Would you join the army for a hot dog? That’s the question I asked myself when I recently walked by the Army ROTC recruitment station.

I had just come out of class in St. Mary’s and was not looking forward to the long walk to Leo’s. Then I heard it . the deep pulse of techno. And I saw it . a massive, black, gas-guzzling Hummer (not the H3 that your mom drives – I’m talking the Schwarzenegger original). And I smelled it . freshly cooked hot dogs and hamburgers. Techno, a Hummer and meat … it had to be the Army.

Sure enough, the Army was throwing a recruitment party. The first thing that struck me was the location that the Army had picked. It was outside Darnall (let’s face it, those kids are desperate for a way out). It was close to St. Mary’s (apparently the Army needs nurses). And it was across the street from the hospital (ironic).

Now, I never considered myself “Army Material” because I live 20 minutes from Malibu and want to buy a hybrid. But I was hungry. And those hot dogs smelled good. As soon as I approached the table, they fired: “Are you interested in a career in ROTC?” I was stuck. I was caught between the long walk to Leo’s, those delicious smelling hot dogs and a career in the army. . I decided to bite the bullet and began chatting with the uniformed officer about ROTC. She mentioned the free education and training available to ROTC candidates, but when I mentioned the I-word, the conversation was over and the recruiter moved on to the next customer. It was as if Iraq was some ancient irrelevant battle instead of a drawn out war that is costing us billions of dollars and thousands of lives. ABC News had a similar experience when, in an undercover investigation, reporters found that some army recruiters assure prospective applicants that the Iraq War is over. One recruiter even convinced a Colorado student that the Army could help him cheat his way through a drug test.

The recruiter gave me a fancy brochure called “The Path of Leadership: Your Story as an Army Officer.” I felt obliged to read it as payment for the dog.

First, it outlined the different job opportunities in the army, offering a catchy little slogan for each. .

Field Artillery – “Fight fire with fire” (good old Hammurabi’s code);

Armor – “Shake the ground with 60 tons of steel driven by 1500 HP” (if we’re aiming for the ground, then why do civilians always seem to get in the way?);

Finance Corps – “To happen, it all takes money” (USA Today projected $2.4 trillion dollars as the cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade – equivalent to $8,000 per person in the country);

Chaplain Corps – “Guidance for those who need it most” (“Seek peace and pursue it” – Proverbs 34:14);

Health Care – “Only the best care for the best soldiers” (I guess the soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center weren’t “the best”);

ilitary Intelligence – “Enemies don’t know we know what they know” (you lost me);

Infantry – “To maintain a state of readiness in preparation for combat worldwide” (“combat worldwide!” – that’s going to take a lot of hot dogs!).

In addition to listing these ways to get shot at, the brochure outlined the “path to leadership,” starting with ROTC, Westpoint or Officer Candidate School, and concluding with the Ranks and Promotions available to a soldier. But it seems to me that this is only Chapter 1 of “The Path of Leadership.”

To read chapter two, I typed “Iraq news” in Google and here’s what I found: “Iraq Bomb Kills 5 U.S. Soldiers, Wounds 3 Others” . submitted three hours before . 648 related articles. The Army’s recruitment brochure should warn the reader that “The Path of Leadership” may have roadside bombs. One more interesting note: the brochure did not mention Iraq or Afghanistan once.

Please don’t read this article as a condemnation of our fighting men and women. I honestly believe that there is no more noble profession than risking one’s life to selflessly serve and protect our country.

y problem isn’t with the Pentagon but with that white house down the street which, five years ago, convinced us of weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaeda and welcome parades in Baghdad. I hear Bush is a jogger – he should jog across the bridge through Arlington National Cemetery once in a while. I should warn him, though: The run gets longer every day.

y second problem, like my friends over at U.C. Berkeley, is with army recruiters – don’t lure us in with techno and Hummers and delicious smelling hot dogs. Don’t give us brochures with pictures of guns and cool helicopters and a blonde girl chatting with a guy in an ROTC shirt. We go to Georgetown. We’re not stupid. We watch CNN when there’s nothing else on. We know that close to 4,000 troops have died in Iraq and close to 30,000 have been wounded. We know neighbors who go to war and come back wounded or traumatized. We know that signing up for the army is signing a potential one-way ticket to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Don’t underestimate the intelligence of our brave troops – they know what they’re really getting into when they sign over their future and, potentially, their lives to the Army.

Oh and by the way, Army recruiter, the hot dog was cold.

Andrew Dubbins is a freshman in the College.

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