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July - September 2009
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Resistance to ROTC Succeeds at CSU San Marcos   During the 2008-2009 academic year, a proposal to start an Army ROTC program at California State University San Marcos, a 20-year-old campus in northern San Diego County, met with accolades from supporters and strong resistance from students, faculty, and community members who oppose the militarization of schools and universities. - Full Article
July - September 2009
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Inadequate High School Courses Pushes Students into the Military   I remember meeting a girl named Katia Ortiz. She was a junior in high school, probably 16 years old. She was in JROTC. Katia would hide from me the days she was forced to wear her Marine JROTC uniform. She was embarrassed. I asked her why she was in JROTC. She told me her counselor had placed her there for the physical education credit and that there was no other class available..- Full Article
April - June 2009
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Victory!   A truly monumental victory against militarism in our schools has been achieved! And for this victory to come from the city of San Diego makes it even more amazing. The Education Not Arms Coalition, after a 1½-year campaign, has succeeded in moving the San Diego Board of Education to ban rifle training on 11 high school campuses.- Full Article
April - June 2009
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The U.S. Military’s Toxic Legacy

A digest of online articles

  The Green Valley News and Sun of August 29, 2007, has an article by Riley Merline about the island of Vieques, famous for years of protest and the site of 60 years of military occupation by the U.S. Navy. The 10,000 people who live there, along with the 25 endangered species, are surrounded by unexploded munitions and 37 toxic sites.- Full Article
April - June 2009
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Freedom Fighters on My Mind   When it comes to freedom fighters, I’ve met a few. I once shook hands with Martin Luther King long before he gave birth to his wonderful dream. I twice sang to Rosa Parks and basked in her beautiful and warm smile, so thankful that she once sat down so I could stand up tall.- Full Article
January - March 2009
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A Strategic Blind Spot for Progressives   Many advocates of progressive social change in this country are asking important questions about possible directions to follow after the 2008 election. For the peace movement, this question is particularly challenging because, while there is good reason to celebrate the defeat of the Republican Party and the election of the first African American president, there is also a real danger that Obama’s victory will undercut anti-war protest if he doesn’t move quickly to end the Bush administration’s two wars.- Full Article
January - March 2009
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Sexual Assault in the Military   On July 19, 2005, Private First Class LaVena Johnson’s battered and partially burned body was found in a military contractor’s tent in Baled, Iraq. She had a gunshot wound to the head, a broken nose and loose teeth, bruises and abrasions all over her body. A corrosive chemical had been poured over her genital area.- Full Article
January - March 2009
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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Revisited

  Don’t ask, don’t tell. Don’t tell, don’t ask. Ask and tell. Tell and ask. Anyway you put it, the policy is a web of dysfunctional and contradictory regulations, applied subjectively to suit the needs of the military. And the historic truth is, in wartime, it’s really not about being gay or lesbian. It’s about warm bodies. It’s about feeding the military machine with human fuel- Full Article
October - December 2008
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Free Beer and Dog Tags at Family-Oriented Conference

  Strolling across the convention center with her granddaughter, Dolores Huerta, who made history with Cesar Chavez more than 40 years ago, received an occasional greeting from those who recognized her.- Full Article
October - December 2008
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A Setback for Militarism in San Diego Schools

  The San Diego Unified School District announced in May that it was investigating complaints voiced by students who had been involuntarily placed in military science courses (i.e., JROTC), a violation of the California Education Code.- Full Article
October - December 2008
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Surprise Attempt to Force Military Training into High Schools Fails — for Now

  On September 17, 2008, the U.S. Senate was presented with an amendment to the 2009 military authorization bill that would have forced high schools to accept military training.- Full Article
July - September 2008
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Recruiter Repellent - Legislation May Soon Make It Easier for Students to Opt Out

  California has moved closer to passing Assembly Bill 2994, which would grant high school students greater protection from aggressive military recruiters.- Full Article
July - September 2008
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Criticism of JROTC Program Leads to Gag Order and Investigation by San Diego City Schools

