WOW & amazement for Jason Russell’s Invisible Children Campaign to stop Joseph Kony’s rape & militarization of voiceless Ugandan children.
What a terrific example of what one person (Jason) can do.
It is stunning that in just a few short years www.InvisibleChildren.com (not Invisiblechildren.org )has raised the awareness of millions of Americans to the tragedy taking place in Africa destroying the lives of thousands of Northern Ugandan children.
Jason’s efforts are absolute proof that individuals can create awareness & powerful change. KARA has been working for 7 years now to bring the same kind of awareness and change for America’s abused & neglected children.
As a County volunteer guardian ad-Litem that worked with and reports on my city’s raped (repeatedly) beaten (often), murdered, & tortured children (many as young as 3 years old), It hurts me that there is so little discussion & awareness about the nightmare that is child protection in America.
Suicidal 4 & 7 year olds, prostituted preteens, scarred & psychotic very young children were my constant companions in the County Court System. In this nation at this time, the only awareness & coverage they get is when one of them is found tragically murdered, or commits a horrid act.
30,000 Ugandan children murdered, & many thousands more captured & tortured by Kony, and until Jason Russell’s viral video & successful efforts to bring it to our attention, no one knew. This is the kind of awareness that can bring change.
George Clooney is now involved (and arrested) for African children. This is big news. A high profile public spokesman will add to the momentum to bring Joseph Kony to justice and end the militarization & torture of Ugandan children.
How many American’s know or care about the 3,000,000 voiceless children reported to child protection services in this nation each year, or the millions that develop severe and lasting problems that destroy their lives? Our children are much like the Ugandan children; they are militarized at a young age, have no voice in toxic homes or protective services, & they suffer terribly and no one knows until we bring the same attention to the children as did KONY 2012.
If only we could bring George’s (or another celebrity) attention to America’s abused and neglected children & the millions of school children recruited by the United States military & those enrolled in military schools within America.
If only we could recruit mentors/volunteers to help America’s neediest children.
Did you know that Military recruitment is the only reason America has not signed (we are one of only two nations in the world – the other is Somalia) the International Rights of the Child Treaty.
Add this sad reality to the many millions of America’s children reported to child protection systems each year and the depth and scope of the violence being done to our youngest citizens becomes apparent. This explains why our prisons are full, too many of our schools are failing, & so many city streets are unsafe.
KARA’s is calling out for volunteers/mentors/helpers to make one small effort to save America’s most vulnerable children.
Pass this blog to a friend or list you belong to. Speak out for voiceless children. *If you know a high profile person that might speak out on this topic, please let them know about KARA.
THE PENTAGON’S CHILD RECRUITING STRATEGY
By Gary Evans, MD
The human family consists, for the most part, of wonderfully ordinary people who work hard to care for themselves and their children. However, there are a few people who aspire to positions of power, and then work to use their authority to manipulate and control all the others.
This nation’s teenage children are currently being tracked, targeted, and sometimes captured by a global dominance military-industrial-media complex under orders of an exceptionally callous neo-conservative group now in control of the US government. The people in power today systematically use armed services recruiters – motivated by rank and bonus – as the agents of control and manipulation of US youth.
Parents of teens and preteens are seldom aware of how their children are at increasing risk of being systematically targeted, manipulated into recruiter offices, and psychological remodeled for use within the war machine. Military planners, hungry for new recruits, commission psychological research and carefully read neuro-psychiatric literature as it pertains to adolescent behavior. They then apply that research information to their recruitment efforts that focus on the vulnerability of the teenage mind.
As the 9/11 wars continue and as the numbers of dead and disabled young men and women climb, civilian doubts over the purpose and direction of the conflict has evolved and grown. As a result, convincing new potential recruits to enlist has become an increasingly difficult task. The Pentagon addresses this recruitment problem by spending thousands of millions of our tax dollars on programs designed to deceive, seduce, and to capture our youth. Military recruiters have been granted full access to our children at home, at school, and wherever else they can be tracked. The Pentagon has invaded our movies, our televisions, and our minds, and has invited our children to play violent, and damaging video games while feeding them emotionally charged materials designed to manipulate and reformat them into replacement soldiers.
A Brief & Recent History Of US Military Recruitment
Ending the Draft
The Vietnam War was fought by a generation of young men whose teen experiences were distorted by a persistent and disruptive force – conscription. That constant threat helped fire the tremendous social unrest that attended those war years. As the war came to its painful end, Pentagon planners moved to eliminate future reliance on draftees. The recommendation was tendered and Congress agreed to end the draft, replacing it with an all volunteer armed services system.
