Monday, January 07, 2008

20 percent of Army recruiters under investigation for dishonesty

In a 'dog bites man' story, the British Ministry of Defence is apparently under fire for glamorizing war.

I'll pause a moment to allow the shock to wear off.

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust says recruits are unable to make informed choices about enlisting and children are being targeted, reports the BBC.

This is exactly when you get savvy adults whose career it is to prey upon vulnerable 16 year olds because the military needs to feed the war machine's insatiable appetite. A war machine that's so transparent that even people only a little bit older can see through it.

But don't get too smug. It's hardly just a British thing.

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."

See the world. Get money for college. Visit different cultures. The military sounds like a paradise!

I wonder if the recruiters mention destroying other people's countries for no reason, dodging bullets in a place where you have no idea who's enemy and who isn't, putting your life in the hands of whatever nitwit happens to be elected (or not) president and surviving (hopefully) roadside bombs.

Recommended reading: Top military recruitment lies.


Brian said...

For the record, I AM opposed to people joining the military so long as the military is used by politicians for everything except defending the physical security of our nation and its people in it.

There are certainly many soldiers and potential soldiers who oppose the belligerent imperial foreign policy. However, they have no choice but to implement this policy, whether they like it or not, without their input.

They are required to take orders from whoever happens to inhabit 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., whether they think s/he is a draft dodger, a nitwit, a ditzy broad or whatever. They are required to put their lives in the hands of someone they may not respect. They are required to execute policies which they may think are immoral or against our country's best interest.

So as long as this country has a foreign policy which uses the military in ways that are contrary to our national interest, I would oppose someone joining.

The only way to slay the beast of militarism is to starve it of the young blood it requires.

PCS said...

You need to think of military recruiters as used car salesmen. I don't completely agree with your view of the military, although most of my experience comes from serving in the hospital corps of the Navy. I have 3 young nephews who are currently serving in the military (2 airforce and 1 army). One of these guys has served two tours in Afghanistan and is on his third tour in Iraq (he is also a medic). But each of them recognizes the military for what it is and the war in Iraq for what it is. I have confidence in each of these guys that they would never act in an immoral way.

Brian said...

PCS: I certainly understand where you're coming from. My best friend from high school did a tour in Iraq. My best friend from college is doing his second.

I have no doubt that there are many good decent people in the military. My afforementioned friends. My brother. My father. My grandfather.

My point is that these decent people are cogs in a machine that render their individual will meaningless.

For example, I had a long conversation with one of my friends serving and he strongly believed Iraq was a terrible idea, that it undermined the war on terror. I believe he's right. But you know what, it doesn't matter. It's his job to go to Iraq and make the best of a situation which he himself believes should never have happened.

Even if your nephews believe the Iraq war is immoral, they are forced to participate in it.

The military is not like a regular job where you can quit if your boss is making you do ridiculous things. That's precisely why I'm saying anyone who wants to join the military should think seriously and get as much independent information as they can before signing on the dotted line.

My point is that you can't really draw a neat line separating what the military is from how it's used. They are inextricably intertwined.