THE camera tracks a mother's field of vision as she hovers over a checkbook and a calculator lying on her kitchen table. She looks up as her daughter, a young African-American woman, sits down to speak with her.
"Look Mom, if I decide I still want to be a doctor when I get out, I'll have had four years experience as a nurse or an X-ray tech or an O.T. specialist working with real patients," the daughter says, speaking directly into the camera and into her mother's eyes. "That's why I want to enlist in the military; it'll be good for my career. What do you think? Mom?"
Block letters spelling out "Your Turn" rise across the daughter's face. But before the mother's response can be heard, the advertisement fades to white and displays the address of the Defense Department's military recruitment Web site. A no-nonsense voice-over then weighs in, offering advice to parents: "Make it a two-way conversation. Get the facts at todaysmilitary.com."
With the brutal realities of the ground war in Iraq contributing to a well-publicized drop-off in recruitment, the federal government will roll out a sophisticated and expansive marketing campaign on Oct. 17 that will rely on advertisements like this one to convince parents - mothers in particular - that military service remains a wise choice for their children.
Well, I went to that site above- and couldn't find what I found in an earlier edition of this book:
Studies during World War II indicated that as after as few as 100 to 200 days of combat stress, the average infantryman is a mental and physical wreck, incapable of further purformance. Most infantrymen don't survive that long. With a minimum daily casualty rate of 2 percent, the chances of keeping body and soul together for 150 days are slim.
The Standard of Living at the Front
It is very low. The overriding goal is not to get hit with flying objects. This requires being inconspicuous, as what the enemy can't see he can't shoot at, at least not deliberately...[M]ost infantrymen live like hobbits, underground. At that, it's an uneasy life. There's much work to be done. Positions must be prepared and maintained...Enemy fire and Mother Nature conspire to keeep everything dirty, damaged, and on the verge of breakdown.
About 10% of all casualties are attributed to combat fatigue1 the cumulative effect of little sleep, poor food, ...dreary living conditions, and the constant threat of random death or mutiliation. If it rains, you usually get wet. If it stays damp, you are in constant danger of all those afflictions that arise from constant exposure, like trench foot (your toes literally rot). If it's a tropical climate, you can rot all over...Staying clean is nearly impossible, as you are living in the dirt...
Now of course "today's army" has a different mission, but there's still people shooting at them. Funny how the US military website doesn't mention that in big bold letters...
1. "Combat fatigue" of course is a big hazard- and can, if severe result in catatonia...The "Today's Military" site left that one off, too.