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Thread: Iraq/Military News the media won't report...

  1. #1
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    Iraq/Military News the media won't report...

    THE REAL IRAQ NEWS

    By RALPH PETERS

    August 23, 2005 -- WHAT was the big "Iraq" story in August? Which vital issue got the most air-time and ink? The camp-out of a sad, tormented woman who had lost her son, her marriage and her judgment.
    The media pounced on poor Cindy Sheehan in an anti-Bush, anti-war frenzy. The disappointment was obvious when she decided to go home.

    What should have made headlines? It would've been nice to see more attention devoted to the complexity and importance of drafting a new constitution for Iraq. But my nomination for the "Greatest Story Never Told" is a quieter one: Locked in a difficult war, the U.S. Army is exceeding its re-enlistment and first-time enlistment goals. Has anybody mentioned that to you?

    Remember last spring, when the Army's recruitment efforts fell short for a few months? The media's glee would have made you confuse the New York Times and Air America.

    When the Army attempted to explain that enlistments are cyclical and numbers dip at certain times of the year, the media ignored it. All that mattered was the wonderful news that the Army couldn't find enough soldiers. We were warned, in oh-so-solemn tones, that our military was headed for a train wreck.

    Now, as the fiscal year nears an end, the Army's numbers look great. Especially in combat units and Iraq, soldiers are re-enlisting at record levels. And you don't hear a whisper about it from the "mainstream media."

    Let's look at the numbers, which offer a different picture of patriotism than the editorial pages do.

    * Every one of the Army's 10 divisions — its key combat organizations — has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the year to date. Those with the most intense experience in Iraq have the best rates. The 1st Cavalry Division is at 136 percent of its target, the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent.

    Among separate combat brigades, the figures are even more startling, with the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division at 178 percent of its goal and the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Mech right behind at 174 percent of its re-enlistment target.

    This is unprecedented in wartime. Even in World War II, we needed the draft. Where are the headlines?

    * What about first-time enlistment rates, since that was the issue last spring? The Army is running at 108 percent of its needs. Guess not every young American despises his or her country and our president.

    * The Army Reserve is a tougher sell, given that it takes men and women away from their families and careers on short notice. Well, Reserve recruitment stands at 102 percent of requirements.

    * And then there's the Army National Guard. We've been told for two years that the Guard was in free-fall. Really? Guard recruitment and retention comes out to 106 percent of its requirements as of June 30. (I've even heard a rumor that Al Franken and Tim Robbins signed up — but let's wait for confirmation on that.)

    Of course, we'll hear stammering about an "army of mercenaries"— naive, uneducated kids lured by the promise of big retention bonuses. That's another lie told by the elite to excuse themselves from serving our country in uniform.

    The young men and women who have been through the crucible of combat — often on repeated deployments — are hardly naive. Their education levels exceed the American average. And, as of Aug. 2, the Army had spent a 2005 total of only $347 million on Selective Re-enlistment Bonuses — that's weekend walking-around money for America's Fortune 500 CEOs.

    Big bucks for risking your life? Not hardly. Only 60 percent of soldiers get any re-enlistment bonus. For the overwhelming number whose skills merit an extra incentive, bonuses runs between $6,000 and $12,400 per year of contracted service — per year of facing death, wounds, separation from family and uncertainty as to whether you'll ever see that family again.

    A total of 643 soldiers with very special capabilities, from special operators to doctors, got an average payment of $57,000 — a fraction of what the private sector offers them for doing the same jobs at far less risk.

    No, they don't do it for the money.

    Guess we have to face it: Patriotism is alive and well. Soldiers believe in the Army, and they believe in their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. They love their comrades, too. And yes, the word is "love." They would die for the man or woman serving beside them. They're risking their lives to save a broken state, to give tens of millions of human beings a chance at decent lives, to do the grim work that no one else in the world is willing to do.

    Their reward? The Cindy Sheehan Extravaganza. Predictions of disaster. The depiction of Michael Moore as a hero and our soldiers as dupes. And a ceaseless attempt to convince the American people that there's no hope in Iraq.

