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Military Recruitment Under Attack!!

By Jose B. Rivera

Photo of Panel of the May 13 meetingMilitary Recruitment in New York City Public Schools is under attack by some elected officials. Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, State Senator Jose Serrano, the American Civil Liberties Union and Students or Soldiers Coalition have united to make it more difficult for Military Recruiters to do their jobs. The group’s main contention is that Military Recruiters are “too aggressive” in recruiting students out of New York City Public Schools.  They site a September 8, 2007 (unscientific) survey conducted by Manhattan Borough President and the A.C.L.U. whose conclusion is that military recruiters are too aggressive.  Included in these assertions are:

• Use of class time to by recruiters to recruit students
• Non universal distribution of Opt-Out forms to all students/parents
• Lack of counselors to point out risks and benefits of joining the military
• Not knowing where to report an overly aggressive military recruiter
• Recruiters intimidating Teachers and Principals

Borough President Stringer and the A.C.L.U. say that the survey suggests that educators, parents, students and administrators have not been adequately informed by the Department of Education about the issue of military recruitment. They also say that some parents have reported experiences with aggressive military recruiters citing harassment and privacy violations.

At a May 13, 2008 East Harem community meeting military recruiters were chastised for their use of class time to recruit, the non-universal distribution of Opt-Out forms, and the lack of counselors to point out the risks of joining the military.  They also mention two ridiculous objections, the wearing of military uniforms while recruiting, and arriving at schools in military vehicles. These practices were objectionable to the group because “they influence impressionable young people”.  The meeting purpose was to “create steps to protect students” against aggressive military recruitment practices in New York City Public Schools. No military recruiters were present as none were invited to defend themselves from these accusations.

Absurdity at Best
This anti-military project of our elected officials and the A.C.L.U. is an attempt to keep the military from doing their job, mainly defense and recruitment. It stems from a misunderstanding of the use and need of the military at best, their dislike of U.S. foreign policy and of anything military. Since they don’t agree with foreign policy they reason they can weaken it by weakening our military.  This is naive and dangerous thinking.  Dangerous in that a weaken military will only encourage terrorist to strike both abroad and here at home. It puts all of us at risk.

Let’s take their objections one by one and see how all this pans out.

The Use of Class Time.
The Department of Education gives the military the same access to students as it does for vocational schools, colleges, and businesses.  So if schools give any of these other entities class time, the military can not be discriminated against by not giving them the same type of access others get. This writer did ask a few East Harlem high schools how they handle recruitment. Most allow military recruiters a small room where only students who wish to talk to them can go.  Those who do not wish to talk to recruiters don’t go to that room at that time.  This is simple and no class time is used.  And each students has the choice to talk to a recruiter or not too.  This writer thinks it is unfortunate that military recruiters are not allowed to make their presentation to the whole student body.  Although anti-military activists and elected officials want a counselor to tell students about the risks of joining the military, they do not allow recruiters to make one presentation to all so that they all know what they are saying “No” too.  This is rather interesting from those who like to profess “choice” and “tolerance”.

Non Universal Distribution of Opt-Out forms
This is the only criticism that has any basis in fact.  Some schools are either not getting or getting but not distributing and explaining the how and why of the Opt-Out Forms.  These forms allow a student/family to inform recruiters that they are not interested and that they should henceforth not be recruited.  Meaning, no visits at home, phone calls, cards, letters, etc.. The opt-out form is a fair way to deal with not wanting to be recruited.  What is not fair is what this writer has heard about some schools filling out the forms for and without the student’s knowledge in an effort to keep recruiters from recruiting “their students”.  You can guess at these schools leadership political leanings.

The non universal distribution of Opt-Out forms is not a matter for the military.  It is a Department of Education matter and should be addressed by having a meeting with those officials and not as part of an anti-military meeting.  The military does not control the creation, use, or distribution of those forms. So this is a silly charge to level against the military.

Lack of Counselors to point out the Risks of Joining the military
The lack of counselors to point out the Risks of Joining the military is a weird complaint for a number of reasons.  First teachers can always point out the risks involved in joining the military.  The risks being that you may have to go to war, and that you may get hurt or killed while on duty. 

One does not need to hire counselors to warn students against joining our great military.  And we should not use over-worked counselors to take time from their busy workload to do the same.  Teachers will suffice.  It is surprising that elected officials who should know better than to ask our educational professionals to stop what they are doing to in effect push their political agenda. They have much more important things to do then to become a vanguard for the liberal left.

And lastly, the lack of counselors is a Department of Education issue, not one to blame on the military.

