Chapter 1 - Military Enlistment Ruins Lives
Americans are conditioned to “support the troops” and every aspect of entrenched militarism, although a growing number recognize militarism as a cancer on the body politic. What’s wrong with the military? Why should we be concerned with military recruiters “chillin” with kids in the cafeteria?
Nearly 40% of all Army enlistees never complete their first term. Imagine the emotional suffering and excruciating pain endured by those who really didn’t “volunteer” in the first place. Americans are persuaded to believe we have a volunteer force, but it is actually a “recruited” force.
The perpetual demand for new recruits, coupled with a military recruiter quota system, conspires to bring vast numbers of pathetic souls into an unforgiving, hostile environment that discards pitiful, failing youth like scrap materials filling military landfills.
There were more than 20,000 deserters from the Army alone during the period from 2006 to 2014. Desertion is so common the military often looks the other way.
Forty-five percent of the 1.6 million veterans of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have filed injury claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Furthermore, the veterans are claiming an average of 8-9 physical or mental injuries each. (For comparison, only 21% of veterans filed injury claims after the 1991 Gulf War.)
The following numbers were supplied by the DOD in 2012 for various injuries claimed by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans:
- More than 1,600 of them lost a limb; many others lost fingers or toes.
- At least 156 are blind, and thousands of others have impaired vision.
- More than 177,000 have hearing loss, and more than 350,000 report tinnitus (noise or ringing in the ears).
- Thousands are disfigured, as many as 200 of them so badly that they may need face transplants. One-quarter of battlefield injuries requiring evacuation included wounds to the face or jaw, one study found.
- More than 400,000 of them have been treated by the VA for mental health problems, most commonly PTSD.
Nearly half of the 770,000 soldiers polled in 2014 “have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.”
Musculoskeletal injuries in the military result in 2.2 million medical encounters yearly. Sexual assaults are at or near record levels in the military. Only 1 in 7 victims reported their attacks, and just 1 in 10 of those cases went to trial.
Military enlistment ruins lives.