Reasons to take issue with military recruitment practices

This is the flier that was put together by some WesPeace folks, to be distributed in front of the Army National Guard Recruitment Office on Main Street during Tuesday’s demonstration. I have no idea how much money is spent on military recruiting, but it’s most definitely more money than is spent on policing recruiters and debunking their misinformation. If you think people deserve to hear a critical perspective, maybe I’ll see you on Tuesday (see nearby post).

Top Military Recruitment Lies*

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.”[1]

2. The military contract guarantees nothing. Contracts to join the U.S. military are binding only on the part of the one recruited, not on the part of the recruiter.[2] The Department of Defense’s own enlistment/re-enlistment document states, “Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to [the person recruited]. Such changes may affect [the recruited one’s] status, pay allowances, benefits and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment/re-enlistment document…”[3]

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. In fact, the Pentagon has demanded the return of signing bonuses from injured soldiers returning without “completely their full tour of duty.” For example, as reported by Democracy Now!, Pfc. Jordon Fox of Pennsylvania returned from Iraq just three months short of completing his tour with back injuries and complete vision loss in one eye after being hit by a roadside bomb and subsequently received a letter from the Pentagon asking him to return $3,000 in sign-up bonuses.[4] Besides, Army data shows that the top bonus of $20,000 was given to only 6% of the enlistees who signed up for active duty.[5]

4. The military won’t make you financially secure. Military members are no strangers to financial strain: 48% report having financial difficulty, approximately 33% of homeless men in the United States are veterans, and nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.[6]

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% receive no money for college, and only 15% ever receive a college degree.[7] Only 35% of recruits receive ANY education benefits from the military; most that do get money receive far less than $70,000.[8]

6. Job training. Vice President Dick Cheney once said, “The military is not a social welfare agency; it’s not a jobs program.” If you enlist, the military does not have to place you in your chosen career field or give you the specific training requested. Even if enlistees do receive training, it is often to develop skills that will not transfer to the civilian job market. (There aren’t many jobs for M240 machine-gunners stateside.)

7. War, combat, and your contract. Joining the military is signing away at least 8 years of your life. On top of that, the military can, without your consent, extend active-duty obligations during times of conflict, “national emergency,” or when directed by the president. This means that even if an enlistee has two weeks left on his/ her contract (yes, even Guard/Reserve) or has already served in combat, she/he can still be sent to war.

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Resources for more information: Allison, Aimee and David Solnit. Army of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War and Build a Better World. Seven Stories Press, August 2007.; Sheehan, Cindy Dear President Bush. San Francisco: Open Media Series, 2006; American Friends Service Committee (http://www.afsc.org/youthmil/); War Resisters League (http://www.warresisters.org/); www.objector.org; http://www.counter-recruitment.org/website/; http://www.beforeyouenlist.org/

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[1] Allison, Aimee and David Solnit. Army of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War and Build a Better World. Seven Stories Press, August 2007.

[2] Sheehan, Cindy. Dear President Bush. Open Media Series, 2006.

[3] (DD Form4/1, 1998, Sec.9.5b).

[4] Goodman, Amy. Democracy Now! (http://www.democracynow.org/print.pl?sid=07/11/21/1520231)

[5] Allison and Solnit, 2007.

[6] Allison and Solnit, 2007.

[7] Allison and Solnit, 2007.

[8] www.objector.org

8 thoughts on “Reasons to take issue with military recruitment practices

  1. Anonymous

    to 4:14: shut up, not every post in wesleying has ever been about what’s going on “inside the bubble.” that’s actually why wesleying became popular, because holly and xue wrote about things in the news that interested them and might interest other wesleyan students.

  2. Anonymous

    to 4:14: shut up, not every post in wesleying has ever been about what’s going on “inside the bubble.” that’s actually why wesleying became popular, because holly and xue wrote about things in the news that interested them and might interest other wesleyan students.

  3. Anonymous

    this post is far too long. especially considering that this has nothing to do with what is going on “inside the bubble.”

  4. Anonymous

    this post is far too long. especially considering that this has nothing to do with what is going on “inside the bubble.”

  5. Anonymous

    Just FYI, this is absurdly long for a blog post, and it takes up like half of the front page…. you might consider linking to it?

  6. Anonymous

    Just FYI, this is absurdly long for a blog post, and it takes up like half of the front page…. you might consider linking to it?

Comments are closed.