[SPORK] Loving The Troops
Thu, 20 Mar 2003 12:28:17 -0500
At 09:03 AM 3/20/03 -0600, Jeff Bone wrote:
>>I would understand if this was about kids pressed into service, threatened
>>with jail or worse. These people signed up for kill and being killed
>>(little danger, in this campaign, things are bound to become more
>>difficult as the empire expands) voluntary.
>>I must admit my love for the troops is very, very limited.
>Let's do a little bit of reality calibration, here: most of "the troops"
>are kids from relatively poor families who signed up because it was their
>ticket to going to college / getting started in life / traveling abroad
>and seeing the world, something they couldn't have afforded
>otherwise. Most of them probably - naively, perhaps - never expected to
>fire a live round or have one fired at them in a conflict situation.
they start recruiting them in high school, at the age of fourteen. they can
sign up with parental permission, though it's non-binding, before they are
eighteen. in poor schools, there's an ROTC for a lot of them. They were
their ROTC uniforms every wednesday and have drills on the sportsfields.
it's a federal law that the schools must share name, address, and home
phone with recruiters. you can opt out, though, and remove your kids' names
from their roster.
i've talked with a few kids who get sucked in by these recruiters. they
make them all kinds of promises--of course, because they have a quota to
fill. most of these kids are straight shooters. they're ambitious. they
don't want to live the lives they are living. they want something more out
as jeff points out, the service is billed as an answer. it is particularly
attractive to kids who hate school and don't feel successful at it for
whatever reason: boredom, crappy teachers, persistently told they are
stupid and incapable, etc. so, even if it's conceivable to go on to
community college while working a full-time job, they're not too sure they
want yet more schooling. and who can blame them? schools are pretty crappy,
especially _their_ schools which often get a fraction of the funding rec'd
by schools in well-to-do school districts==where you hardly ever see
the recuiters sell them a bill of goods about how they'll travel and see
the world, about how they'll get training for a good job, about how they'll
get bennies for college, etc. recruiters don't talk about killing. they
don't talk about weapons. they don't talk about dying. they talk about
seeing europe or asia, exotic islands, getting stationed in hawaii. and so
it is truly absurd to think these kids are signing up to kill and be
killed. it doesn't much cross their mind in the beginning, thanks to the
concerted efforts of the recruiters and, of course, human nature: kids
don't think about the potential for dying when they do some seriously
stupid and dangerous things like driving drunk or downing a fifth in
fifteen minutes, chug-a-lug!