A career the military not recommended

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2007

I read the article in the Sunday paper, "Despite bonuses, recruiters struggle to find an Army," with suspicious interest.

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The "Pentagon and outside experts" cited several reasons why there are difficulties in recruiting army volunteers. I would argue that any rational person would question the decision or potential decision of enlisting in the Army.

Technology today has allowed many wounded soldiers to survive, though in past wars they would have succumbed to their injuries. Currently, armor predisposes the individual to horrendous wounds, which in previous wars would have proved fatal. Today, many wounded arrive home torn in body and/or mind and then are often discarded as unnecessary or as a liability to the military's bottom line. The military, as an institution, has no loyalty to the rank and file. Congress provides lip service, but little corporal help. The commander-in-chief has other commitments at his vacation ranch. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is violated by the presence of a man who did not serve, who had "other commitments" during the Vietnam War. Inadequate medical care and inadequate post service benefits are often the lot of those who served, with visible wounds or not.

I definitely would not recommend a career in the military, nor would I suggest that violence is an answer. To paraphrase, the worst peace is better than the best war.

To forestall letters concerning my apparent cowardly and unpatriotic views, I offer the following: In 1969 I was drafted, which I found to be particularly onerous. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy. I was discharged four years later as a second class hospital corpsman. I did not handle or fire any weapon during four years of military service. The previous sentence is reflective of my honor on Veterans Day.

Thomas Imboden

Gustavus



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