WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

U.S. inconsistent when condemning child soldiers abroad?

ASIA TIMES on-line carries a column raising what some will see as an incendiary issue: U.S. condemnation of countries where kids are coerced into becoming soldiers (with some convenient exceptions), while here in the United States, Junior ROTC programs promote military recruitment from an early age.

Obviously, the Pentagon doesn't abduct kids into battle. But as Ann Jones argues in this article, JROTC programs certainly may make young people more receptive to joining the U.S. military. A subtle - or not so subtle - class bias may be on display as well. I would suspect the JROTC is disproportionately represented in, should we say, inner-city or working-class high schools, not affluent, mostly college prep, suburban high schools.

And is it not a cop-out to argue such programs provides "structure" to keep kids in school? Why can't academic courses and particularly academic-enhancing extra-curricular activities provide that "structure"?

And just to play devil's advocate, we have a Delaware Military Academy. Has anyone given serious consideration to starting a Delaware Peace Academy? Or a Delaware Feed-the-World Academy? (Granted, Wilmington Friends School may come closest, but that's both private and pricey.)

Read the article, "Parading America's child soldiers to war"...


Posted at 7:53am on December 17, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Dec 17, 2013 8:01am
Once again, Loudell misses the obvious. JROTC is voluntary. And students in JROTC progams don't go into combat.

But if he wants to object to recruiting kids, he should not leave out the Boy Scouts, which draw kids as young as seven for its programs and which the military considers a prime recruiting tool. He should also question why so many "Christian" churches got involved in sponsoring Scout programs - or did, until the Scouts started changing some of their homophobic ways.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Dec 17, 2013 8:05am
We agree, Bill...

And I was debating whether or not to mention Scouting in my initial post. Even as a kid, I found the uniforms repugnant for the reason you mention.

Tue, Dec 17, 2013 12:24pm
As you said, the JROTC doesn't force/kidnap any children off the streets and into their programs.

The author's comparison of JROTC (or B.S.A.) to the war criminals using children as "cannon fodder" is quite a stretch and just sad.

And is it not a cop-out to argue such programs provides "structure" to keep kids in school? Why can't academic courses and particularly academic-enhancing extra-curricular activities provide that "structure"?

Some "kids" need more than academic structure and academic-enhancing extra-curricular programs to help them succeed. What works for some, does not work for all. Some kids have never had any structure in their lives and something like JROTC may actually help them focus on the academics.

Tue, Dec 17, 2013 1:09pm
Maybe it makes kids more susceptible to joining the military but how many actually become officers? If this program is for academically challenged inner-city kids, they are not exactly officer material. And it is called "the reserve officer training corps" after all.

And, once again, Loudell ignores the media's own culpability in promoting wars and recruitment.

Tue, Dec 17, 2013 6:58pm
Allan: I would submit to you that a military academy IS a peace academy, as a strong military must be maintained in order to keep the peace. You wouldn't want unarmed police officers, would you?

Also, the military has of late done a lot of humanitarian
work around the world.

Wed, Dec 18, 2013 10:48am
The Military academies of both the German and Japanese populations of the 30's, weren't very peaceful or humanitarian.

Pizza, that was a gross mis-generalization.

Wed, Dec 18, 2013 7:24pm
Bill: I was speaking specifically of American institutions, not our attackers.

Thu, Dec 19, 2013 7:19am
Point I was making, those citizens of those two nations, were probably making the same claims as you in the 1920's. It all depends upon who is running the apparatus whether they are for peace, or for its opposite.

Thu, Dec 19, 2013 7:44am
Remember those atrocities in Viet Nam committed by West Point graduates?

Thu, Dec 19, 2013 8:26pm
There were also some committed by the Viet Cong.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 2:44am
Kavips: That makes it OK? The Uncle Corn-pone - Tricky Dick propaganda machines kept telling everybody the U.S. was "the good guys." So, you hold "good guys" to the same standard as "bad guys." I know you believe in double-standards for members of entitlement/victim groups, but for uniformed baby killers? West Point is supposed to teach codes of duty and honor. Apparently, the code they really teach is lip service and don't get caught. Otherwise known as hypocrisy. And that is typical of military schools.

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