Monday, June 28, 2004

Formative years 

A story from Wisconsin (Stephen, how did you miss this one?) discusses a high school newspaper that declined an ad (and $3000 revenue) from a military recruiter.
Bix Firer, 17, editor of the newspaper, rejected the offer, saying the U.S. military's actions run contrary to the advertising policy he drafted.

The policy rebuffs businesses and organizations "deemed destructive to the social, economic and environmental health of the earth and all of its inhabitants."

He also says he didn't want the student publication being used to advance the cause of "warmongers."
Why is it you never hear them referred to as "defensemongers" or "protectionmongers"? Just wondering.
He also says the military is "both classist and racist in its approach."

"I realize this is sort of absurd coming from a privileged, white male, but the recruitment sort of targets those with fewer opportunities," Firer says.
As Joanne Jacobs notes (from whom I found this article), the recruiter was trying to target this rich, more liberal neighborhood but was hampered by the self-imposed policies of Mr. Firer. David Foster, meanwhile, notes in a comment on Joanne's post an article by Karl Zinmeister (excerpts here), interviewed last Saturday by the Northern Alliance Radio Network. David asked a couple of months ago:
There's always been a lot to be said for hiring people with a military background, because the military often gives very young people the opportunity to exercise heavy levels of responsibility. But the nature of the current conflict is giving many people experience that will be of especially high value in business. ...

They're making tough decisions involving the balancing of multiple conflicting objectives. For example, the article tells of a lieutenant who is asked to take his platoon to a Baghdad sewer plant, where a suspected terrorist is believed to be employed. Does he charge in, seize the employment rosters, grab all the employees, and interrogate them? But the plant is--which was in a state of "advanced decay" when the Coalition arrived--is now being rebuilt, a project that is employing hundreds of workers and serving as a centerpiece of the reconstruction effort. Not a good place for a firefight, or even an angry scene. In the end, the lieutenant decides to take a more diplomatic approach, working quietly through the plant management. The right decision?'s hard to know. But a person who makes decisions like this on a day-in/day-out basis is surely growing in executive capacity.

Read all of David's post, and then wonder whether it is better to hire one of those veterans rather than kids like Mr. Firer who might go to a liberal arts institution like his parents teach at, and maybe, just maybe, get a single course in management?