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Youth Action: Essays to Consider

How Are Teens Around the World Dealing With War?  To find out click here for personal audio essays.

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"They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people": Eugene Debs

Are Students Getting a Balanced Education About the Military?

A Military Recruiter's Job Is To Sell the Military Recruiters are salespeople with a quota to meet. If students are learning about the military from recruiters alone, they're getting only part of the story. Their education is being shortchanged.

Does your school let military recruiters on campus? Most do. From guidance counselors' displays to recruiters' presentations in classrooms to JROTC to the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (test, the Pentagon sells the military to high school students.

Equal Access is Required by Law. Federal district and appellate courts have repeatedly upheld Equal Access laws that enable students to get information on both sides of controversial issues.

In San Diego Committee v. Governing Board of Grossmont Union High School District [790 F.2d 1471 (9th Cir. 1986)] the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, "The Board cannot allow the presentation of one side of an issue, but prohibit the presentation of the other side.... Here, the Board permitted mixed political and commercial speech advocating military service, but attempted to bar the same type of speech opposing such service. Accordingly, the Board violated the First Amendment." (See also Searcey v. Crim [815 F.2d 1389 (11th Cir. 1987)].

As the 9th Circuit Court stated : "It has long been recognized that the subject of military service is controversial." When schools create a forum for the proponents of the military, they must, under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, provide equal access for those with opposing points of view. Simply put: if you allow military recruiters and/or military literature in your school, the law requires you to provide equal access to critics of the military. If you fail to provide equal access, your district is subject to expensive and controversial lawsuits.

Help students get the information they deserve.



http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18225 The Coming Draft 
By  Connor Freff Cochran, AlterNet
March 25, 2004 
In 1973, forced conscription ended in favor of an all-volunteer military. As the gap between the capacity of America's armed forces and the demands of current deployment widens, the likelihood of a reinstated draft grows.

Reports were recently circulated that a "special skills" draft was on the table specifically for people skilled in computers and foreign languages. The Selective Service countered the allegations with a statement on their website , stating that the Selective Service is merely fulfilling its role and hasn't ramped up in anticipation of a coming draft: "Selective Service is not getting ready to conduct a draft for the U.S. Armed Forces  -  either with a special skills or regular draft. Rather, the Agency remains prepared to manage a draft if and when the President and the Congress so direct. This responsibility has been ongoing since 1980 and is nothing new."

However, the Bush Administration's military goals cannot be met without forced conscription. Consider these facts:

Twenty-one of the US Army's 33 regular combat brigades are now on active duty in the "hot" zones of Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, and the Balkans. That's 63 percent of the Army's fighting force ... all without factoring in additional troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere around the globe.

This is a huge overextension. History has proven that long-term military operations can only be sustained if you have twice as many soldiers waiting in the pipeline as are stationed out in the field. By that rule of thumb, the regular military is now 125,000 soldiers short  -  a gap the Bush administration has temporarily plugged by calling more than 150,000 Army Reserve and National Guard troops into active service..

There are 135,000 troops stationed in Iraq, just under half of them guardsmen and reservists. But to maintain that number another 22,000 have already been sent there and brought home dead, wounded, or medically unfit for service. Since the invasion of Iraq there have been more military casualties than in all the years since the end of the Viet Nam war combined.

The human well is drying up. Enlistment rates in the regular armed forces and the National Guard have dropped precipitously, and according to a poll conducted by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, a whopping 49 percent of soldiers stationed in Iraq say they don't intend to reenlist  -  even with the Army offering a $10,000 bonus.

In January 2004, Vice-President Dick Cheney gave a speech in San Francisco outlining a further expansion of the military. In no uncertain terms he announced that our armed forces would be set up in more overseas bases, so the United States could wage war quickly around the globe. "One of the legacies of this administration," he said, "will be some of the most sweeping changes in our military, and our national security strategy as it relates to the military and force structure, and how we're based, and how we used it in the last 50 or 60 years, probably since World War II. I think the changes are that dramatic."

