More on Harvey’s Press Conference

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DemocracyRising.us has a good commentary on the same topic CounterRecruiter posted on yesterday.

Of particular interest are the "challenges to recruitment myths" (see below) and a comment that mentions a "conference
call [for anti-draft groups nationwide]  this evening in order to begin to ‘draft’ our own game plan for an
anti-conscription strategy." Any reports on what came out of that conference call?

Also check out their extensive sets of national and local counterrecruitment links.


–    Despite the stated length of enlistment (usually four years), recruits can be kept in the military indefinitely, or called back from the reserves many years later as is being seen with the current back door draft.

–    Recruiters promise training that will lead to better jobs in civilian life. But several careful studies show that veterans typically earn 12% to 15% less than those workers who do not go into the military.

–    College benefits are a great exaggeration; because of all the small print requirements to receive college benefits only 15 percent ever receive a college degree — only 35% receive GI bill funds for college.  Indeed, the average participant actually receives less money than a student who simply receives a Pell Grant and a Stafford Loan.

On top of those false statements, some truths are often not discussed:

–         Women in the military face a high incidence of harassment and rape.

–         Military life is very hard on families with the incidence of family abuse and violence three to five times higher than in the civilian population.

–         The hazards of military service include more than just getting killed or wounded.  For instance, less than 300 US soldiers were killed in the first Gulf War of 1991. But tens of thousands of Gulf War vets have reported chronic, debilitating physical and psychological disorders since serving in the Gulf.

Finally, the fine print on the back of the enlistment contract makes it clear that no promise by the government made has to be kept.  The Military Enlistment/Reenlistment contract states: "The following statements [in the contract] are not promises or guarantees of any kind. They explain some of the present laws affecting the Armed Forces which I cannot change but which Congress can change at any time."  Indeed, as veterans well know — benefits promised have been repeatedly cut, with more reductions on the way.

7 Responses to “More on Harvey’s Press Conference”

  1. IRR Soldier... Says:

    Some comments before blindly embracing the Democracy rising stats…

    1) I do not trust the stats on veterans making less money than not vets. I’ve seen them and they are not only outdated, but methodologically flawed and focus on Vietnam-era statistics.

    How can you make sweeping income comparisons based on the aggregate? It is no secret that the military recruits from a lower socioecomic and educational attainment strata than the national mean. For example, in 2003, only 3% of army enlistees had a BA or BS degree. Knowing this, you are going to compare vets with an aggregate pool of ALL folks their age when before comparing them, you know damn well that college bound youths that never serve are not a fair comparison. Throwing 28 year old attorneys and investment bankers in the mix compared with 28 year old vets with a BA on the GI Bill are not fair comparisons.

    2) Your argument about the GI Bill needs to be dissected carefully.

    The 15% myth…

    a) I guess it is helpful by starting to say that HALF of all first-term soldiers reenlist. Those guys will not use their GI Bill because they stay in the service. That is fully 50% of the pie right there. If a soldier stays, they get degree money from TA – tuition assistance – a different (DoD not VA) pot of money.

    b) Disability Money. Before the war even started, about 10% of soldiers left service with a VA compensable disability. These people get “VA Vocational Rehab” not the GI Bill. This is a more lucrative pot of $250,000 per soldier for school. Anyone medically discharged and found 20% disabled gets this. They can’t double dip and get GI Bill as well.

    c) Life Happens. I think we are very disingenuous if we fail to consider the social strata of the majority of enlistees. Simply put – for many, college is not an immediate option. Many first-term soldiers out of loneliness rush into marriages destined for failure. We have a young, heavily married force. Being a father of 2 at 20 and holding a GED is not the most conducive launching pad for earning a bachelor’s degree. Many soldiers get out and the financial pressures/reality of life overcome their educational goals.

    d) Chapters!!! Pre-2003, fully 39% of the US Army failed to complete their term of service they signed up for. This is attributed to a variety of factors:
    Entry level seperation, fraudulant enlistmant, pregnancy, patterns of misconduct – the whole yards.

    Many of these seperated soldiers “paid into the GI Bill” but are precluded from using it because a) they do not have an honorable discharge or b) they did not accrue the required 24 months of Active Federal Service needed to “vest” the GI Bill.

    I have seen the stats you cite – there isno breakout for those that get chaptered. This is a significant portion of the “paid but did not use” population. The VA doesn’t know their separation circumstances until they apply for benefits.

    e) GI Bill delimiting date. Don’t get a degree in 10 years, you lose your benefits.

    f) GI Bill can be used for vocational schooling. Many guys get out and use it to get a CDL, do an apprenticeship or other license. To suggest that only a “four year degree” is a mark of success belies your own bias.

    g) For the 15% that you say get a degree – it is a damn good deal. It’s putting me through Law School and is even paying my bar exam admission fee in NYS. I can tell you this, most of my soldiers that got out and used it got their degree. This program is a lifeline to many.

