Denmark Vesey's Plantation

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Military Service is Hazardous...

WARNING: Joining the Military Is Hazardous

Military recruiters tour the country selling a dangerous product with glamorous ads, just like tobacco companies or drug pushers. The ads promise opportunity and adventure -- but don't believe the hype.

1. Joining the military is hazardous to your education.

The military isn't a generous financial aid institution, and it isn't concerned with helping you pay for school. Two-thirds of all recruits never get any college funding from the military. Only 15% graduated with a four-year degree.

What about going to school while you're in? Many GIs report that military life leaves them too busy and exhausted -- and doesn't really make time for them to go to class.

2. Joining the military is hazardous to your future.

Joining the military is a dead end. After you've spent a few years in the military, you're 2 to 5 times more likely to be homeless than your friends who never joined. And, according to the VA, you'll probably earn less too. The skills you learn in the military will be geared to military jobs, not civilian careers; when you come out, many employers will tell you to go back to school and get some real training. As former Secretary of Defense Cheney declared, "The reason to have a military is to be prepared to fight and win's not a jobs program."

3. Joining the military is hazardous to people of color.

During the Gulf War, over 50 percent of front-line troops were people of color. Overall, over 30 percent of enlisted personnel but only 12 percent of officers are people of color, who are then disciplined and discharged under other than honorable conditions at a much higher rate than whites. When recent studies showed a slight dip in young African-Americans' (disproportionately high) interest in the military, the Pentagon reacted with a new ad campaign. They're targeting Latino youth with special Spanish-language ads. The recruiters' lethal result: tracking high achieving young people in communities of color into a dead-end, deadly occupation.

4. Joining the military is hazardous to women.

Sexual harassment and assault are a daily reality for the overwhelming majority of women in the armed forces. The VA's own figures show 90 percent of recent women veterans reporting harassment - a third of whom were raped. Despite the glossy brochures that advertise "opportunities for women," the military's inherent sexism is evident from sergeants shouting "girl!" at trainees who don't "measure up," to the intimidation of women who speak out about harassment and discrimination - not to mention military men's sexual abuse of civilian women in base communities.

5. Joining the military is hazardous to your civil rights.

If you aren't willing to give up your rights, the military isn't for you. Once you enlist, you become military property: you lose your right to come and go freely, you're ordered around 24 hours a day, and you can be punished by your command without trial or jury. Free speech rights are severely limited in the military. You can be punished for being honest about being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Worst of all even if you hate your job, you can't quit.

6. Joining the military is hazardous to your health.

The military can't guarantee you'll be alive at the end of your eight-year commitment: they can't even promise you won't be desperately ill from "mystery illnesses" like those of the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. Whether it's atomic testing in the 1950s, Agent Orange during the war against Vietnam, or experimental vaccines and toxic weapons in the Persian Gulf, the military shamelessly destroys the health of its personnel -- and then does its best to downplay and ignore their suffering.

7. Joining the military is hazardous to the environment.

The US military is the single largest and worst polluter in the world, from toxins at bases to nuclear-tipped missiles to the destruction of ecosystems from South Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. And in today's military, the tanks and weapons are coated with depleted uranium from toxic nuclear waste!

8. Joining the military is hazardous to our lives.

The "adventure" in the commercials is code for war, the "discipline" code for violence. The military trains recruits to employ deadly force, yet recruiters rarely discuss the dehumanizing process of basic training, the psychological costs of killing, or the horrors of war.

The ads lie because the product is lethal -- not just to you, but to all of us.

For more information contact or write:

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors:

630 20th Street #302,
Oakland, CA 94612
Fax 510 465-2459


1515 Cherry Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax 215-567-2096


Blogger dusty and tammy said...

The viewpoint from the author's perspective is obviously skewed--either a bitter ex-military or someone who has never actually expereinced the military. The arguments are loose and non-sensical.
The military does HELP pay for tuition, and active-duty military personnel receive greatly discounted tuitions at most universities. Plus, any military officer is required to get a Masters to move up in rank so the military even helps pay for post-graduate work.
It isn't necessarily hazardous to your future--many jobs in the military pay 2-3x more than what a civilian in the same field would make. It provides great job security and plenty of benefits. No job can guarantee that you won't be dead in a few years (think truck drivers, construction workers, etc). The military helps pay for housing and also supports families of military personnel while the spouse is at war. If one decides to leave the military after the contract runs out, future employers actually view them as MORE skilled (and mature) than the average applicant. The skills learned revolve around extreme discipline, integrity, obedience, promptness, and faithfulness to an organization---all of which would benefit any employer. Plus, so many connections are made while active-duty that one should be able to have a great network of jobs to choose from. Statistically, the # of ex-military homeless people is so small compared to how many people who have been in the military (it is less than 2%).
The military may be a lethal career, but each recruit knows this going into it. The point of the military is to protect our country's freedom. It is skewed to believe that the personnel lose their civil rights because they are actually fighting to protect all of our civil rights. If someone feels that they cannot submit to authority and rules, they need not join the military (or any career for that matter). It should be an honor and privilege to serve one's country. If you join the military for what you can get rather than what you can give, you have been misguided.
Yes, the military does have a large proportion of minorities on the front line, but it is not more hazardous to people of color than to any other race. Recruits do target people of color, not because they think that your life is worthless or invaluable. They target high risk children that might possibly never have any other future except drug dealing or sitting in a jail cell--the military sounds like a way better option. Think about some of the students that you teach in the high risk schools that have no discipline and no respect to authority. Someone needs to knock some sense into them. They will never survive in any career if they cannot submit to their boss. Therefore, allow the military to train them and prepare them for a better future than hopping around at other deadend jobs. Some of these high risk children don't have any mentors in their life to teach them the ways of the world, so the military provides that mentor figure for them (better than being mentored by the drug-dealer).
As far as being hazardous to your health or the environment, the argument fails to mention that MANY other careers and occupations are actually more hazardous. Working at a papermill is more dangerous to your health and to the environment. Fast food joints (with all of the hot oil, cleaning agents, & overwork) injures many workers, and they don't even have health benefits and can't afford to be sick. The most dangerous jobs out there are shrimpers/fishermen and construction workers--it isn't the military. There are more people that die in car accidents than people that die due to military cause--maybe we should stop transportation all together since it also pollutes the atmosphere while contributing to accidents. The author's arguments just make it sound like you are safe everywhere except the military, and this simply is not true.
I am very grateful that there are people out there putting their lives on the line in order for ME to have freedom. It is very admirable when someone is selfless in wanting to serve their country. These arguments that the author provides cheapen the military as an institution. I cannot respect anyone that doesn't recognize that their freedom must come at a price---and sometimes that price is a life. We wouldn't even be a country if people had not been willing to join the military to fight for our freedom from England and risk their lives.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Muhammed said...

Damn...Put the Kool-Aid DOWN!!!

3:36 PM  
Blogger Denmark Vesey said...

Wow "dusty and tammy".. you STILL think that the military is here to "protect our freedom"? How much is GW payin' you for this? I'm with Muhammed on this one, PUT the Kool-Aid DOWN!!!

3:39 PM  

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