Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OMNI newsletter on military recruiting

OMNI'S COUNTER-RECRUITING NEWSLETTER, #2, January 13, 2009, Compiled by Dick Bennett (#1 June 13, 2008), FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE, OF, BY, AND FOR THE PEOPLE

War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it. William Tecumseh Sherman
War is a bankruptcy of policy. Hans von Seecki

SENATOR LINCOLN (202) 224-4843 Fax: (202) 228-1371.

Fayetteville office: 251-1380

Senator Mark Pryor: Phone: (202) 224-2353 Fax: (202) 228-0908

CONGRESSMAN Boozman: Lowell office: 479-725-0400.

DC address: 1708 Longworth House Office Bldng., Washington, DC 20515; 202-225-4301.

Everything in war is barbaric. But the worst barbarity of war is that it forces men to commit acts collectively which individually they would revolt with their whole being. Ellen Key

My first wish is to see this plague to mankind banished from off the Earth. George Washington.


Contact NWA High Schools

Recruits Need to Know:

Combat Injuries, Suicide, Housing obstacles, and more


Minority Women in the Military

Assault Victims


OMNI's Counter-Recruiting Pamphlet

Army of None

Resisting Military Testing

Local Letter-Writers


Bentonville High School, 1901 SE J St., 72712, 479-254-5100

Elkins HS Principal 643-3381

Farmington HS 266-1860

Fayetteville HS 1001 W. Stone St. 72701 , 444-3050

Gentry HS, 736-2666

Gravette HS , 607 SE Dallas St, 72736, 787-4180

Greenland HS 30 N. Sandy 72737, 521-2366 Ext. 274

Huntsville HS Principal, 738-2500

Pea Ridge HS 451-8182

Prairie Grove HS, 846-4212

Rogers HS, 2300 S. Dixieland, 631-3544

Siloam Springs HS, 1500 W. Jefferson, 72761, 524-5134

Springdale Har-ber HS, 300 Jones Rd, 72762, 750-8777

Springdale HS, 1103 W. Emma Ave., 72764, 750-8832

After each war there is a little less of democracy to save. Brooks Atkinson

"Collateral Damage: Military Prescribes Drugs at Record Rate to Combat Mental and Physical Injuries" by David Olinger
"'SHH!'…Suicide, Secrets, and Veterans: CBS Uncovers Suicide Rates That the Government Tried to Hide" by Armen Keteyian and Pia Malbran.
"Military Maneuvers: Private Housing Contracts Rife with Cost Overruns and Delays" by Eric Nalder.
"Resources": additional reports by Tori Moss.
All four reports in The IRE Journal (Nov. Dec. 2008) (This is magazine of the Investigative Reporters and Editors at the Missouri School of Journalism)
One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one. Agatha Christie

"Long Work Days Hurt Re-Enlistment" by Lolita Baldor. TMN (12-21-05). Soldiers on combat duty are stressed not only about being away from families and in danger but especially over the long work hours.

The Trials Minority Women Face Serving in the Military
By Michelle Chen, ColorLines
Posted on August 6, 2008, Printed on August 6, 2008
When Kristina McCauley looks back on her time in boot camp, one scene sticks out: she's standing in the sun as blood flows down her wrist, hoping no one will notice her among the rows of trainees chanting and brandishing bayonets.

Thinking back, she's not sure why she grabbed her weapon the wrong way during that drill. But when she saw that the bayonet on her rifle had sliced cleanly across her hand, she knew calling for help would only invite her drill sergeants to make her life more miserable.

"I was just standing out there in the heat of the day and bleeding and trying to be quiet about it," she recalled later in an interview. Soon, a female drill sergeant came over to berate her for her stupidity -- as a lesson to the other trainees -- and tossed a few bandages at her.

Today, McCauley, a half-Japanese lesbian, has a degree in international peace studies. She's not your "typical" veteran. As a mixed-race girl with a boyish streak in a straight-laced suburb, McCauley signed up for the military hoping "to belong somewhere." The service promised respect, power and a chance to test her physical and mental limits.

