Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Anti-Empire Report by William Blum

"In America you can say anything you want — as long as it doesn't have any effect." - Paul Goodman

Progressive activists and writers continually bemoan the fact that the news they generate and the opinions they express are consistently ignored by the mainstream media, and thus kept from the masses of the American people. This disregard of progressive thought is tantamount to a definition of the mainstream media. It doesn't have to be a conspiracy; it's a matter of who owns the mainstream media and the type of journalists they hire — men and women who would like to keep their jobs; so it's more insidious than a conspiracy, it's what's built into the system, it's how the system works. The disregard of the progressive world is of course not total; at times some of that world makes too good copy to ignore, and, on rare occasions, progressive ideas, when they threaten to become very popular, have to be countered.

So it was with Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Here's Barry Gewen an editor at the New York Times Book Review, June 5, 2005 writing of Zinn's book and others like it:

There was a unifying vision, but it was simplistic. Since the victims and losers were good, it followed that the winners were bad. From the point of view of downtrodden blacks, America was racist; from the point of view of oppressed workers, it was exploitative; from the point of view of conquered Hispanics and Indians, it was imperialistic. There was much to condemn in American history, little or nothing to praise. ... Whereas the Europeans who arrived in the New World were genocidal predators, the Indians who were already there believed in sharing and hospitality (never mind the profound cultural differences that existed among them), and raped Africa was a continent overflowing with kindness and communalism (never mind the profound cultural differences that existed there).

One has to wonder whether Mr. Gewen thought that all the victims of the Holocaust were saintly and without profound cultural differences.

Prominent American historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. once said of Zinn: "I know he regards me as a dangerous reactionary. And I don't take him very seriously. He's a polemicist, not a historian."

In the obituaries that followed Zinn's death, this particular defamation was picked up around the world, from the New York Times, Washington Post, and the leading American wire services to the New Zealand Herald and Korea Times.

Regarding reactionaries and polemicists, it is worth noting that Mr. Schlesinger, as a top advisor to President John F. Kennedy, played a key role in the overthrow of Cheddi Jagan, the democratically-elected progressive prime minister of British Guiana (now Guyana). In 1990, at a conference in New York City, Schlesinger publicly apologized to Jagan, saying: "I felt badly about my role thirty years ago. I think a great injustice was done to Cheddi Jagan." 1 This is to Schlesinger's credit, although the fact that Jagan was present at the conference may have awakened his conscience after 30 years. Like virtually all the American historians of the period who were granted attention and respect by the mainstream media, Schlesinger was a cold warrior. Those like Zinn who questioned the basic suppositions of the Cold War abroad, and capitalism at home, were regarded as polemicists.

One of my favorite Howard Zinn quotes: "The chief problem in historical honesty is not outright lying. It is omission or de-emphasis of important data. The definition of 'important', of course, depends on one's values." 2 A People's History and his other writings can be seen as an attempt to make up for the omissions and under-emphases of America's dark side in American history books and media.

Haiti, Aristide, and ideology

It's a good thing the Haitian government did virtually nothing to help its people following the earthquake; otherwise it would have been condemned as "socialist" by Fox News, Sarah Palin, the teabaggers, and other right-thinking Americans. The last/only Haitian leader strongly committed to putting the welfare of the Haitian people before that of the domestic and international financial mafia was President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Being of a socialist persuasion, Aristide was, naturally, kept from power by the United States — twice; first by Bill Clinton, then by George W. Bush, the two men appointed by President Obama to head the earthquake relief effort. Naturally.

Aristide, a reformist priest, was elected to the presidency, then ousted in a military coup eight months later in 1991 by men on the CIA payroll. Ironically, the ousted president wound up in exile in the United States. In 1994 the Clinton White House found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend — because of all their rhetoric about "democracy" — that they supported the democratically-elected Aristide's return to power. After delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that after his term ended he would not remain in office to make up the time lost because of the coup; that he would not seek to help the poor at the expense of the rich, literally; and that he would stick closely to free-market economics. This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving starvation wages, literally. If Aristide had thoughts about breaking the agreement forced upon him, he had only to look out his window — US troops were stationed in Haiti for the remainder of his term. 3

On February 28, 2004, during the Bush administration, American military and diplomatic personnel arrived at the home of Aristide, who had been elected to the presidency once again in 2002, to inform him that his private American security agents must either leave immediately to return to the United States or fight and die; that the remaining 25 of the American security agents hired by the Haitian government, who were to arrive the next day, had been blocked by the United States from coming; that foreign and Haitian rebels were nearby, heavily armed, determined and ready to kill thousands of people in a bloodbath. Aristide was then pressured into signing a "letter of resignation" before being kidnaped and flown to exile in Africa by the United States. 4 The leaders and politicians of the world who pontificate endlessly about "democracy" and "self-determination" had virtually nothing to say about this breathtaking act of international thuggery. Indeed, France and Canada were active allies of the United States in pressing Aristide to leave. 5

And then US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in the sincerest voice he could muster, told the world that Aristide "was not kidnaped. We did not force him onto the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly. And that's the truth." 6 Powell sounded as sincere as he had sounded a year earlier when he gave the UN his now-famous detailed inventory of the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons that Saddam Hussein was preparing to use.

Howard Zinn is quoted above saying "The chief problem in historical honesty is not outright lying. It is omission or de-emphasis of important data." However, that doesn't mean the American mainstream media don't create or perpetuate myths. Here's the New York Times two months ago: "Mr. Aristide, who was overthrown during a 2004 rebellion ..." 7 Now what image does the word "rebellion" conjure up in your mind? The Haitian people rising up to throw off the shackles put on them by a dictatorship? Or something staged by the United States?

Aristide has stated that he was able to determine at that crucial moment that the "rebels" were white and foreign. 8 But even if they had been natives, why did Colin Powell not explain why the United States disbanded Aristide's personal security forces? Why did he not explain why the United States was not protecting Aristide from the rebels, which the US could have done with the greatest of ease, without so much as firing a single shot? Nor did he explain why Aristide would "willingly" give up his presidency.

The massive US military deployment to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake has been criticized in various quarters as more of an occupation than a relief mission, with the airport in the capital city now an American military base, and with American forces blocking various aid missions from entering the country in order, apparently, to serve Washington's own logistical agenda. But the large military presence can also serve to facilitate two items on Washington's political agenda — preventing Haitians from trying to emigrate by sea to the United States and keeping a lid on the numerous supporters of Aristide lest they threaten to take power once again.

That which can not be spoken

"The purpose of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction," writes Fareed Zakaria, a leading American foreign-policy pundit, editor of Newsweek magazine's international edition, and Washington Post columnist, referring to the "underwear bomber", Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and his failed attempt to blow up a US airliner on Christmas day. "Its real aim is not to kill the hundreds of people directly targeted but to sow fear in the rest of the population. Terrorism is an unusual military tactic in that it depends on the response of the onlookers. If we are not terrorized, then the attack didn't work. Alas, this one worked very well." 9

Is that not odd? That an individual would try to take the lives of hundreds of people, including his own, primarily to "provoke an overreaction", or to "sow fear"? Was there not any kind of deep-seated grievance or resentment with anything or anyone American being expressed? No perceived wrong he wished to make right? Nothing he sought to obtain revenge for? Why is the United States the most common target of terrorists? Such questions were not even hinted at in Zakaria's article.

At a White House press briefing concerning the same failed terrorist attack, conducted by Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan, veteran reporter Helen Thomas raised a question:

Thomas: "What is really lacking always for us is you don't give the motivation of why they want to do us harm. ... What is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why."

Brennan: "Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents. ... [They] attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that [they're] able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death."

Thomas: "And you're saying it's because of religion?"

Brennan: "I'm saying it's because of an al Qaeda organization that uses the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way."

Thomas: "Why?"

Brennan: "I think ... this is a long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland."

Thomas: "But you haven't explained why." 10

American officials rarely even make the attempt to explain why. And American journalists rarely press them to explain why; certainly not like Helen Thomas does.

And just what is it that has such difficulty crossing the lips of these officials? It is the idea that anti-American terrorists become anti-American terrorists to retaliate for what the United States has done to countries or people close to them or what Israel has done to them with unequivocal American support.

Osama bin Laden, in an audiotape, also commented about Abdulmutallab: "The message we wanted you to receive through him is that America shall not dream about security until we witness it in Palestine." 11

We have as well the recent case of Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian doctor-turned-suicide bomber, who killed seven CIA employees at a base in Afghanistan December 30. His widow later declared: "I am proud of him. ... My husband did this against the U.S. invasion." Balawi himself had written on the Internet: "I have never wished to be in Gaza, but now I wish to be a ... car bomb that takes the lives of the biggest number of Jews to hell." 12

It should be noted that the CIA base attacked by Balawi was heavily involved in the selection of targets for the Agency's remote-controlled aircraft along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a program that killed more than 300 people in the previous year. 13

There are numerous examples of terrorists citing American policies as the prime motivation behind their acts 14, so many that American officials, when discussing the newest terrorist attack, have to tread carefully to avoid mentioning the role of US foreign policy; and journalists typically fail to bring this point home to their reader's consciousness.

It works the same all over the world. In the period of the 1950s to the 1980s in Latin America, in response to a long string of hateful Washington policies, there were countless acts of terrorism against US diplomatic and military targets as well as the offices of US corporations.

