Thursday, May 15, 2008

Military Recruitment in Schools Crosses the Line

by Maria
posted on Student Voice, a PBS online feature

The shiny, black Hummers with hip-hop music blasting out of the huge speakers in the trunk were parked in the patio during lunch.There were a dozen students dancing to Kanye West as other students approached the trucks with puzzled looks. What they found were tables filled with brochures, pens, free key chains and soldiers casually standing by with their camouflage uniforms and combat boots, promoting the U.S. Army. U.S. Army soldiers came during the winter to our school to tell students about the job opportunities that the army can offer, and hopefully, to convince them to sign up for the army.
But all they seemed to do was glamorize the whole concept of what the army is.
Yes, they told of all great job opportunities: We can become doctors, nurses, computer technicians, anything we want. But did they really tell us the dangerous side of the army over all the loud music?
It seems hypocritical that instead of telling us about the dangerous fighting in Iraq, the 4,000 Americans that have died since 2003, and the millions that suffer everyday because of the wars the army participates in, they play 50 Cent songs and have pull-up contests.

The army is no joke. Basic combat training consists of nine weeks of intense training, including learning how to use M-16A2 rifles, rigorous physical tests and attending boot camp.
You are away from your loved ones for months, maybe years, and you never know when you'll go home and see them again.During combat, you go days without shelter, you fight against other soldiers or civilians, and most times, you don't know if you'll make it through the day. These US Army soldiers have no right to glamorize the army for unsuspecting high school students. Yes, the trucks, the free key chains, pens and the loud music may seem exciting and interesting now, but the army's recruiting strategies are deceiving and give us mistaken ideas of what fighting in a war really demands. This propaganda occurring in our school is disturbing because it is a distorted image of the army. It feels like they are trying to trick us into joining.

Maria was born in Argentina, and moved to the United States in 2000. She writes for the Lightning Strike newspaper at Krop Senior High School in Miami, Florida. In the future, she hopes to become a journalist and write about her opinions.

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