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As another OIF veteran ('04-05), I think this kind of attitude doesn't really make the argument that liberals "support the troops" as well or better than conservatives do.

If your view of soldiers is that they're all suckers and victims, you're being condescending, not supportive. Thank God Barack Obama has never been associated with these kinds of comments.

Posted by Martin H. Duke | October 23, 2008 12:08 PM

Evan, thank you for speaking so courageously on this issue. Thank you, also, for disproportionately paying the cost of the shitty leadership we've had in this country for the last eight years. We are all indebted to you.

Posted by TVDinner | October 23, 2008 12:09 PM

We had recruiters on my HS campus that gave people Marine keychains and things for doing pull-ups or push-ups. I remember thinking they were cool at the time, so I went down to their office to have an interview with the guy. Scared my mom to death. I can definitely see how their methods work on kids.

Posted by sepiolida | October 23, 2008 12:24 PM

There is one part of this letter that effectively negates the rest of this veteran's argument: public property. If the recruiters are showing up to events on public property, there is really nothing to be done about it because it's a slippery slope when you ban one group from public places and sets a precedent for future discrimination.

Posted by CQ | October 23, 2008 1:04 PM

why not Scientology and their fraudulent stress test? People know that the military involves a the possibility of death.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 23, 2008 1:14 PM

We need a lot of people in the military. Three types join:

1. People who have options and really think the military is the best one. Good for them.

2. People with few or no options (the poor) and think the military is the least shittiest choice. Sucks to be poor.

3. Gullible/dumb people. Darwin's sieve.

There's no way the draft is coming back, and the demand for troops will always exceed the number of smart people with other options. So, voila recruiters.

Posted by Tiktok | October 23, 2008 1:16 PM

It's not really the recruiters' faults. The military doesn't always give people a lot of choices about their assignments, and they are under a tremendous amount of pressure to maintain the same recruitment numbers their pre-war counterparts did, only now it's probably a hundred times harder.

As a result? There has actually been a huge increase in suicide among recruiters, at least according to my husband (who is now deployed overseas and has, thank goodness, never taken a recruiting shore tour).

The detailers lie, the recruiters lie. They're more or less under immense pressure to lie. If you want to blame something, individual augmentee and stop loss programs are a good place to start.

Posted by gember | October 23, 2008 1:35 PM

"Vultures selling our children into servitude"?Oh, give me a break. As a seven-year veteran myself, I have to disagree. People hear what they want to hear. I've spoken with several recruiters, and even did a two-week stint in hometown recruiting myself. Never once did I ever hear any recruiters say, "you're not going to war." On the contrary, it was always put out there that the possibility exists. If you signed up within the last 7 years thinking you weren't going to get deployed, you're an idiot. Yeah, they have a lot of sales tactics (bonuses, tuition reimbursement, automatic rank for education, GI Bill) but that whole sterotype of recruiters telling highschool kids, "yeah, sign up. You'll get a desk job and never deploy" is bullshit.

Posted by Old Mama Chips | October 23, 2008 1:38 PM

how about you stop whining and admit that you were suckered?. Its not your cities job to protect stupid people from themselves.

Posted by Wurm | October 23, 2008 1:55 PM

I thought this was whiny.

My last post in the Army I had a choice between being a military recruiter or being chief clerk (after remuster from Combat Field Engineer) - I ended up the latter, but still think the former is an equally valid choice.

Look, the military is there to impose chaos on the enemy and project force against other nations and the indigenous population of whatever country it's in - that's your job. Don't like it, then leave.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 23, 2008 2:05 PM

Evan Knappenberger has had a lot to say lately. He wrote a guest editorial in Tuesday's P-I that I quite enjoyed:

Posted by mynameiskate | October 23, 2008 2:48 PM

I wonder if it would be worth the breath and keystrokes to ask the PAX organizers not to give expo hall space to America's Army. I'm sure the argument would be made that it sets a dangerous precedent, etc., and maybe they don't think they can legally deny space to anyone who wants to pay for it. But plain and simple, AA is not a video game as much as it is an interactive propaganda and recruitment tool. Would PAX similarly give floor space to the developers of Special Operation 85: Hostage Rescue?

Posted by K | October 23, 2008 4:41 PM

I went to the movie last night and I could hardly sit and keep quiet. The National Guard ran a commercial with Dale Ernhardt and some famous country singer telling us how great the military is (there was even a cardboard cutout in the lobby ~5'x5'). Not only can you be like the great Nascar driver and really make a difference you can download the song FOR FREE!

5 years ago, I sat in the recruiter's office with my son and can vouch that nothing the recruiter said was what happened after my child was inducted. Nothing!!! I do my best to let other parents know that they should not sit idly by while their children are recruited.

Posted by MomOfVet | October 24, 2008 9:57 AM

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