Posts tagged “military”
March 24, 2011
For Christopher Howard, perhaps life’s kindest gesture came from a Third World parasite. A debilitating, intestine-twisting infection forced the Peace Corps volunteer to flee Mongolia for recovery back in the States. That change of plans set off an unmapped string of circumstances – jobs, classes, military – that Howard intertwined with steady fiction-writing. After 14 years of scratching by, the native Peorian’s first novel will be published by a New York printing house. “Tea of Ulaanbaatar,” a trippy criticism of war with his Mongolian experiences as a background, comes out in May.
October 27, 2009
“This is so cool! This is so cool!” a thirteen-year-old boy repeated as he squeezed rounds from a real M-16, picking off “enemy combatants” in a video game while perched atop a real Army Humvee. “I just came to the mall to skateboard but everyone said this was pretty cool. I just had to try it and it’s great!”
The person reporting on this youthful enthusiasm was Pat Elder, who serves on the Steering Committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth. Elder also described young teenagers congratulating each other for “killing ragheads” and “wiping out hajis.”
All of this fun went on at the Army Experience Center (AEC), a 14,500-square-foot “virtual educational facility” in the Franklin Mills Mall in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Army opened the center in August 2008 and planned to run it for two years as a pilot program. If the center proved able to recruit as many new soldiers as five ordinary recruiting stations, the Army planned to build them nationally. The AEC cost more than $12 million to design and construct, but of course the Army spends several billion dollars a year on recruitment.