Archive for May, 2005

Facing Recruiting Shortage At Home, the U.S. Looks To Uganda For Help

May 30, 2005

From “The Monitor” (Kampala, Uganda): At least 200 Ugandan youths on Saturday signed up for security work in Iraq and at American installations worldwide. The Ugandans who go to Iraq will be deployed to guard public and private installations in the war-ravaged country where the United States forces continue to battle local insurgents.

A local law firm, Hall & Partners, is working in collaboration with a local security firm, Aktar Security Services, on the recruitment exercise, which is targeting 10,000 people in three years. Mr Bob Kasango, a lawyer with Hall & Partners, said the firm was hired by the World Wide Special Operations (WWSO), who work for and closely with the US government and other international organisations like the World Bank, Coca Cola, and Microsoft Corporation to provide security.

Kasango said not all the recruits will be employed in in Iraq. “They will work in any part of the world where America has installations. Iraq is just one of them,” he said…

Samia Bugwe MP Aggrey Awori condemned the exercise: “It is tragic for the Uganda government to allow its citizens to be recruited as mercenaries. It is not true that they are only going to provide guard services. How do you provide only guard services in a country like Iraq? These people will definitely shoot back when they are shot at.” …

Sources said Uganda had been targeted because of its close working relations with the US government and because it was one of the African countries that supported the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003…

The State Department has reportedly cleared private firms in different countries of the world to source employees for mostly security work at US installations because Americans are shunning the lucrative, but risky jobs.


Texan Says Military Recruiters Threatened to Kill Him

May 30, 2005

From KHOU in Texas: “More people are coming forward with Army recruiting horror stories after the 11 News Defenders investigation that exposed a recruiting scandal. They’re sharing similiar stories about military recruiters using hardball tactics to persuade young people to enlist.

Will Ammons, 20, signed up for delayed entry at the Lake Jackson Army recruiting station last year. But soon afterwards, he fell in love and changed his mind before he ever shipped out. That’s when, he says, Army recruiters crossed the line and started harrassing him.

“He told me I pretty much had two options,” Ammons said. “I’d go before a judge and get a sentence of 15 years but he had the option to double it. It was either that or they were going to put me in front of seven other people with rifles and shoot me.”

This is the second time this week that young men have made similar allegations about Army recruiters going too far.

20-year-old Chris Monarch told us an Army recruiter threatened to arrest him if he didn’t report that day to a recruiting station.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) Calls For Military Draft

May 28, 2005

Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) has reintroduced legislation to reinstate the military draft.

“I oppose the war in Iraq, but I support the military and the men and women who serve in it,” Rangel said.  “What is happening now indicates to me that the entire volunteer system is in danger of collapse under the weight of the burden  being placed on those who are serving.”

Under Rangel’s bill all men and women between the ages of 18 and 26 would be required to serve in the military. The length of active duty service would be reduced to 15 months. And deferments for education would be permitted only for students under the age of 21 still finishing high school.

“The longer we stay in Iraq and the more Americans  are killed, and the less attractive military service appears to potential recruits, the closer the country will move toward a decision on the draft,” Rangel said. “The American people lost confidence in this war long ago, and now that parents are discouraging their children from volunteering, we are faced with a situation in which the most disadvantaged young people from areas of high unemployment will be even more likely to carry the greatest share of the burden.”

Last year the House overwhelmingly rejected Rangel’s proposal by a vote of 404-2.

Congressman Calls For GAO Investigation Over Military Recruiting Tactics

May 28, 2005

From the Office of Rep. Pete Stark: Yesterday, US Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA, 13th) offered an amendment to the 2006 Defense Authorization bill requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report to Congress several aspects of illegal and improper military recruiting tactics. The amendment passed, as did the bill. Senate action is expected in the next few weeks.

With the reality of the Iraq war discouraging young Americans from joining the military, U.S. Army recruiters have resorted to appalling tactics in an attempt to boost their numbers of new recruits. Recruiters have recently been caught showing teenagers how to create a fake high school diploma and telling them what products to buy to pass a drug test.

