It’s bad enough that Mo Brooks, my own representative in Congress, would stand against DREAMers who want to serve the United States military and become citizens under DACA. During my own time in uniform, I served with immigrants in Basic Training, in my job training school, and at my permanent post. Every one of them had family foremost in mind when they joined; some of them had family who were in the US without legal paperwork, but all of them were dedicated and loyal Americans with whom I was proud to serve. However, Rep. Mo Brooks — who has said more than once that he would do “anything short of shooting” undocumented immigrants to ethnically cleanse them from America — seems to think all those people were actually holding me back.
“Each time an illegal alien takes an enlistment opportunity, an American or lawful immigrant loses an enlistment opportunity,” Brooks wrote. “The ratio is one-to-one. Period. That is the math.”
Seldom has so much nonsense been contained in so few words: the mathematical ratio of bull turds to Mo Brooks’s words is one-to-one, period.
What he calls “enlistment opportunities” are in fact the Congressionally-mandated limits of recruiting, and the daily problem for military recruiters is how to fill all those slots with qualified people, especially during wartime. Quite simply, the Pentagon does not have the luxury of picking and choosing from an abundance of qualified candidates anymore — especially with expanding rates of youth obesity in America making it harder than ever to find people who are physically-fit enough to meet even the minimum entry standards.
More than 71% of America’s youth would fail to qualify for military service because of their physical, moral or cognitive shortcomings, according to recruiting command statistics. But their weight is a leading reason, and it’s getting worse.
“What is very clear is that the trend is going in the wrong direction when it comes to (the recruiting pool) being physically fit,” Batschelet said.
Outside the Army, the nonprofit organization Mission: Readiness warns that childhood obesity is draining America’s pool of ready military prospects, using the message to advocate for serving healthier food in schools. Recruits have more muscle mass than in past decades, but more body fat as well, according to its most recent report.
If the military already rejects most citizen applicants for lack of fitness, then opening the recruiter’s door to undocumented young people who came to the United States as children is certainly not going to result in an unexpected wave of disappointed, angry young citizens. Furthermore, Brooks is talking about an extremely limited program that would bring in no more than 1,500 recruits a year at the most, and probably far less than that number. To put that in perspective, even without any foreign wars, the military must recruit some 60,000 people this year. Mo Brooks is concern-trolling about a literal drop in the bucket.
Like his fellow Republicans who set out to stymie that recruiting program last week, Brooks’s opposition to letting undocumented children serve the United States and become citizens has nothing whatsoever to do with protecting the ‘right’ of citizens to join the military. The reason he frames military recruiting as a zero-sum game is that it blows a huge dog whistle which his white, suburban support base in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District can hear all the way from Washington, DC. Steeped as they are in the delirious right wing propaganda tea that gets poured out on a daily basis by right wing radio host Dale Jackson, their evangelical pastors, and the Fox News bobbleheads filling the TV screens in every waiting room, the people who put Mo Brooks in office, and keep him there despite his continued failure to accomplish anything for their district, react to his noises like Pavlov’s dogs hearing a dinner-bell.