Despite statements to the contrary, quiet preparations for the return of the draft have been under way for some time. The Selective Service System's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2004  -  despite a ton of obfuscatory jargon, acronyms, and bureaucrat-speak  -  can't quite manage to bury all of its bombshells.

Strategic Objective 1.2 of the 2004 plan commits the Selective Service System to being fully operational within 75 days of "an authorized return to conscription." Strategic Objective 1.3 then commits them to "be operationally ready to furnish untrained manpower within DOD timelines." By next year the government intends to turn the ignition key on a mobilization infrastructure of 56 State Headquarters, 442 Area Offices, and 1,980 Local Boards. There's even a big chunk of funding this year to run what's called an "Area Office Prototype Exercise" which will "test the activation process from SSS Lottery input to the issuance of First Armed Forces Examination Orders." 
Strategic Objective 2.2 is all about bumping up the Selective Service System's High School Registrar Program. What's that? It's a plan to put volunteer Registrars in at least 85% of the nation's high schools, up from 65% in 1998. Consider these the SSS's "troops on the ground," making sure that the smallest possible number of eligible draftees manages to slip through the net. (In the school arena, by the way, the Bush administration has already pulled a fast one. Buried deep in the 670 pages of the No Child Left Behind Act there is a provision which requires that public high schools give military recruiters access to facilities and also contact information for every student  -  or else face a cutoff of federal aid.)

The 2004 plan commits the SSS to report to the president on March 31st, 2005, that the system is ready for activation with 75 days. If they manage the task, then the first lottery could happen as early as June 15th, 2005.

The job of approving a draft officially belongs to both the President and Congress, working together to pass new legislation, and officially it can only happen if the country is at war. But given the examples of the last three years, these safeguards are hard to call firm and reassuring.

First, as far as the Bush administration is concerned we are at war in every respect. On the basis of this position the President has skated around the strict language of the Constitution and launched the invasion of two different countries, despite the fact that only Congress is supposed to have the power to declare war. Second, the White House is supported by Republican majorities in both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. While it is certain that any Presidential decision to reactivate the draft would be hotly debated in Congress, and resisted by a majority of the public, it is by no means clear that it could be effectively blocked  -  especially with prominent Democrats such as Representative Charlie Rangel and Senator Hilary Clinton on record as supporting the possibility of some kind of conscription.

Of course, the Selective Service System doesn't call it a "draft." In their lexicon of acronyms it's a "Registrant Integrated Processing System": RIPS, for short. The acronym's horrible irony  -  Rest In Peace, anyone?  -  seems to have been lost on the bureaucrats.Connor Freff Cochran is a film producer and former magazine/television journalist. He spent four years as an American on-air correspondent for the BBC. 

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Contact: Andy Davis (202) 224-6654

Hollings Sponsors Bill to Reinstate Military Draft

Senator cites current heavy use of reserves and national guard, need for shared sacrifice

WASHINGTON, D.C. Ė U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings last night introduced the Universal National Service Act of 2003, a bill to reinstate the military draft and mandate either military or civilian service for all Americans, aged 18-26. The Hollings legislation is the Senate companion to a bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).

Specifically, the bill mandates a national service obligation for every U.S. citizen and permanent resident, aged 18-26. To that end, the legislation authorizes the President to establish both the number of people to be selected for military service and the means of selection. Additionally, the measure requires those not selected specifically for military service to perform their national service obligation in a civilian capacity for at least two years. Under the bill, deferments for education will be permitted only through high school graduation.

Sen. Hollings stressed that the national service mandated by his legislation would not mirror that of the Vietnam era, nor would it replicate the inequitable deferment and exemption standards associated with the military draft of the past:

"We all share the benefits of life in America, and under this plan, we all help shoulder the burden of defending our freedoms," continued Hollings. "Our proposal ensures that all Americans answer the call of duty. High school students could be deferred until they graduate, but in no case will that deferment extend beyond the age of twenty. As we fight this war on terrorism and protect our way of life, we must once again listen to the words of President John F. Kennedy, who implored us to, 'Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.'"

