Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Are US Recruiters Scraping The Barrel? And Are The Blind Now Leading The Blind?

09 May 2006

Are US Recruiters Scraping The Barrel? And Are The Blind Now Leading The Blind?

Surely one of the saddest sights any civilized 'sighted' citizens of anywhere in the world could ever witness, would be the blind leading the blind into battle.

But no, not so, it seems, in certain sadistic US military sobs' evil eyes.

And before you're tempted to accuse us of 'playing dirty' with today's particular choices of our traditional plays on words, please wait a while -- since everything should soon become so much clearer.

* An Army of one wrong recruit *

Autism - The signing of a disabled Portland man despite warnings reflects problems nationally for military enlistment

Sunday, May 07, 2006 - MICHELLE ROBERTS - The Oregonian

Jared Guinther is 18. Tall and lanky, he will graduate from Marshall High School in June. Girls think he's cute, until they try to talk to him and he stammers or just stands there -- silent.

Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Jared is polite but won't talk to people unless they address him first. It's hard for him to make friends. He lives in his own private world.

Jared didn't know there was a war raging in Iraq until his parents told him last fall -- shortly after a military recruiter stopped him outside a Southeast Portland strip mall and complimented him on his black Converse All Stars.

"When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, 'Well, that isn't going to happen,' " said Paul Guinther, Jared's father. "I told my wife not to worry about it. They're not going to take anybody in the service who's autistic."

But they did. 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.

But, but, but .......... spluttered This Old Brit in disbelief -- but he read on regardless.

Last fall, Jared began talking about joining the military after a recruiter stopped him on his way home from school and offered a $4,000 signing bonus, $67,000 for college and more buddies than he could count.

Matthew told his mother that military recruiting at the school and surrounding neighborhoods was so intense that one recruiter had pulled him out of football practice.

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.

Brenda phoned her two brothers, both veterans. She said they laughed and told her not to worry. The military would never take Jared.

The Guinthers, meanwhile, tried to refocus their son.

"I told him, 'Jared, you get out of high school. I know you don't want to be a janitor all your life. You work this job, you go to community college, you find out what you want. You can live here as long as you want,' " Paul said.

They thought it had worked until five weeks ago. Brenda said she called Jared on his cell phone to check what time he'd be home.

"I said 'Jared, what are you doing?' 'I'm taking the test,' he said -- the entrance test. I go, 'Wait a minute.' I said, 'Who's giving you the test?' He said, 'Corporal.'

Are your eyes opening any wider yet as to what we were wanting to get across in our opening paragraph? Because, Richard and This Old Brit bloody well bet they are. But what comes next should open them wider still.

Brenda said she spoke to Cpl. Ronan Ansley and explained that Jared had a disability, autism, that could not be outgrown. She said Ansley told her he had been in special classes, too -- for dyslexia.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, there's a big difference between autism and your problem,' " Brenda said.

Military rules prohibit enlisting anyone with a mental disorder that interferes with school or employment, unless a recruit can show he or she hasn't required special academic or job accommodations for 12 months.

Jared has been in special education classes since preschool. Through a special program for disabled workers, he has a part-time job scrubbing toilets and dumping trash.

Jared scored 43 out of 99 on the Army's basic entrance exam -- 31 is the lowest grade the Army allows for enlistment, military officials said.

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.

"He was real cocky and he says, 'Well, Jared's an 18-year-old man. He doesn't need his mommy to make his decisions for him.' "

Oh really, Alejandro? You arsehole. Is that so, Sgt Velasco? You shithouse.

So what did you pair of pathetic pillocks surmise some of your superiors may say? Eh?

With the Guinthers' permission, The Oregonian faxed Jared's medical records to the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion commander, Lt. Col. David Carlton in Portland, who on Wednesday ordered the investigation.

The Guinthers said that on Tuesday evening, Cpl. Ansley showed up at their door. They said Ansley stated that he would probably lose his job and face dishonorable discharge unless they could stop the newspaper's story.

Ansley, reached at his recruiting office Thursday, declined to comment for this story.

S. Douglas Smith, spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, in Fort Knox, Ky., said he could not comment on specifics of the investigation in Portland.

How the hell can men such as the ones 'The Oregonian' has sought to so deservedly show up, be considered competent to carry out correctly, their sacred duties?

Who the hell -- with even half a heart and/or brain -- could seriously consider a lad like Jared to be competent to carry out the duties seemingly set to soon to be requested of him? Duties upon which would depend Jared's, along with countless comrades' very lives.

What manner of mean spirited men would knowingly and willing connive to combine the life dependency of Jared, so inextricably, with the similarly serious life & death dependency of God knows how many other serving soldiers?

Have things really come to this, in the once so well respected US?

Is the supposed 'super-power' struggling so much that it has to stoop so low?

With all due respect and absolutely no offence intended, neither to Jared nor to any of his nearest & dearest, we absolutely have to say that if this isn't seen as scraping the barrel -- we'd damned well like to learn what is.

Go on over to 'The Oregonian' to see for yourself why every single sane US citizen should start screaming about this sickening story -- from the ruddy rooftops.