Building and maintaining an all volunteer military during peacetime worked reasonably well. The process during war however, has proven to be problematic. After years of war and violent occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, public perception of military life has gradually soured. And, as civilian jobs – albeit low paying for many – continue to be available, the recruiting process has become increasingly difficult. The Pentagon has responded by offering, or giving the appearance of offering, a set of incentives to potential enlistees. Bait has since included cash and promises (frequently unfulfilled) of job training, educational funding, and future medical care.
Teenagers Increasingly Targeted
After recent Pentagon research revealed that the desire and intention to enlist is highest among younger recruits (six in ten current US soldiers entered the military as teenagers),1, 2, 3 a level of subtlety, or rather subterfuge has been employed to guide teens toward recruiter offices. As one example of the many available: the US Army sponsors a website labeled “eCybermission.” It offers “web-based science, math, and technology competition” for 11, 12 , and 13 year olds, and the services of on-line uniformed Army personnel “CyberGuides.”4
Since 2002 the Pentagon has developed a massive teen data base gleaned from sources, including records obtained via the “No Child Left Behind Act.” That information is filed in JAMRS, the “Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies” system – a giant Pentagon run, privately subcontracted (Equifax) database containing contact and identification data on over thirty million 16-25 year olds.5
Plummeting Numbers / Plummeting Standards
Despite recent reports of an increasing rate of suicides among US troops,6 and despite news reports of “stop-loss” troop recycling and declining troop moral, the Pentagon’s recent recruiting and retention report for 20077 implies success. The facts underlying the statistics offered, however, tell a different story: “The number of wavers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds [125,000] has grown about 65 percent in the past three years…,”8 and the percentage of minimally qualified recruits has quadrupled since 2002.9
Representative Martin T. Meechen, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight: “The data is crystal clear; our armed forces are under incredible strain, and the only way that they can fill their recent quotas is by lowering their standards.”8
Pentagon spending on recruitment has increased dramatically over the past few years, approaching $4 billion by 2003.10 As of 2006, there were over 22,000 recruiters nationwide,11 charged with signing up between 180,000 and 200,000 new active duty recruits,10, 11 and approximately 120,000 new reservists per year.11 In 2000, the US House of Representatives determined that $6400 was being spent to sign up each marine,12and by 2005, the military spent approximately $16,000 in total promotional costs to enlist each new recruit.11, 13
Despite the enormous sums spent attempting to maintain an all volunteer military during these times of growing anti-war sentiment, the armed forces have been unable to meet new recruit sign-up quotas. There is always a way, however, and here the balance sheets have been righted by dropping ballast, also known as “standards,” and by implementing military contract fine-print: Executive Order #12728, dated 8/22/90 referring US Code, Title 10, section 12305 and Title 3, section 301, better known as “Stop Loss,” which allows troops to be returned to battlefields again by delaying their removal from active duty indefinitely. In this way, military statisticians have forced the claim that recruitment quotas are being fulfilled.14
TARGETING THE ADOLESCENT BRAIN
Adolescence has long been recognized as a time when impulsive and risk-taking behaviors increase. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, learning to gauge risk with greater precision gradually proceeds. Modern neuroscience tools, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning techniques have now shown that adolescent stereotypic behavior is based on a phase of structural brain development.15, 16, 17
In a recent study,15 multiple high-tech scans were collated over time, and were combined with serial assessments of neuro-developmental function. It was discovered that the adolescent brain exists as a structurally and functionally distinct entity from that found earlier in childhood, or later in adulthood. The adolescent brain develops structurally enlarged, but functionally immature prefrontal and limbic grey matter areas. Those structural features appear to result in a change in balance between limbic reward and prefrontal higher executive assessment functions, and helps to explain typical adolescent behaviors of increased novelty and sensation, or thrill-seeking on the one hand, and limited consequence analysis on the other. By the early twenties, as the structurally enlarged areas decrease to typically adult volumes, brain function settles into adult patterns. These changes are accompanied by recognized adult thought processes and behaviors.
It is during adolescence, when changes in brain structure and function result in the characteristic behaviors of that age, that teens are actively recruited toward and into the military. The techniques employed by military recruiters directly target the unique functional brain development characteristics of the adolescent; that targeting is undoubtedly purposeful.18, 19
HIGH SCHOOLS AS “MARKETS”
“No Child Left Behind” – Section 9528
The Bush Administration wrote and signed into law the “No Child Left Behind Act,” January 8, 2002,20 with subsequent reauthorization in 2007.21As is now widely known, included in the 670 pages of that voluminous act – within section 9528 – is a provision enabling military recruiters to access high school students’ records, and to access the students themselves as they attend high-school campuses throughout the country. Students and/or their parents are offered the choice to “opt-out” of this demand, but they must actively do so, requiring of course, that they are first informed of this option. As will later be documented, this is often not the case. If school districts otherwise fail to provide military recruiters with the required information and access, millions of dollars in federal funding for that district can be cut.
