No high school diploma, felony convictions, prescription-drug use, "large-scale" tattoos, ear gauges: as reported in Miriam Jordan's sobering article in this weekend's Wall Street Journal, these are some of the reasons that American youth cannot serve in the U.S. military. In fact, so many young men and women carry disqualifying conditions, "the Defense Department estimates 71% of the roughly 34 million 17- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. would fail to qualify to enlist in the military if they tried...."
Among the reasons for this growing ineligibility, the WSJ reports that obesity is the most common. Many people, according to military recruiters, show up to recruiting offices 50 pounds or more overweight.
The situation is so bad that "experts said seniors graduating from high school this year face the longest odds to qualify for military service since the draft was abolished in 1973."