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Old 02-20-2018, 02:30 PM
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Close to 75% of young Americans, ages 17 to 24, are not eligible for the military

SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT??

Fat, unhealthy Americans threaten Trump’s defense surge
Rising obesity numbers, drug use, criminal backgrounds and other problems mean most people at prime military recruiting age are ineligible to serve.
Quote:
The Trump administration's ambitious new military buildup is at risk of being hobbled before it even starts — by a dwindling pool of young Americans who are fit to serve.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans age 17 to 24 are ineligible for the military due to obesity, other health problems, criminal backgrounds or lack of education, according to government data. That's a harsh reality check for the Pentagon’s plan to recruit tens of thousands of new soldiers, sailors, pilots and cyber specialists over the next five years.

"We all have this image in our mind of this hearty American citizen, scrappy, that can do anything," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, co-author of a new Heritage Foundation paper on the military recruiting challenge titled The Looming National Security Crisis. "That image we keep in our heads is no longer accurate."

"Obesity and the percentage of people overweight in the country has just skyrocketed in the last 10 to 15 years," he added in an interview. "Asthma is going up. High school graduation rates are still just barely acceptable and in some big cities they are miserable. Criminality is also not going away. We have to face the reality that these things in some cases are getting worse, not better."
....
Apart from the military recruiting implications, this is pretty, well... disgusting.
Quote:
By the numbers:
  • "The new budget calls for increasing the size of the military by 25,900 people through October 2019 and by a total of 56,600 by 2023 — all mostly active-duty troops."
  • The obesity rate among younger adults is about 32%, per CDC data.
  • High school graduation rates hit an all-time high of 84.1% in 2017, but there are still major cities and states reporting much lower rates, such as 70.7% in Montgomery, Alabama and 51.3% in Albany, Oregon, Spoehr notes. Young people must have high school degrees or GEDs to serve.
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Old 02-20-2018, 02:36 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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Does it matter? The US military only has 2 million active and reserve soldiers in it. If 75% of people age 17-24 are disqualified that isn't going to result in a labor shortage. I'd assume there are close to 30 million people age 17-24, which means at least 8 million are eligible. And not everyone in the military is age 17-24. There is still a labor surplus.

Even if there was a labor shortage (due to world war for example), they'd probably institute a draft and mandatory weight loss camp.
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Old 02-20-2018, 02:38 PM
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We are failing our children. But we knew that.
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Old 02-20-2018, 02:48 PM
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What's the percentage once you substract soft/medium* drugs?

The US military seems to recruit chiefly from members of the lower economic strata from lesser developed areas looking to get a leg up in terms of job training, education, benefits and job stability. That group isn't doing too well in terms of obesity, educational achievement and hard drugs.

Relatedly, the modern military was designed in the 19th century with the expectation of tens of semi-skilled workmen being led by one university-level person, much like a construction crew being led by an engineer or a factory floor being led by a manager. That causes it to clash with the modern economy. The military may have a much easier time, both in terms of recruitment and effectiveness, once it restructures itself. And also when it stops requiring that people be either liars or Mormons to join.



*Like MDMA

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 02-20-2018 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 02-20-2018, 02:53 PM
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This has me wondering: Apparently the USAF and USN both recently raised their age limits to well over age 30. So my (eyeglasses-wearing, scrawny, not good at running long distances) thoughts about joining the military might not still be too late yet.....
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:10 PM
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We are failing our children. But we knew that.
Opposite of failing. We're not dissuading our kids from becoming ineligible to join the war machine. Fat and stoned will keep them alive. Maybe we can draft congressmen, get some military experience into those families.
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:23 PM
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Opposite of failing. We're not dissuading our kids from becoming ineligible to join the war machine. Fat and stoned will keep them alive. Maybe we can draft congressmen, get some military experience into those families.
I'm down with keeping kids out of the war machine. I really am. But I'm also wishing the path wasn't via un-educated and un-healthy children. Let's try to raise educated, skilled, healthy and happy pacifists.
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post
What's the percentage once you substract soft/medium* drugs?

