Anti-War Students Win Fight Against Recruiters & the American Legion

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Students at Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minnesota have won the right to set up an anti-war information table at the school despite threats from the American Legion.

The controversy centered on a Feb. 23 visit to the school by military recruiters. To counter the presence of the recruiters, the student group Youth Against War And Racism sought permission to set up a table.

The request was initially rejected after reprensentatives of the American Legion threatened to withdraw financial support of the school.

The recruiters and American Legion had reason to be concerned. Feb. 23 was not the first time the recruiters visited the school. On Dec. 8 the recruiters set up a table and the anti-war group was allowed to set up a table next to it.

Student activists Brandon Madsen and Matt Johnson describe the day: “The recruiters’ table was abandoned. Meanwhile, our table was mobbed by hundreds of interested students who asked questions, signed petitions, took flyers and pamphlets, and discussed politics. By the end of the day we collected 120 signatures for the petition against recruiters being allowed to invade our school. Over 100 more signed in the following days.”

The students explained why they have been focusing on counter-recruitment: “It is essential that we stand up and take action against military recruiters. The entire U.S. war machine relies on the willingness of young people to join the military and carry out the imperialist policies ordered by corrupt politicians. If we build a mass movement of young people against the war that exposes the lies of Bush and the military recruiters, the military will be unable to guarantee a stable supply of youth to use as cannon fodder. And just like in the Vietnam War, the spread of mass dissent within the U.S. armed forces will be the key to bringing down U.S. imperialism in Iraq and ending this brutal occupation.

“We can’t count on the government or our school administrators to stop military recruiters from spreading their lies. We need to take it upon ourselves to educate and organize our fellow students, and to make our schools off-limits to recruiters. If every time they show up we provide an overwhelmingly unwelcome environment, they will simply stop coming. Already at Kennedy, in stark contrast to the six to 10 recruiters who usually show up, only one came this time.” Read More

8 Responses to “Anti-War Students Win Fight Against Recruiters & the American Legion”

  1. Chad Says:

    Our constitution is the most important document ever produced in world history. It has laid the groundwork for democracy that has spread all around the world. The protectors of this document and all that it stands for, happen to be the United States Armed Forces. I think that the behavior of some students goes to show us all how great our democracy really is. The men and woman of the military have fought had died to preserve freedom and democracy. Without a strong military who would keep our enemies at bay? Who would keep others from imposing their will on us? Recruitment is just that, Recruitment. That means that no recruiter is making any person enlist in the military. Our job is to find those who have the courage and willingness to protect freedom and the people that will ultimately despise them. I just do not get it. I don’t. A few students have different opinions about the war and the president. That does not make what they say true.

  2. Matt Says:

    Chad,

    What if what the recruiters are saying isn’t true, who’s there to argue with them but those students, students who believe that our current use of the military is immoral and has nothing to do with OUR Constitution? I believe those students are just as, or perhaps even more patriotic than many of our soldiers, who often join the military for financial reasons. Many of these 18 year-olds have absolutely no idea what they are getting into. And woe be to them if they want to get out of the military when they find out it isn’t what they expected (isn’t slavery supposed to be unconstitutional ?)

    I do not trust the government to choose any more wars for me.

    The recruiters are “only recruiters” if they are honest. Many of them are lying to prospective recruits about life in the military.

    Here’s a quote from Henry Kissinger that speaks for itself as to why everyone should avoid military service:

    “MILITARY MEN ARE JUST DUMB, STUPID, ANIMALS TO BE USED AS PAWNS IN FOREIGN POLICY”

    Isn’t that disgusting? The truth is that our government has zero respect for soldiers. Have you ever heard of Depleted Uranium munitions and Gulf War Syndrome? Look it up, it’s all over the internet.

    How would you define freedom, Chad ?

    I define it as education. Being educated is being truly free. Soldiers are some of the least free people and I really feel for them.

    The good news is that the people of the US are finally getting it through their heads–even with the government-generated propaganda of our news broadcasts and “embedded” reporting.

    Enlistment is at an all-time low because people are starting to educate themselves.

    I think you are really off base thinking that the US military is the world-wide protector of the Constitution. I think the US military is the world-wide protector of itself and big government. CYA all the way.

    Spread the word.

    M

  3. Armyguy Says:

    Matt

    How is the military the world-wide protector of itself and big business? The military can not surround Microsoft and protect it from a hostile takeover. The military is the protector of democracy. Time and time again, it has protected the USA and the principals this nation was founded on from outside wanna-be conquerors. Where would we be if the US had not been attacked at Pearl Harbor? Would you like to be a Socialist? Can you honestly say that Hitler would have stopped at England? I mean he turned against the Russians. Would you like to have grown up as a colony of England? Worship a Monarch thousands of miles away and have little to no say about the laws that governed you?

  4. Armyguy Says:

    Matt

    How is the military the world-wide protector of itself and big business? The military can not surround Microsoft and protect it from a hostile takeover. The military is the protector of democracy. Time and time again, it has protected the USA and the principals this nation was founded on from outside wanna-be conquerors. Where would we be if the US had not been attacked at Pearl Harbor? Would you like to be a Socialist? Can you honestly say that Hitler would have stopped at England? I mean he turned against the Russians. Would you like to have grown up as a colony of England? Worship a Monarch thousands of miles away and have little to no say about the laws that governed you?

  5. Rick Says:

    Hey Chad, I bet you really think that you and those high school kids have all the anwsers. As for Recruiters lying some do but most don’t. And as far as Henry K he’s just a _________.

  6. Rebecca Says:

    I think that it is sad when high school students turn their backs on the protectors of this nation. Americans, both young and old, were sure quick to support the military after September 11. It is because they realize that terrorism was a real threat. Now that the threat has been somewhat neutralized against American attack, people think that the military should back off. Hey high schoolers…pay attention…if a terrorist attack happened on one of the 5 largest cities in the US, you would be damn glad to have the military that you so despise now. The recruiters are preparing for the future. It is not their desire to get you killed or to put you through hell. They realize that this nation could be under attack like September 11 at any time. The Recruiters are looking for people who have the courage and are willing, get that…WILLING, to stand up to terrorism. It makes me sick to think of people who are exercising their rights that others have died for and then to belittle those soldiers’ deaths by saying that they have the right to their own opinion over such matters.

  7. John Says:

    I think that people who oppose military recruiters in school are simply looking for some sort of attention. There is no way in hell that you can justify trying to kick recruiters out of schools. If you do then you are limiting the option of military for those kids interested. Do you think that limiting a kids options after high school and telling them that “College is your only option” is fair? I think that people need to just suck it up and keep their stuck up opinions to themselves beacuse it is war that made this country free, we hadto FIGHT for our independance and I think that those who wish to partake in that greater act of partiotism should have the venue to get information. Kids are not patriotic, and I take offesne to you saying that they are more so than the men and woman dying defending our country against terroism.

  8. Leland Mellott Says:

    Submitted to the White House as an Open Letter to President Barack Obama:

    Dear President Obama,

    War, from its origins, is the murders of the sons by the fathers; as in: so few fathers murdering so many sons. (“Son, go over to that village and kill that man’s son. Otherwise, don’t come back alive.”)

    Yours Respectfully,
    Leland Mellott
    14070 River Bend Road
    Mount Vernon, Washington
    98273-7289, USA

    NOTE: This Open Letter has now been emailed to newspapers in over eighty nations around the world. (It appeared initially in the Skagit Valley Herald as a letter to the editor.)

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