Rachel Rogers, a single mother of four in upstate New York, did not worry about the presence of National Guard recruiters at her son’s high school until she learned that they taught students how to throw hand grenades, using baseballs as stand-ins. For the last month she has been insisting that administrators limit recruiters’ access to children.
Orlando Terrazas, a former truck driver in Southern California, said he was struck when his son told him that recruiters were promising students jobs as musicians. Mr. Terrazas has been trying since September to hang posters at his son’s public school to counter the military’s message.
Meanwhile, Amy Hagopian, co-chairwoman of the Parent-Teacher-Student Association at Garfield High School in Seattle, has been fighting against a four-year-old federal law that requires public schools to give military recruiters the same access to students as college recruiters get, or lose federal funding. She also recently took a few hours off work to stand beside recruiters at Garfield High and display pictures of injured American soldiers from Iraq.
“We want to show the military that they are not welcome by the P.T.S.A. in this building,” she said. “We hope other P.T.S.A.’s will follow.”
Two years into the war in Iraq, as the Army and Marines struggle to refill their ranks, parents have become boulders of opposition that recruiters cannot move.
Mothers and fathers around the country said they were terrified that their children would have to be killed – or kill – in a war that many see as unnecessary and without end.
Around the dinner table, many parents said, they are discouraging their children from serving.
So is the Bush Junta going to start accusing American moms and dads of being unpatriotic? That would be the logical course of action for it, considering how any opposition to the Iraq War earned that label from the start.
But impugning Americans’ patriotism isn’t working anymore. American moms and dads don’t give a shit what you say about their love of country when it comes to getting their kids killed for something they do not believe in. We’ve been down this road before, of course. The Bush Junta has painted itself into a corner now. Either the Draft is re-instituted, or in my opinion, one of two things will happen: we will be forced out of Iraq because we don’t have the bodies on the ground to achieve even the semblance of a victory. Or the Junta will insist on continuing the Occupation with the troops we have now. The last is likely to also mean an eventual retreat under duress, just like our retreat from Vietnam. But only after many more casualties.
Support for this war is gone. Very few Americans still believe it is worth American lives. The Bush Junta is getting a big dose of real American Values from American parents.