Protest the recruiting station today

Guest post by Tamara Tal

Exactly one month ago, a new Army recruiting station opened its doors. Today, the Town of Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce will officially 'welcome' this station into our community.

What motivations should the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce have in celebrating the arrival of this institution into our community?

In addition to the nearly 3000 young Americans who have lost their lives, a recent study based upon household surveys reports that 600,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed thus far during this most recent Gulf War (Burnham G. et al. Lancet. 2006 Oct 21; 368 (9545):1421-8). A sustained flow of youth from communities like ours is necessary to continue occupying Iraq, resulting in the continued loss of both American and Iraqi lives, as well as the near complete destruction of Iraq's infrastructure.

If the Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce welcomes this recruiting station into our community, it is also welcoming the predation of our youth by military recruiters, who seek only to draw them into the failing occupation of Iraq. By taking part in this ceremony, the Town of Chapel Hill becomes complicit in both the illegal war on Iraq and the despicable practices military recruiters employ (No We Won't Go: A Guide to Resistance ; Youth and Military Education Project of the International Action Center).

The youth of Chapel Hill will stand up and defy the occupation of Iraq and every institution which prolongs the bloodshed. Together with community members, students, and veterans, we raise our voices and say: STOP WAR WHERE IT STARTS! STOP THE WAR ON YOUTH! SHUT THE RECRUITING STATION DOWN!

Today's demonstration is being organized by UNC-Chapel Hill Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). All youth and community members are invited to participate.

WHEN: Friday, December 15----3:30 PM
WHERE: 1502 E. Franklin St., in the shopping center with the new El Rodeo between Estes Dr. and Elliot Rd.--the Army recruiting station
For more information, visit our website at http://chapelhillsds.org or send an email to unc.sds@gmail.com

Issues: 

Total votes: 138

Comments

It is striking to me, yet unsurprising, how easily the Chamber of Commerce and the Chapel Hill Police have been able to change the discourse surrounding the demonstration that took place at the Army recruiting station in Chapel Hill on Friday. Through the release of a simple press statement, using violence-baiting to discredit our organization, the Chamber and the cops were not only able to avoid addressing the very real issues that we brought to the table, but were also able to justify the extreme reaction of the cops towards the peaceful demonstrators.

It is not entirely untrue, however, to claim that a group of people came to the ceremony yesterday with the intent of causing violence, causing harm towards members of the community, and turning the event into a non-peaceful demonstration--this group is the Chapel Hill Police Department.

This was a supposedly public ceremony. As members of the community, and especially as youth who are in the crosshairs of this new station, we came to represent an alternative view of this station's presence in our community than that which was to be put forth by the Chamber of Commerce. However, because we did not express the view the station, the property owners, and the State wanted to hear, we were forcibly removed from the ceremony by the cops.

With the power of the State behind them, the cops created a confrontation, in which peaceful demonstrators were arrested for simply exercising their basic rights of free speech and expressing their opinion. The cops were trying to provoke violence by forcibly removing us from the property, to not only more effectively silence our message, but also to legitimize their role as agents of the State under the guise of "public safety."

But we must be clear--this is the role of police. Contrary to what we are so often told, the police do not exist to protect us, as citizens, but rather, they exist to protect the State. Because our action threatened the State, they had to act in the way in which they did to silence us. Ultimately, they failed.

This struggle is only just beginning. As long as this recruiting station targets youth with its deceptive, racist, and sexist practices, youth will target it--until it is forced to close its doors for good.

Ms. Tal, let's deal with some facts:

1. The station did not open November 15th. The contractor had not finished the work. Today is the grand opening, with the emphasis on opening. It was not timed to coincide with students being gone on semester break. Believe me, the US Army does not set such schedules to avoid your protests, and all who have been at the mercy of contractors understand this. On the bright side, you have provided more PR for the station than their annual PR budget could have ever purchased!

