A Good Time to Question the Militarization of Students in Our Schools

by on August 8, 2022 · 20 comments

in Education, From the Soul, Military, San Diego

by Ernie McCray

So sad
that law makers,
U.S. Senators,
with all the power
in their possession
to do wonderful things,
that there are ex-servicemen and women
who have fallen ill
from breathing in poisonous air
in the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan,
chose, instead of lending them a hand,
to play games,
putting on a shameful minstrel-like show,
fist-bumping and back patting
and shucking and jiving
finally giving in
when veterans
and a comedian got ahold of them
and wouldn’t let go.
While, at the same time.
at a school somewhere
a sharply dressed military recruiter
wearing spit-shined shoes,
was trying to entice teens
into signing up to fight
the battles in the sky and on land and sea,
painting imagery in their minds
of glamour and honor
and respect,
“Making a Difference,”
playing on their innocence,
their financial and social insecurities,
plying them with promises
of scholarships
and rich job opportunities,
with no mention that they might someday
have to lay their life on the line
to get any of this,
that there could come a time
when they’re home recovering from
wounds suffered on a battleground,
mentally and physically unsound,
desperately in need of care
with none to be found
as being held up as “heroes”
and told
“Thank you for your service”
only goes so far when you’re down.

And, yes, the wars will go on
as the world doesn’t know how to get along
and it will be the young
who heed the call
to take up arms
but why not, at least,
let them finish
high school,
such a rite of passage
in America, as a rule,
so, they can make choices
on their own
regarding enlisting in the military,
rather than being pressured
by fast-talking soldiers or sailors
trying to corral the enlistees they need
to make their monthly quota
and keep a job that keeps
them far from the battle fields.

Oh, too many GIs get a raw deal
and with the way Senators
playfully lollygagged like fools.
before taking care of veterans
the way they’re supposed to do,
it appears this might be a good time to question
the militarization
of students in our schools.


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris August 8, 2022 at 11:07 am

Having known several guys (and two gals) who did recruiting and classifying tours it’s a bit unfair to vilify these individuals. They are under intense pressure to make quota and in many cases face disciplinary action if they don’t. Sadly this results recruiters in pure desperation getting people in they know will not be a good fit and be a possible danger other members of their unit. Sometimes they even joke hoping to never be stationed in the same unit with the very people they get in.
The military is never going to go away and there will always be a need to bring in new people. I don’t have an answer as to how to accomplish that and not use predatory practices (my buddy’s term) on high school campuses. Sadly it is what it is.


Rick Jahnkow August 10, 2022 at 3:42 pm

Yes, recruiters can feel tremendous pressure that causes them to use deception in order to meet their quotas. So, then, what responsibility is owed to the unsuspecting young people who fall for those deceptions? Do we tell them after they’ve been sexually assaulted or developed PTSD, “It is what it is”? Or do we make sure that young people get a more balanced, accurate view of what they should expect? Why do we have to accept the current size and missions given to the U.S. military, which are what ultimately drive recruiting quotas?


Chris August 10, 2022 at 9:09 pm

The point was we shouldn’t be vilifying the recruiters themselves but rather the system that puts them in that position. As to sexual assaults, yeah it’s bad but that doesn’t change the fact most service members (including women members) never experience it. PTSD? That’s a real problem for sure know this. Most Navy and Air Force members never experience boots on the ground combat. My only time in “theater” was 900 miles away from the fighting onboard a ship. I was in more danger driving my car to the base. As for those who did experience combat up close, yes many do end up suffering from combat stress related PTSD but even then not all. I have Marine and Army veterans friends who did a few combat tours and are unfazed by it, and others who didn’t come out so well. There’s no one size fits all.


Rick Jahnkow August 11, 2022 at 2:21 pm

So is there no obligation, then, to inform young people targeted by recruiters that these things could happen to them because they don’t happen to everyone? By the way, by 2012, 45% of personnel returning from their deployments to Iraq/Afghanistan had applied for disability benefits. This is ALL personnel, including members of the Navy, Air Force, National Guard and Reserves who were given duty in the war zone, who might have previously thought their greatest danger was driving their cars to a base.

