NAVAL OFFICER REFUSES TO SAIL FOR PERSIAN GULF. On Wednesday, NPR's All Things Considered reported the story of chief petty officer Pablo Paredes. The Navy declared him a deserter after he refused to board a troop transport ship bound for the Persian Gulf. Paredes openly opposes the war and says he wants to make a statement that all of America will hear. Listen to the report by NPR's John McChesney.
THE POVERTY DRAFT. Turns out Pablo Paredes was recruited to the Navy through what is called the "poverty draft." That's the heavy bombardment of armed forces recruiting that takes place in America's urban high schools and low income areas. Just this week my son, Jared, received a recruiting letter from the local National Guard unit (with his name and address handwritten). The appeal was for part-time work, money, and valuable training; no reference was made to military service in Iraq.