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imperialism & war | youth

A Message to Parents from Sergeant Abe the Honest Recruiter

Sergeant Abe the Honest Recruiter tells all!

Remember that back-to-school registration and September are times for high school students to "opt-out" of the military database. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, school receiving federal funding MUST release students' personal information to military recruiters if they are to continue to receive funding. Students may "opt-out" of this military database at the beginning of the school year, generally by October 1.

How can a high school student opt-out?
At registration: there is a small check-box on the registration form to opt-out.
By submitting a form indicating a desire to opt-out (see  https://www.themmob.org/lmca) Hand in the form to the high school main office by October 1.
Dear Parents,

Not so long ago, joining the military was a way out and a way up for lots of young Americans. It helped them grow up, get a start in life, maybe learn a skill, defend their country and be part of a noble cause.

If you have kids today, recruiters will be around to see them. Maybe we already have, telling that familiar story.

But today, less and less of it is true. I hate to say it, but that's the fact.

For one thing, where's the noble cause? Let's face it: the latest war was based on lies. Too many troops there don't even have the armor they need. The top United States leaders try to justify torture and ignore the Geneva Convention. Terror fears are up, not down.

Meantime, the dangers keep increasing. The war's official death toll is bad enough, and it's shameful the way high officials try to hide all those caskets coming home.

But it's more than that: for every dead soldier, up to ten are badly wounded. And lots more suffer serious psychological damage: post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), Gulf War Syndrome and more. Deployments are longer and tougher. Stop-loss keeps thousands of troops in the military long past their release dates. Naturally, all this is very hard on families -- domestic abuse is much higher.

And what about all those benefits? Enlistment bonuses are up, but overall benefits are down, especially for those get wounded or suffer PTSD. Besides, military job training really doesn't help all that much in civilian life. And veterans benefits? They can't cut them fast enough.

The word about all this is spreading, so recruiting is getting harder. As it does -- and I hate to say it -- but more recruiters are telling more and more, well, lies. It makes me ashamed, but the reports keep piling up. It got so bad by May of 2005 that we had a total recruiter stand down to spend a whole day studying recruitment rules. Didn't make much difference, though.

As a parent, what can YOU do about this?

A lot actually. If your child is in high school, tell the school NOT to send their information to recruiters. (A word to the wise, though, the military will get still get the information somewhere. But the schools need to hear from you anyway.)

Then, if your child is underage, you can say NO to recruiters. But even afterward, talk to your kids. Get my special guide to the enlistment contract



Show them all the pitfalls. Urge them to go to college, trade school, start a business. They can have peaceful adventures or do volunteer work to learn how to serve their country and the world.

If they sign up for the Delayed Enlistment Program and then change their mind, you can show them how to get out -- it's easy. And if they do enlist and then regret it, remember the G.I. Rights Hotline at  https://www.girightshotline.org

So there's a lot you can do. But, still, I know, it's tough to be a parent in a time of war and in a tough economy. Where will all it end though? More wars? The draft? Who can say? It's not a pretty picture.

I know this is a lot to think about. I think about it every day.

But you know what I think is most important? That you take good care of your kids -- because we sure won't.


Sergeant Abe
the Honest Recruiter

Questions for Military Recruiters -- and the answers they should give you 12.Sep.2015 12:03

AFSC National Youth and Militarism Program

Questions for Military Recruiters

1. How long is my enlistment commitment actually for?

Answer: Your enlistment period will last 8 years. Some portion will be active duty and some portion will be on reserve duty. Reserve duty can be made active.

2. Can the Armed Forces make me stay long than what I have contracted for?

Answer: Yes. The military has the right to change your contract and extend your service longer than you agreed to.

3. Do I get paid more money for staying longer than my contract stipulation?

Answer: No, unless you receive a promotion, your pay scale stays the same, but if you are in a combat-related job, you can receive "combat pay."

4. Do I have any say in where I go and how long I'm there for?

Answer: No. The military determines where you go and how long you are there. You do have the right to request transfers to different units, but there is never a guarantee that your request will be granted.

5. How much does a newly-enlisted service member get paid per week?

Answer: (This may have been adjusted.) A new service member who is not an officer can be paid between $13,000 and $14,500 a year. An average is about $280.00 a week, with an average week of 80 hours.

6. Am I guaranteed the ability to go to college if I want to?

Answer: If you are on active duty, you are not guaranteed the ability to go to school when you want to. Your commanding officer will give their permission. You also might be deployed to a combat area for more than 12 months at a time making courses, even online courses, tough to complete.

7. Can I do a job I want to do in this branch or am I assigned one?

Answer: Your job assignment is based on your ASVAB score. If your ASVAB score is too low or you flunk out of your job training, you will not get that job and could be reassigned.

