Keeping Your Kids Out of the Combat Zone
by James Glaser
October 8, 2007

From a young age your children are bombarded with Hollywood movies and television shows that portray how exciting a war can be. Even the new documentary on PBS by Ken Burns, titled "War," about what combat was like in WW II has a pro-military slant to it. With all the horror of combat shown, the interviews of veterans are with veterans who made it home in more or less, one piece.

There are no interviews with the thousands of veterans who lost three of four limbs, veterans who were burned to a crisp, but lived, veterans who had much of their brain blown away, or those blinded.

During the documentary you don't hear the screams of the wounded or the screams of the civilians who are dying in the burned out towns and villages that are shown being blown away. Realism in a war documentary can only be so vivid, or nobody will watch it. Nobody wants the American people to know what war is really like, because if they did, who would join up to fight?

According to the Boston Globe, there is one segment of society that has gotten the "word" about what to expect in the combat zone, and that would be America's African-American community. Tens of thousands of black Americans, who in the past would have signed up, are no longer joining to fight. It could be that they believe George Bush's wars are illegal, immoral, or just maybe young African-Americans are being told the truth about combat from their parents and other relatives.

African-Americans, whose longstanding relationship with the US military helped them prove their abilities and offered a way to get ahead, have turned away from the armed forces in record numbers since 2000, a period covering the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the start of the Iraq war.

Defense Department statistics show the number of young black enlistees has fallen by more than 58 percent since fiscal year 2000. The Army in particular has been hit hard: In fiscal year 2000, according to the Pentagon statistics, more than 42,000 black men and women applied to enlist; in fiscal year 2005, the most recent for which a racial breakdown is available, just over 17,000 signed up.

Post Vietnam, there was a surge of black enlistments, but until George W. Bush came to power, life in the military was fairly peaceful. Yes, there were several little wars in Haiti, Panama, Granada, and the first Gulf War. But all of those were with very small pitiful countries that had little if any military. Except for our air power in the first Gulf War, American troops pretty much stopped at Iraq's border.

Today, with over 3,800 dead, and over 28,000 American troops wounded in Iraq, with more of the same in Afghanistan, the word about what combat is like is coming out. There are tens of thousands of veterans looking for help with their mental health after their time in the combat zone. Many high school juniors and seniors know the men and women from their school who are coming home all messed up. Seeing that sports star of a few years ago walking around on two fake legs has an impact. Seeing that veteran who was valedictorian of his class come home with a horrible brain injury makes any high school kid think again about signing up.

Parents have to work hard to stop their children from going to the combat zone. The Army, Navy, Marines Corps, and Air Force have millions and millions of tax dollars to lure our children into the service.

There are thousands of recruiters who with the passing of the Patriot Act, have access to every child in America. There are hundreds if not thousands of old war movies, that teach young people that it is patriotic to kill, if you are killing for our politicians in Washington.

Many church pastors are working hand and hand with George Bush, making the killing of the Muslim infidels seem like it is God's work.

So, if you are a veteran, talk to your kids, if not find a vet. At least let your children make an informed decision about signing up. Let them have both sides of the story. If possible have them volunteer at a VA hospital. Ask any veteran if their recruiter told them the truth. That alone will give them something to think about.

Oh yeah, if a recruiter is after your son or daughter, be sure and thank your Congressman and Senator for giving them that right.

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