    The ugly truth is that much of the media only cares about our soldiers when they're dead or crippled. That's a story.

    As you read this, 500,000 soldiers are on active duty because they chose to serve their country. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Reservists and Guard members have been called into uniform. And they're all behaving as true soldiers do: Running toward the sound of the guns, not away from them.

    We should be humbled by their choices, honored by their sacrifices, and proud of what they're fighting to achieve. Instead of the jerk's refrain "Support our troops, bring them home," the line should run "Support our troops, make their home worthy of them."

    Our young men and women in uniform — in every service — deserve far better than we've given them.

    [url]http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/52321.htm[/url]
    ------------------------------------------------------

    More impressive then recruits are the re-enlisment rates....if this was a failed mission and we are losing as many of the left such as bitonti b!tch about on a daily basis you'd think soldiers would re-enlist???

  2. #2
    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]THE REAL IRAQ NEWS

    ------------------------------------------------------

    More impressive then recruits are the re-enlisment rates....if this was a failed mission and we are losing as many of the left such as bitonti b!tch about on a daily basis you'd think soldiers would re-enlist???[/QUOTE]

    It sure sounds great. But without additional reference information, the numbers are effctively meaningless as an indicator.

    For example: The article continuously refers to "required" enlistment/re-enlistment, but fails to provide concrete percentages and numbers. If the Army is 106% over "required" or "target" re-enlistment, but required/target re-enlistment is only 2% of total currently enlisted soldiers, then being at 106% of 2% isn't very good at all. Conversely, if "required" re-enlistment is say, 80% of current soldiers, and they are 106% of that, then it is indeed great news for those who back the War.

    The same issue applies to new enlistment. If they are at 105% of 10 guys a month, so what. If they are at 105% of 100,000 men a month, that is a different story altogether.

    So while I applaud the effort at education on the topic, the writers exclusion of real numbers to back the percentages lowers the true effectiveness of this news IMO.

  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=Warfish]It sure sounds great. But without additional reference information, the numbers are effctively meaningless as an indicator.

    For example: The article continuously refers to "required" enlistment/re-enlistment, but fails to provide concrete percentages and numbers. If the Army is 106% over "required" or "target" re-enlistment, but required/target re-enlistment is only 2% of total currently enlisted soldiers, then being at 106% of 2% isn't very good at all. Conversely, if "required" re-enlistment is say, 80% of current soldiers, and they are 106% of that, then it is indeed great news for those who back the War.

    The same issue applies to new enlistment. If they are at 105% of 10 guys a month, so what. If they are at 105% of 100,000 men a month, that is a different story altogether.

    So while I applaud the effort at education on the topic, the writers exclusion of real numbers to back the percentages lowers the true effectiveness of this news IMO.[/QUOTE]

    I think his point was just to point how for a while people were criticizing the Army because they couldn't hit their quota, whereas they are doing that and more.

    I see your point on a bigger scale (i.e how effective is our recruiting in it's own right?). but I would say that the numbers themselves are probably pretty good, not as good as the percentages, but still very successful.

  4. #4
    [QUOTE=TheBrodyMan]I think his point was just to point how for a while people were criticizing the Army because they couldn't hit their quota, whereas they are doing that and more.

    I see your point on a bigger scale (i.e how effective is our recruiting in it's own right?). but I would say that the numbers themselves are probably pretty good, not as good as the percentages, but still very successful.[/QUOTE]

    I understand the point re: the anti-War coverage of the major media. I just feel the article would be more persuasive if they had included the real numbers as well, eliminating any possible "twisting" of this by those on the other side.

    It was certainly not intended as a criticism of the point, or of Mr. CBTNY.

    My ONLY issue with the piece criticism wise, is this line:

    [QUOTE]* What about first-time enlistment rates, since that was the issue last spring? The Army is running at 108 percent of its needs. Guess not every young American despises his or her country and our president. [/QUOTE]

    I don;t like the implication here that everyone who does not serve hates America or the President.
    Last edited by Warfish; 08-23-2005 at 03:32 PM.

  5. #5
    [QUOTE=TheBrodyMan]I think his point was just to point how for a while people were criticizing the Army because they couldn't hit their quota, whereas they are doing that and more.

