The recruitment poster says, “I want YOU for the U.S. Army.” But the Pentagon tells us that he is only really pointing his finger at thirty percent of young people—or less. Thus, the Wall Street Journal reports,
The military services don’t keep figures on how many people they turn away. But the Defense Department estimates 71% of the roughly 34 million 17- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. would fail to qualify to enlist in the military if they tried, a figure that doesn’t even include those turned away for tattoos or other cosmetic issues. Meanwhile, only about 1% of youths are both “eligible and inclined to have a conversation with us” about military service, according to Major Gen. Allen Batschelet, commanding general of U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
While we have no estimate on how many are turned away for tattoos on the neck, etc, the story shows it is a significant issue.
The military deems many youngsters ineligible due to obesity, lack of a high-school diploma, felony convictions and prescription-drug use for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But others are now also running afoul of standards for appearance amid the growing popularity of large-scale tattoos and devices called ear gauges that create large holes in earlobes.
Some people might think the number of youth unfit for military service doesn’t matter, but I think they are wrong. Just because we may not approve of the wars that these young men (and women—another problem) have been used and risked to fight, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care if an increasing number of young people are unfit for military service. The military wants capable youth. No one can be happy society has fewer such people.
When it comes to the military, this makes me wonder if recent talk of reducing the number of troops is such a bad idea. I’m not interested in seeing the military keep its numbers up by lowering standards. There is already too much of that for female soldiers. I’d rather they keep the standards and have better soldiers.
More worrisome: Is the Pentagon releasing this information in order to lobby for amnesty? Remember, the current plan touts the idea of allowing illegals to join the military in order to gain a path to citizenship.