Puerto Ricans Say No to Kids Becoming "Colonial Cannon Meat"

Anti-war Activists in Puerto Rico are meeting with success by visiting high schools and handing out flyers to students.

At the bottom of the leaflet was a tear sheet that students could sign and later hand to teachers, to request that students' personal contact information not be released to the U.S. Defense Department or to anyone involved in military recruiting.

....As a result, 57 percent of Puerto Rico's 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders, or their parents, have signed forms over the past year withholding contact information from the Pentagon -- effectively barring U.S. recruiters from reaching out to an estimated 65,000 high school students.

The requirement of providing information to the Pentagon is part of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, all schools receiving U.S. federal funding must provide their students' names, addresses and phone numbers to the military unless the child or parents sign an opt-out form.

....Juan Dalmau, secretary general of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) [says]his efforts are saving the island's children from becoming "colonial cannon meat."

Here's an idea that needs to spread to the mainland U.S:


Antiwar advocates have even gained direct access to Puerto Rican classrooms under a controversial directive issued last September by Rafael Aragunde, the island's education secretary, granting "equal access" by pacifist groups and military recruiters.

The effort is achieving its desired effect:

Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy....said he suspects that opt-out rates for states in the continental United States rarely break beyond 10 percent -- a far cry from the nearly 60 percent on the island.

The military's reaction:

Maj. Ricardo Sierra, who runs eight of Puerto Rico's 14 Army recruiting stations, rejected the notion that anti-recruitment efforts are affecting his operations. High school students are not his target demographic, he said, because few speak English well enough to pass military entrance exams. Instead, Sierra said, recruiters are meeting targets by contacting college-educated students.

One of Puerto Rico's daily newspapers says polling shows 75% of the island's residents oppose the war.

Puerto Rican military deaths are big news items on the island.

The funeral in March of Army Cpl. Jason Nunez, 22, proved particularly emotional. In images broadcast throughout the island, his mother removed the U.S. flag from her son's coffin and deliberately dropped it to the floor. She later implored other parents not to allow their children to fight in the U.S. military.

Puerto Rico's Education Secretary Rafael Aragunde also had this to say:

"You don't want children fighting on the streets, you don't want children cheating, nor stealing, and you don't want them to think that an alternative to solving any conflict is war," he said. "I feel it's my obligation to defend that value."
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  • Display: Sort:
    "colonial" (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by diogenes on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:01:59 PM EST
    If the activists feel "colonized" then they are more than welcome to set up a vote for independence.

    Yes, I have long thought (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:26:41 PM EST
    the PR should be independent.

    After reading the (none / 0) (#3)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 04:50:32 AM EST
    Education Secretery's comments, I can see why he can only make his way in life with a gov't job.    

    That may well be.... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kdog on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 08:12:11 AM EST
    But after reading his comment, I'd trade our education secretary for Puerto Rico's straight up, I'd even throw in an under-secretary to be named later.

    Now I see the whole point of "No Child Left Behind"...leaving no child behind if and when the Pentagon comes calling.  I'd be damned if I gave up my kid's name and address to a war machine.


    kdog (1.00 / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 11:13:46 AM EST
    It is easy to protest when someone else is doing the work.

    The secetary should understand that.

    So should you.


    What an interesting use of the word (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by glanton on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 12:27:29 PM EST

    Hell yeah glanton.... (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 09:07:28 AM EST
    I know all about that kind of "work".  The D.O.T. does it all the time...ripping up a perfectly good road to justify the budget.

    Glanton (1.00 / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 07:15:15 PM EST
    Much of what people do in the military is just that.


    Somewhat like someone defined flying.

    Hours and hours of boredom followed by minutes of sheer terror.


    Last year West Point invited our (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 08:22:54 AM EST
    daughter to apply.  I died laughing.  Military officers don't use clothing for carpeting.  Recruiters haven't phone though or sent flyers in the mail or anything else.  I wonder if they haven't called soldiers families and been cussed out or just heard one big long scream at the other end of the line.

    Tracy writes (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 11:11:46 AM EST
    I wonder if they haven't called soldiers families and been cussed out or just heard one big long scream at the other end of the line

    And I wonder if they haven't called and been warmly received.

    Was it you, or your daughter that turned down the opportunity to attend West Point? If it was her, that's her right. If it was you, you have prevented her from receiving an opportuniy to serve her country, receive a first class education and develops friends and contacts that would have served her well the rest of her life.

    As time goes on I am seeing that you are not anti the Iraq war, but just anti-military.


    In order to trust (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by glanton on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 12:31:26 PM EST
    the military with the life of your kid, you first must trust the political system that controls the military.

    The military itself is a tool as you well know.  

    If you're having trouble understanding this, try thinking of it in terms paraphrased courtesy of  your NRA buddies:

    The military doesn't kill people, just in suits 3,000 miles away, with nothing to lose, kill people.


    That is (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by glanton on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 12:32:32 PM EST
    People in suits, 3,000 miles away, with nohing to lose, kill people

    glanton (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 07:10:36 PM EST
    I gather that Tracy's daughter was the age of consent.

