I'll speak as the dad of a son in the USMC.
The military can be a very good place for training, earning money for college, benefits, etc. It can give you a sense of pride like no other.
It can also frustrate the heck out of you because of silly bureaucracy, being surrounded by people that aren't as dedicated as you are, long hours, grunt work, etc. - although those things are true of any job you might have.
Until recently, being inactive meant very little, because the inactive were historically rarely called back for duty, although obligated to do so if called. With the world being as it is today, and our military being stretched rather thin, inactive status very likely means you will be called back, whether you want to or not. My son has heard of people that are going to Europe or using drugs of some sort just to avoid being called back from inactive status. Imagine starting a new life after your military service is over - working your way up in a job, getting married, going to school or whatever, and Uncle Sam taps on your shoulder and says - "we need you back in Afghanistan." That would be pretty tough to take.
I do agree that recruiters are paid to be salesman - to get you to sign on the dotted line, sometimes using dubious practices to get you there. Some are definitely more scrupulous than others.
I would say that you shouldn't rush into any decision. The need for quality people for the military isn't going away anytime soon; therefore the incentives they offer won't suddenly go away either (unless Kerry becomes President!