Congressman wants hearings on Army recruiting scandal
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday August 7, 2008

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A Houston congressman is angry after learning that an Army recruiter in his district lied to a student who had changed his mind about enlisting and threatened he would be arrested as a deserter.

KHOU 11 news, which first reported the story last week, has found that the problem is not confined to Houston. In fact, "citations for recruiter wrongdoing have nearly doubled over the past several years, and complains are up too."

"That's not what our country's about," Rep. Gene Green told KHOU. "There's a problem with the system in the Army."

Green has written a letter to the Pentagon and also intends to ask the House Armed Services Committee to investigate or hold hearings. There are two Texans on that committee, and Green plans to get both of them involved.

Green appeared on the syndicated program Democracy Now! on Thursday morning and was particularly concerned that the recruiter involved in a similar incident in Houston three years ago had actually been promoted to station commander following the incident.

Douglas Smith of the US Army Recruiting Headquarters told Democracy Now!, "Just because someone has done something wrong doesn't mean that they get the death penalty."

"There's a difference between the death penalty and a promotion," replied Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. "He was actually promoted after this. ... What was the negative penalty?"

"I'm not allowed to tell you," Smith replied. "That's covered under Army regulations."

"And that," KHOU reported, "fired up the congressman enough for him to send off this letter to the Secretary of the Army demanding to know 'why more was not done' and 'what steps the Army will take to ensure this does not happen again.'"

This video is from KHOU 11 News, broadcast August 7, 2008.

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