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Army Throws Cash at Recruitment Problem

Posted on Aug 9, 2007

In an effort to combat ever dwindling enthusiasm among America’s youths for a career in the military, the Army is enlarging its recruitment staff, loosening age and criminal record restrictions and offering more cash bonuses, such as $45,000 tax-free to buy a house. Last year the Army spent $1 billion on bonuses and advertisements.


Need a down-payment for your home? Seed money to start a business? The Army wants to help - if you’re willing to join up. Despite spending nearly $1 billion last year on recruiting bonuses and ads, Army leaders say an even bolder approach is needed to fill wartime ranks.

Under a new proposal, men and women who enlist could pick from a “buffet” of incentives, including up to $45,000 tax-free that they accrue during their career to help buy a home or build a business. Other options would include money for college and to pay off student loans.

An Associated Press review of the increasingly aggressive recruiting offerings found the Army is not only dangling more sign-up rewards - it’s loosening rules on age and weight limits, education and drug and criminal records.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 11, 2007 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

#93835 by the 1Sgt on 8/10 at 6:44 pm: “...The Israeli Lobby: Aipac..”

Thanks for the reminder, 1sgt - you’ll get promoted yet, ha ha.

People tend to get confused with discussion about “the Israeli lobby” in the USA (and elsewhere too). As described in the first clip, it is actually a tricky two-step between them and the poor Christians who believe in Israel as some kind of “promised land” in a religious sense instead of in a political sense.

The real ‘dog in the manger’, then, is the Christians United for Israel organization, the leader of which, ‘pastor’ John Hagee, is actively promoting a warped message of “Christian Zionism” and a “history of the Middle East” based entirely on a pro-Jewish perspective. See and check the About, Learn + Christian Zionism pages.

Quote CUFI: “The Bible commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to speak out for Zion’s sake,  to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, and to bless the Jewish people. These and so many other verses of the Bible have one overriding message as Christians we have a Biblical obligation to defend Israel and the Jewish people in their time of need….”

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth and Israel certainly doesn’t need Christians to be its watchmen “on the walls of Jerusalem”. One only has to ask the Maronite Catholic Christians of Lebanon or the Arab Christian Palestinians forced from their homes in what is now Israel how much they were “needed” as Christians!

What is worse is the American Christian fundamentalist concept of “Christian Zionism” intentionally and deliberately scheming and working to provoke any kind of conflict in the M.East to ensure the support of Israel and “the return of the Jewish people” to their illusory biblical homeland in some mistaken gesture of misplaced gratitude.

These Christians are essentially deluded as Jesus’ existence in the historical “Israel” actually cost him is life and at the behest of the Jews he had come to teach. Even then, they couldn’t stand someone meddling in their religious affairs and intrigues of state as puppets of the Romans and got rid of him permanently. Now, they still long for a fantasy messiah despite having repudiated the one they schemed to murder.

Quote CUFI: “Christian Zionism can be defined as Christian support for the Zionist cause — the return of the Jewish people to its biblical homeland in Israel. It is a belief among some Christians that the return of Jews to Israel is in line with a biblical prophecy, and is necessary for Jesus to return to Earth as its king. These Christians are partly motivated by the writings of the Bible and the words of the prophets. However, they are also driven to support Israel because they wish to “repay the debt of gratitude to the Jewish people for providing Christ and the other fundamentals of their faith,”.....”.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 11, 2007 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

#94077 by Frank on 8/11 at 4:57 pm: “...strictly speaking, American and British private security contractors serving in Iraq are not mercenaries, because they are nationals of a country involved in the conflict (USA or Britain). All soldiers are paid, both regular military and private, so salary does not define what is a ‘mercenary’...”

Frank, if I may, you have adequately defined who is and isn’t a “mercenary” but “patriotism and willingness to serve their country” is entirely a different matter and is at the heart of this topic and why people ar losing interest in the military and their government in the USA.

It has now become quite clear that talk of patriotism in the last several years is no more than a ploy to delude people into doing whatever the administration wishes. The fact that there is an over-riding Neocon self-serving agenda can no longer be detached from that and ordinary people are no longer so easily deluded.