8. If I change my mind about being in this branch, can I resign?

Answer: Only an officer can resign. Enlisted members must serve their time or face harsh military penalties. Voluntary discharges can happen, but are rare.

9. What will happen to me if I decide I don't want to be involved in the military after I enlist?

Answer: You could put up with it or risk being court-martialed, receiving a dishonorable discharge, spending time in a military jail or getting a demotion and reduction in pay. You may also become ineligible for certain civilian jobs if this happens.

10. What are the most dangerous military jobs?

Answer: In a war zone, there is no job that is safe. Many service members, whose jobs were transportation-related, have been killed and injured in Iraq, but infantry-related positions are among the most dangerous traditionally.

11. Will the skills I learn in the military be useful to me in civilian life?

Answer: It depends on what your job specialty is. Much of what you will learn to do in the military will only relate to military jobs and not civilian jobs.

12. What are the negative aspects of my training?

Answer: Studies have shown that those who have been trained to kill and deal with the stress of warfare have the tendency to develop emotional and psychological health problems.

13. What do I do if an officer gives me a command that I believe is illegal?

Answer: Military training is designed to mold service members who respond to orders without thinking. Of course, if you believe an order is unlawful you have an obligation to refuse to act upon it. If the lines are blurred, most will just obey. Those who refuse, if the legal is illegal, could still face penalties.

14. What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Answer: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe mental health affliction that develops when one experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as combat or the effects of combat. Flashbacks, nightmares, depression and inability to think straight are some of the symptoms of PTSD.

15. Will I receive any compensation if I am permanently disabled in war?

Answer: Yes. You can receive compensation if you are disabled, but the payment will be based on your actual disability. The military rating system for measuring disabilities and calculating disability payment has long been thought to be unfair. A person who is blinded may only get a 50% disability rating for instance.

16. Have you ever seen combat and do you think exposure to it is healthy for me?

Answer: Any recruiter who tells you that experiencing combat is healthy must not be aware of the thousands of war veterans who are suffering from PTSD, surviving without arms or legs or whose quality of life will never be what it was before they witnessed combat.

17. Will I be deployed to the Middle East or Afghanistan?

Answer: Nearly every job is a "deployable" job. If you enlist in the Reserves or the National Guard, there is a very good chance that you will be deployed to the Middle East or Afghanistan rather than serving weekend duty stateside. Active duty enlistees should also be prepared to deploy. Forces are stretched thin and therefore new recruits should always be prepared to go to war.

"Do You Know Enough to Enlist?"

10 Points to Consider Before You Sign a Military Enlistment Agreement 12.Sep.2015 13:00

AFSC National Youth and Militarism Program



A recruiter is a salesperson who will give only a positive, one-sided picture of life in the military. Don't make this important decisino when you are depressed, hard up for work, confused, unsure about your future or pressured by your family. This decision affects many years of your life; don't make it lightly.


There is a lot of information to take in. A friend can take notes and help you ask questions.


Veterans can give you their view of military life -- good and bad.


The mission of the military is to prepare for and wage war. Are you willing to kill another person if ordered to do so? Would you be willing to fight in any war -- no matter what the reason? If you would have trouble engaging in war or killing, you should not consider enlisting. If you become opposed to war after you join, you may get a discahrge, but it is a long, difficult and uncertain process.


Read the fine-print carefully, especially the part about what the military can order you to do. You have a right to take it home, look it over and ask others about it.


Once you have left for basic training, you must fulfill the entire number of years (usually eight, with some of these in the Reserves) on your enlistment contract. You cannot leave of your own free will. In contrast, however, the military may decide you are "unstable" and discharge you without your consent.


Also remember that the military can change the terms -- such as pay, job or benefits -- of your work. Although there are no guarantees, a written statement may offer you (as a service member) some protection if promises are not met. However, the enlistment agreement is more binding on you than on the military. You are ultimately responsible for information on the form, so don't tell lies, even if pressured.


The military is not required to keep you on a full-time or permanent basis in the job you trained for. In fact, more recruiters were assigned to recruiting jobs against their will. The kind of job you get depends mostly on what jobs the military needs to fill. Most military jobs are in areas that only account for a small percentage of civilian jobs.


You will not have the same Constitutional rights. Your rights to free speech, assembly, petition and exercise of individual expression, such as clothing and hairstyle, will be restricted. You will be required to follow all orders given to you, whether you agree with them and consider them right or fair.


Before you decide to enlist, check out other options that would help you "be all that you can be." Travel, education, money for school, job training and adventure can all be found in other ways. Your local community may even have opportunities that you haven't considered.

Alternatives to military enlistment?

