PerthGloryFan From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 751 posts, RR: 0 Posted (10 years 8 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1062 times:
Tonight's (22 April) "Foreign Correspondent" program on Australian ABC TV includes the following segments:
U.S.A. - America's Child Soldiers
Reporter: Charles Wheeler
In 2002, President Bush's New Education Act - No Child Left Behind - became law. But, buried within it, are two clauses that have a sting in the tail. One clause demands increased access to high schools for military recruiters. And another asks schools to provide names, addresses and telephone numbers of children in every school to military recruiters. Schools that refuse to co-operate may lose their federal education funds. This report from BBC's Charles Wheeler.http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/
U.S.A. - America's Child Soldiers
Reporter: Charles Wheeler
Veteran BBC reporter Charles Wheeler examines the growth in the US of military high schools where students wear uniforms to class and are inculcated with values of national honour, obedience and discipline. The Pentagon, desperate to maintain a solid stream of recruits for its armed forces, is deliberately sponsoring military schools in underprivileged areas with the lure of subsidised college education.
Half a million high school students nationwide have already signed up to the initiative.
In this report Wheeler poses the question - is a military education the answer to America's troubled inner city schools? Or is it just part of a recruitment drive, to further expand its defence force?http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/stories/s834963.htm
PerthGloryFan From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 751 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1014 times:
Well now I've seen it, it wasn't that interesting really - just the same old about American national socialists engaging in a bit of social engineering.
JROTC college scholarships a backdoor military recruiting program?
Of course not, it's really just playing scouts with more flags and brass bands (and medals, some of those kids had more medal ribbons than old Saddam and Stalin combined!), and giving poor blacks and Hispanics more opportunities to become cannon fodder, er, I mean a better education.
What was interesting though was the earlier segment on the same program about Japan's infamous Unit 731 and their chemical and medical experiments on Chinese prisoners during WWII. Interestingly no members of this unit faced war crimes charges because the US did a deal so as to get their hands on this human guinea pig research data before the pesky Russkies did.
Have I been imagining it or have chemical and biological weapons been recent topical issues?
Alpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1011 times:
Such things bring to mind "Hitler Youth". Maybe not quite the same thing, but it sounds like Bush and his minions are trying to instill acceptable, Christian, right-wing thinking within the high schools, and not daring to let the kids get a chance to think for themselves, lest they find out that what the far-right is telling them is a lie.
Scootertrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 569 posts, RR: 9 Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 998 times:
With all due respect Alpha 1, you are full of crap. Comparing JROTC or military recruiters to the Hitler Youth, even in a loose sense, is a perversion of the facts and does a great disservice to the memories of those harmed my that horrible dictatorship in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. As a fellow American, I am absolutely ashamed for you... Certainty you will feel no shame yourself.
Think back to your own high school experience. There were recruiters there and you even probably received a call from a few. High Schools have been giving lists of there students to military recruiters for years, this is nothing new. I must admit, I am not aware if this was required by any state or federal legislature in the past.
The military is a viable career choice for many people and can be a rewarding experience. Not everyone wants, or can, go directly to college. The military recruiters who sign these kids up are doing a job, and in many cases will represent the military to be a great thing all the way around (good salesmanship). Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I didn't serve so I don't know. One thing is for sure: They are not (nor are JROTC programs) part of some diabolical plot to instill right wing Christian values in kids or undermine the fervent liberalism you seem to hold so dear. It is about choice and opportunity for both the government and the kids.
So, instead of streaming the same tired rhetoric the next time a subject such as this comes up, try to base your opinions in something approximating fact.
Alpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 996 times:
Scootertrash, the one "fact" I see is that Bush and Company are trumpeting a new militarism that is far beyond what has existed in this country before. They continue this "under seige" mentality, and it's no mistake he's trying to get the military deeper into the schools.
As far as I'm concerned, the military should leave the high schools well enough alone, and let the kids make the decisions on their own, not because of the presence of some recruiter in the school.
And I will never be ashamed to voice my opinions, so I don't care what you think on that point.
