General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect: He can think.
This poem by Bertold Brecht was an anthem of the
widespread GI Movement against the Vietnam War, and
thirty years later it still resonates.
Today there is a growing GI movement against the War
in Iraq. It has the potential to tremendously impact
the War in Iraq and end US foreign policies of empire.
But it needs our help. On December 8-10, there will be
three days of action across the US to show widespread
public support for the courageous troops that resist. Educational events, rallies, marches and vigils will take place around the US.
In the 1960's an anti-war movement emerged that
altered the course of history. This movement didn't
take place on college campuses, but in barracks and on
aircraft carriers. It flourished in Army stockades,
Navy brigs and in the dingy towns that surround
military bases. It penetrated elite military colleges
like West Point. And it spread throughout the
battlefields of Vietnam. It was a movement no one
expected, least of all those in it. Hundreds went to
prison and thousands into exile. And by 1971 it had,
in the words of one colonel, infested the entire armed services.
I was part of that movement during the 60's, and have
an intimate connection with it. For two years I worked
as a civilian at the Oleo Strut in Killeen, Texas-one
of dozens of coffeehouses that were opened near
military bases to support the efforts of antiwar
soldiers. I helped organize demonstrations of over
1,000 soldiers against the war and the military; I
worked with guys from small towns and urban ghettos
who had joined the military and gone to Vietnam out of
a deep sense of duty and now risked their lives and
futures to end the war; and I helped defend them when
they were jailed for their antiwar activities.
I made the film Sir! No Sir!, released earlier this
year, to tell this suppressed story of the GI
Today the new GI resistance movement is growing--more
soldiers are going public with their opposition,
thousands are going AWOL, the first GI coffeehouse
opened recently (with internet!), and the antiwar
movement is realizing that supporting these soldiers
is the next step.
It's time for us to escalate public pressure and
action in support of the growing movement of thousands
of courageous men and women soldiers who have in many
different ways followed the their
conscience--upholding international law, taking a
principled stand against unjust, illegal war and
occupation and standing up for their rights.
Widespread public support and pressure will help
create true support for courageous troops facing
isolation and repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights.
Like the GI Coffeehouses of the 60's and 70's, showing widespread public support for soldiers who resist is one of the best ways those of us outside the military can encourage the growing momentum of GI resistance, a movement that has the direct power to end this war.
Those of us outside the military must match their
bravery by escalating our support for all GI
resisters. They've got to know we're out here for
Supporting GI resistance, together with counter
recruitment and draft resistance, is key to stopping
illegal war and occupation ourselves. If the
government can't recruit or draft enough new troops,
and if troops refuse illegal immoral orders, it will
help end the war and occupation and help prevent the
The December 8-10 Days of Action calls for:
1) Support for War Objectors
2) Protect the Right to Conscientious Objection
3) Protect the Liberties & Human Rights of GI's
4) Sanctuary for War Objectors.
Support the actions or events in your area or organize
an event, like showing Sir! No Sir! to a house party
of friends or your local community.
If not now, when? If not us, who?
David Zeiger, director of the Film Sir! No Sir! was an organizer in the GI coffeehouse movement against the war in Vietnam. Visit http://www.CourageToResist.org for more information or to contribute to this campaign. To get a copy of Sir! No Sir! or see the trailer, go to www.SirNoSir.com