Tag Archives: military

ASVAB Bill passes in MD

Pat Elder sent this out today:

 

The Maryland Senate narrowly approved a measure today that will prohibit the automatic release of ASVAB test results to military recruiters by public schools.  The vote was 24-23. 

Opponents charged the bill was unpatriotic and anti-military, particularly in a "time of war."   Currently, thousands of Maryland high school students are tested by the Pentagon during school hours without parental knowledge or consent. The Maryland House of Delegates passed the same measure 102-37.  Governor O’Malley is expected to sign the bill into law.  Maryland could become the first state to challenge military testing in the public schools. Last year, the California Assembly passed a similar measure but it was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

To listen to today’s proceedings click here, select the Wednesday, March 24th session and go to 33:48.  The debate is 14 minutes long.  http://mlis.state.md.us/asp/listen.asp

Gaza 2009: We Will Never Forget

Omer Goldman and the Israeli Military

Ed Asner on Huffington Post

I’ve been around this world for awhile, and it’s pretty hard to leave me speechless. But when I learned about Omer Goldman – well, her story got me.

If you haven’t heard the name Omer Goldman yet, have a seat and grab your Kleenex. Her courage, and the courage of the other "Shministim" in Israel is utterly humbling. And amazing. I don’t use those words lightly.

As you can see from the photo, she’s young and lovely. 19 years old. She’s already served two terms in an Israeli military jail, where she had to wear an American military uniform (a gift to the Israelis) or face solitary confinement. Now, she’s out of jail for medical reasons. But as you read this, many of her young friends are in an Israeli prison for refusing to serve in the military there.

This new generation of young Israeli kids is standing up to the government – they call ’em "Shministim." The Shministim- all about ages 17, 18, 19 and in the 12th grade – are taking a stand. They believe in a better, more peaceful future for themselves and for Israelis and Palestinians, and they are refusing to join the Israeli army. They’re in jail, holding strong against immense pressure from family, friends and the Israeli government. They need our support and they need it today.

In her own words:

Send a letter to the
Israeli Minister of Defense.

I am Omer Goldman.
I am one of the Shministim.
I need your help.

I first went to prison on September 23 and served 35 days. I am lucky, after 2 times in jail, I got a medical discharge, but I’m the only one. By the time you read this, many of my friends will be in prison too: in for three weeks, out for one, and then back in, over and over, until they are 21. The reason? We refuse to do military service for the Israeli army because of the occupation.

I grew up with the army. My father was deputy head of Mossad and I saw my sister, who is eight years older than me, do her military service. As a young girl, I wanted to be a soldier. The military was such a part of my life that I never even questioned it.

Earlier this year, I went to a peace demonstration in Palestine. I had always been told that the Israeli army was there to defend me, but during that demonstration Israeli soldiers opened fire on me and my friends with rubber bullets and tear-gas grenades. I was shocked and scared. I saw the truth. I saw the reality. I saw for the first time that the most dangerous thing in Palestine is the Israeli soldiers, the very people who are supposed to be on my side.

When I came back to Israel, I knew I had changed. And so, I have joined with a number of other young people who are refusing to serve – they call us the Shministim. On December 18th, we are holding a Day of Action in Israel, and we are determined to show Israelis and the world that there is wide support for stopping a culture of war. Will you join us? Please, just sign a letter. That’s all it takes.
 

So, there you go. Omer Goldman. Now that you’ve met her, I’ll bet you won’t forget her. Better yet, damn it, do something for her, for the Shministim, for peace. Jewish Voice for Peace is the U.S. group heading things up for them. Here’s the link.

One more thing – I know that this can be a tough subject for many of us Jews. But, I find it hard to believe than anyone can look Omer in the eye and tell her that she has to risk her life and her future for Israel whether she wants to or not. It’s just not right. Especially during this time of year, when many of us are getting ready to celebrate a holiday about freedom- well, take a good long look at that photo. You’re celebrating her.

Thanks for reading and send your letter here.

Ed Asner

“Happy” Veterans Day

Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Join The Homeless

 

Ethan Kreutzer joined the Army at the age of 17 and fought with the 19th Airborne in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. When he retuned home, he had no money, no education and no civilian job experience. He soon became homeless. He slept in an alley off Haight Street, behind two trash cans.

June Moss drove from Kuwait to Iraq as an Army engineer in a truck convoy. When she returned to the United States, she lost her home, and drove her two young children from hotel to hotel across Northern California.

Sean McKeen, a hardy, broad-shouldered 21-year-old with a wide smile, went to Iraq to clear land mines, and to get money for college. When he returned home, he became homeless in less than a week. He found himself sleeping in a cot in a crowded homeless shelter in San Francisco.

They are all part of a growing trend of homelessness among returning war on terrorism veterans.

Read More

 

Army combat unit to deploy within U.S. – Martial Law Experiment

Army combat unit to deploy within U.S.

