Saturday, July 14, 2007
The U.S. Virgin Islands ( a.k.a St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix) are colonies of the American Empire, I hope that doesn't come as new information. In this colony there are many problems, such as unemployment, healthcare, crime, drugs, and corruption, really nothing that different from any other colony and often worse than what you will find in the U.S.
These problems have been around for years, about 90 years to be more accurate, and on any given day the problems of these islands are largely ignored by Washington, DC , except that recently the National Guard decided to do something about it (you can almost feel the rumble of the cavalry coming to the rescue). Except that this is their solution:
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program... "a co-educational, 17-month program for 16-18 year old high school dropouts. Currently, there are 34 ChalleNGe programs in 29 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. Cadets must be drug-free, not in trouble with the law and high school dropouts. The program consists of a 5 1/2-month quasi-military Residential Phase and is followed by a 12-month Post-Residential Phase."
I find it particularly interesting that while the United States is having trouble filling the rank and file of its regular military, and increasingly relies on National Guard troops to complete the needed numbers, that the Guard would seek to expand what is their most successful recruitment tool into the Virgin Islands. Also interesting is that the vote on the matter would come just two days after the nationalistic rituals of the July 4th holiday.
To the credit of the Senate of the Virgin Islands, the program has been voted down as the bill in which it was introduced would have handed over to the "quasi-military" program the right to determine who is considered at-risk and would give it authority to grant high school diplomas and GEDs. Senators chaffed at the idea of handing over so much power to the National Guard, whose spokesperson played down the concerns about indoctrination and using the poor as cannon fodder to no avail. The Senate voted against the bill on Friday July 6, two days after celebrating American militarism on July 4th.