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Those Army Ads Are BROILING My BUTT!

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Surely you’ve seen those army commercials that have been airing for about six months now? Are you as sickened as I am? Well, I don’t know about you, but they represent yet another shining example of some things that really BURN MY ASS!!

Despite searching the internet and the army website, I could not seem to find clips from the current TV ad campaign, so here is my biased, inaccurate, impressionistic rendition of three of them:

COMMERCIAL NUMBER ONE

Young guy, prime army age, in some jukejoint with his dad, playing pool. The dad is a tough, gruff sort. Obviously, the kid is eager to please this crusty authority figure, whom I gather has pooh-poohed his son’s cockamamie career and life schemes many times before. The kid tentatively tries to chip away at dear old dad’s skepticism, gingerly approaching the subject at hand.

Here’s where the dialogue becomes hazy, but this is the gist I got.

Kid: Trying to be casual: “I think I’ve decided what my next step is.”

Dad (No eye contact, of course, thanks to being absorbed in setting up his next shot, etc. “What’s that?”

Kid: “The army will give me money to go to college. I can study any field I want.”

Dad: “But it’s the army.”

Kid: “It’s the reserves, so I can stay at home until they need me.”

Dad: “It’s the army.”

Kid: “They’ll train me; really cool stuff.”

Dad: (suddenly looks up; close up to his craggy face with a glint of hope in his jaundiced eyes) “Good training?”

Kid: (a tad smugly) “It’s the army.”

Touche! Checkmate!

The presumed aftermath:
Ol’ Grizzle Pop is convinced at last that his directionless, spoiled brat of a son will finally be in good hands, safely and swiftly on the road to clean-cut normality. Because it’s the reserves, he’ll be at home til they need him (like, yesterday). Doubtless the rigors of army life — the strict discipline, the humiliation of basic, the unyielding hierarchy — will make a man out of him yet. Plus, the kid is obviously starving for atttention from a stern but emotionally distant father figure, and his homicidal drill sergeant (“Get after it, you maggots!”) should fill that role quite quite nicely indeed.

COMMERCIAL NUMBER TWO:

Kid sits down at the kitchen table with his moms for a little heart to heart.

Kid: “Mom, I know what I want to do with my life.”

Mom: (with a world weary “I’ve heard it all before. What now?” expression) “Go on.”

Kid: “I’m going to join the army, mom. I’ll get money to go to college. Now, wait a minute, mom…”

Mom: (mentally rolling her eyes) “Yes, go on…”

Kid: “Mom, it’s time for me to be a man.”

Mom: (settling in for the Talk of a Lifetime) “Ok. Tell me more.”

(Fade to black)

Kid: “Well, I was thinking I’d like to be an engineer….”

The presumed aftermath:

Beleagured mom can finally stop worrying about her kid getting into trouble, not being a “man,” and all that nasty stuff. He’ll be out of her hair, on the road to a good career, and last but not least, she can have the run of the house again without having to pick up his dirty socks or make his bed. Hey, not too shabby, this army stuff.

COMMERICAL NUMBER 3:

Coffeehouse on a rainy night: dad has just picked up his son at train station. The son’s on leave, in uniform. They sit at counter, apparently having stopped for a quick cup of joe before heading home to mom.

Dad: “You’re a changed man.”

Son: “How’s that?”

Dad: (too overcome to look at his boy) “Back there, when you got off the train, you did two things you’ve never done before at the same time.” (Pregnant pause) “You shook my hand, and you looked me square in the eye.”

(Shot to dad looking his son square in the eye; shot to son who seems to have an oh-so-slight smirk on his face.)

The presumed aftermath:

Sonny boy was on a one-way trip to Deep-Shitsville. Then somehow he found his way to the recruiting office, and now he is a fine, upstanding, (albeit slightly cocky and smirking) young man who can finally perform two social skills simultaneously.

Bring us your brain fried, your poor, your teeming n’er do wells yearning to break free and stay out of the joint…

This brand new campaign, started recently, is quite blatantly aimed at the parents of potential recruits. Doubtless it is designed to quell some of the anxieties mom and pop might have about having their sons and daughters sent into harm’s way. Typically, the target market is those young people whose parents have not had the means/wherewithal to send them through law or med school, let alone the college of their choice.

The impetus for this current campaign was apparently the distressing fact that recruitment figures and quotas are down, at a time when active troops are being pushed to the limit, sometimes obliged to extend their tour of duty in Iraq much further than they had originally bargained for.

These new ads — which sport the tagline “Help them find their strength” — replaced the pre-Iraqi war “Army of One” campaign, aimed at Gen Y’ers — especially African-American men — who were used to a youth culture based on individualism rather than blind obedience to authority. Those ads, as I recall, focused on the image of recruits as glam Tom Cruise types a la Top Gun: out there performing their one-man missions from God in really cool fighter jets, doing those super keen ego enhancing swoops and 360s in a pure, clean, cloudless, American sky. Sexy, cocky mavericks who make their own rules –including maybe squeezing in a little schtuppy duppy with their hot training instructor (hey, if you believe Tom Cruise is capable of that, you can believe Joe Schmoe might have a shot at it too).

Turns out that the long standing Be All that You Can Be ad campaign, while still a morale-boosting touchstone for those already in the military, was no longer too effective for recruiting new youngsters. But that catchy little jingle was ubiquitious enough to become hard-wired into the collective unconscious.

In any case, the new ad campaign disgusts me, on several levels.

If you’ve ever seen Private Benjamin, you may recall that Goldie Hawn, a spoiled Jap, marries a guy who dies on their wedding night and then escapes into the military to get away from it all. Her recruiter plays up army life as a kind of country club, and she envisions herself basking in luxe suite accomodations, with ample time to kick back, try on new shades of lipstick, and do her nails. The reality hits her, and hits her hard, on her first morning of basic, when the tough female drill sergeant literally slings her and her mattress onto the floor after she tries to snuggle and snooze through wake up call. She tries to convince the brass that there’s been some mixup — some terrible mistake — she must be in the wrong company. But she’s stuck, and she does, indeed, become a fine figure of a woman, after numerous Lucille Ball style misadventures.

This may be very funny, but I know of at least one woman who was similarly misled by her recruiter, and it was definitely no joke. In a word, she was lied to and swindled. And I’m sure she’s far from the only one.

I can only wonder how many millions are spent on these ad spots. Don’t even get me started on that.

Originally posted in Shithouse rat.

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About Elvira Black

  • RedTard

    If you don’t like the ads, don’t join. Your kind never have been interested in defending freedom, only destroying it.

    Those ads are free speech whether you enjoy them or not.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    RedTard:
    Thank you for opening up the floor for reasoned discussion.

    Shall I state the obvious?

    Of course these ads are free speech (although I’m not sure who’s exactly paying for those probably not-so-free ads. If it’s the army, it might be nice if they could save a little so the men and women over there can have enough of the proper equipment and protective gear available to do the job they were sent to do.)

    I will always defend free speech–which is why it is also my right and privilege, as a US citizen, to express my annoyance or even outrage as I see fit. Just as you do.

    Unlike the Vietnam conflict, I get the distinct impression that most citizens, no matter where they stand on the war in Iraq, support those young people who were/are brave enough to risk their lives. I only hope that when they return as vets, that our government and country gives them the appreciation and care they deserve. I predict a lot of cases of PTSD, just for starters. I’m tired of seeing VA funds allegedly cut (only saying allegedly because I don’t have any stats in front of me, but do know a vet who’s had to endure the effect of staff cuts over the past few years).

    What, exactly, constitutes “your kind,” anyway, RedTard?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I was duped into the Navy…4 fucking times! I kept reenlisting and reenlisting and reenlisting!

    I “joined the Navy…to see the world”…and I did just that…I have been ALL over the world!

    They are trying to “sell” something….I guess they figured they had to target that audience that’s been telling young kids not to join…mainly…their parents…

  • RedTard

    I may have you incorrectly labeled. Would you support a state legislator who pushed to ban those ads?

    If so, then you pay only lip service to free speech. Many liberals (which is where I was lumping you) try and place free speech restrictions on when and where the military is allowed to recruit.

    As a military veteran I am familiar with the types of people who volunteer and their political positions. I am also very glad I responded to the recruiting ads and am thouroughly satisfied with my experience in the service. I honestly believe it is a good option for just the type of people those ads are targeting.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Andy:
    Yes, some people who’ve been in the military have told me that they were exposed to valuable opportunities. But I’m assuming your stay was not during wartime, when the Army desperately needs recruits and seemingly will do almost anything to get them.

    I feel great also feel great compassion for those who did join up thinking their stay would be for “x” amount of time, only to find out they must stay longer than planned. Another misrepresentation, perhaps?

  • Catana

    Hmmm. Doncha just love people who start out with “your kind?” Or who equate their personal experience with the whole ball of wax?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Nah – it was good for me. I did 20 years…the Navy isn’t really the military though…it’s the navy…we never marched anywhere after bootcamp. You don’t salute underway…you don’t wear a cover (hat) underway…different kinda atmosphere.

    I learned electronics in the navy…I learned how to be an instructor and write curriculum…all things I’ve used since I retired.

    They did lie to me though…I always said I was gonna do 20 to the day…then I found out I had to go till the end of the month…that meant I had to do 20 years and 3 days! Fuckers!

    It was the best thing I ever did for myself! Punk ass that I am!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    RedTard:
    No, I would not support any legislation that would compromise free speech. As I mentioned in another recent post which you’ve also commented to, I do not consider myself a liberal, but perhaps a libertarian. Not the same thing.

    Plus which, libertarians vary widely in their support or opposition to many issues, so I think it’s harder to pigeonhole them in many ways. I hate being stereotyped, don’t you?

    Yes, the military has provided young people with educational and career/economic opportunities. However, this is wartime, and the army needs every recruit they can get over there right now. If these young people make it back in one piece, perhaps they will be able to enjoy some of the benefits you speak of. I’m assuming, of course, that you are not an active recruit at present.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Catana:
    Ah, yes, well…all in a day’s rant…

    Andy:
    Yep, can’t say I’m seeing too many navy ads on TV myself. I’m glad that it worked out well for you, though. I hear the retirement benefits aren’t too shabby if you can stick it out.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    They pay my mortgage! And my family and I will ALWAYS have health care…can’t ask for much more than that!

  • RedTard

    Everyone hates stereotypes, unfortunately they often have a kernel of truth which makes them even more frustrating. When it comes to political arguments people tend to choose a side and stick with it on the vast majority of points. They are afraid to give in on a single topic because they feel it would undermine their complete ideology.

    Your abortion topic is a perfect example. I argue from a ‘pro-life’ perspective even though the only issue that really bothers me is late term abortions. You argue as a ‘pro-choice’ individual even though you admitted you are uncomfortable about the same thing. In reality, our positions are very similar but we find ourselves on different sides.

  • Justin Berry

    Elvira- My time in the USMC was spent in both war and peace. It was one of the greatest things Ive ever been involved in. I very seriously regret ending my active service. When you speak to an active soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, you can immediately sense a difference in their character and demeanor. They are more respectful of everyone and more thankful for the sacrifices of those that gave them the honor of being free.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Andy:
    Yep! My b/f comes from a “military family”–he, his dad, and two out of three brothers served (the third has very poor eyesight). Can’t say I’d choose that as a career path myself, but they were not a well-off family and couldn’t afford to send the kids to college, etc.

    One bro got his college degree (I believe via the GI bill); another recently retired and gets a decent pension; and my b/f gets totally free health care and benefits from the VA, even though he didn’t see action due to an honorable discharge in AIT(?) after suffering a “million dollar wound” (badly broken arm). He is a Vietnam era vet, and his intended specialty was medic, as he wanted to try to help people rather than blow them up. Not a gung ho warmonger to say the least, but he nonetheless enlisted at 17 (had to get his father to sign off on that). But they were glad to take him.

    Hey, treating our vets right–it’s the least they/we can do, IMHO.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    RedTard:
    Ah, the irony— no?

    I would rather not view it as being on totally opposite sides. That’s why I hate when people come out swinging, as they often do. My main bone of contention was that effective birth control could eliminate some of the need for all this fighting over abortion, and reduce abortions as well. But that’s not the topic here…lol…

    Justin:
    I know wherof you speak…my b/f’s family are some of the finest, most respectful people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I suspect their military background had a little something to do with that. Plus, my b/f still keeps his apartment scrupulously clean as a result of all that training and discipline, and I ain’t complaining…

  • Justin Berry

    So why does the Armys’ recruiting ads raise your ire to the point of boils on your butt? Would your boyfriend be the same person if not for his experience? (AIT, Advanced Infantry Training, post boot camp) Like it or not your boyfriend was changed during his war-monger days and if not he would be a different person, maybe not the person you know and like.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Justin:
    I simply feel that the current ads (though I don’t see them as often as I used to) are very misleading. On the other hand, some of those who’ve been there and done that in the service have told me that you have to read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line, and everyone knows the risks involved. But are the touted benefits likely to be as available at this time?

    To me, it seems super-desperate (and it is) to aim this campaign at the parents. When the ads imply things like training, money for college, and staying home “until they need me”( in the reserves), I just don’t think it is a very forthcoming message at the present time.

    But of course, like all advertising, the principle of caveat emptor always applies. So be it.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Justin:
    P.S.: My b/f also knows quite a few (as he calls them) “old broken down vets” whose experiences left them scarred for life. After World War II, during which he served with great honor and valor, his father had screaming nightmares each and every night as my b/f was growing up. At the time, PTSD was simply called “shell shock,” and most vets of the time would have been too proud/ashamed to seek therapy for their traumas.

    A number of BG’s Vietnam era contemporaries are in very poor shape mentally and emotionally. Many are substance abusers, and though some get 100 percent disability, they are often flat broke since they use their entire pension for drugs. It’s sad, but true–not everyone emerges from the service as a stronger man or woman, though I’m sure many do.

  • Justin Berry

    I am the only son in a single parent home. I wish the military had targeted my mother. I had to do it myself she could see no redeeming qualities in the military. She was woefully uninformed, by the likes of Jane Fonda et. al. I believe you are also uninformed I know of atl least 5 soldiers in the reserves that are not overseas. So it is plausible that the actor would be home until they needed him.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    Justin:
    Point well taken…however, I think it is somewhat more likely that those in the reserves will be called upon now, because at this point, I imagine that–esp considering the current low recruitment figures– the army might, indeed, need them…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Elvira,

    There is an alternative to those ads that burn you up so – it’s called the draft. Would ads protesting the draft burn you up as much?

  • Justin Berry

    That is true, however the military requires many people who are not directly related to combat. All of the branches offer contracts where a qualified applicant can choose their own specialty if you score high enough on the ASVAB you can get a contract, if you dont qualify for a non-combat specialty and you dont want to actually fight for your country, DONT ENLIST. The thing that scared me most in combat was sharing a fighting hole with someone who was only there for the GI bill.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Ruvy:
    The draft–oy vey. The ads burn me up, but that doesn’t mean I want to censor them.

