ChooseYourVote.Org interviews Presidential candidate Frank Moore
by Corey Nicholl
Saturday Dec 29th, 2007 8:59 PM
From: ChooseYourVote.Org

1. Tell us about your family life.

Well, for about 40 years, I have lived tribally/communally. Now the 6 of us live together in two houses [one of which we built] on a street in Berkeley with 4 cats. Linda and I have been together for about 35 years. Michael has been with us for 20 years…as have Corey and Alexi. Erika joined us 6 years ago. We live as a tribal body. This tells you that I will expand concepts such as a family and family values. My relationships have always been what I am about. So we put our personal relationships and one another first. This opens up possibilities and expands our ability to use opportunities.

2. Tell us about your political experience prior to running for president.

If you mean holding political office, I’m a virgin. But if you mean being a subversive agent of social change…

I have always been dumb to what is impossible. So I just figure how to do the “impossible.” I have been doing this all my life! I am 61. I was born with cerebral palsy, can not walk or talk. I communicate using a laser-pointer and a board of letters, numbers and commonly-used words. But I am a host of a popular public access TALK show. Go figure it! So now I am setting my sights, as president, on eliminating poverty, hunger, war, etc. Impossible, eh?

When I was born, doctors told my parents that I had no intelligence, that I had no future, that I would be best put into an institution and be forgotten. This was a powerful expectation with all the force of western science and medicine as well as social influences, behind it. It would have been easy for my parents to be swept up into this expectation. Then that expectation would have created my reality. I would have long ago died without any other possibilities.

Instead, my parents rejected this expectation for the possibility they saw in my eyes, for what for them should have been true. This rejection of the cultural expectation of reality could not be a one time choice. They had to passionately live their choice everyday, every minute, or the cultural expectation would have sucked them and me into it. It fought them at every new possibility they opened to me. Their passionate commitment to how they thought things should be attracted people to me who kept opening new possibilities for me. Of course, these were in the minority. But I focused on them, making them how people should be, how I wanted to be. So I expected people and myself to be like that. So people were for the most part that least I saw them that way. This opened up to me what is called luck. It also gave me the ability to trust and the ability to use opportunities.
I did political pranks…such as rolling in my wheelchair into the Marines Recruiting Office to join, offering to push the BUTTON with my head pointer.
So the struggle for freedom, and against the powers-that-be has been my life. And it has been a continuous struggle, struggling with schools to let me in, etc. I have always been a radical. But that became obvious when I was 18 and invented my head pointer with which I type and communicate…I started writing political columns for the high school paper…as well as putting out an underground paper. I was in the first special class placed on a regular high school campus so that the disabled students could be in regular classes and be a part of campus life. I was involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements. This was 1965…before it was popular to be against the Vietnam War. In the school paper I got into a debate with a GI in Vietnam. I was sat down and told that, because of my political philosophy and activities, I was hurting the chances of the disabled students who would come after me. I replied that the goal was to get the rights for the disabled [and for all people] to be complete and equal…and that included the right to be political. I would not surrender that, or any other, right.

So I started doing political columns for underground newspapers, joined Students for Democratic Society and The Peace and Freedom Party. I did political pranks…such as rolling in my wheelchair into the Marines Recruiting Office to join, offering to push the BUTTON with my head pointer. But after the Kent State killings, I switched from straight politics to art, performance, and community building as my tools for effecting social change. In the early 90s I and five other performance artists were targeted by Sen. Jesse Helms in what is commonly seen as the first battle of the cultural wars. This placed me in a great position to fight for our freedoms!

3. Tell us about your personal career prior to politics.

Well, I follow where opportunities lead, without limiting goals or pictures of how things should look like or where they should lead to. We here have many different projects going on at once…in addition to the “day job.” I’m always writing, painting, making movies, playing in my band The Cherotic All-Stars, performing, doing a weekly cable/internet talk/variety show. That has always been the case. But my “CAREER”… In the mid-70s in Santa Fe I started a workshop which combined intimacy and theater. This turned into a communal performance group which moved to N.Y.C. A few years later, we moved to Berkeley, where I combined the workshop with relationship counseling, creating an extremely successful practice. But this too morphed into a communal performance group of 30 people. Among our productions was The Outrageous Beauty Revue which ran for over 3 years at the San Francisco punk club The Mabuhay.

The 90s found me touring the U.S. and Canada doing performances and lecturing. My writings started being published. I was also busy making films. By the mid-90s we were publishing the popular zine The Cherotic ®evolutionary. When the internet became available, we were among the first to have streaming audio and video on our A live weekly show, The Shaman’s Den, which I was doing on one of the first internet radio stations quickly dragged us into starting our own internet station,, which quickly evolved into a powerful 24/7 uncensored channel for change. We have expanded onto public access cable television, cell phones, etc.

And now I am running for president!

4. Please discuss a public figure from the past 300 year who you admire most.

During my teenage years I read the Beat writers and the French Surrealists, Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl and Abbie Hofmann, listened to Dylan, watched the hippie movement grow. I wished I could be a hip artist living in San Francisco instead of being stuck outside San Bernardino reading, listening, watching, waiting. All of this brewed inside of me. I admired the muckrakers, the “trouble makers” in history like Tom Paine. I’m proud that Paul Krassner was the first to endorse my candidacy.
The ending of hunger and poverty, true equality of possibilities for everyone, protecting our personal freedoms, civil and human rights, making sure all of our people have their basic needs met including housing, and creating a more caring environment will be my focuses.
5. Do you think the US should have entered the war in Iraq? Why or why not? What is your strategy for finishing the war in Iraq.

We invaded Iraq on lies or blunders…take your pick. Almost everyone…with a few notable and impeachable exceptions…now agree that we should not have invaded Iraq. I would bring our troops home now. If someone tells you that s/he will stay in a failed marriage to avoid admitting mistakes, hoping things will somehow improve…you would rightfully question that person’s judgment.

I will change this country’s self-image from that of THE SUPER POWER/ WORLD LEADER to that of a member of the global community. I will cut our military budget by at least half.

6. While it is rarely mentioned in the news anymore, the US troops are still in Afghanistan. What are your plans for that theater of operations?

While going into Afghanistan had more of a logic to it than our invasion of Iraq, I would withdraw our troops from there and work through the U.N. Our interests aren’t served by having our troops there.

7. The US initially went to war with Afghanistan under the presumption that Osama Bin Laden would be captured or killed. Why do you think he has not been apprehended yet? What do you plan to do about this?

I don’t think that was the real reason why we went into Afghanistan, but the excuse. Most experts now believe he is in the tribal area in Pakistan. We don’t send our troops in there because it might destabilize the dictator who we for some reason support there…because if he falls, the nuclear weapons that Pakistan has might [probably] fall into the wrong hands! All hands are the wrong hands.

This is insanity. I would withdraw our troops from Afghanistan because being there does not serve our national interest, except as a part of a U.N. mission. I may send the C.I.A. in to bring Bin Laden out to stand trial.

We need to stop supporting dictators. On the nuclear issue, we need to get rid of double standards. We need to treat all nations with the same expectations, be it Pakistan, Israel, France, the U.S., Iran, etc. In other words, my policies would be even-handed. I will join the rest of the world in pressuring Israel to live up to treaties, and to dismantle its nuclear arms. I will use the “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S. to motivate Israel to do this.

I will work for global shutting down of all nuclear reactors and dismantling all nuclear [and biological and chemical] weapons. I will start this in the U.S. All countries should be expected to live under the same rules….not one set for the “super powers” and another for the “developing” nations like Iran. I will push for a global development of clean, safe energy sources as alternatives to nuclear power.

8. Iran has been spoken of by some as a potential threat to the United States. Is Iran a threat to the United States? What should be done about this?

