A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Military Recruiting in High School: Under the Gun?

Imagine my bemusement when I opened up my school email and discovered a request from a nearby batch (what would be the collective noun? --covey? --pod? --clutch? --den? --squad?) of Army recruiters, sent to about a third of the teachers in our school. Instead of being addressed to the district as a whole, the email actually listed all of our names individually. It did not come from the District HQ as a forwarded message, nor did it include any administrators in the list of addressees. This is far from my first experience with a recruiter in my classroom, either, as I've written about here.

The email stated that the recruiters had a goal of speaking to every single junior and senior in our school before the end of the school year, and offered several different possible lessons that they could present to our classes, like on the history of the Army and so on. It later emerged that this email had not been vetted by our school district nor our building principal.

Under the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, military recruiters were allowed equal access to public school campuses. Now, of course, we all know (or at least I hope we all do) that under the No Child Left Behind Act, public schools are required to provide the names and contact information for high school students to military recruiters. Parents may opt their children out of the release of this information, but by default this information is turned over to the military.

Then a friend of mine told me about this story. It talks about certain practices that some Army recruiters have utilized in trying to make their quotas. These include stating that it is more dangerous to walk around in suburban America than in Iraq, for instance. You should read or watch this entire sorry tale.

This is unfortunately far from an isolated incident, however. If you don't believe me, try googling "news investigation military recruiter." Apparently the above claim has been used by unscrupulous recruiters all over the country. This absolutely devastates me. I also believe that this type of tactic certainly makes a lie out of the phrase "support our troops." Young people who sign up for military service as a result of this type of dissembling and false advertising certainly aren't allowed to back out of the contract that they signed when they enlist. There's certainly no such thing nowadays as getting released from a military commitment to go to graduate school.

Now, my Dad dropped out of high school to serve in the military in World War II. Two of my three uncles served as well, and my grandfather served in World War I. One of my cousins served in the Coast Guard. I have a flag like this one that was given to our family in memory of my father's service. My father-in-law, as well, served our country during World War II, and we have his flag as well. Both are in protective cases where we can look at them every day. My Dad's military service gave him access to training that later allowed him to support our family, certainly in a better manner than a high school dropout had reason to expect.

I have about sixteen former students who are currently serving in our military, and I pray for them every day. I treasure the letters I have received from basic training. But these young people voluntarily walked up to a recruiter at a booth in our high school during lunch. They were interested, they listened to the sales pitch, being free to walk away or come back as they saw fit. They knew what they were getting into, and, God bless them, they signed up fully cognizant of the fact that joining the military by definition means signing one's life over to the military without question for at least the next eight years of their lives and possibly longer if they hold a commissioned rank. They also understood that being in the military means being trained in the use of weaponry not just for the fun of it all but because they may very well be asked to place themselves where they may be aiming and using those weapons at other people who may be aiming other weapons right back at them, and who may also use those weapons to try to inflict harm upon them. They didn't believe that joining the military was the equivalent of going on a vacation to Cancun. And shame-- and, hopefully, punishment-- upon anyone who tries to convince a young person otherwise.

Now, back to that email.

I require my students to be in class without exception. I am notorious for tolerating no skipping of class. Therefore, I do not believe it is appropriate to invite these gentlemen into my classroom. I believe it is a different matter to force my students as a captive audience to listen to a recruiting sales pitch in my clasroom as a part of my instructional time, where they have no ability to absent themselves if they have no desire to hear this message--even though I would be there to clarify things for my students both during and after the presentation.

I also find it strange and even a bit troubling that these recruiters did not go through the proper channels before contacting teachers with this offer. Perhaps it was an innocent mistake-- or perhaps it was a calculated gambit.

I can give-- and do give-- presentations on the history of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps all by myself, thanks. I even have a neat little lesson I've used where we dissect the meaning of the Marine Corps hymn, and i teach my students about military insignia and rank. But I present this information in a neutral manner, and I have nothing to gain from it.

That's the way it should be in a public school.

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At 2/13/07, 7:50 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

On several occasions, my colleagues and I have been approached by members of the military who want to speak to our foreign language classes to talk to them about its role in the military. They came once and it ended up mostly being a recruiting gig for them. They told the kids about learning to speak "like a native" in a few short months. Not likely, if one knows anything about language acquisition. I have no problem with the military in general, but I do think they need to follow protocol in a public school and I don't want to be part of giving them access to my students' information unless the students themselves request that it be given out.