The US bombing, invasion, occupation and torture in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bombing of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and the continuing Israeli-US genocide against the Palestinians have created an army of new anti-American terrorists. We'll be hearing from them for a terribly long time. And we'll be hearing American officials twist themselves into intellectual and moral knots as they try to avoid confronting these facts.

In his "State of the Union" address on January 27, President Obama said: "But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know." Well, ending America's many wars would free up enough money to do anything a rational, humane society would want to do. Eliminating the military budget would pay for free medical care for everyone. Free university education for everyone. Creating a government public works project that could provide millions of decently-paid jobs, like repairing the decrepit infrastructure and healing the environment to the best of our ability. You can add your own favorite projects. All covered, just by ending the damn wars. Imagine that.


  1. The Nation, June 4, 1990, pp.763-4
  2. "Failure to Quit: Reflections of an Optimistic Historian" (1993), p.30
  4. Statement of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, March 5, 2004, from exile in the Central African Republic, Pacific News Service (San Francisco); David Swanson, "What Bush Did to Haiti", January 18, 2010; William Blum, "Rogue State", pp.219-20)
  5. Miami Herald, March 1, 2004
  6. CNN, March 1, 2004
  7. New York Times, November 27, 2009
  8. Aristide statement, op. cit.
  9. Newsweek, January 18, 2010, online January 9
  10. White House press briefing, January 7, 2010
  11. ABC News, January 25, 2010
  12. Associated Press, January 7, 2010
  13. Washington Post, January 1, 2010
  14. Rogue State, chapter 1, "Why do terrorists keep picking on the United States?"; this chapter ends in 2005; some later examples can be provided by the author.

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

To add yourself to this mailing list simply send an email to bblum6 [at] with "add" in the subject line. I'd like your name and city in the message, but that's optional. I ask for your city only in case I'll be speaking in your area.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

THE ROVING EYE Staring at the abyss By Pepe Escobar

TEJAKULA, north Bali - As far as precious little corners of paradise in Southeast Asia go, one could hardly ask for more. An isolated octagonal house with a beautiful garden, owned by a retired couple from California, facing a volcanic rock beach to the north of the tropical island of Bali, with the only locals being fishermen who at night set out on a junkuh - the elegant, wooden predecessor of the catamaran - to scour the calm, warm waters for tuna and barracuda.

The night is mostly pitch black - courtesy of punctual power shortages from the grid in distant Java. The sound is the usual, cacophonous tropical jungle "silence" - deafened by the inevitable daily storm. There's not much to do except sit at the seaside bale, pinpoint the kerosene lamps identifying the junkuh, and stare at the Bali sea.

But this being Bali, where everything is a matter of sekala and niskala, soon I saw myself staring at the abyss.

Sekala is the fabulous, fascinating Balinese world of ritual, ceremony, dance, drama and endless daily offerings to the spirit world. But the real action is in niskala - the occult, the magic underlining it all. In Bali definitely what you see is not what you get.

So while staring at the sea I was actually thinking about the late, great Howard Zinn, American historian, author and activist who died on January 27 this year, and his take on this sorry world of non-stop war and infinite injustice; Zinn asked how can we "stay socially engaged", committed to a struggle for justice and truth, and still keep our sanity and not become resigned or cynical, or turn into a vegetable, or totally burn out.

Did I miss much while staring at the Bali sea? Oh, the usual shop of horrors. The ghost of Osama bin Laden released a new audio hit blasting the US for global warming and inciting everyone to dump the US dollar (the ghost is right on both counts). Pakistani Taliban supremo Hakeemullah Mehsud may or may not have been blasted to bits by a US drone (who cares? His replacement is already in business). US President Barack Obama's surge duly proceeds as a Kill Bill-style killing spree on both sides of the AfPak border. The Central Intelligence Agency swears al-Qaeda will try another hit inside the US within the next six months. There was a corporate takeover of American democracy (so why not "elect" US politicians by auction, once and for all?) and neo-cons are now rehashing the mantra "Bomb, Bomb Iran" as the only way for Obama to save his presidency.

So the moment I laid my eyes on the Internet, borrowing the satellite dish signal of my neighbor Hans, a Dutch architect who wisely said bye-bye to cranky, fearful, priced-out and reactionary Europe - the Bali sea instantly vanished. It was not only a matter of niskala taking over sekala. It was a matter of being sucked back into the realm of the hungry ghosts - and all that's left in this case is the abyss, as in the Pentagon's "long war".

Ghosts in regalia
Last weekend, the Pentagon told the Obama administration to tell the whole of US media that it was stepping up its war machine (from extra Patriot missile batteries in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to Aegis-class cruisers on permanent patrol) against possible missile attacks by Iran on those helpless peons to democracy - the Arab Gulf petro-monarchies.

The operative word is "possible". Former president George W Bush's preventive war ethos rules more than ever in Washington. It does not matter that the possibility of Tehran launching a first strike on any US Arab ally is as high as corporations not owning US democracy. And by the way, what happened to missile defense in Eastern Europe, also supposed to protect it from those same evil Tehran missiles?

So Pentagon logic now totally rules. The Pentagon assumes Iran will now prop up its own defenses. Thus the Pentagon may claim that Iran is "threatening its neighbors" - and deploy even more military might. It's the logic of an arms race, which Tehran obviously cannot keep up with, that may give the Pentagon the "defensive" excuse it's been waiting for, so one more war can be marketed to the battered US populace.

Pentagon hawks, always oblivious to internal political subtleties of "The Other" - the developing world enemy du jour - obviously ignore that for the regime in Tehran the key existential threat now is the internal opposition movement. The military dictatorship of the mullahtariat has better fish to fry than to launch a missile at Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure ever built.

The whole thing still qualifies as a tragicomedy when added to the fact that the Pentagon was forced to admit its attempt to shoot down a mimicked Iran ballistic missile miserably failed, courtesy of a "rogue" Raytheon radar.

To top it all, tragicomedy finally melts into farce as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "warns" China that it must support more sanctions against Iran - as if Beijing would agree to what amounts to an act of war against one of its key energy partners, especially after the Obama-approved US$6.4 billion arms sale to US client Taiwan, which includes 60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot missiles and advanced Harpoon missiles that can be used against land or ship targets, all of them obviously mainland Chinese.

The US Senate also approved a bill that would punish companies for exporting gasoline to Iran or helping Iran to expand its oil refining capability - by the way, this is another act of war. All these moves obviously have to be seen within the "grand chessboard" (copyright Dr Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US national security advisor ) of the New Great Game in Eurasia and the irreversible decline of the American empire/ascension of China. The Beijing collective leadership is not exactly quaking in their Ferragamos.

What does it take for Washington elites to realize that mini-acts of war simply won't intimidate a military dictatorship of the mullahtariat, which is now fighting internally for its own survival? President Mahmud Ahmadinejad himself - for all his outbursts - has been wily enough to defuse the whole nuclear issue, saying on Iranian state TV the country would have "no problem" to send its low-enriched uranium abroad at 3.5% for further enrichment at 20% and taking it back four or five months later, as dictated by the United Nations. This voids any possible rationale for an attack on Iran by the US, Israel, or both. But it does not mean the attack won't happen.

The Islamic regime's short-term strategy is to lump all internal opponents as lackeys of the US and Israel and at the same time beef up its already considerable prestige in the Arab street as well as around the Muslim world as resisters to American imperialism. Meanwhile, in the US, the Israel lobby, industrial-military hawks, the Republican right and corporate media will keep up relentless pressure on Obama to "act". The abyss scenario for 2010 reads like a crescendo series of Washington ultimatums against an already cornered military dictatorship of the mullahtariat. There can only be one terrible outcome; Tehran surrenders, or the dogs of war will be unleashed.

Barry does Indonesia
And all this is still part of a larger - warring - picture. This week, Pentagon supremo Robert Gates released two new key documents - the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR in Pentagon-speak), and the Pentagon's 2011 defense budget proposal, at a staggering $708.2 billion (plus a request for $3 billion to help pay for the AfPak war).

The QDR (one year in redaction, full support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) may have, at least in theory, finished off with Bush's pre-emptive war doctrine. But still it paints a Hieronymus Bosch-like picture of Hobbesian hell - including everything from suicide bombers attacking inside the US to waves of attacks against the worldwide US empire of bases, biological terrorist attacks and even Taiwan being attacked by - what else? - Chinese missiles.

The new arsenal of weapons Gates needs was immaculately described by a top Pentagon civilian strategist as "a broad portfolio of military capabilities with maximum versatility across the widest possible spectrum of conflict". Problem is, all those masses of supremely equipped American soldiers will still have no ground intelligence and won't be able to speak a single "hello" in a foreign language. So much for conquering the hearts and minds of the inscrutable “other”.

The hungry ghosts are having a ball. Early this week, the US launched Cobra Gold - its mega-military exercise in the Pacific in cooperation with allies Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia. The Pentagon, industrial-military and political elites, and their courtiers in the American corporate media would rather crave then abandon the mindset of a "long war" for global hegemony.

