Counter-recruitment or counter-patriotism?

By John Bambanek

A video on military service called “Before you Enlist” was recently approved to be shown to Centennial High School students by principal Dr. Weigand. This video, created by the American Friends Service Committee, was presented to Centennial by members of the Anti-War Anti-Racism Effort, an organization that is in no small part ordered to eliminating hatred and invidious discrimination in our community.

If the point of the video were that people should take what recruiters say with a grain of salt, I would have no objection. But the video goes far beyond that to paint the military as a den of rapists of their fellow soldiers, including the first-person testimony of one enlisted woman. I know quite a few women who have served and none of them had any inkling of such problems. Painting the military as a group as rapists is the kind of invidious stereotyping AWARE should be against.

Yes, there have been incidents of rape in the military and when discovered they have been prosecuted. There have also been incidents of frat boys putting roofies in women’s drinks at frat parties. Shall we consider the entire Greek system a den of rape too?

Another favorite claim of the anti-war left is that the military recruits 18- and 19-year-old “kids” who don’t know what they’re doing. So let me get this straight: according to the left, a 12-year-old has all the faculties necessary get an abortion, but an 18-year-old can’t make their own career choices when those choices include something noble like military service?

Sure, some of the antics on this campus give weight to the claims that college-aged people are basically kids. Just turn a few pages and see the puerile comic “Aww Shit” and you’ll see what I mean. For that matter, just look at Professor Kaufmann’s anti-Chief antics and he’s well over 20. However, just because some people get to college with a sense of entitlement that the world somehow owes them, doesn’t mean all college-aged people are that immature.

The video also claims that military service provides no job skills. There are a few jobs that don’t have technical skills that map to the civilian sector; however, the discipline, ability to communicate and high motivation do provide decided job advantages to military veterans.

For instance, I completed the Air Force ROTC program when I was an undergrad but could not be commissioned because I injured my knees before graduation. I went to work for Ernst & Young making six figures my first year out the door. Within six months I was promoted to project manager, one of the youngest in the company.

Of all the classes I took during my undergraduate years, it was my minimal Air Force training more than anything else that helped me succeed. Everyone I know that has left the military has similar stories of success.

However, it seems that now there has been an effort to target ROTC cadets to convince them they don’t know what they are doing. On other campuses, ROTC cadets are treated to all sorts of harassment for being “baby-killers.”

When Mike Rudzinski, an Army colonel, spoke at Carey Busey Elementary School, the anti-war left became absolutely unglued about how he was recruiting 10 -year-olds for military service. They said he lied to the kids because he didn’t deliver the anti-war template message. One writer called recruiters “monsters who have been stealing the American dream.” And they act surprised when people question their patriotism.

The military is not for everyone. It’s a hard life spent defending something good and worth dying for. While unilateral surrender might appeal to Marxists who pretty much hate the American system already, sometimes brave men and women need to stand up and fight to defend the innocent. They shouldn’t be denigrated for their efforts, they deserve better.