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Not Your Soldier

Countering the military’s dogged recruitment of minority youth
 
 
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How many of us have high school friends that were suckered into the military with promises of bonuses, college money and cajoled with the fictitious “glory of war” and the idea that the military “makes you a man”?

I can count four among my friends—four young men who later regretted their enlistment and realized that had been duped into something they knew very little about. Thankfully, those friends are out of the military by now, but recruiters are continuing to target Latino kids with Hummers, bonuses, and glorified ideas of military life. And thankfully, there are counter-recruitment measures underway across the nation.

Today, Boing Boing noted one counter-effort in an organization called Not Your Soldier. By offering educational camps for youth aged 13 to 22, the organization is attempting to arm students with knowledge

Not Your Solider focuses on kicking military recruiters out of schools and/or telling the other half of the story to youth who are being wooed by recruiters -- it provides handbooks and comic books about military recruitment and suggests that students invite a local veteran from Iraq Vets Against War to speak at their schools. Here’s a tidbit from their website:

The Not Your Soldier Project gives youth the tools we need to stop the military invasion of our schools and our communities.

Not Your Soldier Action Camps bring together young people who are heavily targeted by military recruitment. At the camps, youth learn how to take action to fight military recruitment, the poverty draft, and the corporations that profit off of war.

Sounds about right. The organization promises to hold a camp for grown-ups (i.e. anyone older than 22) sometime this year.

Maria Luisa Tucker is a staff writer at AlterNet and associate editor of the Columbia Journal of American Studies.