    Justin:
    Yes, as a matter of fact, one of my b/f’s brothers was an MP; the other was clerical, although he did have to serve in Desert Shield. Sharing a fighting hole with that guy must have been pretty darn harrowing. Glad you made it outta there!

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    What’s telling about all the recruiting ads is that the army is having to recruit so hard right now. As many of you have pointed out, there are any number of benefits to prolonged service in the armed forces.

    So why all the ads? Why all the stories about recruiters offering x-boxes, contacting youngsters by phone, telling them that they can choose their duty and where they serve?

    IT’s supposed to be a just cause, etc.
    Why aren’t more Americans being more patriotic by offering to put themselves on the line for their country, just like the president’s daughters?
    Why aren’t the fraternities and sororities at major universities emptying out as they sign up to do their duty before they move on with their lives?
    How is it that Pat Tillman remains the only active athlete in a major sport to join up?

  • ArmyGirl

    It seems those recruiting ads are working.

  • sr

    Elvira. Your name reminds me of a great early rock @ roll song. Can not remember the artist or the date. Chuck Berry comes to mind. HELP. This blog will be interesting. Hi Ruven. Later. sr

  • http://opedwriter.blogspot.com/ allendrury

    I find these ads laughable! Only an absolute cretin would think shipping your boy off to the military would make them a ‘man’. After their military service they could come home and resemble the marine neighbor in ‘”American Beauty.” Where does this fossil mentality reside?

    I know who the ads are trying to connect with, and it isn’t the kid with good grades heading to college. Now before some conservative goes crazed here I do not mean that there are not some bright peope who join the military after high school.

    But I find our current leaders too willing to start wars without cause. A way to stem that would be to have the draft in place. I strongly suspect that needless wars would not be overly popular then.

    Had it not been for Bush I would never have thought the draft was an option to consider. But given what we now suffer through, a draft seems an objective way to insure white rich boys from nice Republican families bleed at the same percentage rate as poor kids on the other side of the tracks.

    And as I noted, wars based on lies will never get very far.

  • ArmyGirl

    Crap!

    Here’s an unfettered link.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    So Elvira, are you seriously saying that undisciplined, directionless kids who join the army don’t, as a rule, come out with stronger characters and better job skills than they would have if they didn’t?

    Dave

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    Okay, I read the article on military recruiting meeting its goal in December.

    2 items
    1) they remain behind pace for the fiscal year.
    2) they take care to set the recruiting target for the month of December very low. The quota was 741.

    I believe one of the issues is that they’ve been lowering recruiting targets in general. (I’d have to look at the numbers) to avoid the embarrassment of falling short.

    I’ve noticed that the recruiting articles take care not to compare the “numbers” to how many replacements are actually needed to maintain our commitments. Instead, they always only refer to the “quotas”. I assume there’s a relationship between the recruitment quotas and the actual need, but it’s not that easy to come up with the latter.

  • sr

    Speaking of fossil mentality, I present allendrury direct from San-Fran. He will be joined with his war hero Hanoi Jane and sing their rendition of Kumbaya. Must believe this song will put tears in Iran’s eyes. sr

  • http://opedwriter.blogspot.com/ allendrury

    Well ‘sr’ I suggest you get a part time job to help pay for the added taxes that all these new Vets will require for war injuries and VA hospitals. I can think of nothing more sad than to see a crippled young man returning from Iraq and knowing it as all based on a lie. But I bet you feel good.

  • Anthony Grande

    O.k., I get it. You are anti-millitary and no 17 year old on the internet is going to change that.

    But what I saw in your post is a whole bunch of untrue myths about the Army.

    You claimed that they are looking for the brainless, dopey, fellons and just about anyone else who cannot succeed in life without them.

    This is false.

    The Army is not easy to get into and has strict rules that the people you described wouldn’t pass:

    1. Anyone that plans a millitary future must take the ASVAB test. This test tests your basic knowledge and just about everything you should know after 4 basic years in High School. To pass this test you have to score a 31. For many people it is hard to get and most of the brainless dopes fail and cannot join.

    2. You have to have graduated from High School so eliminate a whole bunch of those brainless dopes who somehow passed the ASVAB.

    3. They do an extensive background check on your criminal history. I know for a fact that you can’t be on probation and believe that you cannot have any major felonies. I know for a fact that you are not qualified to enlist if you have a history with narcotics (taking or selling). In the program that I enlisted in you cannot have a criminal record at all.

    4. You have to be in perfect health and cannot have a history of asthma. You must pass a blood, urine and breath test.

    %. Then Boot Camp is impossible to pass for anyone that is not there physically.

    If you pass you are now a soldier that can be discharged and fined if you show any signs of drug abuse or disobiency and if ever charged of anything above a parking ticket.

  • ArmyGirl

    As for the issue of “who” is watching the ads and acting upon them, try facts not what you “believe”.

  • sal m

    the draft is bad (duh)and trying to recruit for our all volunteer army – which by the way is the world’s finest army – via advertisements is bad. sorry but you can’t have it both ways.

    and the assertion that somehow the army preys on unstable types is the stuff of hollywood fantasy and anti-military propaganda. our army – all of our armed forces – have at their disposal the most technologically advanced equipment available anywhere in the world, and to be able to operate all of these tools of war the modern soldier has to be intelligent and well trained. and by the way, like it or not these people are risking their asses every day to keep our asses safe and sound over here.

    if you hate the war, say so. if you hate the military, say so.

    And actually, what is your point here? You mention being disgusted on several levels, but don’t reveal what these levels are.

    Are these “levels” your hatred of the military and the hatred of the war?

    Are you basing your point of view on the situation of Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin and the fact that you know a woman who was misled during her recruitment process?

    That’s kind of a thin reed on which to hang all this anger.

  • sr

    Allen, I am a vet. Did you see me crippled after two tours in Nam? Of course not. Were you with me at Khe Sanh. Of course not. Then to tell me I bet you feel good for my comment. Cant remember seeing you in Cambodia. Allen this would be a great vacation just for you. I have more friends on the Memorial Wall then you have fingers and toes. When did you see crippled vets at the VA returning from Iraq. Poor fools. Did this all for a lie. You make me want to vomit. To think our men and women in uniform are doing this just so Mr. Allen can blog on. My Daughter is in flight school. She is an Ensign with the US NAVY. Im sure her destination points to the far east. My Son is headed in the same direction as a Navel Aviator. No Im not a man of means. Just love my kids. Almost forgot. I have a part time job. sr

  • sfc ski

    “but I know of at least one woman who was similarly misled by her recruiter,”
    Elvira, no one likes to admit they were too dumb to read their enlistment contract, and too shortsighted to see what they were getting into.

    I think these ads actually appeal to both parents and prospective recruits in one way; they realize you have to grow up and move out of the house, and a tour in the military is one good way to do it without relying on handouts.

    Americans have a real love of prolonged adolescence, it appears.

    Here, we have troops in their late teens and early 20’s making important decisions and meetign challenges, all of which will help them upon their return to civilian life. (Which more than a few of them will do, even though a large percentage of them appear to like what they do here in Iraq and reenlist.)

    Look, ifkids or parents are dumb enough to make life decisions based on a 30 second commercial, they have bigger problems than the ads themselves.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Hi folks; had to take a nappie and all. Here’s some responses. If I forgot anything important, just lemme know!

    SR:
    Elvira is like, an old doo-wop song I think. Don’t remember who does it. The name also represents Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, but that’s another story…

    You mentioned (comment 35) that your daugher is in flight school. I take it, then, that she is a commissioned recruit. Thus, I also assume she will have the kind of top-notch professional opportunities sometimes presented or implied in the army ads. I’m sure she and your son will continue to do you proud. I just don’t know if non-commissioned folks have as many quality opportunities to move up. Perhaps you can elaborate or enlighten me re: this.

    I think many Vietnam vets have had a very rough time of it. Vietnam was not a popular war here, and many who bravely fought returned not to victory parties but to little support and sometimes out and out contempt. In retrospect, many feel this was something we should never have been engaged in. In any case, many lives were lost, and North Vietnam is still, if I recall correctly, communist.

    Similarly, the Iraqi war is not supported wholeheartedly by all. As I said, I think most Americans support our brave troops but not all support the war and the questionable means by which we became involved. Again, there are real young lives at stake here. I love democracy and freedom and hate the “Axis of Evil,” but I still think that some soldiers who have served a tour in Iraq may be returning somewhat disillusioned. I don’t know. All in all, I think the decision to send our troops into harms way should not be taken lightly, or with ulterior motives not revealed to us. One might say that makes a mockery out of the cause the troops feel they are there for in the first place.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Allen Drury (re comment #26):
    I believe that many who enlist are lured into doing so by the promise of good training and the chance to get an education. And at least some do find that the potential benefits pay off for them.

    But you’re right–not many are going to risk their young lives in this way if they have more viable options. You don’t see many Congressman’s/women’s sons and daughters enlisting. Easy to send other people’s children over there to do the dirty work.

    I am also not implying that those who choose to enlist are inferior or stupid. I just think some see no other way to truly get ahead. My own boyfriend, as I’ve mentioned, enlisted for Vietnam at 17, right after he graduated high school. He was wounded in AIT, and thus did not have to serve, but was honorably discharged. He now says enlisting was the smartest thing he ever did, since he gets substantial medical and drug beefits, which he urgently needs. But I cannot pretend I’m not relieved he didn’t have to serve and risk life and limb.

    My problem with the ads is that I feel like they are encouraging parents to send their sons and daughters into a situation that is not accurately presented here–at least not at this time, IMHO. Although not everyone’s MO will involve direct combat, many many will. The army’s first priority is, of course, getting their recuitment numbers into line, not bettering their soldiers professionally or educationally. As in Vietnam, I think most who joine are those with the least opportunities and options elsewhere.

    Not to get too radical here, or imply a conspiracy theory, but I think it is very useful for our government to maintain a disadvantaged group who can be more easily convinced to engage in such a desperately risky endeavor. In other words, those who have the fewest options open to them her are the ones who are more readily convinced to risk their lives “over there.”

  • Elvira Black

    Allen Grande (comment 32):

    Ah, I see the revenge of the trolls has returned again–now coming to a post near you.

    Just as RedTard initially did, you conveniently and immediately trivialize the dialogue here by labeling me “anti-war.” Perhaps if you read the comments I’ve left here, you’d understand that your simple, naieve way of viewing the world is not always accurate, and that glibly hurling insults and epithets really serves noone but yourself.

    My b/f had broken his arm badly when he was a kid. He should not have been allowed to enlist in the first place due to this old injury. And indeed, when his arm was broken again in AIT, he was discharged honorably. But the recujiters seemed all too happy to look the other way when they needed folks in ‘Nam.

    My piece was meant, in part, to be satirical/sarcastic in tone. Somehow, and not surprisingly, I’d guess this went over your head. You’re confusing my feelings about our recruits with the way I believe the army views them and is presenting them in these ads. But then, detecting subtleties and refusing to see everything in such black and white terms would take all of the fun out of this for you, wouldn’t it?

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    Sal M (comment 34):
    Just as there is anti-military propaganda, so there is military propaganda. This is just the way it is, IMHO.

    Again, labeling me anti-war and anti-miltary it order to quickly and conveniently place me into a black and white stance and stereotype me–just so you can readily dismiss as some sort of liberal whack job–just won’t wash here.

    Thing is, those who maintain an open mind and a willingness to hear disparate viewpoints often realize that there are many grey areas in life, and one can support the troops without necessarily supporting the current conflict wholeheartedly.

    I never claimed that those who join up are deficient or defective–just more likely to be disenfranchised and without other viable options. The army ads, in my opinion, capitalize on that–and on a parent’s natural wish to see their son or daughter achieve direction and purpose in life–tempered with the fear that their child may lose their life in the process..

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    sfc ski (Comment 36):

    It’s not that I think parents and children are “dumb” enough to make life decisions based on a thirty second spot, but that they may be desperate enough to do so considering the sometimes bleak alternatives.

    I’m sure the armed forces are an excellent way for many to learn valuable skills and enjoy good career and educational opportunities. I don’t deny that.

    But saying that you have to read the fine print because otherwise being duped is just another example of how “all’s fair in love and war” is rather disingenuous. Blaming the victim doesn’t seem like the answer to me. If I feel the ads are deliberately misleading, then I also feel that people who are genuinely looking for a career or education may take the message of these ads to heart–perhaps in a very literal manner.

    When I make an important life decision, I like to be able to first explore all the available options, including their pros and cons, and then make an informed choice. I don’t think these ads serve that purpose, esp. if it’s so readily agreed that you do have to be astute enough to read the fine print. Doesn’t this indicate a level of dishonesty, perhaps even “trickery”–understandable, perhaps, from the army’s point of view–that even those in total support of the war readily admit to?

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Anthony Grande:

    Oops–sorry for calling you Allen. Brain spasm…

  • sfc sski

    By metioning the fine print, I meant to illustrate that people don’t always consider the full ramifications of their actions. As in, ” I joined the Army, but now they tell me I have to go to war?”.
    If you were to read an actual enlistment contract, you’d see it is pretty straightforward.

    Another sticking point, “they are encouraging parents to send their sons and daughters into a situation that is not accurately presented here”
    Actually the ads suggest that people look into the pros and cons of enlistment, not just sign up.

  • Shark

    Simple solution: Bring Back The Draft.

    ~end of “debate”

    ======

    Andy’s line of the day: “…the Navy isn’t really the military…”

    heh.

    ======

    RedTard, when you say “your kind” — you should replace it with a new phrase, it’s a little less German-sounding; and hey, do you like Ross Perot? That little nasal whine combined with a chihuahua-like bark….?

    “You people… you people…”

    Seriously. “You people” sounds better than “YOUR KIND”

    Yer welcome,
    Shark — CEO & Marketing Director at Final Solutions, Inc.

    ======

    STEPS IN Pavlov’s Revenge:

    1) “liberal” speaks

    2) Redtard salivates

    3) Redtard accuses speaker of hating America and opposing freedom.

    ========

    I did a take on this ARMY AD issue many moons ago.

    It’s funny, tho.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I used to hear the same thing from boneheads that joined the navy…you mean I have to go to sea??? DUH!

    I joined when I was 17…I had to get away from my parents. When I retired almost 10 years ago..I told my father at my retirement ceremony…”Pop…you were a real asshole when I was 17…sure glad you grew out of it!”

    Elvira – I was enlisted, not an officer…for 20 years…I added up all my classroom hours while in the navy a couple of years ago…over 4000 hours of classroom time…4000 hours…and I wasn’t even in the nuclear field! A typical work year, that’s 40 hours a week times 52 weeks, is only 2080 hours! Think about that…that’s almost 2 straight years of 40 hours a week in a classroom. Plus they fed me and gave me a place to sleep…free medicial and dental…an awesome retirement plan…where else can you retire and collect a pension at 36?

