All You Can Be
thanks to Metroland for highlighting an important victory
for students at Watervliet High School [“Your Options Aren’t
Limited,” Feature, May 21]. Those who fought to limit military
recruiters’ access to their school got what they wanted in
the end: on-campus visits capped at once a month, the same
level of access given to employers and college recruiters.
This victory allows us to reflect on why we should be concerned
about military recruitment in schools.
For starters, military recruiters like to view the school
as something they “own.” (As the article points out, “school
ownership” is listed as a key goal in the Army’s school recruiting
handbook.) A teacher at Watervliet High even said that recruiters
had approached him to ask that young recruits receive passing
grades in his classes. This kind of presumption is hardly
a trait of rogue recruiters.
Just four years ago, the Pentagon ordered all the nation’s
recruiters to observe a one-day “stand down” amidst national
news coverage of recruiting fraud.
Of course, fraud comes in illegal and legal forms. Take, for
instance, the small print of the official enlistment contract
(part C, section 9.5b): “Laws and regulations that govern
military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes
may affect my status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities
as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions
of this enlistment/ re-enlistment document” (caps in original).
So when we talk about limiting recruiters’ access to schools,
one of our primary rationales should be protecting young people
from those who want to sign them up using these absurd one-sided
Counter recruitment activists are those who see their role
as confronting the distortion outlined above, while also providing
information on alternatives to military service. Counter recruitment,
which ideally results in lowered enlistment numbers and a
more vigilant citizenry, also negatively impacts the Pentagon’s
ability to wage wars of aggression.
Looking ahead, the Watervliet students’ successful campaign
should provide a road map for other schools in the area to
adopt similar policies limiting recruiter access.
For anyone interested in promoting non-military alternatives
and opposing militarism, the National Network Opposing Militarization
of Youth will be holding a national counter recruitment conference
in Chicago, July 17-19. Registration forms may be found online
Stone’s “Reel to Unreal” [Arts Feature, June 4] raised some
interesting issues about the digital movie age, but it did
not mention one more problem we unexpectedly came across at
Colonie Center several months ago.
At around 2 PM on Sunday afternoon, we looked up the Colonie
Center’s cinema schedule online. A movie we wanted to see
was playing at 6 PM, so we planned our day around that. But
when we got there, we found that they had decided last-minute
to cancel “our” showing in order to add one more screen of
some new blockbuster that had just opened. We were out of
That’s not something you can do with film.
From a business point of view, it makes sense to sell more
opportunities to put butts in seats. But what about the poor
sucker who naively assumes their daily movie clock is not
going to be usurped by profit-hungry managers? No apology.
No offer of a free pass for wasting our time. Just an offhand
comment from the clerk that the same movie started in two
minutes down at Crossgates (10 minutes away) if we wanted
to go. Actually, that was also incorrect: Crossgates had ended
that movie’s run two days earlier.
As nice as the Colonie Center theaters are, I’ll be very wary
about going to see another movie there. If it happened once,
I’m sure it will happen again.
last week’s cover story [“Full House,” Listen Here, June 18]
we referred to the Empire Jazz Orchestra as the Empire State
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