Citing the increased and extended number of deployments of the nation's reserve and national guard forces as well as the increased number of operational rotations for our active forces, Sen. Hollings expressed his concern about the military's ability to fight two wars at once, a capability to which the Department of Defense has attested.

"In the event of a prolonged engagement, it is clear that we will have to call up our National Guard and Reserve forces which have unfortunately already been heavily used in the war on terrorism and in endless peacekeeping operations," said Sen. Hollings, a World War II veteran and senior member of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee. "Our active duty forces have experienced a high operations tempo since the beginning of our air war in Kosovo and throughout the war on terrorism, often keeping soldiers away from their families for long periods of time. Our proposal would provide the additional manpower our armed forces need to carry out their missions and to defend the freedoms we fought so hard to obtain. As Americans, we must share in the sacrifice when Washington sends troops into harm's way."


Return to Sen. Hollings' Home Page

.This is from JE McNeil from the Center on Conscience and War re: the possibility of a draft:

March 2, 2004
The current spate of letters concerning the draft are riddled with

1.--They state: DoD is preparing for the draft by soliciting draft board
members (including a quote from someone who with authority says it is
"significant" that the DoD is reconstituting draft boards for the first time
since Vietnam
--Draft boards were reconstituted in the early 1980's with a maximum
membership of 20 years.
--Terms are expiring, DoD (and the Center on Conscience & War) are bringing
it to their constituents attention that there are openings.
--Selective Service is in charge of Draft Boards and is not part of DoD

2.--They claim Selective Service added $28 million to its budget to prepare
for a draft.
--The Annual Performance Plan for FY 2004 cited in these stories is
submitted every year by Selective Service to justify it's funding.
Selective Service requested $28 million--up from it's $24 million annual
budget, but only received $26 million.

3--They hyped HR 163 and S 89 as being introduced and sent to committee with
timing so that the draft will begin in 2005.
--HR 163 was introduced with much hoopla last Christmas by Rangle who
succeeded in getting Rumsfeld to stick his foot in his mouth about how
draftees were worthless causing additional ruckus by Vietnam Vets.
--S 89 was introduced on the same day by Hollings
--Both bills were sent to committee (which is what happens with bills) where
they sit with no action since the Republicans generally do not push
Democratic bills and have a strangle hold on Congress.
--There are co-sponsors of both bills who would withdraw their support if
the bills looked like they were moving anywhere.

None of this tells us that there is going to be a draft and I have spent
much of the last three years saying that there is not a draft and that a
draft would be likely only if we invade another country AFTER Iraq.

But here is the bad news:

Not because of any of this stuff are we concerned. But we are concerned. The
Administration has been quietly polling the Republican Congressional Members
as to whether they would support a draft call by the President. The timing
on the call is early to mid 2005.

So in spite of the poor journalism in the current spate of stories we have
something to worry about. And that is why the Center, MCC, Church of the
Brethren, Unitarian Universalists, United Church of Christ, United
Methodists and others are sponsoring a lobbying day on Friday May 14 in
Washington, DC and in everyone's home district. We are asking concerned
people to approach their Congressional representatives to educate them (as
so few of the Members and even fewer of the staffers remember a draft) as to
what conscientious objectors believe and that there is no such thing as a
fair draft.

But if you want to lobby, you need to go in with facts, not rumors. So we
continue to debunk the fear letters.

Yours for Peace and Justice,

J. E. McNeil


What does the Military Draft mean to me?

If you are a man or woman between the ages of 18 and 26, you can be forced into military service. This means that you will go to basic training, be given a rifle and likely sent into combat. If you were planning on going to college or getting married when the draft starts in 2005, you may have to reschedule your life to accommodate living in trenches, patrolling foreign countries and getting shot.

But I'm a woman, I don't have to worry about being drafted, do I?

Women will be called into the draft according to Senate Bill S.89. This bill requires mandatory military service for men and women.

"...requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes."

Hold on a minute- How do you know the draft will even happen?

