community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
POG Shuts Down Army Recruiters at CMU
by Lizzie Swank Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 12:45 PM
On Tuesday, April 26, thirteen members of Pittsburgh Organizing Group (from CMU and elsewhere) confronted recruiters for the U.S. Army Reserves who were tabling at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) today effectively shutting down recruitment for 45 minutes.
After marching into the University Center, we held a banner that blocked view of the recruiters and their table. This was much to the surprise of the recruiters who had just been telling a passerby that enlistment could help someone like him get through college with the nice bonuses they're giving out. We're sure you've heard the sales pitch before: “$20,000 for college, fun work in technology fields for the jobs of tomorrow, travel the world, have your college paid for…” Basically, “Join the Army, travel to exciting places, meet new and different people - and kill them.” The military has hundreds of millions of dollars, fancy advertising, skilled salespeople, and almost unfettered access to potential recruits, all to ensure that our government has a fresh supply of warm bodies to “enforce” the will of the powerful. The recruiters at CMU are paid to do what they do, use whatever means to convince people to sign on the dotted line. They coerce, misrepresent, and often times flat out lie about the terms and responsibilities of enlistment.
We distributed flyers to students about important things to consider before signing an enlistment contract.
The response to the temporary disruption on the campus was mixed. Some people stopped to talk to those holding the banner and to take pictures. One passing CMU student identified themself as bisexual and confronted the recruiters on the army's discriminatory policy towards LGBT people. A couple pro-military passersby stopped to congratulate the recruiters on "defending our country from scum." One masked-up passerby ran between the banner and the table, quickly snatching the recruitment materials, and fled the scene.
After telling us that they didn't care we were there, because "MEN like [them] exist to protect [our] right to do things like this," one recruiter left to ask the University service desk to remove us.
The head of the CMU University Center came and told us we had to leave. After we refused, she brought in a detective and a security officer. Official CMU police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter. At this point we were ordered to leave and told we would be arrested. One police officer started pushing one person holding the banner. The officer on the scene was heard telling radio dispatch “we need lots of backup done here right now.”
Some of us started chanting, “Recruiters off campus!” Just as we left the building, two more police cars and KDKA news arrived.
This action was part of POG's continuing counter-recruitment campaign.
A small sampling of some of the info we're trying to get out there about enlistment and recruitment:
- Despite the stated length of enlistment (usually four years), recruits can be kept in the military indefinitely, or called back from the reserves many years later as is being seen with the current back door draft (a.k.a. “Stop loss”).
- Recruiters promise training that will lead to better jobs in civilian life. But several studies show that veterans typically earn 12% to 15% less than those workers who do not go into the military.
- College benefits are a great exaggeration. Because of all the small print requirements to receive college benefits, only 15 percent ever receive a college degree -- only 35% receive GI bill funds for college. Indeed, the average participant actually receives less money than a student who simply receives a Pell Grant and a Stafford Loan. And you pay $1,200 during your first year of service for the program, money you won't get back when you aren't part of the 35 percent getting some money from the GI bill.
- Women in the military not only face a high incidence of harassment and rape, but have little recourse when such actions do occur. The machismo culture of the army makes it difficult for anyone to break the wall of silence. Survivors often get pressured and threatened to remain silent, and while this is prevalent in other professions, it's much worse in the closed environment of military life.
- Military life is very hard on families; family abuse and violence are three to five times higher than in the civilian population.
- The hazards of military service include more than just getting killed or wounded. For instance, less than 300 U.S. soldiers were killed in the first Gulf War of 1991. But tens of thousands of Gulf War vets have reported chronic, debilitating physical and psychological disorders since serving in the Gulf.
- 1/3 of the homeless in this country are veterans. If you're curious why, try asking a recruiter that question.
- Finally, the fine print on the back of the enlistment contract makes it clear that no promise made by the government has to be kept. The Military Enlistment/Reenlistment contract states: “The following statements [in the contract] are not promises or guarantees of any kind. They explain some of the present laws affecting the Armed Forces which I cannot change but which Congress can change at any time.” The government pretends they care about the health and well-being of troops and then goes and cuts benefits and services for veterans.
