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Anti-PC League

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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Countering the Counter-Recruiters

Or thus says the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors' website, in it's section entitled, "Before You Enlist". Furthermore they tell young men and women that military service is, "Hazardous to your Your Education, Your Future, People of Color, Women, Your Civil Rights, Your Health, The Environment, Our Lives".

Before I tackle the lies, half-truths and mischaracterizations that this site tells young people interested in joining the military, I should -in the interest of full disclosure- tell you about myself:

I am a Non-Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army. I am NOT a recruiter, nor do I want to be, as it's one of the worst assignments a soldier can get. I have been in the Army for almost 8 years now (re-enlisting twice), serving in both the airborne infantry (paratroopers) and in communications (signal corps). I have been deployed to a combat zone, though not to Iraq or Afghanistan, and have seen enough and understood enough to know what the military is about.

Let me also state that the views expressed here are my own and in no way represent the views or policies of the US Army, Dept of Defense, or any other official agency. And yes, that's legalese intended to cover my ass.

Let me start off by saying that your military career is what you make of it. There are many opprotunities, but many do not take advantage of them. Most 19-year old men are more interested in partying and chasing long-haired split-tail than bothering with attaining a college degree in their spare time or saving and investing their income. The quality of life can vary from unit-to-unit, and often people get lazy and blame the entire institution for problems that originate with themselves or their chain-of-command. Instead they should take the good with the bad, and seek to improve themselves with things like schools (military and civilian) or try to move past their own personal status quo, by doing such things as becoming an officer/ warrant officer or trying out for special forces.

Now the good is advertised much by the recruiters, and my goal here is not to recruit you. What I'm trying to do here is dispel the myths created by the anti-war ideologues with an honest, factual and balanced view from the inside.

But first:
Military recruiters tour the country selling a dangerous product with glamorous ads, just like tobacco companies or drug pushers. The ads promise opportunity and adventure -- but don't believe the hype.
One, military recruiters don't "tour the country", they are assigned to one office in a town or city, and serve for 3 years (at least in the Army). They are expected to meet quotas for everything from phone calls to enlistments, and they have to deal with a ridiculous amount of pressure to sell, often putting in days in excess of 12 hours. According to the site, somehow this puts them on the same plane as those "evil" tobacco companies (as if ones personal choices are irrelevant) or drug dealers (they must think the military is like crack; I wonder if whomever wrote this smokes weed or advocates its legalization). Let's be honest though, as recruiters are trying to get you to join the military, counter-recruiters are trying to get you to not join the military, and as this site proves to me, they will distort the facts to fit their goals.

Is one supposed to read this site and think that military service turns you into a loser? Fact is, if you don't have any drive and goals while in the military, then you won't have any drive or goals outside it either. Is it the military's fault? Or is the military a convienent excuse for apathy? I say again, the military is what you make it. Remember that the terms of your enlistment are negotiable. Have a goal, now what you want in the priority that you want. You probably won't get everything, but unless you totally blow off all the options available, you'll have more than what you walked in with. If you don't have a goal and blow off the options, you have no one to blame but yourself.

This site seems bent on getting people to believe that the military is a horrible organization. Is it racist or sexist? No, promotions aren't based on race, neither are benefits. What you have to realize is that the military does not have quotas for race or gender, so they will take whatever race or gender that voluteers to join. You can't claim the military is racist when everyone is given the same opprotunity to be a part of it.

Sexist? Not to women from what I've seen. Men have to worry about the possibilty of a trumped-up harrassment charge from a female who didn't want to be told what to do. Often the mere accusation is enough to put the brakes on a career. As far as their statistics for rape and harassment, this site does not post it's source, nor could I find any reference that supports such statistics. Notice it also doesn't make the distinction between reported harrassment and cases of proven harrassment, nor does it tell us where "recent female veterans" experienced harassment (according to my wife, sexual harassment is unfortunately part of being a woman, as there is always one guy out there that will ask twice for a phone number despite being told "no" the first time).

The much-vaunted $70k college bonus is not given out to everyone, as anyone who walks into a Army recruiting office will find out. Those bonuses are given to certain jobs that the Army needs to fill. This changes according to the Army's manning needs. When I enlisted in '97, I told them I wanted infantry, and the current offerings were a $7k cash bonus for 3 years of Air Assault duty (or $8k for 4 years), or a $40k college bonus for Airborne duty (or $30k for 3 years). I chose the 4 year/$40k college option.

Have I used my college money? No. Does it mean that my time in the military is wasted? No. As a matter of fact, 5 years later I was in communications learning a job that in the civilian world can net me at least $60-$80k a year. Often if a soldier has a security clearance, especially a top secret (TS) clearance (easily attained in intelligence, communications, and a few other jobs), government contractors will hire you and train you over someone that knows the job but doesn't have the clearance. Simply because training you is cheaper than paying for a TS-level background check.

