May 12th, 2005


Longest. Fifteen. Months. Ever.

Unable to meet their enlistment quotas, the U.S. Army is trying the old bait & switch a new tactic, allowing recruits to sign up for just 15 months of active-duty service, rather than the typical four-year enlistment.

Of course, what they don't want to emphasize is that these soldiers will receive fewer benefits, and that after their fifteen months, these "temps" will find themselves in the Army Reserve or National Guard for an additional two years (i.e. sent back to Iraq or Afghanistan, facing the potential for "stop-loss"), followed by another 4 1/2 years in the inactive reserves. Presumably, they could face a devil's bargain like this one at that point.

To me, it comes off as a quiet admission that the military has killed off all incentive for anyone sane to join the National Guard. Fifteen months of service is a hoax -- a dubious way of getting new recruits on the cheap via yet another "backdoor draft".

You get what you pay for. Kids, fools, and suckers, signing on the dotted line for up to seven years of being dragged around the world, deployed to combat zones, all for the low, low price of just 15 months of service! By the time they've wised up, they'll *wish* they signed on for four years instead. What kind of morale do you think they'll have when these soldier's fifteen months are long gone and they're still dealing with people trying to kill them?

Frankly, I'm not sure whose getting the worst end of the stick here... these new "temps", or the rest of the army, who'll have to babysit them and fix their mistakes.