  Crawford High School, 900 Building; Hoover High, 800 Building; Lincoln High, Room 1416; Madison High, Room 206; Mission Bay High, Room 162; Serra High, Room 415; Morse High, JROTC Room. If you would like to see San Diego high school students learning to use guns, these are the locations of some of the shooting ranges on our campuses. - Full Article
July - September 2008
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JROTC Instructors Are Not Trained as Teachers   Following a recent vote by the San Francisco School Board, students in San Francisco can no longer get physicaleducation credit for the military’s JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps).
- Full Article
April - June 2008
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California Bill Would Limit Military’s Access to Data on Students   A new bill in the California legislature could, if passed, set a major precedent at the state level for protecting students from aggressive military recruiting. Assembly Bill 2994, the Student and Family Privacy Protection Act of 2008, was introduced on February 22, 2008, by Assembly members Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) and Loni Hancock (D-East SF Bay). - Full Article
April - June 2008
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New Studies Show Most Military Veterans “Not Career Ready”   “It's really hard to make the things you were doing in Iraq relevant to what an employer is looking for today.”
— Army Cpl. Vicki Angell -
Full Article
April - June 2008
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“The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez” Movie Review:   “The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez” is a 2006 documentary that begins with Gutierrez's birth in the highlands of Guatemala during its civil war and ends with his death as a soldier in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The film opens with an anti-war memorial, in which a staged cemetery is erected next to images of the fallen soldiers. - Full Article
January - March 2008
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Struggle Heats up in San Diego Schools Over Military Training Programs   Aren’t shooting ranges on high school campuses in complete contradiction to the “zero weapons tolerance” rules? Is JROTC, in reality, a well-planned, back-door recruitment tool that targets vulnerable young people? Do parents and students have a clear understanding of what JROTC is all about? - Full Article
January - March 2008
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Guam: Where USA’s Empire Begins   A part of the U.S., yet apart from it; a colony in a world where colonialism supposedly no longer exists; the “tip of America’s spear” in Asia – welcome to Guam, USA. This is a place where the residents, including its indigenous population, the Chamorros, are U.S. citizens, yet cannot vote for president and have no voting delegate in Congress.
- Full Article
January - March 2008
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Military Health Care in Crisis   The Iraq occupation and war in Afghanistan are taxing the military medical system beyond its limits. As the number of combat-related injuries and illnesses increases, many soldiers report that it is difficult to get medical care. Some are discouraged from going to sick call or flatly (and illegally) refused permission to see doctors, and others are sent away after inadequate examinations by overworked corpsmen or medics.
- Full Article
October - December 2007
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The Dilemma of “Double Deportation”   In an obscure memoir of the U.S. war in Southeast Asia, an undocumented Mexican who had enlisted in the U.S. Army with the aid of an unscrupulous recruiter, writes: “I realized that for me to live in the United States, the system was asking me to pay a high price. Now I probably would have to give my life. Was it worth it?”- Full Article
October - December 2007
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Was Bush War Advisor Proposing a Draft?   On August 10, 2007, Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, sometimes referred to as the Bush administration’s new “war czar,” was being interviewed on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” During the interview, he mentioned that a draft had always been “an option on the table” as one of the possible ways to address the serious staffing crisis faced by the military. Lute said, "I think it makes sense to certainly consider it." - Full Article
October - December 2007
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The Militarization of Mission Bay High School   During the summer, while most students, parents and teachers were busy doing other things, the principal at Mission Bay High School, together with the San Diego Board of Education, were hurriedly going through the motions of approving Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps for the Pacific Beach school. - Full Article
July - September 2007
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Immigration and Military Enlistment: The Pentagon’s Push for the DREAM Act Heats Up   "The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, provision in the immigration bill is expected to help boost military recruiting.”— Bill Carr, Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy.- Full Article
July - September 2007
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Fourth Attempt to Pass Bill Linking Draft Registration to DMV in California   Another attempt is being made to boost draft registration compliance in California by enlisting the aid of the Department of Motor Vehicles. On February 23, Assembly Bill 1661 was introduced in the state legislature to require the DMV to add a special notice about registering with the Selective Service System on the form used to apply for a driver’s license or state identification card.- Full Article
July - September 2007
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Reproductive Rights and the Military. What Choice?   The Christian right’s move to erode the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade has generated critique and fear by many. The 1973 Supreme Court decision gave women the right to terminate pregnancy in the pre-viable state by banning state laws that prohibited abortion. Since then, stipulations on abortion have been made on the state level, but generally Roe v. Wade has made tangible improvements in women’s reproductive choices and safety nationwide. Back alley abortions seemed to be a thing of the past. But, with the composition of the Supreme Court changing and a resurgence of “pro-life” advocacy, a ban on late-term abortion has passed and many states are debating the circumstances in which minors can have access to an abortion.- Full Article
April - June 2007
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"I Was Just Doing My Job"   With the exception of John Wayne’s The Green Berets (1968), the long U.S. war in Southeast Asia produced no high-profile Hollywood films during its ten-year duration and only a handful of ream films immediately after the war’s end. As the U.S occupation of Iraq enters its fifth year, we already have a wide range of superb documentaries and two fictional films — Home of the Brave by veteran film maker Irwin Winkler and G.I. Jesús by Belgian writer-director Carl Colpaert. sives.”- Full Article
April - June 2007
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Navy versus Marine Mammals   The Navy is refusing to mitigate the harm to marine mammals when it uses sonar for training exercises off the coast of Southern California. The Navy contends that Coastal Commission restrictions are not valid because their training takes place more than three miles off shore, beyond the scope of the commission’s authority.- Full Article
April - June 2007
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On Global Garrisons

 

  Nemesis . . . deals with the way arrogant and misguided American policies have headed us for a series of catastrophes comparable to our disgrace and defeat in Vietnam or even the sort of extinction that befell our former fellow "superpower."--Chalmers Johnson - Full Article
January - March 2007
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Muddled Thinking About Conscription   Ever since House Democrat Charles Rangel introduced his first proposal to bring back the military draft in 2003, it’s been amazing to see how much amnesia there is on the subject, especially among some of those who consider themselves liberals or “progressives.”- Full Article
January - March 2007
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Growing the Military: Who Will Serve?   In late December 2006, the Bush administration reversed its previous position and agreed to a permanent expansion of the Army and Marine Corps.(1) In reality, the size of the two “ground services” has grown steadily since 2001 when Congress approved a temporary increase of 30,000 to the Army and authorized additional increases to the Army and Marines in 2005 and 2006. The current proposal would make these increases permanent and by 2012 achieve the objective of an active-duty Army of 542,400 and a Marine Corps of 190,000..- Full Article
January - March 2007
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Enlightenment at Boot Camp Leads to Discharge   Christopher is home now. He got an early separation for failure to adapt to military life. I am so proud of him for standing up for what he believed and for his courage to recognize his mistake quickly. His experience is pretty interesting. I am trying to get him to write it down but right now he is just enjoying being home and in the throes of looking for a job. While I can’t do his story justice, I will share some things he told me that I found to be particularly disturbing.- Full Article
October - December 2006
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Structured Cruelty: Learning to Be a Lean, Mean Killing Machine   I will never forget standing in formation after the end of our final “hump,” Marine-speak for a forced march, at the end of the Crucible in March, 1997. The Crucible is the final challenge during Marine Corps boot camp and is a two-and-a-half-day, physically exhausting exercise in which sleep deprivation, scarce food, and a series of obstacles test teamwork and toughness.- Full Article
October - December 2006
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California Governor Vetoes Opt-Out Bill   Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed Assembly Bill 1778, legislation that would have required California high schools to redesign their student emergency cards to help parents and students opt out when school lists are given to military recruiters - Full Article
October - December 2006
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“The Ground Truth”

Directed and produced by Patricia Foulkrod, distributed by Focus Features.