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 20 Reply 6, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 987 times:
Why would military recruiters not be allowed to call highschool kids when recruiters from employment agencies are free to do so at any time?
Those agencies buy the addresses of those kids from the school, the government basically does the same by subsidising the school more than they otherwise would.
I'd rather have mandatory military service (say 2 years) for every kid on reaching age 18 unless he/she is following a fulltime education or is the main source of income for a family and caring for children of his/her own at the time, but that's a thing of the past in most countries.
According to PRWatch, this site is run by the Rendon Group, a PR company which has worked for the CIA and Pentagon in the past and which, according to the highly recomendable PRWatch run site http://www.disinfopedia.org/, also help(ed) organize the Iraqi National Congress.
As it seems, the 'empowerpeace' website is yet another intention of the US Goverment (Pentagon? State Department? CIA?) to influence the youth. According to their Mission Statement, it is their goal to "promote cultural understanding and tolerance between youth worldwide". I don't know how they want to achieve this when their website is only available in English!
Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
PerthGloryFan From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 751 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 971 times:
the "fact" I see is that Bush and Company are trumpeting a new militarism that is far beyond what has existed in this country before
Yes, Alpha_1, I think that could be the disturbing issue.
However, from what I, an outsider, saw in the show the JROTC program overstated everything so much that it almost seemed sad and funny.
I know that overstatement is the American way but I believe the constant full on seriousness that some of those kids demonstrated in their militarist behaviour actually reduces, if not demeans, the very values and service disciplines they purport to represent.
For example, here in Australia, cadets in any of the 3 service corps, Navy, Army and Air Force, cannot hold commissioned rank. An Australian Defence Force commission is something extremely valuable and has to be earned and can only held by an active or reservist ADF member; so valuable that, just like in the US, it is held for life, you can never a voluntarily resign a commission. Cadet non-commissioned ranks match their service counterparts, but the highest rank a cadet can achieved is Cadet Under Officer - sort of like an acting third lieutenant I guess.
So to see 18 yo cadet JROTC Lt-Colonels seems a joke to me.
Similarly saluting seems to be way over done. Again in Australia saluting is a special form of respect usually shown by other ranks to officers only and returned by them, when both are in uniform and on "parade" (which of course does not necessarily mean only on the parade ground). Salutes are not performed when not in uniform and not by civilians, although Prime Ministers and Governors-General often return salutes as a courtesy, I do not believe it is correct etiquette for them to do so.
But that is just the understated Australian way I guess. Just like this Friday morning, 25 April, thousands of Australians will gather quietly at dawn at Gallilopi in Turkey and all over our country. Lay wreaths in remembrance, listen to the Last Post, reflect in silence on the supreme sacrifice made by so many, hear the Reveille and give thanks for what we have. We'll applaud the veterans as they march in the cities and the towns, and then probably have a beer with them. But even John Howard, Geo. Dubya's tame Oztralian gnome, has the sense to realise that to tie school funding to the promotion of militarism would be political suicide.
MD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8479 posts, RR: 13 Reply 10, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 965 times:
Thank you, Scootertrash. I was a bandmember, and never in JROTC, but I have a LOT of respect for the people that are. Likewise, at MSU we have Air Force and Army ROTC, and I have the utmost respect for people like my RA who sacrifice a lot of their time to serve in it (and my RA doesn't even get a scholarship for it, despite his perfect 4.0 in college and his ACT of 34).
On the fifth floor of Thomas Jefferson High School, three flights up from where a student shot two classmates dead a decade ago, Rasheen Malone found a family, a purpose and a way to get out of East New York.
Twice a week for three years, Rasheen has gone to Room 545 for classes offered by the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, Marine Corps division. He has learned how to navigate by the North Star, recognize heat exhaustion and stop arterial bleeding, any of which holds his interest more than geometry theorems or literary terms.
He has risen to the rank of cadet staff sergeant, even as he has struggled with the vagaries of life in an urban high school in one of the nation's most desolate neighborhoods.
After graduating in June, he will report to Marine Corps boot camp in Parris Island, S.C., the entry point for what he hopes will be "a serious life."
