14 March, 2007

Recruiters Under Fire Redux

Andy Rooney must have forgot to take his meds the other day - I mean WOW that crusty old bastard is off his rocker!

On this week's edition of "60 Minutes" Andy Rooney talks about Military Recruiting and the state of our current military. This man needs to be put in a home...

There have been stories recently about the problem the Pentagon is having
recruiting enough soldiers to do the fighting that we're committed to do in
Iraq.

In an attempt to get the soldiers they need, recruiters have reduced the
standards for getting into the Army or Navy.

More

There are so many things I can say about this - it all goes back to my truth in reporting...... So instead of going on one big tirade I'll just go point by point.
In an attempt to get the soldiers they need, recruiters have reduced the
standards for getting into the Army or Navy.

Recruiters have reduced the standards? I WISH!!! Fact of the matter, Mr. Rooney, is that recruiters have NOTHING to do with the enlistment standards. The standards are created by the United States Congress. After Congress creates the standards, they're passed off to the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense takes those standards and creates the regulations and passes them on to each service. Each service is allowed to do slight adjustments to the standards as they see fit. With that said, they can only make the standard more strict - not more lenient. So, Mr. Rooney, recruiters have nothing to do with the reduction of standards at all. (we still have to PROVE that the standards have been reduced)
They have reduced the educational standards, for example, so that they're
getting more soldiers who didn't go to high school, let alone graduate from high
school.

I honestly have no idea where Mr. Rooney is getting this. Enlisting Soldiers who didn't go to high school? You have to have a high school diploma or a GED PRIOR to shipping to AIT. He MAY be talking about the Army's GED+ program. The GED+ program allows a high school drop-out to enlist without a high school diploma or GED given the following conditions: 1. He/She has completed at least the 9th Grade. 2. They are at least 18 years old. 3. No moral waivers are required for enlistment. 4. They score at least a 31 or higher on the ASVAB (AFQT depends on service) 5. They get their GED prior to shipping to basic training. As you can see the soldier must have SOME high school education prior to enlisting. They still have to pass the ASVAB just like everybody else. AND they have to pass their GED prior to shipping. Mr. Rooney is clearly lying when he says that we're enlisting soldiers with no education. I guess one could argue that since they changed the standards for home schooled kids that we are enlisting kids who have never been to high school - but they're educated none-the-less. Mr. Rooney is still a lier in this case.

Recruiters are granting thousands of what they call "moral waivers". A "moral waiver" it turns out means they'll take someone who has committed a crime or even someone who has been in prison. Last year, a total of 8,129 "moral waivers" were given to men who volunteered for the Army.

I've talked in length about moral waivers in another post. There are so many different kinds of moral waivers and they all act like every moral waiver is for being a rapist or ax-murderer! I'm working a kid right now who broke his hand at Basic Training and was discharged for it. Since he didn't get a medical discharge, it was a "failure to meet medical procurement standards". That discharge requires a moral waiver. This young man wants nothing more than to serve his country. He has no criminal record and is a PT stud. He scored a 84 on his ASVAB and has his high school diploma. Surely we're "lowering the standards" for this one. The truth is that moral waivers are a fact of this job that have been going on since the beginning of the all volunteer Army. Moral waivers are used for so many things from petty misdemeanors, traffic tickets, all the way up to some felonies. There is a process waivers go through prior to being approved and many checks and balances along the way to ensure only the highest quality recruits are enlisted. Do some fall through the cracks? Sure they do - nobody is perfect.

Are these the people we want representing us? As American soldiers, they're going to give the people they meet around the world the impression that they are what all Americans are like and if they have been taken from the bottom of the barrel, they are not what we're all like.

And what's wrong with these people exactly Mr. Rooney? I urge you, Mr. Rooney or anybody else for that matter, to pick any platoon in any unit on any post. Go to this platoon and talk to the soldiers there - and tell me which ones needed moral waivers and which ones didn't. I can guarantee you that you, nor anybody else, will be able to tell the difference between the "good" and the "bad" soldiers. I can guarantee you that any soldier you find will be immensely better than any McDonald's employee you find - do you really want a pimply-faced burger flipper representing us? Oh yeah - McD's is already all over the world.

[For yours and my sake, I'll skip the part where Rooney talks about how much he hates the Army]

In 1942 we were at war with Germany and it wasn't long before drafted college
students and high school graduates dominated our military. It changed the United
States Army for the better and in two years made it the best fighting force
there has ever been. The Army and Navy were no longer made up of losers.

Now comes the part of this I never thought I'd hear myself say: Whenever we,
as a nation, decide to fight a war – in Iraq or anywhere else – it should be
fought by average Americans who are drafted.

