« Heart of the Beholder | Main | Allow me to be a wet blanket again »


April 5, 2005

US Military Recruiting Children

-- by Patrick O'Heffernan

The US military is so short of recruits that it is using false advertising and misleading fine print contracts to recruit 14-year olds for combat duty.

In an effort to increase its ranks for coming wars, the U.S.
military is recruiting--and paying--children as young as 14 years old
for future combat duty. It's called a "pre-enlistment" program.

Excerpted from "Pointblank", one of Des Moines's alternative newspapers. From a recent column written by Tim Schmitt.

The military is faced with a shortage of manpower not seen in decades, so it claims it is appealing to the patriotism of parents to guarantee a future fighting force. In reality the army is bypasing the parents and tricking, seducing and bribing young boys to sign up for combat as young as 14.

Here is how it works. "Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act (No Child Left Alive??)enables recruiters to gain personal information about students from school records. (The only time parental involvement is required is when it comes time to sign papers.) Recruiters, often pretty young female soldiers, gain access to the high school campuses to buttonhole boys and set up off campus meetings, confirming them by calling them at home. The off campus meeting can involve both male and female recruiters arnd ofter takes place at a coffee shop or pizza place known to the kids.
The army recruiters offer the kids a bonus of $10,000.00, paid in yearly installments plus $350 a month stipend until the boys go into the army in four years. Sometimes the meetings are at places like comics shops where the boys can see how much they can buy with the money. Then they go home and pressure their parents -- or parent -- to sign the permission slip so they can get the cash. Their parents have no idea they are being recruited, much less about to sign an agreement that requires them to enlist when they graduate from high school -- no college deferments, no sports scholarships, no matter what changes happen durng the 4 years of high school.

The army says it is a simple agreement. A young man who is at least 14 years old and has a parent's permission (one parent only that is) can enlist in the U.S. military but will not report until he is legally of age. Combat duty is a requirement, a point not always clear to the boys.

One mother took a close look at the fine print. It revealed that, not only was her son unthinkingly signing up to be in combat, the $350 monthly stipend her son receives is actually an advance on his $250 per month combat pay and $100 per month hardship duty pay. What the army is doing is guaranteeing that the boy will go to war and the Pentagon is paying him now so he can't back out later. Any recruit faces strictpunishment if they refuse duty when coming of age. If the recruit is incapacitated or killed before two years of service, he or his relatives will have to pay back the rest of the money "owed" to the government.

High school students can petition their high school to remove them from the recruiting lists given the army if they don't want to be pressured into enlisting. And they can just say no.

Posted by Patrick O'Heffernan at April 5, 2005 8:40 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.seeingtheforest.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-t.fcgi/40

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference US Military Recruiting Children:

» The Army Wants to Steal Your Children- from boadicea.blog-city.com
I know, I said I wasn't going to post today, but JollyBuddah sent me over to Seeing the Forest, and I cannot sleep without discharging this sick feeling in my heart out through the keyboard. When I talk about the Chattel Society, this is the sor [Read More]

Tracked on April 7, 2005 10:08 PM


Comments

How disgusting is this? What parent would sign away their child's life so the little shit can buy the last 12 issues of Wolverine?

Read the fucking fine print!

There is NO honor left in this country. None at all.

Posted by: David Aquarius at April 6, 2005 9:53 PM

And I thought those damned sugary cereal ads were bad! How low can we sink in this country? Even keeping in mind that for a large portion of the country the army's been considered a good career, part of growing up to be a man because daddy went, grandpa went, this is disgusting.

The payments are an advance against their future salary? Then they don't get paid once they actually serve? And they've already blown the money on comic books and action figures? If they get killed, the parents have to pay this back? Good God! How do we protect our youth against this kind of corruption?

Posted by: MJ at April 7, 2005 5:48 AM

VOTE. Starting with the local elections, State elections, on up the chain. Until we break the deathgrip the right has on this country (at every level) this corruption WILL continue. Don't think that having just one Rep. in a largely Dem. state is "ok". It's not. That one Rep. just may be the one it takes to give them the majority at the national level.

Has it escaped this country that in very short order the Reps. will control all three branches of government at the national level? Has no one noticed that Rep. lawmakers have gone completely unchecked in lawmaking (Creating laws with religious agendas); in ethics violations (taking bribes from foreign countries and corporations); and in every day violations of personal freedom?

Maybe if the Dems. had just a little more of an edge, they would regain their spine and start standing up to this criminal activity. If the Dems. did this 6 years ago they would have been burned at the stake!

Posted by: kenno at April 7, 2005 9:18 AM

The cowardly, incompetent Dems are afraid, of course, that "Rush Limbaugh will say bad things about them" (copyright for all time by Dave Johnson).

Posted by: richard at April 7, 2005 11:38 AM

This is a huge story, but the link doesn't go to the original story.

Posted by: John Emerson at April 7, 2005 11:41 AM

SCARY!!!
Slightly but not entirely OT: read this Harper's piece about deserters which also mentions recruitment: http://www.notinourname.net/troops/awol-23feb05.htm

Posted by: Helga Fremlin at April 7, 2005 1:25 PM

I'm not quite sure who to believe, but somebody says they checked with the magazine and this was an April Fool's Joke.

Posted by: Lis Riba at April 7, 2005 1:27 PM

It was the March 31st issue on their website. I just sent a fax to Tim Schmitt asking if the story was a spoof.

Posted by: JollyBuddah at April 7, 2005 4:01 PM

Anybody pin this story down? I haven't gotten a response to my fax or email from Pointblank. If you follow the links on their Johnny Gosch story, you end up at Rense radio which is a strange station, and if you click on the Johnny Gosch link it gets even stranger.

Posted by: JollyBuddah at April 7, 2005 5:52 PM

Received email from Jon Gaskell at Pointblank:
jon@pointblank-dm.com

It was an April Fool's prank. Those are some very strange people.

Posted by: JollyBuddah at April 7, 2005 6:06 PM

This is the first "April Fool's" item online that I've seen which did not print a follow-up "ha ha" message pointing out the joke.

Posted by: verbalchameleon at April 9, 2005 11:50 PM

BTW, have you been following Doonesbury these past two weeks? He's been dealing with deceptive military recruitment of kids as well.

Posted by: Lis Riba at April 12, 2005 5:56 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?



Email this entry to:


Your email address:


Message (optional):


Return to main page