OT? Shocking lack of war-capable youth

The Pentagon’s Recruiting Woes

Fewer young people want or are able to serve, a big problem for U.S. security.

by The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal, 10/15/2022

Several factors are contributing to the military’s recruitment shortfall. Fewer than one-quarter of Americans ages 17 to 24 are eligible to serve, and the reasons for disqualification include obesity, addiction and criminal history. The decision to close high schools during the pandemic kept recruiters at bay and left many teens mentally unwell, another disqualification. …[end quote]

It’s a good thing that we have oceans and that Canada and Mexico aren’t imperialistic.

If we had aggressive neighbors we’d be toast. Like the Mongols invading China in 1205. Huge empire, soft underbelly, couldn’t defend itself.

If 3/4 of young Americans are obese, drug addicts, criminals and/or mentally unstable, what will happen to the Macro economy in the future? (I guess obesity won’t be a disadvantage.)



Men who have registered for the draft can be drafted up to age 35 by US law.

Here is a quote, attributed to Michael Hopf:

Hard times create strong men
Strong men create good times
Good times create weak men
Weak men create hard times.

This isn’t a misogynistic statement, because women can certainly serve in the military, or anywhere else, as well as men.

You can judge for yourself where we are right now in that cycle.

  • Pete

If it were not so politically contentious, here is where “immigrants” might play a significant role.

In orthogonal related news, Russia is said to be kidnapping age appropriate men off the streets to fight in Ukraine:


If 3/4 of young Americans are obese, drug addicts, criminals and/or mentally unstable, what will happen to the Macro economy in the future? (I guess obesity won’t be a disadvantage.)


Obesity probably will not be a disadvantage in the very short term - days or weeks - but longer term such as months or years, a significant disadvantage.



The black and tan, the English army in Ireland made up of regular enlisted men and criminals out of the prison system. It is not just a drink.

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I work with a lot of soldiers. A few years ago one was whining about PT saying there is no reason for him to do that since he was a cyber soldier and would be doing attacks from a keyboard and not the front lines.

Just a reflection that society overall is get lazier and lazier. Everyone wants to sit around stream things and mess around with their phones/tablets and not actually work. It is understandable. When you have people who pay extra money to get stuff like Subway or McDonald’s delivered to them, you just have to wonder.

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Just thinking to how many in our generation left for Canada or went to college or got a doctor’s note. One famous guy with a doctor’s note in the late 60s would go on to call those who served “suckers”. He was the laziest of the bunch. Bankrupted several times. Was a tax cheat over 200 documented times. Got other crazy notes from his doctors and lawyers. Piece of it alright. He inspires hypocrites to this day.



We here in CT have a local at the clubhouse bar called “big al”. Al is 6 4 300 pounds. He can barely walk. He is 70 years old, he can not get off his bar stool safely. He is the biggest critic of the young staff in the clubhouse.

Big Al is considered really cool by the guys. They are feeding his drunken habits.

I get that is anecdotal but is it? Meaning if people are lazy maybe someone else should take up the slack? Women? Or people who want to be under fire in the field? Or immigrants we can use? Or 50 year old men who know it all? Or the wealthy since it is usually their interest our kids are sent to defend? You know that pipeline worth $100 million that someone in a penthouse owns, s/he should be put in a uniform to defend the pipeline? After all to be that wealthy means they were never lazy?

It is almost the same in every generation.


The reflection on society is that more things are done ‘cyberly’ than ever before. Working that way is not 'lazy" it’s the way a lot gets done these days. As far as paying extra to have a hoagie delivered: They do it because they can. Might even call it a success of trickle down economics. Build it and they will come. (Deliver it and they will eat it) The Rich, who always do nothing except what they want and will never get caught seeking to serve their country, do nothing but that. And we luuuuv them. If it had been available George Washington would have done it, Antonio Vivaldi would have done it, Mary Magdelen would have done it.
Why is it a sign of intractable laziness and societal decay in 2022?


Our generation populated our homes with more useless plastic than we should ever admit. Now even the food is coming with plastic.


Not knowing what you know about American revolutionary history…most of George Washington’s tactics in almost all of the battles he faced with his men was to go into a retreat. He avoided fighting for most of four years. Really did little else.