    I see your point on a bigger scale (i.e how effective is our recruiting in it's own right?). but I would say that the numbers themselves are probably pretty good, not as good as the percentages, but still very successful.[/QUOTE]

    I think you're correct, Brody.

    And when Peters writes:

    [QUOTE]Remember last spring, when the Army's recruitment efforts fell short for a few months? The media's glee would have made you confuse the New York Times and Air America. [/QUOTE]

    he makes the point that the MSM ignored the upturn while celebrating the downturn.

    And unlike the vietnam war days, there is no draft in effect to replenish the troops.

  6. #6
    This statement is so true and so very sad.

    "The ugly truth is that much of the media only cares about our soldiers when they're dead or crippled. That's a story".

  7. #7
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    The MSM not covering this notwithstanding (which you really can't do), the re-enlistment %'s seem pretty impressive considering the way the media portrays the war on a daily basis....granted, if the re-enlistment goal is 30% or 40% of the existing troop level and they've exceeded that goal by 17%-36% I would agree it is nothing more then clever accounting.

    The bottom line would be a comparison of re-enlistment [B]numbers[/B] on a year-by-year chart....

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]The MSM not covering this notwithstanding (which you really can't do), the re-enlistment %'s seem pretty impressive considering the way the media portrays the war on a daily basis....granted, if the re-enlistment goal is 30% or 40% of the existing troop level and they've exceeded that goal by 17%-36% I would agree it is nothing more then clever accounting.

    The bottom line would be a comparison of re-enlistment [B]numbers[/B] on a year-by-year chart....[/QUOTE]

    Agreed.

  9. #9
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    [B]Army, in tough slog, hits recruiting goal
    By Rowan Scarborough
    THE WASHINGTON TIMES[/B]

    The U.S. Army, which has done some of the toughest and longest fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, has met its recruiting and retention goals for active-duty soldiers in the fiscal year that ends today.

    The Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps also achieved those goals at a time when the 1.4-million-person armed forces is under intense deployment pressures because of the global war on terrorism.

    The Army did suffer setbacks in the government's fiscal 2004. The National Guard will miss its recruiting goal of 56,000. It had signed up only 43,827 by Aug. 31. Critics say frequent call-ups and 12-month deployments are driving prospects away, but the Army cites the fact that more soldiers are being kept on active duty, which means they are not available for Guard recruiters.


    On the retention front, both the Guard and Army reserves will miss targets slightly — by 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively, the Army projects.

    But overall, the Army brass say they are pleased at 100 percent-plus retention rates for enlisted active-duty soldiers, especially in its 10 active-combat divisions, which have seen some of the bloodiest combat in Iraq cities such as Najaf, Baghdad and Sammara. The goal of retaining 56,100 will be exceeded by about 800 soldiers.

    On new recruits heading to basic training, the target of 77,000 was exceeded 10 days ago by a margin of 47 inductees.


    "It goes completely against the conventional wisdom. But it's true," said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon. "We understand that we need to continue to show good leadership and focus resources to get citizens to enlist and to re-enlist. But we're doing it."


    Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry and other party members have contended that the war is putting so much stress on the force that President Bush will be forced to reinstitute the draft — a scenario denied by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.


    Keeping the Army ranks filled comes with financial and manpower costs.

    The Army has relied on a procedure known as "stop-loss" to keep soldier specialists on active duty who might otherwise return to civilian life. It also has recalled soldiers from the Individual Ready Reserve to increase overall manpower levels.

    These types of moves, plus yearlong deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, has the Pentagon closely watching the Army — the nation's largest land force — more than the other military branches.

    As an inducement, the Army also has increased re-enlistment bonuses and made them tax-free if a soldier signs up in a combat zone.
    In other end-of-the year benchmarks:

    •The Marine Corps, whose amphibious units have fought in Afghanistan and patrol the notorious Anbar Province in Iraq, says it is on track to meet a goal of 36,773 recruits this fiscal year.