  I teach courses about multicultural education at a university in Southern California. My class prepares teachers to instruct children from a wide variety of backgrounds, including those whose parents are in the Marines and Navy, refugees from war-torn areas, privileged groups, and immigrants.- Full Article
July - September 2006
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Suzanne, Sara, and Military Sexual Trauma

 

Sara Rich wore her thick, remarkably red hair in a long braid down her back for decades. Just a few days ago she cut it all off. A luxurious twelve-inch braid will now be donated to Locks of Love. When I interviewed Sara and asked why she did it, she said, “For my daughter, Suzanne.” - Full Article

July - September 2006
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Another Cover for Army Recruiting  

High school students across the country are greeted with this message when they log on to the March2Success.com Web site hosted by the U.S. Army. March2Success, a popular, Web-based, 30-hour course designed by Educational Options, The Princeton Review, and Kaplan, Inc., is ostensibly a program that provides training in test-taking strategies and problem-solving skills and teaches students how to improve their math and English knowledge.- Full Article

July - September 2006
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Why COMD Opposes the California Military Recruiting Opt-out Bill  

At the time of this writing in early July, California Assembly Bill 1778 had passed the full state assembly, been approved by the senate education committee, and was on its way to a final vote this summer in the full senate.

AB 1778 says that if a school district collects emergency information for its high school students, the information card must include a notice that informs the parent or legal guardian and pupil of her or his right to request that the student’s name, address and phone number not be released to military recruiters or institutions of higher education.
- Full Article

April - June, 2006
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Militarism Kills Whales

  Whales and other sea mammals are the “collateral damage” of the U.S. Navy’s use of low-frequency active sonar. The struggle to keep the Navy from wreaking havoc on ocean mammals continues. As recently as January 30, 2006, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has written a formal comment in response to the Navy’s draft environmental statement proposing a 500-square nautical mile range to be used for sonar testing about 40 miles east of North Carolina. - Full Article
April - June, 2006
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The F-18 as a Theme Park Ride

A teacher’s response to the military in her school.

  At the end of the last semester, the principal of the small rural high school where I teach Spanish and ELD announced that there would be a change in the exam schedule. The semester usually ends by giving exams on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We go back the following Monday to start the new semester. However, this year the principal had run into someone from the Navy SEALs who had offered to help us celebrate the end of the semester by bringing a flight simulator to our campus.- Full Article
April - June, 2006
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Jarhead: Military Culture Under Fire   I recently viewed British director Sam Mendes’s 2005 film, Jarhead. Based on former Marine Anthony Swofford’s Gulf War memoir, the film depicts the experiences of United States soldiers. The film’s subject matter has a limited scope, but among post-Vietnam war movies (such as The Three Kings in 1999 and Black Hawk Down in 2001), Jarhead presents the most stinging critique of the effects of U.S. military culture on soldiers. - Full Article
January - March, 2006
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In Need of a Proactive Peace Movement  

Some important stories have appeared recently about disagreements between military commanders and the Bush administration over whether to begin a significant withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2006. A related development is the recent call for an immediate withdrawal by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). Murtha is a decorated combat veteran who is also considered a military hawk and one of the closest congressional allies of the high-level officer corps.- Full Article

January - March, 2006
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Private Soldiers and the New Age of Warfare   After the collapse of the Berlin Wall when militaries seemingly shrank in size, many military personnel from around the globe became part of the privatized military industry (PMI). PMI has grown to operate in more than 50 nations, generating over $100 billion in revenue annually. With a growing military presence around the world, recruitment difficulties, and public policy determined by war profiteers, the U.S. has become the largest consumer of PMI of any nation. - Full Article
January - March, 2006
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Opening Eyes on the Big Island   The career fair committee of Kea‘au High School in Hawai‘i was kind enough to allow me to have a table on Friday, Nov. 4, at their high school career fair to discuss with the students alternatives to military enlistment and the realities of war. As far as I know, this is the first time a table like mine has been present at one of these Big Island high school events. I felt it was important to be there to counterbalance the several tables touting careers in the Armed Forces.- Full Article
November -December 2005
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Hispanic Heritage Month Means Covert Recruiting  

On October 7, 2005, at the Anaheim, California, Convention Center not far from Disneyland, the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Corporation hosted an awards luncheon for approximately 500 people including more than 300 middle school, high school and college students. The featured employer at the luncheon was the Department of Defense.- Full Article

November -December 2005
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Harold Pinter

Nobel Prize Winner is a Conscientious Objector and Fierce Counter-militarism Advocate

 

The Swedish Academy says playwright, poet, and polemicist Harold Pinter “uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.

