Sunday, February 13, 2005

I didn't make this up

No pressure or anything... Posted by Hello

No, this is not a military brochure--this is the front page of today's Daily Advertiser!

This article looks at the alarmingly increasing rate of military appeal to high-school kids. Except for the alarming part, I mean.

Last year, 295 from the Acadiana area enlisted in the regular Army and 37 enlisted in the Army Reserve - 49 of them - 15 percent - were high school seniors, said Roger Harmon, chief of advertising and public affairs for the U.S. Army in Louisiana.

Dumas adheres to the belief system that when it comes time to die, it's time to die - no matter if you're in Iraq or walking down Jefferson Street.

If that were my choice, I'd pick Jefferson Street.

"We all can't determine how or when we're going to leave this earth," Dumas said. "If you believe in God, then you know that your fate has already been pre-determined. We just can't predict. You know that you were born to die."

One of the good things about Acadiana-area fundies is that you can pick out their denomination just by their quotes.

Harmon said that recruiting goals in Lafayette usually run about the same every year. "When you're looking at Southern states, there's more of a sense of patriotic duty and a sense of service," Harmon said. "I recruited in Ohio before I came to the South - it's different."

Boy, is it!

With one teenage son already in the military, Sue Maraist's 16-year-old daughter, Lindsay, said that if she doesn't earn a TOPS scholarship, she plans to sign up for the military.

She must be a motivated student!

Lindsay is one of many students who have considered the military because of its promises to pay for higher education.

Our high-school bureau (my sister) tells me that military recruiting is on a push lately on local campuses.

Sue Maraist isn't sure she believes her daughter will actually follow through with her plan. "I told her just to tell them that she's a girly-girl and needs a desk job," Sue Maraist said.

Psst, Lindsay...there's something called "scholarships" and "student loans." If you want a chance at education, getting killed is not the way to do it.

Blaine Theriot, a 17-year-old senior at Lafayette High School, said that he is certain he wants to join the military. As a senior at Lafayette High, Blaine is applying to Westpoint. He said that he has given much thought to the possibilities of a future in the military.

"It scares me. I'm not lying. It scares the hell out of me," Blaine said. "I mean - I don't want to die, but I still want to go."

Articles such as this one scare the hell out of me. Throughout it, there's a pervading sense that recruiters aren't telling these poor kids everything. And no one else in this area seems to question these kids' decisions. Were there any more naivete here, Jessica Simpson would have been interviewed. I hope these young adults reconsider what they are about to do. And I hope that the media will leave recruitment to the Armed Forces brochures.


The Manning Report said...

I know it! Kids these days wanting to serve their country. What is this world coming too?

I'm gonna email this to my friend at West Point. He will get a laugh out of this

Michael said...

Nice straw man there, Manning. Guess you couldn't come up with anything good on such short notice, eh?

I don't think Ian (or anybody else, for that matter) has any problem with people wanting to serve their country. What Ian does have a problem with (and I agree with him on that) is lying to those kids in order to get them to sign up with the military and so that the recruiter can make his/her quota for the quarter. How many of the men and women now serving in Iraq signed up for the Guard or the Reserve because they were told it was going to be two weekends a month and two weeks a year, and the government would pay for their college education? And how many of them are ever going to live long enough to matriculate in college?

For that matter, how many of those Guard or Reserve units who were activated two years ago for a six-month tour are still over in Iraq or Afghanistan? Sure, the needs of the service take precedence--but if they were going to have to serve for two years, shouldn't they have been told that up-front so they (and their families, and their employers) could make appropriate plans?

But no, Commander Codpiece and his Merry Morons didn't want to alarm the public, so they maintained the fiction that this was going to be a short-term deployment in a short war. And they also lied about how many troops would be needed to fight it, how much it would cost, and both why and when we decided to fight it. These bastards are a disgrace to the nation and to the uniformed men and women they're treating little better than pawns in a chess game.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well said, Michael.

There's an enormous double-standard at work here: recall the hoopla and furor that revolved around LeBron James' decision to enter the NBA out of high school. What an idiot, they said; he's throwing his future away! Why can't he go to college and learn a thing or two about the real world? Why does he feel the need to go straight out onto the court and defend himself against grown men with twice his age and experience? In the end, LeBron was seduced by the NBA in his young age, drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Why is it that LeBron James was given so much static for entering the NBA at 18, yet kids as young as 15 and 16 are being praised for listening to the half-true tales of military recruiters? The point is, we have a tendency to suddenly trust teenagers--who cannot even legally buy spray paint in many places--when it comes to selecting their future based on a sales pitch.

Michael correctly points out that there's a significant difference between serving your country and being falsely cajoled into it. Chances are, most of these local kids' only experiences with the Iraq War are feelgood snippets from Fox News. That, combined with the recruiters' promises of everything from a free college education (10 years from now, if still alive) to unlimited hookers abroad makes for a deadly decision. Looking at the headlined quote of the story, I would bet that its speaker heard the same words from his recruiters. "If YOU don't join, then who will?"

One article buried in the rear of the front section of today's paper detailed the story of Ian Mixon, whose JROTC experience led him to want a military career, has backtracked because of his concern about lies over Iraq deployment. He vows he will not join until the Bush administration gets their truth straight. At leat some people aren't falling for the lie. And we're losing a potentially great soldier because of it. How sad.

Manning, go ahead and e-mail the article to your West Point buddy. That's why I have the e-mail feature. Chances are, there's going to be someone even out there who understands the gravity of the situation. If not, I encourage the cadets to tell me otherwise.

MagicalShrimp said...

More patriotism in the south, eh? Didn't they fight against the Union once upon a time? I guess any non-violent method of expressing your patriotism, such as refusing to stay quiet about the un-American atrocities of the Bush Admin isn't 'real' patriotism. You have to kill brown people to prove you love freedom.

There's gonna be even more brain drain if all these kids die in combat. How many will be left to carry on in the workforce?

The Manning Report said...

What un-American atrocities has the Bush admin. done? I'm not aware of any atrocities.

"You have to kill brown people to prove you love freedom."

What the heck does that mean?

Maybe Canadians need to stop trying to remember US history cause it really comes off bad.

Ian McGibboney said...

Maybe a certain Louisianian ought to recall US history before chastising a Canadian for doing the same.

The brown-people remark is a very appropriate summary of what lots of Americans these days consider patriotism to mean. It's not about upholding freedom and liberty, but rather in being a bully abroad.

As for the Bush atrocities, I won't dignify that with a list. You're either blind or deliberately ignoring the transgressions of this administration. I suggest it's the latter.

MagicalShrimp said...

Thanks, Ian.
We get US history shoved down our throats every Goddamned day up here, Manning. I think I can remember a few things. Plus at least I actually make an effort to learn about things so I know what's going on, outside of what Fox News tells me.

Ian Mixon said...

Ian, this is Ian Mixon, the person featured in your article while I dont mind the posting of a public article I do wish that you get your facts straight . My reason for not enlisting does not in anyway take into account The Bush admin decisions or any foreign policy . I do not wish for someone to misinterpret my statements . The daily advertiser already has . So here is my place on not enlisting , I was asked by my father not to join because HE felt it was not the right time I respected and honored his request. I have completed school and may enlist soon to go to IRAQ. I would go as a medic which my degree is in . WHile I do not support all of Mr. Bush I am First an American and then a Republican . I just thought I should set the record straight