At 2/13/07, 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be very cautious indeed about believing negative "stories" about recruiting by our military, particularly these days. Why? Glad you asked.

(1) All of our service branches are making their enlistment and retention goals and then some, despite what the MSM continues to insinuate.

(2) Harming the military by attacking recruiters is a favorite tactic of the left and anti-war movement, and they have a long history of being, should we say, less than completely honest and honorable in the pursuit of their goals. Yes, they've even made up a wide variety of false stories about evil recruiters tricking innocent, helpless children into the despicable clutches of George Bush's imperial military.

(3) Recruiters are seasoned soldiers and professionals who are chosen to do their jobs because of their bearing, integrity and honorable service. It is not easy to become a recruiter. They are intensively trained, closely monitored and any recruiter engaging in underhanded or questionable tactics will find themselves reassigned with amazing speed.

In short, recruiters have every good reason to be honorable and to tell the truth and no good reason to behave as your second or more handed source suggests.

In my school, teachers routinely invite guest speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds and do not, as a matter of policy, vet those folks through the principal prior to inviting them. I suspect that this is the case in a great many schools.

It's one thing if your school has a specific policy requiring that anyone, including the military, must touch base with the principal before contacting anyone in the building, but unless this is so, and unless these recruiters knew about this policy, I suspect you're being a bit hard on them and inadvertently doing the work of the anti-war crowd by assuming evil motivations on their part.

And just for the heck of it, if you're up on those kinds of statistics, it is in fact true that one is statistically more likely to suffer a violent death in some parts of the US (our nation's capital, for instance) than in a war zone. Even if a recruiter did mention that--and remember, we have only a recycled "story" to that effect--they were merely telling the truth. Do you really imagine that's all they told a potential recruit? Could anyone intelligent enough to actually join our all-volunteer military (yes, minimum standards have never been higher) actually think that they might not find themselves in combat these days, and that finding themselves in combat, might be harmed? That's another favorite canard of the anti-war types: our poor children are being tricked into thinking that the military is completely safe, and that it's only a money-for-college program with snappy uniforms.

I think you're a bit hard on recruiters doing their best to do their jobs. If you don't have a need for their lessons, if you can't work them into your curriculum, I'm sure they'll understand and won't bother you again. But they're on our side. It seems that the worst they've done here is to possibly violate an internal school protocol about which they might have no knowledge.

At 2/14/07, 8:37 AM, Blogger IB a Math Teacher said...


I have nothing against military recruiters in schools, but c'mon, do you really think that they want to teach a lesson on military history? Would it be neutral? And what could be said in a 45 minute period? Would they give the lesson, then leave without giving phone numbers to call on cards?

Sure, people come into schools for lots of reasons, but we certainly don't have policemen come in and ask for phone numbers to recruit.

And if you believe that recruiters are honest, take a look at what you wrote.

1) ALL service branches are not making their enlistment goals, DESPITE lowering standards to get into the military. My brother in law works as a recruiter here in Minnesota, and they routinely don't make their goals.

2) Those stories about recruiters tricking students are real. However, when one recruiter does give information out (such as being able to learn a language in three months) it does get blown out of proportion.

3) Lastly, all recruiters aren't as you described. My brother-in-law tells me that recruiters are the bottom of the barrel in many cases ...not good enough for the field? you're going to be a recruiter. He hates the job, and it was the last one he had for the army before he was dismissed.

At 2/14/07, 9:36 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Mike thank you so much for your comments. Actually, we DO have a policy to vet guests invited to the classroom through the principal. And I believe it is a very good idea.

I am also going to gently disagree regarding the interpretation of the Army and its quotas right now. That has been accomplished by lowering the quotas and the standards. Let me direct your attention to this article (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,251878,00.html) from FOX News, hardly a bastion of military-haters:

"The Army and Marine Corps are letting in more recruits with criminal records, including some with felony convictions, reflecting the increased pressure of five years of war and its mounting casualties.

According to data compiled by the Defense Department, the number of Army and Marine recruits needing waivers for felonies and serious misdemeanors, including minor drug offenses, has grown since 2003. The Army granted more than double the number of waivers for felonies and misdemeanors in 2006 than it did in 2003. Some recruits may get more than one waiver.

The military routinely grants waivers to admit recruits who have criminal records, medical problems or low aptitude scores that would otherwise disqualify them from service. Overall the majority are moral waivers, which include some felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic and drug offenses.

