Draft? For all the wrong reasons….

Karl Marlantes, a Former Marine who fought in the war on Viet-Nam, has an article in today’s New York Times, “The War That Killed Trust.” Marlantes has several books out on Viet Nam, and is very invested in that war, and has written one of the saddest and most illogical stories I’ve ever read.

Marlantes applauds the camaraderie of the military, and believes that the reinstitution of a military draft would bring back a feeling of service to the country, and would level the inequality that has taken over the USA. Wrong and wrong- the rich have always gotten out of serving in US wars, and the anti-war protests that covered the country don’t auger well for a renewed draft. The draft was suspended after Vietnam in an attempt to quell the protests, and fear of those protests has led to a poverty draft, in which public high schools and the Department of Education have collaborated with the Department of Defense to assure the military of access to and influence over students. As long as the (decreasing) middle class kids aren’t forced to fight wars, the protests are few.

That cameraderie belief, reflected so well in Studs Terkel’s “The Good War,” is crafted by military training to cause recruits to protect each other. How grim that so many men of war can only recreate bonds to other men in war. How childish and selfish to believe that to be a model for other people….to make bonds of friendship over the mass murder of civilians. This is nonsense.

Nice, Mr. Marlantes, that you had never eaten a tamale or spoken with a citizen from Mexico before Vietnam. These are society’s failings that will not be made better by having more wars, more recruits. Many of us believe we can skip the step of going to war in finding the humanity in all people.

The comments section is also illuminating. Several commenters, always from the military, mention how good going to war was for them. This is something we often hear at schools when counter recruiting- the military was good for me! I got to travel! I built character! It is a self-centered, short-sighted feeling, and not one to build a foreign policy on. Another article in today’s Times was, of course, about former National Guardsmen Esteban Santiago, who fought in Iraq but came back deeply damaged with PTSD, and killed 5 people and wounded 6 others at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport on January 6, 2017. Many Vietnam veterans are living on the streets. Many, many people do not do well after war.

Many of the commenters also mention the toll of the Vietnam War on Vietnam. Thank goodness for some sanity. Mr. Marlantes doesn’t talk about the utter devastation an illegal and vicious war did to that country, and sounds pretty damaged to me, desperately trying somehow to rationalize what he did, what we did.


January 9, 2017. The New York Times today published an article that attempted to minimize the likelihood that Marlantes came back from Iraq with PTSD. This is a public relations move that has been a constant through the war on Iraq and on Afghanistan: PTSD is overstated! Don’t worry! The military has worried so much about the public seeing the effects of war on their own recruits that authorities at my local Ft. Lewis Joint Base McCord Madigan Hospital  had over 300 PTSD diagnoses reversed. They were also worried, as described in the same article, about the disability payouts to soldiers diagnosed with PTSD that could cost as much as 1.5 million dollars a person for lifetime treatment.

 

Posted in antiwar, Draft, PTSD Tagged with: , , ,

In combat, you will kill civilians.

Combat Rules To Protect Civilians are Revised,” an article in today’s New York Times, describes the Pentagon’s parsing of the rules for killing civilians.

Potential recruits should understand that they will be put in the position of killing civilians, including children, and that this is not something the psyche bears easily.

No matter how you rationalize killing to yourself, or someone rationalized it to you, you will know it is wrong.

The Pentagon has revised a 2015 manual for waging combat while obeying the international laws of war, tightening rules for when it is lawful to fire on a military target even though civilians — from human shields to workers at weapons factories — are nearby.

The changes, announced late on Tuesday, are the second time this year that the Defense Department has modified its Law of War Manual in response to criticism that portions were inaccurate or dangerous. In July, it overhauled sections of the manual to better protect journalists working in battlefield areas.

“Protecting civilians in armed conflict is critical, and it’s important that our legal guidance is clear and practical,” said Jennifer O’Connor, the Pentagon’s general counsel. “This version of the manual provides greater clarity and also reflects important developments such as the president’s recent executive order on civilian casualties.”

Several legal specialists, who had criticized the old version of the manual as misrepresenting the law of armed conflict in ways that endangered civilians, praised some of the changes but criticized others as still muddled.

Adil Haque, a law professor at Rutgers University who has criticized the manual, offered a mixed review of the changes, saying, “It’s definitely an improvement,” but arguing that some parts still fell short.

The changes focus largely on a section of the manual that discusses the principle of proportionality. In war, it can be lawful to fire on a military target even if civilians are nearby and will be killed as a consequence, but only if the anticipated collateral damage is proportionate to a legitimate military objective.

The original version of the manual suggested that commanders could exclude entire categories of civilians when analyzing proportionality before firing, like civilians used as human shields or those who accompany an enemy force, like mechanics and food workers. They also could exclude civilians working at a place that helps sustain the enemy, like an arms factory.

The manual now makes it clear that commanders selecting targets must take into account the anticipated harm to such civilians, too. In particular, it says that involuntary human shields are fully protected under the proportionality rule.

That is “very important since that category includes both civilians actively forced to shield military targets and civilians passively used to shield military targets without their knowledge or consent (think of the armed group that fires rockets from a residential neighborhood, hospital, etc.),” Mr. Haque wrote in an email. “That’s pretty much every civilian in ISIS-controlled cities and towns.”

Still, the revised manual suggests that voluntary human shields and civilians employed in jobs related to military objectives may count for less in such analysis than ordinary civilians. Some scholars object to the ideathat the law of war permits using a sliding scale when deciding how much protection various civilians will receive.

Mr. Haque found it “really disappointing” that the revisions did not alter a section that states that when there is doubt about the identity of potential targets, commanders need not presume civilians are there.

The manual is the latest in a series that trace back to the Lieber Code, devised by Francis Lieber, a legal scholar and philosopher, whose instructions for war were issued to Union soldiers during the Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln.

The Pentagon had worked on developing the current manual for two decades and finally issued it in 2015 after a difficult bureaucratic process; other parts of the government with expertise in international law, like the State and the Justice Departments, did not sign off on it.

The changes to the manual’s discussion of civilian protections came after months of criticism from various legal scholars about the wording in the 2015 version.  AUTHOR Charlie Savage

Posted in antiwar, killing, war Tagged with: ,

Military Recruiting in the United States and Planning its Decline and Fall- New Book by Pat Elder!

