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June 13, 2005

Military Recruiters v. Parents Pt. 2

Columnist Bob Herbert writes in today's New York Times: "The Army is so desperate for even lukewarm bodies that it is reluctant to release even problem soldiers, troops who are seriously out of shape, or pregnant, or abusing alcohol or drugs. And it is lowering standards for admission to the junior officer ranks. For example, minor criminal offenses that previously would have been prohibitive can now be overlooked.

At the same time Army recruiters have been chasing high school kids with such reckless abandon that a backlash is developing among parents who, in many cases, want the recruiters kept out of their children's schools.

'To the extent that we think students are threatened by recruiters, it's our job to intervene,' said Amy Hagopian, a co-chair of the Parent-Teacher-Student Association at Garfield High School in Seattle. Ms. Hagopian, who has an 18-year-old son, complained that recruiters too often put the hard sell on impressionable high school youngsters without informing them of the potential dangers of a life in the military.

Recruiters with the gift of gab go into the schools with a glamorous pitch, bags full of goodies for the kids (T-shirts, donuts, key chains) and a litany of promises they often can't keep. The kids don't hear much about their chances of being maimed or killed, or the trauma that often results from killing someone else...

There's something frankly embarrassing about a government offering trinkets to children to persuade them to go off and fight - and perhaps die - in a war that their nation should never have started in the first place. It's highly questionable whether most high school kids are equipped to make an informed decision about joining the military, which is exactly why they're targeted...

The parents of the kids being sought by recruiters to fight this unpopular war are creating a highly vocal and potentially very effective antiwar movement. In effect, they're saying to their own children: hell no, you won't go."

Posted by MikeBurke on June 13, 2005 | Permalink

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Posted by: Stan | Aug 19, 2005 5:35:27 PM

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