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David Gee, 'Informed Choice? Armed forces recruitment practice in the United Kingdom' and CAAT and FoR, 'Study War No More: military involvement in UK universities'
Informed Choice? - which created a considerable stir in the media when it was released earlier this year - is essential reading for anyone with an interest in any aspect of the armed forces recruitment practice and how they treat their personnel.
Clear and comprehensive, Gee documents how recruitment literature emphasises the attractive aspects of military life, while glossing over the restrictions, risks and possible psychological pitfalls - with the word “kill” being notable by its absence.
For example, in Camouflage magazine, intended for 13-17-year-old potential recruits, the army's most powerful weapon, the MLRS - which indiscriminately scatters small bombs over an area of up to 24 miles - is described as part of the army's “cool stuff”.
Gee details the lack of clarity in the complicated terms of service - particularly regarding how to leave - and points out that there is no mention of the right of conscientious objection. Other topics covered in the report include bullying, suicide and sexual harassment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, minors are not encouraged to take their parents with them to the careers office!
War no more
Study War No More is intended “primarily for students, academics, staff and alumni of UK universities who wish to see fewer university departments depending on and accepting military funding...” However, although the text is couched in academic terms, it is a mustread for anyone who wishes to understand the extent to which UK universities are dependent on military funding in order to further research, and, indeed, academic careers.
Due to the secretiveness of competing university departments and military corporations, the report's figures for military spending are merely the minimum which can be ascertained. Nonetheless, most readers will be surprised at the extent to which the military pervades science, technology and engineering departments and how much the taxpayer contributes to military corporations' research agendas and, consequently, their profits.