Before You Enlist Video -
Researching Pop Culture and Militarism -
If you have been Harassed by a Military Recruiter -
War: Turning now to Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson - Christian Science Monitor
Click through to find out
Religion and militarism -
‘A Poison in the System’: Military Sexual Assault - New York Times
Change your Mind?
Talk to a Counselor at the GI Rights Hotline
Ask that your child's information is denied to Military Recruiters
And monitor that this request is honored.
Military Recruiters and Programs Target marginalized communities for recruits...
..and the high schools in those same communities

 Militarization of our Schools

The Pentagon is taking over our poorer public schools. This is the reality for disadvantaged youth.


What we can do

Corporate/conservative alliances threaten Democracy . Progressives have an important role to play.

 Why does NNOMY matter?

Most are blind or indifferent to the problem.
A few strive to protect our democracy.

A debate on recruitment

From: Peter Trafas
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 02:02:28 EST
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cc: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Information on volunteering for the Peace Center

Julia or John,

I just stumbled on your site by pure accident and was disgusted in reading a page of your site "Countering the Military Invasion of DC High Schools" by John Judge, June 2001. It is disgusting that you would actually discourage an inner city youth from serving THEIR country, and badmouth college funding programs that you have no knowledge on. I would not even dare assume that you have ever spent one day in the military, yet it is evident that you are part of the typical crowd who can claim to be military experts on topics they have NO clue about. I would never be so arrogant or stupid to talk about something I have never experienced, or do not have a full working knowledge of.

The quotes from the movie "A few Good Men" hit the nail right on the head, when it was stated " You Sleep under the blanket of protection which I provide, and then question the manner in which I provide it" Sleep well all you peace freaks with nothing better to do. Life is safe and comfortable for you because there are people who protect even people like you.

Peter G. Trafas

Subject: Re: Information on volunteering for the Peace Center
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 02:33:16 -0500
From: Washington Peace Center <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
To: Peter Trafas

Peter Trafas,

I will answer your points one at a time:

I discourage inner city youth from choosing a military option before they know of others that do not put them at similar risk for eight years of their life. The risk to them, especially African American males, is primarily from the racism in the military which fails to provide the disproportionate majority who join with useable job skills and which targets them for four times the rate of courts-martial and twice the level of bad discharge as white enlistees, resulting in recently discharged Black veterans being twice as unemployed and four times as homeless as Black youth who do not join the military. For every success story, there are over 100 a day dumped back into civilian life with the life-long stigma of a bad discharge which guarantees employer discrimination and loss of benefits, even though the military admits that its own racism is the primary cause of these discharges being given. I also know of many civilian options that allow these same youth to get job training, job placement and money for college without joining the military. As to whether they are serving their country in the current Pax Americana military, or in past wars I have lived through, I think they have died in disproportionate numbers defending investments but not security or liberty here. There are many ways to "serve your country" and I don't apologize for helping young people explore them.

As to "badmouthing" a program I "have no knowledge on", I have in fact studied and presented the statistical reality of that program which provides college level education to only 35% of those eligible, which is only a fraction of those who pay into the program. Of those who use it only 15% actually graduate from college. Enough are kept from using it that the military has made over $2 billion on the program in funds paid in but never used. Again, the unevenly administered bad discharge system is the primary reason that people lose their investment in the program and cannot get matching funds either. It is a far cry from paying for a full university degree, which used to be a real benefit for some who entered the military. Now, like much else, it is a false promise.

I am glad you would not "dare to assume" whether I have been in the military or not. The group I work with to present this information in the DC schools is primarily a group of veterans, as are those who work to provide statistics and a realistic picture of military life to youth and those who counter the deceptions of military recruiting ads and claims. I have counseled tens of thousands of active duty military personnel and veterans over the last 30 years, so I know the military quite well. I did not join the military because of my opposition to war. That does not mean that I can know nothing of it. I know more than any individual enlisted member in one branch, and most veterans I meet know that the realities presented in my article match their experiences inside the military and since. I work from honest concern, not arrogance. The source of my statistics is the Pentagon itself. The Center for Defense Information here in DC and the Veterans for Peace both do the same work and make the same critique, and they were formed by enlisted and officers alike from all branches and with combat experience. Hemingway said, "If you want to have a war, don't ask the veterans and don't ask the dead."

