Military Recruiters Lie About Dangers In Iraq

NBC-5 TV Cincinati, Ohio

Military Recruiters Lie About Dangers In Iraq

Army To Suspend Recruiting For Retraining Following Target 5 Investigation

CINCINNATI — This is the text of WLWT’s report exactly as it appeared on the 11 p.m. newscast on May 18, 2005:


Announcer: “An explosive Target 5 investigation. Our hidden cameras catch military recruiters making the Tri-state sound more dangerous than Iraq.”


Video: Watch Dave Wagner’s Report


Recruiter: “You’ve got more chance of dying over here than you do over there.” Announcer: “So, why are Tri-state recruits ready to risk their lives not getting honest answers?” Anchor: “The problem is so bad the military is planning a nationwide stand-down day. That means this Friday the Army won’t do any recruiting. Why? ecruiters using outrageous tactics to get your son or daughter to enlist. “You won’t believe how bad the problem is. “Dave Wagner has the shocking Target 5 investigation.” Dave Wagner: “Each day, thousands of American teenagers consider the merits of military service, young men and women willing to wear a uniform and put their lives on the line. Tonight, a revealing look at what goes on when teenagers go behind closed doors with Tri-state military recruiters. In a startling number of cases, it’s high pressure, false statements and ‘Conduct Unbecoming.'” Bill Fisher, retired Army recruiter: “Their job is to call you and try to get your interest sparked.” Recruiter: “I’m not trying to do a sales pitch.” Wagner: “In the world of sale, every pitch has a price.” Fisher: “I think with honesty and integrity you can fill any quota.” Wagner: “In the land of a free-market economy, facts can get in the way of a good prospect.” Recruiter: “You have more chance of dying here in the United States.” Wagner: “Even when the pitchman is in uniform.” Fisher: “It’s insane. That’s ludicrous. You just don’t do that.” Larry Clock: “My name is Larry Clock and I’m a senior.” Wagner: “They are the fresh faces of our future.” Adrienne Morrison. “I’m a senior.” Wagner: “High school seniors in the prime of their lives.” Morrison: “I’ve received phone calls, letters in the mail.” Wagner: “Kids in the crosshairs of U.S. military recruiters.” Fisher: “In recruiting throughout all the branches, they’re looking for the good students, the ones that you consider the good students in high school.” Fisher: “I’m Bill Fisher. I’m a retired master sergeant with the United States Army. I recruited for 13 years. Yea, I’ll talk to anybody.” Wagner: “These days, it’s a lot easier talking to high school students because military recruiters have easier access to your kids. As part of the No Child Left Behind Act, all schools that receive federal funding, and nearly all of them do, are required to give military recruiters access to your child’s name, address and phone number.” Fisher: “From a recruiting standpoint, that’s a great thing because a lot of people we couldn’t get numbers to actually tell the Army story or the armed forces story we now can.” Recruiter: “I’m not trying to do a sales pitch.” Wagner: “But as Target 5 discovered, those military pitches can turn from fact to fiction in a matter of seconds. Target 5 sent four young men, with hidden cameras, into every Tri-state armed forces recruiting center. The conversations began with talk of job security.” Recruiter: “We guarantee you a job.” Wagner: “Signing bonuses.” Recruiter: “Up to $20,000.” Wagner: “And cash for college.” Recruiter: “Up to $70,000 for college.” Wagner: “But when the questions turn to safety, some Tri-state recruiters make Iraq sound more like a trip to Tahiti than a journey to war.” Recruiter: “You have more chance of dying here in the United States at, what is it, 36-percent die, kill rate here in the United States, people here just dying left and right, you have more chance of dying over here than you do over there.” Wagner: “The U.S. does not have a 36-percent kill rate. If that were true, more than 100 million people, one-third of the U.S. population, would be killed each year.” Fisher: “To just openly not tell the truth, to push it aside, that’s just wrong.” Wagner: “Back at the recruiting center.” Recruiter: “The way I am, I’m a no-bull type of guy.” Wagner: “But you’d never know that based upon what he tells our young recruit.” Recruiter: “If you get on the Internet and look up how many deaths are in Columbia, S.C., in the past year, year and a half, and then compare that to how many deaths there are in Iraq, there’s more deaths going on in Columbia, S.C., for no reason, none, over a pair of Nikes, over a jacket, people stealing people’s wallets, shooting people. There’s more deaths going on in Columbia, S.C. — I know, I just got back from there — than there was in the whole time when I was in Iraq.” Wagner: “So Target 5 called the Columbia, S.C., police department, and despite the words of our Tri-state recruit, this city is hardly a hotbed for crime.” Sgt. Thomas Thomas of Columbia, S.C., police department: “There were 16 homicides in the city of Columbia in 2004. This year to date we have five in the city.” Wagner: “And if that recruiter thinks Columbia, S.C., listen to what this GI Joe Isuzu says about the danger of driving around Dayton, Ohio.” Recruiter: “Dayton area alone, which is about four or five counties, Dayton area alone, 1,500 people died in two weeks. You know what that was from? Car wrecks. Those numbers that we get, we get from the actual highway patrol. So, I mean, all that stuff’s factual. So, you look at that way. We’ve lost 1,500 soldiers so far over in Iraq. We’ve been over there for three