Why Americans join the military
The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff views military recruitment through a distorted lens that glosses over such socio-economic discrepancies and the failure of the American education. He remarked that this generation is “wired to serve, and we just have to figure out how to give them the paths to serve.” He affirms that “everyone is aware of the threat and yet they do sign up, they do raise their right hand and they come to serve because of [the 9/11 attacks].”
Educational incentives (e.g. GI Bill, Tuition Assistance, College Loan Repayment Program) are the primary reason for joining the American Armed Forces. [Similarly in Afghanistan] “the number one motivator to join the [Afghan] army and police is literacy,” according to the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan Commander’s deputy.
Tragically, many service-members join or remain in uniform for the hyper-economic benefits associated with military service. While there ought to be non-violent alternatives, one cannot blame these men and women for looking out for themselves and their families. If that means multiple deployments to preventable wars, like Iraq, then they must do so to make ends meet.
In this regard, US service members are victims upon enlistment; with jobs increasingly scarce in America’s corporate economy, more and more enlist just for the basic benefits.
A struggling American economy and the largest wealth gap between minorities and Caucasians in generations means that the Pentagon will have plenty of fodder from which to recruit into the proletariat of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
[Excerpts from a Counterpunch article by Christian Sorensen]