As to your claim of "protection" in my view it is a racket. I do not feel protected by either the domestic or foreign actions of the US military, in fact they have made me more insecure in my lifetime than any foreign power or peoples. Did you find it strange that they could not protect their own building on September 11 with a 40 minute warning? They do have a "mechanism", several in fact, despite their denials. I grew up in a family of civilian employees of the Pentagon, so I know first hand about surface to air missile ports, protected air spaces, radar defenses at the site, etc. They were on stand down that day. I was not protected by the wars in Afghanistan, or the Gulf, nor will I be by the current push to invade Iraq. Bush's Pax Americana bullying is going to destabilize international relations, spread war and death, and put us further at risk from increased terrorism.

It is your arrogance, and I have heard it many times, to suggest that you can or have the right to "protect" me without my permission. My Constitutional rights are in far more danger from the current military domestic spying, the breakdown of military and police function, the militarization of society and outer space, and the undemocratic pressure here and on the UN to go to war with people who have not challenged my rights whatsoever. The cost of this so-called "protection" has been massive cuts in social services and social security, gutting of the civilian industrial base and economic recession in my lifetime, which trouble me far more than the boogey men I am told to fear abroad. The deficit and high taxes? It's the Pentagon budget, which is still out of control, along with so-called "intelligence" agencies whose interventions abroad sparked the hatred and rage that have led to recent terrorism.

And, yes, I question the "manner in which you provide" your alleged "protection" as well because I am still a citizen in what is left of a democracy and the military is no sacred cow beyond questioning. If we are to have a military, then it should be under full and open civilian control without secrecy, it should rely on a budget given it voluntarily by directly allocated taxes, and its abysmal personnel policies from recruitment to treatment in peace and war to discipline and discharge should be changed to take us out of the 18th century and end our isolation from all other industrialized nations who have much more democratic military policies than we do, including no internal military discipline and court systems. We are still a Prussian military geared for empire building, which is of course what Bush wants to use it for.

I don't sleep well knowing that the military is made up of people who are so furious with anyone who questions them that they call us "freaks" and imply that we are not even worthy of the rights we have because we use them. Practicing democracy between wars is like being a vegetarian between meals. You took an oath to defend the Constitution, not the President, so why not read it and think about what it really means?

I will sleep well when I live in an open and informed democracy, not run and threatened by the "undue influence of a vast military-intelligence-industrial complex" which President and former General Eisenhower warned of in 1959. I suppose you think I should be so happy to have freedom of speech that I sit down and shut up about it?

You are of course welcome to be disgusted about whatever you like, but when you imply I do not know about the topic on which I wrote you are wrong. I have studied, read and experienced a great deal of military reality and many others who are veterans agree with my point of view. And as to my sanction to have you use violence and war to "protect me", I will say NOT IN MY NAME!

John Judge (speaking for himself)

Washington Peace Center
1801 Columbia Road NW, Suite 104
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 234-2000; (202) 234-7064 (fax)


From: Peter Trafas
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 03:58:05 EST
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Re: Information on volunteering for the Peace Center


Thanks for the vast expansion on your ideals, but I have no idea of what military you are referring to. If today's US military is racist, I the single white male heterosexual would be the top most discriminated group in the military today. I have been in the military for 12 years, and have NEVER seen a black guy being discriminated against, or given unfair treatment. I HAVE seen preferential treatment given to females, and minorities. If a minority is getting kicked out on a bad discharge he obviously made his own bed to lie in all by himself, or is trying to use the clintonian way of not taking responsibility, and blame everyone else. You act as though the military is kicking minorities out in droves, when in fact it is extremely difficult to kick anyone out these days. If you read the regs, about the only way these days you can get a dishonorable discharge is if you stab, shoot, or kill someone. I suppose that those things would be good to label someone with a life long stigma. Food for could it be that there is people getting discriminated against if the large majority of the military leadership is a minority. Just does not make any sense. Maybe they are culling their own herd. I guess these bad apples that go running to you need to pull out the racial card to pass the buck on their own self worth. If these people can not make it in the Military, they will hardly be able to deal with the real world that does not have so many regulations, and laws promoting equal treatment.