I started answering this in the last question. But anything/everything could be a “potential threat”…except the things that are in fact threats now. Seeing things as “potential threats” is a sign of insanity. It blocks the effective dealing with real and present threats. It creates the fog of fear.

Iran is not a threat to the U.S. now nor in the short-term future. So there is time and opportunity to revert Iran from the nuclear path by giving Iran other options. Frankly nuclear used for energy and nuclear used for weapons are both dangerous.

9. Are there any policies you would like to change or implement in the US Military and the Department of Defense? Do you have any concerns about the oversight of these organizations?

Again, I will cut the defense budget by at least half, turning it into a real defense budget rather than a bloated offense budget with billions in waste and with many times over kill in weapons. This cutting has been long over due since the Iron Curtain fell. I will start closing our foreign bases. I will use the money that is now spent on weapon development on development of new cheap clean energy sources, mass transit, and other ways to live in the post-oil era. I will work closely with Congress in developing a more effective oversight system of all federal agencies.

10. Legislation and policy since 9/11 have attempted to increase Counter- Terrorism measures. Many Americans feel this has come at the expense of civil liberties. What if anything do you plan to change in this regard?

Well, I will have repealing parties in the White House, scrapping all the rules and policies in every department and agency which infringe on our rights, freedoms, privacy, health and welfare. We will have similar parties in both houses of Congress to repeal bad laws such as the so-called Patriot Act. We will return to the common English language in which “torture” means torture. I will declassify documents which were classified to hide questionable actions rather than to protect the real national interests. I will push the Justice Department to investigate the war on The Left by the F.B.I. since the 60’s.

11. Do you plan to make any changes regarding US immigration policy and border enforcement?

I believe we as citizens of the world should have the right of travel/movement. I believe we need immigrates. So I believe in fairly open borders…using our historical relationship with Canada as the model. I would remove racist filters. I would deny entry to those with criminal records. I would seriously beef up the security and inspections at our ports.

All businesses selling their products in the U.S. will have to certify that their products were manufactured in accordance with this country’s labor, wage, environmental, and safety laws ... that they meet or exceed these ... no matter where they were produced. This would curb people’s desire to come to this country for a better life. It would also remove the motivation of the corporations to drain jobs from this country. Businesses would pay non-citizen workers at least the minimum wage which would be tied to the cost of living.

12. Some people have discussed the idea of introducing a national ID card. How do you feel about this?

It is an awful idea!

13. What are your plans and opinions on the Enforcement, Intelligence and Security organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Agency?

The Department of Homeland Fear… I mean Security…has been a disaster, a con job on a massive scale. I will junk it. Terrorism is a criminal matter. It should be dealt with as such, not as a war. We shouldn’t abandon our principles, freedoms, rights, The Constitution and The Bills of Rights to live in fear. The F.B.I. is supposed to investigate crime…not to keep the people in line. The C.I.A. is supposed to gather information outside this country, and not to manipulate events. Whenever there is an attempt to fudge the limits of power for convenience of “safety,” we the people get screwed.

I would end the so-called war on drugs. The use of drugs should be legalized and taxed. Pot and spirits should be sold over the counter to adults only. Tobacco and other addictive drugs should be sold by prescription only. Free drug rehab programs should be readily available. So the D.E.A. can be greatly reduced.

Prisons should be only for violent or otherwise dangerous criminals. Prisons should be a part of the health and education system and should include drug rehab programs. This should also be true for the new creative in-community programs for non-violent criminals for paying back, rehab, and education sentencing. These programs will be more effective and much less expensive and harmful to the community on every level than the current human warehouse system. Flexibility of sentencing should be returned to judges. I will ban the death penalty.

Basically the law enforcement agencies should be the servants of the people, protecting our rights, freedoms, and welfare instead of the servants of the rich, the corporations, the status quo, and the powers-that-be. I would de-militarize the police departments.

14. What is your stance on gun control? What do you plan to change or implement regarding the specific policies on shotguns, rifles, handguns and assault weapons?

I’d ban assault and automatic weapons outright. For other guns, I am for strict control.

15. What is your stance on US drug policy? Do you plan to make any changes on the enforcement of Drug Prohibition Policy?

See #12.

16. Do you intend to legalize marijuana for medical use?


17. Government entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Welfare are going farther from fiscal solvency. What measures will you take on this? Do you plan on making any changes in the coverage or scope of current entitlement programs? Please outline any specific changes you will make.
We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access.
I’ll do away with welfare, medicare and social security. Instead, every American will receive a minimum income of $1,000 a month. This amount will be tied to the cost of living and will not be taxable.

We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access.

18. Many people, especially the elderly are worried about the cost of medicine and medical care. What do you plan to do about this?

The universal health care would include all medicine, medical equipment and supplies, long-term care, personal attendants, etc. There will be no pre-authorization ritual. So your doctor will be free to prescribe whatever you need. There may be a review of treatment afterward if there are any questions. Everybody will have the same care as the President now has. Preventative medicine will be stressed and the so-called alternative medicine will be included. You will notice that health insurance companies are not in this picture!

19. What is your record on raising or lowering taxes? Do you plan to raise or lower taxes as President? Why?

I do not have a record. But…I’ll do away with all tax deductions for over $12,000 income. Instead, there will be a flat tax of 10% on annual income of less than one million dollars for an individual and less than five million dollars for a corporation. But the flat tax will jump to 75% on annual income exceeding these limits.

Now my policies are pro-business. The universal education system will provide business with a superior, flexible work force. The minimum income and the universal health care will remove the business’s burden of providing health insurance and pensions to workers. In reality, this relief will be much more than any tax cut could give. Moreover the minimum income will make the starting and maintaining a small business much easier. This is also true for small family farms. The minimum income will encourage independent invention and artistic pursuit, on which true progress depends.

20. How do you plan on ensuring the fiscal solvency of the United States Government? Please outline any specific plans you have for this end.

I will cut the military budget by at least half and use half of the savings to pay down the national debt. I will shrink the federal bureaucracy and again use half of the savings to this pay down.

Basically the problem is not a lack of money, but what we have spent our money on…war, pork, waste, etc. It has been a standard trick to distract us with supposed waste, fraud, etc. in the social programs while milking us out of billions of military waste, corporate welfare, etc.

21. The US Dollar is losing its value compared to other world currencies. What do you plan to do about this?

Honestly this wouldn’t be one of my focuses. But my policies taken together will tend to strengthen the dollar.

22. What plans to improve the United States Economy?

The minimum income of $1,000 a month for every citizen will give people money to spend, save, invest, or pool with others to create more effective financial communities which will open up a wide range of opportunities for the average person…to start small businesses, to stay on the family farm, to do art, to raise kids, etc. Free health care [which will include long-term care, home attendants, medicine, etc.], free life time education [including child care], free mass transit, etc. will in effect put more real money in the pocket of the average person. But more importantly the fear of the future will fade, releasing what is now horded away for old age, for when your health fails you, for your kid’s education…releasing the knot in your belly of knowing that no matter how much you manage to save [if any] it will not be enough.

23. President Bush agreed to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America in 2005. Do you believe this is a good thing? Do you plan on making any specific changes to the agreements in this partnership?

On paper, it may be desireable to form a more inter-dependent relationship with Canada, Mexico and the U.S., forming an economic and social union similar to the European Union…after it has been debated in depth in public and has been voted for by the people of the three nations. This so-called partnership is a con developed by the big corporations with their allies in government behind locked and heavy guarded walls…a con they plan to railroad “fast-track” through Congress. The con is a wish list of the corporations, and not in the best interest of the people of the three countries. So I will derail it.

24. Many people are worried about environmental concerns such as Global Warming, the Depletion of the Ozone Layer, and Pollution. What do you intend to do about this?

