The Berkeley-Marines War Comes To Los Angeles

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Santa Monica, to be exact.

There were many who questioned why I brought up the recent confrontation between the city of Berkeley and recruiters for the Marines. So what if Berkeley doesn’t want recruiters in their town? What happens in Berkeley has nothing to do with L.A., I was told.

Guess again.

The war against military recruiters is occurring in more places than just Berkeley. Code Pink, Women For Peace, is the organization behind the campaign. Tomorrow’s battleground is Santa Monica, where Code Pink is hosting “Make Out, Not War” for Valentine’s Day. CP will be gathering at the Santa Monica Army Recruitment Center at 720 Wilshire Blvd. to “educate the public about the risks associated with military enlistment and inform them why it’s smart to OPT OUT.”

What’s interesting here is that these “women for peace” are protesting military recruiters instead of the government responsible for giving them their orders. It’s like yelling at the mailman for delivering an overdraft notice from the bank. Not to mention the fact that even peaceful countries need a military to protect themselves. Our military just happens to be all-volunteer, which is why it needs recruiters to begin with.

By the way, tomorrow’s event is being billed as a “kiss-in.” Brush that grill.

12 Replies to “The Berkeley-Marines War Comes To Los Angeles”

  1. Regardless of your stance on the appropriateness of recruitment, arguing that the recruiters themselves have absolutely no culpability for the ramifications of their action is downright silly. Do you believe that the brokers that sold people of those shady mortgages over the last five years should be absolved of fault because it’s all Countrywide and Citibank’s responsibility? I doubt it.

    In fact, the recruiters themselves will admit that what they do and the effect it can have on people’s lives and futures as well as on the families of their recruits can weigh on them heavily (as they did in an NPR piece not too long ago that I sadly can’t find a link for). Support the troops all you want, but insisting that anybody in uniform is pure as the driven snow because they’re just following orders is, quite frankly, naive.

  2. It’s also naive to blame recruiters for people signing up. Last time I checked, no one holds a gun to your head forcing you to enlist. If you are signing up just because they say you should, then you have even bigger problems. People can think for themselves.

    If you are recruited heavily by the Church of Scientology, and you join out of pressure, does that mean it’s the church’s fault and not your own? Sorry, but I don’t buy it.

  3. Actually, it’s more like blaming the mailman for delivering the past due notice after he failed to deliver the original bill.

    There’s a lot to be desired with our current recruitment system, whether we need a military or not. If you don’t buy that, well, you haven’t done the research or you’re biased.

    And no, a lot of psychological research shows that 17 and 18 year old males CAN’T fully “think for themselves” the way you mean it.

  4. I don’t for one second doubt that the current system of recruitment has problems. It wouldn’t be the American military if it didn’t.

    As far as 18 year old males not being able to think for themselves, does that mean we should take away their right to vote as well?

    Can’t have it both ways. If your 18, you’re an adult. You have the responsibility to make your own decisions and your own mistakes. You just can’t drink. Legally, anyway.

  5. Thanks to No Child Left Behind’s federally guaranteed school access, you can be sure that, while they might not be able to sign on the dotted line until the 18th birthday, the recruitment process begins far earlier than that. But that’s a red herring because nobody is making the argument that new recruits don’t bear some or most of the responsibility of that decision. On the other hand, you are making the argument that recruiters don’t bear any of it at all and therefore shouldn’t be targets of protest.

    I have to agree with Colinski that you’re either biased, or you’re having a knee jerk reaction and haven’t done any real research on the subject because the bulk of the contemporary debate about recruiters relates specifically to questionable tactics they’ve employed as recruiters. You can side for against the need to employ them, but to insist that recruiters bear no responsibility for the ramifications of their own behavior flies in the face of logic.

  6. I can assure you that I am not pro-military and I am very anti-war. But, at the end of the day, I am still an American citizen that enjoys the freedoms of this country as protected by men and women in uniform. So are you. Whether or not you choose to acknowledge is something you’ll need to work out on your own.