There is legislation in the works right now, in both the House and Senate, to renew a military draft.
George Bush, Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton have all acknowledged the need to send more troops overseas. The draft is a bi-partisan effort between Republicans and Democrats that won't begin until after the 2004 presidential election for obvious reasons.

We have a shortage in the military because we have troops stationed in 130 countries around the world. We are so shorthanded, that we are being forced to send National Guard members and Reservists overseas.

Congress has already allocated the necessary funds to begin hiring draft board employees. They have also started placing want ads to hire draft board employees.

Military Recruiting in High Schools

Democracy Now! speaks with Michael Cervantes, an Army veteran with Veterans for Peace who is campaigning against Bush's policy to target high school students for military recruitment. [includes rush transcript]


The U.S. occupation of Iraq has descended into chaos. Over 700 U.S. troops have now been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the invasion, 100 of them in April alone. The past 14 days have reportedly been the deadliest two-week span for US troops since October 1971 during the Vietnam War.

In the face of overwhelming Iraqi resistance, the Pentagon has been force= d to extend the stay of some 20,000 soldiers who were scheduled to leave soon for home. Over 130,000 U.S. soldiers remain stationed in Iraq.

But the American military empire stretches far beyond the Middle East. The U.S. maintains a vast network of bases on every continent except Antarctica spanning some 130 countries around the world and the government is continually looking for ways to replenish its overstretched military.

One place it is focusing its attention, is American high schools. Since 2001, the Bush administration has been requiring high schools to disclose student records to military recruiters or risk losing federal aid.

Under a mandate authorized by the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act, recruiters are entitled to get the names, addresses and phone numbers of high school juniors and seniors, unless parents or students sign a form requesting that the data be withheld. Districts that don't comply stand to lose millions in federal funding. As one Pentagon spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times, the policy "Allows the Department of Defense to recruit from a much broader, diverse and more representative group of the youth of America."

Yesterday in Santa Barbara I spoke with Michael Cervantes, an Army veteran with Veterans for Peace who is campaigning against Bush's policy to target high school students for military recruitment. Cervantes fought in the Vietnam war after being drafted out of high school. I asked him what actions he had taken against the policy.


MICHAEL CERVANTES: We started with P.T.A. meetings, and they were real polite and they told us thanks for visiting with us, and letting us know your concerns. This was about the names, addresses and phone numbers being released to the military now. But they said nothing more. So, I made an appointment to talk with the Board trustees at the Oxnard Junior High School District, with two other organizations, the Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions and the ACLU. We asked the Ventura Chapter President to be there. So, we presented for about 20 minutes to the Board, and they were real quiet with us. They really didn't even respond, and it was like -- next. They had someone else to present after us.

AMY GOODMAN: What were you trying to tell them? What were you asking?

MICHAEL CERVANTES: Well, we wanted them to notify the parents, actually. I knew by intuition that the school district had not been notifying the students, and it turns out that I was correct. We had been working with a district staffer, and we found -- I found out through her. She said yes.

The big question is, are you releasing the entire student body of the 11th and 12th grade students out to the military, and the answer to that is yes. So, you have a school district who is doing that and not notifying parents, which is a requirement of the law. So, little by little, we're doing it step by step, trying to maybe even educate the Board. We came back to the Board a second time and presented, and still no -- no one opening their mouths on the Board to us. The best we could get from them was that we have a public administrator that you can talk to about your questions, and -- that's been about it. The most publicity that I can get so far is from the -- can I say the names of these magazines? V.C. Reporter did us real well. They published a two-page letter of mine in their weekly, and then the Ventura County St= ar published an article from me, and then now the "LA. Times" article just Sunday.

AMY GOODMAN: You did, though, succeed in getting the school to send letters home to parents?

