Join Our National Anti "Military Recruiters" Campaign In The Schools And Communities Featuring Iraq and Afghanistan Vets and World Can't Wait.
To my generation: Let’s End These Wars

From: Karlee,
an 11th grade student,
Organizer for the We Are Not Your Soldiers tour

My name is Karlee, I am 15 years old, and I work as an organizer for the We Are Not Your Soldiers tour. I am writing to you with the tenth anniversaries of the war in Afghanistan and torture in Guantánamo approaching, to tell you they don’t have to go on another year.

There is an epidemic sweeping through American high schools. Youth sign up for the military by the 1000’s, feeling some sort of obligation to serve their country. 9/11 often serves as a means and justification for this feeling. We don’t have any obligation to fight in wars that began when we could barely grasp the meaning of such an act using tactics so monstrous that millions of innocent people have died. The only obligation we have is to the future of humanity. As bombs rain down on civilian populations, children are literally tortured, and Nuremberg standards identify war crimes every single day: we cannot be silent. No matter how much they try to convince us these wars belong to us, we can’t cave in. The only war we should be fighting is one against the militarization of our generation. We should fight to keep the recruiters out of our schools and neighborhoods, away from our friends and family, and most importantly entirely out of new recruits. This fight can begin right now. You can initiate it.

The We Are Not Your Soldiers tour is a very important project of World Can’t Wait that brings military veterans into classrooms to talk to students about the realities of U.S. wars. These Iraq and Afghanistan veterans use personal experiences to break through all the bull shit usually spouted at us. You may know about the We Are Not Your Soldiers tour from Facebook or a quick encounter on the street, or maybe the tour came to your class. If you have not yet experienced the tour, and are curious as to if it’s worth it, just watch this video of one presentation:

In the video one of the speakers on the tour, Iraq war resister Matthis Chiroux, is able to send a powerful message within three and a half minutes. Your whole class could hear that. And it’s always worth it because there has not been one classroom presentation we’ve done that has not led at least one student to change their mind about joining up.

In one classroom in NYC, a high school student said, “What goes on in Iraq is like a 9/11 every single day.” That’s another thing to think about when considering joining the military. You will be a part of what will go down in history as genocidal crimes. In April 2010 WikiLeaks released a video taken from an Apache helicopter in Baghdad from 2007. It was entitled Collateral Murder, and for good reason. When civilians are killed in war, the military refers to them as collateral damage, giving off the false message that it is always an accident. This video shows the deliberate murder of civilians while the soldiers film it all as they shoot people with absolutely no regret. In the video you hear a soldier laugh and proclaim “I got them!” only to be answered by a buddy: “Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.”

If you watch Collateral Murder, which you should, you’ll see a van pull up to help the wounded only to be shot at, too. That van had two children in it: a little girl and a little boy who were both seriously wounded. U.S. soldier Ethan McCord was on the ground and arrived on the scene just after the attack – you see him in the video. He carried the children from the van to a copter to be transported to medical care, only to be yelled at by his sergeant for “wasting time”. Later, as soldiers discovered they’d shot children they brushed it off with “it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a war zone”. The problem is that our government brought the warzone to those kids. That’s what the U.S. government “help” is. And that’s what they spread around the world with hopes YOU will help them. Instead, help the kids in Iraq and Afghanistan by spreading this video as an eye opener to draw out resistance to the recruiting and the wars. Ethan, the soldier who carried the children from the van, is now a speaker on the We Are Not Your Soldiers tour. He tells students, just as other vets do, that this was not a lone incident. They will tell you straight up that “Collateral Murder” is the nature of U.S. warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What the We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour has accomplished is great, but it has not reached nearly enough students to make the impact necessary to end these wars. The tour really needs to reach 100’s of 1000’s. We actually need to make a serious dent in the number of recruits the military gets. It’s especially crucial to get this moving with the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan coming this October.

This tour has already reached thousands of students all over the country. It has changed lives. Not only are youth deciding not to join themselves, but they are actually taking it upon themselves to stop the recruitment of their peers. After they saw the tour in Berkeley students created a network so that when they saw a recruiter in their cafeteria, the students were able to mobilize and drive him out. Imagine that on a societal scale: where recruiters were getting driven out of every school and they could no longer use young people to fight their wars.

Just stop for a second and think about it… We are always the ones fighting wars. We are their biggest weapons: a war cannot be fought without the flesh of youth, but we do not have to be their soldiers. We don’t have any sort of obligation to fight these imperial crusades. These are not our wars. Where were you when Bush decided to wage the illegal war in Afghanistan, or Iraq? Personally, I was finger painting and connecting the dots on pictures of animals. It’s about time that we, as a generation, connect the dots on how to end these wars. When we wage a movement of resistance so determined and widespread all over the country that it forces them to fight their own wars, the wars will end.

If this resonates with you in any way, write to me…promise you will write me. You can bring this tour to your school, write me and we’ll make it happen! Also, we need to get connections with a lot of young people this summer to build for next fall, where do you think we should be? Tell me what you think about all this stuff and let’s talk about any ideas you may have for further expanding this tour. Pass this on to your friends, too. Remember these are not our wars. Remember these wars are morally wrong. Remember we cannot fight in them and that we MUST resist them. And remember that no matter how alone you feel in the struggle there’s somebody out there who thinks like you and who feels just as alone. You may be the only one who has ever told them the truth, and that may just get a movement started at your school. Remember the future is unwritten, which one we get is up to us!

– Karlee

P.S. You can write directly to me at karleeXoutrecruits@gmail.com

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