While researching Mission Rejected, I traveled all over the United States,Canada, and over to Germany talking with soldiers who refused to deploy (or redeploy) to Iraq, and I've met civilians who ask: Why did these men and women join the military if they don't want to fight? Didn't they realize that there's a war going on and the army is in the killing (and be killed) business?
The rot in our current government's policy runs deep. Army recruiters, desperate to meet their quotas of two enlistees a month, seduce their targets with promises. They guarantee money for college, school the new recruit won't have time to attend. They pledge that the potential soldier will get a good job in the service and won't see Iraq, let alone combat. They take their targets out for pizza and show off their fancy cars, implying that fine food and a cool ride comes with the uniform.
These targets of the recruiters -- our young people, our future -- are all too often under-educated and desperate for a paycheck. The lure of adventure is also appealing. They believe the recruiting sergeant. Why would he or she lie?
Then they sign the contract, rarely reading it carefully, missing the line in the multi-page agreement that states: "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."
1) Everything promised to me is meaningless
2) The military can do whatever it wants to me as long as I'm in the service
3) The military can keep me in uniform indefinitely
Imagine the strength of character, the resolve, the courage that it takes for a soldier who has signed such a document to stand up and say -- as more and more are -- "Hell no, I won't go!" These refuseniks need our support. And it's our duty to give them whatever help we can. It starts by talking about them, beginning the conversation that will bring a close to the war.
We have another responsibility. With polls showing more and more American civilians opposed to the war, it's time to spotlight the abuses of the recruiters. If you're looking for a place to vent your frustrations with George Bush's war, consider hanging out at the strip mall where your local recruiting office is seducing your neighbors' children. Spend sometime talking to those kids and they're parading in and out of that office. Give them a few minutes, even a few seconds, of your point of view to counter the propaganda the recruiting sergeants are spewing into their vulnerable minds.