MICHAEL CERVANTES: Right. Now, we have been successful. They have told us that they would attach to the front of a -- of the parent-student handbook that's made up every year, and sent out in the summertime. It's a 63-page booklet. Now, attached to the front of the booklet will be an information page informing the parents that release can be made to the military, and that if you want to prevent that, if you want to block that release, you have to sign a consent form. That consent form is found in the parent-student handbook. Unfortunately, it's the very last page, and it's not perforated. It doesn't look like something you want to separate from the AD

AMY GOODMAN: The parent is opting out, then, for the kids, saying, I don't want my kid's name to be sent to the military, and if they don't do it, it is automatically sent, boy or girl, high school or -- high school student, young woman or young man?

MICHAEL CERVANTES: That is correct.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you feel so strongly about this? Why are you concerned about kids' names being sent to the Pentagon?

MICHAEL CERVANTES: Well, it's a matter, actually of students' rights. It's privacy rights. We want students' names to stay at the district, and also I'm concerned about the war, Amy. I don't -- you know, we don't need to have the students think that, you know, they have to go out and participate in this foreign policy. They're going to be pressured by recruiters, and it's not necessary for them to be pressured like that right now. They should think about getting their education. They should not have to be bothered at the high school level.

AMY GOODMAN: You're also doing an interesting action at the beach on Sundays. You can describe that?

MICHAEL CERVANTES: Yes. I'm really happy with that. It's a special action. For me, I view it as a memorial. It's an innocent hologram. I like to describe it that way, because you can take it away with you since you have seen that. We are placing one cross for each killed Iraqi soldier -- I'm sorry not Iraqi soldier, American soldier in the Iraq war. When the project started, I believe it started with 275 crosses back in November, and this past Sunday, we placed 691 crosses out at the beach, and we have had very close relations, memorialized fallen soldiers in the past several weeks.

AMY GOODMAN: How many of you do this?

MICHAEL CERVANTES: We have a core of about 9 to 12 town hall activists and Veterans for Peace members participating.

AMY GOODMAN: What kind of reaction to you get?

MICHAEL CERVANTES: It's varied. It is really varied. Most of it is approval. For me, personally, people will ask what it is out there, and then after having explained, as I just explained, they'll walk away saying, what a waste, the war is stupid. For me, that's the majority of the -- of what's been communicated to me. People are positive. They think we're doing good work by doing that. And we'll get an occasional person who will not think it's a good idea to be using the dead as a promotion to political thoughts.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your response to that?

MICHAEL CERVANTES: Well, actually, we try not to give that type of a person a stage at the wharf. It's a very busy wharf. There are a lot of tourists out there. And I usually -- I usually don't stay and speak to a person too very long. I'll tell them that I have been at a war, and to me, that this is what our project represents, something good, and through seeing such a tragedy as all of that, you just have got to think that it's not right, but why are we having our sons and daughters perish like that, for what?

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Cervantes. Vietnam Veteran, who is taking on the Pentagon and trying to make sure that parents of high school students know that their kid's information is given to the Pentagon unless they proactively tell the high school not to pass on that information.


Published on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle An Obedient Army Vs. a Conscripted One by Alex A. Vardamis

Coffins, draped with the American flag, make the long flight from Baghdad= to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Amputees fill the wards at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Meanwhile, jingoistic voices dominate = the airwaves. Anyone with the temerity to question the Iraq war is accused of giving comfort to the enemy and undermining troop morale. In the midst of the carnage and bombast, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announces t= hat tours of duty in Iraq, yet again, will be extended. The soldiers and thei= r families salute and obey.

Where's the outrage? Why do only a few wives and parents raise a whisper = of protest when the nation breaks its promises to the troops? Why are Americ= ans reconciled to losses? Why is Congress compliant? Where are the protesters who filled the streets of America during the war in Vietnam? What has changed? Why aren't Baby Boomers and their children bringing the governme= nt to a halt?

The draft. That's what's different. In the days of conscription, most Americans were directly affected by our wars. A tour in the military included, like as not, a year in a war zone. College students could avoid the draft for awhile, but inevitably, Selective Service tracked them down. Some fled to Sweden or Canada. Others found refuge in the Texas National Guard or the University of Arkansas ROTC. The less fortunate, when called= , were trapped in a deadly quagmire. Men of draft age, and their families a= nd friends, raised holy hell. They brought that generation's "war of choice"= to an end. The will of the people prevailed. Had citizens been silent, the Memorial Wall might now encircle the nation's Capitol.

