Monday, December 27, 2010

Air Force recruiter tries to help people better their lives

There are a couple of ways to look at this little puff piece for military life, and neither recommends it.

From the standpoint of the kid who's considering joining up, there's no mention of the purpose and sole mission of the organization: to kill people and blow stuff up at the behest of people who never have to deal with the consequences directly. If I'd read this without knowing what the Air Force is, I might've concluded that it was some sort of job-training program. There ought to be at least a nod to the gravity of the decision this boy is considering, for the benefit of other boys and girls coming out of our starved education system without the skills to work in the real world.

From the taxpayer's perspective, I always resent that we are encouraged to think of the military option as a career step for young people, even as therapy to give them maturity or a sense of responsibility. I'm not interested in hiring people into that sort of job who are chasing public benefits. It's serious business and should never be undertaken lightly.

This piece is light on both counts, mere stenography for the PR department of the military-industrial complex.

It hits close to home for me because my nephew, always unstable and irresponsible as well as brain-damaged in a car accident when he was 16, got the Army to take him on the fourth try and did three tours in Iraq as a grunt. Well, almost three -- before he finished the last one he was completely out of his mind and accused of murdering a civilian. Two years later they're still trying to figure out whether he's competent to stand trial. Had the adults around him taken the decision more seriously, we might have prevented this tragedy.

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