How I outsmarted a recruiter…wait.

In Re-blogged from Flyover Press on March 8, 2013 at 11:30 am

“But who will dare to speak the truth out clear?
The few who anything of truth have learned,
And foolishly did not keep truth concealed,
Their thoughts and visions to the common herd revealed,
Since time began we’ve crucified and burned”

     Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust

Recruiters haunt high school hallways like specters off of the Flying Dutchman. In 1969 or 1970, to get out of taking an algebra test, I meticulously colored in circles on an answer sheet for the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). I would have been better off taking the algebra test. I would have failed it. I did well on the ASVAB. I rebuffed the subsequent calls and home visits. The recruiters went away to lurk, off-scene, patiently until life made their Faustian bargain seem cheap.

Theirs, was a a position of experience.

After being dumped by a girl in my senior year, I sat in a chair across from a beaming man bedecked with an array of medals. He said he knew exactly how I felt. He pushed a form, out of a folder stinking of copy fluid, in triplicate, with grimy carbon paper sandwiched between its sheets. “Sign here. Initial here, here, and here.” He held the papers for me with his palm. He was smiling and nodding reassuringly. I pulled the papers to me. “I’ve got ’em. Go ahead and sign.” I tugged on the papers and he slid them closer. Faced with being forced to either release the papers or stand up, the uniformed man yielded. I pulled the papers to me and read the number in the boxes that suggested (“but does not guarantee”) my future, as discussed the day before: “0011B”. Gone, were the mystical numbers associated with ‘aircraft maintenance specialist’. I stood up and left. He followed me to the door, red-faced, veins bulging, the smile gone. As a parting gift, he hissed what would have been my unofficial army name:


G-d certainly has a soft place in his heart for fools. I spent a lot of years thinking I out-witted them. Turns out, I was duped for a lot longer than the three years I would have promised to give the beaming liar holding the altered papers.

The American military exists for one purpose today: to enforce the will of the military-industrial-congressional complex. It does not exist, as MSgt. Stan Goff observes, ‘to provide you with money for school’.

It exists for the purposes of Raytheon, VISA, General Electric, etc. It exists so puffed up old men in expensive suits can stand in congressional reception lines, palms up.

I have mixed feelings about what Goff says and about the feelings he seems to be trying to articulate.

I’m saddened that he is troubled by the things that got inside of his head. Another part of me says that he got what he should have expected all along. What did he think he would get? Just a DD-214 and a check? What would possess a bright young person to agree to a devilish hit contract that says, “If you take this rifle and kill…ummmm…never mind, we’ll tell you ‘who’ later. We’ll give you this check. Thank you for playing.”

Didn’t he read Faust in high school?

I have no moral superiority with which to crucify Goff for his naiveté. For years, I indirectly sent folks like him to exotic lands having unique, interesting peoples…

…to kill them or to be killed by them.

I did it by proxy. Nice and clean, from the voting machine. I had been duped after all.

Today, I spend a lot of time thinking about the evil into which I had been tricked into doing.

Boys and girls, before you sign up to play International Hunger Games (and win valuable prizes), take three minutes and listen to Mr. Goff. Before you ‘vote’, listen to Mr. Goff.


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