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  • U.S. troops participate in Latvia's Independence Day military parade in Riga, Latvia, November 18, 2015.

    U.S. troops participate in Latvia's Independence Day military parade in Riga, Latvia, November 18, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 October 2019
Opinion

According to the head of the Army Recruiting Command Major General Frank Muth wars abroad are “not really part of the discussion.”

The United States Army has announced that they surpassed their recruiting goal for 2019, signing up more than 68,000 active-duty soldiers before the end of the fiscal year, yet the military brass acknowledged that patriotism wasn't really the reason.

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According to the head of the Army Recruiting Command Major General Frank Muth wars abroad are “not really part of the discussion,” as the ‘sale’ pitch, based on his experience visiting 30 to 40 recruiting stations this year, is focused on the student loan crisis and the economic situation of U.S. youths. 

“One of the national crises right now is student loans, so US$31,000 is [about] the average,” Muth said. “You can get out [of the Army] after four years, 100 percent paid for state college anywhere in the United States."

A February 2019 report from the department's inspector general already questioned the role of federal oversight as student loan debt has reached US$1.5 trillion in the U.S.

Consumer advocates doubt the federal government is protecting borrowers from confusing and dubious mechanisms and only servicing private interests.

And since a low unemployment rate and growing economy make recruiting difficult, especially when compared to past recruiting pushes during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that lined up closer to a major global recession, the U.S. Army anticipates exceeding this year’s desired 478,000 troops, landing in the range of 481,000 to 483,000.

“We made our recruiting mission, so we made 68,000,”  Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said, adding that their “retention mission ... we’ve retained a lot more than we thought and our attrition has gone down.”

The Army’s large recruiting push was sparked by its stated desire to grow to a 500,000 active-duty force by the end of the next decade.

As inequality rises in the U.S., an analysis made by the People's Policy Project shows that the top one percent in the U.S. increased its total wealth by US$21 trillion between 1989 and 2018, while the bottom 50 percent actually saw its net worth decreased by US$900 billion over the same period.

“We have the worst inequality in this country since the 1920s. Three wealthiest people in the U.S. have as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent. That's three people have as much wealth as 160 million people,” congresswoman and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal tweeted back in June.

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