The return of ROTC
sfbg.com | Apr 28th 2011
The almost-certain end to the military's discrimination against lesbians and gay men is causing all kinds of educational institutions to take another look at ROTC programs, the latest being Stanford , which scrapped the on-campus military training regime during the waning days of the Vietnam War.
I'm not going to get into an anti-military rant here (tho I could), but in a sense, the "don't ask, don't tell" bullshit has given us on the left an easy way out: As long as the military discriminates -- and by definition it does -- then it doesn't belong in our schools. I'm okay with that, but I also think we need to go a bit deeper here, and ask:
At what age, and under what circumstances, is it okay for military recruiters and recruitment programs to go after young people?
It's all the more imperative today, since college is becoming unaffordable for so many -- and military programs like ROTC, with their ample scholarships, have to be tempting.
I'd start with a basic premise: No recruiters should have access to kids under 18, anywhere, any time. That means no JROTC programs in high schools. Kids that young are too easily swayed by uniforms and bravado; they need to learn to think before they decide they might want to die.
The law says you can enlist at 18, so I guess it's arguable that college kids can enlist while they study. But it seems to contracy to what college ought to be about. In fact, if it were up to me, I'd say nobody could join the military until he or she reaches 21. Old enough to drink, old enough to fight. We have decided as a society that college-age kids aren't mature enough to handle alcohol; it would seem like a no-brainer to conclude that they aren't old enough to make a fateful life decision.
ROTC in college? It still bothers me. Even after don't ask, don't tell is gone.
Original Page: http://www.sfbg.com/print/politics/2011/04/28/return-rotc
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