“We give them the official Soviet line,” says Tom Glaser of the Texas State Guard, posing as Vladimir Illich Ulanov. Live.or Dr. Strangelove accent,” says Glaser, and they wear Soviet-looking uniforms, which are dyed and altered GI uniforms. “The insignia, belt buckles, Soviet badges, and shoulder boards” are all authentically Soviet, procured from an unnamed “Czech connection,” Glaser says. Upkeep is sometimes no easy matter, he adds: “When Comrade Brezhnev died, we were in kind of a hustle to get black armbands.” “We give them the official Soviet line,” and then “open it up to questions” from the students, says Clemons, a.k.a. Kleminski. The presentation usually lasts fifty-five minutes. During the questionand-answer period, Clemons and Glaser defend the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Russians’ political process, and the Soviet human rights record. They also sharply attack the United States for being an imperialist power. The reaction of students is “puzzled, quizzical, and challenging,” says Glaser. “It shocks them,” says Clemons. Ann Scarr, who teaches government at Lamar High School, took all her classes to see the presentation and found that it produced “the desired reaction: the students became angry and defensive.” “Our whole objective is to make the students think,” says Clemons. Both officers claim the program is designed to generate a healthy skepticism among the students. “We challenge them to look up everything we say and check it,” says Glaser. “We tell them, ‘If you believe everything we say, you’re in our power. If you believe everything your teachers say, just because they are teachers, you have surrendered to them.’ ” But the program also serves a standard Cold War function. “When they first run into Soviet propaganda, if they’re not aware of it, they’re going to be eaten alive,” says Glaser. Project Confrontation is supposed to prepare students for the Soviet challenge. A leaflet the soldiers leave behind with the high school principal quotes approvingly from a Soviet article: “The procedure for training for real combat must include simulated combat with an ‘enemy’ performing his distinct maneuvers without any sort of simplification.” Project Confrontation tends to bring on a simple surge of nationalism. “I saw more feelings of pride and patriotism expressed than I had seen in some time with these juniors and seniors,” Lena Douphrate, a vocational counselor at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, wrote to Glaser last fall. “As an educator and as an American citizen I feel encouraged by their defense of the U.S.A. and our way of life.” Mary Helen Jones, a teacher at Richardson High School, viewed the program in the same way: “It creates a lot of patriotism among the kids,” she says. “One school board voted to have flags in every classroom” as a result of the presentation, says Glaser. Glaser, Clemons, and a number of Army officials insist there is no direct Army recruiting connected to the program. “They do not recruit during our class, and as far as I can tell, not after the class,” says Clemons. But the stirring of patriotic feelings is one obvious plus so far as the Army is, concerned, and the “Soviet” soldiers deliver a pitch on the duty to serve in the THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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