J. Clifford Cook, Irregular Times contributing writer
There's been a whole lot of attention in the news recently to the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by George W. Bush back in January, 2002, amidst the rush of legislation passed in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Among its other provisions, such as the establishment of national requirements for standardized tests, was an item which was not publicized at the time of its passage: a mandate for public schools across the country to contribute their students' personal information to a military database.
Using this military database, the Pentagon has begun a campaign to recruit 15, 16, 17 and 18 year boys and girls into its ranks to become trained killers ("soldiers" is the common euphemism). Now, parents have little choice but to allow their children to be harrassed by Army sergeants whose sole aim is to get as many as young Americans living in barracks and marching in formation as possible.
The generals at the Pentagon explain that they want to bring teenagers into military life in order to give them valuable leadership experience. See, in the military, learning to march in formation and follow orders without question is regarded as essential training for leadership. George W. Bush supports this vision of education for American children.
Apparently, what George W. Bush meant when he promised that there would be "No Child Left Behind" was that no American child could be left behind in his drive to build the largest American military ever. For Bush, the most important educational priority was to make sure that no child would be left alone by soldiers seeking to coerce children into signing their lives away, to go submit themselves to the command of Bush himself. No child would be left behind in Bush's drive to convert American teenagers into a massive war machine.
Well, the fact is that when Commander-In-Chief Bush promised to leave no child behind in his unprecidented underage military recruiting drive, he lied. The No Child Left Behind Act actually leaves plenty of children behind.
Sure, George W.'s law opens up high schoolers to military propaganda, but what about the middle schoolers? Why didn't the law allow recruiters from the Marines to call eleven year-olds at home? Why can't representatives of the Navy's elite sniper program come to eighth-grade dances? It's well known that middle-school students are at a special time in their lives, when they need a little extra direction. Why not dress them up in uniform and teach them how to charge the enemy?
Even then, there would still be many children left behind. What about Bush's plans for the elementary schools? I personally know many parents who are very upset that our public schools don't teach their children how to fire a gun properly. We need to start young, giving target practice with automatic rifles a mandatory place on elementary school playgrounds.
What about the kindergarteners? They need order! That's why the No Child Left Behind Act ought to have made sure that all five year olds would have their heads shaved for induction into kindergarten, teaching them to conform like the good little warriors our government hopes they will all become. Why waste time? Start early!
If we really want to give our children a head start, our educational system should take the job seriously. The government ought to force Head Start programs to live up to their name, and give their preschoolers a head start on military training or have their federal funding withdrawn. There must be no milk money for impoverished preschoolers until they achieve beginner's certification in martial arts, with emphasis on hitting, kicking and biting -- in the honorable tradition of our nation's great military academies.
How dare the United States withdraw the opportunity for leadership from our youngest children? The American public ought to demand that they be given the opportunity to learn about becoming soldiers - how to stab the enemy with bayonets, how to fire different kinds of guns, how to drop bombs on civilian targets, how to produce chemical and biological weapons, and most importantly, how to fire America's nuclear missiles at foreign cities.
The No Child Left Behind Act establishes a national mandate for standardized testing along with the requirement for schools to provide personal information on high schoolers to be processed into a gigantic database run by the military. Well, if standardized testing can be applied to science, mathematics and language skills, why not military skills? For too long, our nation's public schools have left our children woefully ignorant of what it takes to operate the wide variety of weaponry it takes to kill our nation's enemies. America's teachers ought to be held accountable for their failure to teach our little sons and daughters how to march in lock-step while chanting "Kill, kill, kill!"
Least you think that these demands for the logical extension of the No Child Left Behind Act are inconsistent, part of our plan for full military access to America's children involves opening the final frontier of military recruiting: childbirth in military hospitals. Let's leave no child behind, and let's start with enlisting the babies into military service. As soon as they leave their mothers' bodies, these youngest Americans can be tattooed with military identification numbers. Sure, it'll hurt, but America's soldiers need to learn to endure a little pain for the security of their homeland, right? Just remember, none of us will be safe until NO CHILD is left behind.
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