    Perhaps its low usage underscores WHO we are recruiting. I submit that if we had an enlsited force as educationally and academically diverse as we did in WWII or Vietnam we would see a higher GI Bill usage. I guarantee if we had a draft, more than half eligible would use it.

  2. Todd Boyle Says:

    More corrections. The original article said,

    “- Despite the stated length of enlistment (usually four years), ”

    Actually it’s 8 years, including active duty and reserve portions. But the comment is substantially correct that people are getting stoplossed much longer than their original contract.

    “- College benefits are a great exaggeration…”

    The paragraph omits the biggest weakness of the GI Bill, namely, that other financial aid (including loans) is already sufficient and millions of people are going to college just fine without going in the military. The GI Bill money is just subtracted from your other financial aid. Recruiting pam 350- 13 states the purpose of the GI Bill is to convince high school kids to screw up their lives, by deferring college until after the Army.

    “- The hazards of military service include more than just getting killed or wounded. For instance, less than 300 US soldiers were killed in the first Gulf War of 1991. But tens of thousands of Gulf War vets have reported chronic, debilitating physical and psychological disorders ”

    Wrong again, there are over 200,000 Gulf War 1 veterans receiving disability from the VA. That’s 1/3. Surely this is the most hazardous occupation in the US if not the world.


    Recruiting underaged teens in the K12 public schools is an outrage, there should be no school district in the U.S. so unethical as to allow this to continue. We entrust our children to the public schools not unconditionally but within a loco parentis obligation. Schools to serve the childrens best interest and NEVER the purposes of any outside agency or vested interest. K12 schools have no role in the national defense. They are to pursue knowledge and reason and to develop healthy minds hearts and bodies,

    TOdd in Kirkland WA
    we dont need no steenkin lawyers from NY.

  3. IRR Soldier... Says:

    Todd,

    You raise some good points. I agree with your comments on high school recuiting – it should be a national outrage. Many of my soldiers from the south and southwest were REQUIRED to take the ASVAB test while in high school. Once the scores were released to recruiters, an incessant barrage of high-pressure sales began. This must be stopped.

    Your comments about the GI Bill being subtracted from federal financial aid is compeletely incorrect. I receive the GI Bill and its use has absolutely NO bearing on my Stafford loans, Perkins Loans or NYS TAP grant. In fact, I get the same as any other nonveteran plus I get the $1154 tax free from the MGIB. The GI Bill is the best investment ever. For $1,800 down you get $1,154 for 36 months. The guys with Army College fund get over $2K a month.

    I completely agree with the need to challenge duplicitous recruiting tactics. That being said, we shouldn’t spread our own “whoppers” either.

  4. Armyguy Says:

    Todd,

    Let me ask you this. Who do you think protects the right you have to , as IRR Soldier put it, add your own whppers? Now I am a US Army SSG, who is attending Recruiting School. The Army has done great things for me. I have four children and paid nothing in hospital bills for them. My wife has a prostethic right eye and all I had to pay to get a new one and the many check-ups and polishing she has needed is $500. That was to cover what insurance would not cover for the new eye, everything else is free. I have torn my ACL and had the repair for free and no it was not on “On duty” injury. I have gotten over 21 credit hours of college and paid nothing, in fact using TA and Pell Grant, I got free money. When I retire and decide to pursue my Masters in Educatio, that $36,000 dollars the GI Bill will provide me will come in awfully handy.
    Do not get me wrong, I do not support the war in Iraq, but I have signed numerous contracts to obey the orders of those above me. I am a man who believes that if you can not trust on man on his words, then something is wrong.
    The focus of recruiting in the military is shifting and even if it wasn’t it would do little to affect the way I plan on recruiting. I plan on recruiting with integrity, something I can tell from your whoppers that you do not have in an abundance. I can tell you this. If I ever feel that I am going to have to lie or mislead a potential recruit, it will be time for me to leave and go back into the mainstream Army.

  5. Rick Says:

    You are a lying SOB your fact are false I sent 25 yrs in the Army. My spouse is a Recruiter and we would never mislead someone child. Oh, how many yrs have you spent in the military?

  6. Tatyana Canarte Says:

    This is the 1st place I record any points around this. Who wants to blow off time interpreting the forgotten S.F. Chronicle or NY Times? Their loose news reporters’ bias is a lot spoiled than the old “dead tree” media.

  7. http://www.paysmartpayroll.com/ Says:

    An fascinating discussion is worth comment. I feel that you must write extra on this topic, it won’t be a taboo subject but usually persons are not sufficient to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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