Rasheen, soft-spoken and intense, is one of 144 students in Jefferson's J.R.O.T.C. program, which a former principal started after the fatal shooting in 1992 made the school a national symbol of teenage violence and urban despair. The program has never been popular — the cadets draw more taunts than compliments when they wear their dress blues and snap-salute one another in the halls.
But as the war in Iraq has played out, Jefferson's 1,600 students have paid more attention than usual to the J.R.O.T.C. cadets. Both the war and the attention — some flattering, much not — have made the cadets think hard about the military and why they have embraced it so fervently.
Only about 4 percent of New York City's 1.1 million public school students enlist in the military after graduation, according to the Education Department, possibly reflecting the attitudes of a Northeastern city, which for years has sent a disproportionately low number of residents into the armed services. Of the 38,668 new Marine recruits who reported to boot camp in the 2002 fiscal year, only 992, or 2.6 percent, came through the New York recruiting station, which covers the city and Long Island.
In East New York, to pledge loyalty to the military is to find camaraderie and direction — some cadets lovingly refer to their instructors as "my pops," and all know that the Marines can give them a chance at a free college degree or a steady job. Yet it is also to raise the suspicions of classmates and neighbors, many of whom are cynical about a government that they believe neglects poor neighborhoods and members of minority groups.
"Some kids salute us with the wrong hand, say, `Oh, you want to go fight the white man's war on old Hussein,' " Rasheen said recently, speaking in urgent bursts in the grim fluorescent light of Room 545. "But most of us here are mature, and we are strong enough to just keep our heads up and keep on walking and know what we're walking for."
Or, as Carlos Castillo, a quiet freshman who joined the program with his older sister, says to his taunters: "I know I'm doing something with my life. How about you do something with yours?"
Their sounding boards are Sgt. Maj. Edwin Garcia and First Sgt. Sergio Gallardo, the only Jefferson teachers who wear camouflage and combat boots. Sergeant Garcia is lean and barking — "the scary guy," as Latoya Riddell, 17, put it — while Sergeant Gallardo is bulldog-shaped and fun-loving. Though neither ever saw combat, they discuss it with relish, entertaining Rasheen in their cramped office during lunch.
The Marine Corps created its J.R.O.T.C. program in 1964 — not, technically, as a recruitment tool, but to educate high school students about the military and to teach leadership skills. There are now 224 Marine Corps J.R.O.T.C. programs in the country, including 8 in New York State and 2 in the city, at Jefferson and at Tottenville High School on Staten Island.
Unlike college students in R.O.T.C. programs, J.R.O.T.C. cadets have no military service obligation. But while most of Jefferson's cadets do not enlist in the military after graduation, the number who do is increasing and may reach 15 this year, Sergeant Garcia said.
"They want to be part of what's going on in the world, especially fighting terrorism," he said.
Sergeant Garcia, who came to Jefferson in 1998 after being stationed at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, said many students who joined J.R.O.T.C. were looking for "the pride of belonging to something." In East New York, he said, gangs are the main groups offering membership to teenagers.
Then there are what Sergeant Garcia calls the discipline cases, a dozen or so students who are sent to the program each year as a punishment for bad behavior. They never stay.
"It's not cool to wear the uniform," he explained.
But the Jefferson cadets are not always objects of ridicule. Sometimes when Rasheen is walking the streets of East New York, where schools and housing projects are the tallest buildings and the subway ride to Times Square takes 45 minutes, he hears someone yell out a car window, "Yo, young Devil Dog!" He knows "Devil Dog" is a nickname for marines, and that he has a reputation to uphold.
"Being in this program, it changes your character because of the fact that you're representing something," Rasheen said. "They know I'm an R.O.T.C., and they know I'm representing the Marine Corps. When they greet me like that — like, `Ooh-rah, sir' — I got to be careful what I do and how I do it."
He was not always so scrupulous. Sergeant Garcia said that when Rasheen transferred to Jefferson as a freshman, he was perpetually angry and could not stay out of trouble. Another star cadet, Temenior Ikomi, the company's executive officer, had been kicked out of one high school for chronic truancy and another for fighting.
