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Public Health Experts Identify Militarism As Threat

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David Swanson -

Eagle Young Marines lined up for their their graduation ceremony at Camp Pendleton. Photo by Lance Cpl. Orrin G. Farmer A remarkable article appears in the June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The authors, experts in public health, are listed with all their academic credentials: William H. Wiist, DHSc, MPH, MS, Kathy Barker, PhD, Neil Arya, MD, Jon Rohde, MD, Martin Donohoe, MD, Shelley White, PhD, MPH, Pauline Lubens, MPH, Geraldine Gorman, RN, PhD, and Amy Hagopian, PhD.

Some highlights and commentary:

“In 2009 the American Public Health Association (APHA) approved the policy statement, ‘The Role of Public Health Practitioners, Academics, and Advocates in Relation to Armed Conflict and War.’ . . . In response to the APHA policy, in 2011, a working group on Teaching the Primary Prevention of War, which included the authors of this article, grew . . . .”


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Changing Recruitment Policies in Schools: One Phone Call and Email at a Time

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Kate Connell -

Kate ConnellIn the spring of 2014, I went to observe a career day at Santa Barbara High School, where my son is enrolled. There were a variety of organizations with representatives and literature tables. The Marines and the Navy recruiters were also there. They were soliciting student contact information. The Marine’s “survey” form included questions such as, “Did you know that the Marine Corps has a $150,000 scholarship?” and “Did you know that the qualifications for the Marine Corps are higher than the standards of UC Santa Barbara?” I told them that under the school’s existing recruiting protocol they were not allowed to get student information directly from students, and that they had to go through the Santa Barbara Unified School District office.

I turned around and saw the school's career counselor and approached him, reminding him about the school's recruiter protocol. He didn’t recall that part of the protocol and said he would talk to the military recruiters about it. I asked, “What about the information they have already gathered from students?” I went back to the Marine recruiters and repeated that they were not allowed to solicit student information. I picked up the surveys they had collected and said that I was going to tear them up and throw them out. They consented, so I ripped them up.

I went to the Navy recruiters’ table and told them the same thing. They had a binder with the protocol in it and looked it up. The Navy recruiter said, "That's correct, here it is, in 'G.'" (G. Recruiters visiting schools shall not at any time solicit contact information directly from students or require it as a condition to participate in an activity or receive an award or gift.) I said, "I am going to take this sign-up sheet and tear it up," holding it up for them to see, and they also said ok.

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Military testing in the nation's high schools is a violation of student privacy

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Pat Elder -

Pat ElderDuring the last year or so about half of the states have enacted legislation aimed at protecting student privacy. Meanwhile, President Obama has called for a Student Data Privacy Act, saying “data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes — to teach our children, not to market to our children.”

Most of the new laws and the President’s proposal have omitted the most egregious violation of student privacy in the nation. It is the Department of Defense’s administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to more than 650,000 children in 12,000 high schools and the retention of demographic information, social security numbers, and 3 hours of test results for recruiting purposes without parental consent.

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Hansel and Gretel at the Military Recruiter

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John LaForge -

'With sexual violence, endless wars of occupation, fatalities, brain trauma, permanent disabilities and an epidemic of suicides, what military recruiters are selling these days looks like a lot like a bad horror show.' (Photo: via occupy.com)Military recruiters must feel like Hansel and Gretel’s “wicked witch,” fattening up the children to eat them. With sexual violence, endless wars of occupation, fatalities, brain trauma, permanent disabilities and an epidemic of suicides, what they’re selling these days looks like a lot like a bad horror show.

With the chance of being sent into quagmires in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, etc. on one hand, the likelihood of being sexually assaulted on the other three-fourths and the specter of suicide among vets of all stripes¾you have to wonder how recruiters get anyone in the door. Newbies must not be reading the papers; all four active-duty services and five out of six reserve components met their recruiting goals in 2014, according to the Pentagon.

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Football, the military and one Florida high school student’s difficult choice

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Kent Babb -

MONTICELLO, Fla. — The binder sat open on his adoptive mother’s lap, turned to the page where the scholarship papers lay in a transparent sleeve.

JROTC instructor talks to students in impoverished Florida panhandle communityNik Branham said nothing, holding the phone in its camouflage case close enough that his face glowed. The woman supported her 17-year-old’s plan to join the Army, but she didn’t understand it. These papers were a miracle, as she saw it, college at least partially paid for because of the hell he had survived, a chance at an education and maybe a few more years of football, the game he once loved.