So that's what it all comes down to, huh Mr. Rooney? That we're all losers? I know you didn't outright say it - but we can all tell that's what you meant. This Army is the most educated Army this world has ever seen. Were there more college educated service members in WWII? Yes there was. This is probably due to the fact that there were 11,000,000 serving then vs. our 2,000,000 now. But I will tell you that the average soldier today is twice as educated as the average soldier then. I know soldiers with Associates Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees, multiple degrees, Master's Degrees, and even a few PHDs. I will also point out that all of these soldiers are enlisted. Hell, just look at my recruiting team. My office partner has his BS. The next office east of us has 2 recruiters. One with his BS and the other with two BS degrees and an AS. The next office east of that has 3 recruiters. One has three BS degrees, another has 2 BS degrees, and the other has his AA. The next recruiting station south of that has 2 recruiters. One has his AA, the other has his BA and speaks 3 languages. The next office south of that has 2 recruiters. 1 has his BA and the other just finished his Master's. As a matter of fact, I'm the least educated member of my recruiting team - I've been going to college off and on for 7 years but keep changing my major so I don't have a degree yet..... What's my point in all this? Surely we are an Army full of losers.......

Everybody can claim that the standards are being lowered. They can whine about it and say that the war is failing so the Army is having trouble meeting it's mission. With the trouble of the mission they can claim that the Army is enlisting more "criminals". Were there more moral waivers granted in FY 2006? Yes. Has the Army and Army National Guard been increasing it's end strength since 2003? Yes. Are all moral waivers for "hardened criminals"? No. Moral waivers have always been here, and always will be here - they indicate nothing on the current state of our military and the President's handling of the war.

9 comments:

Mrs. 79R said...

Excellent post! Will you be sending the link to 60 Minutes? I'd like to see more rebuttals to the misinformed recruiting stories sent out, such as several of us readers did with SFC B's post about the HRAP recruiter.

I wish reporters would talk to both sides before commenting about a story. That said, I'd rather think Mr. Rooney was misinformed rather than lying - he has always seemed like a decent guy to me.

SFC B said...

You made a slight mistake w/ your numbers. Alightly over 11,000,000 people served in the Army during WW2. If you expand it to all services the number gets close to 20,000,000.

Politics of a Patriot said...

I really really really detest Andy Rooney.

JorgXMcKie said...

Unfortunately for Rooney, senility really isn't a defense. CBS deserves excoriation for letting this get out without a thorough fact-checking. OTOH, it certainly points out the true colors of the "but we support the troops" idiots.

I am now a professor, and I have had more than a few students go through my classes enrolled in ROTC or the Guard or the Reserves or active duty of some kind. I'm proud to be associated with them.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Let's not blame Rooney alone.

CBS News had an opportunity to see Rooney's words and check that he wasn't making a fool of himself. They also had a chance to allow their viewers to get the full story. They're all liars.

Rhymes With Right said...

to the draft being implemented A YEAR BEFORE the US entered WWII.

Losers like Patton, Eisenhower, Bradley, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance.

Losers like the men who became our senior non-coms that made the draftees ready to fight once the big increase in the size of the military began. Losers like the guys who were captured at Bataan and Corregedor -- and like those who did their damnedest at Pearl Harbor on December 7th. The only problem with Rooney's analysis is that they were not "losers" they were PROFESSIONALS who became the backbone of the machine that kicked Axis ass in less than four years.

Anonymous said...

Remember that Rooney is from that "Oh-oh-so-so perfect Greatest Generation" of WW II. Those men were men and they made no mistakes.

They told the returning Vietnam Veterans "You hain't real soldiers, vetrins, or even real Americans!" "Take a hike, shitbags!"
Why should we expect them to think any differently about today's military?

stevepallen said...

Well, where do I start. I'm a former Sgt, 1st Cav, RVN, 69-70. A nephew is Irag/Afghan Vet from 82nd. Father, uncles, etc. fought in prior wars. Non said anything negative to me about my RVN service. With respect to Andy Rooney, he was voicing an opinion that is based on his belief, mine, too, that the invasion in Iraq was wrong, and maybe illegal because the administration lied about the rationale for the invasion. Rooney used trusted sources for information and news stories about lower recruiting standards. Here are some links. I always remember an old bosses advice: "Trusting is good, but Checking is better". The fact is recruting standards have been lowered.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-10-09-army-recruiting_x.htm

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/02/02/waivers/index_np.html

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2547754

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/5278654.stm

Anonymous said...

I am a Sergeant in the US Army, I know first hand. America's Army is made up of uneducated losers and prior criminals. These criminals stay in long enough to become "leaders".

The army needs to tighten the standards dramatically before it is to late.