We have had a number of inquiries from people who want to do counter-recruiting, but don’t know how to get trained and get started.
There needs to be organized counter-recruiting training sessions; but we are not aware of any formal program for this – yet.
In the meantime, we have assembled below a provisional "self-study" course for those who want to get involved in counter-recruiting.
Here is the outline:
If possible find some other sympathetic folks to work with you on this; you can encourage each other, and share the workload. Then:
1. Send for some recruiting information, for background. You can order it at this website, military.com
(You'll need to submit your address to get some of this information, but if recruiters call, just tell them you're doing research and aren't interested or are too old.)
Once you get into that site, you can find this page, which has lots of recruiting propaganda. Get familiar with this page and the material. Keep in mind that you can't take all of this data at face value; but it shows what recruits will see and hear.
You'll also get some recruiting material in the mail. Look it over, and keep it in a folder for reference.
2. Also go to this page to see and print out a copy of the army enlistment contract ; you'll need the Adobe Acrobat reader to see it. Save this form too.
3. Once you're familiar with the recruiting pitch (or while you're waiting for the material to arrive), look at these counter-recruiting (CR) resources, also online:
Quaker House Counter-Recruiting FAQs: these FAQs can be printed out for distribution. (NOTE: This FAQ shows the sections of the enlistment contract that are "time bombs" for recruits, and which recruiters generally don't tell them about.)
Counter-recruiting resources at the website of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors:
For more resources, visit this web page of the American Friends Service Committee.
When you feel ready, take your materials and call a local high school (By now you'll know that the recruiters target "non-elite" schools, in less than affluent areas) and ask about when the recruiters will be there. Then ask to be able to set up a table for your material. I suggest taking a "consumer information" slant about this, indicating that you have some information the kids might not otherwise have, rather than an overtly anti-military perspective (school administrators are generally scared of such).
Better yet, find someone else to go with you.
If a school administrator resists letting you in -- which often happens -- don't give up. Here is one account of how some Vets for Peace dealt with such resistance in one case:
(NOTE: this report also shows how a "consumer information" approach will be less threatening to school officials.)
But be persistent. You have the law on your side: if the school lets recruiters in, they are obliged to let you in too. Here is a sample letter from an attorney making this clear:
By this time, you'll be ready, even if you still have butterflies and uncertainty. And once you get going, don't get discouraged. The military has a much larger budget and many more recruiters (at the moment) than we do; but you (and we) have truth on our side. With determination and a positive attitude, that should be enough.
Quaker House of Fayetteville has been a front-line peace project since 1969. For more information, or to make a tax-deductible contribution, write to Quaker House at:
223 Hillside Ave., Fayetteville NC 28301.
Please copy, post and distribute this FAQ freely.
Sgt. Abe the Honest Recruiter takes a look at the Enlistment Agreement of the U.S. Armed Forces.