The US military is so short of recruits that it is using false advertising and misleading fine print contracts to recruit 14-year olds for combat duty.
In an effort to increase its ranks for coming wars, the U.S.
military is recruiting–and paying–children as young as 14 years old
for future combat duty. It’s called a “pre-enlistment” program.
Excerpted from “Pointblank“, one of Des Moines’s alternative newspapers. From a recent column written by Tim Schmitt.
The military is faced with a shortage of manpower not seen in decades, so it claims it is appealing to the patriotism of parents to guarantee a future fighting force. In reality the army is bypasing the parents and tricking, seducing and bribing young boys to sign up for combat as young as 14.
Here is how it works. “Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act (No Child Left Alive??)enables recruiters to gain personal information about students from school records. (The only time parental involvement is required is when it comes time to sign papers.) Recruiters, often pretty young female soldiers, gain access to the high school campuses to buttonhole boys and set up off campus meetings, confirming them by calling them at home. The off campus meeting can involve both male and female recruiters arnd ofter takes place at a coffee shop or pizza place known to the kids.
The army recruiters offer the kids a bonus of $10,000.00, paid in yearly installments plus $350 a month stipend until the boys go into the army in four years. Sometimes the meetings are at places like comics shops where the boys can see how much they can buy with the money. Then they go home and pressure their parents — or parent — to sign the permission slip so they can get the cash. Their parents have no idea they are being recruited, much less about to sign an agreement that requires them to enlist when they graduate from high school — no college deferments, no sports scholarships, no matter what changes happen durng the 4 years of high school.
The army says it is a simple agreement. A young man who is at least 14 years old and has a parent’s permission (one parent only that is) can enlist in the U.S. military but will not report until he is legally of age. Combat duty is a requirement, a point not always clear to the boys.
One mother took a close look at the fine print. It revealed that, not only was her son unthinkingly signing up to be in combat, the $350 monthly stipend her son receives is actually an advance on his $250 per month combat pay and $100 per month hardship duty pay. What the army is doing is guaranteeing that the boy will go to war and the Pentagon is paying him now so he can’t back out later. Any recruit faces strictpunishment if they refuse duty when coming of age. If the recruit is incapacitated or killed before two years of service, he or his relatives will have to pay back the rest of the money “owed” to the government.
High school students can petition their high school to remove them from the recruiting lists given the army if they don’t want to be pressured into enlisting. And they can just say no.