Sunday, June 26, 2005

recruiting and the Orwellian road

Stories about the Pentagon's growing inability to meet recruiting goals have become a news staple over the past two years. Most recently, the Army failed to meet its goal in May, coming in 37% under its original target; even when it REDUCED its desired numbers it came up 25% short.

The Pentagon is working hard to maintain access to our high schools, the best source for recruits. The Washington Post recently reported that the Pentagon has hired a private marketing company to set up a database of high school students that could be potential enlistees. Nothing too intrusive, you understand - email addresses, SSN, grades, ethnicity, list of courses... all the data you need to identify and actually make contact with the student, and some extra bits to tailor the pitch appropriately to attract young Britney or Diego.

Adding insult to injury, the Pentagon can without further permission, pass on the info they gather to other agencies, including law enforcement agencies, tax authorities, and Congress (?!?!).

But it would be unPatriotic to complain about this -- the ability of a recruiter to tell Juan or Zach that if they don't join the Army, he'll have no choice but to pass on a few juicy details from their dossier to the local cops or the IRS is an important tool if we are to meet our manpower needs as we seek to establish a Comprehensive National Security State. After all, this is what we voted for when we acquiesced in the results that determined Bush would get another term in 2004.

One more step back in time, en route to 1984.

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