years. If you add it together, 1,500 people died in five counties alone within two weeks, just from car wrecks.” Wagner: “The truth is, there aren’t 1,500 deaths from car wrecks in the entire state of Ohio for an entire year.” Fisher: “Conduct unbecoming a non-commissioned officer is what those statements are. I don’t know where he came up with it. It’s just insane. Yea, yea, he could be your car salesman of the Isuzu.” Wagner: “The national spokesman for the Army recruiting command at Fort Knox tells Target 5: “I don’t know why anybody would even let that phrase even come out of their mouth. For whatever reasons, these recruiters must have found these talking points somewhere on their own. I don’t know.” Wagner: “Do you think that in the private conversations they’re having with recruits here, that they’re thinking, no one will ever check this, no one will ever know?” Fisher: “I’m sure that anyone who could tell that, I’m sure that’s exactly what they’re thinking.” Wagner: “Still to come, the pressure to fill quotas, the pressure put on recruits, more tall tales and the immediate action the military has taken in response to our Target 5 investigation. “Now, more of our Target 5 investigation into Tri-state military recruiters offering big bonuses and tall tales to Tri-state teenagers. “Since the war began, about 1,500 U.S. servicemen and women have been killed in Iraq. The violence has made military recruiting more difficult, often because parents worry about their kids’ safety. But recruiters are tracking down teens when parents aren’t around, and the pressure can be immense. As we continue our Target 5 investigation, ‘Conduct Unbecoming.'” Wagner (in Milford High School classroom): “How many of you have been approached by a military recruiter in the past year?” (Several students raise hands). Wagner: “In Mr. Jewell’s American government class …” Student: “I think they’re really biased.” Wagner: “Students are talking about military recruiters.” Student: “A recruiter called me up and told me they got a new deal going on, $5,000 to enlist now for the Army.” Student: “I was told that if I signed up for the Marines they’d give me a $10,000 signing bonus on the spot. I didn’t believe that one.” Wagner: “Signing bonuses and college cash are being used to attract fresh faces to the armed forces. But Army recruiters have missed their quotas for the past three months; the Marines, short of their goal for the past four months. When this high school senior says his parents are concerned about his safety in the military, this recruiter puts on the full-court press.” Recruiter: “Don’t hesitate. Don’t leave me hanging. Even if they really don’t want to talk about it, we can still sit down and talk, all right? Because by you walking in here, that shows that you’re interested, and I’d hate for you to be denied this United States Army opportunity. Honestly.” Fisher: “Recruiters are supposed to be at the top of their career field throughout the United States, the best infantry, the best cooks, the best medical technicians, the best, the people you want to represent your service. These are the ones you bring out on recruiting day. “There are some soldiers who are great soldiers but pitiful salesman.” Recruiter: “Of course, the news media is going to blow it way out of proportion.” Wagner: “While some recruiters blame the media for hyping the danger in Iraq, this recruiter, who served on the front lines, has a more straightforward approach.” Student: “I’m curious about how dangerous it really is over there, because in the news and everything people are dying.” Recruiter: “Yea, it’s war, you know?” Wagner: “This week in the Tri-state the realties of war are tragically clear, another goodbye for two young men who fought and died. early a third of those killed in Iraq are under the age of 22, the vast majority from the Army and Marine Corps, 111 of them from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. As a country honors their sacrifice, these high school seniors get ready for their military service with a sendoff and straight talk from their local congressman.” Rep. Steve Chabot: “We need to make sure that those kids who are considering a military career get the true facts. They’re great young men and women, they’re serving their country or will be in the near future, and we ought to be honest with them. We ought to let the kids know the truth and what’s really happening. And there’s no question, that Iraq can be a dangerous place.” Recruiter: “I was watching the news the other day. In Cincinnati alone, as of April, there were 867 deaths in Cincinnati.” Wagner: “While some recruiters play it loose with the facts.” Recruiter: “Eighty-eight people over there have died from gunshot wounds.” Wagner: “Bill Fisher says it worked for him to play it straight.” Fisher: “We have like the greatest armed forces in the world right now. The kids are just fantastic. And to sit back and say something like this is just silly. You don’t need to. You don’t have to sway them by innuendos or lies. You just have to search for those who want to join, and there are tons of them.” Recruiter: “I can at least provide you with honest answers. OK? I can be the Honest Abe around the corner.” Wagner: “Tonight the spokesman for the U.S. Army recruiting command at Fort Knox say he believes the recruiters aren’t deliberately making false statements. “This Friday, Army recruiting will be suspended nationwide so recruiters can be retrained, and Target 5 is assured all recruiters will be told to stop making these statements without evidence to back them up.”

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