Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Recruiter Protesters Have Got to Go

Yesterday students protested the presense of military recruiters on school campuses. I heard them on the UW campus yesterday, but wasn't close enough to hear what they were objecting to. Probably a good thing, because while I respect their right to peaceful protest, I think that their energies are misdirected.

I share their objections to the war and understand their sentiment about not wanting their fellow students or themselves to risk their lives on a cause they don't believe in. And some recruiters have used pretty slimy tactics to meet (or try to meet) their quotas; not something that I respect. I can't count the number of stories I heard about Navy Airmen recruited because of some story about being like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. These airmen saw a lot of F-14's and flight deck action, alright, but the closest they would get to a cockpit was if they were cleaning it. But in a time of voluntary service, everyone makes his or her own choice about entering the military. As much as people may not enjoy their time in service, they signed on the dotted line, and must fulfill upon their commitment. And the military is still a good option for a lot of people. It is a way to pay for increasingly expensive education, and for many it is a way out of the inner city, or their depressed factory or farm town. Without recruiters, the other option to staff a military is a draft, where people don't have the option of serving, and I don't think these students want that.

My advice to these students is to protest the war, write their congressmen, and vote against those elected officials who commit our troops to battle. Warn your friends about the risks of military service, and then let them make up their own minds.


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