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Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 8/1/2004

It's rather shocking what the military augments

As these things go, "Be all that you can be" isn't a bad pitch for military life.

In just six single-syllable words, it succeeds in suggesting that donning a uniform is a pretty good way to issue yourself something akin to an Xtreme Challenge.

Personal best and all that - never mind the pesky, once-distant prospect of war.

Have you ever sat in a theater during the trailers, only to find yourself fascinated by what looks like a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced ad for the military?

These ads always made a soldier's life look like an action-adventure summer camp.

Rapelling! Hiking! Parachuting! Bonding with your best buds! Whoo hooo!

It's almost difficult to blame those new, wide-eyed recruits who, once ensnared in that patch of military quicksand we call Iraq, speak as if they'd been bait-n-switched at the recruiting office.

"War? War?! Hey, wait a minute! All they really ever talked to us about were the tuition benefits and a steady paycheck!"

But if you've been following the news lately, you know there are other military benefits too.

Like breast implants.

Chin implants. Liposuction. Nose jobs. Face lifts.

Just who's in charge of military bennies these days, anyway? Television programming geniuses?

Tonight on Fox: It's Army versus Navy like you've never seen it before! Watch as recruits from both branches undergo extreme plastic surgery, then face-off before a 'jury' of civilians to decide whether green or blue looks best!

Honestly, if I hadn't read it with my own eyes in the New Yorker magazine, I'd swear it was a "news" story straight from The Onion.

Witness this excerpt from the magazine:

"Mario Moncada, an Army private who was recently treated for losing the vision in one eye in Iraq, said that he knows several female soldiers who have received free breast enlargements: 'We're out there risking our lives. We deserve benefits like that.' ''

But wait! There's more!

Military personnel aren't the only ones eligible for cosmetic makeovers. So too are their immediate families.

The magazine reports that, from 2000 through the first three months of this year, army doctors carried out 556 breast enlargements and 1,592 liposuction procedures.

All compliments of the U.S. taxpayer.

(Well, that's not entirely true. Women undergoing augmentation have to pay for the actual implants. But other than that, it's a freebie.)

An Army spokesman defended the practice by contending that "the surgeons have to have someone to practice on."

And for the first few seconds, anyway, that sounds semi-plausible - until you remind yourself of the vast difference between elective cosmetic procedures and the types of reconstructive surgeries that military physicians are most likely to perform.

C'mon, there was never a single episode of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye practiced "meatball surgery" by screaming at Hot Lips to hurry up and deliver that chin implant, or else.



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