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Who’s really preying on teenagers?

Online Journal

By David Howard,  Contributing Writer Oct 10, 2006,

Note: as the article is copyrighted at Online Journal, I am only posting significant excerpts from the entire article - Arthur Ruger


The scandal of former US Representative Mark Foley hitting on teenage boys pales in comparison to the Pentagon’s serial penetration of our high schools and the Armed Forces’ barely-legal attempted seduction of every 16 to 18-year-old male and female, Congressional page or not.

By virtue of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, military recruiters get the names, addresses and phone numbers of all high school juniors and seniors, unless they or their parents explicitly object.

Military recruiters are also lurking in cyberspace 24/7, using technology like MySpace and Podcasts, and they’re luring unwitting children into lethally dangerous combat liaisons by inducing them to play interactive, first-person-shooter war games on ww.americasarmy.com.

On the America’s Army website any child still left unrecruited can obtain “hands-on support from army recruiters,” free t-shirts and game discs, or engage in “simulated missions in the war on terror.”

And if that’s not an alluring enough fatal attraction, your unprotected child in cyberspace is just a click away from America’s Army’s “Virtual Recruiting Center.”

All this hi-tech glitter, dazzle, blood and gore costs American taxpayers a good chunk of the $3 billion spent annually on recruitment. Child recruitment does not lead to Mark Foleyesque Instant Message hookups, but rather to piles of 18 and 19 year-old soldier corpses in Iraq, where the most likely hook-up is to life support equipment and prosthetic devices.

...School administrators are up against a very slick, cynical and well-funded operation. Here are a few recruiter tips from an Army handbook published in fall of 2004:

* "Cultivate coaches, librarians, administrative staff and teachers."

* "Know your student influencers. Students such as class officers, newspaper and yearbook editors, and athletes can help build interest in the Army.”

* "Coordinate with school officials to eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times each month."

* "Deliver donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month."

* "Get involved with the local Boy Scouts.”

* "Order personal presentation items (pens, bags, mousepads, mugs) as needed.”

How can we keep the Pentagon from preying on our children? It won’t be easy. The American Friends Service Committee has been working on constructive alternatives to the military since 1917. Their web page provides an excellent start for youth, educators and activists.

David Howard is a member of the Board of Directors of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. DavidHoward@aol.com.

Copyright 1998-2006 Online Journal

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Military Recruiters in High Schools

Signing Up or Opting Out

Aggressive Military Recruitment in schools in your community?  You actually can do something and take action to educate parents, students, school staff.  Learn about OPT OUT form; share it in your community. 

In January 2002, The No Child Left Behind Act became law. It requires local educational agencies receiving federal assistance to "provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary school students' names, addresses, and telephone listings." 
   At present, the only way students are not automatically contacted by recruiters is for parents and/or students to formally express the desire not to be contacted.  However, school districts across the country have not uniformly informed parents and students of this option.  Further, school administrators can be also be subjected to pro-military social pressures.  And, they must also deal extra fiscal expenditures to comply with present policy.
But there is something you can do now to actively participate in disseminating information in your own community.  There is the ability for a parent of an under 18 yr old student to sign an OPT OUT form.  A student 18 yrs can sign the OPT OUT form for him/her self.
You can find the Opt Out form here, print it out, parent to sign if student under 18 yrs; student to sign if 18 yrs or older and give the signed form to school principal or administrator.

see more information here; link

  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

Job Training/Skills*

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.

* 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 life

* Domestic violence...

Recruiters Lie

* 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, etc.
* 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
their 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 normally, etc.

* 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
where they get that information. (Opportunity to talk about military
budgets, desperate need to recruit (they spend over $11000 on each
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
manipulation 100 miles away.


1. Say a statement and if they believe it they walk to the right of the
room, 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 they are
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
theirs 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
lot faster but is less engaging).

1. On a board (or flip chart) write "School," "life," "home," "job," and
"military." Pass out post-its with rights written on each (the right
to choose what to wear, the right to question authority, the right to
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
military (we would need some) and talk about how they would deal with
the situation.

4. Real stories - Jeff Lucey's story, Jimmy Massey's story, etc. People
who "bought the hype", weren't conventionally "wounded" but....)

Any other ideas?????

Some suggested additions:

Traprock's Website

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
Farenheit 9/11

Statistics reflecting the number of enlisted/veterans who commit suicide,
which is sobering.

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
might lead them to enlist, then alternatives shared)

additional resources:

Military Myths: Combating Military Recruitment in the Classroom
A Five-Day Classroom Curriculum Created by Teachers for Teachers




Students 17 yrs and older are being aggressively recruited in their schools by military recruiters due to a provision in the No Child Left Behind act. 
With military recruitment numbers down for 3rd consecutive month in the effort to maintain an all-volunteer military force, students are subjected to aggressive recruitment campaigns.
You and/or your student may not be aware that you can sign an
 'Opt Out' form to prohibit school personnel from providing the
 contact information of students to military recruiters.

 Student Opt Out form, download, pdf

Restoring Privacy to Young People

For Immediate Release - Thursday, March 17, 2005

Congressman McDermott delivered the following remarks at the opening of a press conference where he and Representatives Stark and Woolsey joined members of the punk rock band "Anti Flag" highlighting the groups launch of a nationwide petition drive to the fix the "No Child Left Behind Act."

A provision in the act gives military recruiters access to student records.

