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Signs of a Coming Push to Further Militarize Schools

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Rick Jahnkow -

A Marine Corps recruiter talks with two potential recruits. While all the active-duty services met their goals for 2013, Pentagon officials expect recruiting to get more difficult starting next year. (Marine Corps)In May 2013 the Military Times newspapers carried an article titled, “Services Prepare for Scant Recruiting Year.” It began with the following sentence:

Finding recruits to join the military in 2014 could be increasingly challenging, even with declining recruiting goals, defense and service personnel officials are warning Congress.

It went on to say that it is hard to see the problem because the active-duty military has been meeting its goals for quality and quantity of recruits, but then the Army Reserve missed its goals in the first quarter of fiscal 2013. The article also reported that on April 17, Jessica Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel readiness, warned the Senate Armed Services Committee of a possible future recruiting problem due to the improving economy.

Wright’s statement to the committee pointed out that “a slow economy makes recruiting less challenging,” but “signs of economic improvement” could soon end the current optimistic recruiting environment and, together with other factors, lead to recruiting difficulties.

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New Jersey’s Occupied School Districts

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Michelle Renee Matisons and Seth Sandronsky -

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (left) and Newark school chief Cami Anderson (right) teamed up, along with former mayor (now Senator) Corey Booker to implement corporate "school reform" and the charter school attack on public education in the state's largest city.With globalization, the expansion of capitalist production has doubled the planetary work force, and U.S. elites in New Jersey and other “blue and red states” are defunding urban education services and then conveniently refunding education through private market interventions. As corporate America flexes its political power by renting lawmakers at all levels, mass incarceration of the racialized populace has been a key social policy reflecting this trend of globalized class power. Like the War on Drugs that parallels it, the War on Public Schools directs public attention to a singular cause for the class inequality inherent in the capitalist system. Both “wars” masquerade as comprehensive solutions to crime and poverty, fixating on symptoms and not root causes of social problems.

Racialized class power is found everywhere in predatory reform targeting poor urban school districts. Like the War on Drugs, it disproportionately affects poor people of color, but poor urban and rural whites are casualties in both wars too. The bipartisan War on Public Schools picks up and exacerbates social outcomes created by the bipartisan War on Drugs: urban communities continually bear the brunt of a political system unified by racialized class power. Far from withering away, contemporary U.S. capitalism increasingly relies upon the state’s regulatory powers.

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Play virtual war as much as you like, but don’t shoot at the Red Cross!

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Permanent Observatory on Small Arms, Security and Defence Policies (OPAL) -

(See article of origin from International Red Cross below Notes on this Press Release by OPAL)

NPR: A gamer plays a war game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in June. The ICRC wants war games to spread understanding of the rules of armed conflict.The Permanent Observatory on Small Arms, Security and Defence Policies of Brescia (Italy) considers “inappropriate and counterproductive” the initiative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to cooperate with companies that develop and produce video games reproducing real-war situations to introduce into such video games the rules of war and international humanitarian law.

A recent statement released by the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report s that “The ICRC has started working with video game developers, so that video game players face the same dilemmas as real soldier”. 1

"Not only does this legitimise the use and dissemination of these video games but, paradoxically, it contributes to making them even more realistic, thus creating a dangerous affinity between the game an d reality» - says the Permanent Observatory on Small Arms (OPAL) based in Brescia.

"We acknowledge – continues the statement of OPAL – that today these video games have a global circulation and we understand the need to find ways of avoiding that they may further promote a notion of war as an indiscriminate reality. But we believe that the effort to include the rules of war so as to make these video games “closer to reality” 2 is artificial and, above all, counterproductive".

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) , after releasing last year a paper 3 on the relationship between “video games and humanitarian norms”, has decided to collaborate with developers of video games that simulate real situations of war. “The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – reports the statement released by the ICRC – has publicly stated its interest in the implications of video games that simulate real-war situations and the opportunities such games present for spreading knowledge of the law of armed conflict”. “However – the statements notes – the ICRC is not involved in the debate about the level of violence in video games”.

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In Chicago schools' Junior ROTC programs, some see a troubling trend

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Matthew Kovac -

From left: Yasmin Nair, Jesus Palafox and Owen Daniel-McCarter. Photo by Carrie MaxwellBeate Medina was returning home from walking her dogs one evening in May 2004 when she saw two Army officers standing at her door. The sight did not immediately register. Uniformed officers are a common sight at Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii, where her husband’s division was based, and their street was being renumbered. She thought they had the wrong house.

It was not the wrong house. Staff Sgt. Oscar Vargas-Medina, a 32-year-old construction equipment repairman with the 84th Engineer Battalion, had been killed along with another soldier when their convoy was attacked in Al Amarah, Iraq.

In the days that followed, Medina could not sleep; time as a concept ceased to exist. “It was like I was in a fog,” she said.

Born in Cali, Colombia, Vargas-Medina grew up in Chicago and attended Roberto Clemente Community Academy High School, where he was a member of the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. When he went on to join the Army in 1992, Medina said he was likely thinking about how to provide for his first wife and their young son.

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Linchpin of Pentagon’s School-based Recruitment: Student Testing Program (ASVAB) Rife with Errors and Contradictions

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Pat Elder -

Student Privacy Compromised by Massive Program

Pentagon's ASVAB testingIn late December, 2013 the Department of Defense released a database on the military’s controversial Student Testing Program in 11,700 high schools across the country.  An examination of the complex and contradictory dataset raises serious issues regarding student privacy and the integrity of the Student Testing Program in America’s schools.

The data was released after a protracted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

See the State ASVAB Databases and the National Database.

The DoD’s Freedom of Information office reports that 678,000 students participated in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program (ASVAB-CEP) during the 2012-2013 school year, down nearly 10% from the previous school year. The three-hour test is the linchpin of the Pentagon’s school-based recruiting program and provides the Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM) an invaluable tool in prescreening candidates for military service.

The ASVAB is the military’s entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. Since 1968 the test has also been used as a recruiting tool in high schools. It’s used by USMEPCOM to gain sensitive, personal information on high school students, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 18. Students typically take the test at school without parental consent and often without parental knowledge.

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America's Child Soldiers

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Ann Jones -

Article image

Congress surely meant to do the right thing when, in the fall of 2008, it passed the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA). The law was designed to protect kids worldwide from being forced to fight the wars of Big Men. From then on, any country that coerced children into becoming soldiers was supposed to lose all U.S. military aid.

It turned out, however, that Congress -- in its rare moment of concern for the next generation -- had it all wrong. In its greater wisdom, the White House found countries like Chad and Yemen so vital to the national interest of the United States that it preferred to overlook what happened to the children in their midst.

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Conversation with Rickover Cadets on Facebook

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Gary Ghirardi -

Chicago military acadamiesRarely do conditions line up like this for NNOMY but a recent article that appeared in Yahoo News about Rickover public military academy, in Chicago, that included an interview with Jesus Palafox from our steering committee, got posted as a promoted post on NNOMY's Facebook page and the cadets from the school converged on the posting with their group outrage. But a conversation took place. Below are a selection of student comments to the Yahoo article including my responses done as best as I could with available time in a series of a few days. The conversation from the student side reveals more about how the education and the thinking that is coming out of the new militarized public charter schools is forming young minds. The time of the Vietnamization of war is truly over and the voices in this program represent a new generation of militarized youth. For them, the military is again an adventure, and an opportunity where no other seems available. The instinct to challenge this type of path for their lives seems not present but rather a condemnation of their generation. It reminds me, in part, of the era of my own father during the Korean War.

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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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