Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from Army of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War and Build a Better World published by Seven Stories Press, August 2007. Reprinted here by permission of publisher. Copyright © 2007 Aimee Allison and David Solnit
Top military recruitment facts
1. Recruiters lie. According the New York Times, nearly one of five United States Army recruiters was under investigation in 2004 for offenses varying from “threats and coercion to false promises that applicants would not be sent to Iraq.” One veteran recruiter told a reporter for the Albany Times Union, “I’ve been recruiting for years, and I don’t know one recruiter who wasn’t dishonest about it. I did it myself.”
2. The military contract guarantees nothing. The Department of Defense’s own enlistment/re-enlistment document states, “Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my status, pay allowances, benefits and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment/re-enlistment document” (DD Form4/1, 1998, Sec.9.5b).
3. Advertised signing bonuses are bogus. Bonuses are often thought of as gifts, but they’re not. They’re like loans: If an enlistee leaves the military before his or her agreed term of service, he or she will be forced to repay the bonus. Besides, Army data shows that the top bonus of $20,000 was given to only 6 percent of the 47,7272 enlistees who signed up for active duty.
4. The military won’t make you financially secure. Military members are no strangers to financial strain: 48 percent report having financial difficulty, approximately 33 percent of homeless men in the United States are veterans, and nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.
5. Money for college ($71,424 in the bank?). If you expect the military to pay for college, better read the fine print. Among recruits who sign up for the Montgomery GI Bill, 65 percent receive no money for college, and only 15 percent ever receive a college degree. The maximum Montgomery GI Bill benefit is $37,224, and even this 37K is hard to get: To join, you must first put in a nonrefundable $1,200 deposit that has to be paid to the military during the first year of service. To receive the $37K, you must also be an active-duty member who has completed at least a three-year service agreement and is attending a four-year college full time. Benefits are significantly lower if you are going to school part-time or attending a two-year college. If you receive a less than honorable discharge (as one in four do), leave the military early (as one in three do), or later decide not to go to college, the military will keep your deposit and give you nothing. Note: The $71,424 advertised by the Army and $86,000 by the Navy includes benefits from the Amy or Navy College Fund, respectively. Fewer than 10 percent of all recruits earn money from the Army College Fund, which is specifically designed to lure recruits into hard-to-fill positions.
Archive for the ‘Lying recruiters’ Category
Veterans For Peace Humboldt Bay Chapter 56 recently announced the publication of Advice from Veterans on Military Service and Recruiting Practices: A Resource Guide for Young People Considering Enlistment.
After more than a year of development, the chapter’s Veterans Educational Outreach Program Committee published the first edition of the 32-page tabloid, according to a Veterans For Peace news release. It has also been posted in PDF format.
Aimed at helping individuals fully understand military recruitment and military life, the publication begins by explaining the recruitment process, paying special attention to recruiter fraud, the GI Bill for education, the enlistment agreement, the Delayed Entry Program, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, the No Child Left Behind Act and opting out, military job training and conscientious objection, the release stated.
The guide also details possible physical and mental health hazards of life in the military, including depleted uranium exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder, racism, discrimination, and sexual harassment and abuse of women. The document ends with local and national resources and a list of references.
The guide is not an attempt to provide legal advice, but is a researched and referenced document drawing from many sources, including the personal experiences of the veterans who participated in writing the guide, according to the release.
Copies of the resource guide can be obtained by e-mailing email@example.com. The publication may also be downloaded free at www.vfp56.org/VEOP_RG_Final.pdf.
Emotions ran high Aug. 17 at Cpl. Juan Alcántara’s military funeral. The circumstances of his death were hard to accept.
Alcántara’s deployment in Iraq was due to end June 28, the day before his daughter Jaylani was born. But after President Bush announced the “surge” in January, his unit’s term in Iraq was extended by three months. His request for leave to see his newborn child was refused. Five weeks later, on Aug. 6, he was killed by a homemade bomb that exploded during a house search.
As if we needed any more proof that recruiters lie, here’s a report that contains this quote from a recruiter Michael McMaster, talking about the relaxed standards and immediate $20,000 bonus for new recruits : “It’s not a representation of decreased enlistment numbers or anything like that.”
