Col. writ. 05-05-05

Harder and harder to recruit

By Mumia Abu-Jamal from death row

Across the nation, from city to country, from urban to rural areas, the U.S. Imperial Army is finding it harder and harder to meet their recruitment targets.

While the corporate media likes to call it 'a volunteer army', in truth, many young people opt for the Army out of sheer economic necessity. They also often do so because they've been promised the moon by Army recruiters, who tell them things like: "We'll give you up to $70,000 for college!" -- or-- "You won't have to go to Iraq!"

Like high-pressure salesmen, recruiters must get the old John Henry on a contract, and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2004, the National Guard fell short of its quota by 13 percent. The Reserve is down 10 percent, and the Army fell behind some 27 percent in February.

Parents are quietly steering their children away from an increasingly unpopular war, where their children may be killed or maimed. There is also the undeniable factor of the raging Iraqi resistance.

People know, now by the millions, that the U.S. isn't in Iraq to 'bring freedom', as King George so blithely states.

While largely ignored by the corporate press, demonstrations are happening all across the country, in high schools, and on college campuses, against military recruitment.

It's also true that much of this recruiting is among young people of color; Black and Latino, working class kids; those with the least economic prospects, are targeted with promises of money for college and vocational training. The promise of four years for a livelihood seems quite attractive.

But, in fact, many young people will be bound for eight years -- not four -- if the administration declares such a necessity. Many of the people who lost their eyesight, their limbs, their very lives in Iraq were actually past their due dates.

Remember the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002? A little-known section of the law required *all* public high schools to deliver personal contact data on juniors and seniors to military recruitment officers.

It kinda gives a whole new meaning to 'No Child Left Behind' -- doesn't it?

Interestingly, the nation's private schools, where the economic elite are educated, are not subject to that law.

Hundreds of students at San Francisco State University of California-Santa Cruz marched against Army, Navy and Marine recruiters, kicking them out of their annual job fair.

The protests that opened this war may have dissipated when it came to later mass demonstrations. But that obviously doesn't mean that people are not deeply opposed to this mad adventure in Iraq.

Even the corporate media's polls show a majority of respondents feel Iraq simply wasn't worth it. That number will only grow.

In times of war, governments try to advance their most noxious brand of repression; yet people always find ways to resist.

That resistance must grow until it gives voice to a true, solid anti-imperialism, that washes away the corporate political elites that use ruinous wars for private profits.

This war isn't a war against terrorism; it's a war for Halliburton; for Bechtel; for Lockheed-Martin, and the oil giants.

It's not a war for freedom, but for "un"freedom; for more government control, and less freedom for every American.

It seems that this simple truth is getting through.

Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Books by Mumia Abu-Jamal

WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party

Mumia Abu-Jamal provides the world with an important history of the founding of the Philadelphia Black Panther Party
South End Press, http://www.southendpress.org
2004, Paperback: 320 pages,
ISBN: 0896087182

Faith of Our Fathers An examination of the spiritual life of African and African American People (Africa World Press, 2003) was named one of "The Most Remarkable Books of 2003" by *Black Issues Book Review* (Nov/Dec '03).] www.africanworld.com

Mumia Abu-Jamal is also the author of three other books: 'Live from Death Row', 'Death Blossoms', and 'All Things Censored'.

When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

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