Monday, 6 November 2006

Kerry not plenty smart on the truth about cannon fodder

The truth lost out

It is a shame that when John Kerry botched that dig at the President which became a cannon fodder joke, the truth of the whole matter got consumed in the outrage that forced him to first apologise and then adopt a seriously low profile.

When you look at what he said again, and juxtapose that with the military recruitment manual - the stealth, tactics, techniques and overwhelming political power they can wield over hostile schools, someone does have to speak up coherently.

This is what he said again, “You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Now, looking at the School Recruitment Program Handbook, I came across a number of interesting points.

They will have your children any which way

The forces assert the right to gain access to all schools with the same accommodation given to other organisations that can visit schools to recruit students be it for work or further education.

The forces assert the right to have access to not just the complete roll of eligible students but their records, assessment, backgrounds and any sort of information that might help in “profiling” prospective recruits. Parents are however, given the right to request that their children be excluded from that list, students and exercise that right too, but imagine the bullying that might ensue.

Any school that denies access to the forces finds itself embroiled in a political whirlpool of increasing pressure that escalates from the council, through Congress to the Secretary of State who can overrule any local objections to granting access. It is like they really want to eat your children and there is nothing that can be done to stop them from getting at them except if the parents disagree, a blanket disagreement cannot be instituted by the school itself.

The forces plant a liaison officer in the school and the official is supposed to become the fix-it man for everything, the official is supposed to make themselves so indispensable that students, teachers, parents are almost all beholding to the official.

Sleight of hand

Then we go to the tactics of getting people into the forces.

They are to target college-capable students and get them to defer their college till they have served in the army.

Knowing that college fees are quite exorbitant, they can cajole students into the army with the promise that the army would handle all that in due course, however, you might get stuck in Iraq long before you get that fillip.

They target students in the first or second year of university who are likely to drop-out for lacking finances to finish their education – somehow, they do not go for those well into their studies because somehow, those might have smartened up about education and might have found less risky ways to sponsor and finish their education.

Snippets that make you think

Chapter 7.2.a To encourage college-capable individuals to defer their college until they have served in the Army. – How smart is this?

Chapter 6.6.b (1) To build the image with students, parents, and educators that the Army is high tech and career oriented. – Fairy tales not stark realities.

Chapter 10.1 This market is an excellent source of potential Army enlistments due to the high percentage of students who drop out of college, particularly during the first 2 years. – It is a meat market ready for Army exploitation.

Chapter 10.4.b (1) Students and/or parents are paying tuition to attend college. Personal debts can accrue and student loan repayment plans can be very appealing to these students. – Very appealing indeed, we’ll share the bill but you’ll feel the pain.

Chapter 10.7.c Focus on the freshman class because they will have the highest dropout rate. They often lack both the direction and funds to fully pursue their education. – Bottom feeder gives focus to rudderless kids and they end up where?

No Child Left Behind

When the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was signed into law in January 2002, though the goals were to raise the standards of education for children, somewhere deep in the Act - In section 9528 (Chapter 11.3) - was the provision gave military recruiters the same access to facilities as a public secondary school provides to higher education institution recruiters, but this along with contact information can be requested, additional information can be accessed through the liaison officer embedded in the school.

As this resonates with the “Leave No Man Behind” tenet that meant that the forces never left their wounded, incapacitated or dead behind, one can only say that President George W. Bush is plenty smart and plenty brave to grant access to your children and then boldly cart them off to get stuck in Iraq.

“The members of the United States military are plenty smart, and plenty brave, and the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology” – The President.

In the end, politicians should stop trying to be comedians, they can mess up their delivery, big time, and whilst that is plenty brave, it is usually is not plenty smart.

References

How to Pitch the Military When a War Drags On?

Commentary: Video Game Luring New Recruits

Six Questions for Eli Flyer on Military Recruiting and Abuses in Iraq

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