Military recruiter manuals then provide guidance on how to maximize the effect of the law on targeted adolescents.22 Here are a few examples of advice given to recruiters:
School Recruiting Program [SRP] Handbook22 (Excerpts)
From section 1-4 c: “The objective of the SRP is to assist recruiters with programs and services so they can effectively penetrate the school market. The goal is school ownership that can only lead to a greater number of Army enlistments. Recruiters must first establish rapport in the schools. This is a basic step in the sales process and a prerequisite to an effective school program. Maintaining this rapport and establishing a good working relationship is next. Once educators are convinced recruiters have their students’ best interests in mind the SRP can be effectively implemented.”
From section 2-4: “Some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist.”
And from section 5-1-f-4: “Don’t forget the administrative staff…. Have something to give them (pen, calendar, cup, donuts, etc.) and always remember secretary’s week, with a card or flowers.”
Using computers fed with socioeconomic census data, past recruiting numbers, and other demographic information, recruiters target specific schools where students are less likely to go on to college and are more likely to sign up with the military.23, 24 Then, school yearbooks, newspapers, and any other pertinent local informational sources are scrutinized, allowing recruiters to simulate familiarity and interest in a few of the more popular kids on campus. As those kids are approached and befriended, others are attracted to the social bait and, seeking approval, gather around.
Once a student swims anywhere near the hook, recruiter anglers use every trick available.11 Students are phoned and written to without end, and are offered visions of a virtual cornucopia of money, education, training, and adventure.25, 26, 27 All responses are, of course, tracked.28
ASVAB “Realize your strengths. Realize your dreams.”
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)29 is a three hour test, offered to, and taken by nearly one million high school students every year. It is placed before them ostensibly as a helping hand – as a way to explore their career potentials, and to guide them toward appropriate life choices. The offer and the test are scams.
Here is what the military tells the parents of teenage students in this confidence game:
“The ASVAB Career Exploration Program includes eight individual tests covering verbal and math skills, mechanical knowledge, electronics, and several other areas. It also produces three Career Exploration Scores for Verbal Skills, Math Skills, and Science and Technical Skills. These three scores serve as one of several pieces of information about your child that can aid in the exploration of a wide variety of career options.” 30
Recruiters, on the other hand, understand the ASVAB recruitment tool quite well. From the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, Policy and Programs Division, 2002 – Recruiting Manual:
“The ASVAB is used by the Armed Forces for recruiting purposes… The ASVAB’s ability for determining civilian job skills has not yet been proven.”31
Because the ASVAB is exempt from the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, students are given the test and information acquired is released to the military without parental consent.32 Furthermore, military recruiters are free, at the option of school administrators, to contact test takers – even if the student, or their parents opted-out of Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act.27, 32
Exam information is then forwarded to the DoD JAMRS database for further analysis.5, 31
The JAMRS Database:
In 2002, the Pentagon joined forces with the corporate database industry and began gathering, organizing and analyzing personal information on the military’s “market” of teens and their families. The Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies (JAMRS) database now includes the records of over thirty million US 16 – 25 year olds.5
As families soon discovered they were unable to control the records collected on them, an ACLU lawsuit was brought against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense David Chu, and JAMRS Program Manager Matt Boehmer in April 2006.33 It was settled a few months later, and became effective January, 2007, specifying that families have the power to opt-out of the database.34 To date, as both the database and the option to opt-out of it is known to only a handful of families, opt-in remains the rule.
A Department of Defense survey taken November 2004, found that “only 25 percent of parents would recommend military service to their children, down from 42 percent in August 2003.”35 The Pentagon responded with a media campaign featuring faux-parents and their faux-children discussing enlistment in a positive light.36 In addition, the Pentagon tasked JAMRS with studying “influencers,” – parents, teachers, clergy, and the like – in the hope of minimizing and/or neutralizing their interference.5
The “Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps” system was created through the National Defense Act of 1916. It offers high schools federal subsidies in the form of funding, equipment, and supplies,37,38 which appear to be a good deal for cash-strapped school districts. In fact, this too good to be true deal turns out to be – just that. After a short time, schools discover they have ended up on the red side of the balance sheet – paying out more than they receive. Hidden costs include additional insurance coverage, new facilities construction and maintenance, a portion of JROTC instructors’ salaries, benefits, taxes, etc. In short, school districts and the children they support are ripped-off by the program. 39
In exchange for the faux-benefits offered, school districts must allow retired military personnel to act as instructors, and they must allow instructors to offer students a course of training that is authorized by the military, as opposed to local school boards. 37, 38 Classes can be taught by either accredited or non-accredited instructors, and reading and study materials have been found to include racist versions of history, and which stress a military approach to social and political change.37
JROTC courses are now offered in over 3000 high schools as of June 2003,40 and bend the minds of over 500,000 teenage children toward the military.39 Former United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen described the JROTC program as: “one of the best recruitment programs we could have.”39 And, true enough, forty percent of those entering the program go on to enlist.38
THINGS RECRUITS AND RECRUITERS PROMISE
Recruits and the Military Contract
A promise is a promise, unless it is offered by a military recruiter. After a recruit is promised the moon, they are asked to sign on the dotted line, most often missing the fine print:
“Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment/reenlistment document.”41
In other words, recruits may be promised specific training and assignments, lofty jobs, or anything at all. The only contract made – despite any oral or written promise – is that the recruit will serve under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)42 rather than under civilian Constitutional law until full and final discharge is allowed (sans “Stop-Loss”). Any other statements, assurances, or promises – written or otherwise, do not apply.