Today, however, our soldiers are volunteers. They are as obedient as children. They voice no gripe with their commander in chief who sends the= m on his crusades in Afghanistan and Iraq. If they do complain, they are sternly reminded that they had a choice. They were not drafted. They shou= ld have realized when they enlisted that they might be killed to enforce the Pax Americana across the globe. They are professional soldiers, aren't th= ey? Hardly -- note how many of our dead are teenagers, scarcely out of high school. Many of them joined up for practical reasons: to find employment,= to earn money for college tuition and, even, to win a chance at American citizenship. But at what price? Are the benefits worth a leg or an arm or= a life?

In privileged circles, service in the military is a job for the "other" Americans. The architects of this war, led by Bush and Vice President Dic= k Cheney, have none of their children in uniform. The possibility doesn't e= ven cross their minds. Their daughters will never wear combat boots. The "war party" elite of America can afford to hang tough. They shift the military about like little pawns in a game of chess. Their sons and daughters will not be buried in Arlington National Cemetery or lie limbless in Walter Re= ed.

The disparity between the elite and the people is simply un-American. The drafters of the U.S. Constitution recognized the inherent danger in state= s with professional armies obedient to no one but the princes who paid the salaries. The Founding Fathers understood that military service -- the ri= ght and responsibility of every citizen of a free nation to bear arms in defe= nse of the country -- is the surest safeguard of democracy. If power is truly= to reside with the people, then a citizen Army, a conscript military, is essential. If rulers are not personally involved, if the lives of their o= wn family and friends are not at risk, they are apt to be careless in spilli= ng blood.

If "taking out" an enemy pre-emptively has become, for the United States,= a first and not a last resort, perhaps the best corrective is a draft. A citizen Army would make America less belligerent. Equitable and universal national conscription would provide the United States with a dependable military in time of genuine national emergency. The benefits to our young people would outweigh the sacrifices if active duty becomes, without exception, a rite of passage, entered into immediately after high school = by every American, rich and poor, brilliant and average, straight and gay, m= ale and female. After tough basic training and a year of active duty, America= 's youth would approach the university, technical college or workplace with = new skills and with mature social and political consciousness.

National conscription would bind the nation. Young men and women from Sausalito to Salinas, the favored of Carmel to the disadvantaged of East Palo Alto, would have a shared experience and a common understanding of t= he duties and privileges of citizenship.

But perhaps, more important, these young people would serve as hostages f= or peace. The president would be less apt to deploy a national force if the "boots on the ground" were worn by Jenna and Barbara Bush.

Alex A. Vardamis is a retired professor of American literature from West Point and the University of Vermont who lives in Carmel, California.

Is There a Draft in the Room?
Chante Wolf

"Yes!", "No, absolutely not!", "Are You Nuts?", "The military does not have
time to train all the new recruits for a draft" . blah, blah, blah.

For all the rhetoric bouncing around in the media land of military and
governmental propaganda and election attention mongering, the draft has
lifted too few eyes.

One side claims that a draft would include the rich law makers in the White
House and their daughters! The other side claims that the responsibility for
a never-ending war on terrorism will need to be felt by ALL citizens. Both
sides claim the same thing, but fall short of telling the truth. The bills
in the house and senate, H.R. 163 and S 89 are called the "Universal
National Service Act of 2003".

This is what Kerry is calling for, and Bush is staying silent about, a
mandatory 2 year military training service. This will pull America in line
with Israel, Spain, Germany, France and other countries, who have this
requirement for men and women. It will also be used to fulfill the vacancies
being experienced in Iraq, that quiet black sucking void of death,
occupation, rape and torture called "liberation for life, liberty, freedom
and democracy."