    •The Air Force three months ago exceeded a goal of retaining 55 percent of first-termers, garnering 68 percent. In fact, the branch is 20,000 over its budget-authorized personnel strength and is transferring some airmen to the Army.


    Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Stephens attributed the sign-up rate to patriotism, the civilian job market and job satisfaction.


    "These are all trends we are seeing," she said. Edgar Castillo, spokesman for Air Force Recruit Services at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, said the branch actually is slashing accessions from 34,080 this year to 24,000 next year. "There are people right now that want to join that we can't accommodate," Mr. Castillo said.

    •The Navy will meet its marker of 39,700 enlisted recruits, as it has for every year in recent memory, except 1998. The branch might miss the goal for 11,000 new naval reservists, partly because active duty retention rates are so high the pool of available recruits is shrinking for certain skills.

    [url]http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040930-122138-5753r.htm[/url]

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=pope]This statement is so true and so very sad.

    "The ugly truth is that much of the media only cares about our soldiers when they're dead or crippled. That's a story".[/QUOTE]
    Bitonti is media? I didn't know that. Hmm.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=sackdance]Bitonti is media? I didn't know that. Hmm.[/QUOTE]

    your an a$$hole. I have family over there right now and I care very deeply.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=bitonti]your an a$$hole. I have family over there right now and I care very deeply.[/QUOTE]
    Oh, BS. I have family and friends over there and I've never even thought the way you post. "It's all lost" "we're doomed" "on the verge of civil war" - BS!

    One thing I know, is that your "family" over there isn't telling you about this impending civil war you moon on about. It was impending last month and the month before and the month before that, too. There is lots of good news that comes out of Iraq, like this from Central Command (only newsmax.com will bother reporting progress - everyone else wants to cry for Cindy)

    [url]http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/8/23/101534.shtml[/url]

    Care very deeply my ***! If you're not a ghoul, you sure post like one. You bend over backwards to call the mission over there a failure. I don't think "family" appreciates that.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=sackdance]Oh, BS. I have family and friends over there and I've never even thought the way you post. "It's all lost" "we're doomed" "on the verge of civil war" - BS!

    One thing I know, is that your "family" over there isn't telling you about this impending civil war you moon on about. It was impending last month and the month before and the month before that, too. There is lots of good news that comes out of Iraq, like this from Central Command (only newsmax.com will bother reporting progress - everyone else wants to cry for Cindy)

    [url]http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/8/23/101534.shtml[/url]

    Care very deeply my ***! If you're not a ghoul, you sure post like one. You bend over backwards to call the mission over there a failure. I don't think "family" appreciates that.[/QUOTE]

    quick question, how in the hell does anybody appreciate you?

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=sackdance]
    There is lots of good news that comes out of Iraq, like this from Central Command (only newsmax.com will bother reporting progress - everyone else wants to cry for Cindy)
    [/QUOTE]
    the other day somebody told me that they have a friend in iraq. anyway, to make a long story short, this guy that was standing next to that person got blown up. they sent back i guess a brain, an arm and a leg. the way i hear it, its MUCH worse than the way that the media describes it. other than people getting blown up at the drop of a hat, sounds like lots of good news.

  15. #15
    [QUOTE=sackdance]
    There is lots of good news that comes out of Iraq, like this from Central Command (only newsmax.com will bother reporting progress - everyone else wants to cry for Cindy)
    [/QUOTE]
    the other day somebody told me that they have a friend in iraq. anyway, to make a long story short, this guy that was standing next to that person, got blown up. they sent back i guess a brain, an arm and a leg. the way i hear it, its MUCH worse than the way that the media describes it. other than people getting blown up at the drop of a hat, sounds like lots of good news.

  16. #16
    whoops, double post. hey, congrats to me, 1300 :clapper: :clapper: :clapper:

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=Jetfan16]quick question, how in the hell does anybody appreciate you?[/QUOTE]
    Quick answer, I pay the bills.

