By CCN Markets: The U.S. Army Twitter account got some mixed reactions from an adorable, but questionable video upload Saturday. The Army’s official Twitter posted a video of a toddler, too young to pronounce a single word correctly, singing “the Army song.”
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) June 14, 2019
Some of the Twitterati found the video to be totes adorbs. Others questioned whether it promoted violence and war propaganda to children and minors.
This Is What The CIA Calls ‘Blowback’
I'm nursing a semi-serious conspiracy theory that whoever's running this Twitter account secretly works for Russia or Iran and is actively sabotaging the US Army's public image. https://t.co/KsYtYUbD7F
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) June 15, 2019
I wonder how people in the West would react if this kid was Palestinian or Iranian.
— Giovanni Torre (@GiovanniTorre) June 15, 2019
very cute. here’s a better caption though: in the last decade 2 million beautiful children like him have been killed, 5 million disabled, 12 million left homeless, 10 million psychologically traumatized and 1 million left orphaned in war.
— your own personal jesus (@Kappa_Kappa) June 15, 2019
Gotta recruit ‘em while their skulls still soft
-Ancient recruiters saying
— David Atkins (@dmatkins137) June 15, 2019
The Army Can’t Find Enough Recruits
Last year the U.S. Army missed its recruitment target for the first time since 2005. That was when the carnage and danger of the Iraq War were in full swing. Earlier this year Business Insider reported that the Army is still having trouble finding enough recruits.
As a result, it’s planning to expand its outreach programs to younger prospects, even some as young as 12. Dr. E. Casey Wardynski, the Army assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, says:
“We have to confront this question of, will we wait until they’re 17, or will be start talking to them at age 12, 13, 14, 15, when they form the set of things they are thinking about doing with their life?”
This approach raises ethical questions.
Army soldiers are honorable, but they are also practically one step above slaves. They are required to give up all individuality or care for self. They are expected to follow orders to enter the chaos of armed combat and be willing to sacrifice their lives in battle.
Is it ethical for the Department of Defense to directly influence minor children to consider altering the entire trajectory of their lives by joining the Army? Is it fair to gloss this reality over and glorify military service to impressionable youths?
Did The Army Violate Twitter’s Content Policy?
Interestingly Twitter’s content policy does explicitly forbid the glorification of violence.
“You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence. Glorifying violent acts could inspire others to take part in similar acts of violence.”
Undoubtedly the U.S. Army’s express purpose in using social media is to glorify violence to inspire potential recruits to sign up and replicate violent acts that cause real offline harm. Twitter, however, makes an exception for “state actors.”