    I have no regrets…regardless of what assholes like drury say!

    Ask your BF if going in when he was 17 was a good thing or a bad thing…I know it sure helped me grow up…although…I’m still pretty immature now…but I like it that way…keeps me young!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    sfc sski:

    Here’s the thing:
    Everyone knows there are risks involved in joinging up–esp. during wartime. One question is, then: if I am joining up and risking my life for my country, why am I being asked to do so?

    I’m a baby boomer, and my dad served in WW II. Everyone in my cohort for the most part can say the same. The cause we were fighting then was overwhelmingly urgent; there was no controversy at home over whether going over to Europe and risking life and limb were the right thing to do.

    Even if you have no doubts that we should be involved in the current conflict, does it not give you pause that the Administration was not forthcoming about why we went there in the first place?

    Secondly, I don’t see anywhere in the army ads where it talks about the cons of joining up–at least not in any commercial I’ve seen. I maintain, again, that many who sign up do so because they have little opportunity or options for advancement–or at least, don’t see any–and are willing to risk their lives for some perceived personal benefit.

    The benefit being presented in the ads is clear. Training, education, a chance to do something important to the country, and become a “man.” I sardonically implied, in my “interpretatioin,” that a parent might be relieved to get their kid out of the house and on with their lives.

    But from what my boyfriend has told me, this was the situation he was faced with at 17. He was an “air force brat,” whose father had served not only during WW II but also in Vietnam–in the second case teaching English to (I would imagine) the South Vietnamese we were aiding). My b/f recalls he was over there for a very long stretch of time, leaving his mom to care for five children (my b/f, three brothers, and a sister who later passed away).

    He also told me that in essence, his dad, who had served bravely, got kind of a raw-ish deal. Although I can’t swear to it, he basically said that his dad was compelled to go over to Vietnam in order to remain in the military and be able to eventually retire with a pension. In fact, he injured his back there severely, but did not complain for fear of being thrown out altogether and, again, losing his livelihood. After the war, he’d tried teaching as a civilian, but did not make enough for his family, and thus accepted this situation.

    His dad never received the Purple Heart he was entitled to, and was denied the rank he deserved due to a clerical error. He never make a stink about it, but getting his rank rectified would have meant better benefits and a larger pension for his family.

    I know I’m going off on a tangent here, but the point I’m making is that the army as an insitution is not primarily concerned with the potential individual benefits to those who serve. The fact that funds to VA hospitals have been cut in recent years attests to that.

    I maintain that many who would never ordinarily undertake a “job” where they would risk life and limb feel compelled to do so because the alternatives, for them, look grim. And their parents may also perceive this, as they worry what the future holds for their sons or daughters. They can’t afford to send them to college, for one thing, as many others more well off can. To them, it thus seems like the horrible prospect of losing their child may be worth the risk. This is the side that the army presents–because they need recruits. It just seems to me that the ad campaign, like so many others, is absurd on the face of it.

    Everyone knows that MacDonald’s commercials don’t really discuss the disadvantages of Big Macs and fries. Cigarette ads (though less ubiquitious than they used to be) don’t talk about cancer, though they may need to add a warning in the ad. Does this mean that any smoker will look at the warning, suddenly realize for the first time that cigs can kill you, and quit then and there?

    I’ll take it even further. We now have ads for every prescriptoin on the market, and furthermore, these ads are aimed directly at the consumer, and not the doctor. In other words, we are to “ask our doctor about x.” Are we the doctors? No. But the drug companies will take all the help they can get.

    Do these ads discuss the risk? Yes, the “fine print”–in this case, potential side effects–are run through, including death in some cases. Does this stop people from “asking their doctor” about these meds? Not if the meds will help relieve often very distressing symptoms that are interfering with the quality and possibly length of life.

    We do cost-benefit analyses of this kind every day–weighing the risks against the benefits of our ultimate decisions. For many people–including Congressmen’s children–the risks would not be worth the potential reward, because they don’t need the Army to help train them or put them through college. Do you see many of these more privileged youngsters lining up to be recruited? No, just as you wouldn’t see someone with a mild headache asking their doctor for a prescription for migraine medication. And in some cases, at least, consumers who have symptoms prefer to forego a risky med that may very well kill them, depending on how urgently they think they need it.

    So if erectile dysfunction is a very distressing symptom to you, you may “ask you doctor about Viagra” even after knowing it could kill you.

    The difference is, in this case, that those “buying” know the risks, but choose to take them in many cases because the alternatives look less desirable, albeit much safer.

    Do I understand why the Army runs these commercials? Absolutely. But in a climate where we are involved in a controversial war, and with so much coming to light regarding the real reason we actually got involved and risked the lives of our young people, I maintain that this renders the current ads as the equivalent of a cruel joke–and the joke, as in so many cases, is on the poorest and most disadvantaged of our fellow citizens.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Elvira – I think you want disclaimers on the commercials…like the ones for stuff like olestra…but I don’t think the army causes things like anal leakage!!!

    I would say…that if your to stupid to realize that you may end up in a war if you join the army..especially in this day and age…then you probably won’t be able to pass the ASVAB test anyway…and you can’t get in!

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    and VA benefits come from congress…not the military!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    sfc ssk:

    Let me also add a more personal example, lest you think I’m just sitting high atop my ivory tower. I have asked my boyfriend many times why he joined up for Vietnam at the age of 17, right after finishing high school a year earlier than most. At various times, he brings up various reasons.

    Firstly, he was, as I say, an “air force brat.” He and all his siblings were enormously proud of their dad’s bravery, and looked up to him as a role model. He, in turn, often stressed the advantages of a career in the sevice, citing the benefits and job security. This despite the fact that his NCO military pay did not stretch far with five children to feed–but the money he made teaching in the 60s for the public schools simply did not suffice, so he re-enlisted.

    I think this was a good part of the reason my b/f and two of his brothers served, though his brothers were too young to serve in ‘Nam.

    After high school, my b/f weighed his options. He knew if he waited to be drafted, aside from perhaps letting his dad down (or so he thought), he would face an even more unpleasant fate than the rigors of basic per se. Being an enlisted man meant better treatment and more respect from his superior officers, right off the bat. Given the example of an adored father, his sense of self-worth would not allow him to wait to be called to service.

    Secondly, his parents had no money to send him to college, and he was not of a mind to head off to Canada. I should hasten to add that his intended MO was medic, one of the most risky of all MOs in the field, as I understand it. Although he wanted to serve with valor, he preferred not to be on the delivering end of a gun if at all possible.

    My b/f, coming from a poor family, had been working at least part time for many years–since age eight or so, when his parents compelled him to take a paper route to help out with family expenses. He knew that after high school he would have to get a job in a hurry or else join up. He did get a job, but it was very dead end. So the army seemed like the most logical choice for him.

    Although neither he–nor his father for that matter–now believes that the Vietnam conflict was a wise decision for the US to get involved in, he does feel that his training–before he received the “million dollar wound” preventing him from serving–helped him develop a sense of strength, order, and discipline. But for a number of his cohorts there, being in the armed forces also meant coming home with an addiction to heroin, PTSD, or grave physical injury. All this, and more–instead of a parade, they got basically spit on, did they not?

    Nevertheless, I’m sure there are young people who do benefit from joining up in many ways. I’ll grant you that. I’m not a “Hanoi Jane,” and I do realize that sometimes war is necessary, and that our country must be defended and protected. I hope this helps clarify my position for you and others who have questioned it here.

  • Bing

    Post #31

    Allen I can think of something more sad than what you mentioned……a vet coming back from Iraq only to have “enlightened liberals” tell him over and over again that he fought a war based on lies when he knows it’s not true.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Shark:

    I knew you were brilliant, but I had no idea you were capable of this degree of merciless satire! I ROLFd all over myself at the evil genius of your “ad campaign.” Whoa….you are wicked!

    Andy:
    Don’t know when you served, but yes, one of my b/f’s brothers was able to get his BA and master’s thanks to the armed forces. He served during peace time though, so it really worked to his advantage. He was, incidentally, an MP.

    As I’ve said above, I’m not naieve enough to expect the army to put little disclaimers in like: warning–joining the army may be hazardous to your health. Of course not!

    And I don’t think people join because they are boneheads. They join in some cases because it seems like the best alternative possible for them. It sounds like this was the case for you as well, no?

    You also said that VA benefits come from Congress. Well, this is the same Congress that ok’d this war, no? Without having all the facts at hand? The same Congress that does not urge their own kids to join up to defend their country? Who can cut benefits at will for our troops and our vets? That Congress?

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    Bing:

    As I have stated repeatedly, I am not a liberal—though I do consider myself enlightened, thanks. I can only assume that eigher you have not perused the whole thread or my comments therein–or that you are simply more invested in hurling cheap epithets than in exploring the “truth” yourself.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Yeah..that would be the congress…but I’ll also say that I’d do whatever I could to get my own kids out of serving! They’re girls though…don’t give me that womens lib crap either! and we have a pretty good lobby group called the FRA…Fleet Reserve Association…that does it’s best to maintain our benefits.

    It was the best move for me because I was an obnoxious 17 year old who’s father drove a Kenworth tractor trailer with no power steering…in other words…he had arms like my freaking legs…and he hit really really hard…thank goodness though…not very often!

    and so you know…I was in the navy from ’77 to ’96. So, I missed Vietnam by, what a year or two…and I was in a factory school in Syracuse NY for Desert Storm.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Andy:

    Because he is still poor and has major health concerns, my b/f is extremely glad he signed up because the health benefits made it worthwhile in retrospect. He doesn’t get a VA pension, BTW–just served and got out.

    I’m just glad he didn’t come home with a toe tag, because then I would never have met him.

  • ArmyGirl

    Elvira,

    You keep spewing this nonsense about the “poor and disadvantaged” being deluded into service. You still don’t know the facts about enlistment demographics.

    You call yourself a Libertarian? Try Idiotarian!

  • http://tresbleu.blogspot.com/ Sister Ray

    The idea of achieving manhood through battle has been around a lot longer than this particular ad campaign.

    The “Army of One” slogan was weird. No wonder it’s gone.

    The draft used to be a fact of life – if you were a man, you went into the military. That was how the world worked. It’s a different world now.

    You weaken your argument with the reference to a fictional comedy like “Private Benjamin.”

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    ArmyGirl:

    Thank you first of all for your personal attack, which is not allowed. As an army girl, I’m sure you are acquainted with rules and reg’s, no?

    Facts is a relative term. One woman’s facts are another’s partisan interpretation of the stats to prove a point that the “analyzer” already sees as a foregone conclusion.

    Hmmm….I see the report is courtesy of the Heritage Foundation–correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a conservative think tank with an obvious bias and agenda?

    The “unexpected rise in re-enlistment rates,” for example–how much is this to do with the necessity of those who thought they could come home who have been pressed into extra service due to lower (yes lower) recuitment figures?

    I have read through most of what you provided in the link, and I find it to be a very “creative” interpretation of stats. Ever heard the saying: There’s lies, there’s damn lies, and there’s statistics?

    I don’t have the benefit of a cut and paste option as far as I know, so I can’t elaborate much further and don’t feel any obligationi to do so.

    As I said before, those who come in for the kill with a personal attack, assuming they know where I stand and what they can label me, are really not following the “rules” of reasoned, albeit sometimes very “lively”, discourse. Save your blunt attacks for the army, Army Girl.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Sister ray:

    You say:
    “You weaken your argument with the reference to a fictional comedy like “Private Benjamin.”

    Well, I’m a writer, and I admit that I like to be read. Posts where people can find a touchstone, even if it is a little “off the wall” or tongue in cheeck, are probably more likely to be read and discussed.

    Call it irony, poetic license, dramatic effect, what have you. From those I have talked to, the army is not forthcoming about all the “cons” of enlistment. Even those who are “for” this war readily admit that you have to be a fool not to understand the risks involved, and if necessary to read that fine print. No way the army is going to go out of their way to aid you–and why should they?

    I find humor, rather than the humorless bashing engaged in by individuals such as ArmyGirl, much more likely to make people sit up and take notice enough to read and respond to a post.

    And being a typical writer who likes to be read, I’m all for that.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I think you should have used the “Stripes” reference…it probably would have gone over better…much more popular movie…IMHO!

    You know…Bill Murray screaming, “ARMY TRAINING, SIR!”

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Thank you first of all for your personal attack, which is not allowed. As an army girl, I’m sure you are acquainted with rules and reg’s, no?

    That’s not a personal attack. A disagreement or a statement that your facts are incorrect is not a personal attack.

    Facts is a relative term. One woman’s facts are another’s partisan interpretation of the stats to prove a point that the “analyzer” already sees as a foregone conclusion.

    No, facts are facts. Interpretation is something different. Most of us can tell the two apart.

    Hmmm….I see the report is courtesy of the Heritage Foundation–correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a conservative think tank with an obvious bias and agenda?

    The raw data is what it is. It’s indisputable and it’s available from other sources and remains exactly the same. The analysis may be biased, but the facts which it is based on are not.

    The “unexpected rise in re-enlistment rates,” for example–how much is this to do with the necessity of those who thought they could come home who have been pressed into extra service due to lower (yes lower) recuitment figures?

    None, because it doesn’t say ‘unexpected rise in involuntary retention’, it says ‘reenlistment’. Reenlistment is voluntary.

    I’ve read the source data direct from the army, and the Heritage report is basically correct. Enlistment resurged in the second half of 2005 for the regular armed forces, and in fact for years the breakdown of troops has been dominated by the white middle class, not the poor and minorities.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Andy:
    I don’t remember if I saw that movie–if I did it’s too long ago to recall most of it. But from the line you quoted, i assume that the implication was that army recruits are less than equipped for normal life and are only fit for following orders and putting heads on sticks.

    Since I’m trying not to alienate anyone right off the bat, I have to say that using that ref might stir up some people–SOME people–(or maybe just one?) who posted here–who could in all likelihood truthfully say:
    “I resemble that remark.”

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    actually…in Stripes…the company’s drill sargeant gets blown up, so they end up finishing their training on their own…they show up for graduation at the very last minute…the base commander asks…”Where have you been?”…Murray’s character says…”Training Sir”…”what kind of training?” asks the commander…Murray, “ARMY TRAINING, SIR!”

    very funny movie…one of my favorites!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dave:

    Hmmm. Do the demographics on income and education include Commissioned officers, for example? This would likely skew the income/educational level upward.

    Middle class is a relative term. My b/f’s family might have been considered middle class by this standard, but the fact was that he had zero chance of getting funding from his parents for college. With five kids, his parents could literally barely put food on the table. Luckily, they got a lot of that government cheese and army surplus peanut butter to stretch out those elaborate “middle class” meals.

    Middle class does not necesarilly equal wealthy, or even “comfortable”– or college educated.

