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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Don't Trust Soldiers Under 30

Published on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 by 
18-Year-Olds Too Immature to Serve in the Military
by Ted Rall
 It was 1982. I was 18 and snotty and wanted to see the world. And so, a few days after a brief chat with an army recruiter operating out of a strip mall on Stroop Road across from my local soon-to-be-closed municipal swimming pool, I rode the bus to downtown Dayton to take the Armed Forces Qualifying Test.
The AFQT was ridiculously easy. The math, I remember, was at about a fifth-grade level. My biggest challenge was remembering material that I'd digested years earlier. But the guys around me--they were all guys--were visibly struggling, sighing and staring vacantly at the acoustical tiles suspended from the ceiling. My mom's phone rang a few days later. It was my recruiter.
"I've got to tell you, we haven't seen scores like this in years," he said. "We can offer you an amazing career." If my fellow test-takers reflected the typical military applicant pool, I wasn't surprised these recruiters were impressed. Compared to some of the idiots I'd sat next to downtown, I must have seemed like a perfect cross between Einstein and Eisenhower.


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