Uncle Sam Wants You!
May 3, 2005 3:08 PM   Subscribe

"Recruiting has always been a difficult job, and some say the scandals that have periodically surfaced are inevitable. But the temptation to cut corners is particularly strong today..."
posted by furtive (20 comments total)
I don't wish to be a fear monger, but aside from my preferred option of "let's not go to war in the first place", what should the US be doing to make sure the troops in the army aren't scraped from the bottom of the barrel?

At the moment potential recruits are voting on what they think of war by not joining, but that means little if a D R A F T is enabled. However, entertain this thought with me for a moment, the idea of a preemptive strike to any future draft... if Americans were to push freedom and democracy to the extreme by asking congress to pass a bill that would make it anyone's right to not join the military? Could a nation such as America live that way? Could any other nation? Could this not be considered a fundamental right, not choosing to participate in war?
posted by furtive at 3:20 PM on May 3, 2005

Amazing. I was fortunate enough to actually have an honest recruiter. I am in the Vermont Army National Guard, and my recruiter said right away:

"Look, I am not here to bullshit you. There are some things that you are not going to like. There are some things I can't promise you. The way I see it is if I lie to you, once you find out, you could talk to every person I tried to recruit and say 'hey this guy is a lying asshole'..."

And he has not let me down yet. Everything that he has promised me has happened.

Maybe it has something to do with which branch you talk to.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 3:36 PM on May 3, 2005

furtive, but there won't be a draft, I distinctly rememberate ol Shrubya swearing there wouldn't be a draft.

That said, this is pretty shameless and nasty but not really surprising and that makes it all the worse. I wonder what they'd have done if he said he had a little problem with heroin? Or, if he really wanted to get interesting, if he said he was gay?
posted by fenriq at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2005

The shortage has also contributed our our being less safe at home--the Guard and Reserves shouldn't be soldiers deployed overseas for long periods of time--they're supposed to be here, for us. Rumsfeld and the whole crew should be removed--for our safety.
posted by amberglow at 3:44 PM on May 3, 2005

oop--...contributed to our being...
posted by amberglow at 3:44 PM on May 3, 2005

Personally, I believe that if we can't recruit enough volunteers to be fighting a war, then we shouldn't be fighting it. I don't think we have the right to force people to die for their country. If the nation is really threatened (which it wasn't, at least not by Iraq), and we can't summon enough volunteer defenders, then too damn bad for the country.

FWIW, I can't imagine any situation in which we were really and truly threatened where we couldn't field millions of soldiers. The limit would be training facilities, not volunteers.

I wonder why the red staters aren't flooding the army with recruits, since they seem so convinced the Iraq war is a great idea.

Perhaps it's only a great idea when other people's kids have to die.
posted by Malor at 3:47 PM on May 3, 2005

Fenriq: not far enough. This has high "Jackass" potential.

What if he started smoking a joint right there? Or what if he came on to the recruiter? Perhaps he could have faked an epileptic fit on the floor? Or taken a dump on his desk? I really want to know: What would it take to get rejected?
posted by fungible at 3:50 PM on May 3, 2005

FWIW, I can't imagine any situation in which we were really and truly threatened where we couldn't field millions of soldiers. The limit would be training facilities, not volunteers.

I don't think you could be any more correct, Malor. I signed up to defend Vermont, but my unit had been deployed in January. There were very few in my unit that felt the U.S. should be involved in Iraq. If were were to have (god forbid) a real threat of attack against our country, I'd bet that there would be an overwhelming wave of enlistments.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2005

Maybe it has something to do with which branch you talk to.

No, it really doesn't. It sounds like you lucked out and got a decent guy as a recruiter. Count your blessings!
posted by jperkins at 4:04 PM on May 3, 2005

Connecting hypothetical dots, it is interesting that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are now saying our armed forces are overextended, that Annan at the UN is warning Iran not to develop nukes, and only a few months ago, we were warned about intentions to invade Iran in June. CNN has seemingly shown itself willing to play along (maybe).

