Soldier Loses Claim That Army Tricked Him
Soldier Loses Claim That Army Tricked Him (WaPo, A24)
A federal judge ruled yesterday that the military can ship an Arkansas soldier back to the front lines in Iraq this weekend, despite the serviceman’s objection that the military forced him to extend his tour after tricking him into believing he was enlisting for just one year. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the Army recruiter may have stressed to David W. Qualls, 35, that he was enlisting for a one-year hitch, but the contract he signed spelled out that his duty could be extended against his wishes in time of national emergency or war.
Qualls’s attorneys had sought a temporary restraining order to prevent the Army from forcing him to return to Iraq, accusing recruiters of “bait-and-switch” tactics to enlist Qualls and others for Operation Iraqi Freedom. “The whole point is that it was only supposed to be for one year,” said Qualls’s lawyer, Jules Lobel. “They better tell people this clearly and not put it in the fine print.” Lamberth disagreed. “This wasn’t in the fine print,” he said. “It’s only a two-page contract.”
I predicted as much here.
Lamberth’s point about it only being a two-page contract is interesting, although I agree with Lobel that the Army should be more up front with this. A smooth talking recruiter could easily persuade an eager recruit that the eight year business is “just standard stuff” that “never happens.” Since the contract specificially states that anything the recruiter might have promised that’s not actually written into the contract is void, there’s a lot of incentive for recruiters to do that sort of thing.