2. The Army Recruiting Command joined the Chapel Hill - Carrboro Chamber of Commerce as they do in other communities. When members open facilities, the Chamber welcomes them.

3. The Chamber is not the Town nor does it have official status with the towns where it's members operate. How is the "Town of Chapel Hill" taking part in this Chamber welcome? How is the Town "complicit in both the illegal war on Iraq and the despicable practices military recruiters employ."

4. In the last month, I understand that THREE UNC students/graduates have enlisted to participate in the OCS (Officer Candidate School) program. Clearly, there are some "youth" here who want to serve their country.

5. Opening a branch in Chapel Hill and bringing the staff that has worked Orange County from the office in Durham is a matter of convenience, not expansion. Closing a station in Chapel Hill will in no way affect the war in Iraq, or the price of rice anywhere in the world.

If you and your associates believe in a democratic society, why are you unwilling to let people make their own choices about whether to serve or not serve?

(sigh) We're not gonna have this debate again are we?

Protest is easy, is you don't like it don't set foot in the damn building.

I support anyone's right to protest--it's part of the basis of a free and democratic society. I just hope, with everything I have to hope with, that the protest remains peaceful. I'd like to see the organizers make that assurance in advance.

It's sad Terry, but after last night's vandalism at the station, I understand that the Chamber isn't doing the welcome this afternoon. I'll await their official statement on the decision. Since now crimes have been committed, who know what might come next by the person or persons responsible.

Terri,

Based on the 1st protest at the War Recruiting Center, the people who should be held responsible for the protest remaining peaceful are the American Legion leaders. The vets who were there last time were extremely rude and acted like bullies. It was embarrassng for them and a sad display in general. The protesters on the other hand were incredibly restrained in the face of such low-grade bs.

Fred,

The protests are not stopping anybody from signing up. They are simply an expression of opposition to the killing & destruction being perpetrated by the U.S. military.

In general I think this is a fascinating topic which is completely local. The question is: how does a community respond when this war is no longer an abstract issue to merely politely criticize in our parlors and the military/economic machine opens up a shop in town? Do we have the guts to stand up to it or do we confuse cowardice with civility?

Below is the Chamber's statement. At the time I departed, the CHPD had taken six protesters into custody for refusing to leave private property as requested by the property management. I enjoyed talking with some of the protesters who came in and enjoyed some of the refreshments.

"December 15, 2006
OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Earlier this morning the Chamber learned of the potential of non-peaceful protest at the ribbon cutting scheduled at the local US Army Career Center today. Because these planned disruptions undermine the purpose of the Chamber's ribbon cuttings and threaten the safety of Chamber staff and volunteers, the Chamber has decided not to participate in this afternoon's ribbon cutting. Ribbon cuttings are a service the Chamber provides for its members to welcome them to the community and Chamber performs an average of 30 ribbons cuttings each year."

So much for a peaceful protest:

http://www.heraldsun.com/orange/10-799876.cfm

Nothing in this article sounds unpeaceful to me. People have a right to protest; it's part of democracy. As the recruiter is quoted in the article ""I welcome dissent," Christensen said when asked about the protest. "It's a tough decision to join the military. It's a tough decision for America to deploy its forces, and it should be." Shame on the property manager for having those protesters arrested just for displaying signs.

John A--Are you familiar with the term 'non-violent civil disobedience'? What in the link you helpfully provided indicates the protesters were doing anything but that?

Gee John, nothing instills fear in me like those rabid, violent, and dangerous elders for peace.

For those of us who know Barry Freeman, who I first remember from sharing cookies with me at some point during my stay at the peace camp on south quad my freshman year in early 2003, this complete disregard for peaceful protesting comes as no shock. Because when people share their opinions on signs, America suffers...

Given what had happened the night before and her concerns about the signs on sticks, I think the property manager was within her right to ask the protesters to do their protesting on public property and not hers. The door of the resturenant next door was effectively blocked until the protestors were moved to the sidewalk. The six who refused to leave private property was cuffed and escorted away. It appears that all of them were not arrested.

Terri, they were not arrested just for displaying signs. They were arrested for refusing to leave private property while protesting with their signs. Those without signs who just stood there had no problems. Those actively protesting moved to the sidewalk when asked.

I think we have been down this road before about private property and the owner's rights. Having a property manager who, by the way, gets paid to manage the property and ensure all businesses on her property are able to freely operate, seems reasonable. The CHPL were intelligent and sensitive (as I expected them to be) and only took it to the next step when the people told them that they refused to leave the private property with their protest signs. Note that the commander of the recruiting battalion never asked the CHPD to arrest anyone.

It could be worse here people, how many years untill the press gangs return? I, for one, am happy to hear about this flare up in the community. Sometimes all of the PC woirshipping and sports BS that flood this town national politics take a back seat.

Fred, On this issue, you and I are going to disagree. Commercial property is part of the community and should be expected to adhere to the norms and principles of the rest of the community. If the protests were going to be held daily for extended periods, then I could understand the property managers reaction. But so far this has not become a regular protest. I can't imagine that exhibiting signs could be classified as non-peaceful under any categorization strategy.

The property owner was certainly within her legal rights, but IMHO, she was ethically wrong.

So much for the spine of the Chamber of Commerce.

Didn't take much for them to "cut & run" or more accurately "(not) cut (the ribbon) & run".

I saw where the big regional recruitment leader assured all that the majority of Chapel Hill supports the recruiting efforts - like he knows what he's talking about.

Also, maybe the recruiting center should put up a sign - like the McDonalds burgers-served sign.

"0 recruits so far."

Is this sheer incompetence in this hotbed of military support?

Were you arrested for standing up for your principles yesterday Mark?

In defense of the Chamber, I would have made the same call as a public event organizer with staff and volunteers potentially at risk. The minimum risk in this case was a guaranteed hassle. Could have been worse, who knew? CHPD was on high alert. Witness the number of officers assigned to the event.

Mark, until the Chapel Hill station became operational, the Durham station was responsible for all enlistments in Chapel Hill. Rest assured, the number is not zero.

And for what it's worth I think the Chamber made the right call and te property manager did too - she had other tenants on that property that she was responsible for. I'm not surprised that she would take flack for doing her job.

Terri,

The list of things I didn't do yesterday is way longer than what I actually accomplished. And by the way, getting arrested for your principles is not something that you do as simply as running to the store for some bread. Planning is involved and you have to be willing to suspend your life for an undetermined period. I have great respect for the people who made the decision to resist the war machine with civil disobedience.

Apparently the right to protest on public property has been hotly debated for more than 50 years. Under current North Carolina law, the property owner's rights take precedence over the first amendment rights to free speech. This is not the case in all states.

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/assembly/topic.aspx?topic=private_pr...

A basic tenet (or defense) of civil disobedience is the notion that sometimes it is necessary to break a lesser law for the greater good. A simple oft-cited example is when someone sees a bear attacking a child on land that has No Trespassing signs posted and knowingly violates the trespassing ban in order to rescue the person and accomplish a more important objective.

When one weighs vaguely defined property rights against the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the deaths of American soldiers, the environmental catastrophe that the U.S. created in Iraq, the greater scoietal chaos that has been unleashed, the squandering of valuable resources that could be used for the health and welfare of U.S. citizens, etc., the interpretation of that balance reveals much about the moral and intellectual state of our society.

Mr. Carroll, can you tell us how this (just opened) "recruiting station targets youth with its deceptive, racist, and sexist practices?" If you were talking about 1966 when we had a draft, I might get what you mean. Are you saying that they use deception, racism, and sexism to get people to volunteer?

I think that the youth in this community are far smarter than you give them credit. I have met more than a few who have joined the military, more than a few who are of have attended one of the service academies, and more than a few who are very happy with the choices that they have made. Have you met and talked with any of these men and women who live here?

