Published Letter to the Editor

by by Kathy Hundemer, CODEPINK OC
February 18th, 2008

About military recruiters …

I am deeply offended by Gordon Dillow's recent maligning of the grass-roots women's peace group Code Pink by describing it as "venomous" ["Keep the Marines, hold the anchovies," Local, Feb. 13]. As a patriotic American, I support our troops, and I am committed to working to bring them home from Iraq safe and soon. I also support the right of an adult to make a personal decision to join the military. But I also want to protect our naive youth. Military recruiters specifically target under-age teens. They promote enlistment by glorifying military service and exaggerating the educational and career benefits, while ignoring the dangers. Recruiters are also rewarded for meeting enlistment quotas, and they risk reassignment if quotas are not met.

Many military recruits never receive money for college. And veterans returning from Iraq are more likely than civilians to become homeless, commit suicide or other violent acts, and have long-term physical and/or mental health problems.

About 70 percent of Americans now agree with Code Pink that the war in Iraq was a colossal mistake. Code Pink's counter-recruitment efforts are aimed at ensuring that individuals make fully informed decisions before enlisting. We strongly encourage anyone considering the military to follow these recommendations: Always have another person accompany you when meeting a recruiter; do not sign anything on the first visit to a recruiting office; get every promise from a recruiter in writing; and finally, talk to as many veterans as you can find.

– Kathy Hundemer of Los Alamitos

Co-founder Code Pink Orange County Chapter