I’ve wizened up to the fact that our military exists as little more than hired muscle for capitalism around the world. Someone gets out of pocket, nationalizes their oil, or decides that it no longer wants to be controlled by western corporations, our leaders call on the armed forces to straighten ’em out. From the Native Americans to the Filipinos, Latin America to the Middle East, our military has a long and brutal history of securing “our interests” and “fighting for freedom”. Is it any wonder that over half of all domestic spending is gobbled up by the Pentagon? OVER. HALF. I understand that it’s not usually in the nature of military men to question their superiors; they merely follow orders. When your Commander in Chief, however, is part of a war-profiteering racket, that kind of trained obedience is both tragic and immoral.
Then you have your military recruiters, people whose job it is to con as many poor kids as possible to fight for a rich man’s right to set up shop in someone else’s backyard. Some appeal to your jingoistic patriotism. I definitely understand anyone who signs up for that reason. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to defend home and country – I just wish people knew better.
The Bush administration is particularly notorious for sneaking in random provisions into their Orwellian laws. – the “No Child Left Behind Act”, for example, also allows military recruiters access to school records so they can call you up and set up an in-house con in person. Some of these military recruiters will appeal to students. They’ll throw around words like “job training” and “success”. I’m sure there are a lot of medics and engineers who got an edge by flaunting their military experience, but for every case like that there’s probably 10 civilians who were chosen for their straight “A”s.
They then dangle the idea of paying for college in your face. It’s particularly nauseating when you’re well aware that the kind of people who take the bait are very poor people – mostly blacks and Latinos. How cynical it is to slash education spending and college grants while giving a bloated military billions of dollars to nudge a poor kid who, without that education or college grant, either has to choose between the military, or in all likelihood, prison.
As if targeting poor minorities weren’t enough, now they go after illegal immigrants, too. (BY THE WAY, PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE.) They too are presented with a cruel and cynical choice: join the military and get first dibs on citizenship, or get deported. The way immigrants have been scapegoated in this country is deplorable; the way they are being taken advantage of by the military, despicable. It’s almost as if we set it up that way; pick on them, make it hard for these hard workers to earn a living, humiliate them, constantly demonize them on the news, then promise them a way to make it all disappear – and all you have to do is sign your life away on the dotted line. PRESTO – Halliburton gets another foot soldier.
Notice the interesting trend here: they take away your education so the army can offer it to you. They deny you the right to live and work so the army can “promise” you citizenship. They keep you dumb and ignorant, fearful and nationalistic, so that you may feel compelled to fight for a hidden, unworthy cause. When you control the options, you get others to play with the cards you deal. So let’s all stop playing. There is always another way. I know because I almost fell victim to it, too. They threw the money angle at me and I couldn’t afford to go to college. I was lucky enough to have parents who knew better, teachers who gave a damn, and scholarships. For others who aren’t so lucky, far be it for me to suggest the path you should take, but I will say this: get informed. For the time being, libraries are still free – do a lot of research. Weigh the options and whether you believe it’s worth it to lose your freedom at best, and your soul at worst, to the military-industrial complex. And for God’s sake, do your fucking homework.
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