This week, Iraq war veterans and March Forward! members Ethan McCord and Michael Prysner are on a speaking tour to visit scores of working-class high schools in southern California to give students the truth about U.S. military service and the criminality of the wars abroad. The tour is being organized by Military Families Speak Out and other Orange County peace groups.
Veterans know too-well the clichéd statement we hear from new recruits as soon as we enter the military: “My recruiter lied to me.”
Military recruiters specifically target poor and oppressed communities with promises of a better life to lure youth into the military. With youth unemployment at a staggering rate and the cost of college tuition skyrocketing, recruiters are able to exploit economic hardship to convince those in need of jobs, health care and education to fight and die in Wall Street’s wars for profit and empire.
March Forward! is committed to building a fighting movement of active-duty troops and veterans against the U.S. war machine and for GI rights; but we also recognize the massive number of youth and dispossessed workers being funneled into the military to be killed, maimed, traumatized, and used as tools for the super-rich against our brothers and sisters around the world. We understand our obligation to counter the lies of the Pentagon’s military recruiters to both prevent more young people from being used as cannon fodder, and to make it as difficult as possible for the U.S. military to carry out its mission.
This is why we are spending a week of intensive counter-recruitment. California has by far the most number of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq. We will reach many hundreds of poor and working-class students this week with the truth.
We have been engaged in counter-recruitment work since our founding. We have also begun holding workshops for high school and college students, forming counter-recruitment groups to confront recruiters and kick them off of their campuses.