So, think the Boy Scouts are a nice wholesome organization dedicated to providing children with outdoor skills and fun around the campfire, toasting marshmallows and singing Kumbaya?
How about skills such as combating illegal immigrants and rescuing a school bus captured by terrorists? How about simulations - and not on computers - involving helping out US Border Patrol?
Some of us might think hazily about the immorality of children being used as soldiers in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, tut-tutting over the unfathomable use of children for warfare. Well, now we have our own mini soldiers (some as young as 14) - though not yet armed - in support roles to this government's security forces.
Wow - how about history repeating itself. A mighty imperialist nation has severe financial problems and the way to get out of those problems is by militarizing sectors of the society. Read the article from the New York Times to find out more - check out the bit about pretend terrorists in a simulation dressing up in traditional Arab dress (whatever that is - but we get the picture). Why doesn't anyone think this is totally racist and unacceptable? If they wore black-face and started to tap dance or if they pulled their eyes up at the corners and kow-towed in imitation of Chinese people, there would be an outcry. The Boy Scouts have anti racist policies - where have they gone? Somehow, being automatically suspicious of someone of "Arab appearance" (again, what does that mean?!) is ok.
Militarism and racism in a youth organization....hmmmm....does my memory serve me correctly or don't I recall something about a once-mighty imperialist nation in the middle of Europe in the first half of last century having a youth organization whose mission was to protect and uphold the State and its policies.....what was the organizxation called? Oh yes - Hitler Youth.