Sunday, August 14, 2005

Praxywatch: The National Guard vs. America's Youth

Found this little gem emblazoned across the top of my screen while looking up bands on the All Music Guide:

First things first: freedom doesn't 'rock'. AC/DC rocks. Led Zeppelin rocks. That is to say, freedom is not a discretionary aspect of an artistic subculture, it is an absolutely integral ingredient for every functional democracy. Somehow, the tagline "freedom rocks" doesn't quite manage to capture that gravitas. I'm not even going to go into the irony of abridging one's own personal freedom (by enlisting in the military) to protect everyone else's.

Now that that's out of the way, let's have a look at those material incentives over on the right. Let's see here, we have money . . . money . . . money . . . and swag. Not to mention hot chicks and fun-loving dudes. If you'd asked me to estimate when this ad was released, I'd probably have guessed it was from the 90s, a time when we weren't sending Nat'l Guardspeople in droves to die overseas. The blithe, lithe cadets-to-be in the ad look completely unaware that there's a war going on, and that there's a high probability they might get shipped out to help prosecute that war. Are these the kind of morons I'd be rubbing elbows with if I joined the Guard today?

I wonder how many of the people who've signed up for military service since April 2003 did so for the economic benefits. Assuming that basically everyone in America knows there's a war on, my guess would run pretty close to zero. I do wish the armed forces would stop insulting America's collective intelligence and give potential guardspeople the straight story about, for example, how likely it is that they'll actually go to Iraq if they sign up, and whether it's possible to enlist while excluding oneself from service in active warzones. If I were an impressionable stripling considering serving my country, I'd X-off the National Guard on principle just for putting out such a glib and unrealistic ad.