Military recruiting in the united states cover 1

 

Military Recruiting in the United States and Planning its Decline and Fall

Chapters

1. Military Enlistment Ruins Lives  

2. The Military Enlistment Document Is Fraudulent  

3. Recruiting Is Psy Ops at Home 

4. Should Recruiters “Own” Our Schools? 

5. Love Our enemies? Or Kill Them?  

6. Hollywood Pledges Allegiance to the Dollar

7. Madison Avenue Joins the Army  

8. Video Games Recruit & Train Killers

9. Schools Teach Reading, Writing, & Marksmanship

10. The Pentagon Is Tracking Our Kids  

11. “Career Program” Is Enlistment Tool in Camo  

12. JROTC Militarizes American Youth

13. U.S. Flouts U.N. Protocol on Child Soldiers  

Military Recruiting in the United States is available at Amazon.


Here’s the summary from Amazon:

Military Recruiting in the United States provides a fearless and penetrating
description of the deceptive practices of the U.S. military as it recruits
American youth into the armed forces. Long-time antiwar activist Pat Elder
exposes the underworld of American military recruiting in this explosive and
consequential book. The book describes how recruiters manage to convince
youth to enlist. It details a sophisticated psy-ops campaign directed at
children. Elder describes how the military encourages first-person shooter
games and places firearms into the hands of thousands using the schools, its
JROTC programs, and the Civilian Marksmanship Program to inculcate youth
with a reverence for guns. Previously unpublished investigative work reveals
how indoor shooting ranges in schools are threatening the health of children
and school staff through exposure to lead particulate matter. The book
provides a kind of “what’s coming next manual” for European peacemakers as
they also confront a rising tide of militarism. The book examines the
disturbing, nurturing role of the Catholic Church in recruiting youth. It
surveys the wholesale military censorship of Hollywood films, pervasive
military testing in the high schools, and an explosion of military programs
directed toward youth. For more information, visit: www.counter-recruit.org
<http://www.counter-recruit.org

David Swanson, of World Without War, has written a review.

Military Recruiting in the United States, and Planning its Decline and Fall
<http://worldbeyondwar.org/military-recruiting-united-states-planning-decline-fall/>

http://worldbeyondwar.org/military-recruiting-united-states-planning-decline-fall/

By David Swanson
*This text is the foreword to a new book by Pat Elder called Military
Recruiting in the United States <http://www.counter-recruit.org>.*

Most people in the United States are far from aware of the full extent of
military marketing, advertising, and recruitment efforts. We run into
movies and comic books and video games and toys and school worksheets and
science fairs and television shows and websites all the time that have been
funded by and created in collaboration with the U.S. military. But we don’t
know it. Or we know it, but we have so internalized the idea that the most
expensive and extensive military the earth has ever known is simply normal,
that we don’t think of its role in our educational and entertainment
systems as in any way questionable. We don’t even think of the military’s
marketing as being aimed at recruitment, much less ask each other whether
that’s a good thing or being done in a proper way, or whether we ourselves
should be forking over some $600 million a year just for the military’s
advertising budget.

Even more people are unaware of the work of counter-recruiters, of
individuals and organizations that work to increase awareness of military
recruitment and to counter it with inconvenient information — that is,
information that may be inconvenient to recruiters but highly useful to
potential recruits. Counter-recruiters bring veterans into schools to talk
about their regrets. Counter-recruiters warn young people of the dangers of
false promises and of contracts that will be binding only on them, not on
the military. Counter recruiters lobby for policy changes that prevent the
military from obtaining information on students without parental consent.

Sometimes — very rarely – counter-recruiters write outstanding books that
inform us of the current state of affairs and guide us toward paths for
engagement with their work. Pat Elder is a counter-recruiter turned author,
and we are all in his debt. This book makes clear the need for
counter-recruitment, and it provides the tools to expand it.

Why is counter-recruitment appropriate even when there is no draft, the
military is all volunteer, and many people reading this book have never
been pressured to enlist at all? Well, 99% of us in the United States are
asked only to pay taxes for wars, vote for war architects for public
office, tell pollsters we support wars, and tolerate war promotion
throughout our culture. Nothing more is asked of us. But what about that
other one percent? Our tax dollars don’t fund a dime’s worth of pro-peace
propaganda for them. Despite warnings of health threats from the American
Medical Association, military recruiters do not, like cigarette or alcohol
marketers, have to provide the slightest shred of warning regarding the
risks involved. They also are permitted to market to younger people than
are the marketers of cigarettes and alcohol. As Elder points out, in most
U.S. states you must be 21 to drink alcohol and 25 to rent a car, but at 18
you can kill or die in war.

Explaining the heavy, one-sided push experienced by targeted young men and
women, disproportionately in low-income communities, to those who haven’t
experienced it, is like trying to explain predatory mortgage loans that
push the borrower to default in order to collect more fees to someone who’s
only ever encountered banks that hoped their loans would be paid back. If
you doubt the reality of aggressive recruitment, that’s not your fault. But
you won’t doubt it after you read this book.

Counter-recruiters don’t make any promises to anyone, though they may try
to help young people find peaceful careers. They don’t ask anyone to sign a
contract to remain peaceful for six or eight or an infinite number of
years. They don’t secretly receive detailed data on students without their
knowledge in order to better target them for counter recruitment. If we are
to truly think of those who enlist in the U.S. military as volunteers, we
are required to make sure they have accurate information. Volunteering on
the basis of insufficient or misleading knowledge is not volunteering at
all. Counter-recruitment, then, is not something to tolerate, but something
to insist upon.

One of the first things a counter-recruiter, and this book, will make
clear, is that even a well-informed volunteer in the U.S. military, unlike
any other volunteer in any other enterprise, is not permitted to cease
volunteering. Even when a contract expires, the military can extend it
indefinitely. Before it expires, the recruit cannot end it without risk of
a dishonorable discharge and/or prison, and the recruit— by the terms of
the contract—lacks basic Constitutional rights that he or she is often told
the wars are fought to somehow defend. The risks haven’t stopped tens of
thousands of people from deserting the U.S. military in recent years as
soon as they discovered that, like most things, the military does not
really resemble its television commercials.