Public mass transit will be free, 24/7, and reliable. I will call for a major rebuilding of America.
Public mass transit will be free, 24/7, and reliable. I will call for a major rebuilding of America. We will repair our school buildings and will build needed new schools. I will encourage a society of small villages connected by mass transit. Within these small villages, people could walk or bike to work, to school, to shopping, to entertainment, etc. Mass transit will combine these small villages within 15 miles radius into dynamic communities. Living in these villages will end gridlock traffic, will cut greenhouse gasses, will cut stress and isolation. Housing for all incomes will be included equally in each village.

We will encourage electric cars, fast trains, clean sustainable decentralized energy generators. I would shut down all nuclear generators. I would also shut down polluting coal-burning generators. I would encourage local organic small farms rather than huge factories farms which harm the environment in many ways and actually endanger our future food supply. To put it simply, we need to start shifting to a sustainable living model, preparing for the post-oil era. We need to work with the other nations to create this sustainable living rather than throwing roadblocks to this to protect short-term profits.

25. Do you plan to make any changes regarding US energy policy? Please address transportation, and power distribution.

I have addressed this in the last question. But a key is de-centralize and diversify energy sources.

26. Abortion is a heated debate among many Americans. What are your personal feelings on Abortion? Do you plan on making any changes in current abortion policy? If so, how do you plan to accomplish your changes?

My personal feelings about abortion…or any politician’s personal feelings about a moral issue…are not to the point. A person has a fundamental right to be in control of her body and personal life. Having/not having an abortion falls in this fundamental right. I will protect this fundamental right in all of its forms.

27. What is your stance on Gay Marriage? Do you plan to make any changes regarding policy in this area?

Government should leave marriage to churches. Instead, any two or more adults who have been living together for at least 2 years should be able to register as a “family.”

28. What are your opinions on the idea of “Net Neutrality”? What do you plan to do about “Net Neutrality”?

It is a case of where when you can’t understand what they are talking about, you can bet they are screwing us! It is also where the big boys are fighting among themselves over control…in this case, the control of the gates of the internet, about who will be in control and how much control on who and what passes through the “gates.” It is a part of the attempt to reduce the internet to a passive entertainment medium for selling. They are very threatened by the free-flowing democratic internet where something like my campaign can blossom beyond their control. I don’t see the web having gates, but pipes. We don’t need gatekeepers, but plumbers who keep the pipes wide open. I believe in equal and free access for all. I support the principles which were in The Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006 which woulsd have made it a violation of the Clayton Antitrust Act for broadband providers to discriminate against any web traffic, refuse to connect to other providers, block or impair specific (legal) content; would have prohibited the use of admission control to determine network traffic priority. But this bill was let die in committee. I will push for its rebirth and enactment.

29. Do you have a set of standards by which you intend to appoint Federal Judges? What standards must a potential Federal Judge or Supreme Court Justice meet to gain your approval?

I’d look for people who have histories of protecting human and civil rights and freedoms, who have common sense and a sense of justice, and aren’t dogmatic.

30. What are your plans for the US education system? Is the “No Child Left Behind Act” a good thing? Do you plan on making any changes to the “No Child Left Behind Act”. How do you plan on changing US policy regarding elementary school, high school, and higher education?
Education will become a lifetime activity, not a process from which you graduate, not ending one part of your life.
We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access. Education should be federally funded, based on the number of students, adjusted to special needs of each student, in each school district. But schools should be locally controlled. The equal access of education for every student will be insured by the federal government. I will call for a major rebuilding of America. We will repair our school buildings and will build needed new schools. I will give back the art of teaching to teachers, instead of making generalized goals, instead of focusing on testing. I will focus on creating smaller classes, on providing needed tools, raising teachers’ salaries, and attracting/training new teachers.

Education will become a lifetime activity, not a process from which you graduate, not ending one part of your life. Colleges and universities will become community centers of resources, accessible to everyone. You could get training, explore your passions, do research, be challenged within an educational setting through out your entire life.

31. What issues are of strongest concern to you regarding domestic policy? What changes will you make?

Well, I have been talking throughout this entire interview about my concerns and the needed changes. The ending of hunger and poverty, true equality of possibilities for everyone, protecting our personal freedoms, civil and human rights, making sure all of our people have their basic needs met including housing, and creating a more caring environment will be my focuses. I will take back the control of our society from the big corporations with their addiction to obscenely huge profits. This addiction has distorted almost every aspect of our society. My policies will induce the big corporations to break up into much smaller entities that will be more dependent on serving the people’s real needs.

32. What issues are of strongest concern to you regarding foreign policy? What changes will you make?

They are pretty much the same as in my domestic policy. I would work as a member of the global community, not as THE WORLD LEADER, to end hunger and poverty, to provide health care and education, to de-nuclearize the world, to find ways to reduce world pollution and population growth, to protect people’s rights and freedoms, to end arms sales…all of which gets to the core causes of war. Corporate interests and the real national interests are rarely the same. I will protect the national interests. I will shrink our military into an effective defensive force rather than a bloated offensive machine that demands a purpose to exist and grow.

33. Please take this opportunity to address any miscellaneous concerns, plans or policies that were not discussed in this questionnaire. Also use this opportunity to make any closing statements.

Well, I have been running for president for about a year now. I started running basically because none of the prominent candidates are talking honestly and directly about the state of things, are committed to fundamental change, and have a clear plan to create a humane, sustainable, and just plain enjoyable society. So I took on that role. When everyday people in the “real world” hear about my candidacy, they become extremely excited. They don’t see a performance artist in a wheelchair. They don’t check the odds of my winning. Instead they see someone who they could excitedly vote for… somebody who shares their dreams, talks deeply about what really affects their lives. And then they read my platform. Then they got more excited at how possible it is to bring our dreams for our society into reality… to remove fear and isolation; to get the boot of big corporations off our neck; to provide everyone health care, life-long education, a minimum income, and a livable wage; to restore our rights and freedoms; and to bring our troops home now! We everyday people know the real state of the union! But more importantly, we have the sense of what is possible! We need leaders who share our dreams and who do not sell us short. Or sell us out!

So for most of the year, I have been running way below their radar. A performance artist in a wheelchair “pretending” to run for president is no threat… just a weird piece of conceptual art. But now I’m beginning to be a blip on the radar. Just a blip, mind you. But it is amazing that we have gotten to the blip stage this early… or at all! A blip who talks about the issues seriously and who gives real alternatives is dangerous. So the gatekeepers are beginning to say that I am not a “real” or serious” candidate. What they are really saying is that I’m not a part of the political system that has been corrupted by big bucks; that I’m not playing by the unwritten rules, etc. And of course this is true. It is one of the reasons why everyday people are excited about my running. That big bucks political system has been divorced from the everyday reality, hijacked by the addicts of obscenely huge profits. I am a real, serious candidate. I’m just working outside of their boxes. Outside of boxes is where the new possibilities are. Inside the limiting boxes is where political power is created. This is why the normal politicians stay in the boxes. This is why fundamental, humane change rarely—if ever—has come from power politics. I hope they keep saying that I’m not a real and serious candidate because each time they say that our blip gets brighter and more intense. I also hope they keep saying I am the candidate of the fringe, of the margins. Consider who they have marginalized… the poor, the working poor. In fact, most of the labor force: the disabled, gays, seniors, the uninsured, women, the middle class, artists, family farmers, racial minorities, immigrants, etc. Hey, I may win by a wide margin!