The banner hides the table
by Lizzie Swank Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 12:45 PM
by Lizzie Swank Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 12:45 PM
Security is called, the table no longer has lit...
by Lizzie Swank Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 12:45 PM
by --- Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 1:02 PM
The recruiters last names (as publicly displayed on the uniforms): Vetter and Taper
some would have to fight if they didn't recruit.
by li Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 2:02 PM
lets not give the recruiters such a hard time.
many of them have to meet a quote or they get shipped to iraq. better some random kid than them :)
by Isok Loudermuthe Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 2:45 PM
Amazing. This is an overt act of fascist censorship, and IMC applauds the conduct. The true colors of IMC once again. Imagine the outrage and cries of censorship if any group or person ever attempted to cordon off and suppress the radical cheerleaders, GreenPeace, The American Socialists, ACORN, The Teachers Union, The TMC, or any other of the favorite left wing organisations. This wasn't a protest, it was censorship. The lawful activities of the recruiters, the rights of free speech of the recruiters and the recruits, the rights of free association and freedom of movement to name a few, were egregiously violated in this act of 'protest'. Certainly, the protesters could have had their rant across the room without entirely blocking the recruiters and those that may have wished to speak with them, but the protesters did not do this. It is notable that the military recruiters did not confront or similarly assault the protesters, demonstrating a higher degree of intellectual and emotional maturity in the process than did the protesters.
If your message is so compelling on its own, you do not need to keep people from receiving information from the recruiters (or anyone else), and you would welcome that so that you could speak to and possibly debate/convert a more educated and informed opponent. But alas, free information is not your friend. Like all fascists, you must assault, you must attack, you must demonize, you can not engage in civil and intellectual discussion without retreating to emotional and childish tactics. For you the severity of the charge always outweighs the facts. Just like in any fascist court or witch hunt.
This is the fundamental problem with the 'progressives' and left in the world. This tactic is exactly that employed by leftwing oppressive regimes throughout the world.
Why do you believe that someone with a ifferent viewpoint than yours should not be entitled to pursue that viewpoint? Because your politics is devoid of reason and is intellectually and morally desititute. If you do not want to enlist and support the nation that has provided you the exceptional opportunities that you take for granted here and callously disregard, then just go to class and stay out of the way of those who may be interested in a career in the military. Voice your opposition, as is your right, without treading recklessly and carelessly upon the rights of the rest of those that suffer you in this community.
I would love to see any of you protesters sit by politely, as these recruiters did, if you were confronted by a group of students who would hide the next INTERNATIONAL ANSWER table from view, or shroud the next GreenPeace information table from view in protest while decrying the lies of the global warming myth, or if they did us all a favor and pulled down the curtain on the ever-an-eyesore Radical Cheerleaders.
Remember, it is not about what's right, it is about what you tell us to believe, now isn't it.
If anyone present at this event today is willing to talk I'm doing a short piece for tomorrow's Post-Gazette. Please email or call me by 9pm.
by --- Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 3:57 PM
to the person complaining about "censorship".
lets make a deal. when the schools gives counter-recruitment groups the same access to student info that they do to the recruiters people won't shut down these events. when recruiters stop lying and coercing people into enlisting then there won't be a need to shut down these events.
Hundreds of millions of dollars is spent to ensure that a pro-military viewpoint gets out there. I'm not going to cry about them being shutdown from recruiting people to kill.
COME ON DOWN !!!
by Isok Loudermuthe Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 4:30 PM
and let's make a deal:
to the person complaining about me complaining about "censorship":
lets make a deal. when you counter-protest groups the same access to and participation in the hate rallies that you do to the like-minded people who agree with you who I will stop complaining about these events like today's. when you and the various leftist casues and organizations and loose knit groups of angry protesters stop lying and coercing people into thinking like them or subscribing to some leftist political view, then there won't be a need to complain about these events and the inherent fascism of these groups.