War participation, unlike in the movies, does not come easily in real life.
It takes intense conditioning to get most people to kill other human
beings, and most people have a hard time recovering from having done so.
This is great news for humanity, but bad news for veterans. The top cause
of death in the U.S. military is suicide, and the suicide rates far exceed
those for civilians. As Elder reports, some 45% of U.S. veterans of Iraq
and Afghanistan have filed injury claims, and some 25% have sought mental
health treatment through the Veterans Administration. About 26,000 sexual
assaults occurred within the U.S. military in 2012. Some states are working
to eliminate veteran homelessness. This is an indication of the
normalization of war in a society in which at some point in the future all
homeless people could be non-veterans. It is also an indication of the fact
that veterans for many years have been far more likely than non-veterans to
lose all means of subsistence. “Support the troops” bumper stickers don’t
actually pay anybody’s rent.

On June 12, 2016, the *New York Times* ran an article that reported that
“modern warfare destroys your brain.” This was a reference to newly
understood physical evidence of the damage done by being near explosions.
If this were the National Football League you might expect a movie like
*Concussion* to dramatize the problem. This being the military, which— by
the way— pays the NFL with our money for most of the war hype at football
games, one must rely on counter-recruiters to spread the word.

There are two major ways in which war destroys your brain, one of them long
predating modernity, and both of them serious, real, and tragic whether
neuroscientists have figured out what they look like under a microscope or
not. In addition to the trauma of explosions, a participant in war faces
the trauma of morality, the pain of facing hatred and violence, the agony
of threatening and inflicting hatred and violence — aggravated in many
cases by the weakness of belief in the cause. Once you join up, you’re not
asked to kill in only the wars you believe in. You’re asked to obey without
thinking at all.

In an end-of-year worldwide poll in 2014, Gallup asked people in dozens of
countries whether they would be willing to fight in a war for their
country. The results were encouraging, with some countries listed at only
10% or 20% willing to join in a war. The United States, at 44% willing to
fight in a war, was quite high — though not the highest — by comparison.
But people surveyed by Gallup covered the full age range of adults, and
most of those years are above recruitment age. Most of those years are
years in which you cannot enlist even if you want to. This poll was
conducted at a time when the United States had multiple wars underway and
had for many years. Why would people claim that they “would” fight in a
war, when clearly they would not? Why would the National Rifle Association
produce a video with an elderly musician, Charlie Daniels, encouraging
warmongering toward Iran? I think a lot of people like to imagine
themselves at war from the safety of their backyards. But in doing so, they
fuel a culture that encourages young people to sign up without thinking it
through. In the words of Phil Ochs:

It’s always the old to lead us to the war
It’s always the young to fall
Now look at all we’ve won
With the saber and the gun.
Tell me, is it worth it all?

I’ve met many veterans who signed up imagining they’d be global policemen
and rescue workers, who discovered they were global pirates and snipers.
Many of the most dedicated peace activists in the United States were once
among the most enthusiastic recruits in the military. Many of them would
not have been recruited had they had more information and other options.
Many would not have been as attracted to Donald Trump’s “steal their oil!”
and “kill their families!” as they were to pretenses of defense or
humanitarianism.

Polls have found that a majority of recruits say the lack of other career
options was a major factor in their joining up. This is why one of the most
indirect but powerful means of countering recruitment is to increase access
to jobs or college. A “volunteer” military in a full-employment society
with free college and job training would be far more significantly
volunteer.

There are, of course, many sorts of peace activism, including education,
demonstrations, protests, civil disobedience, citizen diplomacy, and so on.
I engage in all of these and support them. But one major form of peace
activism in need of expansion is counter-recruitment. It’s a means of
working locally, something that has greatly benefitted the environmental
movement. It’s a means of working face-to-face with people. It’s a means of
achieving immediate personal successes. When you help one young person stay
out of the military, you know that you have done good work.

And don’t imagine that every person you keep out will be replaced by
someone else going in. And don’t imagine the military does not need people
now that it has robots. The military is having a heck of a time recruiting
enough people to manage its robots. Even drone pilots have suffered PTSD
and suicide. The military is struggling with recruitment, while
counter-recruiters are piling up successes they can point to. Elder points
to some of them in this book and advises on how to achieve more— how to
limit the use of military tests to collect data from students, how to
counter recruitment pitches.

The military not only wants more recruits than it is getting right now, it
wants the ability to use the draft again if desired. Bills have made
significant progress in Congress this year to require that young women
register for the draft just like young men, and to abolish the Selective
Service entirely. The liberal progressive position has been in favor of
keeping the Selective Service in place while adding women to it. That’s how
deeply war has been normalized. Some peace activists even want a draft
because they think it would enlarge the peace movement. They claim the
peace movement has never been as large as during the Vietnam War era when
there was a draft. But there also has not been a U.S. war that killed
anywhere close to as many people since that war. Imagining that we need a
worse war in order to halt war requires that we fail to know our strength.
We actually have the potential to end the draft forever and to deny the
military the “volunteers” it wants as well.

People as smart as Tolstoy and Einstein thought we would end war only when
individuals refused to take part. Ninety-nine percent of us are not asked
to take part, but we have a role to play in protecting that other one
percent. Of course the harm that U.S. wars inflict is overwhelmingly on the
people who live where the wars are fought. The harm to U.S. troops is a
drop in the bucket. But much of that harm is the moral injury that follows
the infliction of harm on others. The experience of killing and injuring is
traumatic for adults and even more so for kids. The United Nations, as
Elder details, has sought to hold the United States accountable for its
violation of a treaty in its recruitment of 17-year-olds. The United States
is also now the only country on earth that has not ratified the Convention
on the Rights of the Child. It’s hard to dismiss the suspicion that
military recruitment plays a role in the decision to remain outside that
otherwise universal treaty and basic standard of modern civilization.

*This text is the foreword to a new book by Pat Elder called Military
Recruiting in the United States <http://www.counter-recruit.org>.*

— 

*David Swanson *is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is
director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org.
Swanson’s books include *War Is A Lie <http://warisalie.org/>*. He blogs at
DavidSwanson.org <http://davidswanson.org/> and WarIsACrime.org
<http://warisacrime.org/>. He hosts Talk Nation Radio
<http://davidswanson.org/taxonomy/term/41>. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel
Peace Prize Nominee.