An East London boy, son of working-class Jewish immigrants, is sent away to rural England on a traumatic separation where he immerses himself in reading. The reason for his sojourn is to escape bombs falling from the sky; it is the Battle of Britain and the Nazis are terrorizing the civilian population of London. The boy returns to find a devastated urban landscape. This experience would forever impact and alter the consciousness of this boy named Harold Pinter.- Full Article

September - October 2005
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"The Art and Science of Recruiting," According to the Army   With the Army still short of its 2005 quota by some 16,000 recruits and no end in sight to the disastrous occupation of Iraq, the new school year promises to be one in which military recruiters step up their activities. Pressures to meet their "mission" create the potential for increased recruiter abuse. The New York Times reported that last year the Pentagon investigated over 1,000 recruiting "improprieties," and after one enterprising young man in Denver tape-recorded a recruiter suggesting that he lie about his background, the recruiter was demoted one pay grade.- Full Article
September - October 2005
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Embedding the Military in Civilian Society   The United States military's campaign of public relations and cultural subversion is a beast of many personalities. One Navy advertisement cuts between footage of a placid suburban scene and footage of highly visual, highly testosterone fueled actions performed by members of the Navy during which a voiceover laments, "Somewhere some poor guy is buying a minivan." In another military ad, parents marvel at the firmer handshakes and more assertive eye contact of their homecoming sons. In a political climate whose main feature is an increasingly ambiguous and unpopular war, the military continues to employ a manifold strategy to captivate and capture new victims.- Full Article
July - August, 2005
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Beyond Opt-out  

It is encouraging to observe the contemporary anti-war movement's recent shift toward giving greater attention to military recruiting. This means that a growing number of individuals and organizations now understand that there is an organizing strategy that can be employed with much more effectiveness than the symbolic protest that has characterized most anti-war activism since September 11, 2001. People are finally looking deeper into the issues and understanding that no matter how frightening and uncontrollable the Bush administration may seem, it has a very reachable Achilles heel when it comes to needing human resources to wage its wars.- Full Article

July - August, 2005
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Military Enlistment, or When a Contract Isn't Really a Contract  

It is an axiom among activists working in the area of counter-recruitment that the enlistment contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on. What this means in practical terms is that whatever a recruiter promises to deliver to a new recruit — specific jobs or assignment, length of service, benefits, or even citizenship — can be withdrawn or changed at any time.- Full Article

May - June, 2005
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Proposal Would Restore Privacy Rights Surrendered to the Military

 

Representative Michael Honda, a Democratic member of Congress from San Jose, California, has introduced legislation that would require written permission from a parent before any secondary school that receives federal funds could release a student's name, address and phone number to military representatives.- Full Article

May - June, 2005
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Military Lies

 

I give everyone the benefit of doubt. I'm probably one of those "pushovers" that used-car salesmen like. As a matter of fact, I've been taken in by my fair share of them. I usually chalk it up to "live and learn" and vow not to let it happen again. We expect certain types of behavior from used-car salesmen. We know in advance that they will say anything to make a sale. My apologies to the sincere and honest used-car salespeople out there in the world. I know you are the exception, not the rule.- Full Article

March-April, 2005
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Uncle Sam Goes to College:

Military Recruiters Target Community College Students

 

  When students at Seattle Central Community College forced military recruiters off their campus in January, they fired an illumination round over a new front in the counter-recruitment movement. Traditionally both recruiters and activists have considered high schools as their primary site of engagement. Today, with the Pentagon straining to maintain sufficient force levels and some military branches failing to meet recruiting quotas, your local community college campus has joined your local high school as the target of aggressive recruitment campaigns.- Full Article
March-April, 2005
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Bush Administration Uses Political Theater to Override Criticism of Iraq War  

Mainstream media outlets have long compared activist demonstrations to street theater, both as a way of emphasizing the decentralized, grass-roots, and live nature of activists' tactics and as a way of ridiculing activism as outdated, obnoxiously "in-your-face," and melodramatic. This portrayal was certainly clear in The San Diego Union-Tribune coverage of those San Diegans protesting Bush's January 20, 2005, presidential inauguration. The article began by stressing the rudimentary nature of the protesters' rally: "People banged pots and pans and waved banners and chanted and cheered, but none of that was in celebration," staff writer Michael Stetz wrote. - Full Article

January-February, 2005
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2005 Could Be a Turning Point for the Antiwar Movement   Despite 2005 being the start of a second presidential term for George W. Bush, this year may bring together a number of factors that will offer the antiwar movement an important opportunity to shorten the U.S. occupation of Iraq and begin to reverse the decades-long growth of militarism in this country. However, to take advantage of this opportunity, the antiwar movement will have to think critically about its emphasis on symbolic war protest and look more closely at strategies for interfering with the flow of human resources needed for war, especially through counter-recruitment organizing.- Full Article
January-February, 2005
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Recruiters' Tricks Revealed in Their Own Handbook   Many people, including school staff, students, parents and activists have expressed concern about the presence of military recruiters in our high schools and on our college campuses. When deciding how best to address these concerns, it helps to understand just what recruiters do and how they present themselves to teachers and administrators to gain what seems like unfettered admittance to many schools. It may be productive to share this information with school staff. They may want to reassess their policy on recruiter access or incorporate a counter recruitment component..- Full Article
November - December, 2004
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Draft Legislation Voted Down in Political Chess Game   On October 5, Representative Charles Rangel's proposal for a draft was brought to the floor of the House of Representatives under a procedure that bypassed the normal legislative committee process and gave little advance notice. Members of the House voted 402-2 against the bill, and even its author voted to defeat it.- Full Article
November - December, 2004
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The Interpretation of Dreams

Covert recruitment strategies in the DREAM Act

 

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act, has received strong support from Latino activists across the country. Throughout the month of September, numerous groups staged rallies and fasts in over fifty cities. What advocates and the media have ignored are the potential consequences of the military service component of the proposed legislation.- Full Article

September - October, 2004
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The Kerry Conundrum  

The controversy surrounding presidential candidate John Kerry's service in Viet Nam raises a number of difficult issues for peace and antimilitarism activists.

Fueled by television attack ads featuring U.S. Navy Swift boat veterans who claimed Kerry lied about what he did in Southeast Asia as a Navy officer, the controversy exploded in the media in mid-August. On August 20, the Washington Post exposed links between the anti-Kerry vets, the Republican Party, and long-time Bush operatives. On August 21 William Rood, a former officer who served with Kerry, corroborated Kerry's account of how he won a silver star and disputed the claims made by the anti-Kerry group.- Full Article

September - October 2004
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Claremont Parents Counter Military Recruitment   "Schools exist for the purpose of educating our children." This was the cry of John Cullen, spokesman for Parents Against Military Recruiting on Campus, at a recent Claremont Unified School District Board meeting in California. Cullen founded the parents group last year when his son came home from middle school talking about a man in uniform who was teaching kids about weapons of destruction, and he later learned that toy dog tags and pro-military posters were given to students as gifts. Cullen felt something is wrong with a school system that teaches children violence and weaponry, and inculcates militarism in people still too young to choose a career, let alone a violent career. - Full Article
July - August, 2004
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National Counter-recruitment Movement Enters New Stage   Over 100 activists were present in Philadelphia the weekend of June 25-27 to officially christen the new National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY). Born from a proposal made at the "Stopping War Where It Begins" counter-recruitment conference held a year earlier in Philadelphia, NNOMY is an effort to bring together the growing number of organizations and activists who are working against the militarization of young people in communities across the country. - Full Article
July - August, 2004
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Maneuvering Consent   Cynthia Enloe, a research professor in the Government and International Relations program at Clark University in Massachusetts, has been a leading scholar of militarism on an international scale. Probing into how militarism utilizes and functions within the lives of people of color and women, Enloe has offered important insights to students of militarization since the publishing of Ethnic Soldiers: State Security in Divided Societies in 1970. While this text focuses on the state's usage of the political and manpower benefits of mobilizing and deploying ethnic soldiers, her more recognized and influential body of work focuses on the ways in which women's lives and identities play a role in and are shaped by international relations and the global political economy... - Full Article
May - June, 2004
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Held Against Their Will: U.S. Military and Reservists

  Apparently, deploying troops to Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea and Europe simultaneously is beyond what the U.S. military can do. Yet they're doing it — by holding thousands of soldiers and reservists long past their release dates, against their will, with serious detriment to their health, careers, families and morale.-Full Article
May - June, 2004
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With Kerry as President, Our Work Would Be Just as Urgent

  If you were thinking "relief" is spelled K-E-R-R-Y, think again. John Kerry could be just as bad on the issue of militarism— more specifically, the militarization of young people — as the previous several administrations. Besides the fact that Kerry advocates enlarging the military (imagine spending more on war making than we already are!) and supports continuing the occupation of Iraq, Kerry has a plan for national service that could be an intermediate step in the direction of mandatory civilian/military service.-Full Article
March - April , 2004
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Proof that a Draft is Being Readied for 2005?   Stories have been flying around the Internet warning us that the machinery for a draft is being "oiled" and will be used within a year. . . . COMD is receiving copies of these articles or alerts every week, and we've spent a lot of time answering questions about whether or not they are true. Unfortunately, much of the information in them is inaccurate or untrue . . ..Full Article
March - April , 2004
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Organizing to Demilitarize Schools in the Greater Los Angeles Area

  We gather near Martin Luther King Boulevard, at Manual Arts High School, one of the many heavily recruited inner city schools in the 750,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). A high school student reads her anti-war poetry and tells her audience she is friends with a murderer, a former JROTC drill team leader, who enlisted, went to Iraq, and killed five people. Vietnam Veteran Ron Kovic urges everyone to speak out against school militarization. A paraplegic, Kovic recounts how police clubbed and beat him and threw him from his wheelchair when he led the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Many others, such as Fernando Suarez del Solar, Rick Jahnkow, Jorge Mariscal, Blase Bonpane, and student leaders, add stories and personal experiences.Full Article
January-February, 2004
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Fernando Suarez del Solar: Letters from Iraq

  As he crossed the Iraqi desert during the 12-hour drive from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad, Fernando Suarez meditated on his long journey from his youth in Mexico City to moving his young family to Tijuana and then across the border to San Diego, and now to his entering the lands of ancient Mesopotamia. As one of the more recognizable members of a fact-finding delegation organized by Global Exchange, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans for Peace, Suarez was completing the next logical step in his role as a peace activist. He had come to the country where his son Jesús, a 20-year-old U.S. Marine, had died on March 27, 2003, after stepping on a U.S. cluster bomb.Full Article
January-February, 2004
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Stepping Up Recruitment   Military recruitment has experienced a downturn since the mid-1980s with heightened difficulty following the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Since planning for peace is not on the current administration's agenda, the Department of Defense (DoD) must take up the issue of how to attract more combatants to carry out its current and future wars. It is absolutely vital that objectors to militarism understand the elaborate demographic analyses compiled by think tanks at the request of the DoD to prepare military recruiters for swaying youth enlistment decisions. Activists and others involved in the work of (re)educating youth on militarism must know which youth are being targeted and which selling points are being used so sufficient energy can be allocated to compiling literature, videos, and classroom presentations that effectively respond to recruiters.-Full Article
November-December, 2003
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Rebuilding? Iraqi Farms Bulldozed by U.S. Military

  How many times have we recently heard and read that the U.S. military focus in Iraq has shifted to rebuilding and ensuring "security" for the people recently freed from an oppressive dictator? How many of us sat with mouths agape when we learned that the unjust war in Iraq has damaged the country so badly that U.S. taxpayers are being charged billions of dollars to "rebuild" that which most of us didn't want destroyed in the first place? And now news has broken that the U.S. troops aren't rebuilding Iraq, but ruining the livelihoods, property, food sources, and independence for Iraqi farmers — and, indeed, being oppressive and dictatorial.Full Article
November-December, 2003
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Will A Draft Be on the Government's Agenda in 2004?