What could force to close its doors for good is if it is determined that it is not needed and then the operation would move back to Durham. Have you protested that station, since for years and years, recruiters have come from their to Chapel Hill, Carrboro and other Orange County locations to talk to young men and womer about their options and opportunities?

What I don't hear is anyone proposing a compromise. That's leadership. Where is it?

Compromise to what Dan? The recruiting station's presence? I'm personally glad the Army chose a town site instead of insisting on a campus site.
http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/newsroom/prarchives/2005/RumsfeldvFAIR.htm

Cool your jets people.

I don't remember saying what side of the argument I come down on, why do some of you assume I was against the protest?

The altercation b/w Neville and Freeman IN PRINT is enough to make me cringe and be glad I wasn't there to witness it. And no, I've never broken bread with Mr. Freeman, but I don't think that would be grounds for changing my opinion.

Before I wade too far into these waters, I'd really appreciate it if someone (Mark or Ben, perhaps) would clarify for me the exact nature of this controversy.

It is only a recruiting station in Chapel Hill that we should be concerned about? That is, are we OK with one continuing to operate in Durham, just so long as it's not in my backyard?

Or should we be protesting and attempting to shut down every recruiting station in the country? And, presumably, by extension, the entire military organization of this country?

If one of you would be kind enough to clear that up, I would then know whether this is a serious political debate or just posturing and high school level dramaturgy.

Barry

There have been many attempts to frame this debate in a way which trivializes those who would resist this local tentacle of the military machine. It has been infered that one's expression of resistance is not to be taken seriously if one does not get arrested at the site. Now it is being infered that there is some hypocrisy by not resisting the recruiting center in Durham as well - and then recruiting stations everywhere. (I would wager that the same people who hold this view would be the first to self-righteously cry interference if Chapel Hillians went to Durham to resist the center there.)

Do we forego fixing potholes in our local streets because we feel that that action has no integrity unless we also fix potholes all across the country? Should a doctor forego treating a viral infection and consider that the same viral infection should be treated everywhere before his approach to the individual has validity? Should a lawmaker ensure that a law is implemented and enforced everywhere before attempting to enforce it anywhere?

Sorry, Mark, it was not my intention to trivialize anyone. I'm genuinely interested in understanding whether some of the positions here are driven by a desire to see our entire military structure dismantled (surely you would agree that's one reasonable interpretation of Ben's posting) or by resistance to the idea of the Army having a retail store in Chapel Hill.

If it's the former I would applaud (not cry, self-righteously or otherwise) anyone in Chapel Hill who had the strength of their convictions to go to Durham and protest the station there.

If it's the latter I just don't understand how that doesn't qualify as NIMBY. Are we talking about an issue of national interest, or not?

And if neither of those is the explanation I'd love to hear what is, preferably without straw-man analogies to potholes or viral infections.

Barry Winston

Barry, by your logic we should never get involved in local issues because they all have larger implications. What's the point of Chapel Hill regulating development, when Durham will keep building sprawling shopping malls?

many of us are working against the war at every level every day. But in our own community, we do deserve (and get) a bigger say in how things are done.

Let's not over simplify by making someone choose either A or Z when a variety of complex options are what we realistically need to choose from.

When people call for less pollution and question our strategies for energy production and use, do we believe that they realistically want to do away with an energy infrastructure?

I'd like to see our entire military structure radically revamped to become a "defensive" force - as in "Department of Defense". There are well-thought out strategies on how to achieve this. By any sane and reasonable measure, our military has mutated way beyond its defensive function to the point where many people cannot support it in any fashion, much the same way that we would not support our local beat policeman who occasionally protected our neighborhood but spent a lot of time beating up and raping folks in the neighboring town.

how many of the people who rallied against the recruitment center stayed after the protest and arrests to eat the military's food?

