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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 18:04 GMT 19:04 UK
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US soldiers at Naray US military base along the Pakistan border in Afghanistan

As the War on Terror drags on the US Army is finding it difficult to recruit enough soldiers to fill its ranks.

And there are allegations that some are breaking the rules to meet monthly goals for bringing new soldiers in.

For BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents, Robert Hodierne gained access to a recruiting centre and followed one sergeant as he looked for "Rambos".

We asked for your comments following our programme and this is what you had to say.

Putting aside the issue of whether or not you agree with the war, teaching these "honourable soldiers" to lie will surely not instil integrity. If they have no integrity how can we expect them to uphold high morals and represent our country when on foreign turf? Perhaps these recruiters should be held to the same standards that our dishonourable soldiers are rightfully held to. If we have no integrity here at home in a safe environment we will not develop it in a hostile environment!
Kathlene, Califon, New Jersey

I invite President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, and Donald Rumsfeld to don military khakis and boots and set an example for all those poor misguided, ignorant young soldier wanabees. Sadly our military has become a laughing stock due to an inept commander-in-chief who hasn't a clue regarding fighting wars.
Jethro Singer, Santa Monica, CA, US

Thank God the British Army puts the priority on recruiting quality and suitability
Roddy Bridge ex-army recruiting officer
Thank God the British Army puts the priority on recruiting quality and suitability rather than succumbing to the heavy pressure of slavishly chasing the numbers game, which our allies across the pond seem to do. On average a British Army recruiting sergeant will do about two years in a recruiting post before returning to his unit so will always ask himself the question "Would I want this potential recruit in my troop/platoon on operations when I return?"
Roddy Bridge (ex-army recruiting officer), Exeter

It is evident our soldiers should not be there in the first place, but for recruiters to actually encourage these young people to lie is outrageous. It is disgusting and sad that our government thinks so little of our young people that they will go to any lengths to recruit in order to meet a quota for a war that should not have happened. Unfortunately, when they come to our high schools they paint a pretty picture to these young people, and that is so sad. Why not bring the draft back so those in office making these dumb decisions can see how it feels to have a loved one in harms way in the name of oil.
Jackie, Washington, US

I grew up in a small town in Texas. My parents are from Mexico, so I am a first generation American in my family. We grew up poor and in undesirable living conditions. I wasn't interested in college after high school, and I wasn't about to ask for a handout. So I joined the army. I enjoyed my three years and felt that I came out better on the other side. But if others choose to join, the recruiters have got to get on the level and speak the truth about the dangers of war, imperialism and occupation.
Bustamante, Seattle, US

This is not news to us over here. We've been hearing this for years. But now that people are being blown up left and right in Iraq and Afghanistan, the problem gets worse. Why would anyone in their right mind volunteer for that? There's more pressure on the armed services, in turn more pressure on recruiters to meet goals. In the "failure is not an option" atmosphere of course they're going to cheat more. The whole thing is a disastrous mess. I think it's disgusting and doesn't do anyone any good.
Anne, New Britain, Connecticut, US

They need to recruit and send compassionate people who understand what it means to respect the local people
Asuka, Hiroshim
It seems like everyone in the world except the US army realises that there are serious behavioural issues of their soldiers that need to be addressed. If the Americans are actually serious about helping Iraq rebuild, they need to recruit and send compassionate people who understand what it means to respect the local people, not some trigger-happy kid who is in it just for a free college education.
Asuka, Hiroshim

There is of course something ironic about people not wanting to join the army because they might have to go to war, but it reflects the oddities of American society. The country is very rich, but many individual Americans are poor, add to that the very limited welfare state and it is easy to see how the veterans' benefits would attract poor people to the military. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, always the rich to send us to war, always the poor to die!
Michael Kenny, Luxembourg

Let the US come to Africa - we will fill the vacuum!
Gibrilla Barrie, Freetown
People are scared about what they see on television and read in newspapers. Take a look at Afghanistan and Iraq - the casualty numbers are scary. When you enlist you have signed up to be killed because those you will be fighting against are happy to become martyrs. I believe the US should recruit people from across the globe. In my country, the number of unemployed is so high that you will be prepared to do anything to get some money to take care of your family. Let the US come to Africa - we will fill the vacuum!
Gibrilla Barrie, Freetown

