Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Autism and a Recruiter

I've been hesitant to post on all things disability for a while now, but yesterday found myself wondering why. After all, there isn't any reason not to share the resources and/or news articles I find in the MSM that help regular people understand what certain disabilities, like autism for example, are about. So here goes.

Military recruiters are going all dumbass and signing up persons with mental disabilities, like autism, which would ordinarily make them ineligible for service. Per The Oregonian, one family in Ohio pressed for an investigation to see if recruiters hid their son's disability on the paperwork.

Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he not only had enlisted, but also had signed up for the Army's most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.

Officials are now investigating whether recruiters at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Southeast Portland improperly concealed Jared's disability, which should have made him ineligible for service.
Isn't that nice? This is why recruiters need to take a more responsibility for their recruiting practices especially if/when they purposely sign someone up who doesn't fully comprehend what they are getting into.

Tracking by the Pentagon shows that complaints about recruiting improprieties are on pace to approach record highs set in 2003 and 2004. The active Army and the Reserve missed recruiting targets last year, and reports of recruiting abuses continue from across the country.
The U.S. is desperate for soldiers now that we are in Iraq indefinitely. The problem they are having? Selling the military life when a war such as the one in Iraq is going on, where an average of 2 soldiers are dying everyday, not to mention the number of civilian casualties as a result of the new instability.

Then there is this, which only furthers my point,

in Colorado, a high school student working undercover told recruiters he had dropped out and had a drug problem. The recruiter told the boy to fake a diploma and buy a product to help him beat a drug test.
Can they be anymore hideously negligent? And then to not investigate Jared's paperwork until The Oregonian got in on it, only to find that there was absolutely no mention of his disability anywhere?
After learning that Jared had cleared this first hurdle toward enlistment, Brenda said, she called and asked for Ansley's supervisor and got Sgt. Alejandro Velasco.
She said she begged Velasco to review Jared's medical and school records. Brenda said Velasco declined, asserting that he didn't need any paperwork. Under military rules, recruiters are required to gather all available information about a recruit and fill out a medical screening form.
This frustrates me mostly because military recruiters are purposely being disingenuous by not informing every recruit of her/his choices, options and, well, pretty much not telling the whole truth. Their *recruiting style* purposely takes advantage of someone else's ignorance and I think that is wrong on all sorts of levels.

You know, I think this was the best part of all,

Recruiters in Portland and nationwide spend several hours a day cold-calling high school students, whose phone numbers are provided by schools under the No Child Left Behind Law. They also prospect at malls, high school cafeterias, colleges and wherever else young people gather.
Yep, you read that right, our NCLB Law provides recruiters with phone numbers and addresses of high school students because they shouldn't be left out of the military experience either apparently. Of course, you could always go to Leave my Child Alone! now and opt your child and her/his school out now. I doubt that would take care of things though.

I don't want this to be construed as anti-military or that I want the U.S. to be left defenseless either. In fact, we have the largest military in the world. Even now with most of our military in several other countries besides Iraq and Afghanistan, we are still the largest military who loves to invade other countries and cause general chaos. (Or we sit back on our asses. There doesn't seem to be much of a happy medium when it comes to our military strength.)

We can't protect over 300,000,000 people with only a few hundred thousand soldiers so it's time we got a clue and started to be more proactive, not merely defensive.