The Army announced today that it expects to miss its recruiting goals for March and April. In February the Army also missed its recruiting goals by 27%, the first time it missed a monthly goal since May 2000. In an attempt to overcome recruiting problems, the Army is boosting the number of recruiters by 33% and has announced that it is raising the enlistment age for reservists to 39, providing the rational that older recruits are valued for their “maturity and patriotism” and will increase the pool of potential recruits by 22 million.
News of the military’s difficulties attracting new recruits has coincided with an increased effort among the antiwar movement to target military recruiting as a possible means of stopping the war. Activists have made inroads on this effort by revealing the lies the lies recruiters tell about money for college, the likelihood of being sent to Iraq, as well as doing educational work to inform potential recruits of alternatives to military service.
As the war in Iraq has dragged on over the past two years, an increasing number of soldiers are also opposing the war with some 5,500 soldiers going AWOL and not reporting for service for a variety of reasons including the military’s “stop loss” policy and the illegal nature of the war. Some soldiers have even joined groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and are actively campaigning against the war. Depending on how organizers with the antiwar movement proceed, it may be possible to link anti-recruiting efforts with veterans organizations and military families opposed to the war.
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