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BACKDOOR DRAFT: indirect methods of forcing or manipulating people into military service—by extendin

February 18, 2009

Summary: any of various indirect methods of forcing people to serve in the military, especially by extending the terms of people already in service" (Copy Editor). As recruiters scrambling to find troops have had to lower their enlistment requirements and add incentives, critics have labeled such coercive practices the drug/education/greencard or poverty draft. As of 2007, the age limit was raised from 34 to 42; high school dropout acceptance rate raised from 10% to 19% of new enlistments; tattoos visible while in uniform are now acceptable (previously they were banned); the maximum enlistment bonus was raised from $20,000 to $40,000; length of active duty before noncitizen soldiers can apply for citizenship was lowered from three years to one day (Mother Jones). Beginning in 2009, temporary immigrants as well as permanent residents with green cards were going to be recruited. Already desperate for fresh recruits in 2005, the Army began to increase by nearly half the rate at which it grants “moral waivers,” permitting recruits with criminal records, among other problems, to serve (Robin Morgan, Women’s Media Center). According to the Northeastern Anarchist, "Painting the Army as a kind of job training and vocational school, and simultaneously as a financial aid institution, recruiters get youths in high school to sign up for the DEP (Deferred Enlistment Program). When young people try and back out of enlisting, recruiters often lie and tell them it is impossible or illegal to drop out." Young people with drug convictions (even minor marijuana possession convictions) lose their college financial aid. U.S. recruiters have advertised that even if their colleges won't have them, Uncle Sam will. They urge young people with drug convictions to see their nearest recruiter. The latest sweetener is the Army Advantage Fund, a pilot program that offers recruits $45,000 toward buying a house or a new business upon completion of their military service. For more information on the forthcoming Unspinning the Spin: The Women’s Media Center Guide to Accurate, Bias-Free Language, click here.