“Because the Iraq war is suppressing military enlistment, military recruiters are now using illegal and improper tactics to enlist soldiers,” Stark said. “This study will reveal how widespread the problem is and how high up the chain of command the pressure to break the law is coming from. We must not allow the military to continue its track record of shielding its highest officials from responsibility.”

Leave My Child Alone

May 28, 2005

Working Assets — along with Acorn and a group called Mainstreet Moms Operation Blue — has launched the website in order to fight the provision inside the No Child Left Behind Act that forces schools to hand over student information to recruiters unless parents opt out of the deal.

The group is organizing “Opt Out house parties” across the country on June 1.

Meanwhile in Vermont, the Rutland Herald reports that nearly 10 percent of the student body at Rutland High School has opted off of recruitment lists.

37 Military Recruiters Go AWOL

May 26, 2005

From Robert Novak’s new column: “Retired Army Lt. Col. Charles Krohn got himself in trouble with his superiors as a Pentagon civilian public affairs official during the first 3-1/2 years of the Bush administration by telling the truth. He is still at it in private life. He says not to blame the military recruiters for the current recruiting ‘scandal.’ Blame the war.

“‘Army recruiting is in a death spiral, through no fault of the Army,’ Krohn told me. Always defending uniformed personnel, he resents hard-pressed recruiters being attacked for offering unauthorized benefits to make quotas. In a recent e-mail sent to friends (mostly retired military), Krohn complained that the ‘Army is having to compensate for a problem of national scope’…

“But the focus at the Defense Department has been on the excesses of desperate recruiters, 37 of whom reflected their frustration in trying to meet quotas by going AWOL over the last 2-1/2 years. The official response was a 24-hour stand-down in recruiting to review proper procedures. It also has been proposed that enlistments, now usually three to four years with a minimum of 24 months, be cut to 15 months.”

Protests Held Outside NYC Recruiting Station

May 21, 2005

See photos from Friday’s protest outside the Times Sq Armed Forces Recruiting Station on the day of the Army’s recruiting “Stand Down” at NYC Indymedia.

U.S. Navy Places Fake Ads In Papers in Pursuit of New Recruits

May 19, 2005

From DefenseWatch: The U.S. Navy has pulled out all the stops to recruit hard-to-reach candidates using classified ads in newspapers across the country offering jobs as postal workers with “excellent pay & benefits” for high school graduates who respond to a toll-free “800” telephone number.

What has a number of critics seething is that the ads do not mention the Navy at all, or that the telephone number connects inquiries to a Navy recruiting team manning a nationwide telephone bank, a DefenseWatch inquiry has learned.

Crisis Management At The Pentagon

May 19, 2005

The Army has ordered a halt to all recruiting across the country on Friday (May 20) in order to retrain military recruiters. The military has been faced with a series of setbacks in recent weeks. Recruiting goal have been missed for the three month in a row; fighting in Iraq has intensified; and recruiters are getting caught repeatedly lying to potential recruits.

The Los Angeles Times reports “The personnel shortfalls have intensified pressure on recruiters to meet quotas, drawing media attention to incidents in which recruiters allegedly threatened one prospect with prison time for not keeping an appointment, provided another with laxatives to help lose weight and pass a military physical, and instructed others on ways to cover up past drug use.”

In other words the Army is getting desperate.

Meanwhile the Campus Anti-War Network, the American Friends Service Committee and other groups are staging a series of anti-recruitment protests on May 20 in New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and other cities.

The Army’s May 20th “stand-down” comes as news on military recruiting and counter-recruiting has been making headlines across the country. Here are a couple recent articles of note:

  • “Rift Over Recruiting at Public High Schools” (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Army’s Top Recruiter Says 2006 May Be Biggest Test (New York Times)
  • Army launches new review of its ad account (Chicago Sun Times)
  • Some Military Recruiters Don’t Play it Straight, Dowagiac Teacher Says (The Herald-Palladium) –
  • Mumia Abu Jamal On Military Recruiting

    May 9, 2005

    Free Speech Radio News aired a new commentary from death row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal titled “Harder to Recruit”. Check out for other commentaries by Mumia.