Why We Still Need a Movement to Keep Youth From Joining the Military
Elizabeth King /Article Originally appeared in In These Times web edition in June 2019 -
Out of the spotlight, dedicated counter-recruiters around the country are steadfast in their organizing to cut off the human supply chain to the U.S. military.
Eighteen is the youngest age at which someone can join the U.S. military without their parents’ permission, yet the military markets itself to—which is to say recruits—children at much younger ages. This is in part accomplished by military recruiters who visit high schools around the country, recruiting children during career fairs and often setting up recruitment tables in cafeterias and hallways. As a result, most students in the U.S. will meet a military recruiter for the first time at just 17 years old, and children are getting exposed to military propaganda younger and younger.
The recruitment of young people to the military is as old as the military itself, and has become more and more normalized along with the general militarization of schools. According to the Urban Institute, more than two-thirds of public high school students attend schools where there are “school resource officers,” a name for school-based police. This police presences comes on top of the role of military recruiters on campuses, or at college and career fairs.