Obama will come to Indonesia next month to relive his "Little Barry" 1967-1971 Jakarta years and practice his Bahasa Indonesia vocabulary. It might do him some good to skip Java for a while and go Balinese. Maybe staring at the sea will make him see niskala - and prevent him from being permanently engulfed by the realm of the hungry ghosts.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Makings of a Police State-Part VI

A Nation of Suspects

Indeed, the interests of the oppressors lie in ‘changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which oppresses them‘- – Paulo Freire

The illegal domestic wiretapping of all Americans, the invasive search practices at every airport directed at every single US passenger, the compilation of all data on all citizens in not only one but multiple government databases, the unreasonable and warrantless search and seizure practiced on US masses facilitated arbitrarily by the FBI, are among many known and unknown government practices directed at the entire population of the United States of America.

SheepDespite the current futility, many constitutionalists, legalists, analysts, and activists are writing, talking, and arguing about the legality or illegality, constitutionality or unconstitutionality, practicality or impracticality, of these surveillance and search practices of our ‘National Security State.’ There is a plethora of material out there for you to read or listen to on those points, so there is no need for me to cover all that has been covered already; over and over. I am not going to discuss the tedious and ambiguous laws, nor am I going to waste time on the vague and irrelevant notion of and argument on security. No. I intend to focus on the subjects of these practices; the people; the masses, in fact, the entire population as the willing recipients who have come to view and accept themselves as suspects. Isn’t this what we have become; a nation of suspects?

No one any longer questions the fact that our government has been engaged in domestic surveillance of our communication systems. The news came out. The practitioners admitted to it, in fact, proudly. These activities were challenged in courts and the challenges overridden, thus making the legality or illegality, constitutionality or unconstitutionality, all irrelevant; moot. Several years have passed and it has become, it is, a fact of life; a fact in every American’s life. And for the majority, not a painful or aggravating fact of life; just ‘a fact’ of life. Why?

Many say ‘look, there are these bad guys out there called terrorists. The government is out there looking for them; everywhere. I ain’t doing nothin wrong, and I ain’t got nothin to hide. So why should I be concerned? My government is doing it to keep me, to keep us all, safe; to protect us against those bad terrorist people lurking here and there…’

If you were to ask most ‘but why do they tap your phone line and capture your data or conversation? You the good citizen?‘ The common answer would be along these lines, ‘I don’t know. They must know something. I don’t understand how intelligence and police stuff like this works. They must know something, if they think tapping my phone and listening to my conversation helps to fight terrorists and keep us safe…I just do my own thing and since I don’t have anything to hide it doesn’t bother me. They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do to protect us…’

Most of you know that the above dialogue is more or less what we get everywhere with almost everyone. I have had that exact same conversation with tens if not hundreds of people, and I can assure you that the above rendition is in no way exaggerated or downplayed. It is the general attitude. It is the common thought and response process. It is a fact of today’s life expressed by today’s people in our country. And to recognize these common beliefs, to draw the most logical conclusion, takes neither a genius nor a philosopher nor a psychologist…But let’s move to the next related fact, and see that same logical conclusion.

Starting immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks, we began to see, and of course become subject to, jacked up security check points and searches in our airports. First, they already had us all going through big complex metal detectors. Then, they had us do the same thing but remove our belts and other metal containing garments and belongings. Then, they had us bend over like servants before kings, remove our shoes, and humbly walk barefoot through the big complex metal detectors. After that, they prohibited us from carrying our drinking water or any other liquid, and they made our lactating women open up their stored breast milk and sip it before the eyes of the traveling masses passing by…

Meanwhile we learned of their massive databases on fliers, where over one million people were divided into no fly lists, almost no fly lists, and maybe no fly lists, with further division into high-risk fliers, medium-risk fliers, and low-risk fliers…But, despite all these massive, complex and secret multiple lists and databases, we all had to go through those same detectors, with no shoes, no liquids, supposed random but all too frequent pat downs…So we never understood the rationale for having all those lists and databases anyway. No worries. We, most of us, said, ‘we may not understand, it may not make the slightest sense, it can defy all logic…but that doesn’t matter. The government must know things we don’t, and they are protecting us against the big bad terrorists…’ So we went on, kept putting up.

Recently, they said all those practices were not nearly enough, so they’ve been erecting body-scanner temples at security checkpoints, and asking us to step in them to be viewed naked-breasts, penises, arses and all. To be technically correct, they are not forcing us to go through the scanners; in fact, they are giving us options:

-You either step in the scanners and let us view you, all your private parts naked, or,

-You go through grabbing, groping, patting, and worse one-on-one searches.

They have been proudly justifying these invasive procedures by presenting them as reasonable options for people to choose from. Think of a rapist saying the following in court:

But I gave her a choice, and I made it clear. I said you either submit willfully and quietly while I rape you, or, you can fight and I’ll beat the hell out of you while I’m raping you….

We’ve been complying with all that. We get to the checkpoints, and as one woman told me:

I just go into this auto pilot mode. I remove my shoes and other items. I move forward towards the screening machine while looking into empty space and avoiding any eye contact. I step in there, slightly spread my arms and legs, pause, and step out on the other side. I then let out a deep breath for making it, without sounding off any alarm bells, and without having to be touched, groped and patted everywhere…Then I walk away quickly and try to wipe away all the memories of those long minutes…It’s the best way to deal with these things…

Again, this sounds very familiar. Just read through documented victim accounts on dealing with highly traumatic experiences. I used to read about and listen to such victims. A woman telling the story of being molested and raped by her father:

I used to pretend not being there…you know, almost like an out of body experience. He’d quietly come to my room, his breath reeking with alcohol…I’d close my eyes when he pulled down my panties…I’d spread my legs, close my eyes, and imagine not being there…imagine it was not happening…It was quicker that way. He’d be done and gone. And I would go on trying to forget, pretending I forgot…trying to erase all the memories and the feeling of being violated…

Doesn’t it feel that way? Don’t we feel violated? Don’t we feel powerless? Doesn’t it feel like total submission to a force greater than any one of us, and obviously the total of all of us?

Think about it. Many elementary schools bring in law enforcement or psychology experts to educate our children about abduction, molestation, rape, etc. One of the things they try to teach our children, in simple and easy to understand language, has to do with recognizing ‘danger’ or ‘criminal’ or ‘wrong’ behavior, approaches, and requests, and to say ‘no,’ or walk away from predators who initiate them. One of the main things they teach:

It is not right or good if people, even friends and family, ask to see your private parts. That’s why we call them ‘private parts.’ They are private. We say ‘no’ if someone asks us to see our private parts. We don’t let people touch our private parts. We run and report to our parents if someone tries to touch our private parts. It is not right. No one should be asking you, or do to you, things like that…

Now, with all the transportation procedures, security screening rules, shouldn’t they add a qualifier to above lecture-training points? Something like:

It is not right or good if people, even friends and family, ask to see your private parts. That’s why we call them ‘private parts.’ … We say ‘no’ if someone asks us to see our private parts. We don’t let people touch our private parts… However, if it’s TSA screeners at the airports, if it’s the security police in front of the congressional building, if it’s the …then all bets are off. You have to let them do whatever they ask you to do. It is okay for TSA men and women to see your private parts. It is perfectly okay, if they pick you for random additional search, and touch your private parts; grope, pat your private body parts. Then, it is okay.

Let’s use common sense here my friends. When put in writing it may sound disgusting or outrageous to some of you, but isn’t it true? Don’t they view us and our children, and all our private parts with their new body-scanner temples? Don’t they give us a thorough pat down, everywhere, including our private parts when we say no to their temples, or, when we become the chosen random one for one-on-one pat down?

What will you tell your kids when they say, ‘But daddy, they told us at school not to let people touch us down there! How come this guy is touching me here?’ No, you tell me, what will you tell your kid when he or she innocently, but far more rationally, asks you that question?!

Now let’s go back to our submission to total surveillance in the name of vague and irrational security. Most people I know, in fact everyone I know in this country, has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Even with our spouses we adhere to respected privacy ethics. You certainly would not like or tolerate it if your partner were to go through your private mail, open and read it. No matter how innocent, worthless or trivial the content of the envelopes. You would be livid to find out your partner has discovered your password to your personal e-mail accounts, and has been reading your correspondence with others. No matter how innocent or unimportant the nature of those communications. You would be outraged if your spouse picked up the phone upstairs and listened in to your conversation with a friend. No matter what the nature or importance of that particular call. Then how is it that all these expectations of privacy, the sense of being violated when that privacy is invaded, and the swift and firm response to these violations, all go out the window when the violators happen to be total strangers hidden in secret castles of our government?

Somehow the same justification, ‘Oh, I’m not doing anything wrong, and I don’t have anything to hide…’ does not wash away the justified feeling of being violated. For some reason, lines like ‘he/she was doing it for my own good, to protect me better, or, to just make sure I wasn’t engaged in anything nefarious or dangerous…’ would seem utterly irrational or stupid. Yet, we’ve been practicing this irrational distinction with far more outrageous violations of privacy inflicted upon us on a daily basis, and by those we don’t even know – to know the extent of the damages they may be able to bring down upon our lives.

When did we make these decisions? When did we decide to put in place and live by these distinctions? When did unreasonable search practices somehow come to be accepted as reasonable? When did we accept being watched, being searched and patted down, being treated, and simply living as suspects?

Whether it’s carrying out a conversation over the phone, whether it’s writing a quick e-mail to a colleague, whether it’s flying home to Milwaukee to see your grandmother for one last time, we, every single one of us, are being listened to, watched and read, and invasively searched as suspects. No matter how clean our background and criminal history, no matter how virtuous our daily lives and conduct, no matter how exemplary our citizenry…no matter; we are all suspects.