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=Jetfan16] the way i hear it, its MUCH worse than the way that the media describes it. [/QUOTE]
    I have one cousin and two close friends with Iraq experience. My cousin is there and one of my friends has returned to civilian life - the other has re-upped. From what they've shared with me, they, like most soldiers, seem very concerned about media coverage. They'd likely not agree that it's "MUCH worse", but they'd say it's much different than what the news show. Your flying brain story was a tearjerker though, thanks for keeping it brief. Makes me want to shove daisys into rifle barrels. :rolleyes:
    Last edited by sackdance; 08-24-2005 at 08:38 AM.

  19. #19
    On a related note:

    [QUOTE][B][U][SIZE=5]Military Academies Face Drop in Applications[/SIZE][/U][/B]

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    By Molly Bernhart

    From FOXNews.com

    As the newest students at the nation’s four U.S. service academies start their classes this month, they may not realize they had a slight advantage — they benefited from a shrinking pool of applicants.

    All of the schools saw a drop in prospective students, with the Air Force Academy experiencing the most drastic change — a 23 percent decline from last year. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point fared the best with a 9 percent drop in applicants, according to figures provided by the academy.

    The declines are notable because, with the exception of the Coast Guard Academy, the schools all experienced a jump in applications following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. The numbers remained high during the U.S. military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    And they come at a time when some branches of the military are experiencing their own manpower problems. The Army, for example, will fall short of its 2005 recruitment goals, although it will do better than expected with re-enlistments. Click here to read more about the Army's numbers.

    Some analysts believe the drop-off at the military academies is because of extended military commitments or a perceived tapering of post-Sept. 11 patriotism. Others suspect a more likely cause is an improvement in the U.S. economy. But admissions officials told FOXNews.com it's a combination of many factors.

    "All the services, especially the Army, have had daily coverage from the media on the war. This could re-instill someone's desire to serve, or it could drive someone — or their parents — away," said Col. Trapper Carpenter, director of admissions at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    A statement from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., said: "We do not know for certain why the total number of applications rise and fall from year to year. Various factors such as personal motivation and aspirations, the economy, the appeal of military service, and other issues potentially influence those applying to the Academy."

    But the war in Iraq seems a likely contributor to the shortage of applications.

    "This summer we surveyed a group of students who expressed interest in the Coast Guard Academy but ultimately chose not to apply to the Class of 2009. Eighteen percent cited concern about the war as a factor influencing their decision," said Capt. Susan Bibeau, director of admissions at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Bibeau added, however, that the academy had not asked this question in previous years, so officials had no comparative data by which to judge the survey.

    Applications at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., have been erratic. The applications for the classes of 2008 and 2009 were close to a third of the typical number of applicants for each of the five years prior.

    [U]Cause and Effect[/U]

    When each of the academies held its graduation ceremonies this year, the graduates of 2005 shared a unique bond — they were members of the first class to enter the elite schools following the Sept. 11 attacks.

    "Students applying to the service academies now were in seventh or eighth grade when the attacks occurred," Bibeau said. "Their memory and impressions of that event are relatively distant. Nonetheless, many academy applicants continue to write eloquently of their desire to serve the nation."

    The tragedy of the 2001 terrorist attacks brought challenges not only in defense and homeland security, but also economic challenges. After several years of struggle, the economy improved in 2004 and 2005 and is showing the highest first quarter in expendable household incomes in more than seven years.

    A weak economy can trigger a boom in military academy applications, said Carpenter. The military academies are the perfect solution to financial problems because they allow a free education — the Air Force Academy even pays its students — and students are guaranteed a job upon graduation, explained Carpenter.

    Another financial factor that some said may be taking its toll on the academies is an increase in grants at Ivy League schools. More students than ever are eligible under the financial aid umbrella at Ivy League universities.

    For example, Yale University, which costs $41,000 a year to attend, increased financial aid scholarships in March by waving tuition for students whose families make less than $45,000 per year and charging only half the cost of tuition for families making between $45,000 and $60,000 per year. In 2004 another Ivy League school, Harvard University, launched a program allowing students from families making less than $40,000 to go to school tuition-free.

    "We attract the same students who look at a lot of the Ivy League schools," said Carpenter, "students attracted to the core things we stand for, like integrity and putting the team above yourself. …

    "We're very comfortable with the number of our applications, and the quality of the class is reflected by the number of qualified applicants, and some of the elite schools are making it more competitive for us to get those qualified applicants."

