WARNING: JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS
Military recruiters tour the country selling a dangerous product with glamorous ads, just like tobacco companies or drug pushers. The ads promise opportunity and adventure -- but don't believe the hype.
1. JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR EDUCATION.
The military isn't a generous financial aid institution, and it isn't concerned with helping you pay for school. Two-thirds of all recruits never get any college funding from the military. Only 15% graduated with a four-year degree.
What about going to school while you're in? Many GIs report that military life leaves them too busy and exhausted -- and doesn't really make time for them to go to class.
2. JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR FUTURE.
Joining the military is a dead end. After you've spent a few years in the military, you're 2 to 5 times more likely to be homeless than your friends who never joined. And, according to the VA, you'll probably earn less too. The skills you learn in the military will be geared to military jobs, not civilian careers; when you come out, many employers will tell you to go back to school and get some real training. As former Secretary of Defense Cheney declared, "The reason to have a military is to be prepared to fight and win wars...it's not a jobs program."
3. JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS TO PEOPLE OF COLOR.
During the Gulf War, over 50 percent of front-line troops were people of color. Overall, over 30 percent of enlisted personnel but only 12 percent of officers are people of color, who are then disciplined and discharged under other than honorable conditions at a much higher rate than whites. When recent studies showed a slight dip in young African-Americans' (disproportionately high) interest in the military, the Pentagon reacted with a new ad campaign. They're targeting Latino youth with special Spanish-language ads. The recruiters' lethal result: tracking high achieving young people in communities of color into a dead-end, deadly occupation.
4. JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS TO WOMEN.
Sexual harassment and assault are a daily reality for the overwhelming majority of women in the armed forces. The VA's own figures show 90 percent of recent women veterans reporting harassment - a third of whom were raped. Despite the glossy brochures that advertise "opportunities for women," the military's inherent sexism is evident from sergeants shouting "girl!" at trainees who don't "measure up," to the intimidation of women who speak out about harassment and discrimination - not to mention military men's sexual abuse of civilian women in base communities.
5. JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS.
If you aren't willing to give up your rights, the military isn't for you. Once you enlist, you become military property: you lose your right to come and go freely, you're ordered around 24 hours a day, and you can be punished by your command without trial or jury. Free speech rights are severely limited in the military. You can be punished for being honest about being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Worst of all even if you hate your job, you can't quit.
6. JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.
The military can't guarantee you'll be alive at the end of your eight-year commitment: they can't even promise you won't be desperately ill from "mystery illnesses" like those of the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. Whether it's atomic testing in the 1950s, Agent Orange during the war against Vietnam, or experimental vaccines and toxic weapons in the Persian Gulf, the military shamelessly destroys the health of its personnel -- and then does its best to downplay and ignore their suffering.
7. JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS TO THE ENVIRONMENT.
The US military is the single largest and worst polluter in the world, from toxins at bases to nuclear-tipped missiles to the destruction of ecosystems from South Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. And in today's military, the tanks and weapons are coated with depleted uranium from toxic nuclear waste!
8. JOINING THE MILITARY IS HAZARDOUS TO OUR LIVES.
The "adventure" in the commercials is code for war, the "discipline" code for violence. The military trains recruits to employ deadly force, yet recruiters rarely discuss the dehumanizing process of basic training, the psychological costs of killing, or the horrors of war.
THE ADS LIE BECAUSE THE PRODUCT IS LETHAL -- NOT JUST TO YOU, BUT TO ALL OF US.
For more information contact or write:
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors:
405 14th Street, Ste 205
Oakland, CA 94612
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
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