True, I do have my problems. As one “art expert” once wrote, I, “Seem to have a compulsion not to take no for an answer under any circumstances.” I do have this disability of not knowing what is “impossible.” So, I just figure out how to do it. When I was born, the doctors told my parents I had no IQ. Obviously the doctors were wrong. So I don’t pay any intention to the supposed limitations. I just do what is needed. When I was growing up, I struggled to get educated, struggled against discrimination and prejudices. I really enjoy the righteous struggle. This enjoyment of struggle gives me an advantage when struggle is needed. When Senator Jesse Helms tried to blacklist me, when the Berkeley City Council tried to ban my public access cable show… there have been so many struggles! My enjoying righteous struggle has been a winning element. I also enjoy when struggle is successful. I’m looking forward to the huge struggle of taking away controlling power from the big corporations, of reclaiming the rights and freedoms that have been stolen from the people of this country, of creating a new post-oil social order in which we will eliminate fear of getting sick, of getting old, of the future, of the Other.
In reality, as president, I will be able to do a lot to start the process of change. And I will! I get results! I deliver! But realistically, I will be working with a Congress full of people heavily invested in the old power system. I will need you! Writing me in on election day will be just the first step. I will need you to get involved in your local community. I will probably need you to put pressure on Congress—and on the press—to enact our dreams. It may take you coming to Washington DC a few times as you did for civil rights and to stop the Vietnam War. But together we will get this done! If it takes me throwing a giant party on The Mall every three months, then that’s what I’ll do!

I, “Seem to have a compulsion not to take no for an answer under any circumstances.” - critic of Moore's

It will be an exciting, fun four years! Just imagine a world in which somebody like you or me could really become president. Now keep imagining it and we just may win! Do not throw your vote away on a candidate who does not share your dreams, who is not committed to bring your dreams into reality! Go for it! It is the only practical thing to do because if we don’t go for it, we will never get what we need, what we want, what we are dreaming. Hey, it just makes sense… right? So write in Frank Moore for President and Susan Block for Vice President on election day! For more information, go to and


U.S. Department of Defense is involved in an "unholy alliance" with the gaming industry

Jack Thompson Goes After Department of Defense

Jack Thompson has issued a press release suggesting the U.S. Department of Defense is involved in an "unholy alliance" with the gaming industry, with the aim of turning kids into violent, remorseless killers.

According to a report by GamePolitics, Thompson said he will be training his guns on the U.S. military in the new year as a result of its continued collaboration with the game industry. In a press release, Thompson said one of the results of this partnership is "the increasing number of commando-style assaults by young gamers," citing the recent killings in Omaha, Nebraska as evidence of his claim. Thompson also continues to claim, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the Virginia Tech killer was "an obsessive high school player of the military-themed CounterStrike."

"What is increasingly clear is that the unholy alliance between the game industry and the DOD is teaching an an [sic] entire generation of kids that war is glamorous, cool, desirable, and consequence-free," Thompson said in his press release. "Believe it or not, there is actually a formal working relationship between the [DoD] and the game industry at the Institute for Creative Technologies [ICT] on the campus of the University of Southern California. U.S. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma is its most unabashed and enthusiastic supporter."

The best-known example of the U.S. military's foray into videogaming is America's Army, first released for the PC in 2002. While ostensibly a recruiting tool, the freely-available game has proven immensely popular with gamers, and has since seen numerous versions released for the PC and Xbox 360. Full Spectrum Warrior, also mentioned in the report, is not officially affiliated with the U.S. Army but was originally developed by Pandemic as a serious game training tool for the military.



Reserve recruiting earns business award

Reserve recruiting earns business award

12/27/2007 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN)  -- Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service officials earned a nationally recognized sales award Dec. 6 at a ceremony in Las Vegas. 

Judges handed a "Stevie" Award, the business world's own Oscar awards, to recruiting officials as the Recruitment/Staffing Sales Organization of the Year Award for 2007 in the category of Best Run Sales Organization. 

The AFRC Recruiting Service nomination was judged by 29 business professionals from across the United States, including chief executive officers, vice presidents and other executives. 

The Stevie Awards were created in 2002 to honor and generate public recognition of the efforts, accomplishments, and positive contributions of companies and business people worldwide. Beginning with The American Business Awards in 2002, and The International Business Awards in 2003, and The Stevie Awards for Women in Business in 2004, the mission of the Awards is to raise the profile of exemplary companies and individuals among the press, the business community, and the general public. Stevie is taken from the name Stephen, which is derived from the Greek for "crowned."

In 2007, the AFRC Recruiting Service had:

-- Twenty senior recruiters certified to lead specialized selling-training programs as part of the Air Force Reserve's current focus on "owning" the selling philosophy and approach organization-wide. 

-- Better than 90 percent of Air Force Reserve recruiters make their individual assigned goals for fiscal 2007. 

-- The Reserve improve its approach to finding qualified full-time recruiting staff, using specialized assessments to screen more than 400 individuals, out of which 37 were offered the opportunity to attend recruiting school in 2007. Of the 37, 28 accepted the invitation, and all 28 graduated. This is a significant improvement over pre-assessment graduation rates, which ranged from 50 to 80 percent.

"It proves once again that we have the best recruiters in (the Department of Defense) putting people in boots every single day," said Col. Francis Mungavin, the AFRC Recruiting Service commander. "In today's military recruiting environment, there is a growing intensity of competition for a smaller group of prospects. The key is to successfully differentiate the Air Force Reserve in this increasingly competitive marketplace. Alignment of prospecting and recruiting strategy is vital if you are to achieve any level of success."

What distinguishes Recruiting Service from its competition is the method with which it does business, Colonel Mungavin said.

"What sets the Air Force Reserve apart from other branches of the military is its understanding that recruiting requires a systematic, non-manipulative sales approach, and we've continually been impressed at how rapidly the recruiting team has taken responsibility for the IMPACT Selling process," he said. "They have taken a sales system and truly made it their own."

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Soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Charlie 1-26 stage a 'mutiny' that pulls the unit apart

"Not us. We're not going."

By Kelly Kennedy, Army Times. December 16, 2007

Spc. Gerry DeNardi stood at the on-base Burger King, just a few miles from downtown Baghdad, hoping for a quick taste of home.

Camp Taji encompasses miles of scrapped Iraqi tanks, a busy U.S. airstrip and thousands of soldiers living in row upon row of identical trailers. Several fast-food stands, a PX and a dining facility the size of a football field compose Taji's social hub. The base had been struck by an occasional mortar round, and a rocket had hit the airfield two weeks before and killed an American helicopter pilot.

But the quiet base brought on a sense of being far from roadside bombs, far from rocket-propelled grenades and far from the daily gunfire that rained down on the soldiers of Charlie 1-26 as they patrolled Adhamiya, a violent Sunni neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad.

Just two weeks earlier, the 20-year-old DeNardi had lost five good friends, killed together as they rode in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle that rolled over a powerful roadside bomb.

As DeNardi walked up the three wood steps to the outdoor stand to pick up his burger, the siren wailed.

Wah! Wah! Wah! "Incoming! Incoming! Incoming!"

The alarms went off all the time — often after the mortar round or rocket had struck nothing but sand, miles from anything important. Many soldiers and others at Taji had taken to ignoring the warnings. DeNardi glanced around at the picnic tables to make sure everyone was still eating. They were. The foreign nationals who worked the fast-food stands hadn't left; so he went back to get the burger he had paid for.

The mortar round hit before he could pick up his order.

"I turned around and all of Burger King and me went flying," DeNardi said.

He'd lived through daily explosions in 11 months with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, at nearby Combat Outpost Apache, a no-frills fortress smack in the middle of Adhamiya's hostile streets. He had rushed through flames to try to save friends and carried others to the aide station only to watch them die.

"I'm not getting killed at Burger King," he thought, and he dived for a concrete bunker. People were screaming. DeNardi saw a worker from Cinnabon hobbling around, so he climbed out of the bunker, pulled shrapnel out of the man's leg and bandaged him. The Pizza Hut manager was crying and said two more foreign workers were injured behind her stand — near the Burger King.

