Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Pro-war parents: How to get your kid into uniform

Pro-war parents: How to get your kid into uniform

By Beth Quinn
Times Herald-Record

This one is for you parents who think our fight in Iraq is a really swell idea.
As you may know, the Army is having trouble getting kids to join up. Recruitment is down on account of all the soldiers dying in the desert. Go figure.
And you know whose fault it is? YOURS.
They need kids. They need YOUR kid!
But YOUR kid is still hanging around the house. Going to college, working, standing in front of the fridge. Unwilling to make the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE for … well, whatever it is we're fighting for.
Be honest. You're not doing your part as a parent, either. You're in favor of the war in Iraq but want to send someone else's kid instead of yours, right? What kind of American parent are you, anyway?
It's time to get that kid out of the house and into a uniform! And I'm here to tell you how. It's easy. The government has already done most of the work for you.
You might have noticed that recruiters have been calling your kid lately. That's because your school district gave them his name and number.
The school had to. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act says schools must give up every kid or they lose federal funding. Money talks, nobody walks.
Plus, the military is tracking your kid in a mega-database of its own. The Pentagon hired an outside marketing firm – really! – to create JAMR.
That stands for the Joint Advertising and Market Research Recruiting Database.
Cool name, Pentagon! But in the interest of truth in advertising, why not just call it Cannon Fodder?
So the recruiters are already out there, swarming around your kid like so many gnats. They're trying to smooth-talk him into signing up so he can go fight for … well, whatever it is we're fighting for.
But that's not enough. You need to get proactive. Instead of waiting for them to come to your kid, you should sit him down at the computer and go to the recruiters! Here are some sites you might want to hit.
www.usarec.army.mil/1stbde/1abn This is the site of the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Albany Eagles, which oversees local recruitment. Check out the Partnership in Education program, which is a little arrangement between the Army and school personnel to guide your kid into the military. It's an unholy alliance, but – hey! – we need warm bodies in those uniforms.

[NOTE: If you are located elsewhere, go to http://www.usarec.army.mil/bdemap.html to find the recruiting batallion near you.]

www.goarmy.com This site has nice graphics and warlike drum music – plus a whole section on the Army's Nascar and motorcycle racing teams. (Join the Army and get a Harley!) It also urges your kid to visit the nearest recruitment office. (In Middletown, it's at 453 Route 211 East, Suite 208. Directions provided.)
These folks know you've been to the site – even if you just looked – so it'll be hard to shake them. They send a lot of pop-up surveys. Just to be friendly. Really.
www.marines.com And who wouldn't want to be a Marine? The best part of this site is, when you contact a recruiter, you get a free official Marine Corps carabiner key chain – with no obligation! Semper fi.
www.navy.com Excellent music and shipboard sound effects. You can visit with your "virtual recruiter," who says it's his job to "help you." He's kind of like a protective big brother. Who could resist?
www.airforce.com Videos, downloads, wallpaper – all about flying the friendly skies and jumping out of airplanes. How much fun is that!
So there you have it, pro-war parents. All you need to know so your kid can be all that he can be – at least until he's dead.

P.S. For you anti-war parents who are against sending your kid to fight for … well, whatever it is we're fighting for, I have a couple of sites for you, too:
www.themmob.com This is Mainstreet Moms Operation Blue, which has launched the Leave My Child Alone Campaign.
www.militaryfreeschools.org This site includes the Student Opt-Out Form. If you fill it out and give it to the school, it prevents the district from giving your kid's name to the military. (No one can opt out of the Pentagon's Cannon Fodder database, though.)
http://mothersagainstthedraft.org Opt-out info and details about what the Pentagon knows about your kid.

Beth Quinn's column appears on Monday. Talk to her at 845-346-3147 or at bquinn@th-record.com.