Rasheen said his turning point came when his grandmother died. "I didn't care about nothing," he said, "but when she died I said, `Let me go ahead and do something so I can show her.' " He has 10 brothers and sisters, and he will be the first in his family to graduate from high school, he said. He recently left home because of family discord, and is planning his exit from Brooklyn alone in a rented room.
"I want to become somebody and really cherish something," he said. "I want to travel around the world. I haven't been to too many places but Brooklyn. What you can learn in the military is twice what you can learn in college."
He does not dream so much of distant desert battlefields, but of officers' clubs and base parties and paid vacations.
"Marines happen to have vacations; we happen to have time; we work 7 to 4 like your mother does," he said.
Carlos Castillo, his freshman protégé, dreamily chimes in: "We play around on the bases. We socialize."
Even with the possibility of going to the battlefront, life as a marine seems more secure to Rasheen than life in East New York, which has long had some of the city's highest crime and poverty rates. His cousin, he said, died recently after being shot five times in a Brooklyn nightclub.
If he should die in military combat, he said, it would be easier on his mother than if he died on the streets of East New York.
"Someone will go to her door in uniform," he said, "not the police saying, `We don't know who killed your son.' "
Rasheen and the other cadets are less enthusiastic about the military's commander in chief. During a recent after-school session, only two students, Carlos and his sister, raised their hands when a visitor asked if they admired President Bush. Others snorted, thumped their fists on their desks or looked embarrassed.
"A lot of people associate us with Bush," Latoya Riddell said ruefully.
Last week, Rasheen and a few dozen other Jefferson cadets took a Greyhound bus to Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va., for a "leadership development academy," the highlight of their school year. This is the second year that Rasheen has attended the program, which features obstacle courses, night-vision training and rappelling from a 50-foot tower.
Last year, Rasheen was scared at the last second and clung to the top of the tower until the marine waiting for him at the bottom announced that there was only one way down. This year, with his life as a marine about to begin, he was eager to prove he had no fear. He ended up going down twice.
"It's not like I think I'm superman or something," he said, "but my strength is unstoppable."
PerthGloryFan From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 751 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 865 times:
It's real easy to be an "activist" when Mommy and Daddy make it so you don't have to work, you can spend your time at anti-war rallies or starting threads like this on the Internet.
Others work for a living ...
?? Jeez you're some amazing kid, you purport to know my social status and my motivation for starting this thread! Wow, just how did you do that?
You could have saved yourself this embarrassment by reading my profile.
And that's a shame because your post of Abby Goodnough's NY Times article was an interesting read which raises some real issues which should be seriously debated. The main question I see being - "can all the benefits that a military style program provides to these kids be attained in other ways?"
Sjc>sfo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 16, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 863 times:
Interesting topic. My school (affluent, mostly white, but still public) sent out a release form earlier this year about something similar to this... if you signed it, you didn't have your information released.
However, under the new Patriot Act, our school will apparently also be required to release class rank information - currently, our school doesn't even release anything but deciles to colleges (though somewhere in the depths of the system, we are ranked by state unwt, state wt, district unwt, and district wt... we're not permitted access to this information).
PerthGloryFan From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 751 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (10 years 8 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 814 times:
Where exactly did I infere that I was refering to you ..
You posted ... or starting threads like this on the Internet ... Others work for a living ... in a thread I started, so in my view it is perfectly reasonable to infer you were referring to me. In which case I'm entitled to correct any misrepresentation of my social and employment status that I believe you implied - if you consider that being defensive I don't have problem with that.
But back to the question I posed - is there an alternative to a military solution to the issues raised in Abby Goodnough's article?
STT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16564 posts, RR: 52 Reply 19, posted (10 years 8 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 811 times:
You mean how College?
If your talking about straightening troubled youths out, the military is one way. However not everyone who joins the military to get "dicipline" ends up embracing what they learn, meaning sometimes they come out the same if not worse.
But for the majority the military is a great tool to establish one's life, and to get out of bad situations.