US Army Recruiters’ ‘Misconduct’ Over Reported By Media


By: Warner Todd Huston

It is all too common that the media publishes stories that denigrate the US military and this report will explore a classic MSM mistreatment of the US military. That it comes in the midst of war is distressing, but not unexpected from them, unfortunately.

The AP (it sure seems that they are more busy spinning than reporting stories these days, doesn’t it?) has posted a story that The New York Times placed on their news feed today about how Military recruiters have “increasingly resorted to overly aggressive tactics” to get new recruits.

But, there is so much overblown rhetoric about the statistics and what they mean in the story that it obscures the fact that there really aren’t that many abuses statistically. Certainly one abuse is too much (perfunctory exclamation over), but the tenor of the AP story is that there is some catastrophic rise in such abuse. The numbers, however, say differently, despite the overblown rhetoric.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the AP story:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Military recruiters have increasingly resorted to overly aggressive tactics and even criminal activity to attract young troops to the battlefield, congressional investigators say.

Grueling combat conditions in Iraq, a decent commercial job market and tough monthly recruiting goals have made recruiters’ jobs more difficult, the Government Accountability Office said Monday. This has probably prompted more recruiters to resort to strong-arm tactics, including harassment or criminal means such as falsifying documents, to satisfy demands, GAO states.

The report was done at the behest of lawmakers who were concerned that not enough was being done to curb aggressive recruitment practices.”

Wow. Sure seems that we are on the verge of a crisis, eh?

But, there’s more controversy-mongering to come

“According to service data provided to the GAO, substantiated cases of wrongdoing jumped by more than a third, from about 400 cases in 2004 to almost 630 in 2005. Meanwhile, criminal cases — such as sexual harassment or falsifying medical records — more than doubled in those years, jumping from 30 incidents to 70.”

Seems like some kind of monstrous rise in abuse they way it is written. And the AP isn’t the only one. This story hit the wires all over the place over night on the 15th of August and they all similarly overplay the alarmism.

But let us look at the stark numbers, numbers you don’t find out until farther down in the story — and then you have to put them together yourself, as the story does not present them clearly.

So here are the facts:

80,000 applicants were brought into the armed forces in 2005.

630 cases of recruiter abuse were reported.

Yes, you saw that correctly. That’s 630 out of EIGHTY THOUSAND. A result of .7% of the recruits reported abuse somehow done them by recruiters.

Even closer to the point, there are 22,000 recruiters in the service according to the report. That means that less than 3% of those recruiters were involved in these cases.

Remember, “abuse” covers the whole range of human interaction, too. So, we are saying that recruiters only have a criminal or “mean spirited” element amongst them that caused abuse in less than 1% of their product! I’d hazard to say, that this is a pretty low number of ner-do-wells in the ranks of recruiters for our armed forces, wouldn’t you? I wonder how that tracks with the amount of law breaking in the general public?

Suddenly it doesn’t seem so horrific, does it?

But, it gets even muddier. Notice how the AP report claimed that the GAO said that “Military recruiters have increasingly resorted to overly aggressive tactics and even criminal activity to attract young troops to the battlefield, congressional investigators say.”?

Here is what the GAO report REALLY said:

“Determined to find ways to succeed in a challenging recruiting environment, some recruiters, reportedly, have resorted to overly aggressive tactics, such as coercion and harassment.”

(bolded type mine)

The original “reportedly” became “increasingly” in the AP report. So, the GAO finds a small rise in these instances of some abuse in a time of war, in a time of increased pressures on recruiters, abuse that equals less than 1% of the total recruitment cases and it’s some sort of calamity? Reading the alarmist rhetoric one would imagine that large numbers of recruits were abused and that this number is somehow exploding on an upward climb!

Naturally, we are also treated to a Democrat’s blasting of the military for good measure, but no quotes of any real support of our folks in uniform.

”America deserves better than a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy for military recruiting violations,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif.

Of COURSE Petey said that! It gives our military — and by extension the Bush Administration — a black eye.

You’ll search in vain for any support of the military in the piece, of course.

Sadly, this story gives us just another example of the MSM doing anything to beat our government and troops down!

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