Hundreds of millions of dollars is spent to ensure that a radical leftist viewpoint gets out there, even at the expense of censoring free speech adn trampling on the rights of those that may not agre with the left. I'm not going to cry about your complaining about my complaining, even if you won't cry about someone else's rights being assaulted while you erroneously believe that you righteously caused the recruiters being shutdown from recruiting people to pursue a career in defense of the United States.
by 679679 Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 4:44 PM
Oh ok. So you believe that all the perspectives about enlistment get an equal hearing in society. You believe that "left wing" groups taking actions is equitable to the right wing control of gov't. Hey, why complain about what the gov't spending hundreds of millions on pro-military propoganda because small left wing groups can put on some rallies. Let me guess, you also believe there is a vast left wing conspiracy in the corporate media. I guess we'll have to disagree.
THE GOVT IS WRONG
by Issie Loudmouth Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 5:09 PM
The government spends millions on BS, including the military. The government is the biggest waster of resources and money. I protest the government taking money out of our pockets, and reducing opportunity for everyone, with a ridiculous and out cf control taxing plan.
Abolish taxes. Go straight to the top. Social Security is a total waste. Pay out for the people too far into the program to do much else, but get that lead weight off of the necks of the young. Why the hell shoudl we all pay into a system that will never pay out to us. If we took the money that we would otherwise pay into Social Security and put it into even the safest and lowest paying investments we would do far better than under the governmets control.
The governmetn spends billions on failed social programs, on schools that fail the students, on inefficient service agencies. Protest them all. they all equally suck. And like the military the ineffectiveness of these government agencies and programs kill innocent people and rob people of life and opportunity. The ludicrous ban on DDT has killed more innocents world wide than the US military. Protest the bastards that woudl rather have several million people die each year from malaria than to use DDT just becasue they want to preserve the lies of the radical environmetal groups and the EPA that also steal from us.
cogs of war crimes
by observer Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005 at 5:11 PM
people who sign up become war criminals and mental changed for life.
by USAn Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2005 at 8:14 AM
If yout want to see an example of your wonderful tax-free "libertarian" societ... (oops, you probably believe there is no such thing as "society") I suggest you take grand tour of Mexico City, Guatamala, El Salvador, Nicragua, Ecuador-where the entire country got so pissed off over your beloved "economic freedom" their US-supported president and vice president barely escaped to with their lives. Then, go on down to Argentina, which was nearly equal to the US in wealth and living standards, fell into diaster, but is now recovering, thanks to workers taking over control of it's economy.
All these countries are or were star pupils of your "economic freedom" The result? A modern version of feudalism. You wouldn't want to live in such places.
You "libertarian" rich-kids should shut-up, renounce your greed, contribute to society and pay your fucking taxes, while resisting the vile militarism which diverts so much of those taxes to killing people for their oil. Who knows, maybe it will be you who will need the free medical care, free university education, free public transit, dirt-cheap internet access (like Philly), and free retirement that taxes can provide in enlightened societies.
about those "inefficient" gov. services
by USAn Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2005 at 8:44 AM
Please give me an example if the "inefficiency" of those gov. services:
I have a few examples here:
1. Medicare provides benefits at a far smaller percentage of administrative costs than any capitalist insurance company.
2. The city of Philidelphia will soon begin city-wide wireless internet access at $15 to $20 a month - a third of the cost of capitalist wireless internet service.
3. The Pittsburgh Asphalt Plant; recently forcibly privatized, produced asphalt at much less than private plants - in fact the "market competetion" it provided kept asphalt prices lower for the whole region (which is why it was the first thing your friends in that review board insist it be sold)
4. The recent train wreck disaster in Japan; trian wrecks were virtually unheard-of in Japan - what happed to this train? Yup, the line was recently privatized.
5. The British once had superb intercity rail service, now it is expensive,never on time and dangerous - Yup, privatized by the same firm which will be running the Pittsburgh garages. Better soon be on the look out for out for runaway trucks!
6. All the aformentioned Latin American counteries (plus Chile) have had mass demonstrations over the past few days, with one government change so far and more to come. Their reason? Unaffordable prices on vital utilities and services, water, transit, university tuitions, abysmal service, corruption and cronyism; when did it all start? When they privatized...