Are we witnessing our transformation into Orwellian masses? Because these incremental applications of indiscriminate government surveillance and warrantless-reasonless searches and seizure targeting the entire population, are geared to desensitize, degrade, and ultimately and inevitably, to dehumanize us all.

One of the notions we once tried to live by and be proud of was ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Now, it seems we are all guilty until…well, until the end of time? Until the end of the last terrorist on earth has been announced? Until we say enough is enough and stand up for our own rights, privacy, dignity, and freedom?

Here is an excerpt from an article published in 2005:

Metro police officers are using new behavioral profiling techniques as they patrol subway stations, identifying suspicious riders and pulling them aside for questioning.

The officers are targeting people who avoid eye contact, loiter or appear to be looking around transit stations more than other passengers, officials said. Anyone identified as suspicious will be stopped and questioned about what they are doing and where they are going.

As part of their preparations for tighter security during the presidential inauguration, the officers have been trained by the Transportation Security Administration to take notice of the same behavioral characteristics and patterns that airport security officials watch for.

Orwellian, isn’t it?

It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face … was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime …- – George Orwell

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McChrystal & Pelosi - What does torture say about us; and what does what we say about torture say about us?

May 14, 2009

a ramble

Yesterday, I was loading salvaged warehouse shelf uprights onto a truck at Cary Towne Center, a mall in Cary, North Carolina. Across the road in the parking lot, I scanned the bumper stickers on a silver Toyota RAV4 L, license plate XZF-7063 (North Carolina). A Ranger Tab. A Combat Infantryman's Badge (CIB). Military parachutist wings.

This told me that the owner of the car was a male in the Army infantry, that he was in a theater of combat as an infantryman, that he had successfully completed the Airborne Course in Fort Benning, Georgia, and another sticker I later discovered on the front window indicated that he had served with the 82nd Airborne Division, an airborne infantry division based in Fort Bragg, NC.

Below the 201-file, I see a smaller, white sticker with a whole phrase. I walk over to the car to read it.

"You never forget your first KILL."

Like that, with the word "kill" in all-cap.

Finally, down near the Toyota icon on the hatchback, I see a fish with JESUS printed inside it.

That same morning, my project manager asked me if I had ever heard of General Stanley McChrystal. I had, I told him -- in conjunction with the investigation into the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman in 2004... why did he ask? Because, Joel (my boss) told me, he's being nominated to be the overall commander for Afghanistan.

So I had been mulling over this thing, and then I had talked on the phone with "Dannie" Tillman, Pat Tillman's mom, who was incensed that this guy had been caught red-handed in the cover-up of thee circumstances of her son's death, and then on top of it all I see this array of macho military-cultural bumper stickers alongside the name of Jesus (a gender-subversive pacifist), and about a million alarm bells went off at once.

One can't be sure where to start in unpacking what people need to know about this guy -- Stanley McChrystal, the military-culture that is refracted in his personhood, and the peculiar institutional ecology of that military.

I don't know Stanley McChrystal. I came in the Army a couple of years before him. We are both named Stanley. We were both in Special Operations. He was an officer; I was enlisted. We both served in A Company 2nd Ranger Battalion, in 75th Ranger Regiment, in 7th Special Forces, and he commanded the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) of which was in a constituent unit once. Nonetheless, neither of us ever served in these units at the same time. A Company 2nd Ranger Battalion was also Pat Tillman's company when he was killed in April 2004. So I don't know Stanley McChrystal, and all I can say about him specifically is based on stuff that I've read. But I can say some things that don't require detailed knowledge of McChrystal's whereabouts and activities at any given time. Because I am familiar with the ways that military culture is reflected in the individuals who are part of that culture.

We'll get to McChrystal in a moment. The Killer's Toyota, the call from Dannie, the whole McChrystal thing... these all made me feel restless. The real kicker is that Obama will probably support this guy; and this at the same time that Obama just placed himself between the ACLU and a bunch of torture photographs from places just like the ones that McChrystal developed and commanded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This evening, as I'm driving home from work, I hear on the radio that Nancy Pelosi has been forced to respond to questions about what she knew subsequent to briefings in 2002 about "enhanced interrogations." From today's story by Paul Kane in the Washington Post:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today accused the CIA of "misleading" her on the use of harsh interrogation techniques in the fall of 2002, acknowledging for the first time publicly she knew alleged terrorist detainees were subjected to waterboarding more than six years ago.

Pelosi called for the CIA to release detailed portions of her own September 2002 briefing about interrogation techniques, saying that at that time she was told the CIA was not waterboarding detainees. After weeks of sticking to prior statements that she then was never "briefed" about waterboarding's use, Pelosi today said her top security adviser was part of a briefing in February 2003 in which he learned interrogators were waterboarding terrorists.

Let's combine that quote with another one:













That was a P-4 ("personal for") Memo from General McChrystal passing along to POTUS (President of the United States) that the phony-baloney story about the circumstances of Pat Tillman's death [1] [2] [3] could not hold up. The memo was sent less than a week after Pat was killed; and when you read it carefully -- if you can understand this bastardized legal-military-publcity-speak -- it says not only that the author had been involved in the concealment of the circumstances, that he had himself participated in the fraud as one of the approving-signatories for a Silver Star award with demonstrably false statements about the incident.

McChrystal surely knew Rumsfeld personally; and according to one Rumsfeld biographer, Rummy's greatest talent was getting away with shit. Not getting caught was an art form for Rumsfeld. Working for a guy like that, you have to stay on your toes, because someone will get sacrificed when someone who gets away with shit all the time suddenly doesn't.

The Tillman case came into public consciousness alongside the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib. Rummy was busy those days, so the guys on the scene had to handle a few things themselves.

If I had been McChrystal, I'd have known by April 29th 2004 (the day of this memo) that an entire battalion of Rangers were due to rotate back to the States in four weeks. I'd have also known -- as a matter of some urgency -- that virtually every member of 2nd Ranger Battalion knew that Pat Tillman was killed by fratricide. Hundreds of Rangers were about to return to Tacoma, Washington, where they would talk to each other, to their families and friends, and to people in the bars where Rangers drink to "blow off steam."

If I had been Stanley McChrystal then, I'd have seen some hand writing on the wall; and I'd have constructed the most carefully worded memo I could to cover my own ass.

That's what you can read above, in that memo. And hey, Rumsfeld is gone; and McChrystal is on the rise.

Canny dude.

This is not the story I have to tell right now, but it's an important preface. Dannie herself has written a fine book on her own dogged investigations of the Department of Defense, and of her direct encounter with executive power. Boots on the Ground by Dusk, by Mary Tillman (with Narda Zacchino). Time to get that one out and read up before the Senate meets to give their blessing to Stanley McChrystal as the new dominant Militia Chief of Afghanistan.

I said "executive power," not Bush. Be clear.

Obama is cautious and fearful of being torpedoed by the military-paramilitary-clandestine services network. That's tactical. And that caution will cost him dearly.

But he's also Chief Executive.

Executives are loathe to surrender even a scrap of accumulated executive power.

Bush took the country into a debacle Iraq.

Obama has his sights on Pakistan -- nuclear Cambodia, for Vietnam-analogy fans -- and the nomination of McChrystal means that Special Operations will run the show (as they did in the early phases of Vietnam).

A simple truth that "leaders" never seem to get. Our actions have tremendous influences; and most of those influences are beyond our control. Instead they just keep on with their insane, grandiose, and lethal meddling.

New Rule: Strive to limit your influence to your actual capacity to control.

We all have a notion of the geostrategic influences. But this public discussion of torture has become so surreal (en-fucking-hanced! interrogation techniques! Sheesh!), and here is this man McChrystal who ran torture camps in Iraq (Did I forget to mention that earlier?) who is about to prepare the military infiltration from Afghanistan into Pakistan... nuclear South Asia. (Bad idea, O! Bad bad bad idea.)

That's what Stanley McChrystal is being hired for if the Senate confirms. It will; and the cowardice inhering in the institution of Congress will be on full display... just as it was when Nanci Pelosi et al were banging the war drums out of abject fear for their careers.

And this man -- McChrystal -- represents a culture. The gunfighter culture of Special Operations.

There's a great deal more than gunfighting to that culture -- the culture of Special Operations embedded within the larger culture of the Army. Gunfighting is the practical skill that "operators" learn in direct actions Special Ops units. There were times during my stint with Delta when each one of us in my unit were -- on average -- firing a thousand rounds of ammunition in a day, and not on full automatic spraying down a range, but reaching for precision and speed at close range and from afar. Fighting with guns is a skill constellation, a form of practical mastery.

Cultures also include language, non-lingusitic signs, interpersonal norms, music, ideas, and so on. Practical training is just one aspect of culture; but it's an important one.

If I had trained as intensely to be a carpenter, and if I had become good at it, I would think about carpentering all the time, I would see carpenter's solutions to a lot of things, and I would carry that skill confidently around with me into my own future. In tough times, even if I had a nice cushy desk job for a few years, I could fall back on being a carpenter.

Same thing is true for a gunfighter. There are thousands of these men out there now, who received a very expensive and well-drilled education in gunfighting. When times get tough, they will fall back on what they know.