    Whites make up a vast percentage of the general pop, so it does not surprise me to learn they may make up the majority of the army pop. The old “army of one” campaign was designed to try to lure in more poor minorities, (empasis on the world minority and what it literally implies) who bristled at the idea of enlisting, despite poor prospects and low income. Thus more middle class recruits.

    An epithet like “idiotarian” aimed specifically at me is, in my book, an ad hominem personal attack. I’ll let the comments editor decide.

    Enlistment served in the second half of 2005…hmm…I’ll have to double check the “facts” for that one. Perhaps those army commercials paid off after all. I believe someone else pointed out that the army decreased the “enlistment goal” number to avoid embarassment after recruitment goals were not met.

    PS: just checking–Is enlistment the same as recuitment? Someone tell me–isn’t an enlisted man officer material?

    I admit that I could be wrong about the para immediately above–I’ve been known to be wrong before lol. Thus I’ve posed it as a question.

    Reenlistment may be voluntary, but what’s your def of “voluntary?” I’m not over there, so I can’t say, but I never used the phrase “unexpected rise in involuntary retentioin,” which you chose to put in quotes as if I’d said it.

    When I said (and I quote) “pressed into extra service,” this could simply mean pressure exerted to stay the course because the recruits are needed for a cause they supposedly fiercely believe in.

    “No, facts are facts. Interpretation is something different. Most of us can tell the two apart.”

    And interpretations often vary, depending on one’s own beliefs and agendas. Thus the perception of the “facts” is quite malleable, depending on where you sit.

  • Welfare Cheese

    When I was a senior in high school it was a running joke to give your buddies name and address to recruiters. They would show up on their doorstep within a week. I would rather talk to a Jehova’s witness.

    As far as the ASVAB, we were forced to take it our senior year. They said if you don’t want it graded don’t sign it. I didn’t and they did. I filled in abacadaba for the whole test and passed. One of the first questions was something along the lines of: A kangaroo is a (a)plant (b)mammal (c)chemical (d)none of the above.

    He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
    Albert Einstein

  • Justin Berry

    How do you feel about the Marine ads? I never saw one that said it was easy. I know you havent stated that they burned your butt, just curious. Marines are about the only branch that hasnt had trouble with recruiting. As this is my branch of choice, I am sure that my experience will vary greatly from other branches.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Welfare cheese (I’m lol’ing as I type this–great name):

    Now, now, play nice and don’t irk the other commenters! That’s a good cheese.

    Great Einstein comment–only thing is you didn’t enclose quotes so someone might (duh) think that Einstein took the test and put Abracadabra in there too.

    He didn’t, did he?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Justin – is it true…once a marine, always a marine? Or no such thing as an ex-marine? Just curiousity from one of those that haul you guys around for a living…

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Justin:
    Yes, the Marine ads are quite different. They appeal, I think, to those who want to stand out from the rank and file. The ad basically implies that it’s tough to get in and it’s a tough job too.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Hey–pssst—

    Anyone interested in another frenzied comment battlezone might want to also check out Pro-Life or Anti-Sex? if you haven’t already.

    Speak out and (as the right wing curmudgeon and popular NYC radio host Bob Grant always said) let your voice be heard!

    (Only problem was, if he didn’t like what he heard in your voice, he’d sometimes hang up on you and intone:

    Get off my phone, you creep!)

    But anyway…carry on!

  • zingzing

    andy marsh: “I think you want disclaimers on the commercials…like the ones for stuff like olestra…but I don’t think the army causes things like anal leakage!!!”

    i think they call this “fecal urgency” these days. i can’t decide which is worse, but i tell you, if my band every pulls a “hey jude/revolution” style double-a side single, it would have to be called “anal leakage/fecal urgency.” it’s all too much.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I didn’t ask for the disclaimers…I was thinking that might help Elvira and the temp of her butt! I knew what I was getting into all 4 times I enlisted!

  • Justin Berry

    Yes it is true for me. I cant speak for all of my brothers but I will say I still feel like a Marine. I consider every marine past and present my brother and would gladly do anything for them, even die with them. I will fight to the death with them in hopes that they make it through. Thanks for all the free luxury cruises. I am sure if you guys hadnt been around they would have tried to make us swim everywhere. Semper Fi

  • http://losthearandbeyond.blogspot.com/ Walker

    There is nothing wrong with the ads.
    It’s your typical brain washing tactic to get new meat on the front lines.
    At least they don’t conscript you so they are not to blame if anything happens to you.
    They just convince you to go out and risk your life some place you’ve never heard of.
    In a war that you have no idea what its all about.
    For a commander and chief whos kids are home safe and tucked into their beds wearing the designer PJ’s.
    And if you get hurt or killed, well it’s your fault for signing up and not the govts.
    Sweet, finally the govt isn’t going to get the blame.
    WRONG!
    Yes they should because the Govt is preying on the poor.
    They know that poor people can’t afford to send their kids out for a secondary education.
    So they offer free eduction after you complete your term of duty.
    The poor can’t afford to pay for a college education and the only way to do so is to join one of the armed forces.
    After you are done then you get to go to school, providing you live long enough to get there that is.
    They should be finding ways to educate the poor not eliminate them.
    I have read a couple of blogs of mothers praying for the safe return of their kids because they took the military so that they could get and education.
    I could understand fighting for your country and protecting your family, but when there is no need for a large military why recruit?
    Is there a hidden agenda?
    Pencils for bullets.
    So much for the pen being mightier the the sword.
    You need to fire the bullet first before you can pick up the pen according to the Govt or stay poor and uneducated.
    But you know what is even more scarier?
    It’s the fucken educated people that are coming up with all of this shit.
    “Sigh”

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Justin:
    I think you represent our country’s “knights in shining armor.” Thank you!

    Walker:
    This is the basic position I maintain as well, though a few others here seem to vehemently disagree. Not talking about WW II, but about a current war that we were led into under false pretenses and that our young people are risking their lives for.

    As I said elsewhere, I would even go so far as to be a bit on the “conspiracy theory-ish” side by saying there are definite advantages for the government—and maybe even to the economy –to maintain a poor/underclass. This way, there will always be a fresh supply of those who are desperate enough to enlist in the hopes of grabbing up those benefits. Some do; some die.

    Easy to say que sera sera to the death toll when, like our President, you don’t have any kids serving.

    I don’t know if anyone else here is as enraged as I am over Dick Cheney’s hypocrisy–from what I understand he got deferrments three times. Now he is one of our most gung ho supporters of the war, is he not? Tell me if I’m wrong.

    In a word (or two): It sucks.

  • http://cantredefinetruth.blogspot.com/ EMC(SW) USN Retired

    Hi all,

    I spent 20 years in the navy, ending in 2002. I admittedly am not coming from a reserve perspective, but an active duty one, but I’d like to comment nonetheless. Whether it be active duty or reserve, I think we have to keep in mind that the prime function of the military is to protect and defend the interests of the United States, at home and abroad. I just looked over the Army Reserve web site, and believe it or not, I found NOTHING that guaranteed you could go to college full time on the government’s dime AND never have to leave your home AND never be called to military action. What I did find, is this statement, and many like it:

    “As a Soldier in the Army Reserve, part of your job is to defend our country and uphold our freedoms. World events may create a need for you to be called into Active Duty.

    In support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom, Army Reserve Soldiers have been activated and deployed throughout the United States and overseas.”

    I admit, there are recruiters out there who lie, either blatantly or covertly. Joining the military is a contract, and as with any contract, you should rely only on what you see in writing and make sure you understand it before you sign it. In fact, enlistment contracts contain a disclaimer that states specifically any promises made not covered in the contract are not valid.

    I am not without compassion for the men and women who have to say goodbye to their loved ones and leave the relative calm of their everyday lives to go in harm’s way. I did it for 20 years and I can honestly say it never got any easier. However, these young men and women were NOT drafted. They volunteered of their own free will to enter into their contract of enlistment.

    The military does offer many opportunitites, for travel, education, employment, etc. It also requires many painful sacrifices. It is obviously NOT for everyone. If you are the kind of person that makes career decisions based solely on a TV commercial, I respectfully submit that the military may not be for you.

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    The Recruiting Officer: Or, the Merry Volunteers: Being an Excellent New Copy of Verses upon raising Recruits, 1706.

    Hark! now the Drums beat up again,
    For all true Soldiers Gentlemen,
    Then let us list, and march I say,
    Over the Hills and far away;

    Chorus:
    Over the Hills and o’er the Main,
    To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
    Queen Ann commands, and we’ll obey,
    Over the Hills and far away.

    All Gentlemen that have a Mind,
    To serve the Queen that’s good and kind;
    Come list and enter into Pay,
    Then o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    Here’s Forty Shillings on the Drum,
    For those that Volunteers do come,
    With Shirts, and Cloaths, and present Pay,
    When o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    Hear that brave Boys, and let us go,
    Or else we shall be prest you know;
    Then list and enter into Pay,
    And o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    The Constables they search about,
    To find such brisk young Fellows out;
    Then let’s be Volunteers I say,
    Over the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    Since now the French so low are brought,
    And Wealth and Honour’s to be got,
    Who then behind wou’d sneaking stay?
    When o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    No more from sound of Drum retreat,
    While Marlborough, and Gallaway beat,*
    The French and Spaniards every Day,
    When o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    He that is forc’d to go and fight,
    Will never get true Honour by’t,
    While Volunteers shall win the Day,
    When o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    What tho’ our Friends our Absense mourn,
    We all with Honour shall return,
    And then we’ll sing both Night and Day,
    Over the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    The[n] Prentice Tom he may refuse,
    To wipe his angry Master’s Shoes;
    For then he’s free to sing and play,
    Over the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    Over Rivers, Bogs, and Springs,
    We all shall live as great as Kings,
    And Plunder get both Night and Day,
    When o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    We then shall lead more happy Lives,
    By getting rid of Brats and Wives,
    That Scold on both Night and Day,
    When o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    Come on then Boys and you shall see,
    We every one shall Captains be,
    To Whore and rant as well as they,
    When o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

    For if we go ’tis one to Ten,
    But we return all Gentlemen,
    All Gentlemen as well as they,
    When o’er the Hills and far away;
    Over the Hills, &c.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Deano, that’s a damned fine song man. Have you ever watched the Sharpe TV series from BBC? It’s used as the theme song, and it’s a lovely, haunting version with lyrics adjusted for the Napoleonic Wars, but I believe the same basic song.

    dave

  • http://www.booklinker.blogapot.com Dean

    Yes, I’ve read all of Cornwell’s books. I actually have a first edition paperback of the first Sharpe book (signed by the author last year when he came through on a publicity tour). Excellent stuff.

    Elvira’s feelings over the Army’s recruitment process have a lot of historic precedent (as evidenced by the lyrics of the song), and the techniques and inducements used over the centuries haven’t changed all that much except in the particulars.

    The Rochester Recruiting Sergeant

    A recruiting sergeant marched,
    Through the streets of rochester,
    Bound for the wars in the low country.
    And he sang as he marched, *
    And he played apon his kettle drum, *
    “who’ll be a soldier for marlbrough and me?” *

    Chorus:
    Who’ll be a soldier, who’ll be a soldier,
    Who’ll be a soldier for marlborough and me?
    And he sang, as he marched, *
    And he played apon his kettle drum, *
    Who’ll be a soldier for marlborough and me? *

    For the queen she has ordered,
    Fresh troops for the continent,
    To fight ‘ gainst the french in the low country.
    So if you’ll be a rover, *
    Dressed in a scarlet uniform,
    Come be a soldier for marlborough and me. *

    Oh not i said the butcher,
    Nor i said the magistrate,
    Most of the people, they would not agree,
    To be paid in the powder, *
    And the rattle of the cannon ball, *
    Wages for soldiers for marlbrough and me. *

    Ah but i said the young man,
    Have long endured the parish dues,
    Not more charity, for the likes of me,
    Starvation and danger, *
    They will my destiny, *
    I’ll take the queens shilling for marlbrough and me. *

    So forty recruits marched,
    Through the streets of rochester,
    To fight ‘gainst the french in the low country,
    And they sang as they marched, *
    Through the crowded streets of rochester, *
    Who’ll be a soldier for marlbrough and me ?

    In case you’ve never heard it, here’s a modern variation by Great Big Sea:

    “Recruiting Sargeant”

    Two recruiting sergeants came to the CLB,
    for the sons of the merchants, to join the Blue Puttees
    So all the hands enlisted, five hundred young men
    Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

    They crossed the broad Atlantic in the brave Florizel,
    And on the sands of Suvla, they entered into hell
    And on those bloody beaches, the first of them fell

    [Chorus]
    So it’s over the mountains, and over the sea
    Come brave Newfoundlanders and join the Blue Puttees
    You’ll fight in Flanders, and at Galipoli
    Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

    Then the call came from London, for the last July drive
    To the trenches with the regiment, prepare yourselves to die
    The roll call next morning, just a handful survived.
    Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

    [Chorus]

    The stone men on Water Street still cry for the day
    When the pride of the city went marching away
    A thousand men slaughtered, to hear the King say
    Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

  • ArmyGirl

    Elvira

    To answer your question to Dave about Commissioned Officers being included in the stats: No.

    You must not have looked very closely at the information. The report states clearly that it is

    “research into the demographic composition of two groups of recruits: those who enlisted between October 1998 and September 1999 and those who enlisted between January 2003 and September 2003″

    After reviewing your other posts and comments, here and on your personal blog, this just becomes part of the pattern which emerges:

    You are prejudicial to any information which conflicts with your ideological goals (e.g. “ I will check out your link, but I smell something rotten in Denmark just by the title alone.” [comment #11]).

  • ArmyGirl

    Even if you do give a glance to information presented to you, you only consider it to be fact when it agrees with your ideological goals (e.g. Michael Mooredocuments all the facts on his site” [comment #5]), otherwise you consider it “biased” or part of an “agenda”.

    You rely on unsubstantiated statements, from people who agree with your ideological goals, as fact (e.g. “someone else pointed out that the army decreased the “enlistment goal” number to avoid embarassment” [comment #29 & #63]), yet there is no evidence presented.

  • ArmyGirl

    You make statements as if they were fact to support your ideological goals (e.g. “The old ‘army of one’ campaign was designed to try to lure in more poor minorities” [comment #63]), again without any evidence to back them up.

    I laugh at your mention of “the ‘rules’ of reasoned discourse” (comment #57). As these are some of the traits of the Idiotarian, I stand by my statement as less of a personal attack and more as a fact.

  • Dave Nalle

    You rely on unsubstantiated statements, from people who agree with your ideological goals, as fact (e.g. “someone else pointed out that the army decreased the “enlistment goal” number to avoid embarassment” [comment #29 & #63]), yet there is no evidence presented.

    I can shed some light on this one. The goal was lower in December than in November. Of course it’s ALWAYS lower in December. It’s always a light recruiting month so they lower the goals for it.

