For the first time in a decade, the Army and Marine Corps are missing their monthly recruiting goals as the number of flag-draped coffins shamefully shipped back in secret from Iraq approaches 1,700.
The good news is that more young people are starting to question America's foreign policy by refusing to enlist. But the bad news is that fewer volunteers increase the chances of a draft. This is the first protracted war in modern times where the United States hasn't employed selective service.
As I sat down at the computer to look up Anti-Flag, the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young anti-war anthem "Four Dead in Ohio" (memorializing the May 4, 1970, massacre at Kent State University) streamed through my mind.
Are we heading down this horrible road again, where tin soldiers gun down American students protesting an endless war?
In the middle of Anti-Flag's home page was another link to www.militaryfreezone.org. I kept on clicking, and soon confirmed my son's disturbing information that the nation's high schools have become ground zero in the armed forces' determined effort to make sure no child is left untouched by the long arm of Uncle Sam.
The more I learned, the more I wondered why I hadn't heard about this before. Why hasn't the militarization of public schools been prominently reported in the media? How can the military be allowed to use high-pressure telemarketing campaigns on the youth of our nation without parental permission?
Lloyd e-mails the above, John Dougherty's "Uncle Sam Wants Them: Military recruiters are grabbing student info from local schools without parents' permission" from the Phoenix New Times.
Durham Gal e-mails Bob Geary's "Five N.C. congressmen want out of Iraq They supported an amendment to the defense spending bill that calls on the president to submit a plan for withdrawal" from North Carolina's The Independent Weekly:
If you're keeping score, the number of North Carolina's members of Congress who've supported any of the various "get out of Iraq" initiatives floating around in Washington is now up to five. And two of the five are Republicans!
It's true. When Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) offered an amendment to the defense spending bill last week that would have called on President Bush to submit a plan to Congress for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, it lost by 300-128.
That sounds bad, but 128 is up from the previous number of 32, which is how many co-sponsors Woolsey had for an identically worded resolution she introduced in January.
And whereas only Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte, who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, was with her from the N.C. delegation before, now Reps. David Price of Chapel Hill and Brad Miller of Raleigh, both Democrats, have joined up on the pro-withdrawal-plan side.
This is news: When the Independent canvassed them at the time of the anti-war rally in Fayetteville two months ago, neither Price nor Miller thought it appropriate to demand a plan for getting out of Iraq. Now, both do.
Durham Gal notes "This is news. Ever since I read the article on Ruth in The Third Estate Sunday Review, I've been watching and I think she's right about the shift that's going on. Tell Ruth, I'm seeing what she was talking about all around me in my day to day life."
From Colorado Indymedia, we'll note "Peace and War at Bolder Boulder: Protests and Police:"
Peace activists protest militarism on Memorial Day at the Bolder Boulder run. Counter-protesters, police, and more.
"Free speech" at the event was restricted to corporate sponsors and applause for the flag. Citizens from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center attempted to hold a banner declaring their opposition to the war in Iraq at Folsom Stadium during the Bolder Boulder.
They were in no way interfering or blocking anyone's view, as they stood at the very back of the stadium. The citizens believe that they have a constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech onpublic university property.
The citizens first put up a banner which read "End the Occupation of Iraq Now".
Bolder Boulder security and police from the Sheriff's department twisted the banner so that it couldn't be read and proceeded to confiscate it, using pain holds on one 58-year old Boulder citizen, Ellen Stark. When the citizens put up a second banner which said "Protect Free Speech", security again twisted the banner and confiscated it.
The three women, Ellen Stark, 58, Carolyn Bninski, 55, and Joanne Cowan, 55, were then escorted out of the stadium and issued a summons to appear in Court on August 3. They were charged with illegal conduct on public property.
Another group of citizens stood in a line withT-Shirts that read "Troops Home Now". They were allowed to stand and were not bothered by the security. [see photos].
The contract between the University and the Bolder Boulder that was provided to the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center did not appear to include any rental fee to the Bolder Boulder for the use of the stadium.
The citizens chose to stand in the stadium as a counterpoint to the Bolder Boulder's celebration of Memorial Day which, rather than a mourning and remembrance of those who have died in war, highlighted current young members of the military as they did pushups after finishing the race. Bolder Boulder's celebration also includes a 21-gun salute and Air Force jet fly overs, all of which appears to glorify the current administration's policies of pre-emptive war.
Joanne Cowan said of her participation: "The ongoing conflict in Iraq will be cut short by the willingness of people to speak out against the policies of our government. I am hoping that more people will act in such a way as to acknowledge the war and the killing of innocent people. U.S. soldiers are being attacked because Iraqis want to run their own country. The United States is an occupier in Iraq."
Ellen Stark said: "In these extremely conservative times, when rights of speech are being curtailed, it is extremely important for the university to stand firm in protection of free speech rights to dissent from the government."
Carolyn Bninski said: "The Bolder Boulder is open to the public, it is on public property, and, as a public institution, the university should allow banners which express divergent views on the war on Iraq. Thomas Jefferson once said "dissent is the highest form of patriotism." I believe that by openly expressing dissent to the war, we are doing a service to our country and to the families who are losing their relatives in this illegal and immoral war and occupation."
[Note: The above article is by "anonymous poster."]
Gareth e-mails Brendan Young's "This NON is a setback for neo-liberal politics throughout the EU" from Ireland's i.e. Indymedia:
The decisive NON to the EU Constitution in the French referendum is the first step towards a new direction for Europe. The ordinary people of France have voted NON to the privatisation of public services, to the profit motive of the market dominating all aspects of life, and to further centralisation of decision-making in the hands of the EU elite. They have rejected a European Constitution that enshrines competition above solidarity - a Constitution that makes people in work compete for their jobs and wages against the unemployed and makes the poor compete against the very poor for scarce resources.
The French NON is a demand for a different Europe to the free-market politics of the EU Constitution -which would set in stone the same neo-liberal policies being imposed by the French government, and supported by many other European governments and the European Commission. This NON is a setback for neo-liberal politics throughout the EU. It is the first step towards an alternative direction for Europe, where the needs of ordinary people come first.
The leaders of other European countries and the European Commission must accept the French vote. There must be no campaign for a re-run of the French referendum and no anti-democratic back-room deals. The EU Constitution cannot now come into force and must be abandoned.
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