Monday, 7 January 2008

Army criticised for glamorising war

The Army has come under attack for allegedly misleading potential recruits about what to expect from life as a soldier. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has published a report, Informed Choice? Armed Forces and Recruitment Practice in the UK, in which the Army is accused of boosting recruitment through advertisements and literature which "glamorise warfare, omit vital information and fail to point out the risks and responsibilities associated with a forces career".
Hmmm... But surely with all the news coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the screening of ever more violent and horrific war movies, the increasingly realistic Army promos being shown on the TV, history lessons in school and sheer commonsense, its hard to believe that someone considering joining the Army could fail to know what being a soldier might involve.
The report criticises the Army for emphasising the potential benefits of an Army career - skills, comradeship, active lifestyle, travel etc. Well what would you expect? Any organisation which wants to attract new entrants would surely do the same, especially in the case of the Army which is in tough competition with other employers who offer significantly higher salaries.
The report also states: "More than £2billion is invested annually in training; most of this is used to train approximately 20,000 new recruits". If that's right, that's getting on for £100,000 per head. Now we know that the MoD is not what you'd call frugal when it comes to dishing out the cash, but surely even the MoD would see how ludicrous it would be to spend £100 grand, not to mention all the time and effort involved, in recruiting and training someone who then decides he wants to leave because he had been mislead about what the job actually entailed. Wouldn't it?

The Joseph Rowntree Trust is a pacifist Quaker organisation "committed to a culture of peace and the creation of a peaceful world" and the report's author, David Gee ran the Quakers' peace and disarmament programme.

Link> Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
Link> The Guardian: Army accused of glamorising war
Link> Whitehall Pages: MoD responds to report
Link> BBC: MoD denies 'war glamour' claim
Link> Armed Forces International: Forces Recruitment Criticised
Link> The Sun: Hero fumes at ‘slurs’ on Army
Link> Leicester Mercury: Recruits sign up 'with eyes wide open'
Link> The Mail: That's what the Army's all about, stupid!