 

Ever since the last draft ended in 1973, proposals to bring back conscription have lacked the support needed to win passage. However, several factors are developing that are adding momentum in Congress for the idea of forcing young people into the military, and the Bush administration may wind up revising its previously stated opposition to reactivating the draft.Full Article

September - October, 2003
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An American Hero from South of the Border

  One of the most eloquent voices speaking out against the folly of George W. Bush, Inc.'s invasion and occupation of Iraq is Fernando Suarez del Solar. An average-sized man with large eyes and a serene expression, Mr. Suarez speaks imperfect English and often apologizes to his audiences. But what he has to say in his native Spanish is nothing less than one of the most intelligent, powerful, and absolutely riveting analyses of why Bush and Co. must be stopped. Full Article
September - October, 2003
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Air Force Academy Rape Trials Begin

One in Five Female Cadets and a 7th Grader Sexually Assaulted

  Draft NOtices recently reported (March/April 2003) on a series of rape allegations by female cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. Now, many months later, the investigations are underway, courts-martial have begun, the top brass at the Academy has been replaced and overridden in decisions made before their replacement, and more investigations continue. .Full Article
July - August 2003
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Counter-recruitment Conference Ushers in Renewed Resistance to Militarism   Almost 200 activists came together during June 27-29 for the first national counter-recruitment conference, titled "Stopping War Where It Begins: Organizing Against Militarism in Our Schools." With the tremendous amount of information that was exchanged, the high concentration of organizing experience that was present and the powerful energy that was generated, it may prove to be a significant watershed event for not only those organizations that focus on youth and militarism issues, but for the overall peace and social justice movement, as well.Full Article
MJuly - August 2003
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The Ballot Trap   Having worked on Eugene McCarthy's campaign in 1968, George McGovern's in 1972, and several congressional races (including one for a third-party candidate), I am aware of the old -- and continuing -- debate on the relationship between social change and the electoral process.Full Article
May - June 2003
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"Support the Troops"   Waging empire abroad requires a propaganda war at home, and peace activists have been challenged by a powerful sound-bite blitz since 9-11. As Bush, Inc. moves from its war of conquest to occupation and exploitation, the rest of us can reframe our strategies and language, including unpacking one of the most vexing phrases -- "support the troops."Full Article
May - June 2003
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Military Family Violence: A Hushed Epidemic   Studies suggest that domestic violence rates are two to three times higher in U.S. military families than in the country's civilian population. In fact, military domestic violence incidents increased from 18.6 per 1,000 marriages in 1990 to 25.6 per 1,000 in 1996.Full Article
March - April 2003
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Open Letter to George W. Bush  

Dear Mr. Bush,

I'm writing you this letter as a United States citizen, Navy veteran and parent. I have several questions to ask you. I've paid attention to what you and members of your administration have said concerning Iraq. However, I've found considerable information that seems to contradict much of what you've said about the necessity of attacking Iraq. I've also found information that suggests that your goal is something other than the disarmament of Iraq.Full Article

March - April 2003
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Counter-Recruiting the "Hispanic Market"   The 2000 census teaches us two interesting facts about the way in which Latinos are contributing to the changing face of the United States. First, more legal immigrants arrived in the decade of the 1990s than in any previous decade in our history. The economic boom (or bubble) of the Clinton years attracted large numbers of people from around the world. Second, the majority of these immigrants came from Latin America (approximately 51%; 26% are from Asian countries). Full Article
January - February 2003
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New Draft Proposal: Cannon Fodder for Peace?   During the days of the anti-Vietnam War movement, I remember hearing of a tactic that some people used to try to bring home to the public how completely twisted our values had become. As I recall, a news release and fliers would be circulated inviting people to gather at a specific time and place to witness a live animal (usually a dog) being immolated with homemade napalm. Immediately, there would be vigorous debate and loud outcry against the idea of such cruelty. - Full Article
January - February 2003
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They Gave Me the Bronze Star for My Efforts   "They gave me the bronze star for my efforts," said Joe Queen before he snapped and opened fire onto the spectators at the opening game of the 2027 World Series. This was the fictitious thought that entered my mind as I read about a Private First Class Joe Queen, whose job during the first Gulf War was to bulldoze and cover up the bodies of the Iraqi dead. On February 24, 1991, in an area between Saudi Arabia and Iraq known as the Neutral Zone, the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) began the ground war to retake Kuwait, breaking through the defensive front lines of Saddam Hussein's army. - Full Article
November - December 2002
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Mark Twain: Words for Our Times  

November 30, 2002, will mark the 92nd anniversary of the death of American author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, more commonly known as Mark Twain. While many are familiar with Twain for his fiction, most notably Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, his political writings comprise a significant and important part of his work. Twain's incisive and scathing speeches, essays, and sketches on America's imperialistic and militaristic practices - and the support drummed up for them in the name of patriotism - drew widespread attention both in this country and abroad. - Full Article