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Wasn’t really commenting on his military acumen just fetching the name of someone from that time we’d all recognize. Altho, I woudl probaby have to revise my comment. I am sure acting in his capacity of General, he did indeed have his food delivered to him but didn’t have to pay extra for it.


I asked that question of a recruiter and he told me the answer: EVERY person in the military could be on “the front line”, thus they ALL must be able to carry a weapon, shoot it, and otherwise fight. We have seen this on MAS*H, and we are seeing it now in Ukraine (lots of dead Russian generals).

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WW II was a complete madhouse. It was not Leave It To Beaver.

We just threw in more resources than the Axis powers and Russians threw in more men.

Do you want to play Russia in the next war or America?

The American side of things entering Europe in WW II was an insane approach to every moment of it. Not much discipline but pure energy. Criminals on our side in our uniforms were doing all sorts of bad things to turn a buck.

The draft goes up to age 35. The men and some women are available. But getting them trained is the traditional American lag time. We are not trying to lose our men in a battle anyway. What sort of plan is that?

I recently saw a doc on WWII which opined that until mid-1944 Germany operated mostly on a 9-to-5 schedule and used very few women in anything but “motherhood” roles. It was German policy for women to be breeders of good Aryan stock, and Herr Hitler did not want to rile the populace by going to a total war footing and discomforting the workers and unions he had co-opted. By the time he did it was too late, obviously. They had the “advantage” of using slave labor rather than their own citizens, and although less productive they were essentially free, especially since they were barely fed.

Russia put in more people because they were invaded, the war was on their home territory, and because they had more to start with. Stalin belatedly realized his German partner was an existential threat to the Motherland and being Papa Joe he went extremis.

The US, as is well documented, was roughly 90% against any intervention in any theater until December 7, and then shortly after lines formed at recruiting stations. This is confirmation of the theory known as “people in the woods run faster when they hear the bear growl.”


I agree. For decades, legal USian immigrants could enlist, and be put on the fast track to citizenship. Now, the services squirm and mumble “impossible to do the background check”.

In the early 2000s, when the army could not recruit enough people willing to tiptoe around IEDs in Iraq, I floated the idea of the army setting up recruiting offices in Central America, offering US citizenship to those who serve honorably. Of course, today, as you implied, there would be deafening pushback over bringing more Hispanics into Shiny-land.



Lack of education is a significant part of this. Military (as well as police and fire) are readily available routes out of poverty for many of the poor. Ditto many apprentice programs. Usually they need a high school diploma. Too few of those seeking a better life fail to stay in school.

Todays military is more technical and requires more skill than the old days of sitting in a foxhole. Remind kids to stay in school and get that diploma. Then others will help you train for job skills.


I tutored a 23 year old man, a high school graduate, in an Adult Literacy program. He was handsome, fit and personable. His great ambition was to join the Army.

The armed forces administer extensive tests to recruits to assign them to the myriad different potential jobs according to aptitude. Although the young man I tutored had graduated from high school he was functionally illiterate and couldn’t pass the Army’s reading test. He wasn’'t stupid – he held a job in a car repair shop and passed the Army’s mechanical aptitude test.

I gave up on this young man after about 4 sessions. He had probably received professional help during his schooling and was beyond my ability to help.

In an earlier era, when warriors didn’t need to use sophisticated weapons, this young man would have excelled in the Army.

It is very important for anyone intending a military career today to be able to read competently.


“Fit” eh? An athlete in High School, football or basketball? Athletes seem to get a pass any other sort of standards, in high school and college.

When I was in college in the 70s, there was a series in the student newspaper about the corruption in the athletic department, particularly the football program. Counselors were talking about football recruits who they were guiding through registration. The counselor would get the guy set up with some easy freshman “general ed” classes that everyone was required to take. One of the assistant ADs would grab the kid, take him away, and when the kid got back to the counselor, his classes had been changed to a couple remedial reading classes, with teachers that the athletic department could depend on to give the kid a passing grade, whether he did any course work or not, to maintain his “NCAA academic qualification” to play.

It would not surprise me at all that a high school, or college, graduate would be a functional illiterate.


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