Anonymous gordo said...

Your link is busted. Here is the correct link.

2:02 am  
Anonymous Griffon said...

I can't get over the cheek of Ansley turning up on their doorstep asking them to back off because he might lose his job!
Absolutely no shame to go with his no conscience.

8:35 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Thanks, Gordo. All done & dusted now.

Griffin, amazing isn't it? No problem with Jared and comrades serving/relying on him losing their lives though. Or the odd limb or so. I hope he does lose him job - he deserves to. Moreover, I'd say he's helping the so-called enemy more than his own side.

One has to wonder as well, how many other 'unfit' fighting men have already been sent. And how many have lost their lives and caused how many other Americans [and Iraqis] to needlessly lose theirs.

11:07 am  
Blogger Phyl said...

I heard about this on the CBC yesterday. I was already totally boggled, but my jaw just dropped to the floor when they mentioned that this guy doesn't even understand there's a war on, or where he could end up.

The draft is on its way, no question. Especially if they initiate their aggressive war against Iran.

Somehow I suspect the next American Revolution may not be far behind...

1:53 pm  
Anonymous Tom said...

Well, it is getting pretty desperate, to maintain the myth of the 'All- Volunteer-Army'.

It is quite well known, that both the Army and the Marine draws their manpower requirements from the youth of the disadvantaged classes. It is also known, that the Pentagon has recently relaxed, entrance requirements, related to age, health, aptitude and character.

What shocked me in this report, is how much it has been 'relaxed'. One would think, for example, that a large organization like the Select Service branch is designed, that if one part fails in its job, than the other part of the burocracy will rutinely rectifies it.

Not in this instance. After an unscupulous recruiter entered our hero into the system, this young fellow has flew over his test safely above the minimum. (What does that tells us, about that test?) The report doesn't tell, if Jared has gone through his medical examination.

So the end result is, that a young person with severe limitations, such as communication difficulties, who in civilian life is not trusted with anything other than a broom and a mop, (definitely not with operating dangerous equipments for example), would have been readied for combat with automatic rifles and who knows what else.

Boggles the mind, even if we calculate, that he might have been filtered out, (emphasise on might) during basic military training. Really the last filter before dangereous assignments.

2:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading that article, this isn't an isolated incident. Look at the number of recruiters who've been diciplined - and 'retrained' in ONE DAY.

How many more like Jared were 'press ganged'? How many died or will die? How many deaths did they cause or will cause?

Also from reading more at the link, I can't see that senior officers are over fussed about this scandal. They need numbers. There's more than one kind of target for these guys to think about.

Who needs enemies, with friends like the US people's own criminal government and it's multipicity of departmental toadies? Ever ready to sacrifice anyone - for their own personal benefit.

4:02 pm  
Anonymous anon2 said...

Much ado about nothing.

As if cannon fodder's IQ matters.

4:41 pm  
Anonymous Tom said...

Annon2, I think it matters.

A) To his comrades and superiors in the field, who may wish him to be as competent as possible.

B)To the civilians, who may facing the barrel of his gun and their life dependent on the discerning and emphatic quality of a the person, whose finger is on the trigger.

C)It should matter also to the country, whose uniform he is wearing, as he is representing them.

Of course none of these things matter, if you do not care about the above listed things. However, you will still have to deal with the predictable consequences, whenever they will appear.

5:36 pm  
Anonymous graniab said...

Sounds like this story is getting better press abroad than at home - wonder why. My own feelings as a special ed parent is that the recruiter should be taken out and shot. However there are a number of different issues here on all levels. The overriding issue is that Jared comes from a low income family and his parents lacked the necessary educational support - what a surprise. Before Jared turned 18 his parents should have had him declared incompetent to handle his own affairs. But I can guarantee you that his family have had zero assistance throughout Jared's school life. He should be enrolled in a transition program, and eligible for federal assistance. He should be enrolled in classes at community college. He should not be resigned to life as a janitor. It's easy to blame the recruiter here who is evidently not the sharpest tool in the toolbox however the real culprit is the social services and educational authority who have failed Jared and his family for the past 19 years! I would suspect that Jared falls into the high functioning autism category so would more than likely appear as introverted. Finally I would wager real money that a fair number of undiagnosed special ed. students are currently serving their country.

6:59 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

Anon2 you've obviously never been a soldier and you've obviously never had somebody shoot at you either. Come back when either of those things have been part of your life and say that again.

Rick none of this surprising alas they've been "relaxing" their standards for a long time now. to give just one example - Do you remember how there was an attempt to exonerate Lyndie England by claiming she'd been brain damaged as a result of oxygen deprivation during delivery? or how (boo hoo) Graner (with a long record of vicious behaviour and FIRED as a prison guard) said that his superiors were to blame because he'd never been given training in how to properly deal with a detainee?

Personally I think a draft would be damned good thing. Lots of frantic American middle-class parents and lots of frightened American middle-class young people would get rid of a lot of the heedless dilettantism that characterises current US society particularly on the left. There's nothing like realising that now it's you're turn to pay for the lifestyle and advantages that have been built on exploitation to help with conscience development.

