Children Of The Grave
When my son enters high school next fall, he'll be exposed to many sights he has so far been spared. Liberal campus towns like Ann Arbor have barriers and filters you normally wouldn't find in other districts, one of the few endorsements I can make of this provincial burb.
Militarizing the local young is generally frowned upon, which is nice if odd, given the mania for Michigan football (muted somewhat since Rich Rodriguez's arrival). Still, you can stay the hand of empire for only so long; and once he starts his freshman year, my son will directly face the propaganda and lures used to reel in impressionable teens.
Growing up in an imperialist country forces one to make choices, though not every person operates at the same level. Kids from economically devastated parts of Michigan, which are not hard to find, are easy targets for military recruiters. For many of them, there is little choice: unemployment or Afghanistan. The relentless commercial assault (led by McCann Worldgroup), where combat is video game cool, helps soften these kids up, preparing them to receive and execute orders without question. Corporate pillaging has made American youth ripe for imperial harvesting. And one by one, they are steadily plucked.
In an age of perpetual war that will not end in our lifetimes, it's vital that the military try to brainwash kids as early as possible. According to Jon Letman at Truthout, recruiters are looking for the next generation of human sausage for their grinders:
"Kindergarteners -- children with Dora the Explorer and Spiderman backpacks and bedrooms full of stuffed animals who are still working to master their A-B-C's -- are now targets for early conditioning by the US military. Never mind that Hawaii's schools have just cut almost 10 percent of classroom time, dropping the state's public schools' instructional days down to the fewest in the nation. Teacher furloughs or not, time was found for the Army National Guard to give a pitch (and a gift) to wide-eyed five-year-olds."
When the U.S. terrorized Nicaragua, domestic warmongers and jingoists bewailed the Sandinistas' "indoctrination" of their young, teaching them math by using weapons and bullets. This supposedly exposed Sandinista militarism and extremism, further evidence that we had every right to overthrow their wicked regime. Of course, had the roles been reversed, with the U.S. under foreign assault, hundreds of thousands slaughtered by a terrorist proxy army, our airspace controlled by those financing the violence while pouring money into the coffers of those Americans devoted to the destruction of the federal government, there would be no way that we would militarize our precious youth -- right?
Then again, with Muslim traitors hiding in plain sight, we doubtless have more reason to militarize the young than the Sandinistas ever did. So the comparison is hardly fair to us.
After surveying the terrain, Letman asks:
"[I]n an era when our government spends trillions of dollars supporting wars with no end in sight, at a time when we can't even fund our schools or public services at a minimum standard and only begrudgingly support health care reform [sic], what kind of society and future are we building for our children?"
I would pose that question to Barack Obama and his liberal supporters, especially after reading Jeremy Scahill's report in The Nation. It appears that President Change is further privatizing U.S. assassination efforts in Pakistan, while preparing to go overtly LBJ in Afghanistan. Given this and other realities, it may be wise to rebrand the words "society" and "future." Think of the kids, if nothing else.