Like a carnivore that is running out of
flesh to devour, the recruiting arm of the U.S. military is going to
excess in its search for the raw materials needed to sustain
it. Recruiters are going far beyond the acceptable in their
attempts at securing a steady stream of tender veal unbruised by
the lies told to entice our youth into uniform and war. Susan Paynter, a Seattle Post Intelligencer columnist,
writes that military recruiters tell potential enlistees: "You
don't want to be a burden to your mom." "Be a man."
"Make your father proud." Well, Mr. Military
Recruiter. Perhaps, you were a burden to your mom.
Perhaps, you did not make your father proud. Is it
not brain-twisted logic to suggest to young and impressionable students that by
not enlisting into the industrial
war-making mega-corporation they are a "burden to... mom",
or, that their father is ashamed of them? Excuse me, Sarge. I am
a Vietnam-era US Navy veteran who served in GTMO, that Gulag paradise of the new "American" century.
better. How about telling potential enlistees about how proud
you are of the torture and misery perpetrated by your mother
and your father, the Pentagon!
Mr. Military Recruiter, do you
tell prospective enlistees that the incidence of family abuse within
military families is three to five times higher than in the civilian
population? Do you tell potential female recruits that sexual
assault on women is common? That military higher-ups often
up rape and other sex crimes? Do you tell your naive, often
captive, audiences that you, as spokesman for the military in crisp dress
uniform could care less about keeping the promises you make to
them? Do you point out the fine print in the enlistment
agreement that says no promise needs to be kept by the
government? Do you tell them that your boss, the
Commander-in-Chief, has cut veterans' benefits? Do you tell them
that veterans typically earn 12% to 15% less than those workers who do
not go into the military? Do you tell them that military
enlistments are potentially unlimited in length? Do you tell
them that military service often leads
to death? Do you tell them that when they join the military that
they can travel the world, meet interesting people and kill them? That these interesting people may kill
them? Do you tell them that? Of course not. Ooooh Rah!
Not too long ago, in the Manchester
Vermont high school, a military recruiter aggressively approached a student in the cafeteria and then made
arrangements to meet with him at the McDonald's restaurant after
school without parental knowledge nor consent . The student was
underage, just 16 years old. Mr. Military Recruiter, if
you did that to my kid I'd have you arrested for
kidnapping. How dare you arrange such a meeting with a child
without parental permission? What would you do if a stranger picked up your child
and took him or her out for chow and a sales pitch? How dare you attempt to bribe
recruitment bonus points for your career total at the expense of someone's
son? Semper fi? How about "Semper
Military recruiters are now having a
difficult time getting enough fresh blood. Understandable as the abattoir that is their theater of operations is soaked in
blood, violence and death. The word has gotten out. The
military kills. The National Guard has missed its recruitment
goal every month in 2005. The Army has missed it for four
months. The Marines for five. As a result, recruiters have
pulled out all the stops in their attempts at finding new meat.
Recruiters have gone so far as to leave notes on cell phones saying
that federal law requires the student meet with them and that their not doing so
would trigger a warrant for their arrest.
Military recruiters regularly use a
tactic called plausible deniability, without technically
lying, they purposefully mislead. Really? They wouldn't do
that? Would they? You wouldn't think so with all those
medals on those chests attesting to all the valor. Naw, the vast
majority of recruits don't get killed or wounded. Do they?
Don't worry about it. You'll be Ok. Drink too much?
Naw, you don't have a problem with alcohol. We'll take
you. You have a pin in your leg from a previous surgery?
Naw, you don't have any physical limitations. We'll take
you. Your grades a bit too low? We can fix the
problem. We'll take you. Want a straight answer?
Forget about it! How low can you go Mr. Military Recruiter?
Can you go lower than this? You bet you can.
In Arvada, Colorado, a 17 year old high
school student journalist wanted to find out. The student, David
McSwane, faked being a high school drop out as he attempted to see
what the recruiter would do to entice him. No high school
diploma? No problem. Mr. Military
Recruiter suggested that McSwane simply make up the name the of a high
school from which he graduated. Mr. Military Recruiter told
McSwane to get a phony diploma. McSwane said. "I'm sitting
there looking at a poster that says 'Integrity, Honor, Respect' and he
is telling me to lie."