“I done explained everything,” said Alice Branham, a foster parent who adopted Nik and his older sister Ambrosia six years ago, and when the process was complete the state of Florida offered the “Road to Independence” scholarship. In the time since, Alice had come to love him, to become inspired by his confidence and also frustrated by it, to refer to him as a “pit bull”: Once he sank his teeth into a decision, he wouldn’t let go.

“Nobody can change my mind,” he said, and Alice looked away.

In the South, like most parts of the United States, football and the military are cultural siblings — two powerful and venerable forces, brought together week after week for the crowds and cameras. There are anthems and flyovers, shared terminology like “formations” and “blitzes,” pride in home teams and service branches passed through the generations like precious heirlooms.

But beyond the bright lights and choreography, these grand American institutions face frequent and, often shared, criticism: that both are overgrown and unnecessarily powerful, that players and soldiers are trained for games and combat but rarely are prepared for a return to normal life, that football and military recruiters sell a glamorized version of reality — rarely mentioning the shared risks of long-term brain injuries, psychological disorders and a shortage of post-career support.

In Jefferson County, this mostly rural and increasingly poor area in the Florida Panhandle, young people are drawn to the glory, sure, but many of them see football and military service as something more fundamental: a way out. Indeed, surveys have shown Jefferson County — nearly 19 percent of the roughly 14,200 residents here live below the poverty line — as a high per-capita producer of both college football talent and military recruits. An audit of 2013 college football rosters by Mode Analytics found that about one in every 83 boys left the county to suit up for a college team. “We’re definitely a tougher breed,” said DeVondrick Nealy, a Monticello native who’s now an Iowa State running back. -
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There Is No Future in War: Youth Rise Up, a Manifesto

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Codepink -

Statement written by Ben Norton, Tyra Walker, Anastasia Taylor, Alli McCracken, Colleen Moore, Jes Grobman, Ashley Lopez

A peace sign printed on the American Flag is raised during a protest against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Archive / History Channel)Once again, US politicians and pundits are beating the drums of war, trying to get our nation involved in yet another conflict. A few years ago it was Iran, with “all options on the table.” Last year it was a red line that threatened to drag us into the conflict in Syria. This time it’s Iraq.

We, the youth of America, have grown up in war, war war. War has become the new norm for our generation. But these conflicts—declared by older people but fought and paid for by young people—are robbing us of our future and we’re tired of it.

There is no future in war.

We, the youth of America, are taking a stand against war and reclaiming our future.

War does not work. Period.

War does not work from an economic perspective

In 2003 US politicians orchestrated the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq based on blatant lies—lies that have cost the American people over $3 trillion.

Imagine what we could have done with this money:

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    Parent Teacher Conference Night – November 5, 2014, New York City

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    Granny Peace Brigade -

    Parent Teacher Conference Night – November 5, 2014, New York CityTwice a year, at New York City high schools, volunteers distribute non-military informational flyers to parents and students during parent teacher conference night. Following is the report for the November 5, 2014 action.

    As volunteers handed out flyers to parents and students entering high schools for a meeting with teachers, the White House was deciding to send 1500 more troops to Iraq.

    The information being shared with parents includes Non-Military Options for Life After High School as well as Questions to Ask and Points to Consider Before You Enlist.

    How very important this action continues to be as wars are endless and new military recruits are needed.  For the military - where best to look than in the high schools.

    To respond, we're at high schools to counter military promotions and offer pro-peace alternatives.

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    Reflection on My Time as Project YANO’s Student Intern

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    Jesus Mendez-Carbajal -

     Jesus Mendez-CarbajalIn the past nine months as Project YANO’s 2013-2014 student intern, I have learned an immense amount of information about U.S. militarism, its far reach, and counter-recruitment. I have been directly impacted on multiple levels. I have grown mentally through the knowledge I have gained and also personally through the interactions and relationships I have built with youth, advisors, teachers, mentors, and Project YANO supporters, volunteers and board members. I have had the pleasure of working with students who look like me, engaging low-income youth of color who have stories and backgrounds similar to my own.

    At the time I began the internship, I had accepted and started working as an intern for another local non-profit organization. I am very grateful to both organizations for the opportunities they have provided me and for the personal and professional growth they have facilitated both for me and in me. I am especially grateful for the fact that both were paid internships, which allowed me the freedom to do work that I enjoy, that I am passionate about, and that is not routine -- because, as I experienced first-hand while I worked at Wendy’s, repetitive work is tiresome work.

