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Phyllis Schlafly
by: Phyllis Schlafly

No Longer Trying To Be All You Can Be

October 6, 1999

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The Pentagon is complaining that it's now in a near-crisis because recruitment numbers have taken a nose dive. The Army and Air Force are falling far short of their targeted goals, while the Navy is squeaking by only by lowering its standards and recruiting quotas.

The Army is trying to entice young men to enlist by offering "signing bonuses." Recruits can get an extra $6,000 for signing up this week on top of other bonuses including as much as $50,000 for college tuition.

The Pentagon is blaming our affluent society, low unemployment, civilian career opportunities, the fact that the pool of young men age 18 to 22 has declined, and particularly the drop in the number who have high school diplomas. The Army is starting a program to pay thousands in this latter group to study for G.E.D.s so they can qualify to enlist, which of course means that the taxpayers will pay a second time to teach recruits what they weren't taught in public schools.

The Army has ordered hundreds of new enlistees to go back to their home town to persuade some of their old neighbors to sign up. When a New York Times reporter asked one of these new privates what his sales pitch is, he said he tells his old buddies that "it ain't so bad."

Under the advice of consultants hired to refocus its $300 million recruitment advertising, the Army is abandoning one of the most successful and memorable of all 20th century advertising slogans: "Be All That You Can Be." Maybe the Army will now be erecting billboards that read "Join the Army -- It Ain't So Bad."

The Pentagon's new PR consultants are supposed to research "the attitudes and habits of the young" in order to design new advertising. But the consultants are wasting their time if they start from the mindset that our goal must be a gender-neutral military and that recruitment strategy must appeal equally to men and women.

Everybody with ordinary common sense knows that, under the Clinton Administration's social engineering designed to produce a gender-neutral military, there is no way a serviceman can "be all that he can be." Coed basic training and the Pentagon's refusal to allow women to fail in tests for officer assignments mean that standards have been redefined and lowered to female achievement levels.

Funny thing, the Marine Corps (which a Clintonista Pentagon feminist labeled "extremist") doesn't seem to suffer these problems. It hasn't succumbed to mixed-gender basic training, and recruits can realistically aspire to be all that they can be.

Another principal reason for the dramatic decline in recruitment is Clinton's attempt to transform the military he loathes into global cops and social workers. And, contrary to Administration propaganda, his "peacekeeping" expeditions weren't nation-building in Haiti, Somalia or Bosnia, and they weren't humanitarian in Yugoslavia.

House Military Personnel Subcommittee chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) said it best: "We're fooling ourselves if we believe we can solve the problem with more G.E.D. programs or more money for ads. What we need is a change in foreign policy."

Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his speech this fall to the United Nations General Assembly, called for "a new commitment to intervention." His call to violate national sovereignty for "humanitarian" purposes flouts the UN and NATO Charters, just as Clinton's war in Yugoslavia flouted the U.S. Constitution about which branch of government has the warmaking power.

We don't need high-priced consultants and surveys to tell us why young Americans are not signing up. They don't want to serve in a foreign legion under foreign commanders for undefined and unconstitutional purposes.

We don't need high-priced consultants to tell us why the retention rate has plummeted along with the recruitment rate. We already have an official tax-funded survey that tells us that 76% of male trainers and 74% of female trainers say that discipline has been hurt by gender- integrated training.

Since the duty to provide for the common defense is the most important duty of the Federal Government, there is no more important issue to place on the table during the presidential debates than how our armed services will be used (or misused). Most of the current problems have been caused by executive or administrative orders, and they can be reversed the same way.

Will the next President put a stop to social engineering in the military, mixed-gender basic training, dumbed-down standards and gender-norming to accommodate the physical capabilities of women, redefining "combat" to accommodate the feminist policy of assigning women to combat duty, lying about "equality" in the armed services, destroying the careers of male officers who dare to tell the truth, and putting women in places where they don't belong such as on submarines?

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