Military recruiters dog young people
where they are known to gather. They target kids at the
nation's community centers for the advancement of citizenship, i.e.,
the Mall. Better citizenship through consumerism goes
hand-in-hand with better patriotism through militarism. One must,
after all, defend the God-given right to be able to buy something
often. The CBS television news magazine "60 Minutes"
recently reported on military recruiter tactics as they scour the
landscape for opportunity. Round
those little doggies up. Giddee yup! Sign on the dotted
line. Move 'em out. Rawhide. Yee ha!
the CBS news "Recruiters Go to School" website,
CBS News has
reported that from asking teens to lie to their parents to
guiding them through duping the drug-test system and forging
documents, recruiters will go to many lengths to get young
people to enlist. One Houston-area recruiter was caught
on tape threatening jail time if a applicant didn't keep his
If fact, recruiting abuse was so
widespread and prevalent that the military was forced to take a
national day off from it on May 20, 2005, to cool the climate.
In their own words, it was a day to "stand down" and
In my home state of Vermont, the
students at the University of Vermont (UVM) recently received an email
with the statement, "Army pays off student loans".
Sure they do. The
email came from a recruiter working out of the US Army
recruitment office, Williston VT. Just how did Mr. Military
Recruiter get the UVM student email list? Ah yes. Military
ethics, another one of those contradictions that the military
is good at, like, destroying a village in order to save it. Saying
that the military "pays off student loans" is like saying
that the infantry teaches soldiers how to change diapers. It's
just no so.
Few U.S. parents know that our high schools are military occupied
territory. Every year, high schools administer to their junior class, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude
Battery (ASVAB). This is the same test that all enlistees
take. Welcome to the military, kid. We pick your brain
even before you are old enough to pick us.
Exactly why do our schools collect data on our students for the benefit of the military?
Why do thousands of high schools across the United States test their
unsuspecting students, collecting personal information about their
abilities and turn the results over to the military so that recruiters can
target their enlistment strategies more effectively? Do schools
allow any other special interest group to do this? They do
not. Shame on the military. Shame on the schools.
Shame on the school administrators and guidance
departments. Shame on them for turning over millions of children
to the pimps of the military-industrial-complex. Shame on them
for not emphatically pointing out that parents have the right to opt-out their sons
and daughters from taking the ASVAB. Shame on them for not
pointing out that the No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools
turn over to military recruiters the names and addresses of students
who are turning into adulthood. Shame on them for
not pointing out to parents that students can opt-out of having their
information turned over to the body hunters.
Pat Elder, a member of the Washington,
D.C. Antiwar Network says, "It's a dangerous militarization of
society and I don't think recruiters should be given that access to
schools". He points to U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) who
seeks to amend the No Child Left Behind Act by eliminating its opt-out
provision and replacing it with an opt-in provision instead.
Good. Why should everyone by default be forced to turn over
their private and confidential information?
Military recruiters lie. Why
wouldn't they? The war that they are recruiting for was based
upon lies. All wars are. Liars should not be given access to our
schools. People are finally waking up in large numbers.
All around the United States military recruiters are witnessing a
push-back against the underhanded and sleazy military
recruiting tactics. Parents and students are protesting
recruiters as they did in Garfield High School in Seattle. Parent and
teacher organizations are refusing to allow recruiters into the
schools. Recently, students chased two military recruiters off
the Seattle Central Community College campus. Counter recruiters
and members of Veterans For Peace, and others, are demanding and
getting equal access time into the schools.
I suggest a course of action when
recruiters come to the high schools with their colorful
glossy slick military book covers, posters and high definition
television multi-media presentations mounted on their unarmored Humvees,
with rock music blaring. I suggest we meet the propaganda show
with evidence of the military's most
striking by-product. Let us display the red blood
soaked twisted bodies, ligaments and bones in shreds, fetuses and
their mothers bombed to pieces, the stench of human innards turned
outward, legs and arms on one side of the road while the body lies
flattened in the middle, with the head on the other side, the red mist
that once was an adult human, or, child, the rape, the pain, torture, misery, disease,
and psychological breakdown that comes with war. But, oh, you
will look so snappy and dapper in that over-pressed military uniform
as you become a man slipping into your new identity. And when you do, you will
set aside your
humanity being blind to it all. You will have become one
of the "few good men", one of those who trust their leaders
to lie for them. And when you're eating that burger in the
middle of yet another battle zone, setting aside the gnawing in the
stomach that suggests you are responsible for what happens in the
abattoir you are part of, you can drown out that feeling with a chorus
Swing those rifles left to right,
Kill those ragheads through the night.
Semper fi, my man. Semper
Violence can only be concealed by a lie,
and the lie can only be maintained by violence.