From hilzoy, a snapshot of just how desperate the armed forces have become for fresh meat to feed into their pointless fucking grinder:
Jared Guinther is 18. Tall and lanky, he will graduate from high school in June. Girls think he’s cute, until they try to talk to him and he stammers or just stands there — silent.
Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Jared is polite but won’t talk to people unless they address him first. It’s hard for him to make friends. He lives in his own private world.
Jared didn’t know there was a war raging in Iraq until his parents told him last fall — shortly after a military recruiter stopped him outside a Portland strip mall and complimented his black Converse All-Stars.
“When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, `Well, that isn’t going to happen,”‘ said Paul Guinther, Jared’s father. “I told my wife not to worry about it. They’re not going to take anybody in the service who’s autistic.”
But they did. Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he had not only enlisted, but signed up for the Army’s most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Turns out the parents got the media involved and there’s an investigation underway; see the linked stories for details. I guess Jared won’t die in Iraq after all, but not for lack of trying on the part of the recruitment vultures.
(I’m somewhat angry at myself, too, for a missed opportunity. I was recently a judge at the Northwest Science Expo, a local science fair for middle and high school students and part of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. ( It was a blast, and I encourage anyone who’s interested to get involved; that’s not my point here though.) There were a handful of broomstick-up-my-ass types wandering around in medal-bespangled uniforms, because in addition to the usual awards there are various military scholarships and prizes available at these fairs. Next time, I’m going to turn up in a t-shirt reading “hired killers off our campuses” or something like that.)