"Lightning doesn't strike twice," DeNardi said, "so I went back. But there were body parts everywhere." The first man's leg had been blown off, his other leg was barely attached and he had a chest wound. "He was going to die," DeNardi said.

The other wounded man had shrapnel to his neck. DeNardi peeled off his own shirt and fashioned a bandage out of it as other soldiers started streaming in to help.

Then, "all clear" sounded over the loudspeakers as medics arrived and took over.

"I'm covered in blood, but I still have my hamburger receipt," DeNardi said. "I went back to Burger King the next day, but they wouldn't give me my burger."

For all his dark humor, the "Hero of Burger King," as fellow soldiers teasingly called him, was deeply rattled by the carnage of the explosion at the fast-food court. At Apache, he expected trouble. But not at Burger King.

"That affected me," he said. For the next few days, he said, he slept in the open-ended concrete bunkers positioned between the housing units.

It was just another bad day to add to many — and DeNardi's platoon had already faced misery that seemed unbearable. When five soldiers with 2nd Platoon were trapped June 21 after a deep-buried roadside bomb flipped their Bradley upside-down, several men rushed to save the gunner, Spc. Daniel Agami, pinned beneath the 30-ton vehicle. But they could only watch — and listen to him scream — as he burned alive. The Bradley was far too heavy to lift, and the flames were too high to even get close. The four others died inside the vehicle. Second Platoon already had lost four of its 45 men since deploying to Adhamiya 11 months before. June 21 shattered them.

Though their commanders moved them from the combat outpost to safer quarters, members of 2nd Platoon would stage a revolt they viewed as a life-or-death act of defiance. With all they had done and all they had seen, they now were consumed with an anger that ate at the memory of the good men they were when they arrived in Iraq.
Primed for revenge

After June 21, most of Charlie Company moved out of COP Apache, their makeshift home on the grounds of one of Saddam Hussein's son's palaces. At Taji, the company would try to recover for a new mission.

Sgt. 1st Class Tim Ybay, 38, served as 2nd Platoon's platoon sergeant, but also its father figure. The former drill sergeant teased constantly and tried to treat his men like family. At memorial services for lost soldiers, he cried the loudest. He'd been on patrol June 21 when the five 2nd Platoon soldiers died in the Bradley. When he came back, his grieving platoon circled him as the weight of the loss forced him to his knees in the sand. He'd promised to bring all his boys home.

Now he would concentrate on the ones that remained.

"I knew after losing those five guys, my platoon had to get out of there," he said. "These were the guys they slept with, joked with, worked out with. I don't think they'd be able to accomplish the mission."

The tears came again as he spoke, and he looked away.

"And I was having a hard time losing my guys."

At Taji, the company had a week off. DeNardi looked more surfer than soldier after a couple of days at the pool. Ybay and his sergeants sat at the picnic tables drinking frozen coffee concoctions. The guys bought Persian carpets and brass lamps to send home as souvenirs — as if Taji were a vacation spot. But the anger over Adhamiya emerged even poolside, and erupted at the mental health clinic, which they visited in groups.

"You never really get over the anger," said Staff Sgt. Robin Johnson, a member of Charlie's scout platoon who had been especially close to Agami. "It just kind of becomes everything you are. You become pissed off at everything. We wanted to destroy everything in our paths, but they wanted us to keep building sewer systems and handing out teddy bears."

Some of the younger members of the platoon were particularly disillusioned.

Spc. Armando Cardenas, 21, had taken honors classes in high school but feared college would bore him. He wanted something challenging and found it in the Army, in Iraq. As a soldier, he was the guy who leaped out of a truck to chase an insurgent, or instantly returned fire with an uncanny ability to tell where the rounds came from. When a friend, Pfc. Ryan Hill, was killed in battle, Cardenas helped carry him back.

But Cardenas' anger was just as quick as his heroics.

He said the platoon had been waiting for June 21 — that they had known they would eventually hit a big IED and have a catastrophic loss.

Cardenas wanted revenge. "But they don't let us take care of the people responsible," he said. "It was a slap in the face."

Adhamiya remained under the control of 1-26, but the brass moved Charlie 1-26 to another combat outpost, Old Mod — so called because it used to house Iraq's Ministry of Defense — in a calmer area on the outskirts of Adhamiya. From there, they patrolled Kadhamiya.

"If my guys had stayed at Adhamiya, they would have taken the gloves off," said Capt. Cecil Strickland, Charlie's company commander. "We were afraid somebody was going to get in trouble."

There had been close calls before. DeNardi had to fight back a strong desire to kill an Iraqi — accused of triggering an IED that killed two Charlie Company soldiers — as he held a 9mm Glock handgun to the man's eye socket.

And Cardenas and Staff Sgt. John Gregory had been ordered to the Green Zone to talk to an investigator after they roughed up two insurgents. A week after Pfc. Ross McGinnis fatally threw himself on a grenade to save four friends, Cardenas and Gregory had chased a couple of guys on a scooter and managed to stop them. Cardenas kicked over a wooden box the two Iraqis stood next to.

"There was a grenade full of nails," Cardenas said. "We had to go see a major about detainee abuse. We told him [the Iraqis] didn't want to get in the Bradley."

Nothing came of the investigation.

Such incidents belied the squared-away record Charlie 1-26 posted during its deployment to Iraq. In 15 months, they had one incident when two soldiers were caught with alcohol, Strickland said, but that was all.

"I think the performance comes from the level of discipline," Strickland said. "And the discipline comes from the hardship. They're a little bit more mature than a lot of other units."

In Shiite Kadhamiya, Charlie Company found paved, clean streets. In Sunni Adhamiya, so many garbage collectors had been killed that the Shiite government workers refused to go there. "It was one road and one river away from Adhamiya," DeNardi said. "But there was civilization on one side and chaos on the other."
Suicide and a twist of fate

Lt. Col. John Reynolds replaced Lt. Col. Eric Schacht as battalion commander July 8. Schacht left after his son died of a heart condition in Germany, the same day Charlie Company lost five men in the Bradley. Even with the high operations tempo and the loss of so many men, Reynolds called the changeover "easy."

"It was the best transition you could get," he said.

But within days, he would lose five men, including a respected senior non-commissioned officer. Master Sgt. Jeffrey McKinney, Alpha Company's first sergeant, was known as a family man and as a good leader because he was intelligent and could explain things well. But Staff Sgt. Jeremy Rausch of Charlie Company's 1st Platoon, a good friend of McKinney's, said McKinney told him he felt he was letting his men down in Adhamiya.

"First Sergeant McKinney was kind of a perfectionist and this was bothering him very much," Rausch said. On July 11, McKinney was ordered to lead his men on a foot patrol to clear the roads of IEDs. Everyone at Apache heard the call come in from Adhamiya, where Alpha Company had picked up the same streets Charlie had left. Charlie's 1st Platoon had also remained behind, and Rausch said he would never forget the fear he heard in McKinney's driver's voice:

"This is Apache seven delta," McKinney's driver said in a panicked voice over the radio. "Apache seven just shot himself. He just shot himself. Apache seven shot himself."

Rausch said there was no misunderstanding what had happened.

According to Charlie Company soldiers, McKinney said, "I can't take it anymore," and fired a round. Then he pointed his M4 under his chin and killed himself in front of three of his men.

At Old Mod, Charlie Company was called back in for weapons training, DeNardi said. They were told it was an accident. Then they were told it was under investigation. And then they were told it was a suicide. Reynolds confirmed that McKinney took his own life.

A week later, without their beloved first sergeant, Alpha Company would experience its first catastrophic loss on a mission that, but for a change in weather, was supposed to go to Charlie Company.

