For six years The United States military has been fighting an illegal war in Iraq with no realistic exit strategy in sight. The American people have voted to elect President Obama hoping he will, among other goals, keep his promise to withdraw our troops from Iraq. He has since said troops will remain in Iraq and an increased number of soldiers will, instead, be sent to Afghanistan. The United States Government is now sending unmanned drone airplanes to bomb border areas in Pakistan, killing civilians by the score.
The Granny Peace Brigade has protested our Middle East foreign war policy at the Times Square Recruitment Center numerous times.
This time, on March 18th, our direct action was a counter-recruitment effort in response to how recruiters manipulate and seduce our young people to enlist by promising college education, job training and cash bonuses. There is a new Army recruitment model named Military Accessions Vital to National Interest. This program offers immigrants, with two year visas, and permanent residents, with green cards, United States citizenship within six months. This citizenship process ordinarily takes a decade. Sixteen temporary immigrants enlisted on April Fools Day at the Times Square Recruitment Center. How many of these young people will be dead, physically and mentally injured or suicide? How many will be added to those soldiers and National Guard units suffering repeated redeployments?
The military recruitment centers are criminal in the enlistment pursuits spending an outrageous twelve million dollars for a their flagship mega war game shopping mall playground where thirteen and fourteen year old children come across the aisle from a skateboard facility to play bloodthirsty video war games at the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia. Money, sorely needed for education, is put into the Junior ROTC programs. Some recruitment centers are offering GED classes to lure more enlistees.
These young people would be better served by educators in community GED classes. Parents and teachers complain about the recruiters in the public high schools. Telephone calls made and letters are sent to the children’s homes inducing them to join the service. There are expensive movie advertisements shown before film screenings, all in an effort to recruit more bodies to fight America’s wars.
During our protest, I turned to watch one young man after another enter the recruitment center behind where I stood with a crime scene tape. When a slender young man wearing a white jacket, leaning on a cane, came up the stairway, I felt a responsibility to make a real gesture beyond the symbolic. In the face of the recruiter’s business as usual, I took the step to protest the unconscionable making our young people into killers to carry out America’s disastrous illegal warfare.
In clear conscience and peace,
– Beverly Rice