I give everyone the benefit of doubt. I'm probably one of those
"pushovers" that used-car salesmen like. As a matter
of fact, I've been taken in by my fair share of them. I usually
chalk it up to "live and learn" and vow not to let it
happen again. We expect certain types of behavior from used-car
salesmen. We know in advance that they will say anything to make
a sale. My apologies to the sincere and honest used-car salespeople
out there in the world. I know you are the exception, not the
As I said, we expect certain types of behavior from certain people
in the world. However, we like to think our government will act
honorably in the things it does. When the recruiters contact our
children, we want to believe everything they tell our kids is
true. The kids listen and believe. It's the United States Government!
Why would they lie or make things up? Maybe not EVERYTHING is
true, but the important parts are, right?
Wrong! Let me tell you a story.
My daughter, Liz, has talked about joining the military since
she was in middle school. She loved the idea of the physical challenge.
She wanted to be strong and important. She entered high school
and the recruiters began circling. They monopolized career day.
They came to the house. They called. Finally, she was in her senior
year, and the contracts began flowing. She took her ASVAB test
and scored a 71, which offered her a career in just about any
field she wanted. She had her choice of jobs. She chose Aviation
Electronics. It's a high-security job, pay is terrific, but the
school is a year long. Rather than the standard 4 active, 4 inactive
years, they insisted she sign on for 5 active, 3 inactive to compensate
for the year she will be in training. She signed.
Enter Basic Training. Off she goes to Parris Island, where she
spent 12 weeks in training. She loved it! She came home for 10
days before MCT (Marine Combat Training), and couldn't say enough
about the amount of fun she had and the wonderful new friends
I was so happy for her. She looked so grown up. I had a year
before I needed to worry about where she would be stationed --
or so I thought.
She graduates MCT this coming Tuesday. She was handed her orders
this afternoon. They have arbitrarily CHANGED her MOS [military
occupational specialty]. She went from Avionics to Ammunition
Technician. Her schooling will now only be 38 days. Let me repeat
that 38 DAYS. What exactly will you learn in 38 days that
will prepare you for life-threatening situations? She could potentially
be deployed before the end of the year. This child just graduated
high school in May.
It is my contention that the military starting with her
recruiter and heading straight up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
knows that they are lying to these kids. They talk them
into signing for that extra active year, then give them what they
give them. They are told they are guaranteed a job, and then they
play "administrative mistake" and there's no one to
complain to or change it.
She is signed on for five years. This is not a high-interest
car loan. This is what our government has decided to do to our
kids. Tell them whatever they want to hear, get them to sign,
and they'll just conform to our every whim.
In further conversations with my daughter over the past few days,
I found that at least ten other women in her platoon suffered
the same fate. These girls are not happy about the change in career
that was assigned to them. However, in the face of reality, they
know that trying to fight this may cause significant problems
during their careers. Let's not discuss those problems in detail.
They could range from retaliation from fellow Marines to passover
of promotions to being sent to the proverbial Russian Front.
I sit here today with my hands tied and completely frustrated.
I must respect my daughter's wishes to not stir the pot. I don't
have to like it. I don't even have to agree with it. The choice
is hers to make, not mine. I remain a mother who is concerned
for her daughter's life and safety, and that of countless future
military personnel everywhere.
Originally posted at: http://www.tampaindymedia.org/bin/site/templates/default.asp?area_2=imc/open%20newswire/2004/Oct/49128.578125.dat
This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter
of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (http://www.comdsd.org)