    When I began, I was very excited to intern with YANO but I was also a bit nervous and scared about successfully balancing school, my second internship, and personal life. From YANO, its board members, program coordinator and volunteers, I learned lessons in non-profit organizing, basic mailing operations, and fund appeal letter writing; strengthened my facilitation, time management, and multitasking skills; and acquired an expanded interdisciplinary view of the world.

    Prior to applying for the position, I learned about Project YANO and heard about meetings, workshops, and conferences through board members who also happen to be some of my very close friends. They would say things like: “Oh! Project YANO is doing this and doing that,” and “We decided to move forward with this,” and I would think to myself, “Wow, that sounds awesome! I wonder how and if I can join?” I never actually asked, so when the internship opportunity presented itself I gladly applied.

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    Reflection on My Time as Project YANO’s Student Intern

    The US Military’s Totally Cool Mobile Enlistment Exhibits

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    Hannah K. Gold -

    An artist's rendering of Army mascot GI Johnny. Photo by Michael Bühler-RoseFor decades, the US military has been using souped-up mobile exhibits to recruit prospective soldiers. In July of this year, the military deployed the latest addition to a fleetthat roves the country hoping to win the hearts and minds of American youth. The new vehicle, known as the Extreme Truck, is equipped with two 32-inch gaming stations, a 60-inch flat-screen television, several smaller TVs, and pull-up and push-up platforms. It has its own Facebook page, which, at press time, has been liked 111 times.

    According to Mobile Exhibit Company commander Captain Korneliya Waters, who recently talked to Recruiter Journal, the Extreme Truck is "a symbol of independence and power." Her description reminded me of the jacket Nicolas Cage wears in Wild at Heart, which, for him, "represents a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom." Except the Extreme Truck is funded by tax dollars and designed to assist in contractually binding young people to America's wars.

    Recruiting vehicles have been around in some form or another since 1936, when the government established the US Army Accessions Support Brigade, the only department of the Army dedicated exclusively to marketing (the MEC falls under its purview). Three years later, the secretary of the Army sent a team of soldiers to operate a high-profile mobile exhibit at the New York World's Fair.


    An artist's rendering of Army mascot GI Johnny. Photo by Michael Bühler-Rose


    The military expanded its marketing efforts dramatically in the 1970s, when it lost unfettered access to new recruits after the draft was repealed. In 1973, the year the all-volunteer force was instituted, the Army launched its first successful campaign-"Join the People Who've Joined the Army"-with the help of advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son. In 1991, Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced plans to expand the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps-a program that instructs high school students in basic training skills-to 3,500 units in five years' time. Thanks to anti-recruitment activism, the plan slowed significantly. Today, JROTC units, which are filled with MEC vehicles and exhibits, are about to reach that goal. And as Sam Diener, a visiting professor of peace studies at Clark University, notes, "Both the ROTC and the military recruiting trucks are ways in which youth in the United States are militarized."

    Read More...

    For decades, the US military has been using souped-up mobile exhibits to recruit prospective soldiers. In July of this year, the military deployed the latest addition to a fleet that roves the country hoping to win the hearts and minds of American youth. The new vehicle, known as the Extreme Truck, is equipped with two 32-inch gaming stations, a 60-inch flat-screen television, several smaller TVs, and pull-up and push-up platforms. It has its own Facebook page, which, at press time, has been liked 111 times.

    According to Mobile Exhibit Company commander Captain Korneliya Waters, who recently talked to Recruiter Journal, the Extreme Truck is "a symbol of independence and power." Her description reminded me of the jacket Nicolas Cage wears in Wild at Heart, which, for him, "represents a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom." Except the Extreme Truck is funded by tax dollars and designed to assist in contractually binding young people to America's wars.

    Recruiting vehicles have been around in some form or another since 1936, when the government established the US Army Accessions Support Brigade, the only department of the Army dedicated exclusively to marketing (the MEC falls under its purview). Three years later, the secretary of the Army sent a team of soldiers to operate a high-profile mobile exhibit at the New York World's Fair.

