Within the last few years there has been a growing story in Minnesota about a little known federal law that gives military recruiters access to phone numbers and addresses of high school kids. The law ties federal funding to compliance, but allows individuals to opt out of having their information shared. Last week the StarTribune had another story about parents with objections to recruiters talking to their kids.
Now I remember avoiding military recruiters when I was in high school. I had no interest in the Army and wasn't afraid to say so. Ironically I would join the Army Guard two years after high school and now it looks like I am a lifer. But back then, it just wasn't for me. I told the recruiter that, and nothing more was said. This was the late eighties, when the Cold War was winding down, and it seemed like peace was breaking out all around the world.
Flash forward to 2001. We were attacked, the War on Terror was finally joined by the US, and we have been in ground combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq ever since. The prospect of more wars in the future is high, in my opinion, as the War on Terror is likely to be a decades long struggle.
At a time when we need the military more than ever, how can parents be offended when recruiters want to talk to their kids about joining up? The ever present debate at home about if the county is sacrificing enough for this war seem pretty silly when parents are trying to keep recruiters from even talking to their kids. In my mind this tells me two things about these parents. First, a disgusting lack of patriotism. Giving of yourself for the common good is a fundamental principle of American democracy. Secondly these parents must think their kids are pretty stupid if they can't resist the sway of an Army recruiter by themselves. What will they do in college if they run into a drugs or alcohol?
More than likely these parents are anti war, anti Bush, or both. They could at least have the honesty to say so, rather than make this a privacy rights debate.