After last year's debacle where the antiwar movement decided it made more sense to try and elect a pro-war candidate than it did to build an actual movement, things are beginning to turn. United for Peace and Justice is still on spinning pointlessly. But there are glimmers elsewhere. First off, there are large protests planned for this weekend in Fayetteville, N.C. and New York (and probably other places) to mark the two-year anniversary of the Iraq war.
But even more importantly, counter recruitment is on the rise across the country. This is extremely crucial, especially at a time when the military is having trouble meeting its goals. It's a concrete way to fight the war--by cutting them off at the source.
Update (3/18): The New York Times reported on counter recruitment today.
In Georgia, Sgt. Kevin Benderman, 40, whose family ties to military service stretch back to the American Revolution, filed for conscientious-objector status and learned that he will face a court-martial in May for failing to report to his unit when it left for a second stint in Iraq.
One by one, a trickle of soldiers and marines - some just back from duty in Iraq, others facing a trip there soon - are seeking ways out.
Soldiers, their advocates and lawyers who specialize in military law say they have watched a few service members try ever more unlikely and desperate routes: taking drugs in the hope that they will be kept home after positive urine tests, for example; or seeking psychological or medical reasons to be declared nondeployable, including last-minute pregnancies. Specialist Marquise J. Roberts is accused of asking a relative in Philadelphia to shoot him in the leg so he would not have to return to war.
A bullet to the leg, Specialist Roberts, of Hinesville, Ga., told the police, seemed his best chance. "I was scared," he said, according to a police report on the December shooting. "I didn't want to go back to Iraq and leave my family. I felt that my chain of command didn't care about the safety of the troops. I just know that I wasn't going to make it back."
Department of Defense officials say they have seen no increase in those counted as deserters since the war in Iraq began. Since October 2002, about 6,000 soldiers have abandoned their posts for at least 30 days and been counted as deserters. (A soldier who eventually returns to his unit is still counted as a deserter for the year.) The Marine Corps, which takes a snapshot of how many marines are missing at a given point in time, reported about 1,300 deserters in December, some of whom disappeared last year and others years earlier. The figures, Pentagon officials said, suggest that the deserter ranks have actually shrunk since the years just before Sept. 11, 2001. Of course, many things have changed since then, including the seriousness of deserting during a time of war.
originally posted by zagg
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