What these counter-recruiters don't tell you is that there are educational opprotunities beyond the GI Bill. Again, if your more interested in partying and getting laid, then chances are you won't take advantage of the education anyway. They also don't point out what military service means monetarily, as Greyhawk points out:
An E4 with four years in service gets 1877 a month in base pay alone. If he's married and living off base he gets another variable amount - for Ft Hood Texas area (chosen at random) that's 775 dollars a month. In those circumstances he also gets 267 a month for meals. (If he's single and in the barracks, he's got free room and board.) Now add in combat pay - 225/month, hazardous duty pay 150/month and for the married guy another 250/month for family separation allowance. And oh-by-the-way free medical for the whole family, free dental for him and low-cost for the family, and tuition for off duty education. He may qualify for other allowances too. And if he goes career you can toss in a pension plan with no contribution from the soldier. This leaves a not bad for a high school graduate amount of disposable really is time to end the comparison of military pay to fry chefs at McDonalds too.

Contrary to what the site tells us, if you sign up to fix helicopters, you will fix helicopters. The buffing and the other stuff? Comes with the territory, and you can be stuck doing the same thing in the civilian world. Don't like it? Advance your career; become an officer or an NCO.
The military can't guarantee you'll be alive at the end of your eight-year commitment: they can't even promise you won't be desperately ill from "mystery illnesses"...
Are you going to die? The overwhelming odds say that you are, but not in this war. This is in reality one of the most bloodless wars on our nations history, according to the Discovery Institute and United States Civil War Center:

For World War I, over 6,100 per month. For World War II, over 9,200 per month. In Korea, over 900 killed-in-action each month (non-battle death information is not available). For Vietnam, over 600 per month. For Gulf War I, almost 300 in one month.

The first Gulf War was noted for its remarkably low casualty rate. Some even observed that the death rate for the deployed American military personnel was lower than that during peacetime, making it "safer to be at war than at home."

In comparison, an average of 63 died each month in the current war.
In comparison:
A total of over 2.4 million Americans died. Over 684,000 died from heart disease. Over 104,000 were killed in accidents (over 44,000 in car accidents and nearly 17,000 fell to death). Over 30,000 committed suicide. Over 17,000 were killed in homicides.In comparison, the annual average death rate for American military personnel in Iraq is about 751.
In other words, that bag of Chicken Fries can kill you just as easily, or you can slip while getting out of the shower and crack your melon on the toilet. In other words, civilian life also can't guarantee you won't die at the end of the day or from an illness down the road, and it doesn't guarantee benefits.

Today's military is not like the military in Vietnam, there is better training, better leadership, better equipment and better quality of life. Not to mention the people to the left and your right want to be in the military. Many of whom have re-enlisted to fight the war in unprecedented war-time numbers; there's no better rebuttal to the anti-recruitment movement than that.

Oh, and as to the use of the Abu Ghraib pic, it's nothing more than making facts fit ideology. The truth is that those pics were taken on the day of Nov. 8th 2003, when detainees were being "punished" for fighting, and not taken during, for, or as a result of interrogations. The guards (of whom two, Graner and Fredrick, were civilian prison guards) were "having fun". Pfc. England, who was violating orders by being in the cell areas (she was serving in an admin role), was there because she and her boyfriend Spc. Graner were celebrating her 21st birthday. The pictures were released by Ssg. Fredricks' family, immediately following his Article 32 hearing (the pre-court marshal investigation hearing). After of course, CID (Army 'internal affairs') had investigated the incident around Dec/early Jan 2004, because Spc. Darby, another guard, reported the incident. CNN did not report the incident until late January, and did not release the pics until March '04 when the story exploded. The head investigator, Major General Taguba had this to say in his Senate testimony:"We did not find any evidence of a policy or a direct order given to these soldiers to conduct what they did. I believe that they did it on their own volition and I believe that they collaborated with several MI (military intelligence) interrogators at the lower level." In other words, you can't blame the military establishment for the idiocy of idiots.

Indeed, your military career is what you make it.

Linked to: Jo's Cafe, Euphoric Reality, Cao's Blog, Outside the Beltway, My Vast Rightwing Conspiracy, Big Dog's Weblog, The Political Teen, Point Five, Stop the ACLU, THM’s Bacon Bits, Wizbang, Something and Half of Something, Bright and Early, Stuck on Stupid, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Conservative Cat, MacStansbury, Choose Life, Adam’s Blog, Third World County, Uncooperative Blogger, 10ft2ft, Basil’s Blog, NIF, LaShawn Barber's Corner