Why is the Military a Last Resort?

Joining the military is, of course, a dead-end "last resort" for people. At least, that seems to be the angle from which this piece for CBS News is crafted from. It must be shocking and horrible to a news producer or an editorial assistant working in New York City to have to deal with people who live in other parts of the country who choose to enter the military. The story of the young wiseass is all too familiar. Over-educated, and holding a worthless degree in the arts? Well, join the Marines. That makes sense to anyone who has ever lived more than ten years as an adult.

The story of the single mother with two children is very familiar as well. She will go to basic, and her mother will care for the children. She'll go to her first duty station, and they'll probably deploy her. The kids will go back to her mother. After her first deployment, she might have a chance at a stable home life. Somewhere in there, life will get in the way and she might have to get out of the military within her first two years. I say, give her a chance, and hopefully, she can get through that first enlistment. She might have a career--many women do. It's worth it to see if she can make it.

A bad economy has always made the life of a military recruiter much easier. When there were boom times in the mid-2000s, no one wanted to join the military. Soon after that, the economy went into a permanent nosedive, ensuring that there would always be a fresh body to serve overseas.

Should we accept permanent war as a part of our economy? Or should we professionalize our military and make it a first or second choice for people and not a "last resort?" And when I say "professionalize," I don't mean that there aren't already professionals serving. I mean, double the pay for members of the military, give them access to education and training that goes well beyond what's available now, and make it a smaller force that doesn't need to be deployed all over the world. I mean that we should reduce the size and the mission of our armed forces and eliminate much of our global footprint and create a military that solely protects vital American interests, and not the economic interests of oil companies or contractors.

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