Now along with gunfighting, these special operators can also acquire other skills. I was a Special Forces medic for a while. I knew how to suture lacerations, pull teeth, deliver babies, count blood cells under a microscope, splint fractured femurs, get rid of belly-worms, and so on. If the stars had aligned at the right time, I might have become a nurse; and the gunfighting would no longer be needed. Other guys learn to operate radios and build antennae, handle explosives, do construction, or identify, operate, and repair small arms.

But we never quit rehearsing -- even when we want to -- how to kill with guns.

Gunfighting requires training the mind to compartmentalize, to focus on everyone as potential adversaries, to quickly check the hands of potential adversaries for lethal weapons, and to refelxively respond to the presence of weapons by rapidly shooting two rounds into the chest of the identified adversary, followed by one shot to the head if necessary... then immediately return to observing one's sector.

This kind of extreme, detached instrumentality is part of the psycho-cultural commons in Special Operations; and that's how McChrystal can -- and must -- be read. He can and will objectify-to-kill individuals and groups of human beings... on command. His brain is compartmentalized.

As an officer in the Army, he is part of the cannibal-culture of commissioned upward mobility. He'll not only seek out opportunities for slaughter as rungs in the ladder to success, he'll write memos that are the professional equivalent of shark repellent while his peers are being eaten.

Lieutenant General Philip Kensinger -- former Special Operations Command (SOCOM) commander -- got the symbolic punishment for the Pat Tillman cover-up-- a threat to reduce his rank before he retired which was quietly allowed to fade into no action at all. Kensinger survived. He's a consultant for the government now. But there is a credible rumor that his lawyer will oppose the nomination of Stanley McChrystal to head the Afghanistan theater of the US energy war.

Gunfighter. Shark-swimmer. Torture camp commander.

What cover-ups, like the Tillman case, and running torture camps have in common is that they are both manifestations of a culture of impunity -- "exemption from punishment or loss."

McChrystal ran Task Force 6-26, which became temporarily famous after the killing of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, a boogyman figure cultivated by the US military and media complex. What made TF 6-26 infamous was their activity in Camp Nama, Iraq: torture. Massive, systematic, sustained torture, by special operators, under the supervision of Stanley McChrystal, this deceptively soft-spoken officer.

The camp in Baghdad was used almost exclusively for the torture of detainees. The torture went on before, during, and after the scandal at Abu Ghraib. Detainees were killed by their torturers, members of the most elite units in the US armed forces. Almost in celebration of the activity of the camp, placards were hung that said, "No Blood, No Foul," meaning if you don't make them bleed, you can't be charged with the crimes you are committing.

Impunity. McChrystal represents a culture of impunity.

Pelosi does, too. Be honest.

I keep coming back to that idea that culture, personhood, and nature are all reciprocally influenced. What kinds of persons will emerge from a culture of impunity, a culture of gunfighting, a culture of the most extreme kind of probative masculinity? (The big picture of Zarqawi, dead, that hung behind the Pentagon briefers after McChrystal's unit directed the airstrike that killed him, was a hunting trophy... male proof of conquest.)

Here's where I get to the evolution of Special Ops culture, and of military culture generally, and the bumper stickers on the car at a Cary mall suggesting a weaponized Jesus.

The reports of abuses inside Camp Nama were said to have outraged even seasoned CIA, FBI and DIA investigators accustomed to dealing with non-cooperative and hostile detainees, and to have provoked a culture clash between agencies and groups involved with the facility. By early 2004, one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's top aides, Under-Secretary for Defense Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone, ordered a subordinate, DIA head Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby to "get to the bottom" of any misconduct [an order for public consumption in the wake of serial scandals, since Cambone was himself am early torture advocate].

By June 25, 2004, Admiral Jacoby wrote a two-page memo to Cambone, in which he described a series of complaints, including a May 2004 incident in which a DIA interrogator said he witnessed task force soldiers punch a detainee hard enough to require medical help. The DIA officer took photos of the injuries, but a supervisor confiscated them, the memo said. The memo provoked an angry reaction from Mr. Cambone. "Get to the bottom of this immediately. This is not acceptable," Mr. Cambone said in a handwritten note on June 26, 2004, to his top deputy, Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin. "In particular, I want to know if this is part of a pattern of behavior by TF 6-26."

According to the NYT article, General Boykin had earlier said (on March 17) through a spokesman that he told Mr. Cambone he had found no pattern of misconduct with the task force. The article does not provide further detail on Boykin's response to the investigation after Cambone's and Jacoby's intervention in June, 2004. [from Wikipedia]

Boykin. Readers may not remember this guy, but when he was Deputy Commander of Delta, I was assigned there, where we we occasionally hectored into attending one of "Jerry" Boykin's "prayer breakfasts." Boykin is a weaponized Jesus advocate, a dispensationalist zealot who considers himself one of God's martial instruments in advance of the Rapture.

Now here is a strange and disturbing twist in the evolution of Special Ops culture. When I was there, some years back now, we were mostly reprobates -- hyper-profane macho drunks a lot of us -- with no time for religion. Over time, reports are indicating, the End Times Weaponized Jesus religion has gained a lot of ground in Special Operations and in the military generally. So now we are growing a culture wihtin the military that doesn't obey rules (impunity), that kills to prove masculinity, and that fuels bloodlust with a crackpot philosophy that tells them killing Arabs, et al, is a deliverance of God's justice.

If you believe that cultures mix, and sometimes badly, wait until we see the fruition of this hybrid of gunfighter practice with rapturite ideology.

Obama's support for McChrystal will be matched by Pelosi's support for McChrystal, and they will be mixed up in all this, seeking non-accountability as relentlessly as any Rumsfeld or McChrystal.

Stanley McChrystal is mixed up in all this, and not necessarily as a proselytizer. He's just mixed up in it, because this tendency in the military and his personal career happen to correspond in time and space. What both of them are is killers. They have made professional careers out of killing, and their units were not the little Special Forces A-Detachments with their peculiar linguists and trainers. These guys -- Boykin, McChrystal -- worked in "direct action" units. Rangers. Delta. JSOC. Direct action is another euphemism. It means destroying something, someone, someones.

Now it seems we are training a generation of people to torture; and I wonder if the crazy ideas are leading people to torture others, or if torturing others is the perverted origin of the penchant for male death-cult thinking.

The practice in question here, finally, is torture.

That's where Boykin and McChrystal collaborated in Iraq. A torture camp.

That's what has Pelosi on the spot now, too. Or the CIA. Or both.


What does torture say about us; and what does what we say about torture say about us?

RECRUITING CHILDREN INTO THE US MILITARY The Pentagon's Child Recruiting Strategy

Gary Evans, MD
June 2008

With many thanks to Rick Jahnkow, Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities.



The human family consists for the most part of wonderfully ordinary people, who work hard to care for themselves and their children. However, there are a few people who aspire to positions of power, and then work to use their authority to manipulate and control all the others.

This nation's teenage children are currently being tracked, targeted, and sometimes captured by a global dominance military-industrial-media complex under orders of an exceptionally callous neo-conservative group now in control of the US government. The people in power today systematically use armed services recruiters - motivated by rank and bonus - as the agents of control and manipulation of US youth.

Parents of teens and preteens are seldom aware of how their children are at increasing risk of being systematically targeted, manipulated into recruiter offices, and psychological remodeled for use within the war machine. Military planners, hungry for new recruits, commission psychological research and carefully read neuro-psychiatric literature as it pertains to adolescent behavior. They then apply that research information to their recruitment efforts that focus on the vulnerability of the teenage mind.

As the 9/11 wars continue and as the numbers of dead and disabled young men and women climb, public doubt about the purpose and direction of the conflict has evolved and grown. As a result, convincing new potential recruits to enlist has become an increasingly difficult task. The Pentagon addresses this recruitment problem by spending thousands of millions of our tax dollars on programs designed to deceive, seduce, and to capture our youth. Military recruiters have been granted full access to our children at home, at school, and wherever else they can be tracked. The Pentagon has invaded our movies, our televisions, and our minds, and has invited our children to play violent, and damaging video games while feeding them emotionally charged materials designed to manipulate and reformat them into replacement soldiers.



Ending the Draft

The Vietnam War was fought by a generation of young men whose teen experiences were distorted by a persistent and disruptive force - conscription. That constant threat helped fire the tremendous social unrest that attended those war years. As the war came to its painful end, Pentagon planners moved to eliminate future reliance on draftees. The recommendation was tendered and Congress agreed to end the draft, replacing it with an all volunteer armed services system.

Building and maintaining an all volunteer military during peacetime worked reasonably well. The process during war however, has proven to be problematic. After years of war and violent occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, public perception of military life has gradually soured. And, as civilian jobs - albeit low paying for many - continue to be available, the recruiting process has become increasingly difficult. The Pentagon has responded by offering, or giving the appearance of offering, a set of incentives to potential enlistees. Bait has since included cash and promises (frequently unfulfilled) of job training, educational funding, and future medical care.

