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Trolling for Kids: The Empire is Using Hard Times to Help it Recruit More Imperial Troops and Cannon Fodder

 

In the militarist society in which we live in these latter days of American Empire, all soldiers are “noble heroes” who have signed up at “great personal sacrifice” to “defend our freedoms,” and we are all expected to pay homage and a great deal of our hard-earned money to support them, both in their brutal efforts to subjugate people in desperately poor parts of the world, and (when they leave the service, either to take jobs in the private sector or to live out broken lives if they were wounded) as veterans.

But let’s be honest about all this.

Most of the men and women in the military didn’t join the US armed forces out of any noble motives. They joined because there are no jobs to be had, and the military is taking pretty much anybody who’s willing to sign on the dotted line (they’re begging for recruits). Or they joined because of the promise that they would get trained for a better career, at government expense. Or, like one kid I know, they joined for the excitement.

Just today I got a phone call from a recruiter asking if I was “interested in learning more about the Army.” I don’t know if he was so hard up he was hoping to sign a 63-year-old war resister, or whether he thought he had my 18-year-old son on the phone.

But looking at a Navy recruiting flier that came in the mail the same day addressed to my son, it’s clear that the Pentagon is not trusting to patriotic fervor to lure its new cannon fodder.

Selling military recruitment as a jobs fair. Heroes for hire?Selling military recruitment as a jobs fair. Heroes for hire?

The recruiting flier starts out by telling my son that “In today’s Navy what you get out of your job can set you up for a lifetime of success.”

Signed by “Thomas Gelker, Commander, US Navy,” the glossy letter goes on to say, “Don’t take my word for it. Take inventory of what you want out of a career. Then compare your job prospects in the real world to the outstanding opportunities available in the Navy.”

The following list he provides includes:

* Hundreds of high-tech positions in over 60 highly competitive career fields

* Paid training to learn high-tech skills and work with the latest technology

* Potentially, full tuition for college

* Competitive salary with opportunities for promotions, plus potential specialty pay and retention bonuses

* 30 days’ vacation with pay earned every year and free or low-cost travel opportunities

* Generous retirement income after 20 years plus a 401(k)-like savings plan

* Tax-free allowances for housing and meals plus tax-free shopping privileges at military stores

* Complimentary/discounted recreational privileges, including golf, swimming , fitness centers and more

(As an aside, I find it instructive that the very things that America’s business and political leaders are complaining are costly job perks demanded by unions that are allegedly making America “uncompetitive in the global marketplace” are being offered to our soldiers and sailors as job inducements.)

Only at the end of the list does Gelker throw in:

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