The armed services are doing a disservice to children and adolescents by focusing on them with advertising.
Like big tobacco before it, it lures children into choices with great risk when the young people lack the mental maturity to make informed decisions. Toys, video games, comic books, airplanes and helicopters are used to appeal to the emotions and aspirations of children who do not have mature and seasoned minds capable of adult decisions.
Teenagers hear talk of college education, job training and signing bonuses. They lack the capacity to think about and evaluate the benefits when weighed against the risks associated with serving in the military.
When one serves in harm’s way, there are real risks and costs. Loss of life and limb and mental problems are the risks one accepts. Veterans have artificial limbs, come home in body bags and suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Their suicide rate is high.
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It is only reasonable that young adults be presented with the risks and benefits of military service. Then, rather than an underaged mind making a commitment based on fantasy, an adult mind can make an informed choice after consideration of the ramifications of enlisting.
We have halted companies from encouraging children to smoke and risk cancer and death. It is now time to put similar restraints on military recruiting.