And finally, Government can provide all these services cheaper while at the same time paying much better union wages...
by as in "you's an ashole" Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2005 at 8:51 AM
Everyone else is paying taxes for what?? So social security can cripple all opportunity for us so called "rich kids" U's an ass. U know nothing about any of us. U f'in cadillac liberal lazy ass guilt tripping losers, sucking at the teet of society (which I know alot about) make me sick. I have been out there you shithead. I have been on public assistance. AND I F'IN HATED IT AND THE F'N PIMPS WHO TELL YOU TO THINK IT IS AN ENTITLEMENT. I got off of it immediately and got back in the game. And I am not for carrying anyone's ass. It is about controlling your own destiny, not about you trying to control everyone elses to your selfish needs to the detriment of "society". You asses are destroying society. I would love to see a "workers rebellion"...one in which the "workers" rebel against the pimps that are exploiting them with this leftist bullshit and then all of the "workers" can enjoy the fruits of their labor without having the other "workers" dipping into their pockets. So who are these "workers". I work. I pay taxes. Too many taxes. Does a "worker" include the guy who has to bust his ass to make payroll and who gets no respect for his efforts from the likes of you who want to steal more based on his efforts?
by love that logic Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2005 at 9:08 AM
Are we to infer that the Japanese would be completely safe if only a lice coated hippie freak collectivist were at the helm?
means to an end
by nah Monday, May. 02, 2005 at 3:34 AM
It would be amazing to see a discussion end with something other than stereotypical namecalling in the place of substance.
by stereotypical namecaller Monday, May. 02, 2005 at 8:43 AM
Maybe it would be nice if the stereotypical bedwetters wouldn't cry like infants and point fingers and shout "you're calling names" like fucking infants.
The idiot bastard inferred that only pinkos would make the Japanese safe, and the retort was sound. Was the best you could add was sobbing and soiling your panties?
Useless hippie trash....
It takes a fool
by C. Monday, May. 02, 2005 at 3:56 PM
It takes a fool to insult someone.
It takes two to make a conversation of it.
"it takes a fool" continued....
by fool detector Monday, May. 02, 2005 at 6:25 PM
And you just had to chime in, didn't you? Thanks for the spanking, Brainiac.
Proud of the Recruiters
by dave Wednesday, May. 04, 2005 at 3:02 AM
I just want to say that I am proud of the recruiters and the fact that they kept their professionalism. The cold hard facts about the military are that (1) it is completely voluntary and (2) you don't even have to talk to recruiters if you don't want to. Just let them do their jobs, if you don't care to be in the military no one is forcing you to join. All you have to do is just keep on walking when you see them.
new york times article
by andyhorbal Wednesday, May. 04, 2005 at 8:34 AM
there was an article on the new york times website yesterday, in the national section, about abuses by army recruiters that might be of interest to everyone present.
by peppy Wednesday, May. 04, 2005 at 1:36 PM
cold hard facts about the military.... is that it is not voluntary when all males 18+ have to sign up for the selective service. and then they fuck you over if you don't by not giving you college money.
by AZ counter-recruiter Thursday, May. 05, 2005 at 12:19 AM
Keep fighting the good fight! Counter-Recruiters Unite! Thank you for speaking the truth to power at CMU! The seeds are planted, the veil is being lifted. Consciousness is rising. Information is what the war machine fears. Keep giving it to them!
by chem dawg Saturday, May. 14, 2005 at 7:07 PM
I spelled it(whatever) correctly for your edification, or to help you learn it. Thought I should simplify it for you. Now to you point, no not the one at the top of your head, but the selective service. Who has called you and forced you to join the military? And if they have what service are you in? Oh, wait you are probably one of the few, the proud, the moronic that would run to Canada. The thing that amazed me is that this couldn't even be organized by one of the CMU students but instead by a student at a local High School(Keystone Oaks(but he is from MT Lebanon), if you can believe the non-independent media). Where was the reporting on the students and staff that thanked the recruiters for their professionalism and tolerance of the protesters. Remember according to Oprah, "Ebonics equal unemployment."