Teenagers Increasingly Targeted

After recent Pentagon research revealed that the desire and intention to enlist is highest among younger recruits (six in ten current US soldiers entered the military as teenagers),[1,2,3] a level of subtlety, or rather subterfuge has been employed to guide teens toward recruiter offices. As one example of the many available: the US Army sponsors a website labeled "eCybermission." It offers "web-based science, math, and technology competition" for 11, 12 , and 13 year olds, and the services of on-line uniformed Army personnel "CyberGuides."[4]

Since 2002 the Pentagon has developed a massive teen database gleaned from sources, including records obtained via the "No Child Left Behind Act." That information is filed in JAMRS, the "Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies" system - a giant Pentagon run, privately subcontracted (Equifax) database containing contact and identification data on over thirty million 16-25 year olds.[5]

Plummeting Numbers / Plummeting Standards

Despite recent reports of an increasing rate of suicides among US troops,[6] and despite news reports of "stop-loss" troop recycling and declining troop moral, the Pentagon's recent recruiting and retention report for 2007[7] implies success. The facts underlying the statistics offered, however, tell a different story: "The number of wavers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds [125,000] has grown about 65 percent in the past three years...,"[8] and the percentage of minimally qualified recruits has quadrupled since 2002.[9]

Representative Martin T. Meechen, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight: "The data is crystal clear; our armed forces are under incredible strain, and the only way that they can fill their recent quotas is by lowering their standards."[8]

Recruitment Funding

Pentagon spending on recruitment has increased dramatically over the past few years, approaching $4 billion by 2003.[10] As of 2006, there were over 22,000 recruiters nationwide,[11] charged with signing up between 180,000 and 200,000 new active duty recruits,[10,11] and approximately 120,000 new reservists per year.[11] In 2000, the US House of Representatives determined that $6400 was being spent to sign up each marine,[12] and by 2005, the military spent approximately $16,000 in total promotional costs to enlist each new recruit.[11,13]

Despite the enormous sums spent attempting to maintain an all volunteer military during these times of growing anti-war sentiment, the armed forces have been unable to meet new recruit sign-up quotas. There is always a way, however, and here the balance sheets have been righted by dropping ballast, also known as "standards," and by implementing military contract fine-print: Executive Order #12728, dated 8/22/90 referring to US Code, Title 10, section 12305 and Title 3, section 301, better known as "Stop Loss," which allows troops to be returned to battlefields again by delaying their removal from active duty indefinitely. In this way, military statisticians have forced the claim that recruitment quotas are being fulfilled.[14]



Adolescence has long been recognized as a time when impulsive and risk-taking behaviors increase. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, learning to gauge risk with greater precision gradually proceeds. Modern neuroscience tools, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning techniques have now shown that adolescent stereotypic behavior is based on a phase of structural brain development.[15,16,17]

In a recent study,[15] multiple high-tech scans were collated over time, and were combined with serial assessments of neuro-developmental function. It was discovered that the adolescent brain exists as a structurally and functionally distinct entity from that found earlier in childhood, or later in adulthood. The adolescent brain develops structurally enlarged, but functionally immature prefrontal and limbic grey matter areas. Those structural features appear to result in a change in balance between limbic reward and prefrontal higher executive assessment functions, and helps to explain typical adolescent behaviors of increased novelty and sensation, or thrill-seeking on the one hand, and limited consequence analysis on the other. By the early twenties, as the structurally enlarged areas decrease to typically adult volumes, brain function settles into adult patterns. These changes are accompanied by recognized adult thought processes and behaviors.

It is during adolescence, when changes in brain structure and function result in the characteristic behaviors of that age, that teens are actively recruited toward and into the military. The techniques employed by military recruiters directly target the unique functional brain development characteristics of the adolescent; that targeting appears to be purposeful.[18,19]



"No Child Left Behind" - Section 9528

The Bush Administration wrote and signed into law the "No Child Left Behind Act," January 8, 2002,20 with subsequent reauthorization in 2007.[21] As is now widely known, included in the 670 pages of that voluminous act - within section 9528 - is a provision enabling military recruiters to access high school students' records, and to access the students themselves as they attend high-school campuses throughout the country. Students and/or their parents are offered the choice to "opt-out" of this demand, but they must actively do so, requiring of course, that they are first informed of this option. As will later be documented, this is often not the case. If school districts otherwise fail to provide military recruiters with the required information and access, millions of dollars in federal funding for that district can be cut.

Military recruiter manuals then provide guidance on how to maximize the effect of the law on targeted adolescents.[22] Here are a few examples of advice given to recruiters:

School Recruiting Program [SRP] Handbook (Excerpts)[22]

From section 1-4 c: "The objective of the SRP is to assist recruiters with programs and services so they can effectively penetrate the school market. The goal is school ownership that can only lead to a greater number of Army enlistments. Recruiters must first establish rapport in the schools. This is a basic step in the sales process and a prerequisite to an effective school program. Maintaining this rapport and establishing a good working relationship is next. Once educators are convinced recruiters have their students' best interests in mind the SRP can be effectively implemented."

From section 2-4: "Some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist."

And from section 5-1-f-4: "Don't forget the administrative staff.... Have something to give them (pen, calendar, cup, donuts, etc.) and always remember secretary's week, with a card or flowers."

Using computers fed with socioeconomic census data, past recruiting numbers, and other demographic information, recruiters target specific schools where students are less likely to go on to college and are more likely to sign up with the military.[23,24] Then, school yearbooks, newspapers, and any other pertinent local informational sources are scrutinized, allowing recruiters to simulate familiarity and interest in a few of the more popular kids on campus. As those kids are approached and befriended, others are attracted to the social bait and, seeking approval, gather 'round.

Once a student swims anywhere near the hook, recruiter anglers use every trick available.[11] Students are phoned and written to without end, and are offered visions of a virtual cornucopia of money, education, training, and adventure.[25,26,27] All responses are, of course, tracked.[28]

ASVAB "Realize your strengths. Realize your dreams."

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)[29] is a three hour test, offered to, and taken by nearly one million high school students every year. It is placed before them ostensibly as a helping hand - as a way to explore their potentials, and to guide them toward appropriate career choices. The offer and the test are scams.

Here is what the military tells the parents of teenage students in this confidence game:

"The ASVAB Career Exploration Program includes eight individual tests covering verbal and math skills, mechanical knowledge, electronics, and several other areas. It also produces three Career Exploration Scores for Verbal Skills, Math Skills, and Science and Technical Skills. These three scores serve as one of several pieces of information about your child that can aid in the exploration of a wide variety of career options."[30]

Recruiters, on the other hand, understand the ASVAB recruitment tool quite well. From the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, Policy and Programs Division, 2002 - Recruiting Manual:

"The ASVAB is used by the Armed Forces for recruiting purposes… The ASVAB's ability for determining civilian job skills has not yet been proven."[31]

Because the ASVAB is exempt from the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, students are given the test and information thereby gleaned is released to the military all without parental consent.[32] Furthermore, military recruiters are free, at the option of school administrators, to contact test takers - even if the student, or their parents opted-out of Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act.[27,32]

Exam information is then forwarded to the DoD JAMRS database for further analysis.[5,31]

The JAMRS Database

In 2002, the Pentagon joined forces with the corporate database industry and began gathering, organizing and analyzing personal information on the military's "market" of teens and their families. The Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies (JAMRS) database now includes the records of over thirty million US 16 - 25 year olds.[5]

As families soon discovered they were unable to control the records collected on them, an ACLU lawsuit was brought against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense David Chu, and JAMRS Program Manager Matt Boehmer in April 2006.[33] It was settled a few months later, and became effective January, 2007, specifying that families have the power to opt-out of the database.[34] To date, as both the database and the option to opt-out of it is known to only a handful of families, opt-in remains the rule.

A Department of Defense survey taken November 2004, found that "only 25 percent of parents would recommend military service to their children, down from 42 percent in August 2003."[35] The Pentagon responded with a media campaign featuring faux-parents and their faux-children discussing enlistment in a positive light.[36] In addition, the Pentagon tasked JAMRS with studying "influencers," - parents, teachers, clergy, and the like - in the hope of minimizing and/or neutralizing their interference.[5]


The "Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps" system was created through the National Defense Act of 1916. It offers high schools federal subsidies in the form of funding, equipment, and supplies,[37,38] which appear to be a good deal for cash-strapped school districts. In fact, this too good to be true deal turns out to be - just that. After a short time, schools discover they have ended up on the red side of the balance sheet - paying out more than they receive. Hidden costs include additional insurance coverage, new facilities construction and maintenance, a portion of JROTC instructors' salaries, benefits, taxes, etc. In short, school districts and the children they support are ripped-off by the program.[39]

In exchange for the faux-benefits offered, school districts must allow retired military personnel to act as instructors, and they must allow instructors to offer students a course of training that is authorized by the military, as opposed to local school boards.[37,38] Classes can be taught by either accredited or non-accredited instructors, and reading and study materials have been found to include racist versions of history, and which stress a military approach to social and political change.[37]

JROTC courses are now offered in over 3000 high schools as of June 2003,[40] and bend the minds of over 500,000 teenage children toward the military.[39] Former United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen described the JROTC program as: "one of the best recruitment programs we could have."[39] And, true enough, forty percent of those entering the program go on to enlist.[38]



Recruits and the Military Contract

A promise is a promise, unless it is offered by a military recruiter. After a recruit is promised the moon, they are asked to sign on the dotted line, most often missing the fine print:

"Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment/reenlistment document."[41]

In other words, recruits may be promised specific training and assignments, lofty jobs, or anything at all. The only contract made - despite any oral or written promise - is that the recruit will serve under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)[42] rather than under civilian Constitutional law until full and final discharge is allowed (sans "Stop-Loss"). Any other statements, assurances, or promises - written or otherwise, do not apply.

The Mirage of Jobs and College Funding

Congress and the Department of Defense have long understood that as civilian jobs and educational opportunities decline, the military option becomes more attractive to potential recruits. Military Recruiters - and a vast expanse of advertisement copy - hammer the idea home that joining the military and serving it for a few years will open to an oasis of educational and job opportunities. The oasis is a mirage.

A typical recruitment advertisement reads: "Join the Army and earn up to $70,000 for college."[27] The truth is, nearly all enlistees join the Montgomery GI Bill on entering the military, but only one in twenty qualify for the higher Army College Fund or Navy College Fund benefits.[43] In fact thirty percent of those joining the program receive nothing from it,[44] and the rest, nearly always receive only a fraction of the benefits promised.[43,45]


o In order to be allowed entry into any of the college fund programs, recruits must first pay $100 per month for the first twelve months of service. That $1200 is fully non-refundable.[44,46]

o A full honorable discharge from the military is required.[27,46] One in four fail to achieve that condition.[27]

o For those who do achieve full honorable discharges, the payout is tricky: it is made over a total of no more than 36 months of educational expenditure (9 month academic year x 4 years = 36 months). If, as is typical, a veteran is unable to take full course loads over each of those 36 months, the payout is less, and will still be terminated after a total of 36 months in any case. So, for example, if a war-traumatized veteran is able to maintain only a one-half coursework load, the total payout would be - at a maximum - only one-half of that originally promised.[47] Most veterans (56%) using the Montgomery GI Bill begin by attending community colleges or vocational schools spread out over time, and therefore receive only a fraction of the maximum promised for full time, full coursework study.[47]

o The cost of education has continually increased while educational benefits have increased less rapidly. As benefits lag further and further behind the inflation curve, the value of the original promise is equally degraded with time.[47]

In summary, recruits rarely collect on the military's "big print" promise to provide significant educational funding.


Movies, Toys, TV, & Computer Games

Blackhawk Helicopters on High School Campuses

As US families pushed back against the slogans "Be All You Can Be," and "An Army of One," and as potential new recruits increasingly said "no" to joining up, military planners moved new people into command chairs, ramped up their efforts, crafted new slogans, and basically pulled out the stops.[27] Fully camo'ed military recruiters now land Blackhawk helicopter warships on elementary, middle and high school campuses around the country, and issue promises of fun, excitement, and glory to the overwhelmed kids.

Children as young as 6-8 years old are sometimes invited to these landing events, where they are rewarded with tiny black (hawk) footballs after they gather close around recruiters. [48,49]

Photo Credit: Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

18-Wheeler "Recruiting Vans," on high school campuses

The US Army, in a well funded effort to recruit children, has decked out seven "Cinema Vans" with multiple slide projectors, viewing screens, and rock-climbing walls. Another 18-wheeler, the "Army Adventure Van," features a helicopter simulator, an M-1 Tank simulator, and an M16 Machine-gun simulator, allowing high school kids to practice and to visualize cutting enemies to pieces. Other vehicles include a "Nuclear Power Van," an "America's Sea Power Van," etc. Together, these propaganda shows on 18 wheels visit nearly 400,000 of America's children each year.[50]

"'The vans zero in on our target market, and that's in high schools,' explained Fred Zinchiak, Public Affairs Specialist in the Sacramento Army Recruiting Battalion."[50]

The targeted markets - this nation's teenagers - are offered a vision of military life as being sexy and exciting. The reality of post traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and traumatic brain injury suffered by over one-third of a million troops returning from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [51] is ignored.

Recruitment via Television

As of March 2008, over 11,000 schools have contracted with "Channel One," an organization which promises to provide schools with free television equipment and wiring in exchange for a mandatory daily viewing of the programs produced, edited, and broadcast by them.

The twelve minute programs, aired daily, are interspersed with two minutes of "corporate sponsorship" messages, half of which are paid for by US taxpayers c/o the Department of Defense, and in the form of military recruitment pitches to the captive children who are required to watch.[27]

From the Channel One Network website: "Nearly 30 percent of all American teens are in classrooms that show Channel One News." In other words, over six million middle and high school students are presently forced to receive daily military recruiter pitches during classroom time.[52,53,54]

Recruitment via Hollywood Movies

The Pentagon has had a cozy relationship with the entertainment industry for many years, providing open door base access, material, and consultation to movie studios… for a price.[55]

"We may think that the content of American movies is free from government interference, but in fact, the Pentagon has been telling filmmakers what to say - and what not to say --- for decades. It's Hollywood's dirtiest little secret."[56]

It is now widely known that the Pentagon has influenced film producers and studios for years - trading access to military resources for censorship rights. Under authority of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the Pentagon's film liaison office trades script changes - acceptable to the brass - with access to otherwise impossibly expensive military material, locations, and expertise. In the end, we the taxpayers pay for our own propagandizing. Recent movies that were given a "hand" by the Pentagon include: "Stripes," "Black Hawk Down," "Pearl Harbor," "Top Gun," "The Great Santini," "The Right Stuff", "Apollo 13," and many others.[56,57] From David Robb's book "Operation Hollywood: "… the Pentagon is quite candid about why it provides this assistance to Hollywood. According to the army's own handbook, A Producer's guide to U.S. Army Cooperation with the Entertainment Industry, this collaboration must 'aid in the recruiting and retention of personnel.'"[56]

Recruitment via Video Gaming

The Pentagon has vigorously supported development of PC war game software after discovering their use as both recruitment and as military training vehicles. Take, for example, the Microsoft X-Box game "Close Combat: First to Fight" - created by and for the military, but soon ported directly to "T" for Teens.[57]

Another "success" story, in terms of the number of teens and young adults participating, is the US Army's video game project "America's Army," accessed by several million "players" as of 2007.[58] "America's Army" is a highly graphic, fast paced and graphically violent battle simulation for youthful players. The army states that the game is for growing adults, but it is freely available on the Internet without age restriction and is widely distributed to children.[59]

It has been argued that "America's Army" is blatant government propaganda pitched to those who are least able to understand the effects of exposure to its various subtle and not-so-subtle messages.[60]



Despite the overwhelming raft of data documenting ill effects in children and adolescents exposed to violent video and video games, the military services continue to support delivery of those images and experiences to children, seen only as potential future recruits.[57]

From the Committee on Public Education of the American Academy of Pediatrics:

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes exposure to violence in media, including television, movies, music, and video games as a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents. Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed. Pediatricians should assess their patients' level of media exposure and intervene on media-related health risks. Pediatricians and other child health care providers can advocate for a safer media environment for children by encouraging media literacy, more thoughtful and proactive use of media by children and their parents, more responsible portrayal of violence by media producers, and more useful and effective media ratings."[61]

From the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:

"Studies of children exposed to violence have shown that they can become: "immune" or numb to the horror of violence, imitate the violence they see, and show more aggressive behavior with greater exposure to violence. Some children accept violence as a way to handle problems. Studies have also shown that the more realistic and repeated the exposure to violence, the greater the impact on children. In addition, children with emotional, behavioral and learning problems may be more influenced by violent images.

"Youth who exposed themselves to greater amounts of video game violence saw the world as a more hostile place, were more hostile themselves, got into arguments with teachers more frequently, were more likely to be involved in physical fights, and performed more poorly in school. Video game violence exposure was a significant predictor of physical fights even when respondent sex, hostility level, and weekly amount of game play were statistically controlled."[62]

Summary of the Evidence: Exposure to violent video, whether in the form of video games, television, or theater movies is linked to, and causal of, increases in aggressive cognition, affect and behavior.[63,64,65,66,67,68,69]



Here is a small sampling of student, parent, school, and community responses to predatory military recruiters and the tactics they employ:


2008 - Vallejo, California: The Vallejo School Board voted to end the practice of providing military recruiters with complete and unrestricted access to student information. District spokesman Jason Hodge: "This action brings the school district into compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act which requires parents and students be given the option to 'opt out' of having military recruiters gain access to their personal information."[70]


2008 - Berkeley, California: The Berkeley City Council passed a resolution that initially stated Marine recruiters were "uninvited and unwelcome intruders." The council later issued a clarification, stating that the recruiting center retains the legal right to exist, but telegraphed to citizens that vigorous protesting of the center's existence is also a protected right.[71]


2005 - Seattle, Washington: The Garfield High School PTA voted to adopt a resolution stating in part: "public schools are not a place for military recruiters."[72]


2005 - "National PTA seeks to increase awareness and community sensitivity about the collection and dissemination of information regarding students and believes that such records should respect the rights to privacy and be relevant to a child's education.

"National PTA will continue to support legislation and policies [that] would change current law by providing for an 'opt in' policy where interested students and families can instead choose to request contact from military recruiters. Parents and students deserve to know who has their information, and parents should be involved in the important decision to enlist in military service."[73]


2006 - Lindale, Georgia: Two seventeen year old Pepperell High School students confronted recruiters, the school board, and the school's administration, who had insisted students were compelled under law to take the ASVAB military (recruiting tool) test. As the result of their ad-hoc plan to distribute anti-ASVAB flyers to their fellow students and despite the argumentative efforts of local recruiters, an estimated two-thirds of the eligible students present refused to be "tested."[74]



Military recruiters have been given legal authority to openly recruit adolescents on high school campuses, and tacit authority to recruit both adolescents and younger children through more subtle means. Techniques employed include those that are known to be harmful to children, including repeated exposure to violent games and images. Recruiters rely on the immature status of their prey to capture them with false promises, and subterfuge. Military recruitment of children must be understood for what it is: predatory.

The highest calling of any society is to protect its young from harm. Our society is failing to heed this call.


FOR MORE INFORMATION (in alphabetical order):

American Friends Service Committee: Youth & Militarism

Code Pink: Women for Peace

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft

National Network Opposing Militarism In Our Schools

Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities



No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB):


The Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies (JAMRS) Database:

Note: "Opt-Out requests will be honored for ten years. However, because opt-out screening is based, in part, on the current address of the individual, any change in address will require the submission of a new opt-out request with the new address."


Further information regarding NCLB and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974):



1. Population Representation in the Military Services, Fiscal Year 2004; Table A-1: DoD new recruits ages 16 - 17 = 22.22%, age 18 = 23.53, age 19 = 14.48 (tot = 60.23%):,

2. "America's Child Soldier Problem"; In These Times, May 17, 2007:

3. "Pentagon's Teen Recruiting Methods Would Make Tobacco Companies Proud":

4. US Army's e-Cybermission Website:

5. DoD's "Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies" database website:

6. "'Epidemic' of military suicides investigated," The Seattle Times, Nov. 17, 2007:

7. "DoD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for FY2007," U.S. Department of Defense, News Release No. 1202-07, Oct. 10, 2007:

8. "Army Giving More Waivers in Recruiting," New York Times, Feb. 14, 2007:

9. "Recruiters struggle to find an Army," The Seattle Times, Nov. 12, 2007:

10. "MILITARY RECRUITING: DOD Needs to Establish Objectives and Measures to Better Evaluate Advertising's Effectiveness," GAO 03-1005:

11. "MILITARY RECRUITING: DOD and Services Need Better Data to Enhance Visibility over Recruiter Irregularities," GAO 06-0846, Aug. 2006:

12. Hearings On National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001-H.R. 4205 and Oversight of Previously Authorized Programs Before the Committee On Armed Services - House of Representatives, 106 Congress, 2nd Session, Full Committee Hearings on Authorization and Oversight; Feb. 10, 2000:

13. "Army Recruiters Take Show On Road," CBS News, Mar. 16, 2005:

14. "MILITARY PERSONNEL: Preliminary Observations on Recruiting and Retention Issues within the U.S. Armed Forces," GAO 05-419t, released March 16, 2005:

15. Article: "The Teen Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging" by Jay N. Giedd, MD (Nat. Institute of Mental Health); Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 42, Issue 4, April 2008

16. Editorial: "Adolescent Brain Development: Forging New Links?" by Elizabeth R. McAnarney, MD; Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 42, Issue 4, April 2008

17. "In vivo evidence for post-adolescent brain maturation in frontal and striatal regions"; Nature Neuroscience 2, 859 - 861, 1999: doi:10.1038/13154:

18. Re: military recruitment and sensation-seeking propensities and risk-taking propensities; National Research Council. Evaluating Military Advertising and Recruiting: Theory and Methodology. Committee on the Youth Population and Military Recruitment-Phase II. Paul R. Sackett and Anne S., pg. 25:

19. "Attitudes, Aptitudes, and Aspirations of American Youth: Implications for Military Recruitment":

20. NCLB of 2001, signed 1/8/02 (Contained in § 9528 of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. § 7908), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. No. 107-110), and in 10 U.S.C. § 503, as amended by 544 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (P.L. No. 107-107):

21. NCLB Reauthorization 2007:

22. United States Army Recruiting Command: USAREC Pamphlet 350-13; 2004:

23. "Military Recruits by High School, Zip Code, Community, State," Bulletin, National Priorities Project, Nov. 1, 2005:

24. Pentagon Creating Student Database, Washington Post, June 23, 2005:

25. "Army Offers $40K Recruiting Bonus to H.S. Grads," NPR, Feb. 5, 2008:

26. "Earn Money For College" (US Navy):

27. "Army of None," David Solnit & Aimee Allison, Seven Stories Press, 2007

28. "Modeling the Individual Enlistment Decision: Final Study Report" (June, 1999); US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences:

29. The ASVAB Program:

30. "Parent Fact Sheet" from the ASVAB program website:

31. Navy Recruiting Manual 1130.8F, pg 2-59 (2I-2-5a):

32. ASVAB Counselor Manual; Nov. 2005, pg. 13:

33. ACLU Complaint/Lawsuit re: JAMRS:

34. DoD's Answer to ACLU - Revised JAMRS Plan, Jan. 9, 2007:

35. "Growing Problem for Military Recruiters: Parents," New York Times, June 3, 2005:

36. "Army, Marine recruiters shift focus to wary parents," USA Today, Apr. 4, 2005:

37. "Making Soldiers in the Public Schools," American Friends Service Committee, 1995:

38. "Recruiting the Class of 2005"; Mother Jones, Jan-Feb, 2002:

39. "Trading Books for Soldiers: The True Cost of JROTC," Philip Clark; American Friends Service Committee; 2000: Summary available at:

40. "Feeding the military machine: JROTC expansion and inner-city academies mark recruiting incursion into U.S. public school classrooms, critics say"; Mar. 28, 2003, National Catholic Reporter:

41. Enlistment Contract: DD FORM 4/3, Oct 2007, page 2, section C. 9(b):

42. Uniform Code of Military Justice Legislative History (and general information):

43. "Joining the Military is Hazardous to Your Education":

44. "Lawmakers Urge GI Bill Extension," website, May 9, 2007,
re: 30% of veterans cannot or do not use benefits:,13319,135109,00.html

45. "Why aren't military vets going to college?," Orange County Register, Mar. 10, 2008:

46. US Dept. of Vet. Affairs, Montgomergy GI Bill - CH30 Pamphlet (honorable discharge required):;
For the entire program, see US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, GI Bill Website:

47. "GI Bill falling short of college tuition costs," Boston Globe, Feb. 10, 2008:

48. "Hanna grad flies Blackhawk to school," Sonoma Index-Tribune, Mar. 20, 2008:

49. "Black Hawk touches down at schools," Press Democrat, Mar. 15, 2008:

50. "Mobile Recruiting 2001":

51. "One In Five Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Suffer from PTSD or Major Depression"; RAND Corp., Apr. 17, 2008 News Release:

52. "Why Go to College, When You Can be Cannon Fodder?," Counterpunch, Feb. 17, 2005:

53. "Fast Facts," Channel One News website:

54. "FAQS," Channel One News website:

55. "The Pentagon Goes Hollywood," Time Magazine, November 24, 1986:,9171,962933,00.html

56. "Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies", David Robb, 2004; "Operation Hollywood" author David Robb interview here:

57. "The Complex," Nick Turse; Henry Hold & Co., New York (2008); ppg. 115-117

58. "Gamers Downloading America's Army," Jan. 12, 2007:

59. US Army's "Official Army Game" website:

60. "Army's War Game Recruits Kids" Joan Ryan; SF Chronicle, (Orig. pub. Sept. 24, 2004):

61. "Media Violence," American Academy of Pediatrics, Policy Statement, Pediatrics, Vol. 108#5, Nov. 2001, pp.1222-1226:;108/5/1222

62. "Children and Video Games: Playing with Violence," American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Facts for Families: No. 91:;
also No. 13, "Children and TV Violence":

63. "An update on the effects of playing violent video games," Anderson CA; Journal of Adolescence, 2004; 27: 113-122

64. "The Effects of Violent Video Game Habits on Adolescent Aggressive Attitudes and Behaviors," Lynch, Paul J.; University of Oklahoma Medical School; Gentile, Douglas A., National Institute on Media and the Family; Olson, Abbie A., University of Minnesota; van Brederode, Tara M., University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development (Paper presented at the Biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Minneapolis, MN April 19-22, 2001)

65. "Short term and long term effects of violent media on aggression in children and adults," Bushman BJ, Huesmann R.; Arch Pediatr Adolesce Med., 2006; 160:348-352.

66. "Television and adolescent aggressiveness," Chaffee SH. In: Comstock GA, Rubinstein EA eds. "Television and social behavior: a technical report to the Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior," Vol. 3. Television and adolescent aggressiveness (DHEW Publication No. HSM 72-9058). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972; pp. 1-34).

67. "Deciding to defect: the effects of video game violence on cooperative behavior," Sheese BE, Graziano WG.; Psychol Science, 2005; 16:354-357.

68. "The effects of violent video game habits on adolescent hostility, aggressive behaviors, and school performance," Gentile DA, Lynch, PJ, Linder JR, Walsh DA; Journal of Adolescence, 2004; 27; 5-22

69. "Exposure to violent video games increases automatic aggressiveness," Uhlmann, E, Swanson J.. J.Adolescence, 2004; 27:41-52

70. "Vallejo School District Votes To Shut Out Military Recruiters,", March 20, 2008:

71. "The Military vs. Berkeley," Newsweek, Feb. 13, 2008:

72. "Rift Over Recruiting At Public High School," Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2005:

73. "Military Recruitment in Schools," Military recruitment in schools and DOD database information, National PTA, August 2, 2005:

74. "Teens Frustrate Military Recruiter's ASVAB Scam,", Nov. 24, 2006: