October 30, 2007

New soldiers

Head over to the Washington City Paper and take a look at this photo essay by Darrow Montgomery featuring new recruits to the armed forces. The implied question is, Who is signing up for the military in the middle of the Iraq War? Here are a few answers from the accompanying text by Jason Cherkis (but follow the link and listen to the subjects speak for themselves in the audio-visual slide show):

* From a 21-year-old Navy recruit: “'I can’t swim...That might be a challenge.…I know it’s awkward. I didn’t want to go in the Air Force. I figured, ‘Hey, I’ll learn how to swim."
* From a 17-year-old who one day hopes to be a broadcast journalist: “Don’t know what to expect. But after basic training, it looks like smooth sailing.”
* A 23-year-old antiwar Duke graduate with a degree in Middle Eastern history and a minor in Arabic is shipping out with a copy of Tom Ricks's Fiasco in his luggage.
* And an 18-year-old whose job will include interrogrations and who knows she might be asked to use torture: "I’m not really concerned with it... If I have to do it, I will. Hopefully I won’t have to do anything like torturing anybody. If I have to do that to do my job, it will just come along. If it’s to help protect someone else, then yeah."