The First Raiders will spend 2009 as the first active-duty military unit attached to the U.S. Northern Command since it was created. They will be based in Fort Stewart, Georgia, and focus primarily on logistics and support for local police and rescue personnel, the Army says. The plan is drawing skepticism from some observers who are concerned that the unit has been training with equipment generally used in law enforcement, including beanbag bullets, Tasers, spike strips and roadblocks.

That kind of training seems a bit out of line for the unit’s designated role as Northern Command’s CCMRF (Sea Smurf), or CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force. CBRNE stands for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive incidents.

According to Northern Command‘s Web site, the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force is a team that will ultimately number about 4,700 personnel from the different military branches that would deploy as the Department of Defense’s initial response force.

Its capabilities include search and rescue, decontamination, medical, aviation, communications and logistical support. Each CCMRF will be composed of three functional task forces — Task Force Operations, Task Force Medical and Task Force Aviation — that have individual operational focus and mission skills, the Web site says.

This comment is quite disturbing to me, quoted in the article:
“We need a lot more in our toolbox in order to deal with angry people on the street,” said Col. Barry Johnson of U.S. Army North.

Read the entire article

The Army says the unit would be deployed to help local, state or federal agencies deal with such incidents, not take the lead. The law enforcement-type training is not connected to its new mission, it says.

Use of active-duty military as a domestic police force has been severely limited since passage of the Posse Comitatus Act following the Civil War.

The New Generation of College Republicans

On The Seventh Anniversary of 9/11

This came across my email desk from the group Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of families of victims in the World Trade Center Bombings on September 11, 2001, that formed just after that horrific tragedy to turn their grief into action.  Here is there message today on teh 7th anniversary of that incident:

September 11, 2008

Dear Members, Friends and Supporters of Peaceful Tomorrows,

The experience of yet another anniversary of 9/11 provides an occasion to reflect upon the hopes and beliefs that brought the members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows together. In response to the terrorist attacks that killed our family members, we never wanted wars of retaliation that would cause the deaths of innocent civilians in other nations. We never wanted hunger for revenge to lead America to violate international law, abandon Constitutional rights, or engage in torture.

We united to turn our grief into action for peace, believing that it is possible to break the cycles of violence caused by terrorism and war.  And over the past months, from Capitol Hill to Iraqi Kurdistan and beyond we have raised our voices in support of nonviolence, human rights and the rule of law.

Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

In July, Peaceful Tomorrows members traveled to DC to lobby Congress about the need to end the abuses at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and rededicate the U.S. to principles of international justice. We are currently working with human rights allies at Witness Against Torture and Center for Constitutional Rights to craft a multi-faceted campaign to shut down Guantánamo within the first 100 days of the new administration.  We believe it can be done!

Iraq
Perhaps the most hopeful work we are doing is our campaign to support the courageous and inspiring Iraqi peace and nonviolence activists of LaOnf.  LaOnf (which roughly translates as "nonviolence" in Arabic) is a network of over 100 Iraqi civil society organizations working to promote "nonviolence as the most effective way to struggle for an independent, democratic, and peaceful Iraq."

In August Peaceful Tomorrows members Terry Rockefeller and Adele Welty met with LaOnf members in Erbil, Kurdistan as they planned activities for their 2008 Week of Nonviolence.  In support of LaOnf’s efforts, Peaceful Tomorrows has launched a public education campaign to inform American citizens and policymakers about these Iraqi women and men who have endured repression, invasion and occupation yet remain committed to nonviolence. In October, Peaceful Tomorrows will help communities across the U.S. to show solidarity with the LaOnf activists.  You can find out more at www.peacefultomorrows.org, where you can sign up to organize or attend a screening of a documentary about LaOnf in your area.

Military Commissions

Peaceful Tomorrows members have been featured in news stories about the controversy surrounding the U.S. government’s prosecution of 9/11 suspects in military tribunals. As a partner in the American Civil Liberties Union’s John Adams Project, Peaceful Tomorrows supports fair trials for all people, regardless of the charges they face. We will continue to speak out against the military commissions, making clear how they embody a legal process that has been compromised by political interference and stripped of the minimum of defendants’ rights and protections that define fair trials.

Afghanistan
As support for war in Iraq decreases, there are disturbing calls to increase U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Peaceful Tomorrows is categorically opposed to the idea that we can win a "War on Terror." War IS terror. We need instead to invest in programs that address the root causes of violence and terrorism. Peaceful Tomorrows has been actively working to bring Afghanistan to the forefront of the U.S. peace movement. With our allies at United for Peace and Justice, we are developing web-based materials that will prepare U.S. peace activists to effectively challenge the calls for increased military engagement in Afghanistan.

As we prepare ourselves for the work ahead, we are grateful for your loyal support.  Please help us to continue our work by making a generous donation to Peaceful Tomorrows today.  You can donate online at this link.

And please, go to our website at http://www.peacefultomorrows.org where you will find more information about the projects of  Peaceful Tomorrows and our members, including a link to the newly launched website of the International Network for Peace, a global network of victims of terrorism, genocide, atomic weapons, occupation and war who have chosen to work for nonviolent solutions to conflict.

We look forward to hearing from you.

In peace and hope,

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows