I just cut up my Sears credit card and canceled my account. Why would I do such a sensible thing, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you:
The Army Brand’s First Infantry Division collection for men, women and boys represents the first time the U.S. Army has officially licensed the use of its marks and insignias, reflecting two centuries of proud tradition and rich heritage. Vintage inspired design, intricate attention to detail, and supreme quality standards, inspired by Army technology, will offer a timeless and authentic collection…It will also be apparent in numerous marketing campaigns going forward, including those planned for the holiday season, and in the store experience…
Sears just launched a clothing line that uses marks and insignias of actual U.S. Army units and will target adults and children with its marketing. For the record, it is illegal for military recruiters to target children:
The United States has failed to uphold its commitments to safeguard the rights of youth under 18 from military recruitment and to guarantee basic protections to foreign former child soldiers, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report … The report, “Soldiers of Misfortune,” charges that U.S. military recruiting practices that target children as young as 11…violate the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict that the U.S. ratified in 2002…According to the report, the military regularly targets youth under 18 for recruitment and disproportionately targets poor and minority students.
This is hardly a case of overt recruitment, but it is part of a continuing pattern of the militarization of “cool” in the attempt to hook more and more young people on the idea of military service to the U.S. government. This adds to a trend in the militarization of the movie and video game industries, which I’ve blogged about before.
Sears’ blatant attempt to cash in on militarism even offends veterans, including those who disagree with me on issues of violence and nonviolence:
The department store intends to sell a sportswear line using the 1st Infantry Division’s “big red one” logo, making clothes for men, women and boys. It’s the first time the U.S. Army has officially license the use of its marks and insignias.
Vietnam veteran Jesse Garcia vehemently opposes the use of the logo as a fashion statement.
“The guys in Vietnam served with pride with the big red one, very brave grunts,” Garcia said, choking back tears. “[They] did what they had to do and nobody should take that away from them.”
Garcia lost his sight in battle, and argues that the patches have to be earned, only meant for those who were a part of that unit. It’s a symbol of their commitment and pride, Garcia said.
“That’s a dishonor to do that,” he said. “The Army has no right to make extra money with Sears.”
When I stumbled across these stories on the Internet, I decided Sears was making enough money off its militarism, so it would have to live without the interest on my various purchases. I canceled my card and cut it up, and I’d love to hear about it if you do the same.