Code Pink Protests 'Pro-War Propaganda' Toys

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - Along with the many seasonal clashes over the display of Christmas trees and religious items, there are disputes over the sale of toys like the G.I. Joe action figure and squirt guns, which the anti-war group Code Pink believes are inappropriate.

Code Pink attracted attention earlier this year for its anti-war protests outside the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Now, the group is encouraging its members to protest outside stores that sell "war toys." Such items, according to the Code Pink website, "prey on our children with pro-war propaganda disguised as innocent toys."

Code Pink spokeswoman Jodie Evans told Cybercast News Service that the group was targeting violent video games, toy guns, other make-believe weapons and anything "that encourages violence."

The group provides activists with sticker designs that look like official warning labels and encourages them to place the stickers on toy boxes. "Surgeon General's Warning," one reads, "Violent Toys = Violent Boys."

Another of Code Pink's tactics is to buy up the violent toys and immediately return them to customer service desks, in order to "create long complaint lines, showing other customers (and hopefully you've called the media) why war toys are bad," according to the group's online action guide.

Evans said the group has not received complaints about the shopping disruptions. "When we're doing our actions outside, people -- the moms and dads -- are really supportive," she said. "It doesn't disrupt anybody's shopping."

Code Pink also distributes rewritten holiday songs that attack the war in Iraq, various members of the Bush administration, and what it deems to be violent toys. One song, to the tune of "Jingle Bells," contains these words:

Little kids will learn by what their parents do,
So when you buy their toys, it's really up to you ...
If you buy them guns, you teach them how to kill,
But violence is not a game and we have had our fill.

Evans said she doesn't know of any studies connecting violent toys to violent boys, but added that "you can extrapolate that when you're taught that that's okay and when those things are given to you, it encourages and indoctrinates a behavior that doesn't necessarily have to be there."

A spokesman for Hasbro, which makes G.I. Joe, Small Soldiers, and Super Soakers toys, did not return calls requesting comment for this article.

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