Uncle Bill Warner
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:
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
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
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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