The Mirage of Jobs and College Funding
Congress and the Department of Defense have long understood that as civilian jobs and educational opportunities decline, the military option becomes more attractive to potential recruits. Military Recruiters – and a vast expanse of advertisement copy – hammer the idea home that joining the military and serving it for a few years will open to an oasis of educational and job opportunities. The oasis is a mirage.
A typical recruitment advertisement reads: “Join the Army and earn up to $70,000 for college.”27 The truth is, nearly all enlistees join the Montgomery GI Bill on entering the military, but only one in twenty qualify for the higher Army College Fund or Navy College Fund benefits.43 In fact thirty percent of those joining the program receive nothing from it,44 and the rest, nearly always receive only a fraction of the benefits promised.43, 45
There are conditions:
In order to be allowed entry into any of the college fund programs, recruits must first pay $100 per month for the first twelve months of service. That $1200 is fully non-refundable.44,46
A full honorable discharge from the military is required.27, 46 One in four fail to achieve that condition.27
For those who do achieve full honorable discharges, the payout is tricky: it is made over a total of no more than 36 months of educational expenditure (9 month academic year x 4 years = 36 months). If, as is typical, a veteran is unable to take full course loads over each of those 36 months, the payout is less, and will still be terminated after a total of 36 months in any case. So, for example, if a war-traumatized veteran is able to maintain only a one-half coursework load, the total payout would be – at a maximum – only one-half of that originally promised.47 Most veterans (56%) using the Montgomery GI Bill begin by attending community colleges or vocational schools spread out over time, and therefore receive only a fraction of the maximum promised for full time, full coursework study.47
The cost of education has continually increased while educational benefits have increased less rapidly. As benefits lag further and further behind the inflation curve, the value of the original promise is equally degraded with time.47
In summary, recruits rarely collect on the military’s “big print” promise to provide significant educational funding.
RECRUITMENT TOOLBOX: Movies, Toys, TV, & Computer Games
Blackhawk Helicopters on High School Campuses
As US families pushed back against the slogans “Be All You Can Be,” and “An Army of One,” and as potential new recruits increasingly said “no” to joining up, military planners moved new people into command chairs, ramped up their efforts, crafted new slogans, and basically pulled out the stops.27 Fully camo’ed military recruiters now land Blackhawk helicopter warships on elementary, middle and high school campuses around the country, and issue promises of fun, excitement, and glory to the overwhelmed kids.
Children as young as 6-8 years old are sometimes invited to these landing events, where they are rewarded with tiny black (hawk) footballs after they gather close around recruiters. 48,49
Photo Credit: Kent Porter / The Press Democrat
18-Wheeler “Recruiting Vans,” on high school campuses
The US Army, in a well-funded effort to recruit children, has decked out seven “Cinema Vans” with multiple slide projectors, viewing screens, and rock-climbing walls. Another 18-wheeler, the “Army Adventure Van,” features a helicopter simulator, an M-1 Tank simulator, and an M16 Machine-gun simulator, allowing high school kids to practice and to visualize cutting enemies to pieces. Other vehicles include a “Nuclear Power Van,” an “America’s Sea Power Van,” etc. Together, these propaganda shows on 18 wheels visit nearly 400,000 of America’s children each year.50
“‘The vans zero in on our target market, and that’s in high schools,’ explained Fred Zinchiak, Public Affairs Specialist in the Sacramento Army Recruiting Battalion.”50
The targeted markets – this nation’s teenagers – are offered a vision of military life as being sexy and exciting. The reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and traumatic brain injury suffered by over one-third of a million troops returning from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan51 is ignored.
Recruitment via Television
As of March 2008, over 11,000 schools have contracted with “Channel One,” an organization which promises to provide schools with free television equipment and wiring in exchange for a mandatory daily viewing of the programs produced, edited, and broadcast by them.