The number of felony waivers granted by the Army grew from 411 in 2003 to 901 in 2006, according to the Pentagon, or about one in 10 of the moral waivers approved that year. Other misdemeanors, which could be petty theft, writing a bad check or some assaults, jumped from about 2,700 to more than 6,000 in 2006. The minor crimes represented more than three-quarters of the moral waivers granted by the Army in 2006, up from more than half in 2003."

The Air Force and the Navy have absolutely been making their quotas, but they are not bearing the brunt of the fighting in this war.

Now, in the interest of my former students who are in the military, I do not believe it honors them to put them alongside felons as they seek to serve our country. Another one of my students went to take the ASVAB a few weeks ago and came back disgusted. The "passing" score on the ASVAB has been lowered to 36 but sometimes as low as a 21. Honestly, would YOU want to serve next to someone who is carrying an M-16 pointed at your head as he or she lay alongside you on the line who could only manage a 21 on the ASVAB?

Thirdly, there is video of these recruiters in Missouri making these ridiculous statements. Several of them. I provided the link. There are biased people in the media who are both left and right-wing zealots, and then there's a huge swath in the middle. If we accede to the vilification of the entire "Mainstream Media," what remains to us as a source of information? Administration spokespeople? That certainly does NOT seem to be a more reliable source of information that is always unstintingly honest and even-handed. And, without sounding cynical or flip, why should it be? Full disclosure is not the purpose of government talking-heads-- re-election for their bosses is. Nothing wrong with that, as long as everyone realizes this. Certainly one should be aware of all kinds of biases in any source or information, but a free press is the foundation of democracy. Beware anyone who tries to undermine it-- they are leading us down the path of Stalin and Karimov and Shwe.

Regarding the comparison of suburban America and Iraq in terms of dangerousness: no matter what, we don't have Americans wearing body armor and driving REAL Humvees still being grievously wounded and killed here in America. We don't have IEDs planted along major thoroughfares. If we really want to compare apples to apples, let's compare the death rate of civilians in Baghdad to the death rate of civilians in DC or St. Louis or Detroit or wherever.

We've had some great recruiters come to our school and hook our students up with all kinds of opportunities that they would not have otherwise have had. These I honor with my whole heart as the daughter niece and granddaughter of veterans who have put their lives on the line. But they did it without resorting to lies, or to forcing kids to hear their pitch.

All I am asking is this: recruit our young people without disingenuousness. Let's ALL demonstrate that serving our country is honorable and noble beyond words or sound bites or political posturing -- most obviously, by the way we treat our potential recruits, our servicemembers, and especially our veterans. They deserve the very BEST our country has to offer-- and I don't just mean that as empty sloganeering. They deserve the BEST equipment and as much as they need, they deserve not to be treated as chattel, they deserve not to be warehoused, and at the very least, they deserve not to be lied to.

If going into the military is good enough for the least in our society, it should be good enough for everyone in our society.

At 2/14/07, 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if she complained about the Michael Moore or Al Gore movies being shown in classrooms?
Frankly I would shut down any school that denied entrance and access to recruiters.

At 2/14/07, 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walter, what kind of access do you have in mind? Presence at a careers fair? Recruiters should be there. Interrupting class time for a recruiting pitch? No way.

But then, you didn't actually respond to anything Ms. Cornelius said.

At 2/14/07, 11:59 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Good gravy, Michael Moore films shown in schools??? Where did THAT come from? But, actually, I would be appalled and disgusted if I was told to show films like that in my classroom. I rarely show a film of any sort, anyway.

And I said NOTHING about banning the military from campus. Jeez, do you even read, Walter? That's ridiculously denying kids opportunties that could make them productive citizens, not to mention it's ILLEGAL, as I pointed out. I just don't think they should be able to commandeer instructional time (Hello? Trying to teach, here!) where they have no right to leave. Kids have LOADS of other opportunities to talk to recruiters on my campus at their own discretion. And our administrators agreed with that stance.

At 2/14/07, 5:06 PM, Blogger Darren said...

It's true that some recruiters have resorted to less than honorable tactics. In fact, on my blog I once referred to the army's requiring all recruiters to attend additional training because the stories were almost unbelievable--but were true.

Additionally, I don't see why recruiters would need to come into classrooms to give pitches. When they come to our campus, they mostly talk to students out on the quad during lunch. That's as it should be.

I sense among many who don't want recruiters around, though, an anti-military flair, and that's difficult to stomach. Mrs. Cornelius took great pains to share with us here bona fides, so she obviously is aware of this. The same people who wouldn't object to other employees of the US government's coming into classes get their panties in a bunch when it comes to the military; this is a political bias and nothing else. I'm glad it isn't the case in this post.

