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The Recruiter: Documentary on Army Recruiting Airs Tonight

The Recruiter, a documentary that airs tonight on HBO, follows Sgt. First Class Clay Usie, one of the most successful recruiters in US Army history, and four of his high-school recruits. The film, which takes place in a small Louisiana town, exposes the challenges facing Army recruiters, who find it harder and harder to convince young Americans to serve their country. Viewers also get an inside look into the excitement and anxiety felt by new Army recruits and their families as basic training and the inevitable overseas tour draws closer.

I had the pleasure of already watching The Recruiter. To find out what I thought of the documentary,

.

From my point of view, the film offers an authentic depiction of Army recruiting without furthering a political agenda. Most of the recruits portrayed come from tough family environments; one girl, Lauren, even faced time living on the streets before joining. The Army offers an opportunity to gain respect, self-purpose, benefits, and financial stability in exchange for intense physical demands, decreased personal freedom, and the risk of death in war. But not all recruits find themselves with a lack of financial security or job opportunities. Sgt. Usie also recruits Matt, an honor student whose mom is a teacher and dad is a lawyer. With an air of invincibility, Matt enters special-forces training in search for adventure and service to country.

The recruiter — Sgt. Usie's — radiates his dedication and passion for his mission to serve. The movie does well to show the benefits military service brings to those living a tough life, but it does so while displaying the painful sacrifices in plain light. The film is especially powerful for those who do not have a personal tie to the military or the wars being fought because viewers get to know the young recruits before they leave for Iraq.

Do you plan on watching The Recruiter?

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Join The Conversation
djdig djdig 7 years
The recruits name for the special forces is not Matt, its Robert (Bobby) he is my brother, and I think what he is doing for his country is an honor, and they really did a dishonest job on what "Houma" Louisiana looks like, but all in all it was a great show.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Stop-loss cannot extend your service indefinitely and it is pretty clearly stated in the contract. I just saw a contract that a friend of mine signed.
LanceThruster LanceThruster 8 years
Recruiting is a kind of sales. Sgt. Usie talked about how they were not hitting their target sign-up numbers and were getting a lot of pressure put upon them (as well as self-imposed pressure). It's not that the actions of the few tar all with the same brush, but you have to look at the environment that fosters this sort of behavior. If they recruiters were not caught on tape, their superiors would have most likely looked the other way and judged them only on the numbers of enlistees delivered. The military itself is guilty of glossing over many of the details of the fine print of their enlistment contracts. I read (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that exceptions like the "Stop-Loss" program where your terms of enlistment and tour of duty can be extended almost indefinitely are listed in the contract as a sort of obscure code. If the enlistee does not question each and every bit of the fine print, they really won't know exactly what their full obligations are.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
What's situational?
stephley stephley 8 years
That's kind of situational though.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I don't think you should judge any group of people based on the actions of a few of its members.
LanceThruster LanceThruster 8 years
A disturbing wrinkle on this situation. As Sgt. Usie said, it is quite difficult to keep the numbers where they need to be. Caught on tape: Army recruiters threaten high school students
LanceThruster LanceThruster 8 years
“The willingness with which young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” ~ George Washington
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Thanks for your thoughts, Lance!
LanceThruster LanceThruster 8 years
I found the documentary very interesting. It was touching, disturbing, and disheartening all at the same time. The recruiters have a tough job and the recruits had many misconceptions about what was involved. I would love for all the potential recruits to have far more options available to them so that a choice for service truly would be on a strictly voluntary basis. I also liked Sgt. Usie's idea about federal service (not a draft) as too many people are able to coast on the backs of the efforrts of others. For those yet to watch it I won't spoil the outcome, suffice to say that these recruits were definitely thrown into the real world of warfare quite rapidly. Even for the most gung ho, it was hard not to think of them as cannon fodder. I hope to get the chance to watch it again.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
steph - We've always thought it was just you. ;) JK
stephley stephley 8 years
Must be just me then, I think a vegan documentary would be like watching paint dry - or worse that British show where a nutrionist torments overweight people with the nastiest looking health food I've ever seen.
janneth janneth 8 years
I would watch a show on veganism, steph. I have a bestest friend who is a vegan. It is a wild ride, I can tell you.
stephley stephley 8 years
Interesting enough to watch on t.v. Janneth?
janneth janneth 8 years
I have eaten in vegan restaurants several times, very interesting menus.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Pooh, I don't get HBO. I wish the dang dish company would let us just pick our channels. If we added hbo we would get like 50 more channels we wouldn't watch. And Hypno, I need some of those recipes. My daughter could pick a pea or piece of corn out of anything and eat around it. The little toot.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
is that who that was?? i always wondered! what was that picture from?
stephley stephley 8 years
Yeah, it took me a while to risk change! I don't think Naomi's too far off physically, at least if I bleached my hair again. Now I do question how hostile something will seem to someone who doesn't share my views - except in baseball teams.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Yeah, I had one a few back that i realized was kind of frightening looking. I like the new one though; I think she's a little more fun. I always think of Naomi Watts when I think of you, Steph. You had that one for a while! (Or at least it felt like you did.)
stephley stephley 8 years
I didn't find anything you said critical Lil, though I admit, I'm feeling very Monday morning here myself. I've thought of that new name thing too! I have thought that sometimes the avatar affects how I take a comment - one of yours that stared straight on, scared me a little.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I just hope I'm in the top 5 still. I've been slacking this month.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
go kim! :woohoo:
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Of course, I can't do that now, because I must be top talker!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I think people identify global warming too much with Gore, as well. I wasn't being critical of the people you work with; it was just an observation. I feel like people are so ready to fight on here lately. Maybe I will make a new name and see if people react the same way to what I say. :ponder:
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