This letter is in response to the article, “Iraq War Veteran opposes Army recruitment of Latinos,” the subject of military recruitment and the presence of ROTC on high school or college campuses as discussed in the article.
A lot of accusations get thrown around throughout the article, mainly by Professor Rosa Furumoto and Camilo Mejia with a few additions from others, that the Armed Forces deceives in a malicious fashion when recruiting students. They prey upon the Latino community. All of this might be justified except for one key fact that none of these people seem to acknowledge; you have to volunteer for the Military in order to serve – meaning that you must make a conscious decision to join.
Secondly, a clearly written contract outlining all your obligations and commitments are presented to you before you sign it and you are allowed as much time as needed to read and decide before signing. This takes a lot of thunder out of the claims of deception and preying upon certain groups when the individual is allowed to read clearly in black and white what they are getting themselves into. The truth is that the only person who has any control at all over joining the Military is you.
Many people still hold the misconception that the Military brain washes its recruits as seen in the words of Professor Furumoto when saying, “JROTC in high schools are socializing youth to obey, don’t ask questions or criticize authority.”
Anyone who holds this belief has never talked to a group of soldiers. Having served three going on four years in the US Army, two of which were on active duty and the rest in ROTC, I can safely say that I have never been a brainwashed zombie nor have I ever stopped criticizing both my government or my superiors when they do something unethical, ridiculous, or even something I just didn’t agree with. In fact, due to the amount of impact political decisions have on our lives, we tend to take more interest in the different sides of an issue than most Americans and we always have something to say on the issues.
What is truly depressing is that I’m sure Prof. Furtomoto is trying to help America’s youth by removing ROTC from campus. But the truth is that programs like ROTC are the only and best chance underprivileged students such a as I have at getting a college education. I could never afford the cost of going to college on my own and federal grants and loans only go so far.
The attempts to remove ROTC from campus are in a sense hypocritical for those that say the military is brainwashing or socializing students to a certain mindset, because by removing ROTC, they are sending the message that students should not be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not the military is a valid option for them and their circumstances.
Finally, in the case of Camilo Mejia, it is unfortunate that he did not realize he had enlisted for a total of eight years. But, it was his ignorance while enlisting that caused his situation. Not the sinister plotting of the military, but rather just the incompetence of someone who did not take the time to read a contract.
What is really sad is that after taking the advantage of the military an its benefits, Camilo decided he did not wish to honor his contract. The only person who should be outraged in this situation is the military.
James L. Wolf Sophomore Psychology Major
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