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November 13, 2011

It is a good thing that we eliminated the color coded homeland security system. Otherwise we would have had to add another color, brown, which would mean we are in deep doodoo.  According to a group of retired military leaders, known as Mission Readiness, one in four Americans are too obese to enlist in the nations armed services.  The group sees this as a direct threat to our national security.  What makes it even worse is that 75% are ineligible if you add in those with criminal records and those who fail to meet the educational requirements.   If there was ever a reason to bring back the draft, this would be it.  (Now that would be quite a political shit-storm).

In the sixties, when we all were under the threat of being drafted, the only thing that kept you out of the military was admitting you were gay, which ironically is no longer the case.  If you were overweight you just had to try harder in boot camp and if you didn’t pass the first time they sent you back through until you did.  I can remember men now considered obese who were pushed beyond their limits by drill instructors who never let up.  By today’s standards they would have never been let in.

So what does this all mean for our national security.  First it means that the 4,475 who have died in Iraq and the 1,815 who have died in Afghanistan were among the fittest, brightest, and least criminal our nation had to offer.  Now to me that is the threat to our national security.  The retired generals are concerned about fitness because as one said, “in Afghanistan there is no time for rest”.  I am more concerned that we are sending our best to die for two wars that are as meaningless as Vietnam turned out to be.

Second, this all shows how out of touch this group of retired generals are.  Their solution to obesity is to have the schools make sure that the physical education requirements  are being met and that adequate instructors and equipment are available.  Which rock have they been hiding under.  Our schools are all struggling just to teach the fundamentals with adequate staffing and resources.  While I agree physical education is important, if they want it done right, how do they suggest schools finance it.

Finally, maybe we need to rethink our priorities.  This country does need a good defense structure, a well manned armed forces. But let’s use them in situations that make sense and we will be able to get by with a leaner, meaner, group of well trained men and women.

As for the 25% of obese recruits that will never be, they have their own hymn to rally around.

From the halls of McDonald’s

to the shores of Taco Bell

We cannot fight our countries battles

For we’ve had too many  slurpees.

First in line for burgers and fries

and to ask for super size,

We cannot fit in a uniform

We cannot keep up with the other guys.

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