Too fat to fight

Science Daily reported recently on new analysis by Cornell University has uncovered a major threat to U.S. national security. Research has shown that about 25 percent of the young people needed to provide the cannon fodder for the U.S. military are too fat to pass the medical requirements for service in the armed forces.

The military needs to sign up 184,000 young people each year in order to carry on its wars and the garrisoning of its military outposts around the world and the fact that so many young people are too fat to fight means the Pentagon may have to rely more and more on private security mercenaries and drones to carry out its war plans. John Crawley, one of the professors associated with the Cornell study says being overweight or obese is “the most common reason for medical disqualification.”

The coefficient of fatness is also higher based on income, education and race. Marxists will not be shocked to find out that the poor, under-educated and racially or ethnically oppressed are likely to have higher coefficients of fatness. The only example given in the article is the comparison of white female potential recruits compared to those of Black and Hispanic descent; the last two groups “are less likely to meet the weight standards.”

The problem, of course, is the prevalence of junk food sold by the big chains such as McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Wendy’s, and hundreds of others that prey on the poor and minorities with their cheap unhealthy pseudo-food concoctions and the failure of the Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies to regulate the quality of food private capitalist corporations are allowed to offer to the public. Since people’s health doesn’t seem to motivate the FDA maybe the government will take some action when the military gets involved because it can’t get the troops it needs.

Some solutions have been suggested—short of providing the population with inexpensive healthy food – such as changing the health standards so that fatter people can join the military – but only for desk jobs. Also the drone flyers don’t have to be in good shape since their work is akin to playing video games – only real people not animations get killed. In fact many young people become obese from lack of exercise due to sitting and playing video war games all day long. These skills will serve the military well and the fatter a drone recruit is may be an indication of better skill at drone warfare.

It would be counterproductive to reintroduce the draft as young people could just spend a month eating at McDonalds before taking their physical and being exempted. Dr. Crowley points out that obesity is not just a personal problem, as it has been made out to be, and “U.S. military leaders view it at a threat to national security and military readiness….” Once again a red flag threatens the hegemony of U.S. imperialism: but this time it sports golden arches.

Photo by theimpulsivebuy, courtesy Flickr, cc by 2.0



Thomas Riggins
Thomas Riggins

Thomas Riggins has a background in philisophy, anthropology and archeology. He writes from New York, NY. Riggins was associate editor of Political Affairs magazine.