November - December 2002
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Anti-War Activists Leaflet High Schools   San Diego area activists have been busy this fall encouraging high school students to think about the government's proposed war against Iraq and providing them with information not available to them via the corporate media. This action grew out of the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice in coordination with San Diegans to Stop the Violence Against Iraq, using COMD's leafleting experience as a model. Activists wanted to focus on providing high school students information to balance the barrage of militarism they receive from TV, radio, video games, movies, and the military in their schools. - Full Article
September - October 2002
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America's Army: The Latest Front in the Battle for Hearts and Minds

 

As the nation celebrated the July 4th holiday this year, there was another patriotic celebration going on that you may not have been aware of. While many were waving the national ensign at military parades and attending fireworks displays, the most die-hard, patriotic citizens of this great nation were at their computer terminals anxiously downloading the "free" debut release of the Army's latest recruiting gimmick entitled, "America's Army." - Full Article

September - October 2002
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For Those Who Believe We Need a Draft

 

Every now and then we hear people talk about wanting to bring back conscription. Sometimes it comes from conservatives and militarists who would like to see a larger military force so they can expand U.S. bases abroad and conduct warfare in more places simultaneously. - Full Article

September - October 2002
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Socialization Messages in Schools and the Culture of Militarism

  Our illegitimate vice president, Dick Cheney, is lying to us again. He is lying in order to frighten us into supporting a U.S. military invasion and occupation of yet another nation. The socialization message that Cheney is sending to our children as they get ready to begin another year of school is that violence is an acceptable means of solving our "problems" in the world and that it is okay to be dishonest to achieve that goal. - Full Article

July - August 2002
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Dr. Strangelove Lives  

Are we in some kind of Nuclear Time Warp? Feels like it, but it's no joke. The Bush administration's Nuclear Policy Review (NPR), leaked to the Los Angeles Times in early March, revealed dangerous major changes in U.S. nuclear policy. - Full Article

July - August 2002
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Bases Provide Clues to Understanding "War on Terror"  

From May 31 to June 2 I attended the Radfest conference in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where I heard Zoltan Grossman speak. Grossman, a long-time peace activist who recently received his doctorate in geography, shared with conference participants his insights about a largely ignored consequence of U.S. military interventions in the last decade.
- Full Article

May - June 2002
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U.S. Indoctrinated Afghan Children with Hate and Violence  

Less than one month after September 11, 2001, the Bush administration launched a military campaign to establish political and economic control over the geopolitically strategic country of Afghanistan. The cover story invented by the White House for this illegal action is the so-called "war on terrorism."
- Full Article

May - June 2002
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Israeli Refuseniks Raise a Powerful Dissenting Voice  

In recent months, a growing number of Israeli soldiers dubbed "refuseniks" are refusing to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories. As the violence in the current Intifada has escalated, more young men are stating their opposition to the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem by refusing to carry out their compulsory military service . . .
- Full Article

March - April 2002
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Does the Military Protect Our Freedom?  

"I’d like to thank our military personnel for defending our country and protecting our freedoms." In the wake of September 11, this is a common public acknowledgment from celebrities, politicians, myriad TV and radio commentaries, and many people on the streets of the United States.

As a Navy veteran, whenever I hear statements like these, I think, "What are they talking about? Since when does the military have anything to do with freedom?"
- Full Article

March - April 2002
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Alarm Over House Draft Proposal Misses the More Immediate Proble  

A Universal Military Training and Service Act (HR 3598) was proposed in the House on December 20, 2001, generating some concern about a possible draft. If passed, the legislation would require young males to report for 6-12
months of training and "education" in the military. Even conscientious objectors would be required to report for non-combat training in the military, a departure from previous drafts that allowed some war objectors to qualify for civilian alternative service.

- Full Article

 

January-February 2002
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Congress Plants Another Pentagon Virus in Public Education   Another hole has been ripped open in the barrier protecting U.S. civilians from the influence of militarism. In December 2001, the U.S. House and Senate gave final approval to an education bill with a provision that severely erodes the right of local schools to control military access to campuses and personal information about students. The legislation, signed by President Bush on January 8, 2002, will go into effect soon as Public Law No: 107-110. - Full Article
January-February 2002
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RESISTING THE PLEDGE  

Since September 11, 2001, schools across the U.S. have increased the recitation of the "Pledge of Allegiance" in an effort to enforce patriotism. Previously lax policies have become mandatory in many school districts, making students feel pressured to pledge allegiance to a country and a flag regardless of their personal, religious or political beliefs. - Full Article

November-December 2001
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Breaking the Cycle of Violence:
The Need to Move Beyond Revenge
  Why do people wish to exact revenge? What is it about pain and grief that spurs the desire to inflict the same emotional state on others? In the wake of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, collective revenge appears to have consumed the majority of people in the United States. - Full Article
November-December 2001
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School Violence:
A Result of "Bad Parenting" or Militarism?

