'Military Recruiters Are Under Attack,' Group Says
July 7, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - Pro-troop advocates say anti-war protesters' attacks against U.S. military recruiters have intensified in the last few months and become a "growing trend."
"What ended up happening is that some of the groups ... got very frustrated that when the Democrats took control of Congress, that they felt [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi failed to deliver on the promise to cut funding for the war in Iraq," Joe Wierzbicki, spokesman for the pro-troop organization Move America Forward, told Cybercast News Service.
"They were left with no other choice but to cut the flow of bodies for the war," he said.
Wierzbicki added that there have been more than 50 incidents "where recruiting centers were either vandalized, protests were done specifically for the purposes of shutting them down, [or] in some instances they would go and occupy the offices to force the recruiting efforts to stop."
Wierzbicki noted other violent acts, such as the bombing of the Times Square recruiting center earlier this month.
"That was just one incident where something really bad actually happened," Wierzbicki said.
He further noted that an incendiary device was thrown at an armed forces recruiting center in Vestal, N.Y.; protesters threw bricks through a center's windows in Rockville, Md.; and protesters spread human feces throughout the offices of a center in Milwaukee, Wis.
Also, centers in San Jose, Calif., and Asheville, N.C., were set on fire; gunshots were fired at a center in Denver, Colo.; and a pipe bomb was planted at a center in St. Louis, Mo.
To call attention to these attacks, Move America Forward will be launching a 60-second television ad campaign to air on cable networks nationwide beginning March 19. Watch video
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, told Cybercast News Service that such violent acts are "terrible" and that her group does not support their use, although they are opposed to recruitment efforts. "I think there will be more protests at recruiting stations, but I don't think there will be violent actions like that," she said.
Code Pink led the most publicized opposition to recruitment efforts in Berkeley, Calif.
Benjamin said "counter-recruitment" efforts have been going on for years. "That means going to recruiting stations and passing out literature or going and doing protests inside recruiting stations," she said. "It's not new, but it's become intensified.
"The recruiters have had a hard time meeting their quotas, and so they've become much more aggressive, and they promise things they don't fulfill like career options, or they tell potential recruits that they won't be sent to Iraq," said Benjamin.
"They also go to the high schools, and they try to recruit kids who aren't even 18 years old," she said. "They have also been recruiting more in immigrant communities, promising people that they and their families will become legalized citizens. I would say the recruiters themselves have intensified their outreach. As a result, we've also intensified our efforts.
"We're trying to stop the war, and one of the ways to stop the war is to stop people from being recruited to fight in this war," said Benjamin. "We are also trying to stop young people from getting killed and potentially killing in a war that we don't support. Every young person we save from going into this military might very well be a life saved."
She noted that, "We're not against the troops, that's why we're so anxious for them to come home - because we love them, we support them, and we want them to be here protecting us at home."
"Attacks on military recruiting centers and on recruiters themselves are attacks on our troops." Wierzbicki said.
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