    As I said, if her daughter said no, it was her daughter's decision.

    And yes, our military is thankfully under civilian control.


    Jim (none / 0) (#15)
    by glanton on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 07:56:44 PM EST
    It seems you deliberately distorted what I wrote, amazing as I kept it brief. But if you really didn't get it, I'll clarify:

    I too of course think it wonderful that the military is a tool, and not the prime mover.  

    My point was and is that under the political system that currently controls that tool (huge money backed by even huger money), it would be awfully hard to send your kids into that matrix with blessings.

    And BTW: By "political system" I don't just mean George W. Bush, though a better symbol one could never imagine.


    Glanton (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 09:07:14 PM EST
    Well, one moment you are complaining about my usuage, and the next you are complaining that I don't let you get away with one liners.

    First, it isn't simple. The military is under civilian control, and I happen to believe that there is no evileeeee military industrial complex beating the drums of war, nor oil companies trying to "steal" the poor Iraqis' oil.

    It would have been easier and cheaper to have cut a deal with Saddam if that had been the issue.

    And the evileee military industrial complex may make money off the war, but they didn't start it.

    Frankly, anyone who believes that is paranoid.

    As you know, or perhaps you don't remember, I have long held that what we need is Universal Military Service to insure that everyone's little darling and everyone's "Master Jones" is exposed to the same. It might not reduce our military adventures, but it would surely give everyone a better understanding of each other and help Congress be sure the military has the tools they want and need versus the tools Congress wants manufactured in their home district.

    TalkLeft-UMS Greetings comment 16 on 8-12-07 10:59AM EST

    BTW - Again, welcome back. Your points are always enjoyed, even when I think them wrong. And did you have any luck quitting smoking??


    UMS (none / 0) (#17)
    by glanton on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 09:22:54 PM EST
    I am opposed to UMS with every fiber in me, and were it ever to be instituted I would leave this country to get my child out of it, though it would grieve me more than I can express to do so.  

    There are a litany of reasons for this.  What I have already written in this thread is a primary one, i.e. our political system, what kinds of human beings wind up getting to decide matters of life and death in the country.


    Interesting (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 06:57:47 AM EST
    Under what circumstances would you defend the country?

    Are you anti all wars, or just this war??

    BTW - UMS would be at age 18.


    I am not anti all wars (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by glanton on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 09:00:31 AM EST
    Nor am I just anti this war.  Weird how you always ask people that question as though those were the only two choices....  

    Anyway, you often parrot our Dear Leaders with terms like "defend the country."  Unforunately such terms are like soft wax in the hands of those in power; they are terms that can be applied to any and everything.  (A clue: When self defense is necessary there is no need to prove it through strange rhetorical gymnastics).  

    And btw, the American politicians and their enablers who play with lives can hardly qualify as "honorable men," no matter how often they show up on page 6, no matter how charming their Southern drawl, no matter where they went to college or what they give to charity.  

    Bottom line, our very system, the way our politicians are elected, precludes the possibility of a government that treats war for the nightmare that it is, and the last resort it ought to be.

    As you likely suspected, neither the age parameters nor any other details of your UMS proposal are of interest to me. No form of conscription is acceptable as far as I am concerned.        


    Agree, and when self defense (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 09:04:39 AM EST
    is the real issue and the real battle being fought our volunteer military is never unmanned and broken like it is now.

    Yes (none / 0) (#23)
    by glanton on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 01:18:48 PM EST
    That is well said

    Glanton (1.00 / 1) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 01:52:22 PM EST
    Given that we live in a constitutional republic, and not a "democracy," the choice we have is in who we elect. If you decide you don't want to go along with the decisions of those elected that is your right, but it appears that you have ignored your responsibilities to the republic.

    Not much left to say after that.

    Have a nice day.


    Oligarchy (none / 0) (#26)
    by glanton on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 02:21:47 PM EST
    Is a much more fitting word for describing how things are running than Republic.

    You want a Republic, for real?  Circa 2007, the last best hope for such a thing is publically financed elections.

    "If you want a Senator who's not on the take, give them free air time so they don;t have to fake."


    Hey, I gave her the letter (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 01:11:02 PM EST
    Her words.......NEVER, not in a million years and it wouldn't have ever been her choice even if Iraq hadn't happened.  Sorry, but we are sorely lacking in the brainwash department at Chez Tracys.  No yes sir around here.  Just a bunch of slackers draining the government dry every chance we can get Jim ;)

    Tracy (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 07:12:27 PM EST
    You assume I hold views on you that I have never written.

    Are you projecting??

    (Sorry, couldn't resist using one of Edger's favorites.)


    Dr Avenger (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 01:56:08 PM EST
    No anecdotes this time??

    How you once saw someone who reminded you of Tracy and they were getting ready to enlist??

    Coming in on a conversation when it is .9 done is your speciality. But it doesn't lead to any deep insights.