The US military seems to recruit chiefly from members of the lower economic strata from lesser developed areas looking to get a leg up in terms of job training, education, benefits and job stability. That group isn't doing too well in terms of obesity, educational achievement and hard drugs.
Unless things have changed since my enlistment, past drug use does not disqualify you from serving.
Actual conversation with the processing clerk when I was entering military service:
Clerk: What illegal drugs have you taken
Me:[Lists a few highlights from my high school days]
Clerk: When was the last time you did any of these
Me: What time is it?
Clerk: [Not amused face]
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:37 PM
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We used to have the opposite problem:
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Ironically, the big concern used to be soldiers not weighing enough. Congress passed the school lunch program after World War II, worried that too many high schoolers were malnourished and unfit to fight.
As for "we are failing our children," I think that there are many different ways we're failing them. Climate change is like way #1; obesity is pretty far behind that one.
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:45 PM
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Re: Congress' school lunch program--irony indeed. Kids today are fatter, but I wonder if they're healthier than the skinny WWII kids.
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:59 PM
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I applaud them for getting this report out. Once the government decides something is a national security issue, then stuff happens. Maybe we can get past some of the nonsense political ideology that prevents some of this stuff from being addressed.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:12 PM
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The military has decided that a wide variety of medical conditions which are receiving much better diagnosis and treatment today disqualify someone from the military, as well as anyone diagnosed with a condition like Dyslexia who need any level of accomodation in a regular job or school, and anyone who's had eating disorders, bedwetting, or sleepwalking issues as a teenager. This is a pretty comprehensive set of disqualifications, and the idea that someone who needed a half a year talking to a therapist or took antidepressants at all is completely unqualified seems a bit broad to me. Also the military rejects anyone with any history of marijuana use (though there's a lot of 'wink and nod' in practice), including medical, even though it's now legal in many states. The talk about 'failing our children' seems a bit silly when broad categories of children who have treatable medical conditions are rejected by the military specifically for receiving treatment for those conditions.

Quote:
Mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, psychoses, and other unspecified depressive issues are disqualifying. Any history of mood disorders requiring medication and/or outpatient care for longer than six months by a mental health professional is also disqualifying.
Quote:
Anxiety issues, either current or historical, or panic, agoraphobia, social phobia, simple phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, other acute reactions to stress, and posttraumatic stress are disqualifying for entry into the service.
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Current or history of academic skills or perceptual defects secondary to organic or functional mental disorders, including, but not limited to dyslexia, that interfere with school or employment, are disqualifying. Applicants demonstrating passing academic and employment performance without utilization or recommendation of academic and/ or work accommodations at any time in the previous 12 months may be qualified.
Quote:
1 - Enuresis or encopresis after the 13th birthday is disqualifying. 2 - Sleepwalking after 13th birthday is disqualifying. 3 - Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or other unspecified eating disorders lasting longer than three months and occurring after the 14th birthday is also disqualifying.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
We used to have the opposite problem:

As for "we are failing our children," I think that there are many different ways we're failing them. Climate change is like way #1; obesity is pretty far behind that one.
As I recall, a large impetus for the creation of Physical Education programs in schools was the fact that the military couldn't find enough healthy and fit recruits early in the century.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
We used to have the opposite problem:

As for "we are failing our children," I think that there are many different ways we're failing them. Climate change is like way #1; obesity is pretty far behind that one.
Climate change. Resource depletion. Overpriced health care. Entrenched plutocracy. Student loan debt. A culture defined by white nationalism. Leaving them unprepared for a mass wave of unemployment due to automation. The rise of authoritarian populism. The baby boomer retirement crisis due to lack of savings.

There are lots of ways we are failing the kids today.
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:46 PM
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Imagine how popular Golden Corral will become if the draft is were to be reinstated.

Instead of sit-ins to protest war, we can have eat-ins.
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Old 02-20-2018, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post

The US military seems to recruit chiefly from members of the lower economic strata from lesser developed areas looking to get a leg up in terms of job training, education, benefits and job stability. That group isn't doing too well in terms of obesity, educational achievement and hard drugs.
“Seems to..” Ive spoken with many recruiters over the years. They are assigned areas and have to hit all the schools. They hated having to “waste time” going to schools with poorer students. They all said it was very hard to get any to listen to them. Recruiting was easier in schools with middle and lower middle class students.


No hard data there but I know people working in the system at least and have 27 years of experience seeing new soldiers come in to the military.
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:15 PM
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The military has a one-size fits all policy. There are plenty of posts in the military that do not require full fitness. It was not always like that. I had a one-eyed uncle who was drafted in WW II. He was an auto mechanic and they put him to repairing tanks. I sure they could find jobs for people with bone spurs if they tried.
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:29 PM
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Imagine how popular Golden Corral will become if the draft is were to be reinstated.

