counter recruitment Talking Points:
**The Montgomery GI bill gives up to $70,000 for college assistance. It's
important to note that there are many qualifiers to receiving these funds: you must serve at least three years active duty,
must receive an honorable discharge, and must have done certain military jobs, otherwise you get nothing.
**Enlistees must pay$1,200 ($100/month for the first 12 months of service),
whether they ever hope or intend to benefit from the education program or not. The Department of Defense admits that it makes
more money on educational benefits than it gives out.
**Less than 50% of those eligible use the money. Most who do use it to go
to community college. Community College will cost you approximately $1500/semester
Many of the job skills that people learn in the military are NOT transferable
to civilian life - either it's military specific (their computer systems) or a small detail in a large beaurocracy (without
necessarily understanding the whole picture)
* No matter what they promise you, they can put you wherever they want/need
* You need to pass certain tests in order to get the more desirable jobs
* 67% of those surveyed said they were NOT satisfied with their job while
serving in the military
* An honorable discharge can help you with government jobs
* If you question your boss, leave work, express dislike for something you
have been told to do, etc. you could end up being criminally punished (or arrested)
* You will be told what to wear and
how to do your hair
* Surveys say that either 2 in 3 or 9 in 10 women are sexually harassed while
in the military (see above for the possible response to rocking the boat and complaining)
* Racist and sexist name calling can be common. Tension is very common.
* Being degraded and made to feel like nothing is part of the process (they
take you down and then build you back up the way they want you to be - able to follow directions without questions or suggestions)
* In a military court, you don't have the same rights as you do in civilian
* Domestic violence...
* The military can change their minds about anything they agree to - but once
you start basic training, you're in (and it's hard to get out)
* Recruiters are under a great deal of pressure to get "bodies." They are
salespeople and will tell you anything to get you to sign. Once you do, they get the credit and they don't care what happens
to you next (whether you're happy or alive or...)
* Recuiters try and be your friend and do fun things with you, call regularly,
* Delayed Enlistment Program - if you change your mind you can get out of it (even if the recruiter says you can't)
- but you have to be clear before you go to Basic Training or to MEPS (military enlistment processing...) - there's a process
(call to find out more)
Money and benefits
* Your average enlisted private makes (? $15,000/year?)
* Housing and food are provided - if you like living in a barracks with others
and eating cafeteria food all day
* If you are injured during a war, they will determine when you are fit to
go back - not you.
* Health care is good - until you leave
* You have to buy your uniforms after basic training
Willing to kill or be killed
* We are living in a time of war where the reality is many in the military
need to be prepared to kill or be killed. Or wound and be wounded (both physically and mentally).
* One in 10 soldiers evacuated from the war on terror to an Army hospital
in Germany were sent solely for mental problems
* Iraq - More than 7500 have been wounded in action and 20000 have become
so injured or sick from a variety of causes that they've had to be taken to hospitals in Europe and the US
* Reserve and IRR soldiers have been called back to active duty after years
of civilian life
* Now, the military can keep you in even if your years of service are over.
In a time of war, they need you.
After you leave the service
* Unemployment- male veterans are unemployed 31% more than civilians in
age group; female veterans are unemployed 58% more
* VA hospital budgets are being cut - fewer services for those who have been
hurt (physically or mentally) in war. Many end up unemployed, homeless and without needed health care/food/housing, etc.
* Gulf War veterans are still fighting for tests because they are sick from
breathing in toxic fumes from weapons that were used. They are being ignored and meanwhile many can't sleep, work, function
* Numbers anyone?
* There are low-interest loans if you are buying a house.
* Educational benefits - see first talking point
1. Ask why people want to join the military. Write down the answers. Ask
they get that information. (Opportunity to talk about military
budgets, desperate need to recruit (they spend over $11000
new body - and how the recruiters lie.)
2. When Farenheit 911 comes out on video - show the recruiter scene
3. Talk about teens being awesome bullshit detectors - they can spot
100 miles away.
1. Say a statement and if they believe it they walk to the right of the
if they don't believe it they walk to the left and if "it
depends" they walk to the center of the room. Ask people why
where they are then let them know the answer. Go on to the next
2. Pass out cards with myths and facts on them. Ask people to read
outloud and to say if it is true or not. Discuss the answer.
3. Say a statement and if people think it's true, they stand up. (Goes a
faster but is less engaging).
1. On a board (or flip chart) write "School," "life," "home," "job," and
Pass out post-its with rights written on each (the right
to choose what to wear, the right to question authority, the right
talk to who you want, the right to laugh, the right to eat when you
want to, etc.)
Ask them to put the post-its underneath the category where it's OK to do those
things (this might be a bit loaded, change "school" and "home" if you feel like you don't want to deal with what comes out
of it - although it may be telling and a good place to have a discussion on how it feels to have those rights limited.)
Can also mention the declaration of independence (life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness) and the bill of rights (free speech, etc.) and how those are limited while in the military.
2. Role play recruiter and student
3. Case studies - small groups discuss real experiences of people in the
(we would need some) and talk about how they would deal with
4. Real stories - Jeff Lucey's story, Jimmy Massey's story, etc. People
"bought the hype", weren't conventionally "wounded" but....)
Any other ideas?????
Some suggested additions:
David hackworth's website www.hackworth.com- a forum for military folks opposed to the war. He's a retired colonel.
Michael Moore's website - letters from soldiers supporting him and
Statistics reflecting the number of enlisted/veterans who commit suicide,
info on Vietnam: http://www.suicidewall.com
3/26/04 NYT article re: higher levels of suicide amongst Army in Iraq:
Alternatives to Enlisting
(this could take the form of an activity where participants share what
lead them to enlist, then alternatives shared)
Military Myths: Combating Military Recruitment in the Classroom
Classroom Curriculum Created by Teachers for Teachers