I grew up in a poor rural town in the US. In my junior year in high school (age 16-17) the army recruiters came around to administer an optional free exam testing academic knowledge as well as skills which would be specific to the military. When I spoke to my classmates at university from wealthy suburban districts, they said the military never come around to their schools to administer it. This was over 10 years ago.
Heather, Scotland, ex-US

Why don't they just send the people in prison to war? I have just had my son return from Iraq and I understand why the recruitment is so low. I do not support a draft either! Yes they do candy coat the military and make promises they can not live up to!
Kathy Fatalo, Miramar Fl, US

The war in Iraq has done nothing but kill a lot of people and push a country into civil war. The idea that this war was ever about protecting Americans' freedom is absurd. Maybe people are starting to wake up to the fact that they don't want their sons and daughters to be cannon fodder for an illegal war. I say this as someone who comes from a military family.
Geo Grant, Portland, Oregon, US

There are a considerable number of homeless, unemployed veterans who cannot find work
Ann, Traverse City, MI, US
The truly sad thing is that the recruiters tell these young people that the military will train them in skills for their future careers. Maybe true if they stay in the military but the vast majority of skills taught by the military are not transferable to the private sector. There are a considerable number of homeless, unemployed veterans who cannot find work. All this has been covered in the US news but not prominently - more's the pity.
Ann, Traverse City, MI, US

I listened to this programme. It's great to hear that they are having trouble recruiting. Hopefully this trend will continue.
David, London

Probably seems very trivial, but I was pleased to see the quotes around "war on terror" in the story summary (Are US recruiters breaking the rules?). Absence of quotes is the norm and gives credence to a nonsensical idea. It is quite right for you to question such absurd terminology, which is after all, yet another attempt by Bush and Blair to frame the debate they want. Challenge them!
Milton Andrla

I find it laughable that people are shocked that recruiters are using sales tactics - after all they are sales people
Anon, WA, US
As the total number of recruiters has increased in the last three years - isn't it just simple math that the total number of recruiters being disciplined should also increase? Putting these figures as a simple figures rather than a percentage of the recruiting population is misleading and displays a level of sensationalism. I find it laughable that people are shocked that recruiters are using sales tactics - after all they are sales people.
Anon, WA, US

Why must the poor and politically powerless die? Why are there no children of any current US senators or US congressmen/women in the current US armed forces? Or do they believe that the poor small town US folk's blood will buy and secure the petrol needed for their big SUVs?
Terry, London

Why doesn't the US government try to recruit other people across the globe especially those allied with US? I live in the Philippines and I believe the reasonable benefits that the US has to offer will encourage Filipinos to be recruited.
Roderick P Bulay, Philippines

We should, of course, have an army that accepts volunteers. But we should also have an army that drafts whenever it has to fill shortages. And the drafts should be conducted so that every son and daughter of draft age has an equal chance of being drafted - no college deferments, no marriage or parenthood deferments. Maybe then, our politicians would vote for wars that truly protect citizens instead of wars that just feed big-business managers and investors.
Dan, US

I find it patronising when military people suggest that the good things are never reported
Jono, Taipei from UK
People are aware of the things that are happening in Iraq and Afghanistan... Read the news, watch TV, I have friends who have served. I find it patronising when military people suggest that the good things are never reported. Garbage!! I have heard nothing other than good things from the war-deluded government. America is a messed up place when the only way that most people can get a university degree is if they put their life on the line and possibly face call up after call up for what seems like the eternal future. Freedom?! I would sooner be crippled by a bank loan thanks.
Jono, Taipei from UK

There are over 25,000 illegal immigrants in the US who would love to join the military if given the opportunity. Why don't they give them the chance to serve the nation while at the same time give them the opportunity to get a legal status, and perhaps after a number of years, the American citizenship? Just a thought!!!

Automatically denying highly qualified individuals on the basis of sexual orientation seems a bit foolish in times like these.
Charlie, Atlanta, GA, US

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

Crossing Continents


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