Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is the military functioning as a social services agency?

Distressed economy helping to boost new enlistments, military recruiters say.

"...recruiters say that the distressed economy is helping boost their numbers, but they also credit educational benefits and marketing as the reason they are seeing more troops signing up."

More people are enlisting in the military because they cannot find jobs or because they merely want an education or health care. This might be causing the army to meet its recrutiment goals, but I think it's a sad commentary about how our nation deals with unemployment and the lack of basic social services.

We have the means to provide jobs, health care and education to our citizens that don't have them, however, we don't, because we view that as bad or socialistic or adding to the deficit.

Instead, many in need join military.

This puts huge new bureaucratic and financial burdens on the Department of Defense, because along with its primary role of protecting the nation, it now has to function as a social services agency.

It's unfair to professional soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who have chosen the military for their career and want to be among people with the same goals, aspirations and dedicition and who take on the risks associated with military service proudly and voluntarily.

However, it is supremely unjust to people who just need a job or want healthcare or desire an education yet have no other alternative than to obtain these things through military serivce. Some might even end up dying because they simply wanted a college degree.

I find this morally reprehensible and as the great nation we are, we should be above that.

It's also the height of hypocrisy because the money is being spent anyway, but because it is going through the military and thus, classified as "defense spending," we are okay with that. (Even if some people have to die.)

It would be far better and more effective to simply remove this burden from the military and sustain the spending through the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Eduction, but we don't.

As a result, some child's parent might needlessly die because all they wanted was health care for their kid.


googleheim said...

This was addressed last fall here in the blog.

It is not that the enlistees are too poor or too stupid, or somehow devoid of real patriotism ...

The issue here is that not everyone is made of the right stuff for these jobs, and as many are packed into the military there are indeed many who are not ready nor fit and they are actually not a good component for a military if they are going to need special care to alleviate the obvious stress that this job entails.

We need the best of the best for these jobs, not the rest of the best.

mike norman said...

Yes, goog. I put it in again because the stories about this have surfaced in the media. Why is it that a great country like ours cannot just take the social services out of the military and keep them functioning as social services? Do people have to die for a job? It's morally reprehensible, at least that is my opinion.

googleheim said...

Yes, we'll probably see this again too.

You bring up a great point that social services outside of the military might not only make good economic sense, but also make good healthcare sense because the soliders are not concentrated into blocks of similar treatments - there is not enough ecosystem within the military to guarantee BEST OF PRACTICE methods given that it is not subject to the main street / main stream diversity.

I'd rather not soldiers all be pigeoned holed into the same clinic.

I'd prefer they are allowed to outside the network if they want.