Posted in antiwar, book, counter military recruiting, Recruiting, sports, war Tagged with: , , , , ,

Riyadh Lafta at UW Seattle October 27, 2016

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Dr. Riyadh Lafta is a Professor of Medicine at Mustansiriya College of Medicine in Baghdad, Iraq, and has been a partner and Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington Department of Global Health for the last decade. We have conducted several war-related health research projects together, including a hospital-based study of leukemia among children in Basra, a household survey study of Iraq mortality attributable to the U.S. invasion, and another survey study of disability and injury in Baghdad. (links to those papers below) In all this time, our work has been conducted remotely or during meetings in Erbil or Vancouver BC. The UW’s Department of Global Health has sought to bring Dr. Lafta to Seattle since 2006, but war-related instability made it impossible for him to obtain a visa for travel until this year.

Dr. Lafta will be visiting Seattle at the end of this month, and we would like to invite you to his talk, “Life in Baghdad today: Thirteen years after the US invasion, what is the state of public health?” to be held on Thursday, Oct. 27, 7 -8:30 p.m., in Foege Auditorium (Room S-060), 3720 15th Ave NE, located at the corner of 15th Ave NE and NE Boat Street. He will be introduced by Pramila Jayapal, 37th District Senator for Washington State.

Parking is available in the S-1 Parking Garage (map) for both the reception and the talk.

Some publications to illustrate his areas of expertise:
· Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey (The Lancet, two papers: 2004, 2006)
· Injuries, Death, and Disability Associated with 11 Years of Conflict in Baghdad, Iraq: A Randomized Household Cluster Survey
· Needs of Internally Displaced Women and Children in Baghdad, Karbala, and Kirkuk, Iraq
· Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Male Adolescents in Baghdad
· Effects of witnessing or exposure to community violence on mental health of Iraqi men
· Trends in Childhood Leukemia in Basrah, Iraq, 1993–2007

 

Posted in antiwar Tagged with: , , ,

How to Counter Military Recruitment- Thanks to Pat Elder!

How to Counter Military Recruitment

By Pat Elder
Remarks at #NoWar2016

Countering military recruitment in the nation’s high schools confronts an ugly mix of a distinctively American brand of institutionalized violence, racism, militarism, nationalism, classism, and sexism. It confronts the greatest problems in American society.

I will spend a few minutes on the despicable public policy involving tens of thousands of American government employees both in and out of active duty, whose job it is to persuade high school kids to enlist in the Armed Services. It is an extraordinarily deceptive and reprehensible psychological pursuit.

Then I will discuss the military’s vulnerabilities in this realm and ways you can and should exploit them.

Why should we be concerned with military recruiters “chillin” with kids in the high school cafeteria? For starters, It’s not a volunteer force. It’s a recruited force.

These statistics are never mentioned in the corporate/military media:

Nearly 40% of all Army enlistees never complete their first term. Imagine, for a moment, the emotional suffering endured by those who really didn’t “volunteer” in the first place.
There were more than 20,000 deserters from the Army alone during the period from 2006 to 2014.
Half of the 770,000 active-duty soldiers polled two years ago “have little satisfaction in – or commitment to their jobs.”
Musculoskeletal injuries in the military result in 2.2 million medical encounters yearly, while there are 1.3 million active-duty soldiers.
Nearly half of the 1.6 million veterans of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have filed injury claims.
Military suicides are at or near an all-time high
Sexual assaults are at or near record levels in the military.
Consider DD Form 4, the military’s enlistment agreement, which says: “Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment/ reenlistment document.”
Poor kids. They’re screwed. They’re red meat for the corporate and military carnivores who produce contracts they can’t understand – Contracts that go on to rule their lives. High schools teach Chaucer rather than crucial life skills.
The Pentagon’s greatest asset in the schools is the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, (JROTC). Over a half million children, an all-time high, are indoctrinated into military culture, while 40% who complete the program enlist in the armed forces. JROTC is the center of military intelligence gathering.
The Pentagon embraces the seductive power of the trigger as a recruiting device. Realizing the potential, the military exploits video games and weaponry to recruit and cultivate its own adolescent killers.
2,400 high schools have marksmanship programs affiliated with JROTC and the congressionally-chartered Civilian Marksmanship Program. The kids regularly attend tournaments hosted by the NRA.
Schools allow shooting to occur during school hours in classrooms and gyms that are contaminated by lead fragments fired from the CO2 air rifles that become airborne and are deposited on the floor at the muzzle-end and at the target backstop. Kids track the lead throughout the school. Custodians sweep the lethal material. Loose enforcement of regulations creates a health hazard for students and custodial staff.
The JROTC guns fire a .177 (compared to a .22 caliber) projectile at 500 feet per second. The military classifies these guns as dangerous weapons.
JROTC textbooks teach a reactionary brand of U.S. history and government, while classes are often taught by military retirees with no college education. We had to bomb Hiroshima. It saved a million American lives. We helped Cuba gain their freedom.
The CIA took part in overthrowing the government of Salvador Allende. The United States government thought Allende was not favorable to our national interest.”
Gulf of Tonkin? Those damned North Vietnamese! The U.S. set up a democracy in South Korea after WW II. You get the idea. Make America great again!
The unit on citizenship is entitled, “You the People.”
Why are we allowing this? I think it’s because most of us don’t know it’s going on.
See the Marine Corps’ lies: http://www.madison-schools.com/cms/lib9/MS01001041/Centricity/Domain/1962/Rotc-1.pdf
See the Army’s lies: http://pvhs.fms.k12.nm.us/Clubs/JROTC/Core%20LET%203%20Student%20Text.pdf
The most sought-after data the military extracts from the schools pertains to a child’s cognitive abilities. It is data the Pentagon cannot purchase outright or find online, and it is gained through the deceptive administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, (ASVAB) to 700,000 kids in 12,000 high schools every year. The ASVAB is a 3-hour enlistment exam masquerading as a career exploration program that tests a child’s verbal and math abilities along with knowledge of general science, electronics, auto, and shop.
ASVAB results are the only student information leaving America’s classrooms without parental consent, a violation of FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

ASVAB data is so valuable because it allows the Pentagon to analyze a child’s cognitive abilities, something that cannot be bought on found on social media sites.
Here’s how you can be most effective.