But putting on the greens didn't bring the transformation she had sought. Instead, she discovered the Army's veneer of uniformity masks deep fault lines of culture, class and sexuality. She eventually emerged from the military's rigid hierarchy to embrace what she had tried to escape -- by reconnecting with her Japanese heritage, coming out to her family and reorienting her political perspective.

"I made a conscious effort to educate myself more deeply," she said. "I began to study race, sexuality and gender, with a hope to understand my own place in the world more clearly."

McCauley's quest resonates throughout the growing ranks of military women of color. Though their decision to enlist is often inspired by hopes of self-empowerment, they may quickly stumble on a landscape of familiar impediments where the rules of race and gender still dictate who fights, who wins and who suffers.

There are about 200,000 active-duty military women today, some 14 percent of the total force, according to federal data. About half of them are women of color. Women of color also now make up around a third of former service members. Of a little more than 1.7 million women veterans nationwide, about 19 percent are Black and 7 percent are Latina. Asian American, Pacific Islander, American Indian and mixed-race women each comprise up to 2 percent or less. Proportionally, people of color comprise a greater share of female veterans than of male veterans.

Women of color, like others, are drawn into the armed forces by both needs and ideals. Some are spurred by patriotism or a desire for adventure; others just want a stable job or money for college. Whatever their economic or social motives, the recruitment rhetoric pushed to youth across the country markets the military as a way out of their current circumstances and on toward where they need to go. But the soldier's path leads many women of color back to where they started -- to the turbulence and entrenched discrimination besetting their home communities. And for some, the journey veers unexpectedly toward a new political consciousness.

Maricela Guzman, a Latina Navy veteran who now works as a counter-recruitment activist in California, urges youth of color to look past the sales pitch of economic opportunity.

"You're going to this environment thinking you're going to make all this money," she warned, "but you're going back to a system that is going to keep you down."

For many young people, spending a 21st birthday in boot camp would be a sobering experience. But Eli PaintedCrow had grown up early; passing a birthday in the Army was one way to ensure her children would spend theirs under better circumstances.

She joined the Army to get off welfare and support her young sons. She also sought a kind of camaraderie she never had growing up in the barrios of San Jose, estranged from her ancestral community, the indigenous Yaqui Nation.

"It really did make me feel like I belonged somewhere and that I could be good at something," she said.

As a fresh Navy recruit a few weeks into basic training, Maricela Guzman shouldn't have been surprised to find herself facedown on the floor, frantically doing push-ups. She had not followed proper procedure for addressing a commander in his office -- knocking before entering and asking permission to speak. Accordingly, he told her to "drop" as punishment.

But while the penalty was routine, the circumstances were not: she had come to tell him she had been raped.

Before she could say anything, though, she had to repeat the drill to her commander's satisfaction. "I think it was 20 minutes later after I was able to do it right," she said. "And I was so numb afterwards that I couldn't even say anything."

In the late 1990s, Guzman, a child of Mexican immigrants, was getting back to her education at a Los Angeles community college after leaving high school to work, when a young Black man approached her and told her enthusiastically about the Navy. Guzman researched the military's education benefits and grilled the recruiter on what the service would be like. In the end, she signed up, confident she wasn't making her decision blindly.

But she never saw him coming.

One night at boot camp, on watch duty, she recalled, "I passed a dark corner, somebody grabbed me, and I was raped." Though she only caught a glimpse of her attacker in the darkness, she said, "It had to be one of the drill sergeants. Just the type of uniform that he had."

After being thwarted in her attempt to come forward within a few days of the incident, Guzman fell silent. Her commanders eventually noticed she was acting withdrawn, but to them, it just showed that she needed more discipline. So they intensified her work routines and upbraided her even more harshly before her peers.

"They thought that that was the best thing for them to do -- to break me down," she said.

