The Military’s New Recruits

The ‘long war‘ is really an ironic concept. The irony comes in the fact that America’s “battle-hardened, unmatched military dominance” cannot defeat this “whimsical, cowardly” antagonist called “terror.” Well actually, that’s not the military (read: the soldiers) fault. That is the fault of the leadership of the military. Unfortunately, there is zero accountability on the part of the leadership of the military for their failures. Instead, they are breaking the army. Well, broken stuff has to be fixed right? Salon.com is showing us how it’s being fixed. I’ll tell you why their solution is just plain evil.

From the article:

Facing an enlistment crisis, the Army is granting “waivers” to an increasingly high percentage of recruits with criminal records — and trying to hide it.

Where do we begin? What comes first: the chicken, or the egg? What’s worse: the fact that they are hiring criminals, or the fact that they don’t want you to know about it?

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows how I feel about the lack of focus on criminal rehabilitation and prison re-entry programs that exist today.

I think this “Army Internship for the Previously Disenfranchised” is a ridiculous and underhanded attempt to subvert integrious recruitment tactics and keep the numbers of minorities in the armed forces nice and disproportionate. Think about it. We know that there are disproportionate numbers of black and Latin males in prison today. We also know that many lower-income urban communities are populated by black and Latin people. If I was stupid, which I may be, I could look at that and say, “if I want to find a bunch of black and Latin men, let me go to a population that has an abnormal proportion of these individuals and look.” That would leave me with two “legitimate” options. The first is to recruit from the hood, the second is to recruit from jail. I mean besides, these are already societies outcasts anyway (the poor and the imprisoned) in some people’s eyes, right? That is why they think it’s OK to throw the into the fire of war. If they lose their lives, at least it wasn’t someone “valuable.”

Why try to hide it? The military already does this! The numbers are clear and support that something fishy must be going on. People can’t think that Black people overwhelmingly want to join the military more so than others, can they? Maybe I’m the stupid one who fails to see that as reality, but I digress. Why not say “we are doing this because we fear we may not hit our numbers and must therefore re-evaluate how/where we recruit” out loud? Because they know that the program is sinister and racist, and don’t want this to be any more obvious, thus marking the difference in today’s struggle against covert racism with the yesterdays struggle against overt racism.

So what do we do about this? BE INFORMED! Spread the word and let people know about these underhanded tactics to take members away from our community and use them as pawns of oppression. Tell your friends and relatives and acquaintances and neighbors to be wary of recruiters using such carrot and stick tactics as higher bonuses (the carrot) to entice enlistment and possible execution by foreign adversaries (the stick).

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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