The Marine Corps is wooing public school districts across the country, expanding a network of military academies that has grown steadily despite criticism that it’s a recruiting ploy.The US Marine Corps leading some innovation. Nothing new here, move on. Sometimes it appears that the USMC are they guys with the bigger fire in their feet when it comes to attitudes of change. I'm not surprised, but kudos anyway.
And then, off course, the backlash.
In DeKalb County, which includes part of Atlanta, protests by parents and threats of lawsuits began almost as soon as the school board announced last year that it planned to open a Marine Corps high school. The district wanted to open it this fall, but the approval process in Washington has delayed that. The district hopes to open the school in fall 2010.
Some degree of controversy is always good. Good debate about something new has to be a given.
Critics like Mike Hearington, a 56-year-old Vietnam War veteran whose son attends Shamrock Middle School in DeKalb County, say the schools are breeding grounds for the military.
“To pursue children like they are is criminal in my mind,” Hearington said.
But what worries me is that the the detractors are using language that reflects something beyond the mere fear of some day seeing our sons go into harms way.
"Breeding grounds for the military"? This sounds like something sinister will come out from the proposed academies. Like potential recruits. The horror!
“To pursue children like they are is criminal in my mind ...”. We indoctrinate our children in lots of things way before they can make rational decisions by their own. None of these indoctrinations are considered "criminal". Thus, if indoctrination per se is not criminal, is the word "criminal" used here implying that eventually becoming recruits and later waging the wars of our country is somehow "criminal"?
In his book "The Culture of War", van Creveld wrote:
... in today's self-styled "advanced" countries, for the culture of war to be held in such high esteem is rare. Soldiers, war gamers, collectors of militaria, and even military historians know the score. At best, their culture is seen as a quaint leftover from a previous, presumably less rational, less utilitarian, and less humane past. At worst, it is denied, put aside, ignored, ridiculed, or denounced as childish "warmongering".The dangers of embracing opposition to anything military are only to be known when our enemies are too close to the gates of our cities.