The twelve minute programs, aired daily, are interspersed with two minutes of “corporate sponsorship” messages, half of which are paid for by US taxpayers c/o the Department of Defense, and in the form of military recruitment pitches to the captive children who are required to watch.27
From the Channel One Network website: “Nearly 30 percent of all American teens are in classrooms that show Channel One News.” In other words, over six million middle and high school students are presently forced to receive daily military recruiter pitches during classroom time.52,53,54
Recruitment via Hollywood Movies
The Pentagon has had a cozy relationship with the entertainment industry for many years, providing open door base access, material, and consultation to movie studios… for a price.55
“We may think that the content of American movies is free from government interference, but in fact, the Pentagon has been telling filmmakers what to say – and what not to say — for decades. It’s Hollywood’s dirtiest little secret.”56
It is now widely known that the Pentagon has influenced film producers and studios for years – trading access to military resources for censorship rights. Under authority of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the Pentagon’s film liaison office trades script changes – acceptable to the brass – with access to otherwise impossibly expensive military material, locations, and expertise. In the end, we the taxpayers pay for our own propagandizing. Recent movies that were given a “hand” by the Pentagon include: “Stripes,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Top Gun,” “The Great Santini,” “The Right Stuff”, “Apollo 13,” and many others.56,57 From David Robb’s book “Operation Hollywood: “… the Pentagon is quite candid about why it provides this assistance to Hollywood. According to the army’s own handbook, A Producer’s guide to U.S. Army Cooperation with the Entertainment Industry, this collaboration must ‘aid in the recruiting and retention of personnel.’”56
Recruitment via Video Gaming
The Pentagon has vigorously supported development of PC war game software after discovering their use as both recruitment and as military training vehicles. Take, for example, the Microsoft X-Box game “Close Combat: First to Fight” – created by and for the military, but soon ported directly to “T” for Teens.57
Another “success” story, in terms of the number of teens and young adults participating, is the US Army’s video game project “America’s Army,” accessed by several million “players” as of 2007.58“America’s Army” is a highly graphic, fast paced and graphically violent battle simulation for youthful players. The army states that the game is for growing adults, but it is freely available on the Internet without age restriction and is widely distributed to children.59
It has been argued that “America’s Army” is blatant government propaganda pitched to those who are least able to understand the effects of exposure to its various subtle and not-so-subtle messages.60
VIOLENT VIDEO / VIDEO GAMING IS HARMFUL TO CHILDREN
Despite the overwhelming raft of data documenting ill effects in children and adolescents exposed to violent video and video games, the military services continue to support delivery of those images and experiences to children, seen only as potential future recruits.57
From the Committee on Public Education of the American Academy of Pediatrics:
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes exposure to violence in media, including television, movies, music, and video games as a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents. Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed. Pediatricians should assess their patients’ level of media exposure and intervene on media-related health risks. Pediatricians and other child health care providers can advocate for a safer media environment for children by encouraging media literacy, more thoughtful and proactive use of media by children and their parents, more responsible portrayal of violence by media producers, and more useful and effective media ratings.”61
From the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:
“Studies of children exposed to violence have shown that they can become: “immune” or numb to the horror of violence, imitate the violence they see, and show more aggressive behavior with greater exposure to violence. Some children accept violence as a way to handle problems. Studies have also shown that the more realistic and repeated the exposure to violence, the greater the impact on children. In addition, children with emotional, behavioral and learning problems may be more influenced by violent images.
“Youth who exposed themselves to greater amounts of video game violence saw the world as a more hostile place, were more hostile themselves, got into arguments with teachers more frequently, were more likely to be involved in physical fights, and performed more poorly in school. Video game violence exposure was a significant predictor of physical fights even when respondent sex, hostility level, and weekly amount of game play were statistically controlled.”62
Summary of the Evidence: Exposure to violent video, whether in the form of video games, television, or theater movies is linked to, and causal of, increases in aggressive cognition, affect and behavior.63,64,65,66,67,68,69
STUDENTS, PARENTS, SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES RESPOND
Here is a small sampling of student, parent, school, and community responses to predatory military recruiters and the tactics they employ:
Vallejo, Ca. School Board Addresses The Opt-Out Clause
2008 – Vallejo, California: The Vallejo School Board voted to end the practice of providing military recruiters with complete and unrestricted access to student information. District spokesman Jason Hodge: “This action brings the school district into compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act which requires parents and students be given the option to ‘opt out’ of having military recruiters gain access to their personal information.”70
Berkeley, Ca: City Council Resolution
2008 – Berkeley, California: The Berkeley City Council passed a resolution that initially stated Marine recruiters were “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” The council later issued a clarification, stating that the recruiting center retains the legal right to exist, but telegraphed to citizens that vigorous protesting of the center’s existence is also a protected right.71
Seattle’s Garfield High School Pta: “No” To Recruiters
2005 – Seattle, Washington: The Garfield High School PTA voted to adopt a resolution stating in part: “public schools are not a place for military recruiters.”72
National PTA Position: Protect Students’ Privacy
2005 – “National PTA seeks to increase awareness and community sensitivity about the collection and dissemination of information regarding students and believes that such records should respect the rights to privacy and be relevant to a child’s education.