To say that minorities are thrown into the meat grinder, and easily sacrificed to die is a pipe dream. The precentage of whites males in combat arms jobs is disproportionate to the make up of the whole military. We are talking about the people who volunteer to actually meet, close, and yes KILL the enemy (infantry, pilots, SpecOps). If you were ever to visit a combat support unit which is made up of more desk jobs, and easy living, you would find an abundance of blacks and other minorities there. A bullet does not see black and white.

I am sorry that you only seem to see things as discrimination issues constantly. There are stupid, uneducated black people, and stupid uneducated white people. There are bad apples of all colors in this world. Let these people all take some personal responsibility for their actions, and inadequacies. Thats right personal responsibility. There are plenty of inner city youth that have grabbed themselves by the balls to make a better life for themselves, and there are plenty of others who just sit around and blame anyone and anything.

It is easy to blame the system, and not the individual. Please continue to help filter out these racist individuals for the military. The military is not a social experiment, or a welfare system. Your ratio of 1 success story to 100 bad ones is TOTALLY out of line. It would be more like 1000 success stories to a handful of bad ones. I call it like I have seen it. Not based off of some book studies or bad apple sob stories. I am sorry that the success of the worlds people does not always conform to a persons skin color. It is people like yourself (hyper-sensitive anti-racists) stirring the racial pot that do the most damage to any race relations.

Lastly, being a dependant of someone who use to be in the military, or worked for the military, HARDLY qualifies as having been there. Hopefully soon they will reinstitute the draft to maybe instill todays young with some values that your social programs seem to be lacking for them and their one parent families. Also I hope that you have traveled the world and have actually seen how other people live, outside your own little world you are protected, and it is totally invisable to you.

PS - $1200 for $20,000 worth of college money is a good deal in anyones book, or better yet...join the national guard and go to school for free. Where is the bad deal in that???

From: Washington Peace Center <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 00:55:10 -0500
To: Peter Trafas
Subject: Re: Information on volunteering for the Peace Center


I'll pull your letter out next time someone asks me to prove the military is racist. You are blind to your own skin privilege, and I'm not hyper-sensitive. I'm just quoting the facts. I don't have to be in the military to comprehend it or critique it, which is amply demonstrated by your lack of insight from in the ranks. Despite your anecdotes, the statistical reality is one of disproportionate bad discharge, and combat risk for people of color. That is not to say there are no whites on the front lines. I know there are. But people of color are and have historically been over-represented among the US war dead. You can blame the victims all you want, and perhaps for you it is hard to be discharged.

If any corporation was turning over new personnel at the rate and cost of military enlisted it would be broke. But, even if I thought it was a socially progressive institution, its role in the world is dead wrong. The $20,000 only does you any good when you qualify for it or are able to use it, which was my point. For 65% of the people eligible, and 100% of those who discharge early, miss a payment, discharge less than honorably (primarily because of racism according to the Pentagon itself) or score low on an SAT, they just lose the $1200 instead. Civilian college loan and grant programs provide for 75% of all college enrollments, and they can get you all the way through school with no risk, and certainly without selling 8 years of your life. What's so bad about that? Education should be a right, not a privilege for anyone, veterans included.

But, no need to belabor the point I can tell. You live in "your" military and I will listen to the vast majority of veterans who when polled say they have not learned any usable skills, have been discriminated against, raped and harassed, have had recruiter promises and expectations broken and denied, and would not recommend that any member of their family join. I hope it works out better for you, but that should not make you blind to what happens to others around you.

John Judge

Washington Peace Center
1801 Columbia Road NW, Suite 104
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 234-2000; (202) 234-7064 (fax)


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