Showing posts with label army recruitment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label army recruitment. Show all posts

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Child soldiers

Plans for pupils in comprehensive schools to sign up for military drills and weapons training are being backed by Gordon Brown in an attempt to improve the relationship between the public and the armed forces. A major review of the military's role in British society says that encouraging more state secondary school pupils to join the cadet corps would improve discipline among teenagers while helping to improve the public perception of the army, navy and air force.

The government-commissioned review of civil and military relations, led by Quentin Davies wants secondary school pupils to receive basic military training as a means of developing greater affiliation with the armed forces. Davies, who was a Tory MP before defecting to Labour last year, said his proposals to expand the cadet structure throughout the comprehensive system were firmly backed by the Prime Minister, the Children's Secretary Ed Balls and defence ministers. Under the new government proposals, state schools who do not set up a cadet system will encourage pupils to attend a community cadet force instead. One of the core elements of the cadets' training is mastering shooting skills and military drill.

An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 children are serving as soldiers in current armed conflicts. These young combatants participate in all aspects of contemporary warfare. They wield AK-47s and M-16s on the front lines of combat, serve as human mine detectors, participate in suicide missions, carry supplies, and act as spies, messengers or lookouts. In 2000, the United Nations adopted an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The protocol prohibits the forced recruitment of children under the age of 18 or their use in hostilities. To date, it has been ratified by more than 110 countries.
The ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor prohibits the forced or compulsory recruitment of children under the age of 18 for use in armed conflict. It has been ratified by over 150 countries.

Kiddie cannon fodder by the back door is now what New Labour have lowered themselves to .

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Teaching War


This Saturday members of Glasgow and Edinburgh branches will be in attendnce at stop the war demonstration in Glasgow leafletting and selling the Socialist Standard . It is now a cliche to say that the first casuality of war is truth but the statement remains accurate .


Ministry of Defence teaching materials that give an unbalanced view of the Iraq war are being used in schools, teachers' leaders have said. He warned that some of its assertions, presented as facts, would be disputed by most teachers. There were no estimates of the numbers of people killed, wounded or made homeless by the military action, he said. The material therefore risked breaching the part of the 1996 Education Act concerned with balanced teaching of political issues .

He told reporters: "When you are dealing with something as controversial as Iraq and the different events that led up to the invasion, teachers are under a duty to present material that is balanced. The MoD material does not live up to that high standard..."


Mr Sinnott also criticised Army recruitment methods which he said did not present a balanced view of what joining the armed forces entailed. He said "unethical practices" had been unearthed in recent research by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. He claimed that youngsters from deprived backgrounds were being targeted by Army recruiters. Mr Sinnott said the recruiters engaged in "very dubious practices", targeting youngsters from poorer backgrounds.
"Youngsters from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have more limited opportunities in life than youngsters from better off backgrounds. It's simply a fact. I am not saying that youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot get something from a career in the military.The Army has created a better life for some youngsters, but there are other youngsters who join up because they have little or no choice."


The teaching union will debate a motion at its upcoming conference which argues: "Military intervention in schools customarily presents a partisan view of war, largely by ignoring its fatal realities in favour of promises of travel, skill training and further or higher education course sponsorships otherwise often unavailable to young people, especially in area of high unemployment."

Monday, January 07, 2008

Vultures of War


Young people are being recruited into the Army with misleading marketing . The report, by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, says that recruiters are targeting children as young as seven .


The advertising campaigns used by the Ministry of Defence "glamorise warfare, omit vital information and fail to point out the risks and responsibilities associated with a forces career", says the study. The report's author, David Gee, said: "The literature available to the young glamorises the armed services but does little to show the dangers recruits may face and even less the moral dilemmas they may face..."


One particularly successful advertising programme is "Camouflage", aimed at 13 to 17-year-olds, which includes a magazine, website and interactive games. The language in the recruiting literature and promotional DVD is so sanitised, a report says, that one brochure, "Infantry Soldier", does not even mention the words “kill” or “risk”.

A common tactic, is to “emphasise the game-playing character of battle to attract children by blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality”.

The report, "Informed Choice? Armed Forces recruitment practice in the UK", says: “The literature rarely refers to the dangers of combat and never mentions the risk of being killed, seriously injured or chronically traumatised. The absence of the word ‘kill’ suggests a policy decision to avoid it.”


Potential recruits can also be confused or misled in other ways, it says: “A soldier is obliged to serve for at least four years and three months (or up to six years in the case of under18s) with no right to leave once three months have passed. [But] this is omitted from the brochure and video.” The differences between civilian and military life are not made clear, it adds. “Readers are told that there is ample free time and personal freedom.” In reality, the training programme involves “a tough regime of discipline. Trainees face relative isolation from family and friends for several months and can be posted to active service overseas immediately after training.”


Socialist Courier has always stated the only war worth fighting is the class war

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