Should High Schools Allow Military Recruitment?

The editorial ``Underplay It Again, Uncle Sam,'' March 14, should be read by all parents of high school students. A consultant in military sociology was quoted on recruitment practices: ``They don't have to show combat. They can show `hail the conquering hero' stuff. If you have people waving American flags and blowing kisses at American GIs, I think that is the ultimate high.'' This should cause parents to question the practice of military recruitment in our high schools. My son was recruited as a seni or in high school and all recruitment took place at school before his 18th birthday. Not only is the cosmetic recruitment picture misleading, but often so are the promises of education and job skills. Today there are no GI benefits or education plans which provide college money just because of service in the military. Furthermore, few military jobs teach skills which are useful in the civilian job market. According to the Militarism Research Project, ``only 3 percent of military jobs are craft jobs, only 7 percent are electronic jobs, and only 5 percent are medical specialist jobs.'' De spite the recent TV images of a high-tech war, there are few high-tech jobs in the military.

The sterile, bloodless video-game-like TV presentation of the Gulf war will be misleading enough to the next generation of recruits without further cosmetic packaging by the military and its advertising and public relations people. It is time to ban on-campus recruitment.

Carolyn Havet, Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.

The editorial urges the military not to ``underplay the very real risks'' of war. The military did not begin running ads featuring a ``Be all that you can be'' flavor because it was partial to sugarcoating. It turned to this tactic because many young people were repelled by the fact that the job of an armed force is to carry out the foreign policy of the nation, a mission which can involve killing. Military forces fight wars or train to fight wars. The armed services are pulling the wool over no one's eyes by not making a big point of this in their advertising. People do have some responsibility for their lives. No matter what any advertising claims, individuals bear the burden of becoming informed before they buy or - in the case of the recruit - sign on the dotted line. I say let the military seek people with all the tools of the advertising art available to them short of falsehood.

Mitch Barker, Seattle

Palestinian support for Saddam I must object to the opinion-page article ``Bush's Leap Over Mideast Doubt,'' March 12. The author writes: ``The Palestinians have suffered long enough. They cannot now be punished as a group for the grave wrongdoings of one man.''

The author implies that Yasser Arafat alone, and not the Palestinian people themselves, supported Saddam Hussein during the Gulf war. This flies in the face of reality. News stories have shown that the majority of West Bank Palestinians were not only supporters of Saddam Hussein during the war, but that even now they still support him and consider him a hero. Some Palestinians in Kuwait collaborated with the Iraqis by acting as informers. The PLO forces in Lebanon shelled Israel's northern towns in a ge sture of opening a second front to aid Iraq.

The Palestinians themselves must take responsibility for their actions. President Bush should not reward them for their shocking behavior during the war.

E.W.L. Harris, Cambridge, Mass.

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