Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why soldiers in school are an injustice to all

by Kathy Barker

Counter-military recruiting in high schools is “my” social justice issue. It may strike many as a niche issue, an orphan issue, but I see it as a wedge to frame and integrate and confront many of deep and challenging problems of our society.

The USA is one of two United Nations members (Somalia is the other) that haven’t ratified the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. One reason is that an "optional protocol" to the convention ensures "persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces” – and the USA military recruits and signs up minors.

We are wrapped up in two wars for which the military needs soldiers. The draft was suspended in 1973, and the Department of Defense, with its 700 plus bases all over the world, was having trouble meeting its quotas even before our current wars. High schools were the desired hunting grounds, and while many high schools gave military recruiters free reign in the schools, others were not as compliant.

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