“National PTA will continue to support legislation and policies [that] would change current law by providing for an ‘opt in’ policy where interested students and families can instead choose to request contact from military recruiters. Parents and students deserve to know who has their information, and parents should be involved in the important decision to enlist in military service.”73
High School Students Take Action Against The Asvab Scam
2006 – Lindale, Georgia: Two seventeen year old Pepperell High School students confronted recruiters, the school board, and the school’s administration, who had insisted students were compelled under law to take the ASVAB military (recruiting tool) test. As the result of their ad-hoc plan to distribute anti-ASVAB flyers to their fellow students and despite the argumentative efforts of local recruiters, an estimated two-thirds of the eligible students present refused to be “tested.”74
Military recruiters have been given legal authority to openly recruit adolescents on high school campuses, and tacit authority to recruit both adolescents and younger children through more subtle means. Techniques employed include those that are known to be harmful to children, including repeated exposure to violent games and images. Recruiters rely on the immature status of their prey to capture them with false promises, and subterfuge. Military recruitment of children must be understood for what it is: predatory.
The highest calling of any society is to protect its young from harm. Our society is failing to heed this call.
With many thanks to Rick Jahnkow, Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities.
Gary Evans MD is a practicing pediatrician and activist in Sonoma County California. He maintains a website – www.ringnebula.com – dedicated to peaceful activism.
FOR MORE INFORMATION (in alphabetical order):
- American Friends Service Committee: Youth & Militarismhttp://www.afsc.org/youthmil/default.htm
- Code Pink: Women for Peace
- Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft
- National Network Opposing Militarism In Our Schools
- Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities
- No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB):
- The Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies (JAMRS) Database:
Note: ”Opt-Out requests will be honored for ten years. However, because opt-out screening is based, in part, on the current address of the individual, any change in address will require the submission of a new opt-out request with the new address.”
1. Population Representation in the Military Services, Fiscal Year 2004; Table A-1: DoD new recruits ages 16 – 17 = 22.22%, age 18 = 23.53, age 19 = 14.48 (tot = 60.23%): http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/poprep2004/download/2004report.pdf,http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/poprep2004/download/2004appendices.pdf
2. “America’s Child Soldier Problem”; In These Times, May 17, 2007: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3199/americas_child_soldier_problem/
3. “Pentagon’s Teen Recruiting Methods Would Make Tobacco Companies Proud”: http://www.alternet.org/story/51889/
4. US Army’s e-Cybermission Website: http://www.ecybermission.com/base_public.cfm?url=38500C5F40530E011C27501A1D4A564C
5. DoD’s “Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies” database website: www.jamrs.org
6. “’Epidemic’ of military suicides investigated,” The Seattle Times, Nov. 17, 2007:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004019358_aliciacol17.html
7. “DoD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for FY2007,” U.S. Department of Defense, News Release No. 1202-07, Oct. 10, 2007:http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=11398
8. “Army Giving More Waivers in Recruiting,” New York Times, Feb. 14, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/14/us/14military.html
9. “Recruiters struggle to find an Army,” The Seattle Times, Nov. 12, 2007:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2004008540_recruit12.html
10. ”MILITARY RECRUITING: DOD Needs to Establish Objectives and Measures to Better Evaluate Advertising’s Effectiveness;” GAO 03-1005:http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d031005.pdf
11.: “MILITARY RECRUITING: DOD and Services Need Better Data to Enhance Visibility over Recruiter Irregularities;” GAO 06-0846, Aug. 2006:http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06846.pdf
12. Hearings On National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001—H.R. 4205 and Oversight of Previously Authorized Programs Before the Committee On Armed Services – House of Representatives, 106 Congress, 2nd Session, Full Committee Hearings on Authorization and Oversight; Feb. 10, 2000: http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/security/has041000.000/has041000_0f.htm
13. “Army Recruiters Take Show On Road,” CBS News, Mar. 16, 2005:
14. “MILITARY PERSONNEL: Preliminary Observations on Recruiting and Retention Issues within the U.S. Armed Forces;” GAO 05-419t (released Mar. 16, 2005): http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05419t.pdf
