Cost of War #31415

The talent pool of the military officers is shrinking :

The army is losing its best and brightest. West Point, the alma mater of American generals going back to Ulysses S. Grant, has seen a relentless rise in the number of officers who leave at the earliest opportunity. Whereas only about 35% of the West Point class of 2000 had quit after five years, for the class of 2001 the proportion rose to 46% and for the class of 2002 to 58%. Retention problems are particularly severe among captains and majors with 11-17 years’ experience—the potential future military leaders. The army currently has only half as many senior captains as it needs, and forecasts that it will suffer from a shortfall of 3,000 captains and majors (out of a cadre of 52,000) until at least 2013. The maximum age for recruits has been raised to 42, and fitness and educational standards have been lowered.

Last week’s Economist has a whole section on possible changes in American foreign policy after November 2008 .

The Hessians Are Coming

“He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.” ~ Declaration of Independence

Like the German mercenaries known as the Hessians who fought with the British against Americans in the Revolutionary War, so now American mercenaries are coming to a country near you. Since 9/11, the United States has granted citizenship to over 32,000 foreign soldiers. Thanks to a generous citizenship to foreigners plan, about 8,000 foreigners join the U.S. military every year. Then we transport these “large armies of foreign mercenaries” overseas to do our dirty work.