Maybe if the protesters joined the military they would be in good enough shape that they wouldn't have to switch holding up a part of a sheet every 45 seconds. But then thay would have to pass the test to qualify and after seeing that they don't have the ability to clean a sheet before they paint on it, I doubt they have enough common sense to accomplish this task. Maybe if the Government had a sheet cleaning program it would have been done.
Did you know that according to the protesters it is okay to block access to a recruiting station but not to an abortion clinic? Isn't all about choice?
by Chem Dawg Saturday, May. 14, 2005 at 7:33 PM
Are you afraid to publicly admit your name? ------???? Those names are required to be worn on the uniform. Unlike you who will publish them without identifying yourself. Are you the ugly old bald guy, you know the one who missed Vietnam(at least protesting it), and now is trying to make up for it, because he feels inadequate, through the actions of communist(hey, they are the ones quoting Trotsky), that shows up at all the protests and then writes about it for this site? Oh, by the way is Denver back running again? If you are wondering what I am talking about do an archive search, at a legitimate media site, for Denver Independent(LOL) Media Center. They had some problems last week due to their spreading of propaganda. I didn't see a report of it on this site though....hmmm. All the news that's fit to print or all the news that fits our personal beliefs. So much for independent. Is that Independent of thought or Independent of bias?
by Chem Dawg Saturday, May. 14, 2005 at 8:05 PM
Do you realize that KDKA was there due to the loss of personal information from the computers at CMU? Watch your ego Brian.
It is up to 70,000 dollars not 20 thousand.
What I liked was how you bitches ran as soon as the police said the word arrest. Oh wait that isn't in your article is it. But it is good to know your beliefs are so strong that you will allow yourself to be threatened with arrest.
No protesters were pushed by the CMU Police. The one protester of the feminine gender moved when the Officer said, "You can't block access to the table, but you are welcome to stand over here(five feet to the side)"
P.S. The recruiters placed more literature on the table after the only "person of color", I mean "masked-up passerbyer"(AFTER THE INTERVIEW HE GAVE WITH THE OLD BALD GUY), who participated in your event stole them and you left. So you weren't effective, just misguided and misinformed. I would pity you if it were worth the effort. Giving the bums from Oakland a dollar to stand by you during the event doesn't raise your numbers. Oh, those weren't bums?? Oops, I apoligize to any I may have offended.
by ... Sunday, May. 15, 2005 at 10:16 AM
wow "Chem Dawg" aka recruiter who was there.
it seems like these protests have really struck a nerve in you. oh well, you should relax... so much anger, so much anger.
you're a professional?
by --- Sunday, May. 15, 2005 at 10:56 AM
are your comments here indicative of your professionalism?
This is the problem with recruiters such as yourself. You have so much hatred and anger towards those that don't agree with you. The inability to deal with personal problems exacerbated by the duties of your job is what leads to the huge amount of violence by recruiters towards family members, and the increased rates of mental illness and psychological disorders.
You are PAID by citizens tax dollars. Like police officers you are supposed to work for the people, more is rightfully expected and demanded of you than citizens acting in private capacity. No private citizen should have to disclose thier personal info if they don't want to. You on the other hand should while you're on the peoples dime.
Your comments on this site should be deeply disturbing to anyone reading as to your mental state and your ability to care out your recruiting duties in a professional manner.
Military Recruiter Tricks Exposed
by Mike Ferner Wednesday, May. 18, 2005 at 4:21 PM
Recruiting Teenagers as War Fodder
Sign Here, Kid
He trolled for teenagers in North Carolina high schools, barked orders at recruits in boot camp, and pulled charred civilian corpses out of cars in Iraq. Now Jimmy Massey is making good on his promise to tell the whole world what he learned as a Marine.
For the first 10 years, Massey loved being in the USMC. With a quick mind and an easy manner, he and his superiors knew he'd make a great recruiter. And by the luck of the draw, he was assigned to the area around Asheville, N.C., not far from where he grew up.
"It was an advantage being a recruiter in this area. I understand the mentality of mountain people. When we'd talk about topics like the economy and industry around here, I knew what people were talking about. And too, people here usually don't open up to strangers."
