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The Army's Hard Sell
By Bob Herbert
The New York Times
Monday 27 June 2005
The all-volunteer Army is not working. The problem with such an Army is that there are limited numbers of people who will freely choose to participate in an enterprise in which they may well be shot, blown up, burned to death or suffer some other excruciating fate.
The all-volunteer Army is fine in peacetime, and in military routs like the first gulf war. But when the troops are locked in a prolonged war that yields high casualties, and they look over their shoulders to see if reinforcements are coming from the general population, they find -as they're finding now - that no one is there.
Although it has been lowering standards, raising bonuses and all but begging on its knees, the Army hasn't reached its recruitment quota in months. There are always plenty of hawks in America. But the hawks want their wars fought with other people's children.