How many people are you willing to kill to maintain our lifestyle?
Tragically, the MRS was also well attended with at least 8 young people, including four Berkeley High students, entering the station and exposing themselves to the danger of being recruited.
We were fortunate to be able to engage in about a half hour discussion with four of these youth as well as a brief interchange with one recruiter.
The recruiter, a young brown man short in stature and in a ‘rush’, proclaims he’s serving his country by recruiting youth into the military. We are able inform him that first of all, WE are his country, and secondly he is serving the desires of corporations NOT his country as he recruits youth to be the cannon fodder in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The conversation with the high school students, all white, all male, all very young, began with one of them informing us of how “nice” the recruiters were. They came out of the MRS each carrying plastic bags laden with ‘goodies’ and inscribed with red letters spelling “U.S. Marine Corp”.
I inform them, to their wide-eyed chagrin, that we are also very nice – AND we are not getting paid a $5000 to $20,000 dollar bonus to nicely recruit them into the military! I also try to tell them, in not so many words, that they’ve been had! That the military gets $6 BILLION a year to figure out how to trick them, seduce them, cajole them into signing up.
And then there is us on the other side with no funds to tell them the truths the military neglects, glosses over, or simply lies about.
Like the truth that they are fighting, killing, committing horrific and inhuman acts of violence to protect our corporations right to exploit other people, their resources, their country.
One young man insists he is going to Afghanistan to fight for our right to stand in front of the MRS. When asked to explain exactly how killing people in Afghanistan makes it possible for us to stand in front of the MRS, he can’t. Instead, he accuses us of having faulty logic.
I ask him if he didn’t think his is the logic that is faulty – for he is the one that cannot explain how killing in Afghanistan provides us the opportunity to stand at the MRS but I can certainly and do explain how killing in Afghanistan provides our oil companies, gas companies, and every other war profiteering company the opportunity to take over and exploit Afghanistan.
Another young man objects vehemently to being accused of killing anyone. I ask him surely the recruiter informed him that he will kill people in Afghanistan, actually within one month of landing, soldiers kill real people?
He wants to and does sheepishly claim he will be not be killing people but ‘the enemy’. I tell him what he already knows: enemy, schenemy, killing is killing. The military wants you to believe this is not a human being, but this IS a human being according to their family, their community, their military – as much a human being as he is to himself, his family, his military.
I think this is the point that distresses these young men the most – the re-humanizing of the ‘enemy’ – for as long as they can believe the people they are killing are not really human, they can be part and parcel of the military and also believe they are not killers. Of course, this is where racism plays it’s number one most important card in our military – for these are brown people, people of color, savages, oh sorry terrorists, inferior and they certainly don’t count as human beings.
All four are very obsessed with our employment and other status. Being much too polite to tell us to go get a job, they want to know where we work, if we were communists or hippies, and why we weren’t working now.
We attempt to explain that we feel so strongly about ending war, care so much about human life and preventing them from becoming cannon fodder that we have put work for money aside. They are dumbfounded – how can we put work aside? We suggest several ways which seem to baffle if not intrigue them: 1) don’t want anything that costs money; 2) reduce consumption; 3) never buy new and if you do buy new, do it with consciousness.
As we are ending, one young man, after claiming falsely that there has always been war, sweeps his hand around and asks if we thought anyone in this country is going to be willing to “give up” this life style?
I tell him that is not really the question. I sweep my arms around too and tell them the real question is “how many people are you willing to kill in order to ensure and maintain this life style?
A couple of these young men sincerely thanked us for talking with them