Appeal to moderate and progressive school board members and state legislators regarding these issues:
Demand your school adhere to the specifics of the “Opt-Out” legislation codified in the Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA Sec. 8025.
http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/every_student_succeeds_act_-_conference_report.pdf
Basically the law says recruiters get the names, addresses and phone numbers of kids from a school, although parents have the right to request that their kid’s info not be sent. High schools are supposed to tell parents but most don’t – or they bury the info. Maryland has the only law that requires parents to sign a form that asks parents if they want to allow info on their kid going to recruiters. Most say no.
ESSA 8025 also says military recruiters are to have the same access to kids as college recruiters – not greater access. Typically, military recruiters eat in the cafeteria while college recruiters meet with select kids in the guidance office. Military recruiters also perform dozens of volunteer tasks in the school. Demand that military recruiters never be allowed to be alone with kids. There have been too many rapes. 17-year-old Michelle Miller was murdered by a recruiter in Montgomery County, MD.
Demand that counter-recruiters have access to students. The 9th Circuit says counter-recruiters have a right to offer an opposing view.
Contact your principal and school board to make sure that student information is not released to recruiters gained through the administration of the ASVAB. In order to prevent the information from automatically being given to recruiters, your school must tell the military in advance that “ASVAB Release Option 8” must be used for ALL the students who are tested. Option 8 means the military can’t use the results to recruit kids. Schools select release options. Not parents. Maryland, Hawaii, and New Hampshire require parents to give consent before ASVAB data is used for recruiting.
See studentprivacy.org for more.
Make sure the ASVAB testing is voluntary. The Pentagon says it’s always voluntary but a FOIA reveals a thousand schools force kids to take it. – Like six high schools in inner city Miami that are almost entirely made up of minority kids, each forcing 500 kids to take the test without mom and dad’s knowledge or permission.
Check out the content of JROTC textbooks. The links are on the WBW website. Mainstream textbooks have come a long way thanks to the work of historians like Kuznick and Alperovitz, but not the JROTC books.
Make a fuss over the lack of academic qualifications of JROTC instructors. Many only have high school diplomas. Meanwhile, every other classroom teacher typically must be certified and hold a Masters after a few years.
Demand the closure of marksmanship programs. At least demand they stop using lead projectiles in school buildings.
If shooting ranges are present, determine if the school is adhering to the “Guide to Lead Management for Air Gun Shooting” published by the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

Get counter-recruitment information from NNOMY (National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth) nnomy.org and Project YANO (Project on Youth and Non-military Opportunities into your schools.
Stop students from being placed in JROTC classes without parental consent.
Request the JROTC enrollment statistics for each school. If any units have fallen below a total of 100 students two years in a row, agitate to remove them as required by federal law.
Document the lies in JROTC textbooks. Make a list and present it to the principal and your school board.
Make sure recruiters are not regularly occupying guidance offices.
Finally, if a kid is enrolled in the Delayed Entry Program (The DEP), (and 99% who enlist initially enter the DEP), and they change their mind, tell them not to report to basic training and have them check out girightshotline.org

Pat’s talk is from the 2016 World Without War Conference in Washington, DC.

Posted in action, conference, counter military recruiting, curriculum, JROTC, militarism, Recruiting, war Tagged with: , , , ,

Which towns around Seattle recruit the most? No surprises……

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Seattle Battalion Newsletter June/July 2016

Posted in Army, Recruiting Tagged with: , ,

Veterans For Peace peace boat, Golden Rule, is visiting the Pacific Northwest.

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

The historic peace boat, Golden Rule, has been restored by Veterans For Peace and is sailing again for a sustainable, nuclear-free world.  She will be sailing through the waterways of the Pacific Northwest this summer, making multiple stops in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, from June through October.  The Veterans For Peace Golden Rule Project invites you to join us in making this voyage a profound success.  We want to amplify the voices of those who are struggling for peace and against nuclear weapons, nuclear power and dangerous unsustainable carbon-based fuels.

The VFP Golden Rule Project is partnering with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), KBOO Radio in Portland, Living Islands, Washington and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Jane Addams Peace Association, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, VFP Chapters and many other organizations to sail the original Peace Boat on it’s educational mission in the Pacific Northwest this year.

If you can help with outreach, media, or planning for an event, please let us know!  Many communities are really excited that the Golden Rule is coming to town!  Please come to an event, take a tour of the boat, or go sailing with us – it’s a lot of fun!

The story of The Voyage of the Golden Rule 2015 is captured with many great photos in our Golden Rule Newsletter. 

You can support the 2016 Northwest voyage and the mission of the Golden Rule by donating through the website or by sending a check to VFP Golden Rule Project, P. O. Box 87, Samoa, CA 95564.

We will post updated schedules  and news on the website,  and the  Facebook page .

Sailing for a Nuclear-Free World and a Peaceful, Sustainable Future! 
Helen Jaccard

Project Manager
VFP Golden Rule Project (  )
206-992-6364

Gerry Condon
National Board Vice President
Veterans For Peace
206-499-1220

Posted in action, militarism, Veterans for Peace Tagged with: , , , ,

Silencing America as it prepares for war.

Silencing America as it Prepares for War
By John Pilger

Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.

“We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.

The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”

A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision”. The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.

The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for the resilience of an enduring silence about a murderous self-bestowed divinity. A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter … “. Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again. He is “cool”. One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor. He prosecuted more whistleblowers – truth-tellers – than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.

In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernising” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable”.

James Bradley, the best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and son of one of the US marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, said, “[One] great myth we’re seeing play out is that of Obama as some kind of peaceful guy who’s trying to get rid of nuclear weapons. He’s the biggest nuclear warrior there is. He’s committed us to a ruinous course of spending a trillion dollars on more nuclear weapons. Somehow, people live in this fantasy that because he gives vague news conferences and speeches and feel-good photo-ops that somehow that’s attached to actual policy. It isn’t.”

