The Few, the Proud, the High School Students

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Thank you George Bush and the 186 Republicans in the House and 43 Republicans in the Senate who passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001.

Buried in Title IX — General Provisions, Part E — Uniform Provisions, Subpart 2 — Other Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act in Section 9528 — Armed Forces Recruiter Access to Students and Student Recruiting Information, is the following provision relating to military recruiters and high school students:

(a) POLICY —

(1) ACCESS TO STUDENT RECRUITING INFORMATION — Notwithstanding section 444(a)(5)(B) of the General Education Provisions Act and except as provided in paragraph (2), each local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary school students names, addresses, and telephone listings.

(2) CONSENT — A secondary school student or the parent of the student may request that the student’s name, address, and telephone listing described in paragraph (1) not be released without prior written parental consent, and the local educational agency or private school shall notify parents of the option to make a request and shall comply with any request.

(3) SAME ACCESS TO STUDENTS — Each local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as is provided generally to post secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers of those students.

(b) NOTIFICATION — The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall, not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, notify principals, school administrators, and other educators about the requirements of this section.

(c) EXCEPTION — The requirements of this section do not apply to a private secondary school that maintains a religious objection to service in the Armed Forces if the objection is verifiable through the corporate or other organizational documents or materials of that school.

(d) SPECIAL RULE — A local educational agency prohibited by Connecticut State law (either explicitly by statute or through statutory interpretation by the State Supreme Court or State Attorney General) from providing military recruiters with information or access as required by this section shall have until May 31, 2002, to comply with that requirement.

Since I never filled out an opt out form, my son received a small packet in the mail with the following note from the Marine Corps Recruiting Command:

Dear High School Student,

When our nation was founded, Marines were there to secure freedom. Today, it is up to young men and women like you to continue defending our way of life.

Training will offer demanding challenges, but it will also give you the skill and courage to fight for what’s right. You will earn the title Marine and take your place among 234 years of honor. It will be up to you to uphold the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for future generations.

PRESERVE THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE.

Complete and mail in the enclosed card today. We will send you an information kit and your choice of free Marine Corps dog tags, duffle bag or skullcap. You can get more information right now at MARINES.COM/GOAL or contact us at 1-8-MARINES and give code “GOAL.”

Semper Fidelis,
Fenton Reese
Sergeant Major, United States Marine Corps
Sergeant Major, Marine Corps Recruiting Command

P.S. Show your Marine Corps pride — hang the enclosed poster in your school locker or bedroom.

Included in the packet was a card to fill out with pictures at the top of the dog tags, duffle bag, and skullcap mentioned in the note. An extra card was also included to “have a friend join you.” The card requests not only one’s name and address, but also one’s e-mail address, phone number, cell number, date of birth, school name, and last grade completed. The poster mentioned in the note has two sides. The first side contains the image of a sword with “United States Marines” on it. The other side contains images of thirty-two different Marine Corps recruiting posters, some apparently from World War I.

First of all, why would any young woman want to join the Marines? Among other reasons, several of which I discussed in “No, You Can’t Have My Daughter,” there is the risk of death or sexual assault. Since the beginning of the so-called war on terror, there have been over 100 U.S. female military personnel killed in Iraq and 20 in Afghanistan. Of all the places for a young American woman to die, a war zone in Iraq or Afghanistan shouldn’t be one of them. And of all the ways for a young American woman to die, getting blown up by an IED shouldn’t be one of them. Sexual assaults in the military are on the increase — as acknowledged by the Defense Department.

And second, why would any young man want to join the Marines? Just look at all the lies in the brief note from the Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

  • Lie no. 1: “Today, it is up to young men and women like you to continue defending our way of life.”
  • Lie no. 2: “Training will offer demanding challenges, but it will also give you the skill and courage to fight for what’s right.”
  • Lie no. 3: You will earn the title Marine and take your place among 234 years of honor.
  • Lie no. 4: It will be up to you to uphold the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for future generations.

The unvarnished truth is that Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan are not currently defending our way of life, they are not currently fighting for what is right, they are not currently worthy of honor, and they are not currently upholding any freedoms for future generations.

If you doubt the truth of what I’m saying, then I refer you to not just my book and my article archive, but to ex-Marine James Glaser, ex-Army Michael Gaddy, ex-Air Force Mike Reith, and the veterans who signed my “Letter to a Christian Young Man Regarding Joining the Military.”

By the way, my son will not be sending in the reply card — or getting the dog tags, duffle bag or skullcap.

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