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Letter: From military recruiters, the sin of omission

We commend Tyler Hussey for his letter, “High pressure techniques from military recruiters” (Monitor, May 23). The recruiting that goes on in our schools is insidious and pervasive.

There are so many ways the Pentagon uses to recruit young, impressionable individuals. For example, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test; the proliferation of JROTC units in high schools; the No Child Left Behind law (Section 9528 allows for the collection of students’ personal, private data if the child or parent does not “opt out”); the use by the Pentagon of the Joint Advertising Market Research Survey) where the military collects students’ personal information through contacting yearbook companies, class ring enterprises, and from trolling Facebook pages.

Regarding recruiters, it isn’t that they all lie, but rather it is the sin of omission they commit. No recruiter is going to talk about the possibility of being killed, losing limbs, traumatic brain injury, PTSD (which can last for a lifetime), the military sexual trauma which occurs in both women and men. Certainly, no recruiter will mention that one in three women will be raped while serving.

We would do well to recall Eugene Debs’s quote: “I would no more teach children military training than teach them arson, robbery or assassination.”

WILL THOMAS

Auburn

(The writer is coordinator of New Hampshire Veterans for Peace.)

Will, Your email implies you are a vet and if so, I thank you for your service. That said, it sounds like your expectations for military life were much different from the realities you faced. Personally, i do not think it takes a PhD candidate to consider the risks of wartime military service. Also, the frequent ads for "The Wounded Warrior" and similar programs have not hidden the pictures of those warriors who came back with serious injuries and their families. Certainly the risks need to be mentioned, not unlike the risks for going to surgery (similar lists) but we have to assume anyone who volunteers for military service has risk-tolerance levels at least slightly above average. In addition, its not like non-military life is risk- free either. Young folks who do not join the military also sustain serious injuries, (some permanent) and die from risky behaviors, pure accidents and disease. How many life-altering injuries were preceded by those fate full words, "Hey dudes - watch this!) Every life path has risks. On the plus side; I am impressed with the maturity level of ex-military compared to the average non-military young person - there are extra benefits as well as risks in the military ( I know you know this probably far better than I). So in 25 words or less; what kind of informed consent document or process do you propose?

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