    What she also doesn’t mention is that the recent overall lowering of goals by about 20% comes after 2 years of increasing goals by more than that amount because of the Iraq war.

    Dave

  • ArmyGirl

    The article clearly states that December quotas are low because no recruits are sent to basic training during that month.

    The quote from comment #29:

    I believe one of the issues is that they’ve been lowering recruiting targets in general. (I’d have to look at the numbers) to avoid the embarrassment of falling short.

    chancelucky provides nothing (were the numbers ever looked up?) to back this up, but Elvira restates it as a fact in comment #63.

  • Anthony Grande

    Re #39

    “And indeed, when his arm was broken again in AIT, he was discharged honorably. But the recujiters seemed all too happy to look the other way when they needed folks in ‘Nam.”

    ‘Nam was a different place and a different time.

  • sr

    Elvira #37. Looks like flack heading in your direction. You are correct. Elvira is an old doo-wop song. Did a little research because the song is stuck in my head. Not sure but The O’Jays 1963 sang it. Also the Oak Ridge Boys. Do not choose to reference your blog at present. Will just read the comments for now. Concerning my Daughter. She is not a commissioned recruit. She is a commissioned Navel Officer from NROTC at UF. At present she is in flight school, Pensecola Fl. The aircraft for training is the AT-45 Goshawk Jet. My understanding at this time is she will be on the USS John F. Kennedy soon training for take off’s and landing’s on the flight deck. She wants to fly the F-18 Super Hornet and spend 20+ years with the Navy. A top-notch professional, yes. Opportunities, yes. Since I was a non-com, Non commissioned officer, it gives me great pride and pleasure to salute my Daughter. Now my Son is following in her footsteps. Both did it on their own with full scholarships because they pushed themselves. For sure my wife and I are not what you would call people of means. Just parents who love their kids more then anything in the world. Sounds great huh. Not if you have a missile fly up your butt. The risk factors are more then I want to think about. Just wanted to share this with you Elvira. Vietnam, Iraq and other places will save for another day. Bloging is not for me, however will continue to read the comments. Good luck Elvira. sr. PS. Semper Fi is to be respected.

  • Travis

    I am 18 years old and have considered every branch of military. I do watch tv and have seen the commercials. I have never once gotton the feeling that they were pressuring me or trying to brain wash me into joining. Atleast not anymore than victoria secret commercials pressure women into not eating and vomiting up their food just to feel accepted.

    ps-I have decided not to join the military and proceed to college where i plan to major in marketing.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Travis, your marketing degree should equip you well to write the NEXT generation of ‘evil’ recruiting commercials.

    Dave

  • sr

    Travis, Do you have the financial means to accomplish your goal? College is not cheap. Scholarships help big time. What is your plan to achive your desired success? Many will offer advice. Some good and not so good. Comments for Travis please. Advise, not condemn. Thanks. sr

  • Shark

    Travis: “…I have decided… to proceed to college where i plan to major in marketing.”

    Nalle: “Travis… your marketing degree should equip you well…”

    Shark: “…to sell your soul to Satan.”

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Well that too, Shark. But from what I’ve seen one doesn’t need a college degree to make a deal with Satan. He’s everywhere. He sends out his phone number on refrigirator magnets.

    Dave

  • MCH

    “Travis, your marketing degree should equip you well to write the NEXT generation of ‘evil’ recruiting commercials.”

    And of course there’ll always be that certain element of the population that would NEVER enlist, regardless of who writes the recruting ads. They’ve found it much safer to send someone else to fight their battles for them.

  • Dave Nalle

    True enough, MCH. I sure am glad I don’t have any battles to fight militarily. Otherwise I might have to send volunteers to do the jobs they volunteered for.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Zing Zing ((70):
    LOL–I’m sure your “anal leakage/fecal urgency.” single will be a “breakthrough” hit–lol.

    Andy:
    thanks for trying to cool off my broiling butt temp. It’s not too bad, but sometimes it does “flare up” again thanks to some belligerent and self-righteous souls. Yuck. At least I have no anal leakage to kvetch about.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    EMC (SW) (#75):
    Your points are well taken. Thing with the ads is, that if the army didn’t think they’d work why run them? As with most ads, they present the military in the most positive light possible–and the most interesting thing is that they are targeted at parents. A hungry person is more likely to respond to a McDonald’s ad, and a parent/child looking for opportunities and a step up may be more receptive to the ad’s message. Yes, the armed forces are not for everyone, and the buyer does have to beware. But I honestly don’t think the intent of these ads is to weigh the pros and cons. The “cons” are presented in one ad by a parent’s reservations about the fact that “it’s the army”; his child throws this back in his face after the parent asks: “Good training?”

    Of course I don’t think these ads should be taken off the air, but i think it’s valid to deconstruct them all the same.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Deano,
    Thanks for the inpiring little ditties. Plus ce change…

    ArmyGirl, ArmyGirl, ArmyGirl (sigh……):
    You say: “You are prejudicial to any information which conflicts with your ideological goals.”

    And what are you, pray tell? A supreme court justice? No prejudice or agenda on your end, I suppose….

    And what ARE my ideological goals, pray tell? I have presented a (hopefully) somewhat HUMOROUS post (as opposed to belligerent, humorless diatribe)–an opinion (as opposed to a”factual” piece) that would hopefully engender some lively discussion rather than desperate personal attacks.

    Tell, me, AG, have I labeled you as a neo-Fascist, right wing loony, or anything like that at all? Labeling is for intellectual cowards with an axe to grind. Usually they are people who have a desperate need to believe in their black and white view of the world because to not do so might make them question the total validity of their position–which, in your case, is apparently that anyone who pokes fun at a TV spot is some sort of un=American idiotarian. Labeling me as such does not make me so.

    As far as your precious “factual” links, I have done as much as I have the time and inclination to do. I maintain that the Heritage foundation is a partison organization. I maintain that the “facts” in any argument can be relative depending on your point of view—and yes, this may also include Michael Moore’s. In any case, I have other fish to fry as well–namely, another even more controversial post that has garnered well over 300 comments. So you must excuse me if I don’t want to spend all my spare? time looking up lots of wearisome “factual” stats.

    Moreover, I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that I am not “anti-Army”– or even, provided the circumstances warrant it, “anti-war.” Barking epithets may work in basic, but you don’t outrank me in the civilian world.

    I have taken GREAT pains not to present anything I’m not certain of as a fact. Again, check out my comments; I use lots of qualifiers like “I believe, I’ve heard, etc. ) I’m not so phobic about being “right” or “wrong” that I have to spew out stats and links every time I post. This is not a doctoral dissertation, or a propaganda piece, but a rather tongue in cheek opinion piece. Nowhere do I state that the army is evil,, or that the men and women who fight for our country are not heroes, or that I wish we didn’t have people brave enough to fight for what we believe in.

    Full frontal attack and cheap labeling are what I call an unfair fight. What are you trying to convince me of, exactly?

    As far as this statement I made::
    “The old ‘army of one’ campaign was designed to try to lure in more poor minorities”
    As I recall, that was taken from an army-related website, not an anti-army related one. It may have been a site which analyzed the way in which the army’s ad campaigns have changed over the years. I do have the link bookmarked somewhere, but do not have access to it now. That doesn’t mean that Michael Moore had anything to do with it, however.

    As I’ve tried to maintain, I see the merits of both sides of whatever “debate” we’re supposedly having. But you mistake my attempt at pointing out the “theater of the absurd” that is our 21st century advertising genres as an attack on our country–or something.

    If I have inadvertently presented opinion or conjecture as “fact,” I apologize. When controversial topics are presented, both sides are of course not totally “objective.” But questioning the motives of our currentl administration does not make me a bleeding heart liberal or a “idiotarian.” You have a vested interest in your viewpoints–as an ArmyGirl you “must” believe in your cause wholeheartedly. I have the admitted luxury of sitting on the comfy sidelines poking fun at ads. That doesn’t mean I don’t admire and appreciate what you are doing.

    I’m sure that your humorless rantings and endless stats would go over quite well on a post of your own. Why not blog it and see how many responses YOU get, ArmyGirl?

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Oy, that last one took all the “fight” (lol) right outta me. I’ll try to come back and respond to others who have commented later, but I thank you all for all the great and varied viewpoints you’ve offered.

    Yes, you too, ArmyGirl.

  • Dave Nalle

    I realize that ArmyGirl has pissed you off, Elvira. But it’s not fair to discount her facts just because they come from the Heritage Foundation or because you happen not to agree with them or the conclusions which they lead to. They Heritage foundation may be partisan, but they do their research and they don’t just make up the background data they use. She could go to the original sources to find the same data, but that’s a lot less accessible to those who aren’t as experienced at researching this stuff.

    Your original essay, while amusing, doesn’t draw on the kind of statistical data which she brings up – it’s primarily what it’s labeled as, ‘opinion’. However, it does offend some people because it does very much the same thing you’re accusing the commercials of doing – it paints an incomplete picture of the military, their intentions and how they do what they do.

    If you make a biased presentation, even if it’s intended to provoke or amuse or just share your perspective, some people are going to take exception to it – especially if you’re dealing with a topic people feel strongly about. You’ve got to learn to accept that and move on.

    Full frontal attack and cheap labeling are what I call an unfair fight. What are you trying to convince me of, exactly?

    I don’t think she’s trying to convince you. She’s trying to expose you and counter the points which you made, so that someone who reads this thread understands that your perspective is not the only one and is perhaps not supported by much more than your opinion.

    As for her use of the term ‘idiotarian’. You’ve offended her. Look at it from her perspective. Which is worse, you lying (as she sees it) about the military and how they recruit, or her describing you as part of a group who take ill-informed positions on certain topics for political reasons.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dave:

    I’ve done virtual cartwheels here to demonstrate that I am not anti-military. However, in your statement above you present the Heritage Foundation’s reports as “fact” which is rather disengenuous.

    You and I both agreed in some earlier comments that the “facts” can be presented in a partisan way by either side. I happen to feel strongly, as many Americans do, that this Administration has not presented the complete facts and underlying motivations re: why they went into this conflict (and risked our troops’ lives and parents’ children) in the first place to the American people.

    This is my opinion; that’s what opinions entail. If there were one set of “facts” which could refute all but one viewpoint, this would be a very black and white (and mind-numbingly boring) world.

    You said:
    “Your original essay, while amusing, doesn’t draw on the kind of statistical data which she brings up – it’s primarily what it’s labeled as, ‘opinion’. ”

    Very quick, Dave–it is in fact labeled as “Opinion” if you look at the top tabs of the post. I have also made great pains in the comment you refer to to remind readers of that “fact.”

    You said:
    “I don’t think she’s trying to convince you. She’s trying to expose you and counter the points which you made, so that someone who reads this thread understands that your perspective is not the only one and is perhaps not supported by much more than your opinion.”

    I think anyone reading the post without resorting to hysterics and histrionics will understand this quite clearly indeed. If not,my comments throughout should make my true array of viewponts (not anti-army; not bleeding heart liberal) crystal clear.

    And may I add that I think your perspective is also crystal clear. However, I assume ArmyGirl is a big girl and can defend herself quite well without you holding her hand and defending her honor.

    You said:
    “If you make a biased presentation, even if it’s intended to provoke or amuse or just share your perspective, some people are going to take exception to it – especially if you’re dealing with a topic people feel strongly about. You’ve got to learn to accept that and move on.”

    Although this is an opinion piece, it is also political in nature. Thus by its very nature people will not all agree. Thus the number of comments. In my book, lots of comments=good. I think you’ve “got to learn to accept that and move on”–or not. (“Got to?” I think not.)

    Whatever you like. This is my post and I shall accept what I please, and move on or not when I please. It’s still a free country–thanks to those who serve it bravely. But you don’t really want to hear me say that, do you Dave–it makes things a bit too muddied in your black and white world.

    What-ever….

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I’ve done virtual cartwheels here to demonstrate that I am not anti-military. However, in your statement above you present the Heritage Foundation’s reports as “fact” which is rather disengenuous.

    No, I said they were based on fact. That’s not the same thing. Their interpretation of the facts can certainly be disputed. The facts are what they are, nonetheless.

    You and I both agreed in some earlier comments that the “facts” can be presented in a partisan way by either side. I happen to feel strongly, as many Americans do, that this Administration has not presented the complete facts and underlying motivations re: why they went into this conflict (and risked our troops’ lives and parents’ children) in the first place to the American people.

    Yes, many people are under the mistaken impression that the administration was under an obligation to present all of their facts and reasoning to the American people. Unfortunately you and those like you are confused on this point.

    Although this is an opinion piece, it is also political in nature. Thus by its very nature people will not all agree. Thus the number of comments. In my book, lots of comments=good. I think you’ve “got to learn to accept that and move on”–or not. (“Got to?” I think not.)

    Well, you can certainly choose not to accept that people don’t agree with you and yammer at them endlessly in an ever tightening circle of pointlessness if you prefer.

    Whatever you like. This is my post and I shall accept what I please, and move on or not when I please. It’s still a free country–thanks to those who serve it bravely. But you don’t really want to hear me say that, do you Dave–it makes things a bit too muddied in your black and white world.

    LOL, my black and white world? I’m not the one who espoused the naive position that the military making reasonable efforts to attract recruits was some sort of grand deception.

    Dave

  • Dawn

    Those ads are as misleading as the smoking campaigns of the 70’s. God-willing, most parents are smart enough and love their kids enough to know that the army is a one-way ticket to shitscreek, without a shitpaddle.

    Here’s the irony – I know LOTS AND LOTS of pro-war-on-the-fucking-death-to-terror campaigns who wouldn’t let their son or daughter sign up for the military even if they did pay them real money and gave them body armour that worked.

    Some dumb schmuck’s falling for this shit, but it better not be my kid.

    Government deception is by far the most sneaky and incidious deception of all.

  • Dawn

    oh and one other thing, my recommendation would be to sign up the Bush twins and any other politician’s kid who thinks hoodwinking poor parents with teens who have low self-esteem into joining the military.

    I have no issue with having a well-equipped military to protect this fair nation, but for pete’s sake, let them be warned, properly trained and outfitted with the best gear possible.

    Is that too much to ask?

  • sr

    Elvira, Would not want to be your keyboard. That’s not an insult. More flack headed your way. Travis, Welcome to Adult World. Im sure these comments are beneficial. Have you considered the French Foreign Legion? Good luck Travis. Elvira, that song is on me like bee’s on honey. Do you know who Wilson Pickett is? sr.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dave:

    You said:

    “Well, you can certainly choose not to accept that people don’t agree with you and yammer at them endlessly in an ever tightening circle of pointlessness if you prefer”.

    Well, you’ve certainly lost “points” in my book for that rather cheap attempt at trivializing my right to my opinion–and my opinion piece– by saying I am pointlessly yammering. Do you feel more superior now, my “elitist” friend?

