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VIEWS AND VOICES
The tricks Pentagon recruiters use to snare kids
"The military lies to you"

June 17, 2005 | Page 4

IN RESPONSE to reports of military recruiters breaking rules to get more recruits, I am not surprised, because I experienced it firsthand.

They coach you in what to say and not to say in the physical and medical exam. They will even show you a copy of the questions they will ask and tell you not to tell the examiners about any conditions you have. They will help you beat the drug test if you have done any illegal drugs in the recent past.

They will lie to you about job opportunities. Most jobs are unavailable. However, when you go to sign up, they do a bait-and-switch. Out of supposedly 212 jobs for the Army, only 13 were available when I joined.

They will pressure you into making a lifelong choice. If you resist, they ask you to speak with those in higher rank, and play "good cop-bad cop."

The military is a commitment that, if you break it, you face jail time, like war resister Pablo Paredes. The minimum they ask you to sign up for is eight years, and they tell you that this is standard procedure--and they say that you will only be active for four years. If you don't agree, they will threaten you by telling you that you will lose your education money--the main reason people look to the military in the first place.

They will lie to you about the amount you will get if you join. You do not get the bonus and the education fund. They force you to choose. This is not clearly stated in their commercials. Imagine if someone came up to you and asked you: Do you want a $1,000 bonus or $44,000 for school? Forty-four thousand dollars sounds great, but the military knows that most people will never see a dime of it.

They will try to get you to report for basic training as soon as possible and even give you extra money if you do.

They will distance you from your family. My family was against me joining the Army. Even my sister, who was in the Army for 10 years and is an Iraq war veteran, told me that the government will use you (She thinks Bush is a liar, and she was forced to stay in Iraq longer because of the stop-loss order).

The recruiters tell you that you are a grown man and that it is time to make your own decisions. They will pretend to be your best friend. They will offer you rides home and tell you about their own family. They will threaten you with arrest if you change your mind. They will tell you it will go on your permanent record. They will harass you and visit your house.

This is no surprise, considering that the justifications for the war on Iraq were based on lies, too.

Roberto R., New York City

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