    As far as research goes… I really don’t have any idea how far the military goes to recruit. That wasn’t the point of bringing any of this up. The point I was trying to make was, unless you want to bring back the draft, military recruitment is a necessary evil. The military recruits new members, and some people sign up. Don’t like it? Then don’t sign up. In many other countries around the world, you don’t even have that choice.

    To justify one volunteer organization protesting another volunteer organization because the former doesn’t agree with the latter just doesn’t hold water.

  7. I think someone has watched Private Benjamin one too many times.

    Frankly, I wish that Air Force recruiter had been more agressive in getting me to sign up.

    I much preferred the Air Force’s country club style style barracks to the Navy’s rundown crackerboxes.

    Oh well…at least I got to persue my weather-guesser rating rather than standing watch at a security gate all day.

    Damn you to hell, Mr. Evil Recruiterman for giving me a college education and a great start in life.

  8. But, at the end of the day, I am still an American citizen that enjoys the freedoms of this country as protected by men and women in uniform. So are you. Whether or not you choose to acknowledge is something you’ll need to work out on your own.

    Given that you’re speaking to the grandson of both a Purple Heart-decorated WWII vet and a Korean war vet as well as the son of a decorated disabled Vietnam vet, you’re really bordering on being insulting with that comment. I hate to make assumptions, so I’m sorry if I’m wrong, but perhaps I have an understanding of the realities of military service that you don’t?

    To justify one volunteer organization protesting another volunteer organization because the former doesn’t agree with the latter just doesn’t hold water.

    That last I checked that’s called “The First Amendment” and it’s exactly what our men and women in uniform, as well as both of my grandfathers, my dad and my uncle, were supposedly protecting. To borrow your truism: Don’t like people protesting your recruiting? Then don’t make people sign up. Some of us accept the consequences of our actions and don’t look to some kind of higher calling to justify them.

    As for Ugly’s comment

    Damn you to hell, Mr. Evil Recruiterman for giving me a college education and a great start in life.

    Good for you. You know what Mr. Evil Recruiterman gave my dad? PTSD, an opium addiction, an almost complete loss of hearing and potentially Agent Orange-related health issues in his children. Oh, they also officially denied he was in combat for the last 30 years so he couldn’t claim any benefits until his work was finally unclassified in the last five years. Glad things worked out so peachy for you. Too bad you’re experience was enough to equip you with some rose colored glasses, but not enough to be able to see beyond your own good fortune to acknowledge that it doesn’t always work out so well for everyone else.

  9. I agree with Jason on this for the most part. I’d even go one step further and argue that banning recruiters is traitorous if it weren’t for one thing…

    I don’t think we can blame recruiters or the military for the wars we enter, but we can hold them accountable for bigoted hiring practices. Will they just as eagerly sign up openly gay men and women?

    No, they won’t. And for that, I see no problem with banning recruiters.

  10. I am a CA native and a wife of an active duty Marine who has seen 2 combat tours and also did a 3 year assignment as a recruiter. I was there to witness the difficulties of his job, let me even go further as to state that he actually told me after coming home from combat that he preferred combat to recruiting on the basis of what his overall experience was with it. Do some recruiters lie or exaggerate to get people to enlist? That would be like asking do some husbands cheat, do some people snore, it it sometimes cold? What I mean is the Marines are a cross cut of American society just like any other and can’t be pidgeon holed into one definition. I can only speak of my husband’s dedication to do his job honestly and to give a realistic view of what those he put in would be doing. I ask is it even possible right now to trick a teenager into joining? Are there any 18 year olds out there that don’t realize we have troops fighting both in Iraq and Afghanistan? That in the very least it’s a possibility if they sign the dotted line they might be called upon to actually earn the money they are being paid by being sent to war? Perhaps not I know they never talk about it on the news.

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