ set. Former soldiers from this group have valuable World War II and Korean War fighting experience.
"Many of our warbirds currently use technology that dates back to WWII," he said. "Only these men know how to use it. Besides, nothing gets the blood pumping again like a war zone. They begin to feel alive again. And being so close to death already, they are not afraid to take chances that the younger soldiers are."
Other measures that the Army has taken to bolster recruiting this year include:
"Softening" boot camp and relaxing minimum fitness standards.
With 61% of US adults overweight, "We couldn't have an Army if we didn't take this measure," Gates said. "It also works well to advertise ourselves as a great weight-loss program. Think of how much weight an obese person loses when an arm or a leg gets shot off. And this comes right off the top without too much work. And sometimes when the PTSD is so bad, or a soldier gets wounded, they really don't real like eating that much."
Criminals are also being recruited, making Levenworth and the Red Onion new hot spots amongst America's Army recruiters. Moral character waivers are being passed out like Krispy Kreme donuts at school and church fundraisers, or condoms in a gay parade.
The Army reports that persons convicted of felonies tend to make the adjustment into Army life much easier than those convicted of lesser offenses.
"It helps them feel useful," said Gates. "We are taking some of our nation's worst criminals and making men out of them. We may indulge them a little, but we're finding that former murderers, rapists, drug traffickers and gang members tend to make the best soldiers."
Those in for littering, disorderly conduct, larceny, trespassing, or vandalism tend to be more skittish and passive-aggressive types and were reported not to do so well in the field.
The Army has also passed out its share of medical, drug and alcohol waivers.
"Let's be realistic," says Gates. "What does it really take to be cannon fodder? This isn't rocket science."
But detractors such as retired rear admiral, John "Smack" Buttson, now dean of the Franklinton Pierced Tit Law Center says that, "Across-the-board lowering of military standards is buying problems for the future. You are going to have more people getting in trouble and washing out of the service before finishing their tour of duty. There should be a moratorium put in place on these measures immediately."