15. Article: “The Teen Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging” by Jay N. Giedd, MD (Nat. Institute of Mental Health); Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 42, Issue 4, April 2008
16. Editorial: “Adolescent Brain Development: Forging New Links?” by Elizabeth R. McAnarney, MD; Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 42, Issue 4, April 2008
17. “In vivo evidence for post-adolescent brain maturation in frontal and striatal regions”; Nature Neuroscience 2, 859 – 861, 1999: doi:10.1038/13154:http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v2/n10/full/nn1099_859.html
18. Re: military recruitment and sensation-seeking propensities and risk-taking propensities; National Research Council. Evaluating Military Advertising and Recruiting: Theory and Methodology. Committee on the Youth Population and Military Recruitment—Phase II. Paul R. Sackett and Anne S., pg. 25:http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10867
19. “Attitudes, Aptitudes, and Aspirations of American Youth: Implications for Military Recruitment”: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10478&page=R1
20. NCLB of 2001, signed 1/8/02 (Contained in § 9528 of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. § 7908), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. No. 107-110), and in 10 U.S.C. § 503, as amended by 544 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (P.L. No. 107-107):http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/107-110.pdf
21. NCLB Reauthorization 2007: http://www.ed.gov/nclb/overview/intro/reauth/index.html
22. United States Army Recruiting Command: USAREC Pamphlet 350-13; 2004: http://www.nodraftnoway.org/public_html/USAREC%20Pam%20350-13%2020040901.pdf
23. “Military Recruits by High School, Zip Code, Community, State,” Bulletin, National Priorities Project, Nov. 1, 2005:http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=9492
24. Pentagon Creating Student Database, Washington Post, June 23, 2005: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/22/AR2005062202305.html
25. “Army Offers $40K Recruiting Bonus to H.S. Grads,” NPR, Feb. 5, 2008: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18710386
26. “Earn Money For College” (US Navy): http://www.navy.com/benefits/education/earnmoney/
27. “Army of None,” David Solnit & Aimee Allison, Seven Stories Press, 2007
28. “Modeling the Individual Enlistment Decision: Final Study Report” (June, 1999); US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences:http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA364946
29. The ASVAB Program: http://www.asvabprogram.com/
30. “Parent Fact Sheet” from the ASVAB program website: http://www.asvabprogram.com/downloads/ASVAB_factsheet-parents.pdf
31. Navy Recruiting Manual 1130.8F, pg 2-59 (2I-2-5a): http://usmilitary.about.com/od/navyregs/p/usmilitary.about.com/library/pdf/navrecruit.pdf
32. ASVAB Counselor Manual; Nov. 2005, pg. 13:
33. ACLU Complaint/Lawsuit re: JAMRS: http://www.nyclu.org/files/hanson_v_rumsfeld_complaint_042406.pdf
34. DoD’s Answer to ACLU – Revised JAMRS Plan, Jan. 9, 2007: http://www.nyclu.org/files/jamrs_revised_rules_notice_0109007.pdf
35. “Growing Problem for Military Recruiters: Parents,” New York Times, June 3, 2005: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/03/nyregion/03recruit.html?oref=login
36. “Army, Marine recruiters shift focus to wary parents,” USA Today, Apr. 4, 2005: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-04-04-recruiters-parents_x.htm
37. “Making Soldiers in the Public Schools,” American Friends Service Committee, 1995: http://www.afsc.org/youthmil/militarism-in-schools/msitps.pdf
38. “Recruiting the Class of 2005”; Mother Jones, Jan-Feb, 2002: http://motherjones.com/news/feature/2002/01/rotc.html
39. “Trading Books for Soldiers: The True Cost of JROTC,” Philip Clark; American Friends Service Committee; 2000: Summary available at:http://web.archive.org/web/20000816192857/www.afsc.org/youthmil/html/issues/schools/jrotcost.htm)
40. “Feeding the military machine: JROTC expansion and inner-city academies mark recruiting incursion into U.S. public school classrooms, critics say”; Mar. 28, 2003, National Catholic Reporter: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_21_39/ai_99849547
41. Enlistment Contract: DD FORM 4/3, Oct 2007, page 2, section C. 9(b): www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/infomgt/forms/eforms/dd0004.pdf
42. Uniform Code of Military Justice Legislative History (and general information): http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/UCMJ_LHP.html
43. “Joining the Military is Hazardous to Your Education”: http://www.objector.org/before-you-enlist/gi-bill.html
44. “Lawmakers Urge GI Bill Extension,” Military.com website, May 9, 2007, : re: 30% of veterans cannot or do not use benefits:http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,135109,00.html
45. “Why aren’t military vets going to college?,” Orange County Register, Mar. 10, 2008: http://www.ocregister.com/news/veterans-college-state-1995807-people-military
