A friend and staunch Obama supporter argued extensively with me yesterday about the "criminal" Bush. One of his chief arguments was that the military enlistees were a bunch of rubes who "didn't sign on" for Iraq. They didn't believe that a "misguided" war was part of the bargain. It seems to me that a soldier should have the idea that he or she might do the work of soldiering and that often involves war.
So, are the new Marine recruits stupid? The Marines hit 142% of their recruiting target. Why? Tigerhawk has some theories:
I wonder three things. First, we are in the middle of a presidential election in which even the anti-war candidates repeatedly claim to "support our wonderful troops". Perhaps that is rubbing off -- I mean, if you have heard nothing but praise for our military from politicians of all stripes for years on end, maybe you might actually absorb the idea that military service is a meaningful and respectable way of life. Second, perhaps new recruits have become a bit desensitized to the risk of combat. After all, we have been at war a long time against a tough enemy in a very difficult part of the world, and notwithstanding predictions to the contrary the numbers of killed and permanently injured remain relatively low as a percentage of the total exposed to the risk. Perhaps new recruits today are more willing to confront the personal risk than during -- say -- 2005, when recruitment swooned under the press of the war. Finally, I wonder whether the apparent success of the new strategy under David Petraeus is also helping recruitment. It is obviously more appealing to join the military if you can believe that its leadership knows what it is doing.I also think people are seeing the veterans come back. What an impressive group of people! They walk tall. They seem sensible. I have yet to meet one vet who is crazy in the head or otherwise unstable (the Vietnam mis-perception). They seem strong and centered and mature in a world where young people act aimless, self-centered and immature. It's nice to see the veterans. They are impressive and not at all the caricature the Left would portray them as.
Maybe, people are accumulating enough evidence to judge for themselves and the media has less impact than it did.