Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Military Recruiting Under Increasingly Widespread Scrutiny

Appearance of a topic in Vanity Fair isn't respected by all folks so The Recruiters' War probably has not changed too many pro-war folks minds... But... I have a conservative friend (hard to believe I know, but... true) who, while he hasn't actually chided me for reading articles in the magazine, nor for forwarding such articles to him, says in his deep, booming and courtroom trained voice that conveys far more his words, "Well it is not my usual type of reading..." But after I finish writing this entry I will send it to him, and get his take on this trend. I suspect even a Republican attorney will be softening his stand on the clear black and white nature of military recruiting. People are getting information about the issues that concern them, even if they have to get it through non-traditional channels.

No matter what you feel about high end women's magazines, this article about 10 apparently representative recruiters who admit to recruiting young men and women (boys and girls really) who do not meet standards because of problems with health, parental status, drug use and the like are the norm is worth a read. When examined with other co-occuring events, the increasing public scrutiny of unethical military recruiting practices as part of a governmental culture of corruption is almost to be expected.

A Tucson friend who has participated in anti-war activities after having served in the military and having a husband who retired from the military told me her story of how her just in remission son enlisted only to have recruiters call because of crossed wires after he was on his way to Iraq. After talking to him for a while she realized that the recruiter was going through files of kids with cancer in an attempt to recruit those now in remission. Ghoulish. You can read the incredible and inspiring story of this family in an article by her husband, Jeff Latas, who is the AZ LD 26/CD8 candidate who will ruin against Kolbe.

And should you need to see more data before you can agree there is a trend, just look at the fact that voters in San Francisco approved ballot measures to ban handguns in San Francisco and urge the city's public high schools and college campuses to keep out military recruiters. Yes, this isn't just about vague notions of war and honor. This is a local issue. War is a local issue.

I'm also feeling a personal sense of vindication that I am really and truly in the right when it comes to my dealings with certain recruiters who have attempted to intimidate me on two occasions when I was doing nothing wrong. One time I was inside the recruiting station about a recruiting concern -- I was really upset that my 15 year old daughter had received phishing materials in the mail. The recruiters took advantage of that to try to intimidate me and while they never asked me to leave and wouldn't give me the information for which I asked, they did surround me while yelling and called the police. Later when I was documenting an event for a Raging Granny action--the same nasty lying recruiter was the one who singled me out as one of the Grannies to be arrested even though I clearly was not participating in the attempt to enlist. After I protested that the recruiter was singling me out for reasons other than actions that day, he had another confab with the police and they then decided to arrest several other "minor" journalists, but not the ones from the local network stations. The lying and scheming that these folks are capable of carrying out is frightening. The even more frightening thing is that the police are far more concerned with buddying up to the military than insuring the citizens who they serve have their right to protest protected.

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