Uncle Sam wants youth

Want to go to college? Want a career?

Undecided about your future? Join the military.

Lately, it seems like Uncle Sam wants you to be all that you can be, as long as it involves a stint with the U.S. armed forces.

For those who truly want to be in the armed forces, this is a great option. Our country will always need people willing to defend it, and we support that.

But we don’t support the government’s rather shady recruitment strategies.

We’ve all sat through the speeches in our high school government classes and heard the spiels back when people still answered their home phones.

The military wants you.

For many, this call goes unanswered. For high school students with the money or the grades to pursue their preferred career or college, the choice is theirs alone. They can serve in the military if they want, but they don’t have to rely on it to open future doors.

But what about the C-average students who aren’t offered grade-based scholarships?

Or the students whose parents can’t afford to send them to college and don’t know how to fill out the FAFSA?

For them, the money the military offers for a few years of their time is much more enticing. When they complete their service, the military will pay for college or job training. They can do whatever they like, a freedom they wouldn’t find if they immediately entered the workforce.

In times of peace, this offer is a steal, but in times of war, it is much more malignant.

Our government has been at war with

“terrorism” for close to six years and has used a lot of resources. The death count for Operation Iraqi Freedom alone is past the 3,000 mark.

When the military representatives talk about the great experiences they can offer these young, impressionable students, many of whom are still minors, they don’t mention what it’s like to go to war against an unfamiliar people or how many of those who sign up might never make it back.

Adults who choose to enter the military know what they’re taking on, and that’s admirable. But the way the government targets and tempts high school students whose options are limited by their family’s economic status is just wrong.

The No Child Left Behind Act also leaves no high schooler out of military recruiting efforts. The act has a provision allowing military recruiters to request the names, addresses and phone numbers of all students in a school. Students can opt out of this provision, but it is buried so far in the document that many don’t know it exists.

More information needs to be available during the recruiting process so the 16- and 17-year-olds involved can make an informed choice. It’s not all adventures and education – it’s their lives.

And hiding that fact behind dollar signs and dreams of glory is dangerously


The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.