At least the pharmaceutical industry is made to cite potential medication side effects in their advertising, even if they are likely to be rare occurrences.


Rick Jahnkow August 11, 2022 at 2:23 pm

FYI, the 45% stat is from a news report by Associated Press dated 5/27/2012.


Chris August 11, 2022 at 6:57 pm

“So is there no obligation, then, to inform young people targeted by recruiters that these things could happen to them because they don’t happen to everyone? ”
There is not.


Chris August 11, 2022 at 7:14 pm

Think about it. Do really think a recruiter is going to give a potential recruits the whole story of what these kids are getting themselves into lol.


Rick Jahnkow August 12, 2022 at 5:06 pm

Lol? The job they are performing includes fooling inexperienced, vulnerable young people into making a risky choice they wouldn’t normally choose if they had all the facts. I see no defense for that, and it’s why recruiters are often vilified.


Chris August 13, 2022 at 9:49 am

It goes back to what I said earlier. They are under intense pressure to make quota or face consequences. It varies year by year as sometimes the military (or specific jobs with in it) are either over manned or undermanned. I don’t know how it is now but in the 90s (I was a Navy Personnelman – PN) and there was such a shortage of recruiters that people were actually getting forced to go into a recruiting tour or be separated out of the Navy. Recruiting tours even in the best of circumstances are extremely stressful. Intense pressure, very long hours (even longer than the typical sea duty workday), leadership constantly monitoring your progress, analyzing every hour you are up and breathing air, consequences for not making quota, little to no personal life of your own (and remember, we’re talking about a shore tour), I could go on. So despite the unscrupulousness of their job, yes it is wrong to vilify them individually.


Frank Gormlie August 11, 2022 at 9:51 am

Thanks Rick for aiding in our discussion. And good to hear from ya!


Chris August 8, 2022 at 11:13 am

Tho on the other end, the military as been a godsend for many who were smart and savvy enough to use the benefits they were entitled to. The military has made it possible for individuals to get a degree and even an advanced degree. Also depending on the their rate/MOS, a usable skill for life after the military. Not all wind up on the homeless veteran statistic.


Rick Jahnkow August 10, 2022 at 3:26 pm

Of course, some vets have used their benefits to their advantage. However, it’s not the military that deserves credit for those benefits–it is we, the taxpayers who sacrifice billions of dollars every year to finance our wars and the military establishment. It diverts resources away from making higher education free, or at least much more affordable. People should not be forced to become destroyers of other countries in order to go to college.


Gilbert E Field August 10, 2022 at 4:15 pm

As they said in the 60s:

Join the Army.
Travel to Interesting Places
Meet Exotic People
Kill Them.


Thomas L Gayton August 11, 2022 at 9:56 pm



sealintheselkirks August 19, 2022 at 8:34 pm

In the mid 90s-2000 I lived across from the ONLY anti-war protester in 1960s Mt. Shasta. Doris became a friend and we used to talk a lot on politics both past and current. The FBI used to raid her house…and she was always being harassed by the local cops. I heard a lot of stories from her as she was a safe house for draft dodgers and AWOLs heading to safety in Canada. They had a hidden cabin out in the woods somewhere to stash people and used decoy cars, etc etc to get anti-war resistors up into Canada.

I helped her with stuff now and then after her husband went down with dementia and was put away. Picked her up off an icy street when she fell and broke her arm getting the mail one day and couldn’t get up…she was 77 then.

She gave me two gifts when she was moving out of the house she’d lived in for 60 years to a granny flat at her daughter’s house. She was still sharp minded but physically ailing so…

One is an amazingly beautiful lava bomb rock blown out of the volcano last eruption (I guess) that fits in my palm. It had been cut in half and the incredible inside was polished but only later did I find out what it actually was (hint: it isn’t just a rock!). The second gift was a poster hanging on the hallway wall heading to the back door mud room. Tacked at the top but all curled up and covered in cobwebs, and I was helping her pack up so I unrolled it to find a 2×3 foot original Vietnam war poster that had never been in the sun. Brittle paper, fly-specked, and had been there since the 1960s! It cost me $200 to have the local art shop clean and restore and frame it. They did a hell of a job and it was worth it. Hanging in this house.