So that is my take on it. Yes, at some point the top brass and war
profiteers in Washington will need fresh meat and landmine fodder to support
their twisted ego and altered realities of conquering the Middle East. So be
ready to offer up your young to sacrifice their flesh for myth, national
patriotism, false heroism and post trauma. And be ready to dress your young
women for the service of troops in various positions, from actual duty to
that of the laid back maiden ready for her returning man. Service is the
sexual service for the men of the country, of the corporations, the
mercenaries and the troops. Just ask the 200+ women of the first Gulf War
and the 125+ of this War on Terrorism how they ended up raped or gang raped
as being part of their service to their country? You can also ask the women
who were served up for prostitution by the US corporation, DynCorp.

The Draft! Yes, I hear some parents and veterans say, "fine, bring it on,
maybe that will wake the rest of those flag waving nut cases right up!"
"Sure, let Dubya send his twins off to Falluja!" "Let's send the entire
Senate and House of Representatives kids off to the thick of it, see how
they will like them coming home in pieces or in the silver bullet!"

But I now say, "be very careful what is asked for!" I was one of the
comments above, but now I feel NO! Not one more youthful life is to be a
wasted death or dismemberment just because the adults don't talk to each
other. No more air to the fire! Not one more body to be evaporated for
Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Alliant Technolgies, DynCorp, Becthel,
Halliburton, KRB, Blackwater, GE, or IBM!

It is time to take the oxygen out of the fire to kill the growing flame that
is spreading throughout the Middle East! Snuffed right out it would be if
everyone said "No way, not my kid, not my daughter!", "No, Sir! I am
standing down!" Such a simple word, NO is and such a powerful non-violent
act. You see they can not have a war when everyone refuses to go, to fight,
to pull the trigger, push the button, press on the gas of the tank or press
the trigger to launch cluster bombs or open the bomb bay doors.
And if they still support the war, then they best shine up their own shoes,
fill out a will, send their lives into storage, pack, get fitted for a new
uniform and get ready with an M-16 to go fight it themselves!

We don't need the draft! The parents have offered to go instead!

"Why, of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a
farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to
come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want
war, neither in Russia, nor England, nor for that matter, Germany. That is
understood, but after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the
policy and it is always a simpler matter to drag the people along, whether
it is a democracy, or fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist
dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the
bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they
are being attacked, and denouce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and
exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
-- Herman Goering. Long time Nazi, Reichmarshall, and heir-apparent to
Hitler. Statement made while imprisoned at Nuremberg after WWII.

BuzzFlash Guest Contribution
June 16, 2004

Honoring a Fallen Son


Another grief-stricken father denounces the occupation

by Paul Rockwell

His buddies in the Marines called him the "Aztec warrior." Jesus Suarez del Solar was one of the first Americans killed during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

On March 27, Jesus stepped on an undetonated U.S. cluster bomb and bled to death in a remote desert near Diwaniya. Jesus left behind his wife, his mother, his 1-year-old son, three sisters, and a father who now speaks out against the occupation of Iraq.

As a representative of Military Families Speak Out, a burgeoning organization of 1,500 families who call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Fernando Juarez tells high school and college students: Stay in school, donít be deceived by false promises from recruiters for Bush.

Fernando Juarez del Solar is a Mexican-born American citizen. With his wife and children, he immigrated from Tijuana, Mexico, to Escondido, where he delivered newspapers and worked at a 7-11 store.

What is it like to lose a son in war, or rather, in a war based on misinformation? I talked with Mr. Juarez last week.

Q: How did your son lose his life in Iraq?

A: On March 26, the army dropped cluster bombs outside a city. The next day my sonís unit received orders to advance into the area. Thatís when he stepped on a cluster bomb.

Q: I know cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons, with a failure rate of 15 to 20 percent. When they lie unexploded on the ground, like mines, they look like beer cans and are easy to step on. Did his commanders inform Jesus about cluster bomb drops in the area?

A: He never received any information about the drop.

Q: Was that a mistake, an exception to overall policy? Does the military put out fliers or warnings about cluster bombs in the area?

A. No. What happened was, after my son was killed, the military in the area began to pay more attention. They publicized the accident.

