Responses to Ross Anderson column

There has been quite a debate about the protest against recruitment last week. A great number of fallacies have been perpetuated about the intent of such a protest. Quotes were taken out of context, and only the College Republicans have been allowed to speak in the media. The aim of Students for a Democratic Society and the Anti-War CommitteeâÄôs protest against recruitment is not a shot against veterans, active duty soldiers or even soldiers to come. Everyone understands the importance of these people for the protection of our country, and we appreciate their valor. SDS/AWC did not want to paint them as âÄúfools or villainsâÄù and did not want to make them feel that their physical, mental and emotional sacrifices were not worthwhile. The protest was for the benefit of these soldiers. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we want our soldiers to receive the best treatment possible. Their sacrifices should not be returned with bad health care, lack of employment and poor schooling. We are facing the same issues against veterans now that we did in the Vietnam era. Tens of thousands of kids coming back to a country that manages to sweep them under the rug. That is unfair, and I think that the SDS/AWC protest was aimed to highlight that disparity. Ayah Helmy University student Under the headline, âÄúDonâÄôt protest the veterans,âÄù Ross Anderson levies a boatload of accusations at protesters with whom he never spoke and who rallied under a banner he never bothered to read. The Anti-War Committee put out a statewide call for protests against the war and the predatory recruitment practices that fill the ranks of the military with young people who are putting their lives on the line for promises that are rarely kept. All of these actions aimed to confront potential enlistees with the truth about what they can expect in the military, and if they survive, the realities they will face as veterans. These are some of the facts that can be confirmed through Pentagon and other government reports: Do new enlistees realize that 300,000 soldiers whoâÄôve served in Iraq or Afghanistan could have post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms? Do female recruits realize that military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed in combat? The No. 1 reason people join the military is economic. Enlistees need to know that enlistment is not the road to financial security; Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have unemployment rates above the U.S. average. And the soldiers who are promised money for college? Most of them never see a dime. Recruits have a right to know what they are really getting into before they enlist. Anderson describes peace protesters as âÄúaggressiveâÄù but fails to mention that the College Republicans organized their presence on Zero Recruitment Day with the express purpose of confronting the Anti-War Committee and other anti-war protesters. One wonders how a group of military veterans (according to Anderson) could be intimidated by the peace protesters they faced. Maybe itâÄôs the truth they were afraid of? Or maybe itâÄôs something else; one racist protester refused to touch a Muslim woman protesting with SDS. Their signs read, âÄúTorture is wrong, waterboarding terrorists is not,âÄù and âÄúAnti War = Pro Terrorism.âÄù These individuals were not soldiers whoâÄôd internalized any sensitivity trainings nor any understanding of the Geneva Conventions or other laws that govern war and combat. Zero Recruitment Day was no commentary on veterans. Instead, it was a chance to speak out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and ask that young people âÄî out of their own self-interest âÄî choose not to enlist and serve to continue those wars. Jess Sundin University employee Member of the Anti-War Committee