On July 17, Charlie's 2nd Platoon was refitting at Taji when they got a call to go back to Adhamiya. They were to patrol Route Southern Comfort, which had been black — off-limits — for months. Charlie Company knew a 500-pound bomb lay on that route, and they'd been ordered not to travel it. "Will there be route clearance?" 2nd Platoon asked. "Yes," they were told. "Then we'll go."

But the mission was canceled. The medevac crews couldn't fly because of a dust storm, and the Iraqi Army wasn't ready for the mission. Second Platoon went to bed.

They woke to the news that Alpha Company had gone on the mission instead and one of their Bradleys rolled over the 500-pound IED. The Bradley flipped. The explosion and flames killed everybody inside. Alpha Company lost four soldiers: Spc. Zachary Clouser, Spc. Richard Gilmore, Spc. Daniel Gomez and Sgt. 1st Class Luis Gutierrez-Rosales.

"There was no chance," said Johnson, whose scouts remained at Apache and served as the quick-reaction force that day. "It was eerily the same as June 21. You roll up on that, and it looked the same."

The guys from Charlie Company couldn't help but think about the similarities — and that it could have been them.

"Just the fact that there was another Bradley incident mentally screwed up 2nd Platoon," Strickland said. "It was almost like it had happened to them."

The battalion gave 2nd Platoon the day to recover. then they were scheduled to go back out on patrol in Adhamiya on July 18.

But when Strickland returned from a mission, he learned 2nd Platoon had failed to roll.

"A scheduled patrol is a direct order from me," Strickland said.

"'They're not coming,'" Strickland said he was told. "So I called the platoon sergeant and talked to him. 'Remind your guys: These are some of the things that could happen if they refuse to go out.' I was irritated they were thumbing their noses. I was determined to get them down there."

But, he said, he didn't know the whole platoon, except for Ybay, had taken sleeping medications prescribed by mental health that day, according to Ybay.

Strickland didn't know mental health leaders had talked to 2nd Platoon about "doing the right thing."

He didn't know 2nd Platoon had gathered for a meeting and determined they could no longer function professionally in Adhamiya — that several platoon members were afraid their anger could set loose a massacre.

"We said, 'No.' If you make us go there, we're going to light up everything," DeNardi said. "There's a thousand platoons. Not us. We're not going."

They decided as a platoon that they were done, DeNardi and Cardenas said, as did several other members of 2nd Platoon. At mental health, guys had told the therapist, "I'm going to murder someone." And the therapist said, "There comes a time when you have to stand up," 2nd Platoon members remembered. For the sake of not going to jail, the platoon decided they had to be "unplugged."

Ybay had gone to battalion to speak up for his guys and ask for more time. But when he came back, it was with orders to report to Old Mod.

Ybay said he tried to persuade his men to go out, but he could see they were not ready.

"It was like a scab that wouldn't heal up," Ybay said. "I couldn't force them to go out. Listening to them in the mental health session, I could hear they're not ready."

At 2 a.m, Ybay said, he'd found his men sitting outside smoking cigarettes. They could not sleep. Some of them were taking as many as 10 sleeping pills and still could not rest. The images of their dead friends haunted them. The need for revenge ravaged them.

But Ybay was still disappointed in his men. "I had a mission," he said. "The company had a mission. We still had to execute. But I understood their side, too."

Somehow, the full course of events didn't make it to Strickland. All he knew, the commander said, was his men had refused an order, and he was determined to get them to Apache.

"When you're given an order, you've got to execute," Strickland said. "Being told, 'They're not coming,' versus, 'They're taking meds and went to mental health,' are different things. It was just this weird situation where almost nothing connected."
A revolt in the ranks

"They called it an act of mutiny," Cardenas said, still enraged that the men he considered heroes were, in his mind, slandered. "The sergeant major and the battalion commander said we were unprofessional. They said they were disappointed in us and would never forget our actions for the rest of their lives."

But no judicial action ever came of it.

"Captain Strickland read us our rights," DeNardi said. "We had 15 yes-or-no questions, and no matter how you answered them, it looked like you disobeyed an order. No one asked what happened. And there's no record — no article 15. Nothing to show it happened."

After the members of 2nd Platoon had spent a year fighting for each other and watching their buddies die, battalion leaders began breaking up the platoon. Seven noncommissioned officers were told they were being relieved for cause and moved out of the unit. Three noncommissioned officers stayed at Old Mod. Two, including Sgt. Derrick Jorcke, would remain in Iraq for one month after 2nd Platoon went home in October because they had been moved to different battalions in different areas of Iraq.

"In a way, they were put someplace where they wouldn't have to go out again," Johnson said. "But as an NCO, they took these guys' leaders away and put them with people they didn't know and trust. You knew 2nd Platoon would die for you without a second's hesitation. That's what made them so great. These guys need each other."

Then, they were all flagged: No promotions. No awards. No favorable actions.

"We had PFCs miss [promotion to] specialist for two months," DeNardi said. "Bronze Stars and [Army Commendation Medals] were put on hold. You're talking about heroes like Cardenas. These are guys who save lives and they can't get awards."

"I didn't want to punish them," Strickland said. "I understood what was going on. But they had to understand you couldn't do something like that and have nothing happen."

And things could not continue as they had. Strickland could not operate for three more months with a platoon that refused to go out.

"Within the company, we made some adjustments," Strickland said. "They needed a fresh start. After looking into it, I didn't feel the need to punish anybody." However, he left the flags in place.

"If anything was going to be punishment, that was it," he said. For at least one soldier, that meant going through a promotion board again. Jorcke lost his promotion table status, but Strickland signed a memo re-establishing it. "I've tried to fix those issues. Almost everybody else has been promoted except one guy." Jorcke made his E-6 on Nov. 1.

Even after the "mutiny," Strickland said, he had a great deal of admiration for his soldiers.

"I understood why they did what they did," he said. "Some of the NCOs, I was disappointed in them because they failed to lead their soldiers through difficult times. They let their soldiers influence their decisions. But on a personal level, I applauded their decision because they stood behind their soldiers. I was disappointed, but I thought they had great courage. It was truly a Jekyll/Hyde moment for me."

And though they were horrified at being torn away from each other, the soldiers themselves were conflicted about the outcome.

"For us being disbanded, now we definitely had unfinished business," Jorcke said. "If we'd cleared Adhamiya, we could have said, 'I left Iraq and my buddies didn't die in vain.

"But in a way, the disbanding was good," he said. "We — what was left of the platoon — got to come back home alive."


Schools deny boosting military recruitment RENO, NV

    Schools deny boosting military recruitment

December 24, 2007

LAS VEGAS (AP) — School administrators are denying they meant to set a goal of raising the percentage of southern Nevada students who enlist in the military from a current 3 percent to up to 7 percent by 2009.

“The district has never done anything to promote military involvement,” Clark County School Board President Ruth Johnson told the Las Vegas Sun amid questions about a reference to military service in a new in-house school report card.

Johnson said a part of the “Quality Assurance Framework” addressing military careers needs to be rewritten to avoid the impression “that somehow we were trying to funnel our kids into the military, where they would be in danger.”

“We follow the law and provide access (to recruiters) and leadership programs at the high schools,” Johnson said. “But enlistment has always been a choice left up to the families.”
Lauren Kohut-Rost, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said the intent of the assessment document presented at a recent public meeting was to measure post-secondary activity by district students.

“What we would like to do is increase the percentage of seniors who have a plan beyond 12th grade,” Kohut-Rost said. “That’s what this is really about.”

An American Civil Liberties Union official said he was troubled the assessment made it into print and was presented to the public.

“Either this instrument was drafted incompetently, or they are being disingenuous,” said Gary Peck, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada. “There really isn’t a third option.”
At the same time, Peck said, the district deserved credit “for recognizing the problem when it was presented to them, and correcting it.”

