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May 03, 2005

One in Five Recruiters Under Investigation

The New York Times reports on a growing tendency of military recruiters to lie and cheat in order to make their recruitment quotas. In 2004, there were 320 substantiated cases of what the Army calls recruitment improprieties involving 1,118 recruiters, or nearly one in five. [Correction: After we published this post we learned that the 1,118 figure refers to the number of recruiters investigated -- not the number found to be involved in recruitment improprieties] Recruiters and some senior Army officials, told the Times that for every impropriety that is found, at least two more are never discovered. You do the math.

One recruiter, who has fought in several conflicts including the current war in Iraq, said one in every three people he had enlisted had a problem that needed concealing, or a waiver. "The only people who want to join the Army now have issues," he said. "They're troubled, with health, police or drug problems."

Is this for real? Maybe the recruiters are so conditioned to lie and exaggerate that they made all of this up for the Times reporter. But that wouldn't account for the strong anecdotal evidence, like the Denver recruiters caught on tape instructing a high school student on how to fake a diploma and evade a drug test. Or the lead example in the Times article of a 21-year-old Ohio man, signing up for the Army fresh from a three-week commitment in a psychiatric ward. Recuiters lied to the man's parents, who were only able to keep their son from being shipped out by enlisting the help of their Congressman.

Read the entire article.

Posted by Joshua Breitbart on May 3, 2005 | Permalink


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Tracked on May 7, 2005 12:09:04 AM


Your title is slightly misleading, you are refering to the Army in the article, not all recruiters. There are 4 other branches of service in case you forgot. I know the Army unfortunately draws attention to itself quite often, but what goes for them is not neccessarily the truth for us all.

Posted by: ChrisA | May 3, 2005 10:02:37 PM


Posted by: j. | May 4, 2005 1:10:15 AM

As someone who just graduated from US Army Recruiting School and who opposes the war on Iraq, I can tell you that a waiver is not "concealing" anything. The Army has minimum requirements to enlist. Typically speaking, these people that needed something concealed, as you put it, may have more than 1 Misdemeanor offense on hteir record, or a drug conviction, or too many Minor Non-Traffic incidents that cost fines of over $250 and require a waiver at one of the many levels within the Recruiting Command. All that does is allow someone higher than the individual Recruiter to make the decision to allow that person to enlist. Just an FYI.
I do find it interesting that no one here wants to discuss who it is that protects the Constitution of the USA. Is it the civilians? No. Also, who fought for our freedom? The Continental Army, which eventually evolved into the Army of the United States. Just think back then they had NO choice but to enlist and I think our country turned out pretty fine.
And before I am called a fascist or any other names, I firmly believe in the idea that though I may not believe in what you say, I will fight to the death your right to say it. I am proud to serve this GREAT country and the US Army has done many many outstanding things for me.

Posted by: Armyguy | May 8, 2005 10:52:02 AM

> NYT follow-up to CBS program:

> May 3, 2005
> Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules

NYT provided valuable Army statistics: number of recruiters investigated,
and the number of substantiated cases of recruitment improprieties:

2004 1118 320
2002 913 213
1999 unk 199

Includes: threats and coercion, false promises, etc. There is no mention of the crimes of recruiters such as sexual relations with teenagers in schools. Did you note also, the statement that in
2004, 1118 is almost twenty percent of the total Army recruiters? Then, there must be around 5500 Army recruiters... Since the total recruiters in all services has been widely reported as 15000 to 17000, one might speculate that the total recruiter abuses in all services is approx.
1000 substantiated cases per year.

The press calls them "recruitment improprieties"

The military calls them "recruiter improprieties"

The US Army is only 1 of 4 branches but publishes its regulation online. http://www.usarec.army.mil/im/formpub/Pubs.htm

US Army Recruiting Command
Regulation 601-45 Recruiting Improprieties Policies and Procedures
Regulation 601-56 Waiver DEP, Separation, and Void Enlistment Procedures

They are angry about recruiters who disobey their commanders.
They are all working to make our military more efficient and powerful.
None of this is about being fair and honest with recruits.

The problem is wholesale, ongoing Omissions and Misrepresentations to teenagers,

NYT follow-up to CBS program: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/03/national/03recruit.html?hp

Posted by: | May 11, 2005 4:51:10 PM

"I do find it interesting that no one here wants to discuss who it is that protects the Constitution of the USA. Is it the civilians? No."

This is a myth, though a very popular one. In reality, the military is a tool of violence used to execute and enforce political policy, plain and simple. Sometimes that policy deprives people of their freedom, sometimes it seeks to protect it. It all depends on whose orders they choose to obey. More often than not, the military has been used to protect economic privelege--both here and abroad. Just look at the history of when and where the U.S. has used its armed forces (read A People's History of the United States, for example).

But in order to keep soldiers feeling good about their jobs, attract more people to the military, and keep up public support for this country's out-of-control spending on war, this myth about protecting our freedom is repeated over and over.

Just to note: For all the years that the U.S. had slavery, the military was defending that system. For all the years that women were treated like property and not allowed to vote, it was the military that propped up that system. It was civilians (many of them pacifists) who struggled and sacrificed themselves to end segregation in this country, not the military. It was civilians who fought for women's suffrage and student free speech, not the military.

On the other hand, it was the military who went into federal court in the 1980s (in Atlanta and San Diego) and tried to block our right to speak out on military recruiting in high schools, and it was civilian activists and attorneys fought to protect the First and Fourteenth Amendments in those cases.

For a more detailed discussion of the topic, see this article by a Navy vet that was in Draft NOtices:


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