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Before you join the military, don't forget your permission slip

By Bob Parks
web posted July 3, 2006

War is hell.

As a former member of the United States Navy, armed combat on the ground was the last thing I thought about while serving onboard the USS Midway back in the eighties. But if I had joined either the Army or the Marines, being on the ground would surely be a possibility I would seriously have to take into consideration before enlisting.

Now while the military today has its hands full with a stubborn and deadly insurgency in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a hostile Cindy Brady-like media back home that's looking for any reason to tattle on our troops or their government's efforts to root out terrorist activities both at home and abroad, slip-ups happen.

"Two years after National Guardsmen Spc. Patrick McCaffrey and 1st Lt. Andre Tyson were killed in Iraq, the truth about their deaths has been exposed. Military officials initially told the families that the two men had been killed in an ambush by insurgents but an Army investigation concluded that they were in fact murdered by members of the allied Iraqi Civil Defense Corps. The military only told the families the truth this week."

--Democracy Now!, June 23, 2006

The title of that televised report reflected the ominous, "Army Lies to Mother of Slain Guardsman for Two Years, Says Killed by Insurgents Instead of Allied Iraqi Soldiers."

I'm not sure what the benefit the United States Army would gain by lying since we all know the truth always comes out. Whether it was that they were reporting back to the families information as they received it, who knows? But missteps like this fuels the Cindy Sheehans of the nation and the liberals who love to exploit their grief and further their anti-war crusade.

The latest example was the DN story/interview with Nadia McCaffrey, mother of fallen Army Spc. Patrick McCaffrey, who is accusing the Pentagon of a deliberate cover-up. Again, the Army has nothing to gain by engaging in a "cover-up", yet she serves the purpose of the left.

The U.S. military is being accused of another deliberate cover-up involving killings in Iraq. But this time, the victims are not Iraqis... they're American soldiers.

Specialist Patrick McCaffrey and First Lieutenant Andre Tyson - both members of the California National Guard - were killed in June 2004 while on patrol near the town of Balad, fifty miles north of Baghdad.

Military officials initially told the families that the two soldiers had been attacked and killed in an ambush by insurgents. But that story turned out to be a lie.

An Army investigation concluded in September 2005 that the two were in fact killed by members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps - supposed allies that the Guardsmen had been training and patrolling with. McCaffrey and Tyson's fellow soldiers had suspected this was the case all along. Instead of sharing these findings with the families, the military sat on the story - for nine months.

It was only after Nadia McCaffrey - the mother of Specialist Patrick McCaffrey - asked California Senator Barbara Boxer in May to pressure the Pentagon to release information about her son's death that the truth came out.

The military revealed what it knew only this week - nearly two years to the day of the killings of McCaffrey and Tyson. An Army general briefed the families at their homes on Wednesday. The Pentagon is now being accused of a deliberate cover-up.

Again, I'm not sure what would be to gain by covering up the incident. Knowing the military as I do, they are probably balancing the need to provide information to the families of slain soldiers in a timely manner, while balancing the investigative process and political fall-out should the surviving relatives decide to turn on them.

Such has happened yet again as we have another mother who claims she was lied to by the Pentagon, that her son didn't want to go to battle, which is suspiciously convenient as that dead soldier is no longer around to counter the claims of the sympathetic, grieving family.

Just the kind of individual someone like Amy Goodman loves to exploit....

AMY GOODMAN:....I mean, why did he join the military? And then, why did he decide to go to Iraq? They were two different decisions.

NADIA McCAFFREY: Well, he did not want to go to Iraq at all. He enlisted after 9/11 to become a National Guard, and he wanted to do this because he reacted from, of course, the catastrophe of the Towers in the 9/11. And he didn't (inaudible) he thought about it and he wanted to do something for his country. He wanted to help.

He would have been here for Katrina. He would have -- you know, there was a fire between Shasta and Redding that burned for ten days (inaudible) last year. Nobody was there to stop the fire. It burned over 15,000 acres of woods and land, houses, you name it. People just left their home and let it burn. Now, Patrick would have been part of the National Guard to be there to stop the fire.