    The military expanded its marketing efforts dramatically in the 1970s, when it lost unfettered access to new recruits after the draft was repealed. In 1973, the year the all-volunteer force was instituted, the Army launched its first successful campaign-"Join the People Who've Joined the Army"-with the help of advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son. In 1991, Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced plans to expand the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps-a program that instructs high school students in basic training skills-to 3,500 units in five years' time. Thanks to anti-recruitment activism, the plan slowed significantly. Today, JROTC units, which are filled with MEC vehicles and exhibits, are about to reach that goal. And as Sam Diener, a visiting professor of peace studies at Clark University, notes, "Both the ROTC and the military recruiting trucks are ways in which youth in the United States are militarized."

    By 2013, MEC vehicles drove a collective 600,000 miles to more than 48 states. USAASB operations stopped at more than 1,200 high schools in 2011. "The people who advise the armed forces on marketing are the top advertisers in the profession. And the audience they are seeking are millennials," says Rick Jahnkow, an anti-recruitment activist.

    The Extreme Truck, a 15,700-pound mobile recruitment vehicle that roams the country dazzling prospective soldiers. Photo courtesy of the US Army

    Another mobile unit, the STEM experience truck, is plastered with pictures of young people dressed as astronauts and staring intently into microscopes, and is pitched to aspiring engineers and scientists. Once inside, the visitor encounters a depressing scenario: The year is 2032, and there's been an attack on a chemical plant in Eastern Europe. An officer then leads the visitor to a screen, where he or she can choose from a range of tactical counterinsurgency options, including the use of drones. Speaking of which, the MEC currently operates three trucks that contain aerial simulators-the most recent being a UAV, or drone, simulator.

    "The STEM truck in particular is used to gain access instead of recruiting a certain kind of student. They try to get cooperation from science teachers and math teachers," Jahnkow told me.

    In June 2006, the first of 50 new H3 Hummers hit the road to increase interest in recruiting events. At the time, Sergeant First Class Anthony J. Colarusso told Recruiter Journal, "The H3 is a real 'icebreaker' in itself, so it should allow recruiters the ability to attract bigger crowds, which will allow us to work our magic." In the same issue, United States Recruiting Command director Donald Bartholomew referred to the Hummers as "just another tool in our kit-admittedly a really big one-that will turn heads and get feet moving toward the sound and excitement." That would be the sound of a $9,000 entertainment system that blasts waves of rap and death metal at potential recruits.

    The MEC also offers things called "Immersa-Domes," weapons simulators, and various other interactive semis, including one that has the capacity to switch from "game mode" to "classroom mode" so students can watch videos about anti-bullying campaigns and basic training in the same sitting.

    Late adolescence is an impressionable age, but the military is after kids who are even younger. If you meet GI Johnny, an inflatable goofy-grinned doll dressed in Army fatigues, and you're young enough to believe you've met a real person, then you are too young to start thinking about enlisting. But that's exactly the age group the Army has gone after lately. Sergeant Laddie Matula, who helped operate GI Johnny at a rodeo in an undisclosed American town, recounted the experience positively to the Recruiter Journal back in 2007, saying, "Parents love to bring up their little kids to meet with Johnny... Teachers take pictures while their kids shake my hand. The kids love it. The little kids are very comfortable with Johnny." Just this past spring, GI Johnny started tweeting-to little fanfare.

    The military is not at all coy about its intentions to make as many impressions as possible on the emerging generation of recruits. While the media knocks itself out trying to make sense of what a millennial is, the military already has its sights set on what they call "Generation Edge." In the September/October 2013 issue of Recruiter Journal, Steve Lambert contributed a short op-ed titled "Advertising Update: Know Your Audience: Generation Edge," in which he argues that although millennials are "digital disciples and highly sociable," new recruiting tactics need to be developed now to attract the next generation of cadets. Generation Edge (those born since 1995) are, in his estimation, drawn to messaging that promotes the "three R's": "resilient," "resourceful," "realistic."

    Screens in the STEM experience truck display fictional news coverage of a chemical attack in the year 2032. Photo courtesy of the US Army

    Some will argue that these marketing schemes pale in comparison to the kinds of career opportunities the armed forces can provide. To demolish this argument you only need to consider the ripe age at which many recruits agree to the life-altering commitment of enlisting, the fact that war is hell, and the high rates of homelessness, unemployment, mental illness, and substance abuse among veterans.

