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October 7, 2005 | Page 4

Criminals at the top
Invading our campuses

Right wing on the defensive

I WAS taking the train back from the inspiring antiwar demonstration on September 24, packed mostly with fellow protesters, when I saw three Bush supporters also on the train. One of them had a T-shirt that said, "Protest warrior," which is the name of the group that harasses and ridicules antiwar protesters. Another one wore a button that read, "Save America. Vote Republican."

I wondered how anybody could still believe that, especially after Bush's incompetent handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. So I got into a debate with them. I asked one of them if the number of lives lost in Iraq was acceptable to them. Her callous response was to say that more people die in car accidents than due to the war in Iraq!

I told her there's no logic in comparing car accidents to Bush deliberately putting soldiers in harm's way. Many other antiwar activists jumped into the debate at this point, with one woman sitting behind me saying she could see one relationship between the analogy--in both cases people are dying for no reason.

The pro-Bush crew argued U.S. troops are dying for a reason--for freedom! They didn't make clear whose freedom. But I pointed out Paul Wolfowitz, who was part of Bush's administration, said the reason the U.S. attacked Iraq was that "the country swims on a sea of oil."

At this point, all the Republicans could say was that since we're leaving the protest, we should forget about politics for now, go home and have a beer. Easy for them to say--they don't face death by a roadside bomb or a U.S. missile reigning down on their house any time soon.

When the Bush supporters got off the train, we felt confident that the facts are behind us, while the right-wingers increasingly have less and less justifications for their policies.
Dominic Renda, New York City

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Criminals at the top

PFC. LYNNDIE England was sentenced to three years in prison for her role in torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The process of punishing England for carrying out her boss' wishes has amounted to little more than a publicity stunt. Our government would have us believe that England is to blame for this incident, and that the people who created this quagmire and sanctioned torture are blameless.

The real criminals work in the White House and Pentagon, but they will never see the inside of a prison cell unless we organize and fight back.

We can't keep our hopes pinned to the Democrats, because despite all of Bush's lies and crimes, they lack the will to oppose him. Like the Republicans, they are part of a sick system that enables the minority who run society to profit from war while the rest suffer.

If we really want to see justice done, we need to build a mass independent movement that can hold the criminals at the highest levels of our government accountable and force the U.S. to leave Iraq. Let Iraqis determine their own future, free from torture, bombings and occupation!
Nicholas Hart, Seattle

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Invading our campuses

I AM a student at the University of Wisconsin (UW) at Madison. Our university has several fitness facilities, as well as group exercise classes. In spring 2005, UW-Madison started a class entitled "Boot Camp," held Tuesdays and Thursdays. I joined the class because I enjoy a good workout. The teacher was very friendly. She was a graduate student and non-military.

Beginning this fall, I found out they would hold the class again. When I first walked into the class, I was shocked. The graduate student teacher had been replaced by two military recruiters--one Marine, the other Army--in fatigues.

The class was very different. We were yelled and screamed at, and the exercises had changed a lot--from running sprints to running in formation with metal poles (which the instructors call machine guns), climbing sand pits low to "avoid fire," jumping walls and covering our buddy from exploding "shells." Other exercises included carrying our partners, which they refer to as "casualties," climbing walls, and continuously doing the cadence.

As a veteran member of the antiwar movement and a counter-recruiter, I was very upset. I was confused on what to do--whether I should just not show up this semester and allow my fellow classmates to be openly recruited for cannon fodder with no opposition, or show up and try to be a counter-recruiter.

I decided to counter-recruit, although I am fearful since I am alone, and could be hurt easily, due to the dangerous exercises. I am also angry, because I feel the class has degenerated in quality since the previous spring. Instead of going through an intense workout, we now spend a lot of time doing marching and listening to military talk.

This week, I showed up with a shirt which has a picture of an Army soldier saying "free college tuition" jokingly, and has a huge peace sign on the back. During the class, one recruiter the Marine came up and said to me, "This is not a peace camp." Throughout the class, they have seemed to increase the military rhetoric and continually talk about how essential the things we are learning could be in a terrorist attack. In addition, they openly attempt to recruit for the campus ROTC.

I have tried to find other antiwar activists to go with me as a safety net and additional help--however, due to the intensity and time of the class I have had no luck. I am looking for a willing student.

I guess this just displays how the military has decided to change their recruiting tactics.
Brian, Madison, Wis.

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