A big chunk of the military's recruitment advertising budget is spent on, and in, this nations high schools “selling” these young people everything about the military and what it means to be in the military--except the truth. Now, today, with BushCo preaching perpetual war world-wide, the military has stepped up its efforts at selling enlisting in the military.
As these young people go off to boot camp they learn immediately how badly they were lied to and deceived about what they would be confronted with and ultimately have to do. Some of them have gone AWOL, some have committed suicide, and some have developed deep depression. All have been severely affected negatively. I have talked with too many of these young people to not understand how badly they have been affected mentally and emotionally.
So what is this "rant", saying things you all are already aware of, about? Just this: I've been receiving lots of emails asking me what can be done to stop some of these recruitment efforts aimed at young people still in high school by many people, including teachers in high schools. I wish I did have an absolute answer to this, but like a lot of you, I am trying to grasp all this also. That said, one thing that can and must be done, and that is for dedicated and committed individuals to organize at the local level.
This country, under BushCo, has driven the militarization of the nation to an all new level, a level that is frightening, to say the least. While he (they) preach that “…this is a time of war and sacrifices must be made…” we all need to take a hard look at what he/they mean by that. Take a hard look at what is meant by “sacrifices must be made”, and exactly who the people are that are making the sacrifices.
I do believe behind looking at that, you will, as have I, come to the conclusion the only ones doing any sacrificing are the working poor, the young people being “persuaded” into enlisting, reservists and national guard personnel caught up in the back-door draft of “stop-loss,” and you, the working families of this nation who are being told, not asked, but told you must send your sons and daughters into the “Heart of Darkness” that is war currently taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan—with more wars on the way, such as Syria, Iran, Colombia, Venezuela, the Philippines, Indonesia, among other “targeted hot-spots” on the BushCo’s agenda of control, occupation and subjugation.
In the meantime, BushCo is doing everything possible to create the conditions economically to, as Newt Gingrich calls it, “Starve the Beast.” A deliberate policy of creating deficits so high the only thing taxpayer money can be spent on is the military. A deliberate policy that will create the only open door for economic survival for the majority of this nation’s young people to be found in enlistment in the military. A few years ago Henry Kissinger referred to those in the military as “dumb animals to do with as we want…” Not much has changed since he made that statement, has it?
The Bush family is not sacrificing, as the Bush family is profiting nicely from this war of choice; as are Dick Cheney and Halliburton; as are the majority of those that are and have been a part of the BushCo promoters of war; and as are those that are a part of Wall Street’s “investor class” who earn their living investing in the military/industrial complex. It is not their sons and daughters that are bombarded by military recruiters in their schools—it is your sons and daughters.
Pull together those of your friends who feel as you, that military recruiters have no place inside this nation’s schools; get together with local veterans and veteran organizations like Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and put together an local anti-recruiter “task force” aimed at countering the info, or lack there of, to counter the recruitment efforts of distortion and misinformation aimed at these young people.
Get the brochures the recruiters pass out and go down the list of statements and create your own brochure disseminating truth and supportable facts on every single thing the recruiters enumerate. Include information for parents that explains that, if the schools do not allow recruiters space during school hours, federal funding for the school can and will be eliminated. Give them real-world examples of how they will be left to their own devices if they go to war and come back physically and mentally injured as those that sent them to war de-fund the Veterans Administrations Heath Care system.
A great majority of this information is just not common knowledge, so bring it to light. Also, all of us must be constantly on guard when confronting those who essentially support recruiting kids and war not to get into shouting matches, or allow them to draw you into a side discussion. Drive all discussions right back to the topic at hand—recruiters in schools must go, and why. A quick google search for “anti-recruitment efforts” may yield a wealth of information that is appropriate, truthful, and factual to help in your efforts at the local level. One thing of which I am pretty much certain -- as local anti-recruitment efforts start taking hold, they will spread. But it will take dedication and commitment and giving up some time that would be spent doing other things.
Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families, as well as organizations like the National Veterans Foundation, SNAFU and Citizen Soldier may be able to help in some way with your local efforts; especially in advice and suggestions in terms of focal points. Veterans organizations comprised of Vietnam vets are an outstanding resource as most Nam vets understand first hand how unwilling this nation is to take care of those it sends to war; a lesson returning veterans of this American war in Iraq are unfortunately now learning. They can provide an excellent counter to a great deal of the disinformation put out by military recruiters, especially the returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan that are willing to speak out—and that number is growing daily.
The only thing that will prevent anti-recruitment efforts to not only start taking place in your individual local areas, but to start making an impact as well, is and will be people’s willingness or unwillingness to put forth the time and effort.
As more information comes my way, I will be certain to pass it on to all of you. As you learn of things others are doing around the country, please pass it on to me, so that I in turn may pass it on to others—after all, we are in this together, are we not? There is a quote from an old movie I just absolutely love (every so often a script writer comes up with something really good) and it goes something like this: “Change can come from the many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible—the power of one.”
There are so many issues of great importance hitting us all at once and from multiple directions that I fully understand the difficulty of trying to sort it all out and figure out where efforts may best be applied to maximize the chance for positive, effective change. But this we must do, or we will become impotent to do anything. And getting behind and building anti-recruitment efforts are things I really believe need to be at the top of our “to-do” list, or at the least on our top ten priorities list.
The links below will give you a small idea of some of what is going on nation-wide in various local communities, additional information on the issue itself, and hopefully they will provide a little impetus to spur all on toward becoming more informed about recruiting on the nations schools and the absolute need for many more to become publicly visible and vocal in a coordinated, concerted effort at to get recruiters out of this nation’s schools.
War -- any war -- is bad in and of itself—but a war such as in Iraq, that was started behind lies, deceptions, misinformation, disinformation, greed and hidden agendas makes anti-recruitments efforts that much more imperative.
Before You Enlist
Quaker House: Anti-Recruitment
Not In Our Name: Stop Recruitment Efforts in Our Schools
Children Are Not a Commodity
The military spends about $3 billion each year to convince young people that enlistment will give them college money, job training and an alternative to working at McDonald's.
Is The Army Focusing On Black Youths?
Military Recruiters Out of Schools
Anti-War Group Targets Military Recruiters on Campus
Should parents have the right to choose to protect a child from being targeted by military recruiters in school? Is it an inherent part of public school education to be pressured to sign an irrevocable contract and join the U.S. armed forces?
Jack Dalton is a disabled Vietnam veteran, activist for military and veterans affairs, independent writer and co-editor of the Project for the Old American Century web publication http://oldamericancentury.org/index.htm He may contacted thru the POAC web site or directly at his email address at: firstname.lastname@example.org.