Parents are thwarting military recruitment on high school campuses. Military authorities have asserted that parental resistance is having a serious impact on recruitment for the war in Iraq, raising once again the specter of a possible draft. Most of the resistance is taking place in low-income districts; recruiters pass by affluent schools as lost causes.
Superpatriots have suggested that parents who deliberately interfere with the ability of the United States to wage war on its enemies are not only unpatriotic and un-American, but are engaged in sedition and should be arrested and tried under Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115, Section 2388 of the United States Code, which provides as follows:
"(a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies; or, Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. (b) If two or more persons conspire to violate subsection (a) of this section and one or more such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as provided in said subsection (a). (c) Whoever harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe or suspect, has committed, or is about to commit, an offense under this section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. (d) This section shall apply within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States, and on the high seas, as well as within the United States." (emphasis added)
No doubt any competent lawyer could provide overwhelming legal arguments against the application of this statute against the parents who are protesting against the recruitment of high school children. Nevertheless, the possibility remains that it might be applied - that would certainly not constitute the most outrageous prosecution brought in the United States during time of war.
The defamation of the parents as unpatriotic and un-American is disturbing in itself, for many if not most of them insist they would permit or even encourage the sacrifice of their children to the greater good if the war were a just war, particularly a defensive one. But this war, many dissenting parents say, is an unlawful aggression based on a pack of lies; those who brought the action are the real traitors to America, and they who should be impeached, removed from office and tried for war crimes. However, authority as it is constituted and the majority who elected it are opposed to any such action.
Sedition differs from treason inasmuch as sedition does not consist of overtly levying war against a government, adhering to its enemies, giving enemies aid, and giving enemies comfort. Sedition laws are the collection of rules imposed by authority to refer to non-overt conduct contrary to authority such as speech. Sedition may include any commotion not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Sedition does not consist, of peaceful protest, nor attempting to change the government by democratic means - at least not in most representative democracies.
The modern concept of sedition appeared in the Elizabethan Era (c. 1590) as the "notion of inciting by words or writings disaffection towards the state or constituted authority" [1,89]. Ibid, p. 90: "Sedition complements treason and martial law: while treason controls primarily the privileged, ecclesiastical opponents, priests, and Jesuits, as well as certain commoners; and martial law frightens commoners, sedition frightens intellectuals." Merely calling the King a fool or a moron was a seditious act subject to capital punishment at one time.
In 1798, sedition was defined in the United States as "incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government." The Federalist-dominated Congress and President John Adams passed the Sedition Act. The United States was in an undeclared naval war with France; the Federalists claimed that certain pro-French citizens had dangerous "revolutionary tendencies." The newly developing Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson believed that this federal law was passed to "muzzle" the political opposition, and that the national government had overstepped its authority in passing it. Here is a key excerpt from the Sedition Act:
"If anyone writes, prints, speaks, or publishes, or knowingly assists in writing, printing, speaking, or publishing anything false, scandalous, and malicious against the United States government, either house of Congress, or the President, with the attempt to attack their reputations or to bring them into contempt or disrepute, or to stir up the hatred of the American people against them, such a person, if convicted, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars and by not more than two years imprisonment. If any person stirs up hatred against a member of Congress or the President, or promotes sedition within the United States, or organizes any unlawful groups to oppose or resist any law of the United States, or any act of the President, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nations against the United States, their people or their government, such a person, if convicted, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars and by not more than two years imprisonment."
The Sedition Act of 1918 during the Great War made it a federal crime to criticize the government or Constitution. Any spoken or published form of writing, expressing negative opinions about the war effort, or even opinions against the draft would lead to the imprisonment of the author. Even expressing one's own opinions through a letter to a friend or family member was not legal. There were a number of successful prosecutions during the war. Kate Richards O'Hare, AKA "Red Kate" was given a five-year sentence for making an anti-war speech in North Dakota. (Alonso, 22) Eugene V. Debs, candidate for the socialist party, ran for President several times, winning as much as one million votes. He too was against the war, and criticized the draft law. After making a speech, targeting young men, to rethink their decision in enlisting in the draft, he was fined and punished to imprisonment for ten years.
Although sedition law was modified over the centuries, the core concept as well as some of the original language remains in current law. It certainly does seem that interference with recruiting during time of war could be construed as a federal crime. The parents of low-income school districts have available what seems to be a lawful means of barring recruiters from school: they could see to it that their schools opt out of the No Child Left Behind legislation; of course that would result in the loss of many hundreds of millions of dollars in federal school funding: the No Child Left Behind Act came with strings: recruitment of their children into war, where No Man Left Behind is the rule - philosophers debate the utility of retrieving bodies under that rule, some saying the remains are essential symbols with meaning most profound; others claim the dead bodies is not the man, and, in any case, bodies are not worth risking lives to retrieve.
Almost every parent knows by now the No Child Left Behind Act signed by President Bush provides recruiters with access to campuses and grants the Pentagon access to directories with students names, addresses, and phone numbers, so that children may be easily contacted and recruited for military service. The legislation was purportedly crafted to create better students, but it takes advantage of poverty and departs from the previously federally guaranteed privacy protections that all students traditionally enjoyed. It allows the military to have unimpeded access to underage students who are ripe for solicitation for the military. The blatant contradiction of prior federal law is an invasion of students' privacy and an assault on their educational opportunities. Schools were once explicitly instructed to protect the integrity of students' information - even to guard students' private information from college recruiters.