    Of course I accept that people don’t agree with me–it would be absurd not to. Can you accept the fact that people don’t agree with YOU? Again–“opinion” piece implies there is more than one opinion. Once again, the operative word (and headline up on the tippy top of the post) is “Opinion.” Look into it.

    What you really seem to want to have me do here is to bow to your superior, “elitist” point of view, admit the error of my ways, and aplogize for writing this post to you and everyone else I’ve been yammering atr. In fact, while I’m at it, why don’t I apologize for ever writing anything at any time and promise never to do it again?

    You said:

    “LOL, my black and white world? I’m not the one who espoused the naive position that the military making reasonable efforts to attract recruits was some sort of grand deception.”

    Dave, I wasn’t born yestday–in fact, I think I’m even a few years older than you. I was trying to employ humor here. If you don’t “get” humor, then I can’t spell it out for you any more clearly. If I express “amazement” at the army ads, it’s part of the whole device I’m employing….oh, never mind. No point in “yammering” out any more explanations for something so patently obvious.

    I’ve stated in the comments that I don’t “blame” the army for trying; that “deception” is the very nature and “art” of advertising itself. Sponsors spend millions to get their view across, and they’re not going to waste their money presenting a “fair” and “unbiased” view.

    On the one hand, the campaign can be seen by some as absurd and laughable. But on the other hand, death is no laughing matter. Aside from reading the fine print before signing on the doted line, I like to try to “read the fine print” when it comes to questioning the motives of our administration and the kind of sacrifices it is asking our troops (and their parents) to make. As far as I know, my opinion on the matter is not against the law, and is not “yammering.” Although I guess the definition of yammering depends on who the “yammeree” is.

    If this post–and the fact that I don’t agree with your opinion– annoys you, Dave, you can always just “walk away.” I should only be so lucky.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dawn:

    Shhh….hope Dave’s not reading your opinion. Must not offend Dave!

    I think these ads are primarily aimed at parents whose kids may approach them about the beneits of an army “career.” The ads are trying to urge these parents not to automatically discourage their kids without considering the potential “benefits.” Thus the tagline: “Help them find their strength.” It probably won’t work for anyone who is not somewhat “on the fence” about the whole matter to begin with, though.

    So what are the benefits, from a sometimes beleagured parent’s point of view? Well, it’s all there in the ad. The kid who says it’s time to “be a man.” What does that imply? The boy who can finally shake his dad’s hand and look him square in the eye. What does that imply? And so on…

    Thanks for the comments–all I can say is, you go, g/f!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    sr:

    My keyboard (and Herman, my trusty Mac Powerbook) have already gone through thick and thin with me. They haven’t let me down yet!

    Wilson Pickett? Why of course. As I said to Dave, I’ve been around the block–musically too–a coupla times and like to think I know a thing or two about a thing or two (lol).

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Oh, yeah, Dave:

    Speaking of not being upfront and forthcoming, why is it when I click on your URL I get an apparently dead link (at least nothing comes up there for me) rather than the weblog which you write for, aka The Elitist Pig–whose tagline, I might add, is “guaranteed politically incorrect?”

    Hmmm….wonder why that might be….

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dave:
    Me again. Seems an apology is in order. No, not going to say I’m sorry I have an opinion and posted it here. This is more a tech issue.

    My computer has been running slow as hell, and I just updated my software so it’s running much better now. Still, when I clicked on your URL a few minutes ago, after I’d run the software update), it didn’t link me to anything. However, I think this was a computer error, since it seems to go there now, so I hereby apologize.

    But I still think it’s interesting to note your affiliation to The Elitist Pig here, just for a goof…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Elvira. I was having a problem with the search feature on the page and made some modifications. Looks like when I edited the code for the RSS for the master page for the blog last night I screwed something up. Try it now.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Well, Dave, I’m stumped again. This time when I loaded up to the weblog you belong to, the Elitist Pig was just a banner within the weblog. So I guess I can’t assume you have elitist piggish tendencies. That is one confusing website for a ditzy yammering broad like me. Go ahead and give me a virtual bitch-slap for this one.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    “Well, you can certainly choose not to accept that people don’t agree with you and yammer at them endlessly in an ever tightening circle of pointlessness if you prefer”.

    Well, you’ve certainly lost “points” in my book for that rather cheap attempt at trivializing my right to my opinion–and my opinion piece– by saying I am pointlessly yammering. Do you feel more superior now, my “elitist” friend?

    You clearly don’t understand my point. I’m not trivializing your opinion, I’m pointing out the ineffectiveness of your method of dealing with criticism. Your opinion is just fine and not entirely trivial, but your response to ArmyGirl seems counterproductive.

    Of course I accept that people don’t agree with me–it would be absurd not to. Can you accept the fact that people don’t agree with YOU?

    Oh good lord yes. There are all sorts of confused, mentally defective and misguided people out there.

    Again–“opinion” piece implies there is more than one opinion. Once again, the operative word (and headline up on the tippy top of the post) is “Opinion.” Look into it.

    Elvira, do you actually read the comments you respond to, because this is EXACTLY what I myself said in my earlier comment.

    What you really seem to want to have me do here is to bow to your superior, “elitist” point of view, admit the error of my ways, and aplogize for writing this post to you and everyone else I’ve been yammering atr. In fact, while I’m at it, why don’t I apologize for ever writing anything at any time and promise never to do it again?

    Again, you’re paying zero attention to what I’ve been saying. I don’t have a horse in this race. I haven’t expressed an opinion on this subject for you to bow to or even acknowledge. I’ve merely been trying to encourage you to be more understanding in dealing with ArmyGirl. That’s it.

    “LOL, my black and white world? I’m not the one who espoused the naive position that the military making reasonable efforts to attract recruits was some sort of grand deception.”

    Dave, I wasn’t born yestday–in fact, I think I’m even a few years older than you.

    I sometimes forget that there are people who were born in the Jurassic when I was merely born in the Pleistocene. I’m used to everyone I meet online being younger than me, but one of the nice things about BC is that it does have a few participants who are older than I am. Makes me feel all young again, by jingo!

    I was trying to employ humor here. If you don’t “get” humor, then I can’t spell it out for you any more clearly. If I express “amazement” at the army ads, it’s part of the whole device I’m employing….oh, never mind. No point in “yammering” out any more explanations for something so patently obvious.

    Indeed. I don’t believe I ever suggested that I misunderstood your intended approach. But ArmyGirl clearly doesn’t, which is why I was trying to help you two find common ground.

    I’ve stated in the comments that I don’t “blame” the army for trying; that “deception” is the very nature and “art” of advertising itself. Sponsors spend millions to get their view across, and they’re not going to waste their money presenting a “fair” and “unbiased” view.

    Sounds right to me.

    As far as I know, my opinion on the matter is not against the law, and is not “yammering.” Although I guess the definition of yammering depends on who the “yammeree” is.

    Again, your opinion in the original article is not what I was referring to, but your subsequent defensive exchange of comments.

    If this post–and the fact that I don’t agree with your opinion– annoys you, Dave, you can always just “walk away.” I should only be so lucky.

    How do you know you don’t agree with my opinion on your post? I have yet to actually express an opinion on your post, I’ve only commented on the comment exchange.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dave:

    The truth, for real:

    Are you and ArmyGirl–like–some sort of item, or something?

    Although both of us are big girls and can fight our own battles, methinks, I did ask the BC editors if the term “idiotarian” was considered a personal attack. One of them said most definitey; the other said they’d look at the post if I wanted them to. I told them I could handle it, but was just curious. There’s a good reason, I think, that personal attacks are not allowed here–it tends to devolve any reasonable difference of opinion into mindless ranting and pointless name-calling.

    The point is, Dave, that you seem to think I can’t handle a difference of opinion. I certainly can. But ArmyGirl’s approach is not the kind that warms the cockles of my heart.

    Ad hominem attacks are cheap and non-productive. Calling me an “idiotarian” proves exactly nothing. Naming me something doesn’t make it so–and thus, constitutes an insufficient, lazy arguement. Hurling links from the Heritage foundation website at me and presenting them as THE “facts” as if they were brought down from Mt. Sinai–ditto. I’ll let it go at that.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Elvira, I don’t know ArmyGirl, but I did understand her objection to your article.

    And who cares about her use of ‘idiotarian’? It’s quirky, but hardly an impressive insult. If I were going to insult you I could think of more effective ways to do it.

    But she brought ought her facts, and they’re not wrong, and instead of giving her some consideration you chose to blow her off as not having an opinion worth considering.

    I guess I just find it sort of rude.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dave:

    ArmyGirl came galloping outta the gate, chomping at the bit whilst spewing her “facts” as if she herself were a recruiter. If she really wanted to try to convince me of something, why simultaneously plant her link in my path like a spiteful land mine while dismissing me (and thus my ability to see things her way) as being an “idiottarian?” If you are trying to present your side of the story, do you think it is effective to insult the other party? Do you think that makes you look like a person someone else would want to listen to, or whose opposing views you’d want to carefully consider?

    I didn’t just blow her off, but spent time going thru her link and reading through most of it. Would you like me to spend all my time going through her links? Isn’t this a lazy way to argue on her end, as well as a wearisome “demand” on my time–ie.–I’m going to be lazy here and hurl a link at you and dare you to read through it? It’s the equivalent of someone thrusting a pamphet into my hand and demanding I peruse it without attempting to engage me in any sort of meaningful and measured dialogue–all the while calling me an idiot to boot.

    As far as “giving her some consideraton,” I think going through her link despite the fact that she insulted me can attest to that. Shall I counter with my own links? Is this some sort of frenzied link fest? How boring.

    She also linked to her use of the word “idiotarian.” It was taken from wikipedia, and I think it would have served her purpose better if she hadn’t linked it, becuase the Wiki had some interesting things to say about who uses this term and why–and they didn’t mention “quirky” once.

    I am not personally crushed by her use of the term Idiotarian. However, it is a term that is often used in these kind of circumstances to dismiss outright another’s viewpoint, usu. by someone a bit further on the “right” than you are.

    As I said, there is a good reason that personal attacks are not allowed here. One of which is that they’re “sort of rude.” I thiink you know this–I just happen to believe, that like everyone else, you do have an opinion about this debate, and it’s written all over your disengenous remarks here.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Oh, and BTW–if you’re going to present a “factual” link, it might be more intellectually rigorous to use a primary, rather than a biased secondary, source to do it. But this is not some sort of doctoral dissertation I’m presenting here–just one woman’s half tongue in cheek, half “serious as a heart attack” opinion.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Just to be “thorough” here, since we’re obviously heavy on research, here’s the main intro text to Wikipedia’s definition of “Idiotarian”–a label ArmyGirl applied to me in two separate places. She also provided the Wiki link to the term when she equated the phrase with me.

    I ask you, all and sundry, but Dave especially–would it be a-ok if I renamed ArmyGilr IdiotGirl, in the interest of colorful name-spewing?

    I think not.

    Here’s the opening wiki paragraph:
    “The term idiotarian was coined by Charles Johnson (webmaster of the Little Green Footballs warblog) on January 5, 2002, in response to a comment on the weblog Instapundit.[1] It is an apparent hybrid of ‘idiot’ and the ‘-tarian’ ending common to words denoting political ideologies such as libertarian or communitarian.

    The term was initially directed against “idiotic” behavior by figures on both the political left and right,[2] however, it has come to be associated much more strongly with its use by warbloggers, right-leaning, and libertarian bloggers in criticism of the political left. It is sometimes employed in the service of ad hominem rhetorical attacks, but may also be used as a pejorative political slogan or label, and the meaning and usage of the term itself is a subject of politicized debate.”

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    Elivra, show me where I labelled you?

    Yes or No, are you for reducing our millitary funds for education instead? Are you for removing Army recruiters from schools?

    If an Army recruiter called your house for your son or daughter, what would you tell this recruiter?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    ArmyGirl came galloping outta the gate, chomping at the bit whilst spewing her “facts” as if she herself were a recruiter.

    Which would, of course, make her a servant of hell, right?

    If she really wanted to try to convince me of something,

    You don’t do the reading thing, do you. I specifically explained that comments like hers aren’t meant to convince YOU, their meant to convince others that you’re wrong.

    You just don’t get it at all, at all.

    Your reaction is so out of proportion that all you do is vindicate her response.

    I am not personally crushed by her use of the term Idiotarian.

    Then why do you keep coming back to it over and over?

    However, it is a term that is often used in these kind of circumstances to dismiss outright another’s viewpoint, usu. by someone a bit further on the “right” than you are.

    She could have just said that your article was ‘idiotic’ and that would have been a critique of the work rather than the author and probably would have been more accurate and more effective, and certainly not a personal attack.

    As I said, there is a good reason that personal attacks are not allowed here. One of which is that they’re “sort of rude.” I thiink you know this–I just happen to believe, that like everyone else, you do have an opinion about this debate, and it’s written all over your disengenous remarks here.

    Sure I have an opinion. I already espressed it. The article is mildly amusing and not terribly perceptive. It’s mostly just kind of tediously naive, smug and ill-informed.

    Oh, and BTW–if you’re going to present a “factual” link, it might be more intellectually rigorous to use a primary, rather than a biased secondary, source to do it. But this is not some sort of doctoral dissertation I’m presenting here–just one woman’s half tongue in cheek, half “serious as a heart attack” opinion.

    So why expect her to go to any greater lengths of research than you did? The reason groups like the Heritage Foundation exist is so that people can go to them for data which has already been processed for the topic they’re addressing, without having to go to the harder to access original sources.

    Just to be “thorough” here, since we’re obviously heavy on research, here’s the main intro text to Wikipedia’s definition of “Idiotarian”–a label ArmyGirl applied to me in two separate places. She also provided the Wiki link to the term when she equated the phrase with me.

    Wow, you just can’t get over it, can you.

    I ask you, all and sundry, but Dave especially–would it be a-ok if I renamed ArmyGilr IdiotGirl, in the interest of colorful name-spewing?

    It’s okay with me, but I don’t believe int he comments policy. It also wouldn’t be terribly accurate. Based on the Wikipedia definition, her application of ‘idiotarian’ does apply pretty well to the knee-jerk anti-military attitude you display in the article.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I’d like to see her answer your questions too, Anthony.

    Dave

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I’d personally tell the recruiter that I did enough time for both of my daughters…but that’s just me!

  • Anthony Grande

    It is not about doing time anymore, Andy. This is a volunteer army. It is about getting benefits in a job and succeeding in life, becomming a soldier and the satisfaction of surving your country, people and God.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    The army serves god now? That’ll make the Jihadists feel justified with their ‘crusader’ claims.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    Dave:

    Why, I do believe you’re just gratuitously trying to get my goat! Is that your schtick?

    Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’ on the river….

    I’ll be back to answer others later.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I like to think of myself as comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, Elvira.