46. US Dept. of Vet. Affairs, Montgomergy GI Bill – CH30 Pamphlet (honorable discharge required):http://www.gibill.va.gov/pamphlets/CH30/CH30_Pamphlet_General.htm; (For the entire program, see US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, GI Bill Website:http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/benefits.htm)
47. “GI Bill falling short of college tuition costs,” Boston Globe, Feb. 10, 2008:http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/02/10/gi_bill_falling_short_of_college_tuition_costs/
48. “Hanna grad flies Blackhawk to school,” Sonoma Index-Tribune, Mar. 20, 2008:http://www.sonomanews.com/articles/2008/03/21/news/doc47df124d179b9525933769.txt
49. “Black Hawk touches down at schools,” Press Democrat, Mar. 15, 2008:http://www1.pressdemocrat.com/article/20080315/NEWS/803150397/1033/NEWS&template=kart
50. “Mobile Recruiting 2001”: http://www.objector.org/awol/mobile.html
51. “One In Five Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Suffer from PTSD or Major Depression”; RAND Corporation, Apr. 17, 2008 News Release: http://rand.org/news/press/2008/04/17/
52. “Why Go to College, When You Can be Cannon Fodder?,” Counterpunch, Feb. 17, 2005: http://www.counterpunch.org/whitehurst02172005.html
53. “Fast Facts,” Channel One News website: http://www.channelonenetwork.com/corporate/fast_facts.html
54. “FAQS,” Channel One News website: http://www.channelonenetwork.com/corporate/faqs.html
55. “The Pentagon Goes Hollywood,” Time Magazine, November 24, 1986: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,962933,00.html
56. “Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies”, David Robb, 2004; “Operation Hollywood” author David Robb interview here: http://www.motherjones.com/news/qa/2004/09/09_403.html
57. “The Complex,” Nick Turse; Henry Hold & Co., New York (2008); ppg. 115-117
58. “Gamers Downloading America’s Army,” Jan. 12, 2007: http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2007-01/2007-01-12-voa35.cfm
59. US Army’s “Official Army Game” website: http://www.americasarmy.com/
60. “Army’s War Game Recruits Kids” Joan Ryan; SF Chronicle, (Orig. pub. Sept. 24, 2004): http://www.twincitiesvfp.org/army_09_11_04.htm
61. “Media Violence,” American Academy of Pediatrics, Policy Statement, Pediatrics, Vol. 108#5, Nov. 2001, pp.1222-1226:http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/5/1222[Full Article]
62. “Children and Video Games: Playing with Violence,” American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Facts for Families: No. 91:http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_and_video_games_playing_with_violence; also No. 13, “Children and TV Violence”:http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_and_tv_violence
63. “An update on the effects of playing violent video games,” Anderson CA; Journal of Adolescence, 2004; 27: 113-122
64. “The Effects of Violent Video Game Habits on Adolescent Aggressive Attitudes and Behaviors,” Lynch, Paul J.; University of Oklahoma Medical School; Gentile, Douglas A., National Institute on Media and the Family; Olson, Abbie A., University of Minnesota; van Brederode, Tara M., University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development (Paper presented at the Biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Minneapolis, MN April 19-22, 2001)
65. “Short term and long term effects of violent media on aggression in children and adults,” Bushman BJ, Huesmann R.; Arch Pediatr Adolesce Med., 2006; 160:348-352.
66. “Television and adolescent aggressiveness,” Chaffee SH. In: Comstock GA, Rubinstein EA eds. “Television and social behavior: a technical report to the Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior,” Vol. 3. Television and adolescent aggressiveness (DHEW Publication No. HSM 72-9058). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972; pp. 1-34).
67. “Deciding to defect: the effects of video game violence on cooperative behavior,” Sheese BE, Graziano WG.; Psychol Science, 2005; 16:354-357.
68. “The effects of violent video game habits on adolescent hostility, aggressive behaviors, and school performance,” Gentile DA, Lynch, PJ, Linder JR, Walsh DA; Journal of Adolescence, 2004; 27; 5-22
69. “Exposure to violent video games increases automatic aggressiveness,” Uhlmann, E, Swanson J.. J.Adolescence, 2004; 27:41-52
70. “Vallejo School District Votes To Shut Out Military Recruiters,” NBC.com, March 20, 2008:http://www.nbc11.com/newsarchive/15655946/detail.html
71. “The Military vs. Berkeley,” Newsweek, Feb. 13, 2008: http://www.newsweek.com/id/110911
72. “Rift Over Recruiting At Public High School,” Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2005: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0518/p02s01-ussc.html
73. “Military Recruitment in Schools,” Military recruitment in schools and DOD database information, National PTA, August 2, 2005:www.pta.org/documents/military.pdf
74. “Teens Frustrate Military Recruiter’s ASVAB Scam,” Antiwar.com, Nov. 24, 2006: http://www.antiwar.com/orig/horton.php?articleid=10055