On Obama’s watch, a second cold war is under way. The Russian president is a pantomime villain; the Chinese are not yet back to their sinister pig-tailed caricature – when all Chinese were banned from the United States – but the media warriors are working on it.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders has mentioned any of this. There is no risk and no danger for the United States and all of us. For them, the greatest military build-up on the borders of Russia since World War Two has not happened. On May 11, Romania went “live” with a Nato “missile defence” base that aims its first-strike American missiles at the heart of Russia, the world’s second nuclear power.

In Asia, the Pentagon is sending ships, planes and special forces to the Philippines to threaten China. The US already encircles China with hundreds of military bases that curve in an arc up from Australia, to Asia and across to Afghanistan. Obama calls this a “pivot”.

As a direct consequence, China reportedly has changed its nuclear weapons policy from no-first-use to high alert and put to sea submarines with nuclear weapons. The escalator is quickening.

It was Hillary Clinton who, as Secretary of State in 2010, elevated the competing territorial claims for rocks and reef in the South China Sea to an international issue; CNN and BBC hysteria followed; China was building airstrips on the disputed islands. In its mammoth war game in 2015, Operation Talisman Sabre, the US practiced “choking” the Straits of Malacca through which pass most of China’s oil and trade. This was not news.

Clinton declared that America had a “national interest” in these Asian waters. The Philippines and Vietnam were encouraged and bribed to pursue their claims and old enmities against China. In America, people are being primed to see any Chinese defensive position as offensive, and so the ground is laid for rapid escalation. A similar strategy of provocation and propaganda is applied to Russia.

Clinton, the “women’s candidate”, leaves a trail of bloody coups: in Honduras, in Libya (plus the murder of the Libyan president) and Ukraine. The latter is now a CIA theme park swarming with Nazis and the frontline of a beckoning war with Russia. It was through Ukraine – literally, borderland — that Hitler’s Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, which lost 27 million people. This epic catastrophe remains a presence in Russia. Clinton’s presidential campaign has received money from all but one of the world’s ten biggest arms companies. No other candidate comes close.

Sanders, the hope of many young Americans, is not very different from Clinton in his proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. He backed Bill Clinton’s illegal bombing of Serbia. He supports Obama’s terrorism by drone, the provocation of Russia and the return of special forces (death squads) to Iraq. He has nothing to say on the drumbeat of threats to China and the accelerating risk of nuclear war. He agrees that Edward Snowden should stand trial and he calls Hugo Chavez – like him, a social democrat – “a dead communist dictator”. He promises to support Clinton if she is nominated.

The election of Trump or Clinton is the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin. In scapegoating minorities and promising to “make America great again”, Trump is a far right-wing domestic populist; yet the danger of Clinton may be more lethal for the world.

“Only Donald Trump has said anything meaningful and critical of US foreign policy,” wrote Stephen Cohen, emeritus professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, one of the few Russia experts in the United States to speak out about the risk of war.

In a radio broadcast, Cohen referred to critical questions Trump alone had raised. Among them: why is the United States “everywhere on the globe”? What is NATO’s true mission? Why does the US always pursue regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine? Why does Washington treat Russia and Vladimir Putin as an enemy?

The hysteria in the liberal media over Trump serves an illusion of “free and open debate” and “democracy at work”. His views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of colour is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin’s gulag.

This presidential campaign may not be about populism but American liberalism, an ideology that sees itself as modern and therefore superior and the one true way. Those on its right wing bear a likeness to 19th century Christian imperialists, with a God-given duty to convert or co-opt or conquer.

In Britain, this is Blairism. The Christian war criminal Tony Blair got away with his secret preparation for the invasion of Iraq largely because the liberal political class and media fell for his “cool Britannia”. In the Guardian, the applause was deafening; he was called “mystical”. A distraction known as identity politics, imported from the United States, rested easily in his care.

History was declared over, class was abolished and gender promoted as feminism; lots of women became New Labour MPs. They voted on the first day of Parliament to cut the benefits of single parents, mostly women, as instructed. A majority voted for an invasion that produced 700,000 Iraqi widows.

The equivalent in the US are the politically correct warmongers on the New York Times, the Washington Post and network TV who dominate political debate. I watched a furious debate on CNN about Trump’s infidelities. It was clear, they said, a man like that could not be trusted in the White House. No issues were raised. Nothing on the 80 per cent of Americans whose income has collapsed to 1970s levels. Nothing on the drift to war. The received wisdom seems to be “hold your nose” and vote for Clinton: anyone but Trump. That way, you stop the monster and preserve a system gagging for another war.

Thanks to Todd Boyle for forwarding this article.
~ John Pilger originally hails from Australia. Arriving in London, Pilger freelanced, then joined Reuters, moving to the London Daily Mirror, Britain’s biggest selling newspaper, which was then changing to a serious tabloid. He became chief foreign correspondent and reported from all over the world, covering numerous wars, notably Vietnam. He became the youngest journalist to receive Britain’s highest award for journalism, Journalist of the Year and was the first to win it twice. He also has created many award winning documentaries.

Posted in antiwar, militarism Tagged with: ,

David Swanson reviews counter military recruiting book

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How to Counter Recruitment and De-Militarize Schools

By David Swanson

(David Swanson will be in Bellingham on April 14, 2016 at 7:30 at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship and in Seattle on April 15, 2016 at 7:30 Town Hall

U.S. military recruiters are teaching in public school classrooms, making presentations at school career days, coordinating with JROTC units in high schools and middle schools, volunteering as sports coaches and tutors and lunch buddies in high, middle, and elementary schools, showing up in humvees with $9,000 stereos, bringing fifth-graders to military bases for hands-on science instruction, and generally pursuing what they call “total market penetration” and “school ownership.”

But counter-recruiters all over the United States are making their own presentations in schools, distributing their own information, picketing recruiting stations, and working through courts and legislatures to reduce military access to students and to prevent military testing or the sharing of test results with the military without students’ permission. This struggle for hearts and minds has had major successes and could spread if more follow the counter-recruiters’ example.

A new book by Scott Harding and Seth Kershner called Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools surveys the current counter-recruitment movement, its history, and its possible future. Included is a fairly wide range of tactics. Many involve one-on-one communication with potential recruits.

“Do you like fireworks?” a veteran of the latest war on Iraq may ask a student in a high school cafeteria. “Yes!” Well, replies Hart Viges, “you won’t when you get back from war.”

