Music To The Military's Ears
October 5, 2005 - 9:47am ET
The National Guard is trying out a new promotional campaign to attract young recruits: free iTunes downloads. You read right. Visit the National Guard's website, sign up to be contacted by a Guard recruiter and you'll be listening to three free iTunes songs in no time.
The Army officially fell short of its recruiting goal by about 6,800 at the end of the fiscal year. The Guard and the Reserves also missed their recruiting goals, thanks in large part to dwindling support for the war in Iraq. Hence, the new iTunes offer.
Using technology gimmicks to recruit younger potential soldiers isn't new. Since 2002, the Army has offered an online video game, aimed at boys age 14 and older, that offers players a realistic experience firing weapons such as automatic rifles and grenade launchers.
Offering free songs or a hip video game in exchange for possible military recruitment trivializes the seriousness of joining the armed forces. The Guard is not exactly something you can just show up for on the weekends anymore. If you enlist, there's a very real possibility of being shipped to Iraq and facing a situation that's spinning out of control.
Then there's the fact that it's only three downloads. If you're going to ask people to sign up to be recruited, the very least you could do is offer a whole album. After all, it's a long trip to Baghdad.
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Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future