  When a student takes a gun to school and goes on a shooting rampage — as one 15-year-old is charged with doing in a community near me in California — the public immediately expresses its shock and confusion over how such a thing could ever occur. - Full Article
August - Sept - Oct 2001
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Two War or
Not Two War?
  Once in office, George W. Bush quickly followed up on his presidential campaign promises to set in motion "an immediate, comprehensive review of our military" and to give the Secretary of Defense "a broad mandate to challenge the status quo." - Full Article
August - Sept - Oct 2001
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Biowarfare: The Darkest Side of Genetic Engineering
  In June, San Diego was host to BIO2001, an annual conference for the biotechnology industry. As a result it also became the host for Beyond Biodevastation, the fifth grassroots gathering to celebrate biodiversity and question genetic engineering. - Full Article
May - June - July 2001
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The Bush Regime: Militarism’s "Finest" Hour
  Well, the reign of King George II certainly started off in an interesting fashion — the first person in over a century to take the White House without winning the popular vote. So what can we expect from him? - Full Article
May - June - July 2001
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Military Escalates Assault on Civilian Schools
  Apparently, the Pentagon and its supporters aren’t satisfied with only using extreme political pressure to accomplish a military invasion of civilian high schools. They would rather employ a more familiar method: force.- Full Article
Mar - Apr 2001
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U.S. MILITARISM SANK THE EHIME MARU!   When the U.S. submarine Greeneville executed a rapid ascent on February 9 and speared the hull of the Ehime Maru, killing nine people who were on the Japanese trawler, it revealed much more than a tragic failure in seamanship and Navy equipment. For those who care to open their eyes, it also provided an example of the degree to which the U.S. has thrown its own national soul overboard and sunk into the depths of militarism.- Full Article
Mar - Apr 2001
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SUPPORT THE "MILITARY ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT"   The extent to which the U.S. military has to comply with environmental laws varies from statute to statute. There are generally three ways they get around compliance with these laws: direct exemption, sovereign immunity, and the Unitary Executive policy. They are exempt from many important environmental and public safety laws, such as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and sections of the Clean Water Act, and naval nuclear reactors are not regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. - Full Article
Jan - Feb 2001
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THE U.S. MILITARY’S SILENT ASSAULT ON COMMUNITIES   Imagine that communities all over a country are suffering from a multitude of war-related health problems. Imagine a community where girls as young as 13 years old are dying from ovarian cancer caused by military pollution. Imagine a community where 100% of the children are born contaminated by military toxic waste. Imagine a community where over 90% of adults and nearly 80% of children have multiple illnesses — including neurological disorders, respiratory problems, and lead contamination. Where would you guess these people live? Iraq? Yugoslavia? The former Soviet Union? - Full Article
Jan - Feb 2001
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IN SERVICE TO THE NATION?   Referring to the deaths on the USS Cole as a tragic loss, President Clinton spoke truer than he knew. My Webster’s defines tragedy as "a serious play or drama typically dealing with the problems of a central character, leading to an unhappy or disastrous ending brought on, as in ancient drama, by fate and a tragic flaw in this character, or, in modern drama, usually by moral weakness, psychological maladjustment, or social pressures." - Full Article
Nov - Dec 2000
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GUSH VS. BORE: WHEN MILITARISM WINS, EVERYONE LOSES   In the long list of similarities between major party candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore, we find no choice for voters on military spending: both men advocate more for the Pentagon. In fact, any historical differences between Democrat and Republican military platforms are rapidly disappearing as the candidates try to outdo each other in their eagerness to please their military-industrial complex campaign contributors. - Full Article
Nov - Dec 2000
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$540,000 CAMPAIGN TARGETS OPPONENT OF MILITARY ACCESS TO STUDENT LISTS   San Diego has become a major battleground in the struggle between the military-corporate complex and civilian public education. In what may be the worst case of political overkill in a school district election, over half a million dollars is being spent by wealthy businessmen in an effort to oust a single individual . . . - Full Article
Sept - October 2000
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ARE SAN DIEGO SCHOOLS ON THE VERGE OF A MILITARY TAKEOVER?   While most attention is focussed on the races for national and state offices that will be decided by voters this November, some of the most significant decisions will actually be made at a much more local level in school board elections — particularly in San Diego. - Full Article
Sept - October 2000
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DEATH BY PROFIT: CORPORATE GREED AND MILITARISM   A decade after the official end of the Cold War, the Pentagon budget is still astonishingly bloated and Congress routinely gives it more than they ask for. Military spending takes up over half of the discretionary federal budget — $305 billion in 2001. The next largest category, education, is only $42 billion.
- Full Article
July - August 2000
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VIEQUES: "Hey, how about some beads and a blanket for that island?"   It has been over one year since David Sanes was killed by an errant U.S. Navy bomb on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques (see Draft NOtices, July/August, 1999). The killing brought to a head decades of frustration and resentment from the residents of Vieques and other Puerto Ricans throughout the islands and the mainland United States. - Full Article
July - August 2000
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COMD PREVAILS IN HIGH SCHOOL AD CONTROVERSY   With only one issue of the student newspaper left in the school year, the Orange Glen High School administration apparently decided it could not defend an earlier decision to reject a counter-recruitment ad submitted by COMD.
- Full Article
May - June 2000
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PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR: Army Recruiters and the Sexual Harassment of Female Recruits   Four years of involvement with counter-recruiting issues in the Shoreline School District has uncovered a number of sexual harassment cases involving U.S. Army recruiters and female high school students. If not for the close scrutiny recruiters were receiving from activists and the media, it is doubtful the incidents of sexual harassment would have been made public. The question remains — how common is the sexual harassment of female students in our schools by military recruiters?
- Full Article
May - June 2000
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WAR AND EDUCATION: A Good Mix?   Most Californians probably don’t know that our state has an agency called the "Military Department" and that it is slated for a 58% budget increase in these times of peace and prosperity. Traditionally, the Military Department’s job has been to manage the California Army and Air National Guard, the state’s reserve forces for times of war, insurrection and disaster. - Full Article
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