“We’re not anti-military,” the ACLU official added. “We’re just looking for people to play by the rules.”

District officials say that of 12,000 seniors in the class of 2007, 3 percent indicated their intentions to enlist in the military, down from 4 percent last year and 5 percent in 2004.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, military recruiters have the same access to campuses and student information as college, university and career training recruiters.


Raging Grannies Raging at Military Recruitment Center 12-15-07

Raging Grannies Raging at Military Recruitment Center 12-15-07
by Agusto Cesar Sandino Segundo
Sunday Dec 16th, 2007 5:28 PM
On Saturday December 15th, an action called Not Home for the Holidays was held at the military recruitment center on 41st avenue in Capitola. This was the second event of its kind designed to draw attention to the thousands of enlisted service people who will not be home for the holidays because they are on one of the hundreds of military bases that the US has worldwide that are used to support the US's military heavy foreign policy. To help draw attention to this situation, the Raging Grannies sang their songs of peace and justice. The following MP3 file gives you a little taste of what the recruiters didn't want to hear. The clip is just under 10 minutes and includes several songs.

"American(s) have a reason for avoiding any unpleasant truths about Army recruitment "

The Boston Globe

  Appreciation for troops emanates from trail

By Peter S. Canellos, Globe Columnist  |  December 18, 2007

WASHINGTON - Two weeks ago at a Town Hall meeting in Hooksett, N.H., Senator John McCain of Arizona paid tribute to the US military: "These men and women are the best-trained, most professional, and bravest we've ever had."

His audience instantly applauded. It's a line McCain uses regularly, and it always receives a strong response. Seemingly all of America - and especially its political leaders - wants to honor the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, to make certain that their sacrifices are appreciated and understood.

McCain, the father of two sons serving in the Navy, even points out that Democrats and Republicans are united in supporting the troops and ensuring that they receive the best possible treatment for their injuries, and the most enthusiastic support from the home front.

The waves of appreciation for the military emanating from the campaign trail are a welcome curative to the treatment of Vietnam-era veterans like McCain himself. They returned to a country that considered them reminders of a war that many wanted to put behind them.

But there are political agendas at work in both parties' expressions of devotion to those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. And their politically calibrated reluctance to draw attention to problems that may reflect badly on the troops could have the perverse effect of damaging the military.

The most immediate problem is the declining standards for Army recruitment. In October, the first month of a fiscal year in which the Army is increasing its size, it met its recruitment goals - but only by accepting a large number of recruits who failed to meet the requisite standards for fitness, substance abuse, and lack of criminal records.

In all, more than one of every five recruits obtained a waiver after failing to meet the usual standards. That was twice the share that was granted waivers before the Iraq war, which has made many potential recruits leery of joining the Army. Meanwhile, the number of enlistees who have earned a high school diploma has also dropped in recent years.

The lowering of standards would be more acceptable if the Army could, through training, instill upstanding values in its soldiers, regardless of what they were like before entering. Certainly, many young men and women have turned their lives around by joining the military. People overcoming poor physical fitness, a history of substance abuse, or brushes with the law have always been given a chance to serve their country.

The American people ... also have a reason for avoiding any unpleasant truths about Army recruitment and training: The only alternative to the current system is a draft ...

But the Globe reported this week that the Army has failed to prevent tens of thousands of enlisted men and women from cheating on their promotion exams for sergeant - a clear violation of military law. No one in the Army hierarchy has offered an explanation for the failure to address the problem beyond the usual bureaucratic obstacles to change. But some officers noted in interviews that the Army would naturally be reluctant to crack down on thousands of soldiers at the same time as recruiters struggle to attract new enlistees.

Meanwhile, political leaders would naturally feel awkward pressuring the Army either to crack down on cheaters or to raise its recruitment standards at the very moment they are trying to appear supportive of the troops.

For Republicans, an admission that standards are unraveling, at least in some areas, would prompt the reasonable conclusion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have overstretched the forces - something that President Bush and his allies refuse to acknowledge.

For Democrats, an admission that standards are unraveling would risk an accusation of insensitivity to the troops. It would put the Democrats in the awkward position of pointing out flaws while their rivals across the aisle are celebrating the patriotism of those who serve.

The American people who are not in the military also have a reason for avoiding any unpleasant truths about Army recruitment and training: The only alternative to the current system is a draft, and the public overwhelmingly opposes such a move.

Until the people in the world outside the military are willing to do the job of the military, they risk appearing impolite - or ungrateful - if they question the way the military handles itself.

So from Congress to the White House to town meetings across the campaign trail, candidates and their supporters have been extolling the excellence of the military while perpetuating a sense of denial about the Army's recruitment and training flaws.

There are many ways to support the troops, and honoring their sacrifices is only a start.

Peter S. Canellos is the Globe's Washington bureau chief. National Perspective is his weekly analysis of events in the capital and beyond.


What do YOU believe about war?
Read our Questions for the Conscientious Objector.
It could change your life.

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If so, make sure you sign on to the CO affirmation!

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Read our advice and then give us a call.

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The best way to end the war is to support war resisters.

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector
 enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today."
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy



dear readers,

It has been quite some time since I been able to log into my account... we shall not query why.. I was able to mail things into the blog but finally, have it straightened out.

This blog and my website at were started as an act of editing out the crap and working 10 hours a day / 7 days a week to give the world another perspective on the war and on military service in general. My immediate response to this illegal war was to assist in getting information out to those who resisted. COURAGE TO RESIST is the site to find all of the information that is current on the situation with Canada.. and has great resources for all.

I spend many many hours taking each photo of each "confirmed" soldier who has died in this war and posting on one page, postage stamp sized pictures, ten to a column, the rows would not stop. I knew their names I was their faces. I showed where they came from and how old they were when their lives were taken by this greed-driven illegal war.

The page got a great deal of interest. It was seen and has been copied in many languages. But after the rows got longer and longer, the pictures got more and more difficult to add to the page. I spent the day in tears and the night dreaming of their faces, wondering about their families. I had to stop.

The pages are at and that page will show the link to the entire project. It remains unfinished. I will finish it after I am done with my next step in protesting the militarization of our youth and the lies that the recruiters tell when signing your sons or daughters into "a college education while serving your country."

I have just read a very important post on a blog that should be see and should be bookmarked. My first stop was ... and since that URL may be cut, I have taken the liberty to use "tiny url" so that you cannot miss it.

We must all tell our stories. Some can be told on this forum. Some cannot.


PLEASE RESPECT our right to report. There are many many perspectives of war... this veteran can show you his.


Kimberly Rivera chooses Canada over unjust war

By Courage to Resist.
November 18, 2007

While home on leave in January 2007, Army Spc Kimberly Rivera made the life changing decision that she would not be returning to the Iraq War. Instead, she packed up the family car and drove to Canada with her husband and two children. She is currently one of about fifty AWOL US war resisters who are openly seeking sanctuary in Canada. This is her story.

Kimberly Rivera grew up in Mesquite, Texas, a suburb east of Dallas. She had never thought of becoming a soldier until she was seventeen and the Army recruiters visited her home to meet with Kimberly and her parents. The recruiters offered money for college that her family did not have. Her mother was supporting Kimberly, her father, and her two sisters after her father suffered a work related accident. She took an aptitude test for job placement out of “curiosity”, but later signed up to be a mechanic. She was given an enlistment date following graduation for the Army Reserves.

On July 14, 2001 Kimberly was sent to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina for Basic Training. After suffering from morning sickness for several weeks, she attended sick call where the doctors told her there was nothing wrong with her, but handed her some pills saying, "This will take care of all your problems." She did not take the pills and continued with training.

Just before Christmas 2001, three months after entering AIT training, the commander released her because of her pregnancy. Because Kimberly was not active duty, she had only part time benefits which did not include health care or dental, or any of the other things that she needed to be a mom and a soldier—and the military agreed.

