Friday, May 27, 2005



The so-called No Child Left Behind Act has a little-known provision that mandates schools to provide our children’s personal information to the Pentagon so they can be recruited into the armed forces. The law also allows parents and guardians to stop schools from providing this information to the Pentagon, but few know what is going on or how to stop it.

We need to deal with the secret sending of records to the Pentagon (shades of the SLA, Marcus Foster and the Oakland School Board, circa California in the '70s); but I have no problem with recruiters on Campus...anymore than I would object to VetSpeak or Vets For Peace having access to the open minds of students. "Fair & Balanced", and all that.

I have spoken on many high school and college campuses since we had to fight the good battle to get onto the campuses to counter the recruiters back in The Day, and I just don't believe that we should interfere with the right of students (High School or College) to know both sides of an issue before they make such an important life decision, and I certainly don't think that we should stifle the forums for the military to pitch it's message to our youth (all that Freedom Of Speech stuff). Their parents' politics are not necessarily the right politics for them; and they are entitled to exposure to the realities of the world they live in, and to learn to think for themselves (the very roots of self determination). I would have probably been dead or in prison by the time I was first deployed for Vietnam as a result of a lack of structure and unchecked juvenile anti-social behavior gone awry (anyone remember "Rebel Without A Cause"?). And, most importantly; I wouldn't be sitting here exercising my Constitutional Freedom to have an opinion on the matter in this uncensored format, without the thought police knocking on my door. Instead I joined the United States Marine Corps , of my own free will and choosing. Tyranny deserves worthy opponents, and as it applies to the military of my time; it has certainly found that it has some very worthy one's in those who campaigned in the ranks of the VVAW of The Day...which would have never happened had there not been Veterans who knew the Truth first hand willing to take up the fight. So, it really is a two edged sword, and one that I don't think we should purge from our arsenal

The risks of combat were a growing experience, and tapped the depths of my resourcefulness and capabilities, and was an indeed, overall, character building experience that has stood me in good stead throughout my life. The risks were none that millions before me had not undertaken to insure that America remained a place where the concept of Freedom permeates our daily life, and has resulted in this being the showcase for Democracy in a very troubled world (please don't confuse the concept of Democracy with party dominated foreign policy and power mongering)...though occasionally a jaded Democracy...a Constitutional Democracy, non-the-less. A soldiers most basic duty is to defend that Constitution. An Honorable undertaking.

I wasn't proud of the way America went about it's political business there in V Vietnam; but, I am proud to have served my country in combat, as did my fathers and their fathers before me. We all owe something for the privilege of living in this greatest Democracy on the face of the earth. No matter whether it is in the military, or some other service to our country...there are no free lunches in this life, except at someone else's expense...and, no matter your ethnic, economic, or religious bent in this life; there is no better country in the world to have been born in, and to live in; many have sacrificed so that the rest of us can live and protest, and in some cases be generally disrespectful to others in relative freedom from tyranny. A free exchange of opposing ideas, and a synthesis reflecting the general will of the people has always led to change for the better for society as a whole. You can't have an exchange of ideas if one party is banned from the debate for ideological reasons. Communications is a two way operation. Things are bad, but let us not forget the era of the Nixon creature (some of his clones have resurfaced, as we well know from TTU) . Things have slid back to the edge of the abyss since that time. But, here we are; once again, hard at work exercising the freedoms that so many have struggled and sacrificed to maintain since then.

So, while I disagree with keeping recruiters off the campuses, I do agree that folks should have the option of stating their mind on the topic, but I also disagree that records of children should be exchanged by any other than agencies designed to improve the quality of life for them and their families, and to ensure that those not entitled don't sneak under the edge of the tent and exploit the resources of the deserving.

Semper Fi!

Bill Hager (email) (website)


Windbender said...


Very good points, windbender. I am glad to hear from an experienced voice how you feel about recruitment on high school campuses. Yes, I certainly would want VetSpeak speakers to be able to voice opinions on campuses as well, and I can see that keeping one type of military representation out would probably keep all military representation out.

As a grandmother of an almost 17-year-old who already plans to go into the Marines (he's hoping for Annapolis, I think), I feel better since you expressed how you feel about the issue. I just hope those recruiters speak the truth -- I've heard of a few lately who haven't...We who have never spent time in the military need to be educated.