Photo of Panel of the May 13 meeting audience
Not Knowing Where To Report Abuses
This complaint is yet another which the military has nothing to do with.  The Department of Education is the authoritative place to take this complaint.  That there are no mechanisms in place or that some schools don’t read their memos from the Department of Education has nothing to do with the military.  The military has no control over where to go to report abuses.  So this complaint should have been reserve for a meeting about those things lacking at the Department of Education.

Recruiters Intimidate Teachers and Principals.
This charge against the recruiters seemed weak.  As a former school board member and PTA parent this writer has never seen tough U.F.T. teachers or principals back away from anything.  Principals especially rule well over their schools and this writer doubts for a second that any principal would allow anyone to intimidate them, not even a military recruiter. It’s possible, but darn hard to believe.

Soldiers Are Getting Killed
Does anyone not spot the obvious problem with this line of thinking? This writer also heard this at a local protest in front of a recruiting station (see prior story).  Let’s make this simple.  Policemen can get hurt in the line of duty.  So can Firemen, Coast Guardsmen, electricians etc..  There are many jobs where danger is part of the job.  Not wanting a military because people can get hurt is like pulling all the policemen in the city out of the streets for the same reason.  Being in the military entails the possibility that one may see action and risk injury or death because of said action.  It is a silly consideration and one made from an uninformed point of view, that being, not know the purpose and use of the military. 

This writer is sure glad that the World War II generation were brave enough to support the war effort, else we’d be speaking German right now. The military is there for a reason.

This objection also rings hallow because some of the very same people who object to 4,000 soldiers being killed in the war think nothing of the 4,000 unborn babies aborted each and every day. Half of these babies are girls and will never be able to “Choose” to reproduce or not. Where is their protest against this American genocide?

Civilians Are Being Killed By Our Troops
Civilian casualties do occur in war. The United State is one of a few countries where the goal is to keep civilian casualties at a minimum.  Hence the use of laser guided bombs.  Pinpoint bombs save civilian lives.  It does not help that some enemy states put their munitions plants within populated civilian residences.  What the Liberal Left does not mention is the liberation and thankfulness of the people of Iraq.  They are now free from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and have begun pretty normal lives, especially after the “Surge”.  The surge worked and the quitters were wrong. The defeatists should hide their heads in shame.

Use of Uniforms and Military Vehicles
If this is not the dumbest objection ever I don’t know what is!!  It is a juvenile claim.  Of course they are going to wear their uniforms! Hello!  Duhhh!! It’s part of what identifies them as being military. And yes the uniforms do look nice and suggest organization.  It is suppose to do that, not only to students, but to the world at large.  And all military personnel are to be in uniform while on duty.  This is military law. Recruiters do not have a choice in this matter.  Speak to the Pentagon about it, but don’t bother the recruiters with this nonsense. 

Besides, everyone recruiting students has a uniform.  Businessmen have their suits, Policemen and Firemen have their uniforms and do wear them to school. The example of doctors was mentioned during the May 13th meeting, but this writer has seen doctors in scrubs at schools.  What if all liberal elected officials were made to wear nothing but a diaper while speaking in public? That would prevent them from unduly influencing students because of their dress. But that would also be silly. So why ask recruiters to not wear their work cloths?  It is their professional dress.  It is required by law.  And it is a stupid request.  When presenting arguments for or against something, use reason and not nonsense about recruiters having an unfair advantage because they wear their uniforms.

Last thoughts
It is sad and frightening that elected officials should want to emasculate this countries’ military. They want to castrate this nation and weaken its power, strength and pride.  Some believe that “the military is bad” (simplistic and wrong), others just want to make us weak because they disagree with our foreign policy. (you may disagree but don’t put the rest of us at risk with a weak military).  It is like cutting off your nose when scratching it will do.  It is dumb and suicidal.

Ever notice how they have nothing good to say about this great nation?  They create nothing yet want to take everything from the rest of us. (think high taxes and socialism) Does the word parasite come to mind?

Freedom Is Not Free
The cost of freedom has always been high, and Americans have always paid it.  But we must also pay that debt for those who follow us.  How can we ask anything of this great country if we are not willing to defend it? Protesting in front of recruiting stations says “I want all the benefits of living here, but don’t wish to contribute to the cost of keeping this place free”.

All those who are part of this anti-military effort would do well to remember that freedom is not free, that their very right and ability to protest, comes from the blood and sacrifice of others. And to keep in mind ALL those who gave their lives that we may be here today, fully free to even have this silly discussion.  It has always taken blood and guts to ensure our liberty. This writer challenges these elected officials and the A.C.L.U. to try this very same protest in Cuba, Russia, North Korea, China and see what happens. 

American land of the Free and home of the Brave (and now home of the liberal wimps, wussies –not the word I actually want to use, but close enough)

May God Bless America

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