Tuesday, August 22, 2006


When Propaganda Meets Reality

As CNN informed us today, the marines are recalling 2500 troops from inactive duty. According to the article:

The U.S. Marine Corps said Tuesday it has been authorized to recall thousands of Marines to active duty, primarily because of a shortage of volunteers for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Up to 2,500 Marines will be brought back at any one time, but there is no cap on the total number of Marines who may be forced back into service in the coming years. The call-ups will begin in the next several months.

This is the first time the Marines have had to use the involuntary recall since the early days of the Iraq combat. The Army has ordered back about 14,000 soldiers since the start of the war.

But, compare this information to what "officials" told us just a couple of weeks ago. From Reuters:

The U.S. Army, which fell short in recruiting last year, made its 14th straight monthly goal in July and is expected to hit its 2006 target despite the Iraq war making recruiting harder, officials said on Thursday.

Jeff Spara, in charge of Army recruiting policy, denied the Army has been making its recruiting goals by taking lower-quality volunteers who previously might have been rejected, as some experts contend.

"It looks very good right now," Spara said of the active-duty Army reaching its goal of 80,000 new soldiers in fiscal 2006, which ends September 30. It fell about 7,000 recruits short of the same numerical goal in fiscal 2005.

Now I don't know about you, but I find it strange that the military is meeting its recruiting goals yet still finds it necessary to recall troops that are on inactive duty. Those two facts just don't mesh in my book. Clearly, something is not right.

Fortunately, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what's going on. Obviously, the military has set a goal that is too low to accomplish its objectives. It's a little known trick that organizations sometimes use to obtain a positive result - Set the goal low so it's easier to reach. It looks better in the public eye.

When I was a kid, I participated in a summer track & field camp sponsored by the YMCA. It was a week-long event in which we participated in a variety of track & field events ranging from the shot put to the hurdles. At the end of the week, we all took part in five events, only we didn't compete against each other, we merely set goals for ourselves to acheive. If we met all of our goals, we'd be given a medal. I remember one boy, in particular, that set all of his goals ridiculously low. Needless to say, he acheived them easily and got his medal. To the casual observer, he'd made great progress. But in reality, he just wanted to look good to his peers. It's sad to think that this has become the M.O. for our government in a time of war. Like that young boy, our government is more concerned about the PR campaign that they are waging in the media than they are with the war that they are waging overseas. It's shameful. Their propaganda is short shrifting our young men and women overseas. It's a disgrace to our soldiers that our government would rather look good than be honest.

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