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The Silver Lining to the Unemployment Cloud

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The Military Officers Association of America reports:

"The Pentagon announced this week that each of the Services met or exceeded their active duty recruiting goals, both in quantity and quality, for fiscal year 2010.

"The Reserve Components all met their goals – except for the Army National Guard, which intentionally under-recruited to stay within its statutory manpower limit.

"Still, Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, cautioned that the long-term recruiting environment remains challenging despite the high unemployment that helps current recruiting numbers.

"While the propensity of young men and women to enlist is up from years past, Stanley noted that only three in ten Americans between ages 17 and 24 years actually qualify to enlist due to medical, educational, or behavioral problems."

This happens to be a matter of national security, according to Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said, “We’ve never had this problem of young people being obese like we have today."

It also inspired a side-splitting piece by George Saunders, which appeared in the New Yorker not long ago.

Key passage to whet your appetite:

"From his position at the top of the hill, Sergeant Chandler motioned for Parker and me to discontinue the covering fire and join him. We advanced up the hill by walking wearily in one direction, then wearily in the other, doing this kind of serpentine thing, making basically no progress whatsoever. Because, the thing was, when we tried to walk straight uphill? It was pretty much undoable. That mild rise was a lot steeper than it looked. Finally, we just gave up. No one could blame us. Going up that hill was just—wow—forget about it. We joined Elder, Ames, Leonard, and Tracker beneath a small tree. It was sweet to not be walking anymore. Parker had some Dentyne Ice. I still had part of my Twinkie from lunch. Tracker had some Doritos, although it was mostly just crumbs at the bottom of the bag. Still, one thing we’d learned in the Army: those crumbs often have a more concentrated Doritos flavor. Elder found some Fruit Roll-Ups and a Sprite in his pack. How had he got all that extra room in there? we wanted to know. Easy, he said—just leave your hand grenades back at the base. We all high-fived Elder, hopeful that he might divide the Fruit Roll-Ups into equal portions."

To read the whole thing, click here. It's worth your while.
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