Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Is the "Military Seducing Young?"

Andria Hill- Lehr Says : "Military Seduces Young" ,
Whose son is in Afghanistan, complains of "brainwashing"

Andria Hill-Lehr of Wolfville says the Canadian military is seducing young Canadians into joining the Armed Forces. The mother of a reservist in Afghanistan is writing a book on the subject. (Ian Fairclough / Herald)

WOLFVILLE — The military is seducing impressionable youth into service in the Armed Forces, says the mother of a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan.
Andria Hill-Lehr says youth of all ages are being led to join the military before they have the ability to think critically.

She said Forces’ advertisements, shown at movie theatres, target teens. She also said the cadet program starts as young as age 12 and puts youth in touch with military life.

"We’ve used words like brainwashing and indoctrination and they’ve lost their emphasis," she said. Now she uses the word seduction. The Wolfville mom spoke on the issue at a Voice of Women for Peace rally in Halifax last month and she is writing a book for Pottersfield Press, a Halifax County publishing company.

She said teens who become involved in cadets, the reserves and the regular forces are being taught to follow when they should be learning to lead and to think for themselves.

"The cadet (program) promotes itself as providing friendship, fun, adventures and challenges, but if that’s what’s important to parents, there are other ways to get it without promoting the military culture.

"Some parents see it as the opposite of joining a street gang," Ms. Hill-Lehr said.
She said youth could do volunteer work with aid groups, such as Crossroads and Oxfam.
The federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on the cadet program but nothing on Scouts Canada, which has more members, she said.

"If it’s all about citizenship and community, how come the guides and scouts aren’t getting that kind of support?"

She said her concerns are not based on the fact that her 23-year-old reservist son, Master Cpl. Garrow Hill-Stosky, and other Canadians are in Afghanistan.

Canada does need an army, she said, but it shouldn’t be developed through enticement of teenagers. She believes reserves should be restricted to people 18 years and older.

Ahhhh... yesssss.. now I remember Andria Hill-Lehr:

In Halifax, on October 28th, 2006 at a war protest Rally (the month before her son's deployment) she was quoted as saying: "Right now I am ashamed of wearing a Canadian flag on my back."
She had said she supports her son's decision to enlist but worries his spirit will be changed forever.

I received a message from an anonymous writer:
Anonymous said...
I think this mom is rightly concerned. My 18 year old son went into the recruiting office to sign up for the Co-op program and instead enlisted in the Infantry. I do believe he was pressured by the recruiter. He is currently finishing his basic training and has been told he will be going overseas next Feb. I am proud of him but also angry he was pressured into rushing into things.

I have found the answers for her/him and anyone else wondering about the recruitment protocol:

To apply :
1) An applicant must bring a school transcrpipt to the recruitment centre showing at least 15 high school Credits as well as a social insurance card and birth certificate.
2) He or she must also be at least 17 years old and not facing criminal charges.
3) Applicants have to write a two hour aptitude test, which helps predict which trades they're likely to excel in.
4) Military career counsellors then meet with applicants to determine wheather they are suitable and eligible for one of the three trades they're considering in either the regular or reserve forces.
5) "You are NEVER forced into a trade that you don't want" (per Lieut. Stephen Churm of the Canadian Forces district recruiting centre in Hamilton)
6) The next step is the medical exam.
7) If everything up to that stage has gone smoothly, the military might offer an applicant a job within a week.
8) "The individual applying has complete control over the process." said Lieut. Churm
There is no longer a fitness test in the recruiting process, however, regular force soldiers who don't make the cut at the military's recruit school in St. Jearn, Que., are put inot a "fitness platoon," where they are brought up to standard through exercise training.

Trivia fact: This was the same rally Jack Layton attended - however in Toronto and said in a television interview that "Canada's goals in Afghanistan are not being achieved, and Ottawa is spending much more on the war effort than reconstruction." Well Jack, ask any returning soldier about reconstruction. .. or check the stats below:

Reconstruction and humanitarian efforts continue alongside the mission. In fact, some aspects of the augmentation of CF capabilities, including additional engineering personnel and equipment, are also intended to enhance the capacity of the Provincial Reconstruction Team to achieve its objectives and to protect itself. Military project managers (military engineers) will serve to enhance the PRT’s capability to manage quick impact reconstruction and development projects.

The following Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team highlights listed below are only some of their achievements since February 2006:

  • Nine village medical outreach visits were organized in conjunction with the Battle Group around Kandahar Province. More than 2000 Afghan people received basic medical care and material assistance in remote areas from Panjwai to Mienishin.

  • The KPRT participated in International Women’s Day and supported the celebration. Two Women’s wellness session took place. One at the Directorate of Women’s affairs building and one at the Kandahar Prison. The goal of these sessions is to improve quality of life of women and inform them on Government activities.

  • The KPRT distributed more than 6,000 donated school kits to children around Kandahar Province and donated 100 bicycles to the Ministry of Education for the end of year awards.

  • The KPRT continued and improved on the Mechanic Repair Operation to support the Afghan National Police. As a result, local Afghans received training and are working to repair Afghan National Police (ANP) vehicles. More vehicles mean more patrols, and more patrols mean better security for the people of Kandahar.