Guzman tried to cope on her own by immersing herself in her job as an information systems technician. Working nonstop, she garnered various service awards and became, on paper, a model soldier.

"The only way I could think of surviving," she said, "was to make myself tired enough where I couldn't think about things."

One of the military's open secrets is the prevalence of sexual coercion. Screenings of female veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities indicate that about one in five has experienced sexual assault. Meanwhile, advocates believe just a tiny fraction of survivors come forward as they wrestle under a culture of enforced conformity.

Racial rifts add another social dimension to military sexual abuse……..

© 2008 ColorLines All rights reserved.
View the full story online at:

"Assault Victims in Military Face Tough Recovery" by Kimberly Hefling, TMN (7-27-08. "Of the women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have walked into a VA facility, 15 percent have screened positive for military sexual trauma."



"Probe Finds Military Recruiters Prey on Enlistees" by Martha Mendoza, The Morning News (TMN) (8-20-06).

"Women Should Be Wary of Military Recruiters" by Martha Burk, Northwest Arkansas Times (NAT)(5-3-08.


OMNI's pamphlet for looking closely before joining the services. Explains small print in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, students' "opt-out" option, provides an opt-out form, and other information. Phone 479-973-9049.

See the resources in our pamphlet; e.g., Also:


Army of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World by Aimee Allison and David Solnit


Thank you for signing CODEPINK's pledge to resist military recruitment!
You can help get the word out by sharing your thoughts with your local newspaper: Submit a letter to the editor using our easy 3 step online tool at:
You don't even need to know the email address of your local paper. Just select your newspaper from a list, pick your talking points and add your own words, and click send to deliver your letter!
If you signed up to join our counter-recruitment task force, we'll be in touch soon with more actions you can take.
Resisting not Enlisting, CODEPINK Women for Peace

Resisting Military Recruiting Testing in the Schools
By Dick Bennett, 11-19-08
The eight recruiter release options for providing access to student test information to recruiting services are:
1 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 7 days after mailed to school
2 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 60 days after mailed to school
3 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 90 days after mailed to school
4 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 120 days after mailed to school
5 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than the end of the SY for that specific school or 30 June
6 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 7 days after mailed to school with instruction that no telephone solicitation by recruiters will be conducted as a result of test information provided
7 Invalid test results. Student test information is not provided to recruiting services
8 Access to student test information is not provided to recruiting services
The original regulations can be found here: – the options table is found on the 13th page of the document.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of high school students take the basic entrance test for the U.S. military—the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Administered free by the Pentagon in partnership with local high schools, the ASVAB is billed as part of a "career exploration program." The military grades the test and reports are sent to students, school counselors, and to military recruiters—and recorded in the Pentagon's Joint Advertising Market Research and Studies Program, a computerized database tracking potential recruits.

The ASVAB was not designed to help students explore careers in general. The US Army's School Recruiting Program Handbook states that a main purpose of the ASVAB is to provide military recruiters "with a source of leads of high school seniors and juniors qualified through the ASVAB for enlistment." Its information about each test taker's skills, graduation plans, and contact information enable recruiters to tailor their sales pitch to each student.

Here's the problem with the test: Schools can block the release of this information to recruiters by choosing Option 8 of the ASVAB, which allows the ASVAB to be administered but prevents data from being forwarded to recruiters, but only if the school chooses release option 8 universally. Also, schools can universally choose Option 8 but arrange to have the scores released for students who request that their scores are forwarded to the military. Even if students or parents decide to opt out from their school's release of student contact information to recruiters under No Child Left Behind, that opt-out decision is overridden if students then take the ASVAB. . Students cannot individually elect option 8. The school can regulate its own release of information from pupil records, but it cannot regulate the military's access to ASVAB test data, except by declaring that all students must be tested under ASVAB release option 8.

