In an effort to weaken America's national defense, in recent years a number of influential peace organizations have initiated counter-recruitment programs designed to hinder the U.S. military's efforts to enlist new young people into the armed services. A leader of this movement is the American Friends Service Committee, whose Youth & Militarism Campaign “provide[s] youth with information about alternatives to military service, and advocacy to reduce the influence of the U.S. military on the nation's public schools.”
Another major player in the counter-recruitment movement is Code Pink: Women for Peace, which works “to counter the false promises of military recruiters with creative, local, grassroots activism and offer real alternatives to military service.” In October 2007, Code Pink activists defaced the UC Berkeley recruitment office and branded American troops in Iraq as assassins. In January 2008, Code Pink protesters chained themselves to the Berkeley recruitment center in an effort to shut it down; they also defaced the building's windows with bloody handprints and signs that characterized recruiters as "death pimps."
In 2009, the United For Peace & Justice (UFPJ) antiwar coalition denounced the “forceful tactics and outright lies … used by the military to recruit the hearts, minds and bodies of our youth.” “It is time,” UFPJ added, “to participate in counter-recruitment campaigns in order to stop the harvesting of human beings.”
According to counter-recruitment activist and Gold Star Families for Peace founder Cindy Sheehan, the U.S. government sent young men and women “to invade and occupy a country [Iraq] that posed no threat to the United States.” “They were used recklessly and ignorantly by their Commander in Chief [George W. Bush],” Sheehan adds. “... They were all lied to by their recruiters, who will tell young people anything to get them to enlist, then deliver nothing.”
The War Resisters League reports that its own counter-recruitment work “provides young people with the resources and training necessary to agitate against military recruitment in their schools and communities.”
Other major peace groups leading the counter-recruitment movement include the following:
Journalist Michelle Malkin has chronicled a lengthy list of counter-recruitment direct actions that have been carried out by various peace organizations and anti-war activists in recent years. To view this list, click here.