  • The KPRT donated computers and constructed a water distribution system for Kandahar University. The KPRT also purchased a generator to provide enough power for courses to carry on during days where there is no electricity in the city.

  • The KPRT employed more than 100 Afghans and engaged many local businesses for projects at Camp Nathan Smith, which represented approximately $3 million CAD spent in the local economy.
As well, Canada decided to send the Armoured Engineering Vehicle, known as a Badger, for its multiple capabilities to assist with both stabilization and reconstruction efforts. The Badger is well suited to activities where civilian equipment could be destroyed or disabled.

These capabilities include:
- A crane with a maximum lifting capacity of 7.8 tonnes;
- A dozer blade that can be used to clear rubble and level surfaces;
- An excavator bucket that can move up to 270 cubic meters of material per hour;
- An excavator arm that can be fitted with two grappling teeth for picking up large objects;
- An electric welding and cutting unit that can assist with construction efforts;
- A CAPSTAN winch with a pulling capacity of 35 tonnes with 90 meters of cable;
- The Badger can carry and deploy the class 60 Track Way – a portable road – that can be used to repair conventional roads and airport runways; and,
-A number of hydraulic tools such as a jackhammer and impact wrenches.

Reconstruction? Yes, I believe reconstruction happened and is happening.. through dust and rain all the whilst, protecting themselves. What do you think?


ann said...

Wow !
This lady should learn to respect her son's choices. When our children are teenagers, we expect them to begin making career choices. They are provided with information on a variety of available careers. Like it or not, the Canadian Forces is one of those careers. Perhaps she should also do some history research and she will see that many young people fought in the first and second world wars. If it wasnt for them, this country would not exist in its present form. My father in law was 15 when he served in WW2. All I have to say is, thank goodness for those teenagers and young adults who made that choice. Lest We Forget.

Anonymous said...

I think this mom is rightly concerned. My 18 year old son went into the recruiting office to sign up for the Co-op program and instead enlisted in the Infantry. I do believe he was pressured by the recruiter. He is currently finishing his basic training and has been told he will be going overseas next Feb. I am proud of him but also angry he was pressured into rushing into things.

Ann said...

Dear anonymous--I understand how you must feel, but no-one is forced into joining the military in Canada--it is a voluntary choice. If your son truly feels he was coerced in some way--he has every right to change his mind at any point in his training--he will not be forced to stay. Even if your son had chosen the reserves instead, he still may have made the choice to do a tour. ---Try to think of it this way--your son could have chosen to be a police officer or firefighter--also risky careers in which you are required to put others before yourself.-----
My husband is currently serving in Afghanistan. When he was getting ready to go, it took every strength I had not to start bawling and say "don't go, we need you here". Sometimes the strongeset love and support we can show is to respect their choices, look them in the eye and say, "Its okay, I understand, I am proud of you, and we'll be okay".

Military Mom said...

Thank you Ann. I agree. When entering the military, the soldier is tested and not till after the testing, they conclude what attributes that soldier has and to which field he/she would be best suited. There is no force or coersion.
I agree with Ann. You want nothing but to hold them and keep them safe. But it is a special love like you cannot imagine to let them go - go to their "other family" -to which they develop a close bond with as well... and a job - an employment of their chosing.One they are proud of.. one many wish they could do and have thanked him for. It's important to support them, stand behind them in their choices. I know I cherished every call, every message.. so much. I never missed or miss a chance to tell him how proud I was and still am of him. And our bond? It's closer than ever.

Military Mom said...

Dear Anonymous:
Thank you for stopping by. We're here to support you. I have done some research and have displayed recruitment protocol at the front of this posting. Any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
We're here for you.

Ann said...

I just feel the need to express something, and please, Military Mom, if you don't think what I'm saying is appropriate, I won't mind if you delete it--I won't be offended.
I think some peole get the wrong idea about the military, and soldiers in general. Our soldiers are REAL, people just like everyone else. They are not some kind of mindless drones, who can't think for themselves. They are very good at making their own decisions. They do not start fights with everyone they see. Contrary to popular sitcoms and movies, I have never met a soldier who makes his/her family stand at attention, call him/her by rank or "scrub the latrine". Just like everyone else, soldiers enjoy the occasional cup of Timmies. They go to grocery stores to buy their food. They eat in restaurants. They worry about paying the bills, and raising their children. They do not call everyone "Sir", and most importantly, they have families that love them very much!

section mom said...


Your son can decide not to go anytime during his training. If he truly does not want to go, he should not go - he will be a danger to himself and to his unit.

However, if he does want to go, as a mom you have to respect his wishes, be VERY PROUD OF HIM,
tell him you love him very much, make him know you support him, and join a support group.
Any soldier who has returned (my son is one of them, he took part in Operation Medusa) will tell you they miss the mission, they know they made a difference and they all feel the job is not done.

Please talk to someone about your feelings.

Anonymous said...

As a former Army cadet and now Police Officer, I can say that my time in Cadets played a big part in my becoming a confident and well rounded adult. There was NEVER any pressure to go into the military or police. If anything, education in various areas was emphasized. The experience opened my eyes to what is available out there and how to appreciate the differences in everone. I am very proud of my achievements, and those who are serving overseas now so I can continue to make choices!