As the Brawler noted earlier, the Pentagon has teamed up with a toy marketer in pitching Special Forces action figures to grade-school aged children. Kids with the toys can go to a Web site that exhorts them to "Enlist!" -- and by doing so they can "train" and go on missions.
This obviously is an effort by the Pentagon get kids thinking about joining the military well before they're old enough to make that decision. It's a positively Orwellian instance of inculcating militarism.
The Pentagon is hardly the first to do this.
Who can forget the Red Dawn era uproar that Nicaraguan text books taught first graders to count with illustrations of AK-47s rather than apples? Truly evidence Daniel Ortega was planning an invasion up through Mexico way!
Of course, a U.S. university in the 1980s put killing Russians in the curriculum in math text books aimed at future jihadis in mujahideen-run madrassas (one wonders how many of these students went on to apply their math skills against Americans):
To create additional, frontline recruits, the ISI helped turn local madrassas into ideological training grounds that integrated the authority of Islamic teaching with guerrilla warfare. This fused religious fundamentalism with militant terrorism like never before. Because this innovation only helped the immediate US goal of killing Russians, the CIA turned a blind eye to the central teaching in these schools: Afghanistan was only the staging ground for a holy war that would grow into an international Islamist movement.
Well, not exactly a blind eye. In fact, in the 80s, the mujahideen ran an Educational Center for Afghanistan that had "children's books designed for it by University of Nebraska under a $50 million USAID grant ... A third-grade mathematics textbook asks: 'One group of mujahideen attack 50 Russian soldiers. In that attack 20 Russians are killed. How many Russians fled?' A fourth-grade textbook ups the ante: 'The speed of a Kalashnikov bullet is 800 meters per second. If a Russian is at a distance of 3200 meters from a mujahid, and that mujahid aims at the Russian's head, calculate how many seconds it will take for the bullet to strike the Russian in the forehead.' The program ended in 1994 but the books continued to circulate: 'US-sponsored textbooks, which exhort Afghan children to pluck out the eyes of their enemies and cut off their legs, are still widely available in Afghanistan and Pakistan, some in their original form.'"
It's creepy when Sandinistas or madrassas militarize kids in schools; it's creepy when the Pentagon seeks to do so through the marketplace. Of course, one can't look at this effort in isolation. It fits in with a broader, multibillion Pentagon public-relations effort. It's the kinderfront.