Remember the long-ago era when even the soldiers hated the war America sent them to fight? Well, welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President:
Fewer than two-thirds of the former soldiers being reactivated for duty in Iraq and elsewhere have reported on time, prompting the Army to threaten some with punishment for desertion.
The former soldiers, part of what is known as the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), are being recalled to fill shortages in skills needed for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of the 1,662 ready reservists ordered to report to Fort Jackson, S.C., by Sept. 22, only 1,038 had done so, the Army said Monday. About 500 of those who failed to report have requested exemptions on health or personal grounds.
"The numbers did not look good," said Lt. Col. Burton Masters, a spokesman for the Army's Human Resources Command....
And remember how, a few years back, certain right-wing commentators would blame this or that ordinary citizen's (or corporate CEO's) ethical lapses on a "moral climate" allegedly set by Bill Clinton? Well...
Several of those who received recall notices have already been declared AWOL (absent without official leave) and technically are considered deserters. "We are not in a rush to put someone in the AWOL category," Masters said. "We contact them and convince them it is in their best interests to show up. If you are a deserter, it can affect you the rest of your life."
Or, as we now know, maybe not.