May 17, 2005

Just Say NO To Violence

The next big media story could be how many thousands of US soldiers are deserting:
'If I am sincere in what I say and there's consequences because of my actions, I am prepared to stand up and take it,' Sgt Benderman said. 'If I have to go to prison because I don't want to kill anybody, so be it.'
How big an issue is this for the US military?
The most recent Pentagon figures suggest there are 5,133 troops missing from duty. Of these 2,376 are sought by the Army, 1,410 by the Navy, 1,297 by the Marines and 50 by the Air Force. Some have been missing for decades.

But campaigners say the true figure could be far higher. Staff who run a volunteer hotline to help desperate soldiers and recruits who want to get out, say the number of calls has increased by 50 per cent since 9/11. Last year alone, the GI Rights Hotline took more than 30,000 calls. At present, the hotline gets 3,000 calls a month and the volunteers say that by the time a soldier or recruit dials the help-line they have almost always made up their mind to get out by one means or another.
US military recruiters are failing to meet their targets and getting desperate:
After several cases where recruiters had illegally covered up recruits' criminal and medical records, threatened one prospect with jail for failing to meet an appointment and provided another with laxatives to help him lose weight and pass a physical, the Pentagon is halting all recruiting on 20 May for a day of retraining.

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