At 2/15/07, 7:16 PM, Blogger Dave said...

I'm not a teacher, parent or recruiter. I don't have much, any, contact with high schools.

I gather from the discussion that there is a law that says recruiters must be allowed access to high school students and that schools have to provide contact information.

My thought, bad law. Most branches of government must protect personal information. The Freedom of Information Act specifically bars disclosure of most personal information.

I don't know when the law was passed; but, my guess is that it was at a point when the volunteer military wasn't working as well as would be liked by the volunteer military.

At 2/16/07, 1:06 AM, Blogger SSG Guardsman said...

The law they're referring to is the No Child Left Behind Act passed in 2001. What most won't tell you is that the law the NCLBA replaced was the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). This law was signed into order by LBJ and was renewed every 5 years up until 2001 when NCLBA took over. What most also won't tell you is that the ESEA and the NCLBA are almost the same law, it's just the NCLBA requires standardized testing and more funding (11 billion per year under NCLBA vs. 1 billion under ESEA).

What most ALSO won't tell you is that the requirement to give student information to recruiters was written into the original 1965 ESEA - so this has been a requirement of schools for more than 40 years. Most will tell you it's the evil "Bushco" trying to send our children to die for oil in some far away land.

Most will tell you that NCLBA requires the schools to grant special permission to military recruiters, but if you read the law it states that recruiters get the same access that is generally granted to other organizations that offer services or employment to student which includes, but not limited to, colleges, scholarships, volunteer organizations, and perspective employers of students. (sorry for the run on sentence)

I would like to add more to this conversation if Ms. C would like me to......

At 2/17/07, 2:57 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Darren, Dave, and Michael, thanks for your contributions to this very interesting discussion.

Dear Guardsman,
Thanks for reinforcing information I put in the post.

I think people are more sensitive to the contact information provision because it seems that everyone's personal information is suddenly being appropriated in so many ways without our knowledge or our consent beforehand. That's the way I feel about it, anyway.

Those of you who are non-educators need to understand just how careful schools have to be about student information and confidentiality.

And as long as you're polite, anyone is welcome to comment. But no name-calling. Those are my rules.

At 2/23/07, 1:24 AM, Blogger SSG Guardsman said...

Ms. C,
Sorry for the long delay, but my duties required me to travel where the internet does not.....

Thank you for allowing me to chime in on the conversation, and I will make sure it is polite.

In my comment on this post I would like to talk about 2 different things:
1. Recruiters in the classroom
2. Recruiter Improprieties

1. Recruiters in the classroom:
Every recruiter is different as well as every service is different. The classroom presentations offered by the USMC may be vastly different than presentations offered by the Air Force. But I will tell you that not all presentations offered by military recruiters are just a recruiter's "sales pitch". I can only relay this with my own personal experience.

As a recruiter for the Army National Guard, I too offer many different classroom presentations. Many people would assume that the only presentations we have deal with the Army National Guard and are used a recruiting tools - but we have much more to offer than just a "sales pitch".

Every Army National Guard recruiter has over 40 different classes that they have been specifically trained to teach. These classes range from disaster preparedness (a huge part of our state mission), study skills, life-long learning, conflict resolution, violence prevention, paying for college (doesn't focus on military education benefits), problem solving, drug & alcohol awareness, and health & fitness to just name a few. All of these presentations are offered free to the school and all recruiters have been certified to teach each of these classes. As you can see none of these classes are military in nature and have a lot to offer students.

Like I said before, every recruiter is different. Most of the recruiters I work with do things just like I do - never mention the Army National Guard at all. We're not doing these classes just as recruiters, we're doing them as citizen-soldiers. What most of us do is have the students take a survey at the end of the class. This survey has 2 functions. #1 it evaluates us on how we're doing in our classes so we can improve on them in the future. #2. It allows interested students to request information on the National Guard with 1 simple question: "Would you be interested in more information on the Army National Guard and it's programs?". If they answer yes, they will get a phone call to see if they would like to meet to find out more information. If they answer no, they will never receive a phone call from us. Again, not every recruiter operates the same way but don't push us all away because some only offer the sales pitch...... In the end there are a lot of other things a recruiter can offer students besides the option to enlist, the only to find out is to talk to your local recruiters.