Contrary to what some believe, Marine Corps recruiters don't get paid commission for going over quota, the 32-year-old former staff sergeant explained. "My monthly quota was three in the summer and two in the winter. You could get five one month but still go from hero to zero next month when you started over again."
Recruiters are, however, "one of only three Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) in the Marines that get Special Duty Assignment (SDA) pay an extra $475 a month when I was in to offset the higher cost of living when you're a recruiter," he said. "An E-5 recruiter would make about $1,500 every two weeks including SDA pay. But being a recruiter is expensive. There's extra costs. When you're a recruiter, you've got to play the part."
Bling, Promises, and the "Moment of Truth"
"For example, you have to have a nice car you can't go rolling down the street in some old family wagon. You can't be sittin' there talking to a kid about financial stability and driving an old Ford Ranger. That just don't get it!" He said he drove a Mustang for his personal car, and Army recruiters he knew drove "decked-out Expeditions with 20-inch rims. You have to have a little 'bling' [gold, jewelry, etc.] on you that kind of thing. I made sure I always dressed nice when I was off duty. You gotta play the part. Young kids are really materialistic minded."
Then there's the everyday expenses of recruiting, "like taking a guy to Hooters for some wings. The government gives me a credit card, but it's in my name and the bill comes to me. I have to pay it and then get reimbursed."
Often the biggest enticement a recruiter can offer young men and women trying to escape poverty is the promise of job training, even more appealing when it's for a MOS in data systems, aircraft electronics, aircraft crew chief, or other sought-after specialties. But as Massey acknowledged, "The Marine Corps can guarantee you a job all day long, but that doesn't mean you're going to actually get it."
A common way to swindle recruits out of promised jobs is the "Moment of Truth" exercise in boot camp. New recruits are taken to a room where their DI (drill instructor) tells them to "really think about it" and see if they've lied while enlisting or filling out their application.
"They'll ask the recruits if they lied about things like ever having smoked grass, or maybe how many times they've smoked, and ask them to raise their hand if they've lied any time in the recruiting process," Massey said. When the hands go up, the DI looks at them and says, "Listen. This is what's gonna happen now. You lied to us. You can either quit in disgrace now, or since you signed a contract to be a Marine, you can stay in, but we're not going to let you have the job you asked for."
"Investigations" and Private Eyes
"There's a whole network within the community to enable recruiters to make their quotas the sheriff's department, police department, schools all the way up to the local congressional office."
Massey recalled that at one point, "There was a congressional investigation brought up against me. I enlisted someone who was handicapped. I should have been in deep sh*t, but the Marine Corps swept it under the rug by stating that the kid had fraudulently enlisted. I got a call from Congressman Charles Taylor congratulating me on the work I had been doing, and he sent me an autographed picture."
"A recruiter is like a private eye," Massey said. "They know everything about the kids they're recruiting."
For example, he learned the names of virtually every graduating high school senior in his seven-county district about 1,000 youngsters annually in that largely rural area.
And high school students weren't the only people he got to know well. "We knew the names of the district attorneys [DAs] in every county and went to them to get certain charges reduced or dismissed on kids we were recruiting. We took flowers to the secretaries in the clerk of courts offices. The clerk of courts can make a lot of things appear and disappear. We got to know people working in hospital medical records so we could check out, say, if a certain kid had asthma or not. We'd ask other kids 'what about Johnny Smith?' to find out if he had problems or if he might be interested."
He explained the Marines' Systematic Recruiting method that includes use of a working file of Prospective Applicant Cards on which information is routinely entered. "I'd put all the information down that I knew maybe Johnny Smith had some problems with the law. That's when I'd go to the DA and ask if Johnny was salvageable. If he was, I'd tell the DA, 'well, I talked with Johnny and he's thinking of going into the Marine Corps.' More likely than not the response I got would be, 'Oh yeah? Well, that's just great!'"
Massey said three years as a recruiter taught him "the power of the English language."
"One way we used it was to identify 'tangible and intangible traits' in applicants. We would use cards with words printed on them, like 'self confidence,' or 'financial security' and ask an applicant to pick ones they were concerned about. That way, if a kid picks 'self confidence,' he's telling you he feels like he's lacking in self confidence and you can work him from that angle."