Lest also look at the old rubric “willingness to serve your country”, too. What has really been happeneing is that many people depend on the military for employment. That is because there is little else to offer since the US rust-belt industries left and US corporate investors built their new factories cheaper in China or elsewhere in Asia.

There has intentionally been a large standing army since the end of WW2 for reasons solely based on the elitist desire for an ever-expanding imperialistic USA. That is not service but slavery and the enslavement of peoples and nations around the globe. US men and women who have enlisted in the armed forces have thus been callously used for the benefit of the corporate investors in the parasitic industrial complex which serves the military.

In other words, “patriotism and willingness to serve your country” have been deliberately usurped by US governments over the past 62 years to create gains for their friends on Wall street. “Freedom and democracy” are the other terms which have been reduced to a mockery as well. The name of the game is power, domination and profit. No more and no less!

As for you, being an enlister for the military or a supporter of the GOP political party is hardly a qualification for unbiased comment on a topic which has been at the root of deceiving people of good will in the military and sending them off to be used as cannon fodder in ever more “wars” which, ever since Korea in 1950, have only really bee invasions or illegitimate incursions into other peoples’ countries.

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By Frank, August 11, 2007 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

1drees, strictly speaking, American and British private security contractors serving in Iraq are not mercenaries, because they are nationals of a country involved in the conflict (USA or Britain). All soldiers are paid, both regular military and private, so salary does not define what is a ‘mercenary’. The Geneva Conventions define what a mercenary is, and under that definition American and British contractors serving alongside their nations’ militaries in a war zone are clearly not mercenaries. True mercenaries are soldiers who are not nationals (citizens) of any party to a conflict, and are tasked with engaging in combat as regular soldiers would. Mercenaries are not employed by their own country nor do they serve their own country in any capacity, and therefore are said to be soley motivated by profit. This is why they are generally not respected as regular military are.

Most American security contractors in Iraq are highly experienced former US military and law enforcement personel who still have the same sense of patriotism and willingness to serve their country that they always had. This is particularly true in Iraq where they are tasked with protecting Americans, both private persons and US military personel. They also protect and maintain equipment used by US soldiers there, including combat aircraft. They are mostly employed by their own government through security contracts, and they know they are a critical part of their countries war effort, no less so than regular US military personel.

Unlike mercenaries, American security contractors are not hired to engage in offensive combat to capture territory or military objectives, but are there only to protect people and facilities from attack. You wouldn’t call the private security guard at a local office building a ‘mercenary’. The security contractors in Iraq are doing a similiar job, only in a much more dangerous environment and with the appropriate armament and experience for that environment.

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By vet240, August 11, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

1drees, your observations are very perceptive of the truth. What country is your home?

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By moni, August 11, 2007 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

‘. . . . men and women who enlist could pick from a “buffet” of incentives, including up to $45,000 tax-free that they accrue during their career to help buy a home or build a business. Other options would include money for college and to pay off student loans.’

Very generous incentives.  There are cases where both parents of children are simultaneously recruited in this inane war.  At least their children will be cared for even if they ARE left orphaned.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 11, 2007 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

Cash helps - same with the mercenaries. Its been a long time since anyone actually “served” their country - as a drafted conscript. Did you really want me to comment about the “criminal” part too….???

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By vet240, August 10, 2007 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

Mary and RAE, you both have very good points! I’ll take a dozen of those and a dozen of these!

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By farmertx, August 10, 2007 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

RAE You really need to get out and see what the world is all about.
What you described was a fairly accurate picture of boot camp in the 60’s. Things have changed somewhat since then.
You are very adept at reading words that aren’t written. I don’t writein code. What I writeis what I mean to say, not something else.
As for “your Shrub”, you really need to get someone proficient in English to read and explain my past posts.

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By RAE, August 10, 2007 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment


It seems you support the notion that to take young people, full of individualism, enthusiasm, idealism, optimism and creativity and naivete and put them through two years of dehumanizing, dispiriting psychological abuse, to turn them into “Yes sir, how high sir?” robots for the further abuse of such criminally insane “leaders” as your “Shrub, is a GOOD THING. If you do then you’re as nutty as Mary!