Now, about the recruiters emailing your directly, this is difficult to deal with as every school has it's own policy. I understand that your school has a policy that all mass emails must go through the principle before going out to all the teachers. But the only thing is that the recruiters in question had to have found all those email addresses somewhere. Have you checked your school's website to see if they have their staff directory online? Some of my schools have all their teacher's email addresses available right on their website. I will admit to emailing teachers directly to see if they'd be interested in any of my presentations and some have taken me up on that offer. In the end, a recruiter's email is really like all of the other spam that comes into your inbox - just delete it.

2. Recruiter Improprieties:
I am not advocating recruiters lying or recruiters knowingly deceiving students. Such practices are wrong and any recruiter caught doing so should be rightfully punished for such actions. That being said I believe there is a bias in the media that is blowing the problem of recruiter improprieties way out of proportion.

From my own personal experiences, issues of recruiters lying to applicants is usually a matter of selective-hearing on the end of the applicant. I had a congressional investigation done on me where I was accused of telling a recruit, before he joined, that he would never deploy to Iraq if he joined the guard. What I said was that he can't be deployed to Iraq until he has completed all of his initial entry training. Being that he is a high school junior, he wouldn't be fully trained for about 2 years so he would be non-deployable for that time. There was an investigation by the local congressman's office - other recruits were interviewed and I was found to have NOT committed any wrong-doing.

Another thing I find questionable in the media's reporting of recruiter improprieties are these "undercover investigations". What happens is these news stations go out and start talking to every military recruiter they can find and tape record all of them - and they keep searching till they find the ONE who does something questionable - then make it look like ALL recruiters are the same. In the story you linked to it states that they went to 7 recruiting stations - but they never mention how many recruiters they actually interviewed. In a place like St. Louis MO there are likely to be several recruiting stations for each service. At Army stations you're likely to see several recruiters in each station. In fact, in just one of the offices they showed, you can clearly see one at least 4 desks on just one side of the office. What part of the story is this reporter leaving out? At the end of the story she said that 3 out of 4 Army recruiters gave false information - yet the video only showed 2 of them. What did this other recruiter apparently say?

I'm not trying to cover up for these 2 (3?) recruiters, what they did was wrong. But they do not represent the rest of us - who ARE great Americans (and not because some LTC says so)

At the end of the day the media wants to make us all look bad because we have a few bad apples - does anybody else think this is unfair? To put this situation in a different light think about this: In recent years there has been a lot of news coverage of teachers having sexual relations with their students. Would it be fair to call all teachers rapists? Nope - just a few sickos among their ranks....

In reality, the vast majority of recruiters want to help young adults enlist with the most accurate information possible and nothing but truthful statements. Please don't let the few bad apples tarnish our reputation.

-SGT Guardsman

At 2/25/07, 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I graduated from a public high school in 1969 with no hope for employment beyond a starter position in sweeping up trash. A recruiter tapped me and off I went to gladly serve 26 years in the USAF. Vietnam was where I went for my "senior trip" and the rest of the world was my continuing education. I now serve as a math teacher in a public high school that has a U.S. flag flying in front of the facility.
Many of my students are faced with the prospect, upon graduation, of either being self-employed, serving fast-foods, or driving beet-trucks. I consider myself a successful person and I willingly point out to my students that serving in the military is a positive option to consider when beginning their lives off the leash. Recruiters are not the bottom of the barrel some refer to; they, in fact, separate the wheat from the chaff and select America's finest characters to serve in a most honorable profession.
I would much rather forfeit some of my limited teaching time to a recruiter's spiel than have to endure any more of the mandatory social education interruptions that permeate public education.

At 4/30/07, 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in high school and have NO WISH to join the military. I believe that recruiters should not have access to students' personal information un less they have permission from the PARENTS. The reason why parents should have most of the vote in this is because it is scientifically proven that humans' decision- making capabilities do not fully mature until the 20 or 22 years of age. Plus, I know many people, young and old, who say ooh-rah-rah! but do not actually know that war IS NOT A VIDEO GAME. There are real life and death consequences of war. My cousin wanted to join the military to be some sort of computer programmer. He was told that IT WAS LIKLEY that he would be based in Hawaii or Japan. Not so. Within a few weeks he was in Iraq. Now his tour has been extended and HE has been dis-illusioned to the war and the lies (yes, I know, not ALL of it is lies) about the war. Standerds are being lowered, KIDS are being lied to, and the media is spewing out patriotic sob-stories so that the military can get more people to fight a dirty war. The U.S. should back out. Yes, it would look as if we were "giving up", but its better than losing more lives to a war over oil (there was never any WMDs folks and 9/11 was never linked to Iraq)that is still going because a certain leader said that it was a "WAR AGAINST TERROR!" You cannot fight a war against terror just as you cannot fight a war against love, fear, or hate! How will we know when the war has been won? There is no marker that says "we have eradicted all terrorists and terrorist-like communities." That's just NOT possible.