“I talked to this one kid,” recalls veteran of the war on Vietnam John Henry, “and I said, ‘Has anybody in your family been in the military?’ And he said, ‘My grandfather.’

“And we talked about him, about how he was short and he was a tunnel rat in Vietnam, and I said, ‘Oh, what does he tell you about war?’

“‘That he still has nightmares.’

“And I said, ‘And you are going in what branch of the service?’

“‘Army.’

“‘And you’re going to pick what skill?’

“‘Oh, I’m just going to go infantry.’

“You know … your grandfather is telling you he’s still got nightmares and that was 40 years ago. He’s had nightmares for 40 years. Do you want to have nightmares for 40 years?”

Minds are changed. Young lives are saved — those of the kids who do not sign up, or who back out before it’s too late, and perhaps also the lives they would have contributed to ending had they entered the “service.”

This sort of counter-recruitment work can have a quick payoff. Says Barbara Harris, who also organized the protests at NBC that supported this petition and got a pro-war program off the air, “The feedback I receive from [parents] is just incredibly heartwarming because [when] I speak to a parent and I see how I’ve helped them in some way, I feel so rewarded.”

Other counter-recruitment work can take a bit longer and be a bit less personal but impact a larger number of lives. Some 10% to 15% of recruits get to the military via the ASVAB tests, which are administered in certain school districts, sometimes required, sometimes without informing students or parents that they are for the military, sometimes with the full results going to the military without any permission from students or parents. The number of states and school districts using and abusing the ASVAB is on the decline because of the work of counter-recruiters in passing legislation and changing policy.

U.S. culture is so heavily militarized, though, that in the absence of recruiters or counter-recruiters well-meaning teachers and guidance counselors will thoughtlessly promote the military to students. Some schools automatically enroll all students in JROTC. Some guidance counselors encourage students to substitute JROTC for gym class. Even Kindergarten teachers will invite in uniformed members of the military or promote the military unprompted in their school assignments. History teachers will show footage of Pearl Harbor on Pearl Harbor Day and talk in glorifying terms of the military without any need for direct contact from recruitment offices. I’m reminded of what Starbucks said when asked why it had a coffee shop at the torture / death camp in Guantanamo. Starbucks said that choosing not to would amount to making a political statement. Choosing to do so was just standard behavior.

Part of what keeps the military presence in the schools is the billion dollar budget of the military recruiters and other unfair powers of incumbency. For example, if a JROTC program is threatened, the instructors can order the students (or the children formerly known as students) to show up and testify at a school board meeting in favor of maintaining the program.

Much of what keeps recruitment working in our schools, however, is a different sort of power — the power to lie and get away with it unchallenged. As Harding and Kershner document, recruiters routinely deceive students about the amount of time they’re committing to be in the military, the possibility of changing their minds, the potential for free college as a reward, the availability of vocational training in the military, and the risks involved in joining the military.

Our society has become very serious about warning young people about safety in sex, driving, drinking, drugs, sports, and other activities. When it comes to joining the military, however, a survey of students found that none of them were told anything about the risks to themselves — first and foremost suicide. They are also, as Harding and Kershner point out, told much about heroism, nothing about drudgery. I would add that they are not told about alternative forms of heroism outside of the military. I would further add that they are told nothing about the primarily non-U.S. victims of wars that are largely one-sided slaughters of civilians, nor about the moral injury and PTSD that can follow. And of course, they are told nothing about alternative career paths.

That is, they are told none of these things by recruiters. They are told some of them by counter-recruiters. Harding and Kershner mention AmeriCorps and City Year as alternatives to the military that counter-recruiters sometimes let students know about. An early start on an alternative career path is found by some students who sign on as counter-recruiters working to help guide their peers away from the military. Studies find that youth who engage in school activism suffer less alienation, set more ambitious goals, and improve academically.

Military recruitment climbs when the economy declines, and drops off when news of current wars increases. Those recruited tend to have lower family income, less-educated parents, and larger family size. It seems entirely possible to me that a legislative victory for counter-recruitment greater than any reform of ASVAB testing or access to school cafeterias would be for the United States to join those nations that make college free. Ironically, the most prominent politician promoting that idea, Senator Bernie Sanders, refuses to say he would pay for any of his plans by cutting the military, meaning that he must struggle uphill against passionate shouts of “Don’t raise my taxes!” (even when 99% of people would not see their wallets shrink at all un der his plans).

Free college would absolutely crush military recruitment. To what extent does this fact explain political opposition to free college? I don’t know. But I can picture among the possible responses of the military a greater push to make citizenship a reward for immigrants who join the military, higher and higher signing bonuses, greater use of mercenaries both foreign and domestic, greater reliance on drones and other robots, and ever more arming of foreign proxy forces, but also quite likely a greater reluctance to launch and escalate and continue wars.

And that’s the prize we’re after, right? A family blown up in the Middle East is just as dead, injured, traumatized, and homeless whether the perpetrators are near or far, in the air or at a computer terminal, born in the United States or on a Pacific island, right? Most counter-recruiters I know would agree with that 100%. But they believe, and with good reason, that the work of counter-recruitment scales back the war-making.

However, other concerns enter in as well, including the desire to protect particular students, and the desire to halt the racial or class disparity of recruitment that sometimes focuses disproportionately on poor or predominately racial minority schools. Legislatures that have been reluctant to restrict recruitment have done so when it was addressed as an issue of racial or class fairness.

Many counter-recruiters, Harding and Kershner report, “were careful to suggest the military serves a legitimate purpose in society and is an honorable vocation.” In part, I think such talk is a strategy — whether or not it’s a wise one — that believes direct opposition to war will close doors and empower adversaries, whereas talking about “student privacy” will allow people who oppose war to reach students with their information. But, of course, claiming that the military is a good thing while discouraging local kids from joining it rather stinks of NIMBYism: Get your cannon fodder, just Not In My Back Yard.

Some, though by no means all, and I suspect it’s a small minority of counter-recruiters actually make a case against other types of peace activism. They describe what they do as “actually doing something,” in contrast to marching at rallies or sitting in at Congressional offices, etc. I will grant them that my experience is atypical. I do media interviews. I mostly go to rallies that have invited me to speak. I get paid to do online antiwar organizing. I plan conferences. I write articles and op-eds and books. I have a sense of “doing something” that perhaps most people who attend an event or ask questions from an audience or sign an online petition just don’t. I suspect a great many people find talking students away from the edge much more satisfying than getting arrested in front of a drone base, although plenty of wonderful people do both.

