Thursday, June 16, 2005

Dealing In Death And Donuts

Well, this is creepybadwrong. Bob Herbert on the Army's "School Recruiting Program Handbook":

"The football team usually starts practicing in August," the handbook says. "Contact the coach and volunteer to assist in leading calisthenics or calling cadence during team runs."

"Homecoming normally happens in October," the handbook says. "Coordinate with the homecoming committee to get involved with the parade."

"Recruiters are urged to deliver doughnuts and coffee to the faculty once a month, and to eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times a month. And the book recommends that they assiduously cultivate the students that other students admire: "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."

That last quote is a particularly creepy microcosm of the "only the little people fight wars" mentality..

"If you wait until they're seniors, it's probably too late," the book says. It also says, "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."

The sense of desperation is palpable: "Get involved with local Boy Scout troops. Scoutmasters are typically happy to get any assistance you can offer. Many scouts are [high school] students and potential enlistees or student influencers."

I'm not a parent (nor likely to be), but this is still disturbing as hell. Herbert also points out that these efforts are, of course, targeted primarily at lower income public schools where the students have limited life options after graduation.

Democrats really need to start publicizing this - I can't believe a whole lot of parents would be okay with the idea of recruiters cozying up to scoutmasters. If we can't get poor red-staters on pocketbook issues, let's appeal to their concern for their children. Make them decide whether they're really more afraid of gay recruiters than Army recruiters. Highlighting the desperation also underlines just how close to a draft we really are, and how unprepared for another pre-emptive war of choice.

Right now, every time the White House talks tough about Iran, Syria, or North Korea, the blue-collar red-staters puff their chests out and say, "That's my brave, manly president! USA! USA!" I want them to start nervously pulling their children closer instead.


Mike M. said...

Geez. Remember the secretaries! If we'd acted fast enough, they could have been grunts who would have been captured when their supply convoy got lost and then later rescued in war-promoting video footage!

Ever see the movie "Starship Troopers"? That's where we're headed.

I have a friend, headed to Iraq now, who was in Gulf War I. He was psychologlically discharged after the first Gulf War because he's, well, crazy (and even he admits that)... he fell on hard times recently and called a recruiter. They took him without question and, according to the last letter we received from his, has now been trained as a paratrooper.

Eli said...

Yeah, I saw Starship Troopers. Very enjoyable as fiction.