Jane Umphrey, a counselor at Spokane’s North Central High School, has been hard at work on behalf of U.S. military recruiters. Here (click here for PDF file) are some documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Request to Spokane School District 81 in September 2005 and January 2007.
The letter from Russell J. Vaucher from the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion in Seattle dated 10/4/04 was sent to North Central High School and subsequently e-mailed by the District to all schools on 12/3/04. Vaucher included Section 9528 of HR 1 (“No Child Left Behind” Act) which request schools to “provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary school students’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers”. As you will note in Vaucher’s letter, he request specific formats for providing the information to Joseph/Jenkins@usarec.army.mil.
This request for names of Spokane District 81 student information was made in the midst of a period of massive violations of law and policy by U.S. military recruiters. By May 2005 the extent of the violations and abuses was international news and the military had shut down recruiting for a day to attempt to get a handle on the abuses.
U.S. military recruiter misconduct is a very well established fact and has been criminally prosecuted on multiple occasions during this illegal invasion, occupation and brutalization of Iraq. The extent of the abuses was extensively documented in May 2007 (read 2007) by Nashville’s WTVF. The WTVF website includes, among many other print and video resources, a 30-minute documentary “Dishonorable Deceptions” on the recruitment of the mentally ill.
A couple years ago, U.S. military recruiters in Spokane attempted to recruit a legal Latin American immigrant out of a Spokane-area school. This kid has a 68 IQ, suffered a stroke at birth, and was in special education. His parents do not speak English. They had the nerve to visit the kid at school and at his home. After his parents complained to me, I contacted the recruiter and told him that he could certainly continue his efforts if he chose to but, if he did so, he would face being accused and hopefully charged. That was the last the family heard of him.
In addition, there is this e-mail by Frank Shaffery, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s deputy director of recruiting operations.
“Established cases” is only a small reflection of the actually extent of the problem. Again, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) report in August 2006 which stated, “available service data show that between fiscal years 2004 and 2005, allegations and service-identified incidents of recruiter wrongdoing increased, collectively, from 4,400 cases to 6,600 cases; substantiated cases increased from just over 400 to almost 630 cases; and criminal violations more than doubled from just over 30 to almost 70 cases.”
You will note the words “service-identified incidents” in the GAO report and you will note the number of substantiated cases increasing to a number almost double that which you present. Search the web and talk to real people in our community and you find many more allegations. No one has to doubt that the military and the Bush administration have little interest in substantiating and investigating the extent of the violations. Suffice it to say that it did not take more than a few weeks for the first major exposes on the issues before the US military took the unprecedented step of shutting down recruitment for a day to try to correct its rotten, criminal (again see the GAO stats) recruitment efforts.
Ignorant as they may be of the realities of the Middle East and of modern warfare, the U.S. president and his “chickenhawk” minions are sufficiently astute to understand that a draft would constitute the collapse of the entire house of cards and would have us once again have us remembering Kent State.
The U.S. military utilizes tens of thousands of mercenaries — US and foreign — in Iraq. The military is severely broken. They are desperate for cannon fodder and are engaged in an ongoing campaign of false advertising.
Be assured that additional recruitment scandals will be forthcoming, as the abuses are occurring even as we write.
The public will continue to respond to the abuses and will legitimately continue to focus on recruiters and their superiors, all of whom are paid by the taxpayer and are subject to law.
More important than the numbers of abuses by U.S. military recruiters is the type of abuses they have engaged in. We are talking not just about misleading and exaggeration. We are talking about rape, forgery, and other sorts of crimes. As this August 20, 2006, report discloses:
(quote) More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams. A six-month Associated Press investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country. (end quote)
Even with the number of 630, this is not insignificant. A May 5, 2005, New York Times report found that 1 in 5 recruiters was under investigation.
If you do not want to get to the NY Times article via a counter-recruitment blog (though this one has great resources), go directly to the NY Times article.
Again, I believe it is important to frame this recruitment scandal in the context of a growing list of scandals related to the U.S. defeat and fiasco in Iraq — 1) the original lies and deceptions used to convince the world and justify the invasion; 2) the cover-ups related to U.S. war crimes; 3) the thefts and maladministration of billions by U.S. forces, contractors, and companies; 4) the lies to soldiers, families and countries about the circumstances of deaths, such as those of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and the lies about the story of Jessica Lynch and the death of her fellow soldiers; and many, many other scandals, some yet to come to light.
Those who seek to defend this Bush/Neo-Con fiasco will always find themselves behind the fact that it is destined to be described as one of the biggest military fiasco in human history — and perhaps at the top of the list. The final consequences of the war are yet to be known. Will it lead to collapse of the U.S. economy? Will it lead to a nuclear confrontation in the Middle East? How many thousands and tens of thousands of U.S. troops will return home to kill themselves, live with mental illness, and destroy the lives of their families? How far will the image and power of the U.S. decline? Time will tell. In the meantime, facts point to a greatly diminished U.S. and a legacy equal to that of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. How long will we be subject to the apologists?