That might be a good measure of how serious one's expression of resistance was.

Actually, I think it shows open-mindedness and a resistance to dogmatic side-taking. ;-)

The concerns and questions posed by Barry are ones that we encounter on a fairly regular basis.

Rest assured, this is most certainly not a case of "not in my backyard." Many of the activists involved in SDS and this struggle to shut down the new Army recruiting station in Chapel Hill have been involved in similar efforts in the communities they've come to Chapel Hill from. This is just where many of us happen to be going to school or living now, and we would be doing the same anywhere else.

Also, there is a unique aspect to this recruiting station. While the stations in Durham and Raleigh have been around for a while, this one in Chapel Hill has just opened. There is a lot of energy to build around because of this, as people really view it as an invasion of our community to continue fueling the failing war on Iraq.

The fact of the matter is that this latest surge in Chapel Hill around closing this station is not unique, but rather, is a manifestation of a growing movement to challenge U.S. imperialism in our backyards. Similiar actions like the ones taking place in Chapel Hill are taking place all around the country, as youth in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Tennesse, New York, Illinois, Florida, and many other states attempt to shut down military recruitment stations in their community.

So, in response to your question, this is a movement whose goals intend to challenge and destroy the system of U.S. imperialism, so these actions and calls for recruitment stations to close cannot just take place in Chapel Hill.

The United States is not the 'greatest defender of freedom' in the world, but rather the greatest purveyor of violence worldwide. The U.S is responsible for the death of well over 2.5 million Iraqis--we killed over 100,000 in the first Gulf War, over 1.5 million in the sanctions period, and now close to 1 million more.

And like Mark pointed out, the U.S. military does not serve a defensive purpose, and has not for the last 150 years--rather, the U.S. military is used as the world's police force, to ensure that the interests of the U.S. ruling class and global capitalism are protected worldwide.

U.S. imperialism, and this only begins with the occupation of Iraq, will only end when we, the youth and students of this country, refuse to fight. That is why we must close this recruiting station and all others across the country if we are to end the bloodshed being perpetrated worldwide by the U.S. and crush the U.S. empire once and for all.

But the counter-recruitment movement is not solely focused on the wars being committed by the U.S. abroad, but is also heavily grounded in the war being perpetrated here at home. The system that we have is one in which a lack of education services and jobs forces the most oppressed youth into military service--the poverty draft. The poverty draft targets youth from low-income areas, both urban and rural, and thus disproportionately targets youth of color. While Pell Grants and other aid to attend colleges are slashed across teh board, the military and recruiting budget has gone through the roof. As the federal government cuts off the means for low-income youth to attend college, the recruiting budget has shot to $4 billion per year. Coincidence? I think not.

In challenging this and other recruitment stations, the youth of this nation are rising up to challenge U.S. imperialism abroad and the war at home. Locally, this is only the beginning of the struggle to close this station down and prevent the military from using our nation's youth to maintain and extend U.S. imperialism.

Ben,

Thank you for that explanation. While I must disagree with many of your unsupported exaggerations, at least I now have a better understanding (and appreciation) of your motives. I guess you and I might agree, at the very least, on the proposition that a vast reduction of the world's military structure and activity would be an extremely desirable thing.

Whether unilateral disarmament by this country will achieve that goal is another matter.

Barry Winston

I agree with Barry. I would think that students at UNC would do some research on what our force "looks like," and who the men and women are who are joining. The data clearly shows that it is not as Ben's states.

Fred and Barry, if numbers are the only thing that can convince you, below is some information on a recent study that shows rural youth dying disproportionately more than urban youth. Fred, please include the data that you claim 'clearly shows that it is not as Ben states'. Ben can you be a little more explicit on where you disagree with Ben, so that then perhaps we can have a discussion, to see which opinions best hold as supported by evidence.

Following are some excerpts from an article published online by OneWorld http://us.oneworld.net/article/view/143082/1/ It adresses Fred's call for some research on who the men and women are who are joining the military.