With apologies for using language on your blog that I don't permit on either of mine This is one of the things that drives me wild.

Americans and westerners generally but especially "liberal/left" Americans (bwaaaaa hahahahahaha - I'm a conservative and I'm well to the left of most American "liberals") have been very fucking quick to take the unearned benfits paid for by an earlier generation of Americans to say nothing of the gruesome price that has always been paid by (mostly brown) people in other countries. They've been too damned superior to join the armed forces, or the police, with the result that the demographics of both sectors are now heavily southern and fundamentalist. No bloody wonder they behave as barbarically as they do. A long time ago Socrates pointed out that if you claim to be even a halfway decent human being that you, in effect, open a credit balance with fate, the Gods, whatever you want to call it, and that sooner or later you're presented with the bill. Well the bill's due shut the fuck up and pay up. Because lets be blunt about it what so many of those now squealing are really bitching about is that America has lost in Iraq and they don't like being losers and that's just as true of much of their home situation as it is of Iraq.

7:31 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

To sum up: Armies and the police invariably reflect the society they serve. Take a good long look in the mirror.


I agree completely with what you've said.

7:41 pm  
Anonymous graniab said...

MFI - LOL lawyers would LOVE a return of the draft in the US. Think of all the money they would make with the SUV crowd begging to keep their little Johnnie and Susie out of harm's way.
I really did think that Lyndie England was a little 'challenged' why in God's name would she have (a) taken up with a loser like Graner;?
(b) had a baby with him?
(c) willingly posed for those famous photographs.
To all other readers don't forget that the label of autism is very broadly used. Neat freaks now fall under that category. I know of one young man diagnosed with Asperger's (high functioning autism) who joined the British army and has been successfully working in the payroll dept., for the past 4 years and another young man with Asperger's has been a mechanic with the US army stationed in Germany since 2004. (Both of these young men were on my daughter's high school swim team)

7:58 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

More than usual, I'd like to say thanks for so much thoughtful particpation - to everyone. Except anon2 - at least till I know if his/her comment was meant for real or as sarcasm.

Part of my problem, that, I suppose, I hate to pass opinions too hastily, But boy, when I do -- well everyone here already knows -- I'm sure.

As an example, here's a couple of strong opinions that I'll willingly aire. And I hope they don't - because they shouldn't - upset anyone posting here. Either now or before.

Giving Jared a chance to show he can do more that scrub shithouses and shovel & empty the same stuff -- is something that should be applauded, not attacked.

By the same token though, taking advantage of Jared's trust and/or vulnerabilities/condition/disability/shortcomings or however one prefers to describe such facts -- isto be attacked attacked and attacked again -- NOT applauded.

And btw, I am NOT a fence sitter, I'm sincere about everything I say.

Too tolerant? Too understanding? Too even handed? Too dogmatic? Too opinionated? Too judgemental?

Well, that's for others to say, not me. But I will say this - I am honest and I am sincere -- always. And I'm proud to be that way. I hope all my friends and family are too.

9:07 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

As insightful an assortment of views & comments as ever, I'm happy to say. Even 'livelier' than of late if anything. Also, as ever, thanks a million everyone;we wouldn't be what we are without you all.

The only comment made that I'm unable to understand fully is yours, anon2. Are you serious or are you being sarcastic? Untill I know, I can't decide whether or you deserve deleting. Meantime, in the spirit of 'openess' - it remains - so others can see it and d5raw their own conclusions.

Anyhow to sum up my own overall feelings on this sort of story, I'd just add the following.

Jared should have had and should even now be getting all those things graniab brought up.

Instead, he's been taken advantage of, exploited, abused - call it what you will.

Depending on where I am and by whom I'm 'judged' - I'm called conservative, socialist, liberal and a couple of times even commie.

The truth is I'm all of those things [except a commie] yet at the same time, none of them. Not if I have to wear an official label and swear to support a particular political party -- exclusively.

That idea, I find both laughable and lamentable at the same time. Because it's been my [considerable] experience that putting particular political party, politics before people is the cause of almost all our problems.

I do, say and act as I feel in all conscience bound to. On a day by day, situation by situation by situation, individual by individual basis.

Not perfect, I know, but I'll argue for ever that it's better than blind obedience - to whoever or whatever. And awkward old sod as I seem to some to be, I continue to find far more friends than enemies.

Stands to reason when one gets right down to it, I'd say.


11:16 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Ha! Blogger's gone barmy again. My first post [a while back] 'got lost' - so later, I tried again.

Then when I clicked 'publish' -- bingo! Both posts appeared. Anyhow, I'll leave the pair of them where they are. Maybe between them they'll make sense.

11:22 pm  
Anonymous graniab said...

As always Richard thank you for bringing to light this story. I hope with the publicity Jared will get some decent training. As usual MFI raises some valid points. I once saw an autism expert comment that individuals with autism could be employed to monitor the security scanners at airports because of their unique ability to concentrate. I doubt it will ever happen!

11:46 pm  

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