On site recruiters have coerced employees at individual schools to sign previously prepared documents stating that in refusing to release student information, they are not in compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act and risk losing federal funding. Recruiters lure students from the underclass with the promise of a college education that would lead to an higher economic status than their parents enjoy. Recruiters also make false promises to students; for instance, that they will not see combat.
It appears that the actual purpose for educating the underclass is to provide cannon meat, and not to develop students' minds, hearts and talents through self-discovery and academic exploration, nor to promote critical thinking skills, empathy for others, understanding of individual roles in community service, and a sense of global connectedness. The latter sort of education is reserved for the privileged elite, the proportion of which is growing smaller and smaller as the middle class is destroyed by the unwholesome "neoconservative" policies.
Of course practically every nation sacrifices its children for the greater good of the nation if not for Moloch. Where else might a people turn for its most vigorous defense if not to its youth? Raging hormones, physical ability, and the undeveloped prefrontal cortex render the young most suitable war. The United States has been particularly committed to preparing its young for patriotic conflicts as its propensity for war increased. The United States is one of the few countries given to ritual flag display and pledge recitation designed to inculcate state patriotism in classrooms. We note that the original Pledge of Allegiance simply read:
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The Youth's Companion, Sept. 8, 1892.
The phrase "my flag" was dropped from the pledge in 1924, and "the Flag of the United States of America" was substituted. The edit was conceived to counteract the propaganda and patriotism of disgruntled immigrant who were bent on stirring up trouble on behalf of their own nations; the United States has always been a nation within which there are many nationalities, and even the more so today, now that so many citizens of the United States have lost respect for America and therefore tend to identify with their ethnic of foreign national cultures.
The phrase "Under God" was interposed in the pledge in 1954 because Cold War patriots wanted to distinguish the United States from its ungodly socialist opponents who did not appreciate the capitalist god and the imperialist policies of his elected representatives. In any event, after reciting the pledge, children would know whose side god is on. Although that god could not be deposed, his representative in the White House certainly knew god's will.
Sports are yet another good way to prepare children for hate-others-based group-love. Basketball saves underprivileged juveniles from delinquency and prepares them for economic competition and political warfare by teaching them to follow orders, to divide the world into Them and Us, to fight in teams for Either/Or. There is big money in basketball and other sports. Football is the next best sport to war. Thus does the probability of absolute corruption of our youth by early educational means present itself, and that is very good for the military-industrial complex.
Outside of school, the organized "free" press conspires with and works for the war-mongering governments of the United States. Learning to read the daily newspapers was once de rigor for all students who wanted to succeed. American universities often support and advise the press on the use of sports and jingoistic propaganda to perpetuate military activities:
Columbia War Papers Series 1, No. 4, New York, 1917, entitled 'Our Headline Policy,' expressed the policy of the pro-war administration of Columbia University. Columbia and other nongovernmental institutions emulated the U.S. Committee on Public Information, which was created by President Wilson to foster war by means of propaganda and suppression of all views opposed to the administration's war plans. The nation's press took the recommendations to heart and voluntarily practiced censorship.
"Teamwork and only teamwork will win the war," states Columbia University in its paper to editors. "Our greatest national power... is our public press; and upon you, who direct that press, rests a supreme responsibility...." First of all, "The first requisite is unity." According to the 'liberal' university administration, American's are naturally independent; however, baseball and football has taught them the value of sacrificing the individual to teams.
"It is upon this knowledge that the American people must now act. And the editors of the public press have it in their power to lead them to action by keeping the necessity of it - the very ideal of it - constantly before the people, making them realize that victory can be won only through unity. How is this to be done? Editorials. But to one reader who is influenced once by a given editorial, many hundreds are influenced, day by day, by the headlines of the paper and by the wording and the form of the news...."
Editors are advised not to refer to individual performances, but to teamwork; not to grandstand plays, but to team play, to assists, to sacrifices of individuals; and they should sure to say, where referring to battles, "we", and "our."
In fine, "It is the press of the country that we must look to keep this necessity of unity, this clear vision of our single aim, constantly before us; and it is in the headlines of the papers, in the placing of the news, and in the words that are used in making the news public that this must be done."
Fortunately the United States has a long history of revolution within the revolution - of the socialist revolution broadening the sphere of liberty and civil rights and restraining the revolution of the privileged few who are seldom satisfied with whatever power they might have since they are thoroughly corrupted by it. Lest we forget, the revolt against Great Britain was led by a few traitors who were initially engaged in seditious conspiracy; less than ten percent of the population were treasonous; the revolution was more of a civil war than a revolution, for the British government was not destroyed - and a similar system was constituted in America. Given the present policies of the government of the federal state, a government that is bringing the United States to shame for its misconduct, it certainly seems that more "sedition" and less "patriotism" is in order.
When it comes to political and economic democracy, no child or man should be left behind, and the education of children and adults should not depend on participation in the organization of the mass terrorism we call war.