Military Recruits    

Editor, The Chronicle

        The federal budget for FY 2006 contains $643 billion for current military spending. This includes the Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental spending that the President forgot to include in his budget request.  The past military portion of the FY 2006 budget ($384 billion) includes veterans benefits and interest on the federal debt related to past wars and previous enormous military budgets.  This is more than a trillion dollars. 

     Consider what positive things could be accomplished with that money.  It has been estimated that for the amount we spend in one year on the military starvation and malnutrition in the world could be eliminated, shelter could be provided for all homeless, all landmines could be removed, all nuclear weapons could be removed, illiteracy could be eliminated, clean water could be provided for everyone, the world population could be stabilized and soil erosion around the world could be eliminated.

      Health insurance could be provided to over two million children with the $4.9 billion in taxes that Washington State citizens provided for the Iraq War last year. The military spends about #3 billion a year to convince our children that enlisting will give them college money, job training and an alternative to flipping burgers. What do we get for the $16,000 per recruit that we pay in taxes?

       Mostly we get recruits who are ignorant of the reality of the military life.  The recruiters don't tell the students that fifty-seven percent of those who enroll in the GI bill receive no education benefit from the military despite paying $1200.00 of their own money into the program.  Additionally, 23% only receive half of their maximum benefit.  Recruiters don't mention that the estimated lifetime prevalence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among American Vietnam veterans is 30.9% for men and 26.9% for women.      

      Recruiters don't mention that most people don't have time to attend college while in the military.  Most recruiters don't point out that the enlistment agreement says that your status, pay, benefits and responsibilities in the military can change without warning and without recourse. In the military you can be punished with no access to a lawyer or a trial. Recruiters don't point out that military personnel no longer have the constitutional rights of civilians.  Your right to free speech, assembly, petition is eliminated under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 

      Recruiters don't point out the fact that few if any military jobs have a civilian equivalent.  Most recruiters won't tell you that they were assigned to recruiting jobs against their will.  Anyone considering enlisting in the military should consider whether they are willing to kill someone else just because they are told to do so.  A recent survey found that 30% of women reported being victims of rape or attempted rape while in the military. 

     I recommend talking with a veteran before signing enlistment papers.  You can find a vet who will tell the truth about the military at www.vfp109.org. Don't join the military without knowing all that you can be. (498 words)

 

Larry Kerschner  POB 397 Pe Ell WA 98572