Duty, honor, controversy

Promoting military service to middle-school students is controversial: Cobblestone, a history magazine aimed at 9- to 14-year-olds, is taking flak for an issue dedicated to the Army. The Boston Globe reports:

Titled “Duty, Honor, Country,” the issue depicts a soldier in Iraq manning a machine gun on its glossy cover and includes articles ranging from what it’s like to go through boot camp — “You’re in the Army Now” — to a rundown of the Army’s “awesome arsenal,” to a detailed description of Army career opportunities.

Two guides for teachers suggest inviting a soldier, recruiter or veteran to speak to the class, asking whether students think they might want to enlist some day and interviewing family members who’ve served in the military.

Teachers are free to dump the magazine or ignore the guides, of course. I wouldn’t ask a recruiter to pitch middle schoolers, and I think few teachers would spend days going over military occupational specialties, but why is it so bad to invite a soldier or veteran?

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  1. I wonder how many of those classroom discussions would include a review of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Solomon Amendments and the reasoning of Rumsfeld v. FAIR.

    Oh right, probably suitable for middle schoolers. Sexuality and all that. How silly of me…

  2. Andy Freeman says:

    Middle-school kids do need to know that if you take federal money, you play by federal rules.

  3. mike from oregon says:

    No, no, can’t tell the kids about their options, they haven’t been fully endoctrinated yet to believe that MILITARY BAD!!!

    As for the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule, personally I like that one for regular life too. I don’t care what your sexual perference is, I don’t make sure that you know mine and I’d rather not know yours.

  4. Andy –

    They’re middle schoolers. You can’t teach them about ANY downfalls of the federal government yet, at least not until you’ve taught them that it can do anything and be everything to everyone and that the Constitution is just a holdover from olden days.



  5. Wayne Martin says:

    The military offers numerous opportunities that are unavailable in civilian life. While being a “lifer” might not appeal to everyone, spending some time in the military right after high school certainly focuses a young person’s views on the world, and his/her role in it.

    Given that our freedom and liberties have ONLY been paid for by men and women who’ve served in the military (over 77M to date, according to NARA), there is no reason not to expect schools to invite serving, and retired, military personel to introduce children to some of the concepts and details of military life.

  6. Andy Freeman says:

    > Given that our freedom and liberties have ONLY been paid for by men and women who’ve served in the military

    That’s not true.

    Lots of people have paid.

  7. Indigo Warrior says:

    The military offers numerous opportunities that are unavailable in civilian life.

    How very true.

    There are those leftoid teachers whose view of the military is vintage World War I. They don’t understand that some young men and women are ideally suited to a military career, unlike us poor civilian geeks. And todays armies (of industrialized democratic nations) are not the meatgrinders of 1861-1918. And unlike schools, voluntary with no conscription.

    It’s really the same issue as vocational training. The teachers who want to prime everyone for college, at any cost, need to understand that some kids will just be cooped up in the classroom, and cause trouble for the serious students.

  8. Robert Wright says:

    I think soldiers and recruiters would be fine speakers.

    But I’d also like a school to welcome those who are critical of the military.

    Veterans for Peace has local chapters throughout the country and they’d be happy to provide speakers from their organization.

    desertion.ispopular.com is another good source.

    Be all that you can be. Really.

  9. You believe an organization named “Veterans for Peace” provides a counterweight to military recruiters?

    I would think the group would be more appropriately seen as opposition to the entertainment industry since it isn’t the military that glorifies and profits from war but Hollywood.

  10. Wayne Martin says:

    > desertion.ispopular.com is another good source.

    Let’s see .. we’re going to tell kids that keeping your country safe via the use of Combat Arms is “bad”, but deserting your unit to live as a fugitive in a foreign country for the rest of your life is “good”?

    You may, or may not, be welcome in that country for the next 60 years (like North Korea, which is always looking for a few good American deserters). What happens when conditions change and the Country decides that Americans are “personna non grata” and it’s time to “move on”?