How to Kill a War

July 10, 2005

College not Combat is a new proposition currently collecting signatures in San Francisco for the November ballot. The proposition is a "declaration of policy", a resolution only, and thus sounds toothless. But its declaration of opposition to military recruiters using public schools, colleges and university facilities to recruit soldiers strikes at the current war's weakest link: its increasingly poor recruitment to its much-touted all-volunteer military.

At base, the proposition strikes out against the Solomon Amendments and passages in the No Child Left Behind Act, pulling federal funding from schools, colleges and universities who do not permit military recruiters onto their campuses. The proposition recognizes the inherent conflict between military recruitment practices discriminating against gays and lesbians, and the non-discriminatory policies of our educational institutions. And the proposition also takes the military to task for not honoring its contracts with soldiers ordered back to service after the end of their terms through "stop loss" orders.

This initiative contains within it the map for a new point of attack for a demoralized and dispersed anti-war movement. It's smart on more than one level. By focusing on hobbling the military rather than trying to get the goverment to agree with antiwar sentiment, activists could force the goverment into a no-win situation: either let the numbers fall below optimum (with the added bonus of canceling other potential military actions in the Mid-East), or move toward a draft (the prelude to a near-certain Democratic presidency, if not congress.) This effort would also place the locus of protest and actions on high school and especially college campuses, thereby mobilizing the most energetic and activism-susceptible segment of the population: students.

Looking into the future: if this effort succeeds, where could the military realistically go to up its numbers? Well, according to the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star, 28,000 foreign nationals already serve in the US military, looking for a quicker way to American citizenship. Is this the immigration of the future, where we see the middle class of Asian tiger economies no longer brain-draining, but staying at home and waiting for the jobs to be exported to them ... while the working class poor enter the US free and clear, and missing limbs?




It's actually in the contract. The military can retain any or all of us beyond the dates of the contract for teh duration +6 months of any war or declared national emergency.When stop loss is in effect, soldiers in units that have been placed on alert for deployment may not End Term of Service (ETS) or retire (unless for attaing maximum military age: 60) until either the unit is stood down from alert or 90 days after redeploying (returning home).At whichever end point, all troops hat would have ETSd or retired will do so.Nothing sinister in this. It is done soley to stabilize manpower rosters for deployment.Also, once a troop has reached 12 months from the date he was supposed to separate from the service, he can choose to do so.It's not nearly as draconian as it's been made out to be.