Are Some Talking Heads Out of Date?
The LA Times did a great article on military recruiting, but Staff Writers Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel should have challenged one commenter. Money quote:
Current and former defense officials deny that changes in recruitment standards have adversely affected quality.
"The quality of the force is outstanding," said Bernard Rostker, a former undersecretary of Defense and onetime head of the Selective Service system. "There are plenty of people who we don't take today who are quite adequate to do the jobs we need."
Mr. Rostker, Mr. Barnes, and Mr. Spiegel, is that really true today? We don't think so, and here's why:
-- Too many reports of serious recruiting violations and standards being ignored (not waived, for which a process exists). The only fraudulent enlistments that come to light involve active, engaged, articulate relatives with clear, documentary evidence of ineligible conditions. Even then, multiple complaints to Members of Congress and the media are required before the military does the right thing.
-- What about inarticulate or non-existent relatives or a lack of clear, documentary evidence? Nobody cares, because they can pretend that they don't know about it.
-- High school journalists catching recruiters on tape showing them how to evade screening requirements, e.g., drug tests, high school diploma.
-- Are these the only such situations? Of course not. We just don't - yet - know about the rest, e.g., Army PFC Stephen D. Greene.
-- Army OCS 100% selection rate and extremely high promotion rates to Major (O-4).
Operation Yellow Elephant salutes all real Americans who have volunteered for military service in the GWOT, including those that recruiters have, or should have, found not qualified to enlist. We Thank those for Stepping Forward and wish them the best.
We also thank Mr. Rostker for his service to our country, but he should not be speaking in the present tense about matters about which he clearly knows nothing. And the LA Times should have at least challenged him on that. Journalism is not mere stenography.