Progressive Writers Bloc

No Child Left Un-Recruited

By Uncle Bill Warner

Do you have a kid who is a junior or senior in high school? If he/she hasn't already been harassed by a military recruiter, expect it. Schools are required by Bush's "No Child's Behind Left" law to turn over information on all high school students to the military for recruitment purposes UNLESS the parent submits a request in writing to the school that private information be withheld from the military. This "opt-out" information is generally buried inside an information booklet sent home by the school. If you'd just as soon not get recruiters camping on your doorstep or telephoning with the hard sell, you have the legal right to request that the school not give out your address and phone number. Telephone numbers are not supposed to be given out, but many schools include them as a bonus to the recruiters. Opt out, or expect calls.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against anybody joining the military. I just think it should be done with one's eyes wide open. Military recruiters are pros at what we used to call "snow jobs" back in the Old Corps. Somebody left a slick recruiting brochure under my windshield wiper the other day, and it was a masterpiece! It had to do with a recruit becoming an "Army of One," whatever that is. It proceeded to talk about getting money for college, learning a trade, or traveling to exotic places like Hawaii or Paris. There are no pictures of Afghanistan or Iraq. Neither are the words "kill", "wounded", "maimed", "torture" etc. anywhere in it. Reading the weasel words, I noticed that a recruit might think he/she is going to get certain training or a certain duty station, but the key words are: "...subject to the needs of the military." Interesting.

A quick check around the internet under "counter recruitment" will help you see some of the downside your recruiter wants you to forget. Remember, the enlistment contract if for 8 years of one's life, not something to rush into without all the information you can get!

In Fall 2004, the Army published a guidebook for high school recruiters. Specific advice included the following:

"Be so helpful and so much a part of the school scene that you are in constant demand." "Cultivate coaches, librarians, administrative staff and teachers." "Know your student influencers. Students such as class officers, newspaper and yearbook editors, and athletes can help build interest in the Army among the student body." "Distribute desk calendars to your assigned schools." "Attend athletic events at the HS. Make sure you wear your uniform." "Get involved with the parent-teacher association." "Coordinate with school officials to eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times each month." "Deliver donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month." "Coordinate with the homecoming committee to get involved with the parade." "Get involved with the local Boy Scouts. ... Many scouts are HS students and potential enlistees or student influencers." "Order personal presentation items (pens, bags, mousepads, mugs) as needed monthly for special events." "Attend as many school holiday functions or assemblies as possible." "Offer to be a timekeeper at football games." "Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday is in January. Wear your dress blues and participate in school events commemorating this holiday. ... February ... Black History Month. Participate in events as available." "Contact the HS athletic director and arrange for an exhibition basketball game between the faculty and Army recruiters."

No one is going to mention to a kid that if he doesn't like his parents telling him what to do, he might not enjoy having his sergeant do just that. You have to obey orders, not originate them; give up your civil rights; and have your life controlled for you. And you can't sass back.

If you are a girl, the recruiter is not going to tell you that 90% of the women in the military report sexual harassment, with over 30% being rapes.

No one is going to tell you that you are about to be subjected to intense racist brainwashing to convince you that the people you might have to kill are sub-human.

Remember, your military recruiter has a quota to meet, and total honesty does not help him do that. Make up your mind about joining the military on your own. Get informed. Don't just sign away eight years of your life on the basis of slick propaganda. Opt-out forms should be available from your high school office, but even a handwritten note is legal. You are not opting out of the military, just out of giving recruiters the names, addresses, and phone numbers they want.

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