    [U]A Black Eye[/U]

    Bad publicity could also be taking a toll on the academies, officials said, pointing to several recent sexual harassment scandals.

    "I think that the controversy over women and their treatment in various military academies has caused the number of applicants to decrease," said Carol Vandre, the guidance counselor at Indian Creek High School in Shabbona, Ill.

    In a 2004 study of sexual harassment at the academies, 202 female students reported 302 incidents of sexual assault, including 94 instances of alleged rape and 176 cases of inappropriate touching and fondling between 1999 and 2004. The Department of Defense study surveyed 1,906 of the 1,971 women enrolled at the academies.

    Scandals — like the reported rape of Jessica Brakey, an Air Force Academy cadet, one of 142 allegations of sexual assault at the academy between 1993 and 2002 — only highlighted the link between sexual harassment and the military academies.

    Brakey claimed that she was raped by an upperclassman, First Lt. Joseph Harding, and was expelled from the academy while Harding escaped further investigation. More than four years after the alleged rape, the criminal case remains unsettled. In June, a military judge halted the rape case against Harding but he faces a general court-martial on a separate charge of indecent assault against another female cadet. That trial could start in October.

    Air Force Academy officials said that the problems attributed to their institution and the other military academies are shared by other colleges and universities.

    In 2000, the Justice Department published a report that found that over a seven-month reference period, 27.7 rapes occurred per 1,000 female students in the general college population. The study was based on a national sample of 4,446 women who were attending 2- or 4- year colleges or universities.

    "It was called a scandal at the time and now I think the problems our school faced have been put in context," said Carpenter.

    Perhaps surprisingly, the number of female applicants to the Air Force Academy has only increased for the classes of 2008 and 2009. One reason may be because the academy has held officers accountable and emphasized the importance of confidential reporting.

    "We do have challenges and we are making changes to create a better environment," said Carpenter. Carpenter also said she feels that people admire the way the Air Force Academy handled the situation. "[People have] faith in our service academies that we are willing to take those challenges head on."

    [U]Tough Road to Acceptance[/U]

    The academies pride themselves on their record of turning students into educated, physically fit, inspired and honorable soldiers. Students are not only required to prove academic, athletic and extracurricular excellence, but must also be nominated by a member of Congress and interviewed by the academy.

    "Our focus is less on the total number of applicants who express interest in applying and more about attracting, admitting and ultimately graduating the very best-qualified individuals who wish to serve their nation as Navy and Marine Corps officers," said the Naval Academy's public affairs department in a press statement. Less than 10 percent of applicants are admitted, according to the academy.

    Despite the drop in the number of applicants, SAT scores and the class rank statistics have either improved or remained steady at all of the academies. The number of students they are admitting has not wavered considerably, either.

    "Even if academy admits were down, I don't ever think the academies will have to 'dummy down' for a class. The academies offer world-class education for free. I'm sure world events affect student decision-making but I couldn't tell how," said Susan Biemeret, the college consultant at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill.

    [U]The Sept. 11 Effect[/U]

    Even though the academies are experiencing a drop in applications, most of the academies are back to their application rates before terrorists attacked the United States in 2001.

    "I think what most people are seeing is that our application numbers are returning to the pre-9/11 numbers if you look eight or 10 years prior to 9/11," Carpenter said.

    Bibeau describes the drop in applications as the natural flux of interest in military academies. "The role played by external factors waxes and wanes over years, not months," said Bibeau.

    But the admissions departments aren't getting too comfortable with their ability to maintain a quality enrollment. Officials said they are still trying to improve their appeal to high school students across the country in order to fight the drop in admissions and keep the process competitive.

    "Every admissions officer worth their salt stays focused on building their applicant pool. We plan to do the same," Bibeau said.[/QUOTE]

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=Warfish]On a related note:[/QUOTE]

    summed- up in this line:

    [QUOTE]"I think what most people are seeing is that our application numbers are returning to the pre-9/11 numbers if you look eight or 10 years prior to 9/11," Carpenter said.[/QUOTE]

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