Someone may want to post information that will show the disproportionate size the U.S. military is compared to other militaries of the world to show that unilateral disarmament of our military will take us a long way toward decreaing the worlds military structure and activity.

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 28 (OneWorld) - Rural communities are experiencing a disproportionate amount of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new study by the Carsey Institute, a think tank at the University of New Hampshire.

"The mortality rate for soldiers from rural America is about 60 percent higher than the mortality rate for soldiers from metropolitan areas," the Institute's William O'Hare told OneWorld.

According to the study, 825 of the first 3,095 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan--or 27 percent--came from rural America, even though rural areas account for only 19 percent of the U.S. population.

"The decline in manufacturing has hit rural American harder than urban America," he said. "A lot of people don't know that a higher percentage of the rural workforce is in manufacturing than the urban workforce. So a lot of good manufacturing jobs have left over the last five or six years, and that means there are fewer jobs for young people in rural America.

"In the context of fewer job opportunities, the military has appeared as a more attractive option."

We're number one!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is on its way to brokering about $20 billion in arms sales in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, steady with last year's near-record total, the Pentagon official responsible for such sales said on Monday.

"We're forecasting in the $20 billion range" for fiscal 2007, Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington.

In fiscal 2006, which ended on Sept. 30, foreign military sales notified to Congress reached $20.9 billion, nearly double the $10.6 billion the previous year.

Last year's total was second only to 1993, which topped $30 billion, swollen by sales to the Middle East after the first Gulf War.

Reuters

The $107 billion in global weapons deals signed by the United States since 1998—more than double that of second-place Russia's $45.6 billion in agreements over the same span—will help ensure that steady business flows to U.S. arms manufacturers. “The fact that the U.S. has such a wide base of arms equipment clients globally means that it still will be able to conclude a notable number of agreements annually to provide support, upgrades, and ordnance” for previously sold weapons, Grimmett wrote.

Arms Control Today

Sammy, I wonder why to even bother? I said who makes up the military and you make it who dies. Apples and oranges.

BUT, more rural deaths reflects fewer urban recruits. Fewer urban means fewer minorities.

Take a look at this study which is considered the most credible one out right now. I know, to some, anything out of The Heritage Foundation is nothing but right-wing propangada, but look at it before you just dismiss it.

"Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of U.S.
Military Enlistment, 2003–2005"

By Tim Kane, Ph.D.
Center for Data Analysis Report #06-09
October 27, 2006

"It is commonly claimed that the military relies on recruits from poorer neighborhoods because the wealthy will not risk death in war. This claim has been advanced without any rigorous evidence. Our review of Pen­tagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005."

"U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight dif­ferences are that wartime U.S. mil­itary enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on aver­age than their civilian peers.

Recruits have a higher percent­age of high school graduates and representation from Southern and rural areas. No evidence indicates exploitation of racial minorities (either by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). Finally, the distri­bution of household income of recruits is noticeably higher than that of the entire youth population."

I applaud the less educated and urban youth for being smart enough to not enlist during an unpopular war.

With 140K troops in Iraq out of the 1.4 million in the active forces, 841K in the selected reserves, and 281K in the Individual Ready Reserves, some may be surprised to learn that we have young men and women who want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They join for all sorts of reasons, and as I said before, their patriotic leanings overshadow their risk of dying in combat.

It's not that the vast majority couldn't find a job and felt that they were victims of an "economic draft." For many of them, they volunteered because they wanted to serve their country. Some here think that's imposible or even corney, but they see opportunities in the future as a result of their service.

Yes, some die and even die in causes that we all don't agree were worth it. But give these men and women their due. They are serving their nation and as long as enough continue to step up to meeting this aspect of citizenship, some of you won't be force to, or have to make the choice of leaving the country to avoid service to our nation.