MilitaryFreeZone.org's Online Petition regarding the No Child Left Behind Act

see interview with Rep. Jim McDermott at Democracy Now! No Child Left Unrecruited

In the No Child Left Behind Act of President Bush, military recruiters are permitted into the high schools to actively recruit young people, aged 17 and up. The schools are required to provide contact information of the student, name, address, phone from the school records to military recruiters.

It is not well known among students and parents that a form can be signed 'opting out' of having recruiters contact a student. At this time any parent of a student under age 18 can sign the form on behalf of their child and give it to school principal or school administration which would then prohibit school staff from providing contact information of the student to military recruiters.

A student aged 18 yrs can sign the form without need of parental signature and present to school principal or administration.

The purpose of the 'opt out' signed form is to prevent the student from being aggressively recruited by military recruiters. The military recruiting practices of recruiters target the student in school, and with persistent phone calls after school hours.

Rep. Mike Honda has introduced legislation that reverses the process, so that instead of having to opt-out by signing the form; instead a parent or student would have to opt-in and sign a form giving permission to have their contact information released to military recruiters.

Why this is important is because at this time parents and students are not uniformly being told of the opt-out form and often are unaware it is an option.

"Student Privacy Protection Act, H.R. 551"

2/2/2005--Introduced. Student Privacy Protection Act of 2005 - Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to revise provisions for military recruiter access to secondary school student information.

Requires ESEA-assisted local educational agencies (LEAs) to notify each secondary school student's parent of the option to consent to a release of the student's name, address, and telephone listing to military recruiters, and to give the parent the opportunity to provide such consent in writing.

Requires such LEAs to provide military recruiters, upon their request, with access to such information on a student only if the student's parent has given such written consent.

To Rep. Honda's office: Fax (202) 225-2699 or E-mail – vivek.kothari@mail.house.gov

To the MCC Washington Office: Fax (202) 544-2820 or E-mail – mccwash@mcc.org

*H.R. 551 has the following cosponsors:

Reps. John Conyers (D-MI),
Sam Farr (D-CA),
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ),
Luis Gutierrez (D-IL),
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY),
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH),
Barbara Lee (D-CA),
Betty McCollum (D-MN),
Jim McDermott (D-WA),
James McGovern (D-MA),
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY),
Ron Paul (R-TX),
Bobby Rush (D-IL),
Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA),
Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH),
Diane Watson (D-CA),
Robert Wexler (D-FL)

Right now, there is no similar version in the U.S. Senate. Even if the legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Honda does not pass and it appears it has been introduced, voted down and shelved, the 'opt out' process still remains in effect, However, the parent and student must be aware of the 'opt out' form to know to request and use the opt out process. In this situation ignorance is not bliss; parents and students need to know their right to 'opt out' of having military recruiters actively recruit the student.

Military Recruiting

Honesty and Stop-Loss
I sent the following out to every Washington State Representative and Senator whose address I could find as well as the governor and others in authority.
Then sent it to every U.S. Senator and Representative whose address I could find as well as the Pentagon, Rumsfeld, and the Bush administration.
Dear Senator/Representative
I want to write and encourage you to explore legislation at the state or national level that requires a formal presentation of the Stop-Loss Pentagon policy as it is applied to enlistment contracts into the Guard, Reserves and active-duty of all military organizations.
When one buys a house or car the signing includes an assortment of paperwork that involves among other things a paper trail of full faith and disclosure. The idea is that the buyer or borrower is required to formally declare and acknowledge that he/she has had all the implications of the contract explained and understands them.

Diaries :: Arthur Ruger's diary :: :: Trackback ::
The issues brought up in the recent Santiago vs. Rumsfeld case magnify that - among other things - those who sign on the bottom line are generally in or just out of high school with limited experience in the world of employment, self-sustenance and dealing with the consequences of decisions which may or not be decisions of the moment driven by impulse.
As it is, our high schools have become something you and I never had to deal with in our lives - mandatory attendance and presence in what is literally shark-infested waters where military recruiters enjoy open-season with unrelenting aggressiveness towards our children at school.
I am employed as a social worker for the state of Washington. Last month I had occasion to interview a young man a year out of high school - a young man still considering college, trade school or immediate employment. I asked him how often recruiters contact him.
He did not hesitate. "2-3 times a day every day."
Recruiters hiding behind the No Child Left Behind and preying on families who are very poorly informed about opting out of recruitment efforts are more and more becoming the public face of a desperate and cynical Pentagon that appears more and more to be the senior hucksters trying to maintain unreasonable quotas at the expense of truth.
A "read-this-before-you-sign" requirement with its implied session of "truth-in-lending" would give greater credence to those who defend Stop-Loss with the disingenuous "They knew what they were getting into."
Further, it would remove some of the sense of victimhood presented by these young soldiers as well as the sense among their families that the soldier AND the family have been HAD.
Such legislation is very much in harmony with current tenets of American capitalism that facilitate aggressive marketing and public disclosure. It would also, I believe, help to inculcate among those who do understand Stop-Loss and go ahead and sign the enlistment contract a sense of genuine sincerity and appreciation of what they are laying on the line.
It would help the signing to become almost the commencement moment of an act of patriotism genuine in its purpose.
Again, I encourage you to work within your legislative houses to draw up and pass something that goes way beyond the simple and shallow "Support the Troops" bumper stickers and that involves recruits and their families more fully in such an important participative moment at a time of national emergency.
Otherwise, Stop-Loss as currently administered and justified is a simple and fraudulent deception with deadly consequences.
I'd be happy to discuss this with you at your convenience.
Arthur Ruger
Bay Center, WA

"It's time to punch the clock ... the Battle for America has begun"

Click on link above for an excellent 4 minutes of getting your patriotic fire relit.