    But in the case of the MEC's efforts, another question emerges: one of privacy, consent, and equitable access. Diener says that the idea of giving equal access to the military and anti-recruiting efforts "goes back to the 1980s, when we noticed that the military recruiters were having essentially free access to high schools across the country, so students were getting a very one-sided view of the military."

    But the purpose of these vehicles, as stated by the military in its own publications, is to give the military a distinctly unequal edge, by parking at high schools they might not usually have access to, collecting data from students, making impressions, and, ultimately, producing leads on future recruits. USAREC Regulation 601-93, which went into effect in July 1996, outlines the uses of the support unit. The regulation explicitly states that USAREC should "schedule in the primary market whenever possible (i.e., HS and colleges). Priority should go to the hard-to-penetrate schools."

    In 2011, USAASB had more than 230,000 visitors, producing approximately 88,000 leads. The leads are gathered and sorted using a system perhaps not ironically named I-ELMO, which stands for Interactive Electronic Leads Management Options. According to Jahnkow, it is commonplace for recruiters to require all students to fill out personal information before participating in the interactive war games. This information is then transmitted into I-ELMO and comes out the other end as thousands of targeted campaigns to potential recruits.

    In other words, it would seem that these trucks aren't symbols of independence or power, or any other beliefs. They're well-funded marketing tools that project fantasies custom-made for teens and steer young people onto the warpath, leaving so many unexplored roads in the dust.

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    NNOMY Reader

    Tooltip Learning the Issues about Youth Demilitarization

    NNOMY ReaderThe NNOMY Reader is a useful primer to learn about the realities of military recruitment, the militarism effecting our youth in schools and our opportunities for peaceful coexistance. This collection of articles represents a historical overview of the U.S. based counter-recruitment movement's strategies to inform and intervene in schools and the community about the Pentagon's multi-billion dollar programs to recruit America's youth into escalating wars. The NNOMY Reader also includes some information on alternatives to enlistment, as well as research presented by activists and investigators on the nature and risks of cultural militarization and how it  threatens our democracy. Learn more

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    ADDICTED To WAR

    comixADDICTED To WAR takes on the most active, powerful and destructive military in the world. It tells the history of U.S. foreign wars - from the Indian Wars to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - in a comic book format.

    Get connected to youth counter recruitment activists all over the country. Check out DMZ: A Guide to Taking Your School Back from the Military an organizing guide for high school students interested in keeping the military out of our schools. We offer counter recruitment workshops and trainings for students, activists, and educators on a regular basis. Email wrl@warresisters.org for more information. From Ya-Ya Network & War Resisters League

    Demilitarizing Life & Land

    FOR Life & LandThe Fellowship of Reconciliation pursues a vision of a free and “demilitarized” world in which the Earth’s resources sustain life and promote the well-being of all people. To do so, we challenge economic exploitation, work to eradicate racism and religious intolerance, and call attention to imperialistic U.S. foreign policy. As we continue to speak truth to power, FOR engages in an ongoing interfaith dialogue to shift the collective unconscious from a fear-based military culture to a peaceful world community grounded in faith and nonviolent justice. At the start of 2011, we launched a series of projects, campaigns, and collaborations to demilitarize life and land in the Americas and the Middle East.

    Know Before You Go, 'Cause There's No Reset Button

    wrl_yaya_pampletKnow Before You Go, 'Cause There's No Reset Button is a collaboration with the Ya-Ya Network (Youth Activists-Youth Allies), a youth of color-led antimilitarist organization based in NYC.

    Our leaflet breaks down the enlistment contract and life in the military and provides new stats about sexual assault in the military, racial disparities in becoming an officer, and stop-loss.

    Written to be accessible to everyone while providing the most important info for making a fully informed choice about joining the military, this leaflet will be a staple for counter-recruiters.

    See Details and Download

    Available at War Resisters League

    Hollywood Warfare: How the Pentagon Censors the Movies

    Thinking of joining the U.S. Military to gain citizenship?

    ¿PENSANDO EN ALISTARTE PARA OBTENER LA CIUDADANÍA ESTADOUNIDENSE?"¿PIENSAS QUE EL ENROLARTE EN LAS FUERZAS ARMADAS TE GARANTIZA LA CIUDADANIA?"
    intended for non-citizens looking to join the military for immigration benefits, to let them know what to be aware of immigration-wise before approaching a recruiter.
    Print Size: 8½ x 14 (double sided)
    (Designed to be printed with Spanish and English back-to-back)

    Homepage: http://www.projectyano.org

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