Military Recruiters Coerce School Kids with Draft Threats
By Dave Lindorff
October 11, 2005
No Lie Left Untried - Recruiting In The Schools
When it comes to a reputation for selling snake oil, surely
the army recruiter has long been right down there in the muck with the used
car salesman and the patent medicine huckster. It's common knowledge that
the promises made by recruiters about postings and future positions and
training are worthless, and that once someone signs on as a recruit, her
or his fate is at the whim of the military. That said, recruiters these
days, desperate to fill the pipeline to Iraq's slaughterhouse with new bodies,
are resorting to an interesting new spiel this days.
Word comes in from students in the Philadelphia area that recruiters at
area high schools are warning them to enlist now, when they can pick the
type of service they'd like to do, "because there's a draft coming
next year and then you'll have no choice."
It's an interesting come-on because the White House and Pentagon keep saying
that there are no plans for a draft.
Granted, two years ago they began a crash program at the Selective Service
System to rebuild the local and regional draft boards, which had been allowed
to languish for years with seats going unfilled, and which are essential
to a functioning system of conscription. And granted that this year was
the worst year for enlistments and reenlistments for all branches of the
uniformed services since Vietnam, with even the Marines failing to reach
their quota, and with the army raising its maximum enlistment age from 35
Still, a draft would be a bitter pill for elected officials in 2006, especially
with the entire House up for re-election and with support for the war in
Iraq now in the toilet.
So we're left with two alternatives: either the recruiters know something
that the rest of us and our elected political leadership in Congress don't
know, or there is no draft coming next year and the recruiters are using
lies to scare young kids into signing on the dotted line.
If it's the former, it's time for our representatives to hold hearings to
find out what's up. If it's the latter, schools should be banning the recruiters
from high school campuses and from college information fairs, just as they
would if an unaccredited school were lying and saying it offers an accredited
degree. Lying recruiters have no place in a school, even if the "No
Child Left Behind" law mandates that schools provide the names, addresses
and home phone numbers of all high school juniors and seniors to recruiters.
While they're at it, schools should all get their act together and provide
every student aged 16 and up with an opt-out form as provided by law, so
that they or their parent(s) can return it and have that child's contact
information kept from recruiters.
A growing grassroots movement of students and parents is resulting in more
and more students turning in such forms. The principle's office in my school
district of Upper Dublin, PA reports that this year a significant percentage
of the junior and senior class have turned in the opt-out forms that were
sent out as part of a back-to-school school information last August. In
Montclair, NJ, 94 percent of the junior and senior class reportedly opted
out this year, giving recruiters a pretty small group to harangue.
For information about protecting your child from these deceitful and threatening
recruiters of cannon-fodder for Bush's Iraq War, contact the American
Friends Service Committee's National Youth and Militarism Movement
office. (Their website has an opt-out form that can be downloaded and printed
out, to be turned in to your local high school or school board.)
All information posted on this web site is
the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor
can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer
of your choice for medical care and advice.