‘Visit Fascinating Vietnam’
above the grunt holding his M-16 as he ran, and across the bottom was
‘Fun Capital of the World.’

In tiny print on the bottom is Screenprint ( a C for copyright next to it) AA Sales 9600 Stone Ave N. Seattle USA.
It has the only picture I have of my Uncle Kenny in Vietnam standing in front of the huge 6x supply truck he got blown up in delivering to a fire base, and the 1965 10 Dong coin he sent my stepmom to give me is tucked into the glass in the edge of the frame with the picture. He looked so lost…and now he looks so very young.
One thing that bothers me on this recruiting crap, though. Why do people complain about ‘child soldiers’ in other armies but in the US it is just fine to ‘recruit’ kids before they’re even out of high school? ROTC is everywhere, marching back and forth with guns on their shoulders.

So before they can even legally have sex, before they can drink a beer, before they can buy a car or rent a place to live without mommy’s co-sign they get to become killers of men. What does that say about this society? That it is based on the Roman military of hand a 14 year old boy a sword and he joins the Legion? At least the Romans let them be fully adult…

How about this? Raise the recruiting age to 21 when they are adults to make that choice when they can think a bit more rationally and are better educated sounds like a much better idea. And how about free college education (like some countries already do) to improve the minds of these young people.

Oh wait, then they might be smart enough to NOT join the military. The MIC can’t have that now can it? Fresh meat I believe it was called…

Second point is that aren’t women supposed to be smarter than men? Then why the HELL did they start clamoring to be allowed to become ‘equal’ to murderous men? That certainly doesn’t sound to me like any difference at all. Since both sexes are the killers of the Great Ape family I guess that it become a question of equal opportunity killer.

It’s like Mother’s Day which was started by a mother protesting AGAINST war. Now it’s just a giant commercial holiday that lost its original meaning. Where are the mothers resisting this indoctrination of their defenseless children with their unformed minds???

That’s not really a snark…



Chris August 24, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Boy you sure said a lot.


Gilbert E Field August 20, 2022 at 12:17 pm

The military will never raise the age necessary to join as they rely on the bravado and immaturity of recruits to fight together in terrible situations. By 21, many of those same kids would not charge up a hill under machine gun fire because they were smarter than that.


Chris August 24, 2022 at 3:56 pm

I work in a military training command, and the majority of our new accessions are over 21. Many are even in their late 20s to early 30s.


sealintheselkirks August 27, 2022 at 2:14 pm

This is a good overview from outside the military box:

ROTC Redux: A Bete Noire Of The Anti-War Movement Is In The News

“…grassroots efforts are well described by Kershner and Scott Harding in their 2015 book Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools, which documents JROTC targeting of “under resourced schools and low-income communities, where opportunities are limited and young people are susceptible to the military’s promise of career advancement and college benefits.”

NOTE: In other words, it’s just an ‘economic draft’ of the lower economic and marginalized segment of the population because there aren’t anywhere near enough damn jobs that can pay the bills…which is what us lefties were saying back in ’73 when conscription of fresh meat for the grinder was shifted to the so-called ‘volunteer army’ that never lived up to the dream.



sealintheselkirks September 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

Today’s article on this subject, Ernie, by award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer Robert Koehler. A taste of history lost in the current overbearing military myth…

Just how awful was the corrupt thinking in the Pentagon and how this worked in 1973 when they ended the Draft? And more on point, WHY the military did that. It was only to kill the growing anti-war sentiment in the US and form the basis for the ‘Poverty Draft’ that they now operate on. As the recent (and current multiple) wars have shown, it never was about ‘protecting’ the country…

Put too much money into wars and not education and jobs works, eh?

VERY enlightening article for those who sucked too much of that military propaganda as children. Bluntly, get the recruiters off campus’ is a great idea. Maybe increase education budgets and job opportunities with some of that Pentagon cash would be a good idea, also.

The Military to American Youth: You Belong to Me

The U.S. military needs more than just money (a trillion dollars or so) in its annual budget. It needs access to America’s young people as well—both their wallets and their minds.




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