Friday, July 20, 2007

Hook, line, and sinker

Buried at the end of a page C11 New York Times story about the funeral of 17-year-old Pfc. Le Ron Wilson, killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb, is the following:
A few blocks away…it was break time at the military recruiting center… Two girls cantered streetward…out into the sunshine… “We go leafleting, we call people up about recruitment… A lot of people say ‘no’ right away because they think they have to go straight to Iraq, but that’s not true, there’s other things they could do.”

She was 14. Her companion was 15. All told, they said, nine teenagers, paid $7.15 an hour by the city’s summer job program, are working at the Jamaica recruiting center. Military recruiting, of course, is the work of professional soldiers, not teenagers in a summer program to learn how to hold a job.
Army recruiters will stop at nothing in their quest to ensnare the unwary. Demonstrably unable to meet their recruitment goals based on the merits of military service and our ongoing adventures in the Middle East, recruiters have resorted to dangling young girls as lures, the better to coax reluctant young men to suspend logical thought and to demonstrate their “manliness” to the young girls who are trained and paid to manipulate them into signing on the bottom line, signing their very lives away.

Very creative, these recruiters! And they get this recruiting assistance for free, by exploiting a city-sponsored summer jobs program, and by exploiting gullible young girls desperate to earn a few dollars and to gain some job experience. But what are they being trained to do? Is it the purpose of a summer jobs program to teach nascent employees how to lie, whether by omission or evasion or simple incomprehension? Just how likely is it that the young recruits will do “other things,” rather than ship out to Iraq? Numerically, what are the odds?

The girl’s wording is interesting too: “there’s other things they could do” and sounds to be straight out of a training video in how to manipulate your “sales” target. Well sure, they could end up being recruited straight out of basic training into the NASA astronaut program, or they could end up in the Presidential honor guard. But the odds of doing anything not involving shipping out to Middle East are what again? Oh, right: between slim and none.

This is an abominable use of a summer jobs program, and an unconscionable means of entrapment via post-pubescent hormonal imbalance. Surely so worthy a cause ought to be salable on its own merits! But if not, perhaps that in itself should be a powerful message sent to those who rule us. The choice that has been made (in OUR name) is instead to use the gullible to recruit the gullible, by manipulation and deceit, just one more example of the immorality of the entire enterprise.

All involved ought to be ashamed.


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