For potential recruits with a record of criminal convictions, Massey pointed out that, "Anything is pretty much waivable in the Marine Corps even up to one felony."
Potentially life-threatening medical conditions were also waivable, according to Massey. "Johnny might come to see me his senior year and say, 'Sarge, I'm wondering if I might have something that might disqualify me I've got asthma.'"
"I'd ask him if he uses an inhaler. If he answered 'yes,' I'd tell him that if he controlled it with an inhaler then he really didn't have asthma. Then I'd tell him to give me 10 pushups. If he did that with no trouble, I'd say, 'See, you don't have asthma!'"
He described his time as a recruiter as progressively more and more difficult. By his last year at it, 2002, he was "tired of lying. I felt like I was close to a nervous breakdown from the stress. I started seeing a psychiatrist, was diagnosed with major depression and put on medication for it. I wrote a letter to my commanding officer about how Marine Corps recruiting should be changed to be more ethical. The Recruiter Instructor they sent out to monitor my efforts ended up telling me he thought it was one of the best statements anyone had ever written about recruiting practices."
Massey decided to quit being a recruiter but also to reenlist to get back to "the regular Marine Corps duty" he enjoyed. Leaving behind the deceit and stress of recruiting made him feel much better "good enough to get off anti-depressants." But soon he got orders to northern Kuwait and within two months was invading Iraq with 130,000 other U.S. troops.
"We Just Lit 'Em Up"
As he made his way north toward Baghdad, through the towns of Safwan and Basra, "our main job was to set up roadblocks. We had permission to fire on anyone who got through them."
It was this experience, barely an instant compared with his dozen years in the Marines, that showed him a side of the military he'd not seen as an instructor at Parris Island or a recruiter.
"In one 48-hour period, we killed over 30 civilians in vehicles that got past our roadblocks. We just lit 'em up with gunfire. But when we went to pull the charred corpses out of the cars we never found any weapons. They were just civilians. I could start feeling the depression come back. I knew what it was from."
In a meeting one day, his lieutenant asked him if he was feeling OK. Massey replied no, and told the lieutenant that "we're committing genocide and leaving enough depleted uranium around to continue genocidal activity for a long time."
"Do you really believe that?" the lieutenant asked.
"Yes," replied Massey, "or I wouldn't have said it."
"I knew my career in the Marine Corps was over at that point," he added.
Sent back to the States for medical reasons, Massey returned to the Marine base at 29 Palms, Calif., and was told to report to the mental health clinic. There, the first psychiatrist he spoke with told him, "I don't deal with conscientious objectors [COs]."
"I knew right away we were going to have a problem," Massey said, "because my response to her was, 'Well, if you call not wanting to kill innocent civilians being a CO' and she came back with, 'Need I remind you that you are still in the military?'"
Refusing to back down, Massey retorted, "Woman, this isn't my military because the Marine Corps I enlisted in was run by the Geneva Conventions. We didn't kill civilians, and we damn sure didn't cover it up."
Later, in a meeting with a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO), he was asked, "What's wrong?" But when Massey responded, the NCO interrupted him so he could open a desk drawer and turn on a tape recorder. Massey told the NCO he knew he was soon on his way out of the Marines, and told him, "I don't want your money. I don't want your benefits nothin'! Not with what y'all did over there in Iraq killing civilians."
Massey said he knew he would need an attorney before talking with his superiors again, so he located one in a copy of the Marine Corps Times. "Next meeting I had with the psychiatrist, my attorney talked with her on the phone. She was completely different when she got off the phone with him."
Asked what advice he would give to a teenager thinking of visiting a military recruiter, Massey thought a moment and answered, "Take a veteran with you to the recruiter. We're never going to stop that one kid bound and determined to play Rambo, but getting the facts out, educating kids on what really goes on is important. That's why I keep speaking out."
Indeed, Massey put the Marines on notice just before he left. He informed a colonel, "The moment I get out of here I'm going to tell the whole world what I've learned."
