Debate: Recruiting soldiers in schools
Preying on young people, or offering them an opportunity?
With the debate over military recruitment heating up, JAIME HOLGUIN looks at both sides.
Friday, 22 September, 2006, 22:54 EDT, US
It’s a contentious question: How much access should military recruiters have to students and their information?
The debate is not a new one, but its importance seems particularly acute today, with the unpopularity of the Iraq war — along with its death toll — continuing to grow.
Persuading young people to join the military, particularly the Army, has become a hard sell. To compensate, the Army — which is bearing the brunt of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — increased its corps of recruiters, took to the Internet to attract potential recruits and revamped its benefits package.
The strategy seems to have worked. On Friday, the Army enlisted its 80,000th soldier, reaching its recruiting goal for the year, which ends Sept. 30.
While military officials marked the occasion with a celebratory enlistment of that 80,000th soldier in New York’s Times Square, groups that accuse the military of “manipulative recruiting tactics” continued efforts around the country to keep those numbers down.
Each of these groups is doing what it can to reach young people before the military does — especially in the nation’s schools. They range from a Los Angeles educator’s coalition that distributes anti-recruitment literature at schools, to the editor of counterculture underground magazine “Arthur,” who put out a new compilation record — “So Much Fire To Roast Human Flesh” — that benefits anti-war groups.
In this podcast, asap talks to people on both sides of the fiery debate to find out where it stands today.