- The Boston Globe reports that Santa Claus will be protected this Christmas by a jet-fighter escort. Adding the jets is “part of our effort to give the program
more of an operational feel,” said Navy Captain Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for
the command that sponsors the annual Santa tracking event, the North American Aerospace Defense
Command, also known as NORAD. “I think people are quite aware of the military’s true mission,” said Amy
Hagopian, a professor of public health at the University of Washington, who has
written extensively about military recruiting of youngsters. “If
the military wants to keep its ranks stocked, it needs to appeal to children.
The military knows it can’t appeal to adults to volunteer. It is like the ad
industry." Allen Kanner, a California child and family psychologist and cofounder
of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood says, "What we have to remember is that the military has been hiring marketing
companies for many years to best reach youngsters under 18 for the sole purpose
of recruitment. They also know you can develop something called brand loyalty —
from birth to death.".
- Bill Sulzman (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado Springs) sent around a link to a blockbuster local story a couple days ago. The U.S. Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs and has just been busted for running a secretive program that recruited academy students to spy and inform on fellow cadets. Cadets who attend the publicly-funded military academy must pledge never to lie. But the secret program pushed some to do just that: Informants were told to deceive classmates, professors and commanders while snapping photos, wearing recording devices and filing secret reports. For one former academy student, becoming a covert government operative meant not only betraying the values he vowed to uphold, it meant being thrown out of the academy as punishment for doing the things the Air Force secretly told him to do. See the whole story here
- Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University, has an important article about expanding US military role in Africa. He asks, "Before the gearing up proceeds much further, Americans might want to ask a few questions. Chief among them are these: Why the sudden shift in priorities? What's the aim? Who stands to benefit? What risks does the militarization of U.S. policy in Africa entail?" You can see the whole piece here.