$4 Billion dollars a year is spent to convince you to enlist in the military.(Source: Office of Management and Budget, January 2006.) We've all seen the ads about college money, job training, etc. Well we did our research and found some facts that are pretty shocking. We even tell you where we got our facts from, so you can go see for yourself.
$$$ 4 College. Recruiters may promise you tens of thousands of free dollars for college. But it's NOT FREE- and its not automatic or guaranteed to anyone. The Montgomery GI Bill- the law that governed college money for veterans- was SO bad that less than half of the people who joined for the college money ever saw a penny. (Source: George Rachon, Department of Veterans Affairs quoted in: "Military Money for College: A Reality Check" by Sam Diener and Jamie Munro, 2005. And Department of Veterans Affairs quoted in “GI Blues,” Elizabeth Farrell, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 13, 2005.)
This situation became so outrageous that in 2009 Congress changed the GI Bill. In some ways the new GI bill is more generous than the old one. But there are still problems with it:
If you leave the military early or receive anything less than a full honorable discharge you get NO college money!!! About 1 out of every 4 get this kind of discharge.
Veterans' Affairs which handles the paperwork for college money is so backed up that in 2009 less than 10% of the vets who applied got their money in time to pay for the fall semester. Many had to take out loans, run up their credit cards or drop out. (Source: Washington Post, September 26, 2009)
Military training is designed for military jobs, not to help you get a job in the "real-world" later. When Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense he was blunt: "The reason to have a military is to be prepared to fight & win wars. The military is not a social-welfare agency. It's not a jobs program."
The unemployment rate for young veterans is twice as high as their peers who stayed home. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Biennial Employment Situation of Veterans Survey, August 2005 survey, report released May 26, 2006.) So while some young people are in the military, their peers spend those years in college, going to trade school or getting work experience. So they are more likely to be employed.
Racism and Sexual Harassment
75% of Blacks, 67% of Hispanics and other ethnic minorities reported experiencing racially offensive behavior. Many said they believed they were given poor assignments or evaluations based on race. (Source: Washington Associated Press, Reported by Defense Secretary William Cohen, 1999)
But racism in the military is more than just your usual, everyday racism. Racist hate groups are actively organizing in the military. In 2005, on one military base alone, 320 neo-nazi extremists were identified. Only 2 of them were discharged. (Source: Scott Barfield, Department of Defense, quoted in “A Few Bad Men”, Southern Poverty Law Center, 2006.)
The military really is a man’s world. In a recent study, 28% of women veterans said that they were raped while in the military. But only 1 out of 4 of those who say they were raped, ever reported the assault to a superior. (Source: "Factors Associated With Women's Risk of Rape in the Military Environment, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 43: 262-273, 2003.)
Those women who did report Military Sexual Trauma (MST) while still in the military state that once they filed the report they were transferred to less desirable positions or experienced other negative consequences, such as being traumatized further or being court-martialed for fraternization. Some who pursued the complaint or pressed charges report that the way they were treated for speaking out was worse than the Military Sexual Trauma itself. (Source: Military Sexual Trauma, January 2004. Department of Veterans Affairs Employee Education System www1.va.gov/vhi/docs/MST_www.pdf)
In 2008 there were 2,908 reports of sexual assault involving service members. But only 317 perpetrators were court martialed. So most victims have to continue working along side or under the command of their attacker. They cannot quit their job or move away. (Source: Dept of Defense, FY08 Report on Sexual Assault in the Military)
Do you really want to trust your life to a military that protects racists and rapists?
You Lose Your Basic Rights
Your right to say what you think and do what you feel is right will be restricted.
Think that if you get promises in writing you are covered? The contract says "Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my status, pay, allowances, benefits and responsibilities...REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment agreement." (Source: Enlistment/Reenlistment Document, Armed Forces of the United States, DD Form4/1, Section 9b). In other words, they don’t guarantee you jack!
Discipline & Living Conditions
Do you like being bossed around? How about constantly having someone telling you what to do and how to do it? If your answer is "No" you may have a hard time adapting to military life. They tell you how to stand, walk, dress, eat, fold your clothes, make your bed, take your shower. They even tell you how to wipe your own a$$.
Members of the military are subject to military law 24 hours a day and disobedience (including being late and talking back) can land you in prison. You can be punished without having the right to see a lawyer or have a trial. Any disobedience can result in punishment.
It’s 8 Years of Your LifeThink 4 years of high school takes a long time? Recruiters talk about a 2 year hitch, but the enlistment contract is for 8 years. Once your active duty is done, you are still in the Reserves, and they can call you back up any time. This is what has happened to thousands of the soldiers who are now in Iraq. They thought their time was up, but they keep getting sent back.
Is it REALLY Worth Your Life?Recruiters may say that if you join the National Guard, or sign up for certain jobs, you won’t be in combat. It’s a LIE! There is no such thing. Army.mil, the official web site of the U.S. Army says "Today, every Soldier, regardless of specialty, becomes a warrior first." Today's casualty lists are riddled with cooks, mechanics, mail clerks - all theoretically noncombat jobs. Think you’ll come home ok? 1 out of every 5 veterans leaving the military since 2002 has a service-related disability. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Biennial Employment Situation of Veterans Survey, May 26, 2006.) Army studies have shown that up to 30 percent of troops deployed to Iraq suffer from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Source: Washington Post, "Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army Finds" By Ann Scott Tyson, Wednesday, December 20, 2006; Page A19). 1 out of every 3 homeless adults are veterans. (Source: "Survey Confirms 'War on Terror' Veterans Are Seeking Homeless Assistance," 1/12/2005, National Center for Homeless Veterans.) In the past 10 years the percent of women veterans who are homeless has more than tripled. (Source: "More Homeless Veterans Are Women," Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/29/06)