And once he was in Iraq, well, he was deployed, anyway, of course. So once he was in Iraq, it took him a very short time to realize that, you know, that this was not at all what we said we were doing. And he said to me many times, not just one, but it didn't take long for him to admit and to say, "Mom, we shouldn't be here. We have nothing to do here. We are not fulfilling any of our promises to the people." And he -- he lost his illusion. And because of that, after that, he turned to the
children, the Iraqi children, and the soldiers.

Like Cindy Sheehan, we're hearing quotations from a man no longer here to speak for himself. Whether or not Patrick McCaffrey really accepted the mission or not, we'll never know, as all we have is the word of a grieving mother who was given faulty information about her son's death, coupled with a leech of the likes of Amy Goodman.

But there is another continuing theme here; that people who join the military don't know what their in for and it's almost always implied by a Sheehan and/or Goodman that recruiters lie to their young prey, just to get them in for cannon fodder and meet that perpetual quota.

I talked to Robert Paas, a former Staff Sergeant, Recruiting & Retention Non-Commissioned Officer, Massachusetts Army National Guard, and asked him just what are recruits told before they sign on the line...?

"The military recruiter has several laws and rules which he/she must abide by, one of the unwritten rules, which is almost a given is that recruiting by and large is done in military uniform. There is no mistaking the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU's) or the new Army Combat Uniform (ACU's). I would venture to guess that most every High School Student understands that when a recruiter shows up in either those or the Dress uniforms that they are there to recruit for military service. I would also
venture to guess that most of them understand the mission of the U.S. military and what the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are hiring people to do for a living.

On the outside shot that the individual does not read the Name Tag or the Branch, i.e. US ARMY patch on the uniform, the recruiter, when filling out the initial paperwork for enlistment has one form which is almost entirely dedicated to outlining for the individual what they are going to be doing, The person who is enlisting into the service must read, sign and even initial next to a statement which reads, and I paraphrase because I haven't been in recruiting for 3 years now. "I understand that
I am entering into the military of the United States of America, I understand that I may be called upon to enter into combat or serve in a hostile environment."

Not only does the recruiter read this with them when signing the initial contract, but the Guidance Counselor for the branch of service they are entering into at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) reads this over with them again during processing in the ABSENCE OF THE RECRUITER, and then for a THIRD time the individual states, reads and signs this statement with a "disinterested" third party. That person is either a civilian or member of another branch of service who would gain nothing by ensuring that the individual understands the entire enlistment contract that they are entering into. That disinterested party sits down in a room separate from ALL OTHER enlistment activities and goes over the ENTIRE contract with the individual, they will ask a lot of important questions, such as "Do you know what job you will be doing? What promises were made to you? Where there any promises made to you by the recruiter or anyone else in the enlistment process which are not in
writing here?" This is a FAILSAFE for both the Military and the Enlistee so that the enlistee cannot come back later and say things like "My recruiter lied to me."

I found that those stories largely stem from the military changing the standards. The rules on enlistment change quite often due to requirements in the ranks. One soldier may get an enlistment bonus because he went into a job field which was shortage or critical, another while may have the same job, enlisted during a time that it was NOT critical, and so therefore, no bonus was offered.

One thing that has never changed is the basic service that the US Military provides to this nation. They are here to "defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic". The primary mission of the military is NOT to go to war, the primary mission of the Military is to DEFEND FREEDOM, and PREVENT war, should that mission fail, their secondary mission is to win that war!"

My advice to anyone contemplating enlisting in the military is thus: If you value your legacy, and your parents are in opposition to your decision, you run the risk of having words and sentiments attributed to you that may be false. Your parents may be used by those who have neither the guts or allegiance to you and your fellow soldiers and will use your parents to further their anti-war agenda. Your ideals will be replaced by the liberal anti-America script that your parents will recite on
international broadcasts that will also be seen by the very people who will attempt to take your life.

As a public service, I would advise all young people deciding to enlist in the Armed Forces to acquire a permission slip from your mother and father before signing that contract. If they are against the war, the military, and even America, then you need not apply.

That is, if you value who you are.

Bob Parks is a member/writer for the National Advisory Council of Project 21, and is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc.

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