Friday, June 10, 2005

Recruitment...or kidnapping? 

Unpopular wars make it tough for the military to meet quotas. And while some of us may feel a draft coming on, under the current administration extreme measures are taken to meet recruitment targets. Among the many scary stories in this nasty business to support an illegal and useless war, the following story qualifies as "scary as hell"...


The synopsis...a nice 17 year old is pursued beyond his 18th birthday with a set of tactics so convoluted one wonders whether to call it brainwashing, kidnapping or both.

Here is the quote that smacks of kidnapping:

Next thing Axel knew, the same sergeant and another recruiter showed up at the LaConner Brewing Co., the restaurant where Axel works. And before Axel, an older cousin and other co-workers knew or understood what was happening, Axel was whisked away in a car. "They said we were going somewhere but I didn't know we were going all the way to Seattle," Axel said.

Taking someone away in a car?...what did they promise him...

Just a few tests. And so many free opportunities, the recruiters told him. He could pursue his love of chemistry. He could serve anywhere he chose and leave any time he wanted on an "apathy discharge" if he didn't like it. And he wouldn't have to go to Iraq if he didn't want to.

Note that they even knew Alex's father had died when Alex was 4, and worked on him with quotes like "You don't want to be a burden to your mom," "Be a man," and "Make your father proud." Never mind that, because of his own experience in the service, [his mom] says enlistment for his son is the last thing Axel's dad would have wanted.

Earlier blogs here on The Bite focused on Stephen Ducat's "The Wimp Factor." Could there be a tactic more obvious in trying to make Alex's manhood threatened? I say, wimps have to resort to killing. Real men support life.

To return to Alex, though, the next part is out of "How to condition someone to join your cult 101":

At about 3:30 in the morning, Alex was awakened in the motel and fed a little something. Twelve hours later, without further sleep or food, he had taken a battery of tests and signed a lot of papers he hadn't gotten a chance to read. "Just formalities," he was told. "Sign here. And here. Nothing to worry about."

Read Robert Levine's "The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold," and this little escapade will resound chillingly with the chapter on the Jonestown massacre.

I say it's time we stopped trying to make our young citizens drink the Kool-Aid. Plea to military recruiters: If you can't meet quotas, try treating the disease instead of the symptom. Get out of Iraq now.


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