Letter: Nothing sneaky or illegal in military recruiting
I have a solution to Ginny Schneider’s complaint about Monitor photos of children wearing “military garb” and the presence of military recruiters in schools (“Childhood, military don’t mix,” Monitor Forum, Feb. 15). We could reinstate the draft and relieve the pressure on recruiting. The draft would also give many snot-nosed couch potatoes a taste of the real world and some much-needed discipline they don’t seem to be getting at home.
There are disturbing and misleading statements in Schneider’s column. First, are all these photos of kids in actual military clothing, or just the ubiquitous camo items available at any Walmart?
Children since way before my time have played army and cops and robbers. As kids, we would scour the local army/navy store for inexpensive surplus military gear and clothing to validate our imaginary battles. Kids need heroes to look up to, and they could do much worse than our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and police, rather than people like Justin Bieber, Keith Hernandez, Miley Cyrus or Dennis Rodman.
Second, recruiters cannot process anyone younger than 17 into military service, and at 17 only with written parental consent. At 18, these young men and women are considered consenting adults who can make their own career or lifestyle choices.
Schneider makes recruiting activities appear to be a covert conspiracy. But this has been going on for decades, right out in the open.
The recruiter’s function begins with providing young people information concerning career options. Once they reach the appropriate age, the recruiter’s task is advising these young adults and processing those who choose to enlist. No one is forced to enlist in the military; that’s why it’s called an all-volunteer force. None of this violates any U.N. policy.