27 February 2007

“Ron” who?

Looks like the evangelical king-makers are trying to follow the lead of the GOP power-brokers in a game of "let's ignore the e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t in the livingroom." And the e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t's name is Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Rep. Paul has been announcing the formation of his presidential exploratory committee for nearly two months now. A few examples: But while Ron Paul has been letting America know for almost two months that he's exploring a run for the GOP presidential nomination, readers of the Rev. Jerry Fallwell's National Liberty Journal would never know it. NLJ's March 2007 issue includes the piece "Campaign 2008 — Identifying the Republican Presidential Candidates" — which doesn't even mention Ron Paul! (Interestingly, the piece does inform NLJ readers about such "serious" contenders as Newt Gingrich and "talk radio gadfly" Michael Savage — neither of whom have even announced yet!)

If you do nothing else, dear reader, I urge you first to read Pastor Chuck Baldwin's piece "Why Do Evangelicals Ignore Ron Paul?"

Then pass along printed and emailed copies if it to all your religious conservative friends who've never heard of Ron Paul. I suspect they'll thank you for it.

And by the way: If you'd like to hold Fallwell's feet to the fire, perhaps you could also drop his National Liberty [sic] Journal a short email. Maybe something like the following:
Dear sir or ma'am:

May this letter find you well.

I realize that you are the Webmaster and probably not a writer or editor for NLJ. But in the article "Campaign 2008: Identifying the Republican Presidential Candidates" (March 2007 issue), NLJ left out one very important candidate: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

May I ask, how did this happen? Was it merely an oversight, or was Rep. Paul left out intentionally?

In my opinion, Ron Paul is a politician of tremendous integrity. I hope NLJ will have the integrity to give your readers the pertinent info on all the GOP candidates. Perhaps you can include a "Ron Paul addendum" to the article in your next issue.

Phoenix, AZ

9 February 2007

The quality of recruits will almost certainly keep dropping, and the Army will see its disciplinary problems and dropout rates continue to rise

According to this piece, bad students are indeed getting stuck in Iraq. Senator and past presidential hopeful John Kerry, if you recall, previously took some heat for a spoken gaffe on the matter.
When Senator John Kerry said last fall that students who didn't do well in school were more likely to “get stuck in Iraq,” he was immediately attacked for insulting the intelligence of U.S. troops. Of course, Kerry's comment was entirely accurate — not because American soldiers in Iraq are dumb, but because the Pentagon, in seeking to overcome serious recruiting shortfalls, has enlisted growing numbers of high school dropouts.

I recently spoke about this with my friend Eli Flyer, a longtime Pentagon consultant on military recruiting, who painted a grim picture of the Army's current recruiting strategy. In 2005, Flyer noted, the Army fell far short of its goal of attracting 80,000 enlistees. It managed to meet that same target last year by deploying about 1,400 new recruiters, by offering larger enlistment bonuses and other incentives, and by systematically lowering educational standards for new recruits. For example, the portion of non-high school graduates in last year's enlistee pool was 27.5 percent, up from 17 percent in 2005. In the 1990s, non-grads (most of whom do have a G.E.D.) made up only about 5 percent of new Army recruits.