It's My Life: A Guide to Alternatives After High School
Available as a free download at

Center on Conscience and War's State-by-State listings of alternatives to enlistment:

Previous Post on Portland Indy - link 12.Sep.2015 14:03

-- just say no --

How to "opt out" of school military recruitment/testing/hassling

author: Fuse [2009]  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2009/12/395862.shtml

"If Obama wants to send more troops anywhere, make sure our kids know they don't have to go."


pdf link  http://media.portland.indymedia.org/media/2009/12/395863.pdf

video link  https://youtu.be/vEU_3MVlU8g

How to "opt out" of school military recruitment/testing/hassling

What The Government Really Thinks Of Soldiers 12.Sep.2015 16:47


Things to ponder:

Vox Media -- States that refuse Medicaid are leaving over 250,000 poor veterans uninsured -- May 21, 2014
 link to www.vox.com

Many assume that all of the nation's veterans are entitled to health care through the Veteran's Administration, but that's not the case; a veteran must have served for two continuous years or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. There are some exceptions — like for individuals who were discharged for a disability sustained in the line of duty — but about 1.3 million veterans remain uninsured nationwide.

According to a report by Pew using analysis from the Urban Institute, approximately 258,600 of those veterans are living below the poverty line in states refusing to expand Medicaid. Without veteran's benefits — and with incomes too low to qualify for subsidies to use on the state exchanges — these veterans are left without affordable coverage options.

National Coalition for the Homeless -- Homeless Veterans -- September 2009

Far too many veterans are homeless in America—between 130,000 and 200,000 on any given night—representing between one fourth and one-fifth of all homeless people. Three times that many veterans are struggling with excessive rent burdens and thus at increased risk of homelessness.
Further, there is concern about the future. Women veterans and those with disabilities including post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are more likely to become homeless, and a higher percentage of veterans returning from the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have these characteristics.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 131,000 veterans are homeless on any given night [1]. And approximately twice that many experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country.

Approximately 40% of homeless men are veterans, although veterans comprise only 34% of the general adult male population. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that on any given night, 200,000 veterans are homeless, and 400,000 veterans will experience homelessness during the course of a year (National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 2006). 97% of those homeless veterans will be male (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2008).

Quora Dot Com -- Did Henry Kissinger really call American soldiers "dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns of foreign policy"? -- 5/17/15 -- Comment by "Reader"
 link to www.quora.com

Yes. The quotation first shows up in chapter fourteen of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's book The Final Days. Published in 1976, the book is about the Nixon's administrations last days in office before his resignation.

Kissinger was talking to Chief of Staff Alexander Haig when he said it - and he said it to be a jerk. Keep in mind, Haig had come up through the army and was a West Point graduate, so Kissinger was just being incredibly rude to get a rise out of Haig. He apparently failed. So, whether or not Kissinger said it, and he probably did, whether or not he was sincere is another matter altogether.

I can't find any record of him denying having said it, so at least on this point, I'm inclined to trust the guys who broke Watergate.


Recruiter Watch PDX

"They'll know where you live.... They'll have your phone number.... They'll come to your door -- if you let them. Military recruiters, by strict authority of the No Child Left Behind Act, must be given the names, addresses and phone numbers of all high school students each year. Want to keep your privacy? You can be removed from the list of names by 'opting-out.'" -- The Full Picture, San Francisco, California

The September 2009 article in MOTHER JONES by David Goodman, entitled, "A Few Good Kids?," deals with the heavy military recruitment of at-risk (low-income and/or minority and/or less academic) youth and the insidious invasion of student privacy under the No Child Left Behind Act and JAMRS (consumer) database.


* Students must opt-out EVERY YEAR.
* Traditionally, the deadline for opting-out for the year is October 1.
* Students do NOT require parental or guardian consent to opt-out.
* Every public high school students' personal information is being released to the military.
* Females are NOT exempt from this provision.

* At registration - before the beginning of the school year. There is a small checkbox on the registration form that allow for opting-out.
* By going directly to the main office of their high school and amending the registration form if they have not checked the box to opt-out. (If they don't remember whether they opted out or not, students can go to the main office of their high school to verify the information on their form.)
* By submitting an opt-out form (either that supplied by Recruiter Watch volunteers or by download at  https://www.themmob.org/lmca ).


Military & Draft Counseling Project - War Resisters League
"Take a stand against War and other forms of injustice." Offers counseling on issues such as conscientious objection; pre-enlistment; separation from Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP); and draft registration/selective service requirements.
Free! We will not judge you or tell you what to do.

Recruiter Watch PDX
Recruiter Watch PDX educates youth and their families about the fine-print of the military enlistment contract (and there is A LOT of fine-print!), raises awareness of the "poverty draft" (i.e., why some of us are more dispensable and disposable than others) and provides concrete alternatives to the military.

Hey! 13.Sep.2015 17:47


Thank you all for this post!