It was one of those things you read that just wreaks of ignorance and callowness.
I saw an article titled, “Uncle Sam’s Fishin’ for Seniors.” I immediately thought that somehow our government is now taking advantage of baby boomers or senior citizens in America. I clicked on it only to find that my intuition was wrong. This article was covering the way army recruiters are now going after students in high school as a result of decreasing levels in recruitment.
Having been there done that and done it during this never-ending Iraq war, I wanted to know exactly what they were doing now. Aware of the fact that “the Army almost missed its recruiting goal for the year that ended on Sept. 30, I should have known some type of action would have been taken. What sort of action was being carried out?
Are you familiar with the Future Soldier Training Program? It’s a military program aimed at recruiting high school seniors that undoubtedly has chrome rim salesmen, retail industry giants, cell phone companies and other receptacles for youth consumerism.And just what would this program be like? What exactly would it do?
“The Army designed the program for high school seniors. It’s brand new. Promotional materials haven’t been printed yet, but recruiters are talking it up at schools,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
“The program pays students $1,000 for each month between signing the commitment contract and leaving for basic training after completing high school. The Army pays an additional $1,000 for high school graduation.”
Essentially, the military has decided that even the most patriotic young Americans haven’t really been joining to sacrifice themselves for this country. They have been joining for money to buy an education and future that may result in achieving the American Dream. Therefore, the only way to get more young Americans to join is to up the ante.
As Sgt. Cotner explained it for the Dallas Morning News:
"There's a lot of people that say they want to [join]…But they want to wait until after high school, so this gives them kind of an incentive before they have the chance to get into trouble or get into an automobile accident or one of life's misfortunes that happens…We're trying to go ahead and secure their future for them."
Basically, the idea is to enslave them or “go ahead and secure their future” by waving money at them. The other idea is to put a fear into them that if they do not join they will not have a future. As Sgt. Cotner states here, if you do not join, “one of life’s misfortunes” could occur. Of course, what he doesn’t say is that plenty of misfortunes become imminent in your future if you do join the army.
Also, military recruiters under federal law are given the same access as corporate or college recruiters but are asked to not approach students and instead let students approach them. Interestingly enough, this Future Soldier Training Program if seen in a pamphlet would get students to approach them more than they are already approached.
When I was in high school two years ago, they tried to recruit high school students by appealing to their career interests. But apparently, students were figuring out that if you go over and die in Iraq (which all recruits do whether it is physically or psychologically) you cannot pursue a career ever. So, if you really want to pursue a career, do it without the help of the military.
Here are some more details on this program:
•Open to students who are at least 17 and have completed 11th grade.
•Must earn a diploma to qualify. Those who earn a GED may enlist, but they won't get the deferred enlistment bonus.
•Students may participate for up to one year in the Future Soldier Training Program.