From Sunday’s New York Times:
“Some recruiters said they witnessed more ‘improprieties,’ which the Army defines as any grossly negligent or intentional act or omission used to enlist unqualified applicants or grant benefits to those who are ineligible. They said recruiters falsified documents and told prospects to lie about medical conditions or police records.
“An analysis of Army records shows that the number of impropriety allegations doubled to 1,023 in 2004 from 490 in 2000. Initial investigations substantiated 459 violations of Army enlistment standards in 2004, up from 186 in 2000. In 135 cases, recruiters – often more than one – were judged to have committed improprieties, up from 113 in 2000. The rest were defined as errors.”
The Times also profiles one recruiter, 27-year-old Sgt. Latrail Hayes, who became disillusioned with his job and the war in Iraq:
“Hayes enlisted in the Army 10 years ago, out of high school in Virginia Beach, continuing a family tradition of military service. He volunteered to be a recruiter in 2000, after 52 jumps as a paratrooper, and at first his easy charm, appeals to patriotism and offers of Army benefits enticed dozens of recruits.
“But Sergeant Hayes said he started rethinking his assignment as the war went on. Mothers required months, not weeks, of persuasion. And stories he heard from some of his recruits who had gone to Iraq and Afghanistan made him reluctant to pursue prospects by emphasizing the Army’s benefits. When his cousin, whom he had recruited, returned from Iraq with psychological trauma, he filed for conscientious objector status in June, to get a new assignment.
“The application was rejected in November. Now, instead of serving 20 years in the Army, he intends to leave in December, when his tour ends. ‘There’s a deep human connection when you try to persuade someone to do something you’ve done,’ he said. ‘So when it turns into something else – maybe even the opposite – it’s difficult.'”