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Friday, June 24, 2005

Article: Final Draft?

This article by Matt Taibbi appears in the New York Press...


High comedy on the army-recruitment front.

By Matt Taibbi

Remember that brilliant idea Nancy Reagan had for battling the nation's youth drug problem? Instead of treatment programs, a new wave of after-school funding, an increased education budget, or anything else substantive, Nancy's plan was three words whispered to reporters in the breaks between meetings with her tailors and her pedicurist.

Just Say No was the outstanding comic legacy of the Reagan presidency, one of the great out-of-touch policy ideas since Marie Antoinette. If you were old enough to go potty by yourself, you were old enough to laugh at Just Say No.

Twenty years and a few million teenage crack addicts later, that same crew that gave us Just Say No is watching the boomerang come back. Twenty years ago, the yacht-and-Lexus set went to its poor people and asked them nicely to stop taking those darned drugs. Faced with potentially calamitous army-recruitment shortages, it is now asking them nicely to get their balls blown off in Iraq. It's just as funny this time, only this time, the joke's on them.

The army-recruitment-shortage story is gaining more and more traction in the mainstream press, but still remains largely underground. As a media phenomenon it falls under the category of one of those things that everyone would like to ignore, but simply cannot—like AIDS or global warming. While the Jessica Simpsons, Michael Jacksons and Terri Schiavos of the world heroically maintain their tenuous grasp on the front pages, the inside sections are beginning to pile up with some troubling numbers.

Click here to read the entire article


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