Windbender said...

Thanks, BTXUSA...I will be very proud to welcome your son to the Brotherhood known as US Marines, should he follow this course. And, yes; recruiters do "lie" or embellish, in order to meet their quotas...but it has always been
thus, right from the start at Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the Marine Corps. The trick is; is to recognize this, and not to have unreal expectations of what the experience will be...if you are only joining for the bonus or the college education or job training, or a special duty station; stay at the house. Bottom line is; they send you and use you where
it best suits the overall mission, as determined by the Commandant,
Congress, or the President of the United states. Basically, the United States Armed Forces are fighting units, nothing more. If that's not one's cup of tea; stay at the house, cause you just never know, i.e. Iraq.

Your Friend,


Windbender said...


How Far Will The Army Go?

Apr 28, 2005 9:59 pm US/Mountain
How far will U.S. Army recruiters go to bring young men and women into their ranks? An Arvada West High School senior recently decided to find out. The following is CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger's report..

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) -- Last month the U.S. Army failed to meet its goal of 6,800 new troops.

Aware of this trend, David McSwane, a local high school student, decided he wanted to find out to what extent some recruiters would go to sign up soldiers who were not up to grade.

McSwane, 17, is actually just the kind of teenager the military would like. He's a high school journalist and honor student at Arvada West High School. But McSwane decided he wanted to see "how far the Army would go during a war to get one more solider."

McSwane contacted his local army recruiting office in Golden with a scenario he created. He told a recruiter that he was a dropout and didn't have a high school diploma.

"No problem," the recruiter explained. He suggested that McSwane create a fake diploma from a non-existent school.

McSwane recorded the recruiter saying that on the phone.

"It can be like Faith Hill Baptist School or something -- whatever you choose," the recruiter said.

As instructed, McSwane went on the computer to a Web site and for $200 arranged to have a phony diploma created that certified him as a graduate of Faith Hill Baptist High School, the very name the recruiter suggested. It came complete with a fake grade transcript.

"What was your reaction to them encouraging you to get a phony diploma?" CBS4's Rick Sallinger asked.

"I was shocked," McSwane said. "I'm sitting there looking at a poster that says 'Integrity, Honor, Respect' and he is telling me to lie."

McSwane also pretended he had a drug problem when he spoke with the recruiter.

The Army does not accept enlistees with drug problems.

"I have a problem with drugs," McSwane said, referring to the conversation he had with the recruiter. "I can't kick the habit ... just marijuana."

"[The recruiter] said 'Not a problem,' just take this detox ... he said he would pay half of it ... told me where to go."

Drug testers CBS4 contacted insist it doesn't work, but the recruiter claimed in another recorded phone conversation that taking "detoxification capsules and liquid" would help McSwane pass the required test.

"The two times I had the guys use it, it has worked both times," the recruiter said in the recorded conversation. "We didn't have to worry about anything."

Then the original recruiter was transferred and another recruiter, Sgt. Tim Pickel, picked up the ball.

A friend of McSwane shot videotape as Pickel drove McSwane to a store where he purchased the so-called detox kit.

CBS4 then went to the Army recruiting office and confronted Sgt. Pickel. CBS4 played him a conversation McSwane had with Pickel on the phone. The transcript of that conversation follows:

Pickel: When you said about the one problem that you had, what does it consist of?
McSwane: "Marijuana."
Pickel: Oh, OK so nothing major?
McSwane: Yeah, he said he would take me down to get that stuff, I mean I have no idea what it is, so you would have to show me. Is that a problem?
Pickel: No, not at all.

Pickel quickly referred CBS4 to his superiors.

CBS4 then played the tapes and showed the video to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Brodeur, who heads army recruiting for the region.

"Let me sum up all of this with one word: unacceptable, completely unacceptable," Brodeur said.

Hearing recruiters talking about phony diplomas and ways to beat drug tests left Brodeur more than a little disturbed.

"Let me tell you something sir, I'm a soldier and have been a soldier for 20 years," Brodeur said. "This violates trust, it violates integrity, it violates honor and it violates duty."

