The Therapy Sessions
Friday, August 26, 2005
From BostonHerald.com, of all places:
One of the most significant stories of the summer is getting almost no notice among the media elite. The Army is meeting its recruiting and retention goals for active-duty soldiers. Remarkably, units under the most pressure in Iraq are heavily oversubscribed for re-enlistment.
Though newspapers around the country carried wire service stories of the Pentagon's Aug. 10 announcement, there wasn't a peep from The New York Times, The Washington Post or the Los Angeles Times on the subject.
Recruits in July totaled 109 percent of the Army's goal, the second straight month above target. In aggregate, the four services were 4 percent over (the Navy fell 1 percent short).
The Pentagon says the Army will still fall short for the fiscal year, and reserve components are still not signing up enough new members (though re-upping targets are being met by the National Guard units of the Army and Air Force). Still, the enlistments ought to prove that America's young men and women still believe in their country and its difficult mission in Iraq, despite all that Cindy Sheehan and her band of like-minded demonstrators can do.
The New York Post dug a little deeper than the bare-bones announcement. Every one of the Army's 10 combat divisions has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the fiscal year so far. The 1st Cavalry Division was at 136 percent; the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent. As author Ralph Peters noted, ``This is unprecedented in wartime.''
The troops are not doing this for the bonuses - only 60 percent get re-enlistment money, and the great bulk of those are $12,400 a year or less. They are not doing it for loot and booty, to impress the old crowd back home, or to learn a trade.
They are risking life and limb because they care passionately about the job. We wonder what we have done to deserve soldiers of such devotion. They deserve all the best we can give them, in equipment, sound policy and honor.