Monday, July 11, 2005

Bad recruiter gets promoted, torture and sex ain't push ups

Before I started blogging there was a story that you probably heard because people like Democracy Now! were covering it. So let's go to Democracy Now!'s May 12th story:

Army Recruiter Threatens Recruit With Arrest
And it seems that some recruiters have resorted to threatening recruits. In late April in Houston recruiter, Sgt. Thomas Kelt, threatened to have a prospect arrested if he resisted recruiting efforts. Kelt left a voice mail message on the cell phone of 20 year old Christopher Monarch ordering him to show up for an appointment -- under the false pretense that Monarch would be violating the law if he didn't. This is a recording of that voicemail obtained by Houston TV station KHOU:
"Hey Chris, this is Sgt. Kelt with the Army man. I think we got disconnected. Okay, I know you were on your cell probably and just had a bad connection or something like that. I know you didn't hang up on me. Anyway, by federal law you got an appointment with me at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall, okay? That's the Greenspoint Mall Army Recruiting Station at 2 o'clock. You fail to appear and we'll have a warrant. Okay? So give me a call back."
That was army recruiter Sgt. Thomas Kelt leaving a voicemail on a prospective recruit's voicemail. Kelt reportedly said that threatening to issue an arrest warrant was a "marketing technique." Army officials confirm the threat was made.

So you probably remember that story if you heard about it. C.I. sends me this thing on Kelt today (and says to note BuzzFlash linked to it). This is from KHOU which is the TV station mentioned in the Democracy Now! story. Mark Greenblatt is the reporter and the segment is called "Army disciplines recruiter with promotion" and you can watch it online:

The Army shut down all recruiting in the country for one day to re-educate recruiters on ethics. And as for Sgt. Kelt, officials promised "swift ... corrective action."
The 11 News Defenders discovered Kelt was transferred to a neighboring recruiting office where the army turned recruiter Kelt into a supervisor, as the station's new commander.

Today's e-mail question comes from Karen who asks if it's really important to put on performance everytime the tide comes in, if you get my meaning?

Karen, if you're engaging in sex by choice you're not required to go all Claire Danes to make the guy feel brilliant. That said, if someone baked some cookies and gave you one that wasn't that good you wouldn't start screaming, "This sucks! It's burned on the bottom! Get this crap away from me!" So there's a middle ground and then some. Since you're engaged to the guy you're talking about and go into your wedding plans, I'm guessing you're pretty sure this is what you want. You have asked yourself that right?

So if this is what you want, this guy, and you think you'll be happy with him, you need to bring it up to him. Since you don't say you've fallen asleep in the middle, I'm pretty sure you can talk about this without hurting his feelings.

From the way you describe it, your guy's confused sex with push ups. You say it's hard to talk about this. So here's an idea, next time roll over so that you're on top. Use that position to show him that he's not blasting through a spot of concrete.

He won't be thinking, "Oh God, she's been bored this whole time!" But he will get the idea that joy's to be found in other ways. Afterwards, since you say you have trouble critiquing him, just say things like, "You felt so good at that angel and when sometimes you were half way in and sometimes you were all the way in, it was so exciting."

Chances are what he'll think is "I better start doing that. Before she realizes what I've been doing wrong!" If he hasn't realized yet that you're not going "good game" after he finishes his push ups, he's off in his own world and won't realize that you hopped on top to show him what needs to be done. Hope that helps. Woah, you brought up touching. While you're on top, grab his hands and put them where you wish he'd put them. He'll get the idea.

We'll close with Democracy Now! I think it's an important story but I also think that the point made Sunday at The Third Estate Sunday Review was a good one too:

As journalism majors, we're concerned with the overreliance on "acceptable sources." They're only "accpetable" because so many have made them that. If for one week, and we're not trying to start a movement here -- we're just offering a thought, every left blog made a point to highlight Democracy Now! each day, think of how much good that could do?
We go to some blogs, especially new ones, and think, "You don't grasp the power that you have." ("Tear In Your Hand" by Tori Amos on Little Earthquakes.) We have a power now, who knows how long before the net gets regulated and completely absorbed by big media?

What if that happened? What if every blog on the left highlighted Democracy Now! all on the same day for a week? You think that would really get the word out? Think of how many people would be talking about Democracy Now!'s or how much awareness it would raise.

So here's a thing Democracy Now!, "Methods Developed by U.S. Military for Withstanding Torture Being Used Against Detainees at Guantanamo Bay" which is an interview with Jane Mayer who's written an important story in The New Yorker:

AMY GOODMAN: Now, of course, Physicians for Human Rights is outside of the government, a critic. One of the interesting aspects of your piece is the number of people within the government who are opposed to this. You write about a former F.B.I. official, who opposes coercion and what is going on there, about officials at the Washington headquarters for Naval Criminal Investigative Service being incensed. Talk about the resistance within.
JANE MAYER: Yeah. It was interesting to me, because the public has been relatively quiet on these subjects, but truthfully, the law enforcement community has been outraged by some of the allegations of coercion and abuse in interrogations, because the F.B.I., in particular, it's not just a moral or ethical issue with them, they feel that you get bad information from suspects when you coerce it or you, you know, abuse them or even torture them. You can get information out of people under those circumstances but not necessarily reliable information, and so they feel that this kind of method is just not worth it, and moreover, they also say that if you use these sort of methods, you will never be able to prosecute these cases in any U.S. court and probably not in some of the military commissions because, you know, it violates basic U.S. codes that prohibit forcing someone to testify against themselves. So, they see this as something that might nullify our ability to eventually hold these people, these very dangerous people in some cases, up for trial and convict them. And they worry that eventually it's going to wind up letting some of these people go.
The same with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which uses, like the F.B.I., a rapport-based way of interrogating people. They try to get people to talk by, you know, they use trickery. They try to, you know, feign friendliness, and they get stuff out of people that way. But they do it in a way that they can use those confessions in court. They won't be thrown out later. And so, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service truly threw a fit over the way some of the detainees in Guantanamo were being interrogated. And it went straight up the line of command inside the Navy to the General Counsel, who basically told Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that the Navy might have to withdraw from the Joint Task Force in Guantanamo if they kept doing these sort of things. And it did manage to back Rumsfeld down a bit.

So we'll go out with that.