The army says it is conducting a full investigation. Brodeur said there is no pressure or punishment for recruiters if quotas are not met. They are, however, rewarded when their goals are surpassed.

Windbender said...


Steve wrote: They are using all sorts of highly unethical, recruiting methods Our son Alex has had a really "Cute" recruiter after him. Alex is 17 years old with a 4.28 grade Avg. and has great computer skills. He is a prime candidate .Madelyn was told by someone and went to the school and put a stop to that.The Military has missed its mark for recruitment by 42% the first quarter of 05. The National Guard also known as a back-door draft needs to change it,s name since it is no longer what it was.
All of this is pointing to how Bush and his GANG have are putting our Country in Jeopardy, in the event a real war broke out with real meaning.

FRED WROTE: Steve, the same thing has been happening with my 17 year old. While the rest of the school were taking SAT's, the seniors were given a list of things they could do to occupy their time - one of those things was a "Career Aptitude Test (ASVAB)". Most of the kids decided to take it because those are always fun to see what careers the computer thinks is best for you. Three weeks later, the day before Prom, I intercepted a call from a recruiter for the California National Guard, that Saturday it was from the Marines, and the next Monday (last Monday) it was from the ROTC. I didn't know, and either did any of the kids, but ASVAB is the standard military battery exam to determine what "careers" you are qualified for in the armed services. The school did not disclose it was for the military, nor that they would provide the local recruiters with all their personal information, birthday, GPA, phone number, address, etc. I was livid when I found out.

About a month before someone pointed me to a site where I found out that a little known part of "No Child Left Behind" legislation, is a clause that REQUIRES the high school to provide any and all of this information to the Armed Services, IF they ask. And they are asking - that is part of their current recruiting strategy. As it turns out, there is another clause in the "No Child Left Behind" that provides parents with an "Opt Out", if they file a letter opting out with the local board of education. This site actually assists you to produce the letter, you then print it out and send it in. I did do that, so I now have the school over the barrel.

I have another son, 16, who is still in that high school. My objective in raising the issue with the school formally is to gain their written agreement to obtain parental permission prior to giving the ASVAB to anyone in the high school, and to ensure that notification also informs the parents of the No Child Left Behind legislation with its Opt Out clause. That would be a huge win - at least in one high school.

This is a huge issue, and the recruiters are using very sophisticated techniques to attract the kids into the service. I have heard then say "it's the only way you will ever become a "real man". "Not everyone goes to Iraq" (really?), they are offering 15 month enlistments and $15,000 signing bonus with a 3 year commitment. They are pitching motorcycles, cars, it is really unbelievable.

Here is the best one. Did you know (this is absolute fact) that your 17 year old doesn't need your permission to enlist? They can enlist at 17 and there is not a damn thing you as a parent can do about it. There is no consumer protection against fraudulent promises made to these vulnerable kids.

Bottom line. Your kid and my kid are probably not vulnerable because of who we are and how we have prepared our kids for adulthood. But the recruiters are targeting kids in lower socio economic conditions and they are successful. I don't disagree that the service may be the best path forward for some kids. But these are decisions that should be made with school counselors and parents discussing all the aspects and other alternatives - not a recruiter who is working a quota and may do pretty much anything to hit it.

Here is the Web site that contains the tools to educate parents, produce opt out letters for your local Board of Education, etc. Please feel free to share my story and this web site with as many parents as you can. Especially the ones who aren't graduating this year. There are also many parents who are working with local schools to obtain the same kind of commitment that I am trying to obtain. Anything we can do to protect our kids is good.
Make sure to select Option 2 - to Opt Out - you can also learn a lot by surfing through the site.

STEVE WROTE: Please, read Fred's info and mine an the ways the recruiters are taking our children into the military it is as unethical as can be. They are offering cars, motorcycles and more to unethically get our children into this war in Iraq. !, 600 PLUS of ours dead and for what. Really what? We were lied to and now the death totals and Dollar cost are outrageous and for what. This whole mess needs to end and we can do it. We all have children or nephews or someone who does not need to be suckered into joining anything especially when the possibility of loss can be your life!Please spread the word anyway you can to end this senseless war.