    I’m only trying to get your goat if it’s staked out in the front yard with a sign around it’s neck saying ‘get me’.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Anthony:

    Am I for reducing funding for the military in favor of education? Depends on the circumstances. What do you say?

    I’m damn mad that VA benefits have been cut over the years, that’s for sure.

    If I were a parent, and I didn’t want my child going into the armed forces, I wouldn’t be pleased with army recruiters in my kid’s high school, no. As far as the legality of it, I have no idea. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    Would you be ok with cigarette or liquor companies coming on high school campuses?

    If an army recruiter called my house for my hypothetical son or daugher, particularly during the current conflict, I think I’d tell them thanks but no thanks. Same as I say to Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the reasons is if I’d ever chosen to have a kid (which I didn’t) I’d make damn sure come hell or high water they’d have the means and opportunity to go on to college. Doesn’t mean everyone can pull that off, but that’s one of the many reasons I never chose to have a child–children, and college funds, are very expensive.

    Did I ever say or imply otherwise? Am I writing an opinion piece or running for office? I already said again and again that I support our troops.

    And since you seem to think that your questions are making me “put my money where my mouth is,” when are you joining up, young Anthony?

    And Anthony, I may be older than you, but I’m not yet senile. Unless I’m really losing it, you’ve tried to label me many times, and not just on this post.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Elvira, do you really think that the Army is the same as cigarette and liquor companies? If so, that’s an excellent example of the disconnect from common sense which people like ArmyGirl are taking exception to.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Anthony and Dave:

    Here’s my new sign which I’m hanging out here on my post right now:

    Please don’t feed the trolls.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You don’t know trolls until you’ve met MCH and Shark. And they can’t read signs.

    And blowing off legitimate critics as trolls is going to leave you all alone with your fan club of one.

    Dave

  • troll

    trolling for information argument and absurdity is under appreciated

    please – feed the trolls – !

    take your fear of diverse perversity off my bridge

    troll

  • Shark

    Nalle: “…You don’t know trolls until you’ve met MCH and Shark.”

    Dave, you’re not worthy of annointing my fins.

    Oh… but you can blow me.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Shark:

    Thank you, as always, for the brilliant and pithy “realtiy check.”

    Hmmm…I guess one man’s troll is another woman’s knight in shining armor–or whatever the equivalent is for sharks!

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I agree that comparing military recruiters to liquor salesmen is a bit of a stretch…I mean, you can go in the military with your parents signature at 17…you still can’t drink until your 21.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Andy:
    I’m not sure…the liquor laws may vary from state to state, and of course most 17 year olds do or have imbibed at least once or twice, and many take up smoking. The liquor and cig ads arguably can have an effect on their choices.

    My point, though farfetched, was not meant to equate the army with liquor and cigarettes, except in the sense that all can kill you, and that advertising can put a positive spin on any potentially dangerous product or endeavor. Sure, the liquor commercials say “drink responsibly,” and the cigarette companies post that warning label and even have an anti-smoking ad campaign. But the main motivation in any case is shelling out mucho ad money to promote their particular product.

    Another good example are credit card companies. At my alma mater’s college bookstore, every time I bought a book they stuffed a credit card application in there as well. Now, most college students need an additional incentive to spend money they may not have like a hole in the head. It, too, may be legal, but it sure can be hazardous to a young person’s financial health–especially when they’re in debt from college loans as it is.

    Would I outlaw it? No. Does the maxim “caveat emptor” apply? Definitely. But as a parent, I still would not allow an army recruiter to show up at my door and talk to my son or daughter about the benefits of the armed services.

    Another thing I failed to mention is that these commercials are for the army in particular. The army for non-enlisted men and women is a much tougher route (or so I’ve heard) than the air force or navy. The marines are another story altogether–I don’t think they have much of a problem recruiting because it appeals to a certain type of individual who is more than happy to take on the challenge. But it is, I think, telling to note that the majority of ads are for a branch of the armed services where, in my opinion, the risk-benefit analysis may be the most “risky.”

    I understand why the army runs these ads, but I guess the thing that made me sit up and take notice is was the fact that they were aimed at the parents, rather than the children who must in the end make this life or death decision. How many parents who had other options to offer would encourage their children to risk their lives? Some perhaps. Most congressmen–no. If I were a parent, and for this particular conflict–doubtful.

    Hope this clarifies matters somewhat.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Andy:

    PS: you said:

    “…you can go in the military with your parents signature at 17…you still can’t drink until your 21.”

    Do you see anything a tad ironic about that statement?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Yes I do…I’ve always thought it was totally f#@

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I’m with Andy. Lower the drinking age with parental permission.

    Dave

  • Anthony Grande

    Elivra, comment 124

    I want you to know that I am a 17 year old Junior in High School.

    How would I like it if alcohol and liquor companies came to MY high school? I wouldn’t like it because everyone at my high school is under age and it is illegal for them to drink and smoke.

    When am I enlisting? I enlisted in the Army just before last Christmas.

    And I recall when I labelled you you got all over me so why are you labelling me a troll?

    Cough…Cough…Hypocrite…Cough…Cough

    Dave, when I go and fight for my country trust me that I will also be fighting for God.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    I admire Anthony’s courage, and wish him only the best. May he have a safe return.

    If someone labels me, I will not label them back, but I will not lay down and whiimper and cry like a little girl, either.

    No more snacks for the trolls.

  • Anthony Grande

    Elivra,

    In the program that I enlisted in allows Juniors to enlist as long as they are on track to graduate and their parents give permission.

    If this is what your son or daughter wanted, would you give them permission?

    And am I troll just because my opinions vary from yours?

  • sfc ski

    Good luck, Anthony, I hope you enjoy and make the most of your experiences.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I believe that if you have a military ID card you should be allowed to drink. The exception to the under 21 rule.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Labeling, gratuitous name-calling, derailing the discussion at hand with cheap personal attacks meant solely to pointlessly provoke a reaction and get a rise out of the recipient–this is the troll in action.

    Of course I can handle others’ opinions being different from mine. Just don’t tell me I have to march in lockstep with yours.

    I would most likely not give my child permission. If you can’t even have a good stiff drink before possibly signing your life away, you’re probably too young to go–and too young to make that kind of life-altering decision. For parents who choose to let their kids sign up at 17 (as my boyfriend’s father did), that’s fine. But if it were my kid–no. Ain’t gonna happen on my watch.

    No snacks for the trolls–even the brave ones.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    And yes, troll may be a “label,” but it’s not exactly the same as Idiotarian. A troll is a definite entity here in cyber-land, and I have to call ’em as I see ’em. I don’t know what else one would have me say–flamer? Again, shall I just lay down and let a bunch of [insert word here] march in like a band of storm troopers, kill me off, and hijack my post?

    As Charlton Heston likes to say: “Out of my cold, dead hands!”

  • sr

    Anthony, If it were not for young men and women like you this would be a blank screen. God be with you Anthony. sr

  • fos

    shark 129. Oh”’ but you can blow me. With what shark. “Maybe a hair-drier”.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    I personally think that it is tragic that 17 years olds who have not even had a chance to live, mature, develop thier own sense of who they are, and may be–due to their tender age– particularly impulsive and idealistic about serving their country should be so actively encouraged to go “over there” without delay or considerable forethought.

    Of course, this is the crux of the matter–the army is not looking for people who will question their nation’s motives or examine grey areas–that does not a good soldier make. They, understandably, need the recuits, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

    Anthony may be brave, but does he sound like a seasoned adult? Does anyone here remember what it was like to be 17? How sound were your life-changing decision making skills back then?

    But of course everyone will, and does, say how brave he is and how indispensible he is to our cause abroad, making him feel even more secure in the knowledge that he is doing the “right thing.” If it were your child, would you be patting him or her on the back in a similar fashion? Maybe–but I know I wouldn’t. (Incidentally, anyone ever see “Born on the Fourth of July” and not get a lump in their throat at the very least?)

    If he were my son (andI am definitey old enough to qualify) I would never allow him to sign up before he was 18–before he’s even finished HIGH SCHOOL–and would do my utmost to convince him not to join this conflict even when he came of age. That, or at the very least to explore additional options, both inside and outside of the military–other than army grunt and cannon fodder for this particular war. Ideally, I’d urge him to get his nose out of the recruitment brochures and start applying for colleges or some sort of apprenticeship/internsip to further his eventual career path instead.

    One more note about labeling–troll is a “label” which has only been used here in reaction to repeated comment abuses, not an epithet hurled at all and sundy who disagree with me here. That’s the difference as far as “labeling” goes.

  • Dave Nalle

    I personally think that it is tragic that 17 years olds who have not even had a chance to live, mature, develop thier own sense of who they are, and may be–due to their tender age– particularly impulsive and idealistic about serving their country should be so actively encouraged to go “over there” without delay or considerable forethought.

    The whole point of these ads is to highlight the well established fact that military service is a valuable way for kids who lack direction to get training, experience and even life skills which will be of enormous value thoughout their lives. The fact is that veterans as a group earn more money and get better jobs than those from similar backgrounds who didn’t serve.

    Dave

  • Shark

    A. Grande: “…when I go and fight for my country[,] trust me that I will also be fighting for God.”

    Wow. I think it’s really cool of you to enlist while quoting Islamic terrorists.

  • Shark

    Elvira, a marketing question:

    Do you think those ads would work if they said,


    “Enlist Today!
    Become Cannon Fodder
    for Rich Cracker Republicans
    and Oil Industry Assholes!”

    nah.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Shark:

    Comment 147 is today’s cruel irony du jour.

    The one from yesterday? about 17 year olds not being able to drink “because it’s illegal” but being old enough to enlist, fight, and get killed is…well…yesterday’s irony du jour.

    As for your ad pitch, although I won’t say outright if I think it is entirely truthful (heh heh), I will say this:

    As a rule of thumb, the truth (not to mention the whole truth, and nothing but the truth) in advertising ain’t worth shit.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    To the advertiser who’s paying the big bucks, that is…

  • sr

    150 comments. Only 1 from Ruvy in Jerusalem. Why would that be you ask. Because Ruvy in Jerusalem is hands on trying to save his history, to save Israel and to make a difference, and just maybe save mankind. Im sure you great intellects and scholars will have a great laught at my expense. That’s OK. I could care less. What the heck, Im the fool that fell out the window. Ruvy, keep trucking. America. Hilter gave a war and nobody came. Thank God they did come. For sure we dont have to ask, “Spechen sie deutsch” We answer nada, no, say what, yo, F U, jerry springer rules, 2+2=7, and gore be the man. Look for the great intellect comments sure to follow. As if I give a rats ass. sr.

  • gonzo marx

    sr…all i can say is put the crack pipe down and back away slowly

    but i digress

    Excelsior!

  • sr

    Gonzo mi amigo. That is me rum that speak me for. Crack in me head of course. Pipe be under me toilet. I THINK. G-day sir. rs…..Sr. Whatever.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    In the wake of 911, and before Bush’s re-election, I like many other people had fully believed in the weapons of mass destruction rationale for our involvement in Iraq–aka the “false advertising” that led the House and Senate and the American people in general to support the war effort.

    I was initially undecided over whom to vote for in the last election, until I started reading up and discovered a thing or two about a thing or two. Hence, I was already determined not to vote to re-elect Bush when someone also urged me to see Fahrenheit 911.

    Whatever you may think of Michael Moore–that he is a propaganda monger or “false advertiser”–there was ample footage in the movie that was not, to my knowlege, faked–plus a lot of revelations that have since come to light for the nation in general, gradually but inexorably.

    I can see young Anthony in my mind’s eye–all of 17 years old; so sure of himself and his views on God and country, not to mention abortion and chastity and all the other complex issues he is too young to have much firsthand knowledge of. I have read many of his remarks here and on another post, and his youth and naievete and kneejerk jingoism–if that is the correct term–come through clearly. In short, he is still a kid.

    I doubt there are any among us who don’t despise Saddam, Bin Laden, and the evil terrorists in general. Furthermore, I am Jewish, and pro-Israel. Virtually all Americans would agree that our involvement in WW II (albeit late) was crucial, and that there was little to question as far as signing up and defending one’s country, as my father and all my friend’s fathers of the era did.

    This is a different kind of war, and warfare. I despise our enemies too, but I think Americans were sold a bill of goods as far the reasons we entered this war.

    I do not reslish the thought of our young and often hopelessly naeive and idealistic–and arguably brainwashed–kids risking their lives even before they’ve had a chance to live them.

    I understand that there are still many who feel our involvement is justified. But the Congressmen who initially agreed to our involvement are not urging their children, who have the luxury of college educations and wealth, to enlist, especially not in the army. Some, like Cheney, who are the most staunch supporters of the war avoided serving themselves–Cheney, from what I understand, got three deferments during Vietnam. He was not willing to give up his college studies or risk his life, but now he asks young people like Anthony to do so–kids who have not been given all the facts, pro and con, but have been sold a bill of goods by our Administration.

    However, Anthony did pose a good question–how many among you would allow YOUR theoretical 17 year old son or daughter to enlist in the army right now if they came to you, as the kids in the commercials I mentioned “did”?

    Easy to look at the dead and wounded as a statistic, and to forget those who survive and return irrreparably damaged mentally, physically, and emotionally. If we are going to ask that our young people who have not yet had the opportunity to learn to think for themselves about these issues, and explore all sides and get all the appropriate information, march off to war, I think it only fiting that it should be a conflict well worth the possible cost of their young lives.

    Still and all, I have respect and admiration for those like Anthony, and fervently hope for their return–intact, alive, and well.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I’m going to disappoint sr. I have one more comment to make.

    In Israel we do not have ads for Tzáhal (Hebrew for the IDF). Tzáhal has a radio station, Galéi Tzáhal, which has plenty of ads, but none of them hustle the IDF (Tzáhal, for you folks who have trouble with the Anglít).

    But I did get a notice in the mail telling me that my oldest boy has to report to Tzáhal on some day in a few months for some fool exam to determine if Tzáhal will in fact induct him, and if so, what his best service options might be.

    Let me drive this home with a sledgehammer, folks. If you have a volunteer army doing a crappy job – cannon fodder for your plutocrats – you need ads hustling the army like beer and pizza. If you have a draft, then you don’t.

    But when you have a draft grabbing up your kids for cannon fodder to serve the local plutocrats, you have harder questions than changing the station when the ads come on.

    Do I want my son kicking fellow Jews out of Hebron, or Eli, or Shiloh? Do I want him to operate the bulldozer destroying a synagogue? Do I want his soul soiled by the scum who do evil in the eyes of the L-rd? The bought off traitors on government hill in Jerusalem?

    Walk a kilometer or two in my shoes Elvira. Then tell me how bad the army ads in the US of A are.

  • Anthony Grande

    Elvira, to all your comments regarding 17 year olds and joining.

    I cannot fight and die for my country or God yet. I have to have a high school diploma and have to be 18 years of age. However, what I will be doing while I am 17 is going to Basic Combat Training (Boot Camp) this summmer. I will be payed for the three months and will earn high school credits. I will be comming back in time for my Senior year in high school as a “new man”, A SOLDIER.