Instead of sit-ins to protest war, we can have eat-ins.
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant.
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:45 PM
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When we had the big surge after 9/11, standards were relaxed. They'll do it again if they really feel the need.
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:23 PM
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When we had the big surge after 9/11, standards were relaxed. They'll do it again if they really feel the need.
It doesn’t make the news because it’s on a smaller scale but they change the enlistment requirements from month to month depending on need. For example when I joined I was told no one with a GED was allowed to join. In Basic Training there were several recruits who took the test got their GED so they joined without ever having even a GED.. It all depended on what the standards were when you signed the papers.
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:27 PM
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I'd like to see context on this number - what were the equivalent numbers like in 1900, 1925, or 1950? (I seem to recall reading that during WWI, a large percentage of draftees weren't fit for service)
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:41 PM
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Forget about the military. That's not the point. The point is that a big chunk of this age group is obese, hasn't graduated from high school, and has some kind of a criminal record.
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:56 PM
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I'd like to see context on this number - what were the equivalent numbers like in 1900, 1925, or 1950? (I seem to recall reading that during WWI, a large percentage of draftees weren't fit for service)
Found something http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/St...raft_Stats.htm : in 1943, 36% of draftees were rejected for criminal records, illiteracy, and various health reasons. I don't know how the criteria in 1943 compare with today's criteria - we're better at finding problems with people's health, but some things that were untreatable in 1943 are treatable now. On the whole, I suspect that during an actual war, the criteria for acceptance are going to be lower than the hypothetical criteria being used for this study, but I could be wrong.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:12 PM
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Forget about the military. That's not the point.
It's exactly the point. It's right there in the thread title.

Quote:
The point is that a big chunk of this age group is obese, hasn't graduated from high school, and has some kind of a criminal record.
No. Pay attention. A a big chunk of this age group is obese, hasn't graduated from high school OR has some kind of a criminal record..... or has something else that disqualifies them like some sort of chronic health condition that isn't their fault.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:16 PM
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It's exactly the point. It's right there in the thread title.
It's my thread, so I get to say what the point is.

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No. Pay attention. A a big chunk of this age group is obese, hasn't graduated from high school OR has some kind of a criminal record..... or has something else that disqualifies them like some sort of chronic health condition that isn't their fault.
Yes. And I find that alarming. Not because they don't qualify for the military (because I don't really care about that), but because their inability to qualify is what uncovered this statistic.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:19 PM
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It's my thread, so I get to say what the point is.
You're absolutely right. I didn't realize that you were the OP.

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Yes. And I find that alarming. Not because they don't qualify for the military (because I don't really care about that), but because their inability to qualify is what uncovered this statistic.
Yes and it looks like this has been somewhat consistent throughout history.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:23 PM
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Imagine how popular Golden Corral will become if the draft is were to be reinstated.

Instead of sit-ins to protest war, we can have eat-ins.
It's hard to imagine a scenario where conscription was reinstated, but the military kept exactly the same standards they have now. It's a given that if the draft were reinstated standards would be adjusted to make the majority of relevant age cohort eligible for service.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:27 PM
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If warfare gets automated enough, being fat may not keep one out of service. It doesn't take a fit body to sit in a chair and fly a drone from a control room.

Of course, if the military got that automated, it wouldn't need that much manpower to instate a draft, either.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:02 AM
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If warfare gets automated enough, being fat may not keep one out of service. It doesn't take a fit body to sit in a chair and fly a drone from a control room.

Of course, if the military got that automated, it wouldn't need that much manpower to instate a draft, either.
I'm seeing an army of fat 35 year old mom's-basement dwelling bachelors chowing down on Doritos and Code Red, paying a monthly subscription fee to access the hardware link. No more uniforms or medals, soldiers will be recognized by their achievement awards and KDR.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:48 AM
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Part of this is the larger problem of labor shortages ... seems like all the big stores in my area have "help wanted" signs in their front windows ... so for anyone qualified why bother with the headaches of military service when the local businesses will hire you for the same pay? ... and then not worry about people trying to kill you ...
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:32 AM
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The military has a one-size fits all policy. There are plenty of posts in the military that do not require full fitness. It was not always like that. I had a one-eyed uncle who was drafted in WW II. He was an auto mechanic and they put him to repairing tanks. I sure they could find jobs for people with bone spurs if they tried.
You're not wrong, and some folks with "disqualifying" traits are able to negotiate the system and serve anyway. Several years ago, I asked in conversation what "flat feet" were - I'd never really gotten the concept. One of the men in the group removed his shoes to show me - yep, those suckers were flat. He was a Major in the US Army; by the time anyone noticed, he was able to convince them that it wasn't a problem.