I'm afraid I've gotten a bit off point, but... oh well

At 5/8/07, 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an active duty Army recuiter. And like many, I am an Iraq war veteran. There are so many points to address, I hope that I can touch on them all.

1) The only standards for Army processing that has been changed is the tattoo policy. You may now have tattoos on the BACK of your neck, and on your hands and you may now be 41 years old (was 39). Same rules apply as far as content. ie no sexist racist or offensive tattoos. Nothing else hase changed. Not the ASVAB Score requirements, physical, or moral standards.

Of the (roughly) 80,000 people across the country that joined the army last year. 100 were over 40. As far as the tattoos. No one in my office has put anyone in the army that has them on their neck or hands. Not by choice, just haven't had some one that has them in those spots.

2)The reason that there have been so many moral waivors approved is because, not because they disapproved less previous years, but so many more waivers have been submitted. Has any one asked how many they disapproved? I bet its double from previous years also.

Back "in the day" recruiters would completely ignore an individual that required a waiver because it was much easier for them to find some one that did not. Now with anti-recruiting groups, "THE" war, biased media sources (left and right) and many other influencers, not as many people are as open to the military as they used to be.

Recruiters are not "targeting" criminals. These are simply people who are and have been interested in the army. I happen to be one of them.

I required a moral waiver before entering the Army. As a teenager, I made a mistake. I regeted my mistake just like many other young people. I believe that it has already been pointed out that "teenagers brains are not fully developed, and so there for cannot make the decisions for them selves." (I'll come back to this)Should these people be penalized for their youthful indiscretions?

I have served over 8 years in the army. I am a decorated combat soldier. I have lead and mentored troops in and out of combat environments. I am a college graduate. I am raising a family. I put my wife through college and I am paying for her masters. Am I an example of a lowerd lowered standard simply because I required a waiver?

3)Patriotism is dead. Americans killed it. Many here on this page have talked about their uncles, grandfathers, fathers, stepfathers, brothers, cousins etc who served in WWI,WWII, Korea and other areas of service. It used to be an HONOR to serve your country. No benefiets. No college money. No cash bonus. No Hawaiian getaway.

Men and Women served because it was the right thing to do. Not because it could do for them. We are raising our children to avoid the military at all costs. In and out of war.

4) If all decisions where up to the parents until the age of 20, what would we do with all the 18 and 19 year old kids with nothing to do? They are obviously not able to make decisions on their own, so how can you trust them in college to make their own decisions? Between studying, safe sex, drug addiction, binge drinking, drinking and driving, bad friends, its dangerous out there.

Parents should guide and participate in their childrens decisions. If we start making decisions for them, we are committing a great dis-service.

In summary, recruiting is hard. An all volunteer force is tough to maintain. But without all volunteer, the only thing left is a draft. I would rather serve with some one that requires a moral waiver, or scored low on the asvab, than some one who doesn't want to serve with me.

Its hard as a recruiter to overcome the MYSTIQUE of recruiters that makes every parent, teacher, friend, and influencer question my integrity. That in itself realy infuriates me to no end.

If anyone wants to know a good recuiter, find one. Get to know him or her. Recruiters are trained to build report with a prospect because it creates trust. Thing about report, it goes both ways. The better relationship you have with your local recruiter, the more likely they will do right by you.

Recruiters don't want to talk to people who don't want to talk to them. Its tough being rejected day after day, hour after hour.

At 5/10/07, 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fully respect your view but have some arguments to make.
1) I did not say that these teenagers are not supposed to make any decision at all. It's their life. I'm just trying to say that parents should have to give their consent. As you said,"Parents should guide and participate in their childrens decisions." I totally agree. It's just not fair to them if their kid goes off into a war over oil and gets killed in the process when they didn't even have a say in it. Sure, he teen makes the final decision but he or she should know the facts and should really know that you can be killed. A lot of the people in my high school don't know that. They're like 6-year-olds playing little war games. In our culture you are considered "unpatriotic" or "unamerican" if you don't join the military. Why? You don't have to join to support our country. What's the point of joining the military? So we can blow up more civilians? No. So we can install a new governmant where one is not wanted? NO! I believe we are there because America doesn't know what else to do. I admit, we don't have a lot of options, but almost anything is better than where we are now.
2) I don't have anything against recruiters. I just get worried when I read all the news stories about teens that have been hunted down, kidnapped, lied to, forced to take military tests and the like by recruiters.
3) Draft. What for? Why do we need more people to go overseas to be killed? All we are doing in Iraq is drawing in terroristsso that innocents are killed. Before we came there were not as many suicide bombers. When we came they rushed to us like a magnet. Yes, an evil man was in power, but we took him out of power. Now lets go! Let's "cut and run" or we will be there until 2050! (that was an exaggeration) Why are we in Iraq? I would really like to know.