Q: I guess the Iraqi civilians, like kids playing in the fields, didnít get any warnings about leftover clusters?

A. Thatís right.

Q: How did your son get involved in the military?

A: My son was in Mexico. Along the border there are military recruiters. My son told the recruiter he hoped to join the police in Tijuana. The recruiter said: "Donít join the Mexican police. Itís dangerous for you in the police department in Tijuana. Itís safer for you to join the Marine Corps." In 1997 we moved from Tijuana to San Diego, where Jesus wanted to finish High School. Thatís where he joined the military.

Q: Did the recruiters deceive Jesus?

A: The military promised Jesus to provide money for school. They said Jesus would get $1,000 a month for school. But the recruiter never explained where the money comes from. When Jesus finished boot camp, he became very upset. He told me: "The recruiter said I am going to receive $1,000 every month. I only get $620." So I talked with the recruiter. He explained, "Yes, you receive $1,000 a month, minus money for the scholarship, minus a hundred dollars for the uniform ó minus, minus, minus."

Q: I understand that the military is recruiting youth from the Philippines, from Mexico, people of color in the Third World. Was your son living in Mexico when he was contacted?

A: Yes. When he came to San Diego he had a green card.

Q: Where do recruiters contact young people?

A: On the border there are lots of recruiting offices. Last year, around October, this one recruiter crossed the border into Mexico and recruited young boys from a school in Mexico.

Q: He went into a Mexican school to get signups for the U.S. military?

A: Yes.

Q: What kind of promises did he make?

A: According to what I heard, the recruiters say, "You can go to the U.S.A. and enter high school and enter a military program in high school."

Q: Like ROTC?

A: Yes. They say to the kids, "I can help you with the papers."

Q: What do you think about recruiting kids from Mexico for U.S. wars?

A: If they can use Hispanic people, Anglo-Americans donít have to be used. They want to use Hispanic boys in the war.

Q: You mean they are trying to substitute Hispanic kids so that Anglo-Americans do not have to risk their lives?

A: Exactly. They offer education and a formal offer of citizenship. Thatís not all. Here in the U.S., they recruit kids in the barrios. They contact them when they are 14, 15 years old. And they say to our kids, "Itís not a problem you do not have papers. You can enter the program and we will help you with the papers and immigration. You just need to do well in school and our program." This in my opinion is very immoral. There are a lot of high schools in the Mexican barrio where recruiters are recruiting. The recruiter has an open door. Itís a big problem.

Q: Do you feel betrayed by the Bush administration?

A: The Bush administration lied about the war. They lied to my son. They lied about weapons of mass destruction. They lied about Iraq and September 11. And they lie about other things. Bush said last week, "I put in a lot of time to support families who lost members in the war." This is another lie. Mr. Bush never contacted me, never supported me, never supported my family. This is a lie. We have a lot of contact with parents, parents who have boys in Iraq. They are very upset with this war and Mr. Bush. My feeling is Mr. Bush uses the boys for personal reasons, to get family revenge on Saddam. Bush has no idea about what is happening in Iraq. He never went to Vietnam. He has no good plan for what is to happen. He never provides humanitarian help for the civilian people. Thousands and thousands of civilians died. The children now have no help in the hospital. The ordinary Iraqi people say stop. You donít give me freedom. And itís not terrorist groups who are attacking Americans. Itís the regular, ordinary, civilian people.

In December 2003, Fernando Juarez traveled to Iraq. He visited the site where his son died, and he brought back thousands of letters of peace from Iraqi children. When he speaks, Fernando Juarez touches the souls of his listeners: "My heart goes out to the soldiers, many of whom come from poor communities and joined the military as a way to get an education. Then they find themselves sent off to a faraway land where they are exposed to death every day, with their families suffering back home ó all for the whims and lies of President Bush. I support the troops, but I donít support the commander-in-chief."


Paul Rockwell is a writer from the Bay Area. He has been published in the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle and Alternative weeklies. He can be reached at rockyspad@hotmail.com. This interview also appeared in New Times (San Luis Obisbo) and In Motion Magazine.






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