The scandal of
former US Representative Mark Foley hitting on teenage boys pales in comparison
to the Pentagon�s serial penetration of our high schools and the Armed Forces�
barely-legal attempted seduction of every 16 to 18-year-old male and female,
Congressional page or not.
By virtue of the
2002 No Child Left Behind Act, military recruiters get the names, addresses and
phone numbers of all high school juniors and seniors, unless they or their
parents explicitly object.
are also lurking in cyberspace 24/7, using technology like MySpace and
Podcasts, and they�re luring unwitting children into lethally dangerous combat
liaisons by inducing them to play interactive, first-person-shooter war games
On the America�s
Army website any child still left unrecruited can obtain �hands-on support from
army recruiters,� free t-shirts and game discs, or engage in �simulated missions
in the war on terror.�
And if that�s not
an alluring enough fatal attraction, your unprotected child in cyberspace is
just a click away from America�s Army�s �Virtual Recruiting Center.�
All this hi-tech
glitter, dazzle, blood and gore costs American taxpayers a good chunk of the $3
billion spent annually on recruitment.
does not lead to Mark Foleyesque Instant Message hookups, but rather to piles
of 18 and 19 year-old soldier corpses in Iraq, where the most likely hook-up is
to life support equipment and prosthetic devices.
If we don�t let
Rep. Foley IM our children, why do we give their cell phone numbers to a
recruiter with a rap sheet?
According to the
Associated Press, "More than 100 young women who expressed interest in
joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their
recruiters. . . . One out of 200 frontline recruiters -- the ones who deal
directly with young people -- was disciplined for sexual misconduct last
So if your child is
really unlucky, she can run into a recruiter who is both a slick, misleading
sales rep and a sexual predator.
The No Child Left
Behind stealth recruitment requirement conveniently took effect in December of
2002, a year and a quarter before shock, awe and occupation led to a current
death toll of 2,748 American men and women and perhaps 100,000 or more
distinctly unsimulated Iraqis.
schools face an ultimatum of complying with recruitment abuse or losing all
federal funds, it�s virtually impossible to challenge NCLB and survive as an
administrator. The only recourse children�s rights advocates have is to
interpret the opt-out feature of the law with integrity and care and to
restrict recruiters� advances on our children.
districts make the NCLB opt-out form user-friendly, but at the other end of the
spectrum administrators bury opt-out in a stack of bureaucratic gibberish that
few parents or students will ever read. Some institutions restrict military
recruiters to closely supervised once-a-year presentations at career day, but
others let anyone with a snazzy uniform randomly chat up the kids at lunch and
administrators are up against a very slick, cynical and well-funded operation.
Here are a few recruiter tips from an Army handbook published in fall of 2004:
coaches, librarians, administrative staff and teachers."
your student influencers. Students such as class officers, newspaper and
yearbook editors, and athletes can help build interest in the Army.�
with school officials to eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times
donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month."
involved with the local Boy Scouts.�
personal presentation items (pens, bags, mousepads, mugs) as needed.�
How can we keep the
Pentagon from preying on our children? It won�t be easy. The American Friends
Service Committee has been working on constructive alternatives to the military
since 1917. Their web page provides
an excellent start for youth, educators and activists.
But if the idea of
your school being obliged to pimp for the Army disturbs you as much as it
disturbs me, you probably won�t rest until the recruitment provision of NCLB is
repealed and we all acknowledge that child recruitment is as obscene as child
David Howard is a member of the Board of
Directors of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. DavidHoward@aol.com.