At 5/15/07, 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets see... so many places to begin.

1) If some one has no clue as to the fact that the military is a dangerous place, they probably can't pass the ASVAB anyway. "Anonymous" seems to have stumbled upon a military secret. The military is dangerous. (sarcasm).

So is firefighting, police work. I don't see anyone assuming that kids don't know that fact. Its insulting to anyones inteligance to try to get them to believe that a healthy person does not know that the military is dangerous.

If some one of age joins the army with out their parents consent. Its because they didn't want it. Believe you me. If parents are influential in the applicant decision, the recruiter will make sure that they are involved. Its just plain benficial to the recruiter to involve them.

Unpatriotic? I guess that realy boils down to your definition. What is your definition? Waiving a little flag at a memorial day parade? Putting a bumper sticker on your car that says you support your troops? Just saying that you are patriotic? Visiting a veterans memorial? Maybe getting a goverment job after college.

My definition of patriotism is self sacrifice in the benefeit of your country. You don't have to join the military to sacrifice, but what have you given up? Do you volunteer,do you recycle, do you car pool, maybe you bought a soldier a meal when you saw that person at a restraunt. Have you even sent a soldier a letter to let him know that you care. It irritates me to be told how to be and what patriotism is by those who have and will sacrifice nothing.

2) Joining the military is a good way to sacrifice your time and energy for your country. Not just your country, but for the men and women next to you. You don't support the reasons why the military is engaged in war fine. Changes nothing. We still have men and women that need support and need GOOD people to stand next to them in their darkest moments, when they are tired, and homesick. They need leadership. They need support.

By stating all the lies and wrong reasons why we are over there does not change the FACT that we are there. The only people you hurt when you bash the military, be it a recruiter, or the troop on TV, you hurt the very troops that you claim to support. The current administration feels nothing from your words.

3)I know what it feels like to drive down the road, afraid of every single piece of trash could kill me. Do you think you could handle it? How easy would it be to do the same thing here as it is there. Execpt, rush hour, american civilians, and its american soil. If you think that they will just "stay" over there, you've been watching too much Bill Mahr (I like Bill Mahr).

You don't want to join the military, fine. I don't want to serve with you either. But don't tell some one that wants to serve with me, that they are uninformed, misguided, bottom of the barrel, stupid, and there is no reason to go fight. Yes there is. Me. I want them by my side. I want to trust the person next to me. I want to be of whom I serve with.

I hope you find happiness in all your endeavors. As for me. I'm going to be making a difference in a soldiers life.

Good luck

At 5/15/07, 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good God there are so many things that you said that I agree with! But there are some things that I would like to point out.

1) You may think that everybody (or mostly everybody)is aware that they can be hurt in war. To a lot of people I go to school with "hurt" is when you see red on your TV screen and your health bar drops. I'm really not trying to say that everyone does this or that it's the exact same thing. People may know that they may be hurt but might not fully realize that this is war. NOT a video game. Your friends could be killed, you could (and almost definatly will) learn what it's like to KILL. Many people don't know the true meaning of this word. They don't know what a war zone is like. I admit that I don't either so I'm not very qualified to speak about this, but my point still stands.

2) As for my comment on "patriotism", I was merely responding to the previous writing that read,"Patriotism is dead. Americans killed it." I believe this to be false. I simply pointed out the reality that, in some people's views, "...you are considered "unpatriotic" or "unamerican" if you don't join the military." I'm definatly not saying that we should wave American flags at memorial day parades or believe in grandma's apple pie and baseball. No. All I'm trying to get accross is that I believe that patriotism ("devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty" as defined in Webster's Dictionary) should not be defined by if you are in the military or not. If you are asking what I personally have given up, I'd say that yes I do recycle, I write to my political representitives, I am active in my community, etc. Typical good citizen. How would it help the soldiers to go hold hands and such. If they want to be there. Fine. If they want to come back, I'll help them in that. I'll hold the hands of the people who were injured because of the war. Why are we spending BILLIONS of dollars over in Iraq when that could pay the medical costs of our soldiers tousands of times over? If not the soldiers, why not the educational, medical, transportational, and energy costs of the people back home? I support the troops, but without sending more off to be killed. I don't hate the military by any means. It is necessary for when there is a real danger. A real problem.