The problem mentioned by the OP (in terms of sheer numbers, anyway) isn't new. This same Major, who had served as a recruiter for a while, told me that about 7/8 of people who tried to sign up were disqualified one way or another. This was about 20 years ago. A lot of people who are otherwise able-bodied would be liabilities in conventional military roles, including a large proportion of elite athletes. Joe Namath could have never served in Vietnam with his knees, for example. If Namath's knee went out in a Jets game, the coach would curse a bit and call in a backup. If the same thing happened in a combat zone, the folks tending to the injured soldier would make for inviting targets. If Joe Willie had really wanted to serve, they might have found a place for him, but as a rule it was better to draft or recruit a guy without the issue than try to work around it.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:50 AM
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I think we have all heard anecdotes about businesses who are hiring folks who don’t need college degrees, but have trouble finding decent candidates. There was a story on NPR not too long ago where a shop manager was talking about the opioid crisis and not wanting to hire a strung-out person to drive a forklift.

It seems to be obvious that there are are lot of ways we could improve the lot of a lot of Americans: better schools, universal health care, addressing crime and violence with something more helpful than long prison terms, etc.

This is a problem for our country and our military. If it helps to shine a light on this by viewing it through the lens of national security, then fantastic. Whatever it takes.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:51 AM
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Instead of making these situations "disqualifying", why not emphasize them?

Imagine a whole battalion of obese infantry. "The 4077 Fighting Fatties". Create a whole backstory lore about them capturing the enemy then eating them.
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:24 PM
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Instead of making these situations "disqualifying", why not emphasize them?

Imagine a whole battalion of obese infantry. "The 4077 Fighting Fatties". Create a whole backstory lore about them capturing the enemy then eating them.
They could wear extra long jean shorts, metal band t shirts and juggalo face paint.
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:35 PM
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They could wear extra long jean shorts, metal band t shirts and juggalo face paint.
I see the enemy running like little girls back to Pyongyang.
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:39 PM
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Part of this is the larger problem of labor shortages ... seems like all the big stores in my area have "help wanted" signs in their front windows ... so for anyone qualified why bother with the headaches of military service when the local businesses will hire you for the same pay? ... and then not worry about people trying to kill you ...
Woah. The military only pays $8 an hour too??
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:06 PM
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Woah. The military only pays $8 an hour too??
You beat me to it. If you see a "Help Wanted" sign up anywhere for more than 24 hours it's because they want to hire someone with no fixed schedule at 30 hours/week max, no benefits and pay chump change.

There is no labor shortage. There is a decent job shortage.

Employers have had almost 20 years of dictating employment terms, no full time, no bennies, crap pay. And now that they can't get people to work for peanuts anymore they blame the perspective employees instead of fixing their employment policies.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:09 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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Forget about the military. That's not the point. The point is that a big chunk of this age group is obese, hasn't graduated from high school, and has some kind of a criminal record.
The obesity issue, nobody really knows how to solve. I know people say 'diet and exercise', but on a society wide level that is about as effective as saying 'abstinence only' as a cure for STDs and pregnancy. To my knowledge, pretty much every nation with a modicum of wealth is experiencing an obesity epidemic and none are winning against it. But in a true world war situation, the military would probably change their standards. Seeing how about 80% of military jobs are non-combat, it isn't like you need to be thin and athletic to fix HumVees or work on a computer. I know lots of fat people who do equivalent jobs in the private sector.

On your other points, high school graduation rates are much higher than in the past. I think in the 1930s only about 25% of people graduated high school. Still, the US fought WW1 and WW2 with such low high school graduation rates.

As far as criminal records, a big part of that is that in America we've criminalized everything. Actual rates of most crime (at least serious crime) are going down, but rates of arrests keep going up. We've criminalized mental illness, stupidity, addiction, homelessness, etc. and as a result there are lots more arrests compared to the past. It doesn't make people more criminal, it just means more people are being arrested and incarcerated. Our incarceration rates now are much higher than they were 30 years ago when violent crime rates were 3-4x higher.

I'm not worried.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:46 PM
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Instead of making these situations "disqualifying", why not emphasize them?

Imagine a whole battalion of obese infantry. "The 4077 Fighting Fatties". Create a whole backstory lore about them capturing the enemy then eating them.
Strike hard! Strike fast! Eat up!
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Old 02-21-2018, 04:21 PM
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...I'm not worried.
Well, I, for one, feel better
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Old 02-21-2018, 06:53 PM
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Robert Mcnamara is howling in Hell, one big reason being Plan 100,000. The Military will never go back to a draft, day be coming an E-1 graduates basic with no student loan debt and 75k starting salary. Young fatties be dying to join...
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:39 PM
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You're absolutely right. I didn't realize that you were the OP. ...
No prob.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
America's military footprint is massively excessive and a net negative for the world, and has been for a very long time. If obesity, crime etc. mean we have to cut back on the size of our military, that's a good thing, not a bad one.

(Not that I think our health and crime problems are good, but this would definitely be a good side effect).
  #44  
Old 02-22-2018, 04:25 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
Well, I, for one, feel better
LOL.
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