My "big fundamental" is that being _left_ means working for a more egalitarian, democratic society, but also for fairness, not ethnic or other kinds of favoritism. Because the left has turned away from fairness it is lost and unpopular. I'm a small voice hoping to push the left back toward its basics and its natural popularity.

Monday, July 25, 2005

High School Anti-Recruiting in September? No?

The Achilles heel of the neo-con empire wars is military recruiting. The most recent reports, from June, show it way under target four, five, six months in a row. And the reason is reassuring: the Iraq war is very unpopular, and a strong majority of young people do not want to fight and die there. What if recruiting dips still further, could this force our nation to come home, soon, from its oil and blood soaked crusades? I think so.

We must anti-recruit, however, in our nation’s high schools, not the much more familiar and comfortable college campuses, because that is where the vast majority of potential recruits are. Unfortunately peace activist anti-recruitment (or counter-recruitment) is minimal. I searched reasonably diligently on the internet for organized activities at high schools during the critical first two or three weeks of school. I googled, and checked out major peace organizations and minor. Finally, the fruits of my labor: The Lehigh Valley Peace Coalition plans to leaflet several of the area’s bigger high schools. And there’s something planned for Albuquerque. I’m sure there’s more, but at this point there won’t be much anti-recruitment going on in America’s high schools in the first weeks of class.

What a tragedy, which is particularly acute because of a matter called opting out. “Opting out” allows parents to fill out a form and get their children off the military recruiters’ call and visit lists. Yet this option is best taken, and often can only be taken, in the first few weeks of class. In any case, the military recruiters show up when school starts, in force, and they will have already contacted many seniors in the summer. Will the graphic truth about Iraq be there to counter the lies? Simply exercising our right to post the truth on a school bulletin board might turn someone the right way. But how many students will sign away their souls before hearing of other options?

Finally, where is the national leadership on this issue? Where the heck are the big national peace organizations? Planning for the big march September 24 is fine, but empire seems to withstand big marches. The Achilles heel is in the halls and classrooms of our high schools.

Our goal is to get our troops out of Iraq, and we may be able to help make that happen, soon! We just have to attack our enemy's weak point, and help squeeze dry the supply of cannon fodder. That is what is so exciting about early September: it is the first opportunity since June to speak directly to the potential cannon fodder.


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