3) I never, ever said that anyone was "bottom of the barrel" or "stupid." I never, ever said that all people were "uninformed" or "misguided" but many people are. I wrote about my cousin who was sent over "there" and was rudely awakened.

4) Please, I want to know (and argue probably as it is in my nature to do so) why so many people believe in the war in Iraq. You probably think that I'm just trying to pick a fight, and maybe I am, but please tell me why.

Good Luck to you also whoever you may be and I wish you the best of luck in not turning out like those other 3401 American Soldiers that have been killed so far in Iraq. I really do mean that.

At 5/16/07, 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you go to a "special school"? Not to be...rude, but have you actualy told some one that getting hurt is not "when you see red on your TV screen and your health bar drops." If you did, what kind of look did they give you? Did they give you the "No-S#@T" Look, the "I can't believe he just insulted me like this" look, or did they truly think all they had to do was search for a health pack?

The only people who believe that its just like the video games, are mentally challenged. You obviously give your classmates very little credit. Being that you feel you can figure it out, but they can't.

If a recruiter is trying to recruit someone that is mentally challenged, he needs to go to jail. Not be kicked out of a high school and sent on his merry way.

Your point does not still stand. Your point is an analagy, and a bad one at that.

No one knows what combat is, until they experiance it. Everyone handles it differently. Some breakdown. Some Thrive. Its hard for a veteran to explain to some one about combat. Its impossible for an individual who has never been, but through hear-say, tries to explain combat.

I do believe patriotism is dead. I myself was not as patriotic as I thought I was until I joined. I thought by just being an american, I was patriotic(this was in 1998 before Kosovo). Then after joining I saw what patriotism was. Its hard to put into words. Its just something about 90% of our country will never ever understand.

You say you write your congressman, and you are active in your community. I have no other reason than to believe you. I commend you on your efforts. Do you want me to say that is enough? Its nice to see some one doing something. Is the same leval as when, I feel, patriotism was alive and kicking? Not even close. Just to let you know, in my opinion, you probably are one of the few people in your class that is active in community (as far as writing congressmen and other such activities).

I have to go, but I plan on finishing this later.

At 5/16/07, 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roughly only 12% of the U.S. has EVER served in the military. Kind of a lop sided statistic. The vast majority of americans want to do what they want when they want. It seems like everyone feels like they are owed something.

But I have rambled on enough about patriotism. If you feel that you have done enough for your country. Good. Fine. I already said I hate when people tell me how to be patriotic. So how can I tell you. I just don't think there is enough of it in our country.

I can't tell you why so many people "believe in iraq" I don't know everybody. What I can tell you, as a Voting Democrat, as a jaded soldier, and as leader so soldiers, is that no matter what the reasons, true, false misinformed, lied to, or just plain stupid, we are there now. I feel that I have lost too many friends to just say "oops". I'm sure many feel the same way. Is that a good reason to stay and continue to fight? Probably not. However, what we have done is create a situation where we have spent BILLIONS of dollars. We HAVE created a power vacum. If there is not a competant fighting force left in place, I will bet a million dollars, IRAN, will be "Movin' On Up". I don't say Iran, just because they are the included in the axis of evil, but because they are the most capable, and they hate Iraqis.

Sorry, gotta go again. A recruiters work is never done. I will finish later. Again.

At 5/29/07, 6:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate when people tell me how to be too. I am totally with you there. If people feel that waving an american flag around is patriotic enough for them, thats fine. But to say that because someone hasn't served in the military means that they're "unpatriotic", at that I must protest.

Who cares if Iran is "movin' on up if there is no danger to us? If the Iraqis want our help, fine, but I don't see many happy faces there. If they don't want our help, then they probably want to deal withit themselves. Fine. We could leave some medical units and undercover units there and leave. We'ed still be doing something to help but we wouldn't be occupying someone else's country. We were the ones that gave (okay, sold)Saddam. I think one of the many changing reasons we were there was to get him out of power. He's out. Now let us get out. President George Bush declared some time ago that "mission accomplished" job done. Then why are we still there?

Goddess/God bless the world

At 3/7/08, 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, good point...


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