Recruitment Improvement - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Recruitment Improvement

It is an amazingly hot, humid night here in Northampton, Massachusetts, home of Smith College. I have just finished giving a fund-raising speech for our son’s fine school, Williston-Northampton, a few miles from here in Easthampton. The audience was extremely pleasant and appreciative except for one angry young fellow. He resented my saying that public education was a morass. “Don’t criticize it unless you’re doing some thing to help it,” he said.

“I help it a lot,” I answered. I calculate that I pay roughly — well, a lot — in property tax in California, another fortune in California income tax, and have zero children in the school system. Isn’t that helping?

Well, he just wanted to be angry and frustrated. He’s a public school teacher. I would be angry and frustrated too if I had to do what he does all day. My hat’s off to him.

Anyway, I came back to Northampton and the streets are filled with happy people walking around eating pizza, eating ice cream, skate boarding, drinking beer. I sort of feel sick about it because I just read that five Marines were killed Saturday in Iraq.

How can we all be so happy when such bad stuff is happening in Iraq? On the other hand, why give in to the terrorists and let them control our heads? Still, I feel sick at heart about the Marines.

I read that the Army and the Marines are not meeting their enlistment quotas and I have two thoughts about this problem:

One, pay them a lot more. Not just a little more, but a lot more. Much, much more. They are indispensable. Let’s treat them that way. If we have to raise taxes to do it, let’s do it. These guys deserve a great life style if they offer up their lives for us.

Second, why would anyone join the Army if he reads the newspapers and watches TV? The mainstream media show the military doing three things: being criminals, abusing captives, killing civilians, torturing the innocent — that’s one way. Then they show the Army being stupid, making mistakes that get people killed. That’s the second way. Then they show the military getting killed.

Who would want to join a military that’s criminal, stupid, and a deathtrap?

But what if the media showed the military building schools, saving little children’s lives, feeding families, getting sick people medical care? What if the media showed smiling, grateful Iraqis thanking the Army and the Marines? What if the media showed the military winning battles and capturing and killing terrorists?

But this is the more true picture of the military and it rarely gets showed.

Again, why wouldn’t the Army and Marines have trouble attracting recruits if the media is endlessly saying you have to be a fool to enlist?

Well, I guess it never ends, does it?

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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