I sure hope you don't have any college-age siblings, because I do, and I'm scared of this President breaking his promises for his rich friends, and putting my brother in harm's way for No Good Reason.
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:05 PM on May 3, 2005

For a Look at what can go wrong when the lowest commen denominator gets in, watch Buffalo Soldiers. I was thinking about joining the Navy when all this was going on back during the seventies, but too many stories in the Army times, Navy times, Marine times, Air force times turned me off to the whole thing. Oh, and my dad was just getting out of the Navy at the time. Thanks for the heads up, Dad . . .
posted by mk1gti at 4:26 PM on May 3, 2005

At least it explains all those friendly-fire incidents.
posted by Hogshead at 5:20 PM on May 3, 2005

Maybe it has something to do with which branch you talk to.

I've always heard that National Guard recruiters tend to be more honest than regular army ones, because in the latter case you're less likely to go back to the same place you were recruited from, and specifically where the particular snake who got you might be operating. Thus, the NG has more to lose in terms of their reputation than the regular army, who know that you can talk all you want about how big a dick your recruiter was, and it's not likely to influence anyone who might have otherwise been among their prey.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 5:44 PM on May 3, 2005

You want to know what it takes to be a recruiter? It takes BRASS BALLS to be a recruiter. The recruits are weak? The fucking recruits are weak? You're weak Only one thing counts in this world: get them to sign on the line which is dotted A-B-R. A-Always, B-Be, R-Recruiting. Always be recruiting, always be recruiting.

"Maybe it has something to do with which branch you talk to."
Morphine, my recruiter got me in even though I would have probably otherwise gone to jail. Pretty much turned my life around. I suppose there is a difference between cutting someone a break and actively disregarding standards tho'.
...course, that misspent youth came in handy for them, so I suppose it's even. I suspect the philosophy is they will remake you.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:49 PM on May 3, 2005

Just occured to me that the Spartans used to teach their kids to lie, cheat, steal, kill, etc. before they went into the army.
In the U.S. on the one hand, you're the 'bottom of the barrel' on the other hand your casual disregard for the laws and ethics of society is a positive boon on a battlefield and is often called 'initiative.' (given of course you work as a team , follow orders and apply that casual disreguard only to the folks on the other side). Raising havoc & chaos does have it's place.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:55 PM on May 3, 2005

furtive writes " At the moment potential recruits are voting on what they think of war by not joining, but that means little if a D R A F T is enabled."

Then they'll be stuck joining the Texas Air National Guard or registering into a graduate school...
posted by clevershark at 7:56 PM on May 3, 2005

As a career military guy, I have had the opportunity to listen to dozens of former recruiters talk informally about that particular assignment, and without fail they have the funniest, most interesting, and at the same time most disheartening stories about bending/breaking rules to meet the quota.

HOWEVER, it is a mistake to assume this recruiting problem is just a current Iraq war thing. The pressures to meet quotas by any means necessary have been a constant in our history, draft periods obviously excepted.

One specific response for Hogshead regarding friendly fire (though I suspect he made if with tongue firmly wedged in cheek): "all those friendly fire incidents" represent a continuing decline in US military friendly fire deaths. FF has occurred due to battlefield confusion since the dawn of warfare, and the US military is better at preventing it than ever before. We will NEVER eliminate them. We have fewer than ever, but successfully identify more than ever due to our communication architecture and ability to recreate incidents from saved data, along with continual public/media pressure to analyze the cost of war.
posted by Osteo at 8:02 PM on May 4, 2005

I remember a tv report on recruiters targeting people who wanted USA citizenship.
serve X years = get citizenship.
Is this still happening?
posted by Iax at 10:42 PM on May 4, 2005

And now the latest: An Army recruiter evidently tried to intimidate a prospect into keeping an appointment by threatening him with an arrest warrant. If the carrot doesn't work, there's always the stick...
posted by alumshubby at 9:57 AM on May 11, 2005

It seems that conscription has become the new weapon of choice for war-mongering nations: The US, Russia.... For example, in Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" recruiters lied to a young man to get him to join up, by getting his details. But that's not exactly relevant. There is a lot of peer pressure and a false sense of duty built into masculine (and to a lesser extent, feminine) MEDC culture, which is often mixed up with patriotism.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:26 AM on May 18, 2005

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