We, along with Iraq Veterans Against The War participated in a demonstration depicting a house raid scenario in the Highsmith University Union at UNCA Tuesday afternoon. This was in response to Military Recruiters coming to our campus.
(credit: John Fletcher)
More pictures from the Citizen Times can be found here.
We also have some footage that can be seen here:
Joint Statement on Counter-Recruitment Action of Tuesday Feb 5th, 2008
The members of UNC-Asheville Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Asheville chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) oppose the unjust and immoral war being waged by the U.S. government against the people of Iraq. We oppose this war for many reasons. In particular, we oppose the war because it violates the sovereignty of Iraq’s people and their national right to self-determination. Furthermore, the U.S. government forces service members to fight an illegal war. We recognize that the military-industrial complex, corporate profiteering and imperialist designs fuel this war on an oil-rich and strategically important region.
In order to voice our opposition, UNCA SDS and IVAW-Asheville chose to set up a counter-recruitment table across from the U.S. Marine Corps table. During this time, we staged a mock raid involving members of SDS and IVAW. Two IVAW members and two SDSers stormed the Student Union and seized three students playing the roles of Iraqi civilians. The “soldiers” were dressed in combat gear and the “civilians” were dressed in traditional Iraqi garb. The “soldiers” shouted commands (with profanity) to the “civilians” to get on the ground, forced them down, interrogated them, zip-tied their hands, placed sacks over their heads, and took them away. IVAW-Asheville president Jason Hurd said, “This scenario is based entirely in reality. It is based on the first-hand experience of Mike Robinson, a fellow IVAW member and participant in this action. I also spoke personally with many Iraqi citizens during my tour who explained that raids like this one occur daily in occupied Iraq.”
The guerrilla theater that took place on the 5th is in no way meant as an attack on individual military members, but rather as a statement against war and militarism as well as an indictment against the criminal regime here at home. Our government exploits U.S. soldiers who come predominantly from working-class and oppressed communities. Only the rich profit from this war. Therefore, we express solidarity with all U.S. service members; we see them as our natural allies in the fight against all oppression.
Unfortunately, we realize that our government trains military recruiters to use deception as a means to maintain America’s wars. For instance, military recruiters downplay the probability that new recruits will serve in combat. Furthermore, recruiters over-emphasize college money, job training, and other veterans benefits to gloss over every service member’s primary function: to fight and win America’s wars. Recruiters conveniently leave out details concerning combat service which may frighten potential recruits; instead, recruiters emphasize fun, travel and adventure.
In the real world, veterans age 20-24 are twice as likely as their peers to be unemployed. Only 5.6% of returning veterans use the college money available to them. On average, these funds only cover half the cost of public university tuition or one-fifth the cost at a private college. 75% of African Americans and 67% of Latinos experience racism while serving. 28% of women report being raped while in the service, and many rapes go completely unreported. Only 12% of males and 6% of females make use of skills they learn in the military. Finally, U.S. war veterans are twice as likely to kill themselves as ordinary civilians.
SDS and IVAW want all U.S. troops out of Iraq NOW! We realize the futility and criminality of this ongoing occupation and we see the correlation between high-levels of violence and U.S. presence in Iraq. SDS member and participant in Tuesday’s action, Angela Denio said, “This war is a complete injustice perpetrated against the people of Iraq. The anti-war movement must rise in solidarity with the Iraqi people and their just struggle for national liberation.” From this point forward, whenever any military recruiter sets foot on UNCA campus, SDS and IVAW-Asheville commit to countering their efforts by building a community movement that resists and disrupts war and militarism.
– UNCA SDS and IVAW-Asheville
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