Thursday, June 23, 2005


Conscience in Time of War

One of the lesser-known provisions of the "No Child Left Behind" Act (not to be confused with Children's Defense Fund's program of the same name) is the clause that enables the military to mine high school records for recruitment purposes. Today's Washington Post reports that the Pentagon is upping the ante, working with a private company to create a database of high school and college students to help identify potential recruits ("Pentagon Creating Student Database").

The efforts of the military to go after these children -- after all, the youngest high school students in the Pentagon's demographic target range are only 16 years old -- suggests an important area of peacework today: Counter-recruiting. What does that mean? Mainly, it's about telling the truth -- about the war in Iraq, about the real costs of becoming part of an interventionist military effort, and perhaps most important about individual conscience (and for many, how faith informs conscience). A good set of resources on conscientious objection can be found on the Mennonite Central Committee Web site.

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