I DO agree that learning a little respect for others and a little self-discipline wouldn’t hurt the average American (& other) teenagers. There’s a lot of them who seem to think the world OWES THEM something just for breathing.

I do NOT agree that “busting their b*lls” in boot camp is the best way to accomplish this. Sure you can train a dog to do just about anything if you brutalize it, but what do you have when you’ve completed such “education?” I’ll tell you what - a ruined and lost opportunity for excellence. You just traded it in for permanent, replicable mediocrity.

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By P. T., August 10, 2007 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

Nobody join up until the politicians’ children do.

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By 1drees, August 10, 2007 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All the news comming from Iraq vets is quiet discouraging, if i was an American i would never show up at the recruitment office. First of all its actually AN ILLEGAL INVASION ( & Me dont like being criminal in my eyes) and a small part of a very large global expansion plan, they lie to you at the recuitment centre ( might promise no war deployment but many did get there), then you might even get sexaully abused (even if you are a man, 33% of women get assaulted), then you are in DU all the time ( best way to develop some cancers), supposing you get injured its said that many people are not being given the treatments. Then on discharge, of course, there will be the compulsion by the military to tell THEIR LIES as they want it to be told ( Best examples tillman case, jessica lynch case, etc etc)

BUT the Military is bright, they have hired loads of BLACKWATER or KB&R or CACI Mercenaries( being paid exorbitantly & no uniforms & no rules for them) and other than that the military is also thinking about granting citizenships to the nonUSA people who are in this war or comming wars. one way of making up for the americans that do not show up.

So even if the Americans dont want to fight , they will find others to fight under the same flag to continue the WARS.

IT IS REALLY PATHETIC that there is no way for certain people to pay for their college and that they have to be forced to fight and fight just coz they think they need the money for their education.

Also one ex-army reported that army has sent him a letter asking him to payup for the “damages he did to the army” 4 years after his honorable discharge, they do not give details But did say that letters worth 1.5 million have been sent to the soldiers for the damages they did to the army, Soldiers are confused, that really helps the recruitment future

BUT i do cry when i see what this stupid planet has come to.

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By RickinSF, August 10, 2007 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

OK, does the 45K come at signup or after discharge?
If I’m going to risk get my leg or nuts blown off I’d like to know I won’t be spending the remainder of my life fighting Uncle Sam for it, because he WILL try to screw me out of it.

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By farmertx, August 10, 2007 at 8:44 am Link to this comment


The way I read Marys’ post wasn’t the same as your reading.
To me, she wasn’t espousing a need for the Iraq ‘war’, just stating that all young people need a dose of reality that boot camp and two years service in the Military can bring. Amen to that.
Granted that the current occupant of the WH has used American patriotism for his own twisted ends.
But, he is the first and hopefully will be the last totally clueless person ever appointed to be President.
I knew that the Shrub would be bad. But even I have been surprised by how bad and ineffective he has been.
America will always need a military. Not to go out and wage war to satisfy some draft dodger’s ego, but to actually protect this country.
If all peoples were enlightened as they could be, then war would be a thing of the past.
They aren’t and it isn’t.
I can’t blame anyone for feeling pride in serving in our military in the past. Feeling pride in how the Shrub has misused and shortchanged our current military (with quite a bit of help from Generals who should have remembered Duty Honor Country, but didn’t) is entirely different.

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By RAE, August 10, 2007 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

Poor, sick-in-the-head Mary #93655…

“... not all jobs in the military require killing people…”

Oh REALLY! In my culture ASSISTING a murderer brings the same penalties as actually pulling the trigger.

“... a real sense of civic pride.”

Oh GREAT! Just what Americans need… MORE chest-thumping, flag-waving, horn-blowing, self-congratulatory PRIDE… (which, by the way GOETH BEFORE THE FALL.)

“... my family… in every war… proud to be an American.”

Oh PUKE! You and your family are just what this world DOESN’T need… more self-righteous, aggressive, shoot first-ask questions later, my country right or wrong, mentally unbalanced violent misfits who consider FIGHTING as an honorable method of human intercourse.