But there is, in my opinion, a pretty misguided analysis in the view of certain counter-recruiters who hold that getting tests out of schools is real, concrete, and meaningful, while filling the National Mall with antiwar banners is useless. In 2013 a proposal to bomb Syria looked very likely, but Congress members started worrying about being the guy who voted for another Iraq. (How’s that working out for Hillary Clinton?) It was not primarily counter-recruiters who made the Iraq vote a badge of shame and political doom. Nor was it outreach to students that upheld the Iran nuclear agreement last year.

The division between types of peace activism is somewhat silly. People have been brought into counter-recruitment work at massive rallies, and students reached by counter-recruiters have later organized big protests. Recruitment includes hard to measure things like Super Bowl fly-overs and video games. So can counter-recruitment. Both counter-recruitment and other types of peace activism ebb and flow with wars, news reports, and partisanship. I’d like to see the two merged into massive rallies at recruiting stations. Harding and Kershner cite one example of a counter-recruiter suggesting that one such rally created new opposition to his work, but I would be surprised if it didn’t also hurt recruitment. The authors cite other examples of well-publicized protests at recruitment offices having had a lasting effect of reducing recruitment there.

The fact is that no form of opposition to militarism is what it used to be. Harding and Kershner cite stunning examples of the mainstream nature of counter-recruitment in the 1970s, when it had the support of the National Organization for Women and the Congressional Black Caucus, and when prominent academics publicly urged guidance counselors to counter-recruit.

The strongest antiwar movement, I believe, would combine the strengths of counter-recruitment with those of lobbying, protesting, resisting, educating, divesting, publicizing, etc. It would be careful to build resistance to recruitment while educating the public about the one-sided nature of U.S. wars, countering the notion that a large percentage of the damage is done to the aggressor. When Harding and Kershner use the phrase in their book “In the absence of a hot war” to describe the current day, what should the people being killed by U.S. weaponry in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, etc., make of it?

We need a strategy that employs the skills of every kind of activist and targets the military machine at every possible weak point, but the strategy has to be to stop the killing, no matter who does it, and no matter if every person doing it survives.

Are you looking for a way to help? I recommend the examples in Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools. Go forth and do likewise.

War Is A Lie: Second Edition, published by Just World Books on April 5, 2016. Please buy it online that day.

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

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Posted in antiwar, counter military recruiting, JROTC, militarism, war Tagged with: , , , , ,

Marines, Army want women to register for draft

Overnight Defense
THE TOPLINE: Women should be required to register for the draft if all combat jobs are going to be open to them, the top generals of the Marines and Army said Tuesday.

“Every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft,” Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley agreed with Neller.

“I think that all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft,” he added.

The two made the remarks while testifying before the panel with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy on how to implement the landmark decision to open all combat jobs to women.

Murphy and Mabus were more hesitant on the issue, only saying there should be a debate about it.

Late last year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced all military jobs would be open to both sexes with no exceptions, despite a request from the Marines to keep some closed.

CARTER PREVIEWS $582.7B BUDGET: The Pentagon’s proposed 2017 budget will prepare for possible future wars against near-peer competitors Russia and China, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday.

The focus of the $582.7 billion budget, he said, will contemplate fights in traditional domains of air, sea and land, as well as areas such as cyber-war and space.

“In this budget, we’re taking the long view,” Carter said in a speech at the Economic Club in Washington. “We have to, because even as we fight today’s fights, we must also be prepared for the fights that might come 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.”

The Pentagon is still planning to boost its spending on the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria by 50 percent from last year, to $7.5 billion. Of that, $1.8 billion will go to buying more than 45,000 GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets, Carter said.

The Pentagon will also more than quadruple its spending in Europe to reassure allies and deter Russian aggression, from $789 million to $3.4 billion. That is expected to fund more U.S. forces in Europe, more training and exercises, the prepositioning of military equipment and improving existing infrastructure there.

GENERAL URGES KEEPING TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN: The commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan is reviewing plans for troop levels after 2016, but did not specify Tuesday what force size will be necessary.

Gen. John Campbell outlined the challenges facing coalition and Afghan forces and warned the situation could deteriorate should the U.S. not extend its commitment to the country.

“Afghanistan is at an inflection point,” he said to the House Armed Services Committee. “I believe if we do not make deliberate, measured adjustments, 2016 is at risk of being no better, and possibly worse, than 2015.”

Right now, President Obama plans to reduce the 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 5,500 by the end of the year. But there are hints, such as Campbell’s testimony, that the Pentagon will push Obama to change course.

When asked for specifics on what further commitment the United States should make, Campbell demurred.

“It’s not as simple as I need X amount of people,” he said. “You can have the force, but if you don’t have the authorities, it doesn’t make a difference. You can have the authorities, but if you don’t have the resources to execute the authorities, it doesn’t make a difference.”

GRASSLEY WANTS ANSWERS ON CARTER EMAILS: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking Defense Secretary Ash Carter for details on his use of personal email, voicing concerns that the Pentagon chief could have been hacked.

“The use of private email in this context exposes information to possible hacks and intrusions by foreign intelligence agencies,” Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to Carter in a letter released on Tuesday. “As the secretary of Defense, you are inevitably a prime target for foreign hackers. As such, the threat is real and compliance with the law is essential.”

The letter comes after The New York Times first reported late last year that Carter used a personal email during his first months in the Pentagon’s top spot, including after it was revealed that Hillary Clinton had exclusively used a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.

Citing the fallout over the Clinton revelations, Grassley added that it is “troubling” that Carter would use the personal email, “especially since you continued using that arrangement even after the risks of private use were made clear when news of Secretary Clinton’s use broke.”

Grassley is also at the center of the Senate’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time at the State Department. The issue has dogged Clinton’s presidential campaign, even as Democrats argue the probe is politically motivated.

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/267905-army-marines-generals-women-should-register-for-draft

Posted in Draft, Selective Service, war, women Tagged with: , , , ,