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Read your comments Sunday, 23 March, 2003, 20:35 GMT
Read your comments
Is this just a scheme to recruit for a life in the services?
Is this just a scheme to recruit for a life in the services?
America's School Kid Soldiers was broadcast on BBC Two on Sunday, 23 March, 2003 at 1845 GMT.
Because of the high volume of correspondence we receive, we cannot guarantee to publish every single e-mail.



I think it's good because they can use the special education they get from it. The USA will never force any young kids to service under age, not like Iraq who force them to fight or die.
gilbert pugh, usa

There is only one word for what was shown on tonight's programme and what is happening in the world today - obscene! What we saw here were the results of a social, political, economic and cultural deficit. Is this the bankruptcy of civilisation?
Stephen Vaughan, Ireland

If this was filmed in Iraq or China or Korea we would be worried

Trevor H.
The military has always been a route for the socially disadvantaged in the US to make social gains: Colin Powell would be the biggest example of this. The structured life and subsidised college education are both useful for individuals who might otherwise have poor and dangerous lifestyle choices ahead of them. For the Bush administration to force/ blackmail schools to accept military recruiters, coupled with public school spending cuts and tax breaks for the rich is patrician cynicism in the extreme.
Ade Agbebiyi, UK

Any American who knows anything about JROTC (which has been around for decades) will chuckle at the suggestion that it represents the wide-spread militarization of American youth. Is this really the best you can do?
John Grogan, United States

I personally wish that they had a similar kind of system in schools over here

Jason McGinty
If this form of ''Recruitment'' was happening in German schools, the German authorities would be accused of building up the New Reich, but because it is the USA then it is OK! Is that the way it works? Come off it George Bush!
B.W.Moore., UK

Terrifying - Not satisfied with this current war, W Bush is creating a perennial army for the future. If this was filmed in Iraq or China or Korea we would be worried, this is the future of democracy - we should be worried. The only way you can get a free education is to sign up for the latest American action.
Trevor H, UK

Thanks for a thoughtful and provocative documentary - the 'old school' style of actually listening to people as it was made. Worrying outcome though!
Philski, UK

I just hope a system like this does not come to the UK

Isa Hanson
I personally wish that they had a similar kind of system in schools over here, many of the kids that seemed to be the disruptive ones in class now went on joined the military and seemed to have turned into all round good people, since joining Uni I also joined the TA, and have wished that I had joined similar schemes like the cadets much earlier, might not be a popular view these days as the military machine scares a lot of people because of secrecy etc, but on a individual level it can do a lot for them, although its not the answer for everyone, I think the choice should be there.
Jason McGinty, UK

If these kids are bright enough to go to college surely they are bright enough to realise that if you join the army - the chances are that at some time you may end up in combat!
Karen Holdup

This programme further demonstrates the American mentality and fixation with war as a concept. These ideas are forced upon the American people by the current Administration to further its own right-wing agenda. Any dissent from the established view is quickly denounced (or simply unreported in the American news media) and labelled unpatriotic.
Nick, England

It teaches them to be disciplined and responsible

R Goldsmith
I found the show thrilling, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. I found the filming of precision and the kids appeared polite and trustworthy.
Bob Smith, England

I feel that the way the American Army is recruiting student from poor family for their fees to be paid for and receive higher education in return is not good. It is like been forced to do something you do not want to do. I just hope a system like this does not come to the UK. As it seems we are emulating the American system in education. For example the abolition of grants, changes in teachers professionalism etc.
Isa Hanson , England

Why shouldn't America gear up its kids to stand to defend the U.S and Israel? The Palestinians and other Muslims brain wash their kids to hate the Israelis and prepare them so that one day they'd terrorise Israelis. And there is nothing wrong with putting kids in military uniform or schools. It teaches them to be disciplined and responsible.
R Goldsmith, Israel

The results are probably slightly more positive than negative, but the motivation is suspect

Donald Johnson
Interesting programme. As a former Air Cadet who learnt to fly as an RAF air cadet at school, I am grateful for the training and experience the CCF gave me. As Charles Wheeler comments, there could be problems with heavy militarization within US cities, however I think if offered the prospect of University Education paid for the military, I would sign up, rather than go uneducated. Good programme.
Edmund Wheeler, UK

Yes you can have the education if you are from the disadvantaged group you can go to college like the rich children but by the way you make not make it there because you may be killed as part of the National Guard and the time that these youngsters will owe to their country who have given this wondderful opportunity! It screams at me saying it is a cheap way to get cannon fodder, and may a good way to cut down crime. I thought these days had gone!
Jan Brinkley, UK

As a teacher in a Houston public school, I've had ROTC students in my class. I don't see any evidence of indoctrination other than, perhaps, some better discipline, particularly on the days they wear their uniforms. What I think it does, however, is allow the military men to identify certain characteristics that are prized by the military: patriotism and its underlying single-minded willingness to subjugate oneself to authority.

Most of the ROTC students aren't the smartest in school, and without the military option, they'd likely languish in minimum-wage jobs in the city slums. Those that join have a chance to at least travel and perhaps see that Houston isn't the only possible state of existence. Overall, the results are probably slightly more positive than negative, but the motivation is suspect.
Donald Johnson, United States (Texas)

Worth adopting in the UK, in some form

Colin Beveridge
This programme provides evidence that the war on Iraq was premeditated. Mr Bush had already planned to boost the number of members to his military by using these school kid soldiers. To send someone into schools from the military to speak to 14 year olds about becoming cadets is sickening. I would not allow my child into any school that allows this to happen. But the schools have their hands tied due to the politics implicated within this Bush system.
James & Nancy Corrigan, England

Did we see the new "mullahs" of our western world in Charles Wheeler's excellent programme?
M.Gallagher, Ireland

I think, despite the blatantly socialist tone of the reporter, that this all seemed like a great scheme. Worth adopting in the UK, in some form.
Colin Beveridge, UK

It seems a cynical manipulation of disadvantaged groups in the US

Alison Klose
Having watched the programme, I am appalled by this rise in militarism to obtain an education. We all saw the effects of the 'Hitler Youth', I cannot believe it is happening again in the 21st Century, in a so called Democracy.
John Baxter, England.UK

I found this programme very concerning in a number of ways. Kids are being seriously taken down the garden path and bribed by cute uniforms and especially the promise of college fees, without full understanding of what this might all mean for them in the long term. It seems a cynical manipulation of disadvantaged groups in the US, with the military being the real winner.
Alison Klose, UK

I found this cynical exploitation of poor children, sickening for a supposedly free and democratic country. Not only the coercion to join the military, but also the indoctrination and propaganda that seems to pass for lessons. My first thought was to send a copy of this program to Downing street, for Mr Blair to see what our allies are up to. I then realised this may not be such a good thing, as it would probably give him ideas.
Angela Peacock, UK


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