Students Opt Out of Info Sharing with Military Recruiters

In , the No Child Left Behind act was signed into law. Among its provisions was one that said that any school district that wanted to get its hands on federal dollars would have to reciprocate by turning over its student records to military recruiters.

“Having access to 17- to 24-year-olds is very key to us,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, commander of the Army Recruiting Command, said at a news conference Friday at Fort Meade, Maryland. “We would hope that every high school administrator would provide those lists to us. They’re terribly important for what we’re trying to do.”

Individual students and parents can opt-out if they even know it is happening, and if they know how (do you have kids in school? have you opted out?). At Montclair High School in New Jersey, a student group called “Open Your Eyes, Open Your Eyes” encouraged more than 80% of the students to opt-out!

An interesting article by Norman Solomon from ’s San Francisco Chronicle: “Picture-perfect killers.”

…In , when the Gulf War’s overwhelming bombardment began, a CNN correspondent remarked on the “sweet beautiful sight” of U.S. bombers leaving runways in Saudi Arabia. CBS correspondent Jim Stewart told viewers about “two days of almost picture-perfect assaults.” (Meanwhile, an enemy armament became anthropomorphically sinister. On NBC, reporter Arthur Kent termed the Iraqi Scud missile “an evil weapon,” while CNN’s Richard Blystone called it “a quarter-ton of concentrated hatred.”) After three weeks of the air war, Newsweek put the U.S. Stealth bomber on the cover. Under the headline, “The New Science of War,” was a reassuring subhead, “High-Tech Hardware: How Many Lives Can It Save?”…

Adulation for the Pentagon’s arsenal has become a permanent aspect of the war story. Several months into the occupation of Iraq, for instance, at the top of the front page of the New York Times, a color photo showed a gunner aiming his formidable weapon downward from a Black Hawk helicopter, airborne over Baghdad. Underneath the picture was a story lamenting the recent setbacks in Iraq for such U.S. military aircraft: “In two weeks,” the article said, “the Black Hawks and Chinooks and Apaches that once zoomed overhead with such grace and panache have suddenly become vulnerable.” Referring to machinery of death in a reportorial voice, the words “grace” and “panache” were attributed to no one; they hovered as objective characterizations by a newspaper widely seen as epitomizing the highest journalistic standards.…

If you’re a fan of the handful-of-scrappy-rebels against The Empire brand of story, and you’ve sworn off Star Wars forever after Jar Jar, I can recommend a documentary called “The Tunnel” that’s starting to do the rounds on cable teevee.

It’s about a crew of students who decide to build a tunnel under the Berlin Wall to help people in East Berlin to escape. It’s a documentary, too, not a docudrama. And it has some fantastic footage.

At one point, the tunnel builders, strapped for cash and encountering flooding problems, finds an American NBC film crew creating a set for a fictional story about a group tunneling under the wall. In exchange for a much-needed financial shot-in-the-arm, the real-life tunnelers gave NBC access to the tunnel to film its construction and the eventual escapes. This footage puts you there, in the tunnel, with the students and their shovels and their jerry-rigged ventilation, lighting, and drainage gear.