Unfortunately, the military has structured the recruiting system to reward shenanigans. People are evaluated on how many soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines they sign up, and poor performance on an evaluation can hurt at promotion time. And with our "up or out" system...well, you get the idea.
The job of recruiters is made more difficult by an anti-military bias so present in a large segment of our population. It seems that 60 years of peace of prosperity has made many forget a truism of our republic:
It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.
Father Denis Edward O'Brien USMC
I will not allow excuses for lying by recruiters, though. If recruiting times are tough, work harder. Honor and integrity are supposed to be valued by those in the profession of arms. We cannot look away when those values are cast aside.
So I'm heartened by one tentative step that the Army has taken. Apparently recognizing the damage that some recruiters are doing to the overall mission, the Army had its recruiters "stand down" yesterday, not recruit, and focus on the right way to do things. According to CNN:
Instead, recruiters are concentrating on ethics and rules governing recruitment.
The purpose is to refocus recruiters on their mission, reinforce the Army's core values and ensure its procedures are carried out consistently, an Army spokesman said last week.
Let's hope it's not too little, too late.