Montgomery County, Maryland, is a large district that adopted such a policy in 2006, on the grounds of privacy. Also, all students in Montgomery County under eighteen years old must have parental consent prior to taking the ASVAB. In 2007 the largest school district in the country, Los Angeles Unified School District selected Option 8 for its students, and in early 2008 Prince George's County, MD followed suit. Also this year, the District of Columbia public school system banned the ASVAB, deciding to pursue alternative career assessment testing, an option open to all schools.

What can be done?
Access under NCLB: Parents who do not wish recruiters to have access to their children's private information should write the Principal of the school.
Build community support for reversing the NCLB requirement that schools must provide contact information about students to recruiters unless parents object. Ask your congressional representatives to advocate changing the requirement to read that schools must not provide private information to recruiters unless the parents request them to.
Access via the ASVAB test: The best way of avoiding dissemination of the test and contact information is to not take the test. The test is not mandatory, a fact many high schools fail to disclose. Ensure all students are aware that taking the test is voluntary. Call for the school to make this announcement to students prior to the administration of the test.
Urge school administrators to offer students who choose not to take the ASVAB an alternative place to go. Suggest that administrators offer the test on a weekend so as not to take up valuable school time.
Build community support for banning the ASVAB. Speak and leaflet at school board meetings.
Encourage support for alternative career assessment options.
Request that counter-recruitment literature be present in school guidance counseling offices, libraries, and career centers.
Access via Option 8: Ask the school to choose Option 8.

These efforts are part of a broad movement to reduce the military's presence in our schools. Much more is necessary. We must question all the ways that the military insinuates itself into schools to condition our youth for war—visits to schools by recruiters, programs like JROTC, Young Marines, Army's Adventure Van, Air Force's Raptor Trailer. Military propaganda begins so early in U. S. schools that we can identify them as the military's predominant recruitment venue. Let's pursue all options for reducing military recruitment in our schools, expose the military's agenda for our schools, and challenge the embrace most schools have long given to all branches of the armed forces.

Tanya Theriault & Matt Vogel, "You Do the Military Math," The Catholic Worker (August-September, 2008). Statement endorsed by AFSC, CPF, COMD, Project YANO, PGAPLP/GAPP, WRL.
The NNOMY (National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth) website at has an excellent ASVAB section.
Counter-recruiting expert rec. by Janine: Pat Elder,

For several years Geoff Oelsner visited FHS with information about alternative education and work.
OMNI's counter-recruiting committee's ad has appeared several times in the FHS newspaper.
Two newsletters.
These actions should be continued and expanded. And distribute OMNI's pamphlet.
Contact Gladys Tiffany.
Tamara Boettcher, Fayetteville, Letter to the Editor, "Schools' Actions Necessitate Vigilance." ADG (10-14-05).
Gwen Bennett, Eureka Springs, Letter to Editor, "Small Print Is Revealing," ADG (10-24-05).
Write to your newspaper, to the school superintendent and principal, forward these newsletters, buy and share Army of None. Ask yourself if any US intervention or invasion has been necessary, legal, or moral, and take action.

OMNI's HOPES INCLUDE: A WORLD FREE OF RECRUITERS FOR VIOLENCE, MILITARISM, IMPERIALISM, AND WARS, AN INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY WITH COMPASSION AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, A COMMUNITY WHERE EVERY PERSON'S POTENTIAL MAY BE FULFILLED AND NOT THROUGH MILITARY BUT THROUGH PUBLIC SERVICE, AN EARTH RESTORED. NONVIOLENCE, WORLD PEACE, HUMAN RIGHTS, SOCIAL and ECONOMIC JUSTICE, ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PROTECTING SPECIES AND THE EARTH. These are some of OMNI's ideals. Read our brochure and our newsletters, attend our Steering Committee, become an active member of one or more of our committees, participate in our activities to see how these broad goals for building a Community of Peace are realized in action. There is nothing vague about Building a Community of Peace through dialog leading to action.

Dick Bennett

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