EDITORIAL | Student interest in military life close to nonexistent

By Amanda Finnegan
December 1, 2006

In a recent poll of 15 Cabrini students (10 were printed), only one out of 15 students expressed an interest in joining the military, a testament to how important education is to our generation and how American students perceive the war overseas.

Part of the reason students have so little interest in joining the military can be attributed to the emphasis our nation places on the value of higher education. For most students, it’s etched into their brains at a young age that college is the only path to take after high school. But for those who do not have the means, the military may be the only way to pay for that college education today’s society values so much.

But with all the media coverage of a failing war in Iraq, what student would want to enlist? There is such a negative connotation attached with the war. You can’t even turn on the news or pick up a newspaper without seeing, hearing or reading about the brutalities in the Middle East. Good news from Iraq is a rarity.

In a time when the world is ever more dangerous and we need our troops the most, the military isn’t looking very attractive. Tuition reimbursement, technical training, housing and health benefits are not enough to balance the state of war we are in. Who is going to want to fight for a hopeless cause?

This Saturday, Republican Senator John McCain will speak at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. McCain, who is a Vietnam veteran and former P.O.W, is one of the front-runners for in the G.O.P. presidential nomination and is calling for one last push in Iraq.

“Without additional troops to ensure victory in Iraq, the U.S. could find itself more vulnerable to terrorist attacks at home,” McCain said, according to FoxNews.com. Many of the potential presidential candidates for 2008 are hoping to clear the air in Iraq to lighten the burden of carrying the war into the election season.

The plan would call for 20,000 or more for several more months. That would mark a sharp rise over the current baseline of 144,000, according to the New York Times.

So what’s the solution for the decline in military interest? Some elected officials believe that reinstating the draft is the answer. But a draft may stir up feelings of Vietnam. Hopefully, youth would protest before succumbing to governmental desperation to dig ourselves out of the trenches. It’s highly unlikely that the bill would ever leave the House floor. Officials will think twice about passing a law that mandates the deployment of their own sons and daughters. The fact that the idea has even been brought up speaks volumes of the state of our nation.

The draft shouldn’t be the only answer our government can think of to entice our youth to enlist. It seems they have offered so many substantial compensations for those that enlist but now it doesn’t seem to be enough. Things have now become so bad that we are resorting to desperate measures.

Whether is a desire for a higher education, perceptions of the war in Iraq or needs for more than the military has to offer, the lack of interest is obvious. Nine out of 10 students agree that an education is more important to them than a career in the military.

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Amanda Finnegan

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