Well that didn't take long. Polls across America had been closed for less than 24 hours and Army Career Counselors were already exploiting Barack Obama's victory in an effort to recruit former soldiers back into units. This email was forwarded to me by an Iraq veteran and former Army captain who received it on Wednesday:
The relevant text says:
24 Month Mobilization Deferment. A President Elect who says he'll get us out of Iraq. What are you waiting for? Stop taking your chance's [sic] in the IRR and be safe from deployment for 2 years. By that time our new President will have gotten us out of these other countries.
For those who are unfamiliar, this means that if you're a former soldier who's still subject to being recalled to active duty (IRR), you can join a Reserve or National Guard unit on a contract that guarantees you won't go anywhere for at least two years. That's all well and good. But in this email, the career counselor seriously raises some eyebrows in suggesting that by the end of the two years, Obama "will have gotten us out of these other countries."
So has this career counselor simply gone "rogue" on us? Or is this going to be the new method by which the Army attracts soldiers into--and back into--the ranks? Leaving aside for a moment the fact that the recruiter is making a promise he knows he can't keep, I'll be honest: I'd be lying if I said the prospect of an Obama administration hadn't made me consider the possibility of rejoining. So, in essence, this career counselor has probably just taken a logical, reasonable step.
But larger questions become immediately apparent: Was this career counselor told to use this tactic by his chain of command or not? Is this going to be a shift in recruiting Army-wide? Is the Army going to use President Obama as a recruiting tool? If so, this would symbolize a stunning--if not totally rational--renunciation of the Bush administration and its handling of the military. If this becomes an Army policy, it represents a true "ding-dong the witch is dead" moment for the service.
We'll be watching this closely to see if other, higher-ranking officers make similar statements. Because it's a fact that many of them have been eagerly awaiting this moment to begin the rebuilding process.
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