Dear Mary… choosing to “drop your gloves” and fight is a clear signal THAT YOUR BRAIN HAS FAILED YOU ONCE AGAIN. Going to WAR is a demonstration to all the universe that you weren’t able to solve your problem using intelligence, insight, education… “smarts” we used to call these talents.

Choosing to go to war, ESPECIALLY when you’re not even being invaded, is a CRIMINALLY RETARDED ACT to say the least - I think all adminstrators of any country that does it, including the USA, should be hauled before the International Court and be locked away for life. The rest of the world simply doesn’t need your chaos-for-profit culture.

Americans who think like you have got far more GUNS than BRAINS. Guess you gotta go with your strengths.

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By mary, August 10, 2007 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

It’s time to bring back the draft, no exceptions, no deferments.  Not all military jobs require killing people.  Take back the privatization of all government services and let our young people actually do this work, learn something about our government and serve this country.  Those who choose to stay on for fighting military jobs will be better prepared and those who don’t can enter college or other pursuits matured and hopefully with a real sense of civic pride. 

My family has a long line of military service, over many generations and every war this country has been engaged in.  They make me proud to be an American.  It’s time to take a good hard look at how we recruit, support and treat our fighting men and women

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By ChicagoGuy, August 10, 2007 at 4:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Want to end this war? Reinstate the Draft without any exemptions execpt “real” medical problems. The only reason this administration is giving out these bonuses is because they, like Romney who has five sons, do not wish to have their kids fight their war. What absolute HYPOCRISY! 

We can’t seem to find the money to treat our troops who have need of medical care yet, we can find money for recruitment bonuses. When will our politicians see through this BS? When will the average American stand up and say no to this deceit? Wake Up People! Stop allowing this administration to use our poor for fodder all the while allowing their kids to avoid the war. They wanted this war, then let them send their kids.

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By the 1Sgt, August 10, 2007 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

#93593 by elendil on 8/09 at 8:01 pm
(Unregistered commenter)

Any kid who signs up to kill Iraqis, destabilise their region and steal their oil for a mere $45,000 fully deserves the gruesome and lonely death that awaits them.
Bad on YOU to wish them ill will.

None of these people walk into the recruiters office to do any of that you dimwit.

They go there for opportunity. Unless you haven’t noticed, no rich kids don’t enlist in droves after HS. Daddy sends them to college.

It’s those poor people, those who do not have the means to support themselves, stuck in low end jobs and no way to survive in today’s low wage economy that enlist.

Take a look at the standards for joining the Army, you can now be as old as 42. For the first time, we have more waivers for criminal backgrounds.

Now the bigger bonuses.

Soon it will be a DRAFT. This way BUSHco and the stooges that follow him will use YOU.

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By dosa, August 9, 2007 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

how about stock options in the new iraq inc.

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By June, August 9, 2007 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the meantime, US taxpayers are footing the bill for Blackwater “security forces” in Iraq at many times the cost of enlisting and then paying regular military men and women.  In New Orleans, where Blackwater provided armed personnel after Katrina, individual mercenaries were being paid $350 a day, but Blackwater was billing the government $950 a day for their services. We all need to get behind Congress and demand that this kind of outrage stop.

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By elendil, August 9, 2007 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Any kid who signs up to kill Iraqis, destabilise their region and steal their oil for a mere $45,000 fully deserves the gruesome and lonely death that awaits them. After Bush’s 911-Saddam and WMD lies were revealed for what they were, how can there be any more excuses? You would have to be very dim indeed to believe that being a soldier is any more noble than being a poorly paid mercenary in this corrupt era.

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By farmertx, August 9, 2007 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

But what happened to all the people lining up to enlist?

Actually, it isn’t a bad deal for the government. Odds are the soldier will get killed or suffer some administrative penalty for a rules violation and thus be ineligible for the bonus.

Meanwhile, they have a warm body to send to al Quedas’ training camp. That is how I have thought of Iraq; a training facility where our troops are used as targets so the terrorist’s can perfect their tactics.

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By Leefeller, August 9, 2007 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

Well it is reassuring to know since Bush did not go to Vietnam, the price of cannon fodder (now it is roadside bomb fodder) has gone way up. From what we have been told the mercenary army pays much more, except they do not get V.A medical benefits, not yet anyway.

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