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Young Marines Camp

July 18, 1994

Indoctrinating children from the inner cities with military training--"running . . . obstacle and assault courses and watching combat demonstrations"--seems a strange way to help them refrain from violent behavior (July 10). The Times describes these young people participating in leadership building activities like "standing at attention . . . saluting officers and following orders."

It gets worse--children as young as 8 years old "crawling under barbed wire and learning how to capture a city without injuring civilians." Perhaps when the 8 year olds master that last item they can pass on a few pointers to the rest of our military forces.

Commanding officer Leon Bucago says, "I would rather have them (in the Young Marines program) than out there doing drugs and getting involved in gangs." Apparently, these children were born guilty in his eyes.

How is it that caring for children has become synonymous with boot camp? It seems to me that his kind of "caring" has been the problem all along.

MARK METCALF

Los Angeles

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