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America's Child Soldiers: JROTC and the Militarizing of America

What goes on in schools in your town? Isn’t it time you found out?

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“Oh no, ma’am,” she said.  “Malcolm X was an American.”

A senior boy, who had also signed up with the recruiter, wanted to escape the violence of city streets.  He joined up shortly after one of his best friends, caught in the crossfire of somebody else’s fight, was killed in a convenience store just down the block from the school.  He told me, “I’ve got no future here.  I might as well be in Afghanistan.”  He thought his chances of survival would be better there, but he worried about the fact that he had to finish high school before reporting for “duty.”  He said, “I just hope I can make it to the war.”

What kind of school system gives boys and girls such “choices”?  What kind of country?

What goes on in schools in your town?  Isn’t it time you found out?

Copyright 2013 Ann Jones

© 2013 TomDispatch. All rights reserved.

TomDispatch regular Ann Jones is the author of a new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars -- the Untold Story, a Dispatch Books project in cooperation with Haymarket Books. (Jeremy Scahill just chose it as his favorite book of 2013.)  Jones, who has reported from Afghanistan since 2002, is also the author of two books about the impact of war on civilians: Kabul in Winter and War Is Not Over When It’s Over. Her website is annjonesonline.com.

 
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