The Heritage Foundation analysis is interesting but fundamentally flawed as it uses zip codes to determine military recruits' household income. The analysis assumes that each recruit comes from a household earning the median income for their home zip code.

There's some circular logic at work here. If you assume that each recruit comes fom a household that earns the median income for its zip code area, then, of course, the conclusion will be that military recruits, as a group, come from median income households.

We need some better data and better analysis before jumping to the conclusion that military recruits are really representative of all socio-economic groups in equal proportion.

so it seems the protest was a success. the chamber of commerce, for whatever reasons, chose not to join the ribbon cutting ceremony. their exectuive director cited the vandalism, the protests, and specifically that were people were organizied to "disurupt" the recruitment center. Well done!

Its great to hear that chamber of commerce is on the defensive on this one, my congrats to all thoise involved. I hope people keep taking that center to task until it is shut down for good.

As far as letting people choose to joinup with the army or not, instead of taking direct actions against the war machine, thats BS. It might make sense if one believes that individuals have a "right" to choose to help a government occupy another country, but its ridiculous otherwise.

The government (dems and repubs) doesnt care what we think about wars they care about their ability to conitnue fighting it. We can hold signs and shout slogans until our mouths fall off; what actually makes a difference in stopping the war in iraq is stopping their ability to fight it. That means directly attacking the war where it starts: with recruiters. Recruiters in our neighborhoods and our schools, for exa,mple. I work in high schools as a teacher, and it wasnt that long since i was there as a student; i remember what those recruiters would do and say: the video games they use tmake war like a big adventure, the promises of college tuition money to kids who shouldnt have had to worry about getting more education but had to cus of the amount of money their parents werent making. My girlfriend's dad in high school was also a military recruiter. I remember him, and i remember the lies he told.

The chamber of commerce's reaction to this protest shows that more direct attacks and protesting against local recruitment centers represents an intelligent break with the previously ineffective pattern of large meaningless marches of the past. The anti-war movement in the US has failed in stopping the war in Iraq because it hasnt committed itself to stopping the military-industrial system that fights that war. Truth be told, most anti war folks in this country dont seem to WANT that system to be shut down, and so they are stuck between wanting to preserve an illness and taking a pretense of opposition to one of that illness' symptoms: the war in iraq.

Jim, there's plenty of criticism of the report on the WEB and particularly for using ZIPS. Since recruits are not asked this information, and most probably could not answer accurately anyway, the approximation method seemed to be the best shot. Others in the statistics business love to debate these things.

Even if the income data is wildly off, I think it still shows that the assumptions thrown around about who serves deserves examination. Note also the problem with the data on Hispanics.

Here's info on a study that found differently from the Heritage Foundation.

http://www.nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view...

Also, I wonder how many Heritage Foundation staffers dropped their jobs and joined the army so they could fight for our freedoms in Iraq?

Their ZIP data is different somehow?

I disagree with everything about this war and many many aspects of our military, but I can't ignore the positive ways in which our armed forces serve this country and those abroad. After the tsunami a couple of years ago, the US military provided significant rescue and relief services, under President Clinton they helped keep the peace in Rwanda, after Katrina they provided rescue and relief. We all know there are many many more examples, to say nothing of the way we have all benefitted from technology transfer from research funded for military purposes.

If the protesters achieve your purpose and the military was greatly reduced in size, would you advocate for another agency to undertake the positive services it provides? Any thoughts on how to fill in the economic hole it would create or the loss in research funding for technology and health care?

Obviously, yes - a sane society would want those positive services. And a society committed to justice and the health and welfare of its people would figure out a way to fill the voids. Or maybe the reduced military could actually serve the people during emergencies - in those long gaps between defensive actions. I haven't seen a defensive action in my lifetime, so probably a reduced military that served the people would have much more time to do worthy things.

And the bigger-than-obvious aspect of the question - imagine the economic and other societal benefits that would be ours if we cut back on the incredible obscene amount of money spent on the military.

 

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