He says this just a month after the Army failed to meet its recruitment goal and subsequently added the $20,000 bonus program.
Yeah, we all believe you Captain McMaster! Huge bonus offers have nothing to do with low enlistment. Keep up the good work.
The plan was an ambitious one.
Last fall, the Canadian Military launched an aggressive recruitment campaign in an attempt to bolster its numbers by more than 20,000 people over the next ten years.
Now there are questions about just who they’re trying to put in uniform and how they’re finding them. This after CTV obtained formerly classified documents detailing the recruitment strategy.
Andria Hill-Lehr says she’ll never forget the day her son told her he was going to Afghanistan. “It was November 2005 at a Christmas party when he came home and told me he’d been chosen to go. He did that, I think because he anticipated there would be some emotion, so I tried to keep it together. In the end I excused myself, I went upstairs and cried and cried and cried.”
Hill-Lehr says her son joined the Reserves after being won over by what she calls “military propaganda.” That’s why she’s so angry at how the Canadian forces are now reaching out to Canadian youth. “I think it’s irresponsible. I think it is preying on young people to make killing look like fun.”
Under the Access to Information Act, CTV News obtained formerly classified documents detailing the Military’s latest recruitment campaign, which launched last summer.
Documents reveal the military wanted to “inform, entertain and seduce “action focused males” between 17 and 22 years old.
It decided the most fertile ground for that was online, around video games.
“Keywords will be purchased on Canada’s major search engine networks (Google, Yahoo, MSN), the documents say, “based on gaming searches & other target-age interests (ie. Halo, MechAssault, Medal of Honour, etc.)
That, says the NDP Defence Critic, is irresponsible and dangerous. Dawn Black says, “War is real, it’s not a video game. People are being killed, people are being maimed. People are being terribly injured both physically and psychologically, and in the war in Afghanistan and I think it’s wrong to glamourize it.”
The Canadian Forces said nobody was available to comment on this story, but they did release a statement saying: “The primary purpose of recruit advertising is to raise awareness with the 17 to 34 year old target audience of a career in the Canadian Forces and to attract them to approaching the CF for further information. The Internet is only part of the strategy to meet the recruitment requirements of the Canadian Forces.”
Those requirements are hefty. The forces want to add 13,000 people and another 10,000 reservists over the next decade.
A professor who studies how video games influence the behaviour of young people, says the military may want to think twice about its approach. Michael Hoechsmann of McGill University says, “Playing a game is not going to cause you to go and kill people. It can however desensitize you to death, and it can also make war appear as a game and as something spectacular and exciting.”
Despite the controversy in Canada, using video games to recruit soldiers is common practice south of the border.
In fact, one of the most popular war-themed games on the market was developed by the U.S. Department of Defence. It’s called America’s Army.
Go to their page for the video report, and see Osman’s original expose on recruiter lies here.
A CBS 3 I-Team investigation prompted action by the U.S. Senate. The I-Team’s hidden camera report earlier this year showed military recruiters misleading young recruits.
Investigative Reporter Jim Osman has a follow up on the story.
Surveillance video has long been used to spot criminal activity or to document police conduct.
But now the government may use surveillance cameras to hold military recruiters accountable.
Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey supports a congressional committee proposal to put surveillance cameras inside military recruiting stations to monitor activities of recruiters.
Senator Casey told Jim Osman during an interview in Washington, D.C., “If it takes cameras or tough tactics to investigate these people then we should do that.”
Casey said the pressure put on recruiters to enlist new soldiers to send off to places like Iraq shouldn’t be a scapegoat for deception or abuse.
The Senator said, “There’s no excuse for this, a lot of people have pressure in their lives people in the military deal with pressure all the time and the overwhelming majority handle that pressure appropriately.”
What caught the attention of the U.S. Senate was our CBS 3 I-Team undercover investigation which exposed recruiters who were stretching the rules and the truth to get our undercover producer to sign up for military service.
Half of the military recruiters our producer spoke to misled him or tried to bend the rules.
And a common refrain: being a soldier in Iraq was as dangerous as everyday life. Statistics show that is false.