    Another good thing about joining at 17 is being able to change my mind. I did sign a contract, but contracts aren’t good until one turns 18.

  • sr

    Ruven, When you started your comment, I’m going to disappoint sr. Almost thought you were about to say, sr your socks are inside out. Ruven my friend, No one on this page could walk a kilometer or two in your shoes. That includes me. You said your oldest boy has to report to Tzahal. What is his name? You must know by now my respect. Your comment says it all. Would like to email you Ruven, however im hesitant. Believe in trust. Look foward to your comment. sr. PS: Stay safe mi amigo.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “If you have a volunteer army doing a crappy job – cannon fodder for your plutocrats”

    I looked at this line this morning and realized how an American soldier might see it and how it could easily be misinterpreted.

    The soldier might not see himself as mere cannon fodder – see AG’s comments above. The plutocrat sees the soldier that way. The soldier might be working very hard at doing a quality job at whatever it is he has trained for – but the overall mission that he, his combat unit and the rest of the forces on duty are tasked with would be the “crappy job.”

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Young Anthony says:
    “Another good thing about joining at 17 is being able to change my mind. I did sign a contract, but contracts aren’t good until one turns 18.”

    Somehow this sounds like it might be an example of the old “read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line” thing. Could someone more familiar with this than I please clarify if and under what circumstances Anthony could now change his mind?

    sr: Thanks for the comments and just for being you!

    Ruvy: I’m really grateful to have your perspective on this issue. I for one, was initially a little surprised at your views concerning this conflict,since I (naievely?) assumed that any conflict the US was involved in would be backed up by our ally, Israel. And that may very well be–or not?–but it ain’t backed up by you…And I also feel for you re: your son having to register. If the draft were reinstituted here today, I think you’d see demonstrations similar to those during Vietnam.

    When I think of Anthony now, two other visions come to mind:

    Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July arguing with his brother, who protests the Vietnam war, that he should “just love it or leave it”;

    The army commercial where dad and son are playing pool and the kid says “Besides, I’m going to be part of something that’s important.”

    That’s what our army likes to see, all right. And now they’re going after the parents, urging them to send their precious kids off to fight in this particular conflict with the promise of “good training” and “college.”

    During peace time, or in another branch of the service, or as an enlisted man? Well, maybe it might be worth it. But now? I’d do anything and everything in my power to convince my son or daughter not to take this route. That’s all.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Elvira, Read my comments at Holocaust Day or Genocide Day? by Jamal – particularly, the very last comment. You won’t enjoy it, but it will clarify a great deal.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    That’s what our army likes to see, all right. And now they’re going after the parents, urging them to send their precious kids off to fight in this particular conflict with the promise of “good training” and “college.”

    Well let’s see. Right off the top of my head I can think of four of my friends and my father in law, all of whom went to college as a result of their military service, and all of whom fought in a war in the course of their service, from Vietnam to Desert Storm. A couple of them even have advanced degrees, and if you compare where they are now with their peers from the same background they earn enormously more money. My father-in-law entered the military as a poor kid from rural Texas, started as an enlisted man and ended up as a Colonel and went on into a very successful business career. He’s living proof that what the army promises in these commercials it can and does deliver.

    Dave

  • MCH

    I think if a person really believed the ads, he would actually enlist, rather than just writing about how good they are. Otherwise it’s just rhetoric, isn’t it?

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    This has been an interesting thread to observe (at least when people aren’t trading trivial sniping back and forth pointlessly).

    From a marketing perspective, military recruitment ads are designed to hit potential recruits on multiple levels – patriotism, service, opportunity, career advancement, adventure, money, self-confidence, education, getting laid, growth — basically how the recruit can enrich or advance themselves, whether it is to escape from a difficult, poverty stricken neighborhood, or a chance to get to college…you don’t attract recruits by telling them about the chance of taking a bad ricochet in the throat and dying, choking on your own blood in some slum in Basra or even by telling them how they will be spending 6 months sitting in a logistics base in Omaha bored out of their minds.

    You “sell” the military on the vision that the recruit has, not on the reality.

    Young people, specifically young males, have always been the target for this type of effort for a number of reasons – they are generally stronger and in better health than older males (hence they can carry more, fight harder, survive worse conditions, work without sleep etc.), they are highly trainable, aggressive, collectively have little concept of their own mortality, are easy to shape into a cohesive unit and develop strong loyalty ties…

    They aren’t unique, anyone’s son will do.

    On the question of the morality of the issue – if you are going to have a military, you need to recruit. You recruit where the young people are -high schools, television, video games…

    The army has always been a “way out” – of small towns, of poverty, of poor education, so it tends to recruit mainly among the poor, the socially marginalized and the desperate.

    Recruitment today is manifestly more “upfront” and “fair” in their methodology then any other recruitment in history. The British army used to get potential recruits drunk and then slip them the “King’s Shilling” (the recruitment bounty) into the dregs of their beer. When they picked it up, they were accepting the King’s service. Today it is college scholarships and education.

    The bitter reality is that if you are prepared to send young men out to die on any type of military adventure, willing or unwilling, you had best recognize that recruitment of the next generation of young men is a part of the process.

    Elvira, in direct response to your post points – I agree that the current crop of ads seem to be tailored to meet parental expectations and parental objections…they are, at best, heavy-handed and bit thick however, the fair alternative to the military’s heavy-handed advertising would probably be the draft.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Ruvy:
    Thanks; I’ll read the comments and the post–I’m sure it will be interesting!

    Dave Nalle wrote:
    “Well let’s see. Right off the top of my head I can think of four of my friends and my father in law, all of whom went to college as a result of their military service, and all of whom fought in a war in the course of their service, from Vietnam to Desert Storm. A couple of them even have advanced degrees, and if you compare where they are now with their peers from the same background they earn enormously more money. My father-in-law entered the military as a poor kid from rural Texas, started as an enlisted man and ended up as a Colonel and went on into a very successful business career. He’s living proof that what the army promises in these commercials it can and does deliver.”

    I can also think of three individuals I know offhand who benefited from military service. One was my boyfriend BG, who joined up at 17 (had to get his dad to cosign). One of the reasons, he said, was to get away from his family–though there were others–he was poor and faced a draft. This was circa 1968.

    Fortunately for him, as I said before, he received a “million dollar wound” in AIT and was sent home with an honorable discharge. He maintains (perhaps a bit ironically?) that joining the army was the smartest thing he ever did because he now has VA health benefits.

    But from what he told me, basic and AIT were hellish, and some young men literally died from this alone. It may be that the service is “kinder and gentler” than it was back then, but he certainly doesn’t shed tears over the fact that he got out when he did.

    Two of his younger brothers also served. One was an MP during peacetime, and received his undergrad and grad degrees through the service. The other served in the air force for twenty years. It is notable that he told BG that he never had to do a single push up during basic.

    I maintain that BG’s experience was different than his brothers, and perhaps different from Dave’s friends. And almost certainly different for Dave’s father in law, who served as a commissioned officer. Dave did not mention the specifics of what branch or in what capacity his friends served. Though I’m sure some who join the army will obtain benefits, the risks are quite obvious as well at this particular time and in this particular branch of the service.

    I would still appreciate it if someone could tell me if Anthony does indeed have the option to “back out” later if he chooses to, or if he has already in effect signed/sealed his fate–whatever that may be.

    I’ll respond to other comments a bit later…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    And almost certainly different for Dave’s father in law, who served as a commissioned officer.

    You didn’t read closely enough there. My father in law was a mustang. He came from a poor family in rural west Texas and joined as a regular enlisted man in the army at the height of vietnam and left 30 years later as a Colonel with a couple of degrees and a hell of a lot of experience.

    Dave did not mention the specifics of what branch or in what capacity his friends served.

    Marines, Army and Navy. Only one of them started as a comissioned officer, and he got his college paid for through a deal they were doing where part of your college was paid for if you signed up and did OCS during school. That combined with scholarships paid for his college. The others went through college while they were in the service or immediately after. One actually joined the military when he was given the choice of jail time or military service as a teenager, and ended up as a highly decorated NCO medic who eventually went through medical school and became a doctor.

    Though I’m sure some who join the army will obtain benefits, the risks are quite obvious as well at this particular time and in this particular branch of the service.

    No one I know who joined did not benefit in some way, if only in the area of life experience and character building. Yes, there are risks, but for a lot of people it allows them to rise out of circumstances they would never escape without the military as an option. If you compare my father in law with his brothers and sisters who grew up in the same circumstances and did not join the army, he has been enormously more successful in life than they have by every possible measure.

    Dave

  • http://justajutsa.blogspot.com justine

    Ha! Loved the “touche”. Sounds like your government ads are as compelling as they are here in Oz.

  • sr

    Just a quote. Liberty and freedom and democracy are so very precious that you do not fight to win them once and then stop. You do not do that. Liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes that are awarded only to those people who fight to win them and then keep on fighting eternally to hold them. Sergeant Alvin York.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    MCH: Point well taken.

    Deano: I think your analysis is pretty much right on the money.

    Since this is the second time that David Nalle has questioned my literacy skills, I will not be responding to any more comments he may care to make here.Let it be noted that my silence does not denote acquiencence.

    I can not only read, but I can also read between the lines. I’m very happy his friends and relatives have found the armed forces to be to their advantage. The rest I’ll leave unsaid.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Elvira, feel free not to read this, but you misrepresented what I said, and suggesting that you had misread it was being kind. The alternative would have been to just say you’d read it and then lied about it, which seemed uncharitable. Plus I didn’t question your literacy I questioned your attention to detail.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Justine:
    In America, we pride ourselves on making our advertising compelling. This does not necessarily preclude them (ads) from being idiotic.

    sr:
    Nice quote. However, some would question whether all our conflicts are intended to uphold our country’s liberty, freedom, and democracy. Perhaps, perhaps not.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    MCH, these ads weren’t running when I was of an appropriate age to enlist. When I was in the target market I believe the village people were prancing accross the deck of a ship convincing me how much fun it would be to be ‘in the navy’.

    Dave

  • Anthony Grande

    MCH: “I think if a person really believed the ads, he would actually enlist, rather than just writing about how good they are. Otherwise it’s just rhetoric, isn’t it?”

    I am sure this was directed to me so I want to refer you to comment 124 where Elvira asked:

    “And since you seem to think that your questions are making me “put my money where my mouth is,” when are you joining up, young Anthony?”

    So I was kind enough to tell Elvira that I already enlisted.

    And Elvira,

    I do not know what country you currently live in but here in the U.S. minors (in the U.S. under 18) are not held under contract.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Anthony,
    I do not think MCH was talking about you, but you’d have to ask him.

    Yes, I did not know you’d enlisted until you’d told me. as much, so I do apologize–though I asked rather than claimed you were not going to. You did not offer up this info when you began commenting here, though I’m not sure why you wouldn’t find it relevant. .

    Why would you be compelled to sign a contract if it’s not one which you would be expected to fulfill? Maybe someone would explain this to me, or Anthony could expalin the terms of the contract he signed.

  • MCH

    “When I was in the target market I believe the village people were prancing accross the deck of a ship convincing me how much fun it would be to be ‘in the navy’.”

    Did the song “Yellowstain Blues” from the movie THE CAIN MUTINY ever have any special meaning for you…?

  • sr

    Elvira #159 comments. sr: thanks for the comments @ just for being you. Thanks miss Elvira. I know that was a complement. Much appreciated. Tomorrow is a gone fishing day. G-day. sr.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    MCH:

    Your comment went right over my ‘lil’ ol’ head, but it’s cool…

    sr: Yes, it was a complement! Hope the fish are biting!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    It’s hard to imagine MCH going over anyone’s head.

    Dave

  • Zanatos

    I just retired from the Air Force in February after 20 years, four months and three days of service. I deployed to the Middle East six times since 1991, and it was scary. But I also earned three college degrees and was able to support my family.

    Today, I am a government contractor, making almost $80K per year, and I get another $20K plus health insurance from my military retirement. And I am only 39 years old.

    The military was definitely a good gig for me. But everyone has to make his or her own decision. Everything in life is a risk.

    God bless, and best of luck to all those who continue to serve.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Zanatos:

    That’s awesome–I’m so glad everything worked out so well for you!

  • sr

    The Lady of Song is back. Pray all is well for you and BG. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND ELVIRA. sr

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    sr:

    So good to see you! I hope all is well, my friend.

  • Ron Pulliam

    The ad featuring the father talking to his son and telling the son, “Back there, you did two things you’ve never done before: You looked me in the eye and you shook my hand.”

    This is a blatant and manipulative ad trying to tell young folks their parents will FINALLY find some worth in them if they join the Army.

    The Army is a fine institution. It’s sad it has to stoop to such bottom-scraping depths to recruit.

    IF these traits are so important to that father, my question is: Why in hell did you NOT teach your son to approach life in that manner? Where were you? What were you doing AS A MAN to set any kind of manly examples for your son?

    WHY DID THE ARMY HAVE TO DO IT FOR YOU?

    Rant over. I’m a 23 1/2-year veteran of the U.S. Navy (retired) and proud of my service and the U.S. armed forces.

    But I hate STUPID advertising.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dear Ron:

    Many thanks for replying to this old chestnut of an article…yes, these ads are, like many ads for many :”products,” rather blatant in their approach. In a way, I suppose the armed forces is now being sold as a “product” as well, with implied benefits and no mention of the real dangers involved in going to war. In point of fact, these ads don’t really deal with war at all.

    Another disturbing series of ads I’ve since seen takes a slightly different approach. Here, the would be recruit talks eagerly to his or her parent, anxiety and the need for approval in his/her almost desperate eyes. With all the impetuousnous of youth, they beseech mom or pop to listen to their argument for joining up–again, emphasizing the “benefits” and “opportunities” available to them.

    In this scenario, the parent is not seen–instead, the viewer is put in the “place” of the parent via the camera, which wobbles back and forth uneasily, focusing now on the kid’s eager face asking the parent/viewer “What do you think?”; now on the lawn chair or the basketball hoop in the yard. If memory serves, the ad ends with the line:

    “Your turn.”

    It is good to hear from a vet who knows a thing or two about what it means to serve, and I can’t blame you for feeling disgusted with this approach. But I can’t begin to imagine who would be desperate or foolhardy enough to join up at this point for service in Iraq–especially when terms are being extended. Seems to me like a neverending nightmare come true, when brave soldiers think they have done their duty, only to be told that they must return to that unimaginable hell once again.

    I suppose that the armed forces can certainly instill a level of discipline and self-respect in young folks who are searching for direction, but the price for this “benefit” seems much too high at this point.

    Again, thanks so much for your comment.

  • mczewd

    I was in the army for 10 years and my experience was nothing like you describe. It’s unfortunate that yours was.