By far, the most controversial post of the week was our post about Army recruiters showing up at Glen Ridge High School.

If you missed that 52-comment debate, here’s your chance to weigh in. Maybe, first, you’d like to read a Mother Jones article, “No Child Unrecruited,” sent to us by a Baristanet reader.

Should the military be able to recruit in Baristaville’s high schools?

View the results

53 replies on “Uncle Sam in the Schools?”

  1. Gee, that information sure will come in handy when the draft (which we have been assured will never be reinstated) is reinstated.

  2. Did you know that all the branches of the military were represented at Bloomfield High School last week when the ASVAB was given to about 50 interested students? GR would have a fit if the test to get into the military were given on school property!

  3. That is just it Jon, When Kerry says he will add 40,000 troops, where will they come from?
    It is really is just more Blue State NIMBYism.
    Here’s a wacky tought. Let your kids be exposed to *all* kinds of possible career choices and futures and when they are 18 *they* can decide their future.
    It is called trust. Raise your kids with good moral values (oops. sorry.) and *trust* they will make good decisions for themselves as adults.

  4. Last year there was no “opt-out” in BHS that I knew of. My son, then a Sr., got calls at home. He spoke to the recruiter and politely declined but I thought calling our house over-stepped a boundary since our phone number is unlisted and was not volunteered.

  5. Surrounded,
    The Nation called your son because the Nation is looking for *volunteers* to serve in the common defense. So don’t we at the very least *owe* the Nation the very miniscule duty of answering the phone?
    Many think Military service is a noble thing.
    But, not *everyone*…

  6. >Many think Military service is a noble thing.>
    Tell that to the parents of the 1000+ killed in Iraq.
    My father and brother both *served*, perhaps the first *cause* more noble than the later in the long run.
    My son has since filed his mandatory **Selective Service** application. Should he ever *volunteer*, he’d ***volunteer – Army style***, as they say.

  7. P.S. Before you jump me, RoC, I should clarify. I erroneously omitted *perceived as* in the statement regarding nobility of cause. 🙂

  8. “Tell that to the parents of the 1000+ killed in Iraq.”
    You seem to make an assumption that the parents of those who sacrificed their lives would find no solace in the nobility of such sacrifice.
    I make no such assumption. In fact I would make no assumptions about the parents or their fallen beloveds at all, save one: we cannot guess their thoughts and should not pretend to speak for them.
    Certainly we are free (due directly to the sacrifices of our forbearers) to disagree about the nobleness (or not) of the cause for which our Military are currently fighting. However, I would maintain that the nobility of their sacrifice itself is beyond question.
    So, while young men and women and stateside families are making enormous sacrifices at the present time, you feel it is too much of a burden for your family to bear for your son to be exposed to military recruiters.
    ok, point taken.

  9. i sing of Olaf glad and big
    whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
    a conscientious object-or
    his wellbelovéd colonel (trig
    westpointer most succinctly bred)
    took erring Olaf soon in hand;
    but—though an host of overjoyed
    noncoms (first knocking on the head
    him) do through icy waters roll
    that helplessness which others stroke
    with brushes recently employed
    anent this muddy toiletbowl,
    while kindred intellects evoke
    allegiance per blunt instruments—
    Olaf (being to all intents
    a corpse and wanting any rag
    upon what God unto him gave)
    responds, without getting annoyed
    “I will not kiss your f*-ing flag”
    straightaway the silver bird looked grave
    (departing hurriedly to shave)
    but-though all kinds of officers
    (a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
    their passive prey did kick and curse
    until for wear their clarion
    voices and boots were much the worse,
    and egged the firstclassprivates on
    his rectum wickedly to tease
    by means of skillfully applied
    bayonets roasted hot with heat—
    Olaf (upon what were once knees)
    does almost ceaselessly repeat
    “there is some sh*t I will not eat”
    our president,being of which
    assertions duly notified
    threw the yellowsonofabitch
    into a dungeon,where he died
    Christ (of His mercy infinite)
    i pray to see;and Olaf,too
    preponderatingly because
    unless statistics lie he was
    more brave than me:more blond than you

  10. I also, now that I checked out the provenance of the poem and noted the use of the capital letters as above, salute cummings’ ability to communicate from beyond the grave. Similarly, I personally also contacted the shade of George S. Patton, who assured me that barring military recruiters from high schools is wrong. So who ya gonna trust? A military hero instrumental in turning the tide at the Battle of the Bulge or a third-string poet?

  11. TO:
    It’s a really sad thing that the less fortunate under priveledged kids in Bloomfield or the red state are the main source of service. Do you like that? I don’t think so. Do you think it would be better if the priveledged kids served instead. Either way you dice it it’s not fair. Recruiters are manipulating our kids, glamourizing the “benefits” most kids won’t even see the “benefits” because they’ll BE DEAD!!!!! THE POINT IS I DON”T CARE WHO YOU ARE IF YOU THINK IT”S ALL RIGHT TO RECRUIT OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN, THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WOULD FEEL IF YOU”RE CHILD WAS RECRUITED? IT’S A LITTLE DIFFERENT. STOP THE EXCUSES! THIS DOES EFFECT YOU! STAND UP AND REBEL!!!! I WONDER HOW BUSH WOULD FEEL IF JENNA AND BARBARA WERE ASKED TO SUIT UP. WELL ACTUALLY HE WOULDN”T UNDERSATND BUT IMAGINE HOW LAURA WOULD FEEL!!!


  13. Ok, GR Blonde: I get your point, but calling Bloomfield kids “underprivileged” vs. Glen Ridge’s “privileged” is annoying. We just happen to be diverse.
    Surrounded: You should have received the opt out in your back-to-school envelope (along with the bus schedule, emergency info, home and school info, etc.). If you didn’t get it, somebody at the school screwed up. (Hard to imagine @@.)
    to ee cummings: i like: “next to of course god america i” and “my sweet old etcetra”.
    To ROC: I recall one NJ father who was so distraught he set himself on fire and a NJ mom who was removed from a Bush rally (& handcuffed) when she dared to ask Laura Bush “Why” her son had died. So there’s at least two parents of those who sacrificed their lives who found “no solace in the nobility of such sacrifice.”

  14. Should the US have a military? Of coarse we should. Who should join the military? If you answered “anyone but my child” you should feel ashamed! If you said “people outside your area” you should also be ashamed. There are contries that have a mandetory two year serve law. Be glad we dont have that. The recruiters are just letting people know what benifits there are with them and that there are other things to do after they graduate. It sounds to me like most of you are selfish and very spoiled people. In college my friends would have called you “ONEWAY”, you are takers not givers. You don’t share, you just want and want and want. Sure you might give to charities or other needy people but when push comes to shove you don’t like your freedom that much.
    By no means do my statements mean that I like or agree with Bush or his war, but the war is not what we are talking about.

  15. ROC – Since you think that joining the military is such a noble thing, may I assume that you, or other family members are actually in the military?

  16. Hilary,
    I have 2 uncles (one dead – not while enlisted) who were in the Army, their wives (my aunts) as well. My father was in the Navy (he pumped fuel into planes on a carrier).
    Since they are my own family I don’t see them as particularly noble, but I would honor their service to their country.
    Am I now qualified to have my opinions? Any more tests? It is so hard for me to keep up with all the qualifications political correctness requires for opinion holding.

  17. oh…oh…oh…Hilary, I forgot! I have a second cousing who served in the 1st Gulf war. (I tend to forget him as I only met him when we were children and I have no contact with him any longer.)
    Whew!… I can have opinions on Iraq (that was a close one)

  18. No, hilary, I wasn’t being ironic there. I like ROC’s postings very much, in the main. As for all the anti-military recruiting posters, however, I’m kind of scared. Makes me think that, if they’d been in the verbal ascendancy back in 1941 (notice I didn’t write “true ascendancy”) there’d be a swastika flag flying over Buckingham Palace by now, with the loathing so many folks here seem to express for national service. And for a look at what a different world “today” might have been with such opinions as above holding sway, I will suggest folks read “Fatherland” by the estimable Brit novelist Robert Harris.
    As for whether or no joining the military “is such a noble thing,” well, isn’t it more important that it remains a necessary thing? Alas, yes, but that is the reality of the world. I just wish our current troops were better supplied and paid, to read of how they suffer for lack of body armor and their families at home have to scrimp so, that one bugs me. As I hope it bugs fellow readers, whether or no they’ve served themselves.

  19. Jon –
    Informing the students of their options is one thing. Harassing people at home is another. There’s a difference between informing and selling. I support the armed forces right to go to the schools. I dislike their taking of information to call people at home.
    I think their best option would be to be allowed to have an officer address each class of seniors to tell them about the reality and rewards of service. Then let the students decide, without pressuring them. Using the worst tactics of telemarketers is not up to the dignity of the services, IMHO.
    I also think the pitch should not be sugar coated. Fact is, the armed forces currently have the worst percentage of recruits making it into actual service ever. No point in recruiting somebody who isn’t going to serve once they discover the reality. That’s just money badly spent and bad PR to boot.
    Look, plenty of 17 year old men ache for a little adventure, travel, guns and violence (women–you can make your own observations about your primal urges.) They also generally lack fear and common-sense. The reality of war would no more scare them away than it has in any era of human history.
    The best recruiting tool would be to make them all read the Iliad. The new Fagles translation is so good I felt like joining the army. No wonder the ancient greeks loved war.

  20. I know that the recruiters are almost as bad as car salesman but I think that at some point you have to trust what you have taught your kids when they were growing up. If you did a good job you would be happy with whatever decisions they make. They will be able to decipher the BS from the facts. Hopefully if they are thinking about joining the service they will include you in that decision process.
    No it’s not all like it is in the movies. I had many memorable times while serving, both good and bad. Yes, my recruiter embellished on the truth a little, but I am not a good example, I after all went to him not the other way around. I really can’t blame them (the recruiters) all that much for their tactics. Just read these messages and you’ll see what they have to put up with to do their jobs. What is wrong and what you don’t hear about is that the recruiters get paid commission for reaching recruitment goals (at least they used to). I think that the money is one of the driving factors in their methods. A lot of times they offer the new recruits a “bonus” for signing up, if they don’t tell them about the bonus guess who gets it. Yup, they do, at least part of it.
    I am lucky. I (for the most part) enjoyed my time in the service. I made some great friends and unfortunately lost a few too. Some friends died during training accidents. You may have heard about an airplane full of paratroopers crashing during takeoff in the mid 90’s. I also had a friend drown during a “fun jump” when he landed in a lake during a night jump. I also lost a friend in Somalia. These are by far the worst memories I have of the Army. I have many more good ones than bad. I personally would do it again, except I would have joined after high school before I went to college. I could have used the extra discipline there.

  21. Why are we all “up in arms” about the armed services recruiting in our schools? What is wrong with electing to “serve the country.” 24 years ago, I left GRHS one day, went down to Newark and signed up for the armed services. It was one of the best things that I ever did.
    You learn great lessons in the military. For example, you learn that recruiters aren’t always as forthcoming as you thought they were. You learn the hard way to “read the fine print.” However, are they so different then so many other people, bosses, salespersons and other professions. More importantly, you also learn about team work, dedication, and you learn to perservere.
    And as for the phone calls, Should the armed forces not be allowed to call your home? Not even once? Please.
    They should at least have the same rights as the people from “NJPirg” who keep calling our home despite our repeated requests that they stop.

  22. Sean –
    Should they be allowed to call once? Well, OK, but here’s a quote from the referenced article:
    “The only thing that will get us to stop contacting the family is if they call their congressman,” says Major Johannes Paraan, head U.S. Army recruiter for Vermont and northeastern New York. “Or maybe if the kid died, we’ll take them off our list.”
    Is that OK?

  23. Lex – I’d say “consider the source” of the “reporting”.
    Here is another article by our Good David Goodman, with this juicy quote:
    “I don’t think rallying around the flag is the answer to what happened on September 11. The answer is a global community united against terror, determined to rout it out wherever it originates- including the White House and the Pentagon. ”
    Consider the source.

  24. In telling us to consider the source, are you disputing the accuracy or source of the quote itself?
    I assume that the head of recruitment for this area is a credible source for statements of recruitment policy, no matter where the quote was printed.

  25. I have no idea if the head of recruitment was quoted accurately or even if he meant one or many phone calls and contacts.
    What I doubt is the impartiallity of the reporter. Namely, Mr. Goodman. He is a prolific “indie” journalist, Very anti war, pacifist anti-military, I’d say. It just might color his perception a bit.
    I don’t believe 100% of everything I read. Heck I’d say it is around 50%! Be it the Wall Street Journal or the Unte Reader.
    But I do find it interesting (at the least) that often when I read things like the mother jones article, I think to myself “This seems a tad biased, I wonder if the writer is a left-wing moonbat?” and Shore’n’Begorrah 80% of the time (when I go and look) BING BING – they are!
    So, consider the source, says I.

  26. Who is to say about the amount of phone calls? Shall we ban all phone calls?
    Will that ban apply to student athletes who are being recruited by colleges? Or just the ones that “the army is after.”
    If we ban the armed forces, will we also ban other employers from setting up shop and recruiting at school?
    I just dont have a problem with the armed forces recruiting at our high schools and colleges.

  27. Well, I didn’t quote Goodman, I quoted Major Paraan. Think what you want of Mother Jones, it is a reputable magazine (in the sense of no allegations of fraudulent reporting, journalistic sloppiness, etc.) The article may be biased, and they probably choose quotes that support their arguments, but that doesn’t mean the Major didn’t say it.
    When you start spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about the accuracy of quotations in major periodicals without any evidence to back it up (“I have no idea if the head of recruitment was quoted accurately”), you are veering dangerously close to the kind of conspiracy theory you love to deride in others.
    The quote was directed, of course, to Jon, who thought that one call was fine. From this quote and others on this board and elsewhere (and by the admission of people here who are pro-recruitment) the approach is much more aggressive than that. I personally do not think that is appropriate.

  28. Sorry, I meant Sean, not Jon, in the last post. And I see his answer crossed mine in the writing. I guess his “one call” was rhetorical. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with any tactic as long as it’s in the service of our country. The ends justify the means, right?

  29. Dangerously close to conspiracy?
    If my consideration of Mr. Goodman’s (painly seen) bias gives me pause in accepting at face value his reporting (Especially one who says Terrorism eminates from the Pentagon and Whitehouse) counts as belief in ‘conspiracy’ then lead me to my tin-foil hat, please.
    Color me always a skeptic.
    I’ll keep in mind for future debates your predeliction for assumed non-bias in media. Does it count for Vice Presidents too?
    But for the record, I think it is okay to call until asked not to call by the receiver of said calls.

  30. p.s.
    and if someone is contacted a few extra times by an over zealous recruiter, I think it is a small price to pay, considering the stakes of things involved.
    After all, it should go without saying, the the intended recruitee can say “no”. no?
    How sad, really, that when real soldiers are risking and dying, we occupy ourselves here in long debates about how many times a recruiter can call before it becomes an outrage.
    Sometimes, late at night, while thinking, I am reminded Rome’s decadence and why it fell. And considering conversations like this one I become sore afraid.

  31. Lex,
    You seem to have over simplified what I have stated. Do you think that I am “pro war?” What do you mean “i dont have a problem if the ends justify the means?” Are you suggesting that I believe that its ok to force our young to serve in the armed forces? If so, you have spun this belief of yours out of thin air.
    I dont have a problem with our schools giving access to the armed forces or other recruiters for that matter.
    Tell me, are there some govt agencies that should be allowed to recruit and others that shouldnt?
    And as for phone calls, whats the problem. If you dont want the call, say no, and tell them not to call back. Chances are, they wont.

  32. ROC – Well, again, I wasn’t quoting Goodman so his bias doesn’t really enter into this. Why you doubt his reporting of a direct quote I don’t know.
    Sean – perhaps you haven’t read what I wrote either. I support the ability of the armed forces to recruit. I dislike the way they recruit as stated by the head of Northeast recruiting (won’t stop calling unless you call your congressman) and by people on this blog (ie. one mother who said the recruiter would NOT stop calling, even when asked to.)
    ROC, again – You are reminded of ancient Rome when you read this board, I am reminded of ancient Athens and the glory of their democracy. I am reminded of ancient Sparta, however, with its veneration of soldiers and soldierhood when I read some of the posts here.

  33. I just read that piece by Amy & David Goodman that ROC links to above. Boy is that a “The spirit of the 60’s lives” piece of rodomontade and just plain equivalence. Something like that, however (as with much very left prose), it seems to sputter out, it’s not so much written as it is expectorated onto the page. And none too neatly or logically or even literately.

  34. Lex,
    Well there are too many women (not to mention emigrants) speaking their minds here for this to resemble a Greek Democracy, but I guess that would apply to Rome as well.
    What I meant was — Rome fell in large part because it had become so self-absorbed and self-satisfied that it did not recognize the threat posed by the Visigoths. It was capable but had no response.
    I imagine Roman citizens whining and complaining about the temperature of the baths, earnestly, fervently, all the while ignoring the pounding at the gates….
    The no-phone-calls-please-Uncle-Sam debate on December 7th, while our soldiers are pitched in battle with some of the Visigoths of our time reminds me of Rome.

  35. “Well, again, I wasn’t quoting Goodman so his bias doesn’t really enter into this. Why you doubt his reporting of a direct quote I don’t know.”
    Maybe I can illustrate it for you:
    I just got off the phone with Major Johannes Paraan, He said “ROC is right and Lex is wrong.”
    Does that help?

  36. ROC –
    That does help. So, your contention is that the reporter bald-faced lied about what Major Paraan said in a national publication in an article that Major Paraan will no doubt be shown and asked about.
    You can put on that tin-foil hat now.

  37. TO GC:
    All Bloomfield people who comment here always insinuate that because they live in Bloomfield they are somehow much more unfourtunate and underpriveledged than people from Montclair or Glen Ridge. That is such a COPOUT. So many Bloomfield people have said their kids were the ones going to war, that is NOT TRUE. People say that as an excuse to argue a point about college education or the army, or simply to make people feel sorry for them. The truth is people in Bloomfield have just as much money as people in Glen Ridge. Except we invest our money in the stockmarket and you spend it on “Bling-Bling”

  38. GRBlonde –
    I think you misread GC’s comment, for starters.
    More importantly, trying to get a rise out of him with your invidious comments makes all of GR look bad, since you seem to presume to speak for the town. If you don’t mind, could you qualify your smaller-minded posts so it is clear you speak only for yourself?
    Many thanks,

  39. Lex,
    Well a reporter that says that the whitehouse and pentagon are sources of terrorism has, shall I say, gone down a notch ( or 8) in the credibility department. (as I see it) Of course, we all know your mileage may vary. For all I know it takes him UP a notch (or 8) for some folks. C’est la vie!

  40. I have a right to make the “Bling-Bling” comment after Bloomfield’s dress-code frenzy. Bloomfield is fair-game. I also did not misread anything. For once R.O.C is right!

  41. GRBlonde, I was trying to be nice, but your blingbling comment shows your ignorance and prejudice. Your post leads me to believe that you are the stereotypical Glen Ridge snob. Fortunatly, I know enough people from Glen Ridge to realize that you speak only for you and are not the voice of the village.
    Please, tell me which Bloomfield people who post here stated that they are “more unfortunate and under privileged than Glen Ridge and Montclair”, or that their children are the ones who will fight a war?

  42. Ah, GC, if only the Glen Ridge stereotype were true. I haven’t been invited to a single champagne swilling, caviar guzzling, foie-gras spreading, steak tartare party this season. I’m paying all these taxes and all I get is warm white wine and california rolls?
    Our culture certainly has gone downhill since the glory days of the early sixties.
    When’s the Barista party, BTW?

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