Mike Ferner is a member of Veterans for Peace from Toledo, Ohio. He returned from a second trip to Iraq earlier this year. He can be reached at: mike.ferner (at) sbcglobal.net
by like wow, man Wednesday, May. 18, 2005 at 4:32 PM
Hey, if it's from that trendy feeding trough for Appeasing cockroaches, it must be credible.
You would think that ...
by I. Wraunick Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 9:40 AM
that the U.S. military got their recruitment tactics from the Palestinian Authority. Lying to children to be cannon fodder, and all that ya know.
I'm just wondering what the whole big deal is. If you protest the war, protest the war. As far as protesting people joining the military, the last time I checked, 18 year olds are adults who make their own decisions...they decide what colleges they go to, where they're going to live, if they're working straight out of college, etc. Nobody has a hissy fit over that. When I was in senior year of college, a recruiter called me up. I'm pretty much a liberal, but I try to avoid knee-jerk reactions, so, I just said, "Sorry, my plans are set. I've no interest in joining the militay." (or something along those lines), and the guy thanked me for my time and I was never bothered again. (Oh, I did get a college recruitment package from USMA, and about 75 other colleges...colleges have access to your info unless you specifically request that they don't...same with military).
What I find even more intriguing is that people make a HUGE deal about how people are possibly going to die if they make the choice tojoin the army, and we shouldn't let young people make that decision; yet, the chances of a young adult dying while driving his/her own car are much greater than a military death, and we let 16 year olds have that privilege.
Finally, if a recruiter *is* found of impropriety, they do get into trouble. Just look at the numbers of recruiters who ARE being investigated. There are so many rules about what you can/can't say, when you can/can't meet people (so there are no "harrassment" charges), etc.
I'm completely against this war, but a recruiting table isn't the place to protest it...If you know any people in the military, I think you will soon get a sense of what it really is...And, for the record, those "killers" were some of those troops who were also sent in after Katrina and Rita to help with search and rescue, so, I don't think you can just see it as "all military is bad, all protesters are good".
There's my two cents. I do reserve the right to amend this as I see fit. :-)
by Kate Monday, Oct. 03, 2005 at 6:20 AM
The proplem is that the majority of people who join the army do so because they are not, quote 'set'. A vast number of people who join the army in the United States are poor or from a minority population. They go into the army because that is the only path open to creating a better future. Of course, when it comes down to it, it is ultimately thier choice. It is, however, quite a shame that further education, a 'future' and all the stuff that comes with it is so expensive and hard to get for some people that many need to join the military. I personally have friends that joined the military just so they could go to college on the GI bill. Instead of making people agree to potentially give up thier lives, and thier futures, to actually have a better life and future, why don't we create other routes for people to take that doesn't involve guns, killing, or being emotionally and physically scarred and traumatised. You should be so thankful that when a recruitment officer called you, you had the good fortune to tell them no.
You are so right Kate
by Liberal Monday, Oct. 03, 2005 at 8:23 AM
Minorities are more vulnerable and have not been given the skills necessary to fully consider the risks and implications of their life decisions. Most white 18 year olds are better situated to comprehend these matters. If we do not rise up to protect the vulnerable and less capable, no one will.
by Joe Friday, Nov. 03, 2006 at 7:20 AM
I think that you should all be ashamed of what you did. They are not forcing you to sign up. If you think it's wrong then don't sign up. But what you are doing is disrespecting our troops in Iraq. That is flat out wrong. Maybe you should be sent to Iraq and see what it's like, then maybe you will thank them instead of hate them. Yes I know recruiters will lie, but we all lie some time or another. Face it!
by Let's hear it, Joe Saturday, Nov. 04, 2006 at 4:01 AM
I'm waiting with baited breath to read how "what you are doing is disrespecting our troops in Iraq" and why "you will thank them". Please, please respond; this ought to be good.
they just can't think for them selves
by Liberal Sunday, Nov. 05, 2006 at 2:56 PM
Minorities are more vulnerable and have not been given the skills necessary to fully consider the risks and implications of their life decisions. that's why we have to do the thinking for them