War Veterans Speak Out Against JROTC And Prop V
October 21, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO -- A group of seven U.S. military veterans stood before
the War Memorial Veterans Building in San Francisco Tuesday to voice
opposition to Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps in local high schools.
An initiative on San Francisco's Nov 4 ballot, Proposition V, aims to
reverse a school board resolution to phase out the program.
The former soldiers, who served in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan,
repeated the slogan "No more military recruitment in our schools" at
every change of speaker.
Michael Wong, a former JROTC cadet and U.S. Army veteran who served
in Vietnam, said national recruitment figures of high school JROTC
members into the military are 30 to 40 per cent -- higher than local
figures cited by proponents of Prop V, he said.
"Out of a group of 6 friends in JROTC, five went into the military,"
he said. "It is very definitely a recruitment program."
Proposition V was placed on the ballot through a petition by San
Francisco residents. If passed, it will make it city policy to
encourage the Board of Education to reverse a prior action to
terminate the JROTC program.
In November 2006, the board passed a resolution to end JROTC programs
in district schools over three years, stating that the organization
was "an inappropriate extension of the nation's military into the
Johnny K. Wang, a political consultant speaking for the group
"Friends of JROTC," which supports the proposition, said the small
number of JROTC cadets who enter the military is dwarfed by the
number who enter college instead.
"In San Francisco, JROTC does not recruit students into the military,
and JROTC does not recruit students into JROTC," he said.
Veterans speak out against Prop V and JROTC
From the No on Proposition V campaign,
October 20, 2008
WHAT:Veterans speak out against Prop V and JROTC
WHEN: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 - 11:00 am
WHERE: War Memorial and Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Ave., SF
WHO: John Caldera, SF Veterans Affairs Commissioner, American Legion,
Commander Post 315
Eddie Falcon, Vice-President, SF Iraq Vets Against the War, Air Force
in Iraq and Afghanistan
Stephen Funk, President, SF Iraq Vets Against the War, gay Marine who
refused orders to Iraq
Michael Job, gay Viet Nam combat veteran, US Army, retired SFUSD teacher
George Johnson, Viet Nam combat vet, US Navy, Veterans for Peace
Forrest Schmidt, ANSWER Coalition, Army National Guard
Michael Wong, US Army, Veterans for Peace and Asian Americans for
Peace and Justice
"Veterans know what the military experience is really all about,"
says Michael Wong of Veterans for Peace. "The purpose of JROTC is the
exploitation of children by adults to feed our wars for oil and
conquest. Targeting youth under 18 for military recruitment is a
violation of international law for good reason."
"I support ROTC in college, but I do NOT support JROTC in the high
schools," says SF Veterans Affairs Commissioner John Caldera. "We do
not allow 14 year old boys and girls to buy cigarettes, drink
alcohol, drive cars or to engage in sex acts with anyone over the age
of 18 without violating federal laws, so why would we support the
exposure of our impressionable youth to Policy Memorandum 50 of the
U.S. Army Recruiting Command that clearly demonstrates JROTC is a
Former Defense Secretary William Cohen said, "JROTC is one of the
best recruiting tools we have." Military recruiters are lying to our
children to enlist them. Promises of education, college, job skills,
duty stations and a host of other rewards are offered and often
cannot be delivered. "The 'leadership' skills JROTC teaches are only
the Army's model of blind obedience to authority," says Michael Wong.
"This might prepare them for jobs flipping hamburgers, but not for
professional jobs in a high tech, fast paced environment where you
have to think for yourself – on your feet, out of the box – and
intelligently adjust to constantly changing situations."
"It's your children we are militarizing with JROTC! The Department of
Defense says the enlistment rate for students taking JROTC is 43%,"
says Michael Job, Viet Nam veteran and retired SFUSD teacher. "We
need to take responsibility if even one of the 43% should die in
another illegal war – the blood of that one young life is on all of
our hands, not to mention whom he/she might have killed in the
process. There is no need to offer children up to the altar of our
Armed Forces. This is not love, knowledge, or wisdom."
Viet Nam veteran George Johnson says, "I'm proud to have voted for
the 2003 Veterans for Peace resolution opposing JROTC, which
concludes: 'Finally as mature and seasoned Veterans and citizens who
have both experienced the horrors and futility of war, we understand
the importance and role of high quality education to maintain both a
Republic and Democracy. JROTC and military recruiters in public
schools are the antithesis and profoundly undermine what is good and
great about the United States of America.'"
"The school board made the right decision, to eliminate a homophobic
military recruitment program. I strongly urge people to vote NO on V
to support the school board's courageous and moral stand," said
Stephen Funk, President, Iraq Veterans Against the War, San Francisco.