She returned home to Mesquite and to her job at Wal-Mart. Within the next two years she had two children, a boy and a girl. "I still felt like a 24 year old loser because our jobs were not paying the bills for the apartment, food, car, car insurance and health insurance and credit card bills." They moved in with her parents, which created additional stress.

She thought about the military again. The Army offered job security, sign-on bonuses, a food and clothing allowance, medical benefits, housing allowance, "Everything I needed, they had. It's the best form of socialism" she thought. After talking to an Army recruiter in January 2006, she joined up for a second time—this time active duty to receive full benefits for her family. She was again sent to Ft. Jackson a month later. Because she had previously completed Basic Training in 2001, she was sent to Ft. Leonard Wood in March 2006 and after passing her truck driving course was assigned to G Company, 2-17 Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Ft. Carson, Colorado. For the next few months she spent two weeks of each month in the deserts of the Colorado Rockies and a month in Death Valley, California.

In October 2006 her reserve unit was activated and deployed to Iraq. "I felt like I was losing my mind. I was so close to death so many times. It scares me now. My life as I knew it was falling apart and I was unable to pull it together. I was surrounded by males who were filled with filthy comments and talking about all kinds of sexual things. I was there for three months and was scared that some of the guys might try to get me to trust them just so later they could have their chance to abuse me."

"While in Iraq losing soldiers and civilians was part of daily life. I was a gate guard. This was looked down on by infantry soldiers who go out in the streets, but gate guards are the highest security of the Forward Operation Base. We searched vehicles, civilian personnel, and military convoys that left and came back every hour. I had a huge awakening seeing the war as it truly is: people losing their lives for greed of a nation and the effects on the soldiers who come back with new problems such as nightmares, anxieties, depression, anger, alcohol abuse, missing limbs and scars from burns. Some don't come back at all."

"On December 21, 2006 I was going to my room and something in my heart told me to go call my husband. And when I did 24 rounds of mortars hit the FOB in a matter of minutes after I got on the phone...the mortars were 10-15 feet from where I was. I found a hole from the shrapnel in my room in the plywood window. That night I found the shrapnel on my bed in the same place where my head would have been if I hadn't changed my plans and gone to the phone."

She began questioning everything: "Why am I here? What am I giving my life for? How am I helping my comrades and Iraq's people? What harm do I see here that would affect the safety of my family back home? Is what I am doing self-defense or aggression?"

That night an Iraqi civilian friend of Kimberly’s was badly wounded. “All I know is she was in very bad shape. The shrapnel hit her in her mid section and she was put on life support. That’s the last I heard from her sisters before I left.”

The following Saturday she watched as an Iraqi father came to the base with a little girl about 2 years old to put in a claim for loss due to Army negligence. The little girl was shaking very hard. "You could see tears of trauma running down her face. No weeping, no whining, just tears. . I was seeing my little girl. I wanted to hold her so bad, but I was afraid of scaring her more and I didn't want to do that."

In January 2007 she began two week's leave. One night in the second week Kimberly and her husband agreed she would not go back to Iraq. He contacted War Resisters Campaign in Canada. They packed their car and began driving from Mesquite, Texas "the long way around to Colorado to delay time." Every time they got closer to Colorado the dread increased and they would then drive east. "As long as we were going east to Buffalo, we had peace...If we had doubts about our decision; we didn't once we passed the border. We know all that we left behind: our families, our things in Colorado, our life, our home, our country, and our pride. The most important thing was for us to live as a happy, safe family with both parents in the picture." They crossed the Rainbow Bridge into Canada on February 18, 2007.

Kimberly and her family now live in Toronto hoping they will be able to stay. She is the first female war resister in Canada to publicly speak out about her decision to resist returning to the Iraq War. "My goal," she says," is to find a better future for my kids."

Also now available, Courage to Resist audio interview with Kimberly. December 4, 2007

thank you to Courage to Resist for their wonderful work for these brave men and women.

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steven funk
"Courage to Resist has been a key figure in the organizing of support for conscientious objectors like myself..."
— Stephen Funk,
first public Iraq War military resister
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Army Desertion Rate Jumps Sharply,13319,156409,00.html?
short version:

Associated Press  |  November 16, 2007

WASHINGTON - Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

While the totals are still far lower than they were during the Vietnam war, when the draft was in effect, they show a steady increase over the past four years and a 42 percent jump since last year.

According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared to nearly seven per 1,000 a year earlier. Overall, 4,698 soldiers deserted this year, compared to 3,301 last year.

The increase comes as the Army continues to bear the brunt of the war demands with many soldiers serving repeated, lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military leaders - including Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey - have acknowledged that the Army has been stretched nearly to the breaking point by the combat. And efforts are under way to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps to lessen the burden and give troops more time off between deployments.

Despite the continued increase in desertions, however, an Associated Press examination of Pentagon figures earlier this year showed that the military does little to find those who bolt, and rarely prosecutes the ones they get. Some are allowed to simply return to their units, while most are given less-than-honorable discharges.


In accordance with Title U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Meeting No. 6
Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met at 3:34 p.m. this day, in Room 269, West Block, the Chair, Norman Doyle, presiding.


Members of the Committee present: Dave Batters, Colleen Beaumier, Robert Carrier, Olivia Chow, Norman Doyle, Meili Faille, Nina Grewal, Hon. Jim Karygiannis, Ed Komarnicki and Hon. Andrew Telegdi.


Acting Members present: Lloyd St. Amand for Hon. Maurizio Bevilacqua and Bradley R. Trost for Wajid Khan.


Other Members present: Alex Atamanenko.


In attendance: Library of Parliament: Penny Becklumb, Analyst; Sandra Elgersma, Analyst.


Witnesses: Department of Citizenship and Immigration: Les Linklater, Director General, Immigration Branch; Micheline Aucoin, Director General, Refugees Branch. Mennonite Central Committee: William Janzen, Director. War Resisters' Support Campaign: Phillip McDowell. As an individual: Jeffry A. House. Canadian Friends Service Committee: Gay Anne Broughton, Program Coordinator.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) and the motion adopted by the Committee on Thursday, November 22, 2007, the Committee commenced its study of Iraq war resisters.

Les Linklater made a statement and, with Micheline Aucoin, answered questions.


William Janzen, Philip McDowell, Jeffry A. House and Gay Anne Broughton made statements and answered questions.


Jim Karygiannis moved, — The Committee recommends that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to the war in Iraq and do not have a criminal record and/or there has been no criminal or military warrants issued against them, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.


Olivia Chow moved, — That the motion be amended by replacing the words “the war in Iraq” with the words “a war not sanctioned by the United Nations”; and by deleting the words “and/or there has been no criminal or military warrants issued against them”.


After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Olivia Chow and it was agreed to on the following recorded division: YEAS: Colleen Beaumier, Robert Carrier, Olivia Chow, Meili Faille, Jim Karygiannis, Lloyd St. Amand, Andrew Telegdi — 7; NAYS: Dave Batters, Nina Grewal, Ed Komarnicki, Bradley R. Trost — 4.


After debate, the question was put on the motion, as amended, and it was agreed to on the following recorded division: YEAS: Colleen Beaumier, Robert Carrier, Olivia Chow, Meili Faille, Jim Karygiannis, Lloyd St. Amand, Andrew Telegdi — 7; NAYS: Dave Batters, Nina Grewal, Ed Komarnicki, Bradley R. Trost — 4.


The motion, as amended, read as follows:

That the Committee recommend that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.


At 5:14 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.


Andrew Bartholomew Chaplin
Clerk of the Committee

2007/12/10 3:40 p.m.

--   The best way to end the war is to support war resisters.  "War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy