Friday, August 13, 2010

Child trafficking in our schools

"Vision Statement
To raise the interest and improve the knowledge and skills of at-risk youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which will provide for a highly educated and skilled American workforce that can meet the advanced technological requirements of the Department of Defense."
--DoD Starbase website
Grooming is a term that those who study pedophiles use to describe the behavior of a sick adult toward a target child, preparing that child to accept some form of sexual involvement with that perpetrator.

This is exactly what the Pentagon's Starbase program has been doing for almost 20 years. They come to grade schools--K-6--and take children to military bases for a day each week for five weeks, grooming them to serve the military. The Pentagon term for this is recruitment, and in fact that is the budget from which Starbase gets its funds, the recruitment money.

The approach is seductive to all the manipulated parties.

School districts in 'at-risk' environments are very likely to need the funds the DoD ("We've got all the money") dangles in front of them. In Portland, that $320,000 was irresistible last year, just as it is in all districts the Pentagon targets, like a buyer wandering the back alley sex markets with a wad of cash--the adults get the cash, the buyer gets to have his way with the child.

Teachers get a week off. "We're going to teach them science and math and you can relax. Just look the other way." At the school board hearing, it was indeed the teachers who testified in favor of Starbase. It was shameful.

The children get out of school, get shown whiz bang tech ("Whiz, you shoot, bang, they're dead") and they can just enjoy the trip. Boys can see the flashy stuff they see in the hero movies they love. Girls are told that they are so lucky because nowadays girls can get into the military too--what a great gain! Plus, everyone the child loves and trusts and totally relies on for care and guidance has told her that these trips to the military base are great. Teachers obviously love it. And the parents have signed off on it, so how can this be anything but safe and approved fun?

Parents sign off? Well, turns out that sometimes there is no special note that this is not a trip to the tree farm, the museum or the zoo. It's often a generic field trip form, possibly using the word Starbase and sometimes including no reference to that as a military base, and why wouldn't parents sign that routinely, since clearly the school has assessed, approved and asked them politely for their individual approval for their child to benefit from this? That completes the trust picture for the child. My mother signed permission, so she thinks this is a Good Thing too.

This operation is so slick it has even evaded any scrutiny, let alone opposition, from any groups who might otherwise normally be engaged in challenging some of the assumptions that buoy this Pentagon program.

How many of the little children who have been exposed to these grooming activities have either gone into the military or into military science and tech? We have not been told this, and we have not even been told if the Pentagon tracks this. At the least, it is driving the militarization of our culture more solidly younger and younger, pimping out kids to the warrior side to learn to appreciate high-tech death. Elementary children from the 5th grade are taken each year in our town, Portland, Oregon. The Starbase program is for children as young as five.

This is child trafficking, removing more and more free choice, stamping the child's soul with the imprimatur of the adults telling them that the mission of the hyperviolent war machine is approved and they should think about doing their duty to help. We in the US are rightly aghast when we hear about the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda kidnapping children into their child soldier ranks. We are disgusted when we learn about madrassas in Islamicist areas teaching children that infidels and unbelievers deserve to die, that a martyr's death is a glorious ride to paradise, and that Jews and others are subhuman. How can people do this to children? They should be protected from all this violence and allowed to remain innocent for their entire childhood, right?

Yes, that's our point. We oppose Starbase for exactly that reason and we invite your participation in creating alternatives to it. After all, wouldn't the kids be wowed by other science, tech and math if they went on field trips to health research facilities, ships studying the oceanic ecology (like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration student program pictured), architects designing and supervising new green buildings, or bicycle transport/design engineers at work? The science, tech and math for life-affirming, life-enhancing human endeavors is illimitable. For more information, please contact Communities for Alternatives to Starbase Education.


inger said...

It would be interesting to see if this approach to recruiting is indeed "successful".If it is not, it might be dropped.........?!
As usual our education system is not "fair and balanced". where are the field trips to those institutions you mentioned- and where is the money for them?! Where is Peace education, versus War education?! When is our History going to be taught more truthful? If govt is going to spend money on these war-prep games, that money is now gone for education in general. Maybe we should call education "Recruitment for IBM,BP, GE etc" ?! The Republicans might go for that!

Jean said...

With all due respect to the admirable folks seeking alternatives to this Starbase baloney, these are government schools. Why would we expect anything different?