21 September 2008

Recruiting tied to National Perceptions?

After the US military suffered through Iraq-induced recruiting challenges in 2005, 2006, and 2007, comes word that 2008 is looking pretty good:
In Battle for Recruits, Marines Win (WaPo)
Marine Corps has rocked the house, bringing in 142 percent of its recruiting goal. Also notable is that the Army National Guard brought in 112 percent, the Army Reserve 120 percent and the Air National Guard 130 percent.

Contrast that with the UK
Armed Forces face mass walk out over poor funding, report warns (Telegraph)
The Armed Forces face a mass walk out with under-funding leading to a 'major crisis' in defence, an influential report backed by former military chiefs warns.

While most American media is now accepting of the idea that Iraq has mostly been stabilized (though with some pending conflicts yet to be resolved), and the conflict is shifting back to the far-less-controversial war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan), the negativity surrounding joining a military force that was guaranteed to deploy everyone to a combat zone is dissipating.

The UK, however, seems to be lagging behind in these assessments, despite the drawdown of British forces in Iraq , and the great successes they've had in Afghanistan.

Given the overall negative punditry in England's national newspapers:
it shouldn't be surprising that pessimism reigns.

I suppose given the public atmosphere we shouldn't be surprised that a hotel barred a soldier from staying the night in England, forcing the man to sleep in his car.

However, one has to wonder how much reporting is colored by the overall lack of trust in the assessments of progress in Iraq, given that the US has been unnecessarily optimistic all along. Is our administration's own self-deluded optimism now biting us in the butt? Maybe.

By: Brant

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