Jen Randolph Reise is a co-director of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), an anti-war group based in Minnesota. This group calls itself “a nonviolent feminist organization that works in solidarity with others to create a system of social equality, self-determination, and justice through education and empowerment of women, [by]… dismantl[ing] systems of militarism and global oppression.” Notably, WAMM directs its accusations of injustice and oppression exclusively at the United States. To this end, the group has opposed everything from the U.S.-led War on Terror, to U.S.-enacted sanctions aimed at isolating hostile nations, to any “U.S. foreign policy that uses military action to respond to world conflicts.”
According to Reise, America’s military response to the 9/11 attacks was wholly unjust and counterproductive. “How have the actions of this warmongering country [the U.S.] . . . made the world safer?” she asks rhetorically. “What other options does a powerful, wealthy country have for addressing the problem of terrorism?” America’s 2001 invasion of Afghanistan (which had harbored Osama bin Laden and his terrorist training camps for years), she said, failed to demonstrate “either compassion for Afghan families or analysis of the implications of brutish foreign policy.” “When you respond with violence,” explains Reise, “you create more violence. You also create a war mentality and a war economy. Suddenly, winning, even against a nebulous enemy, is said to require incursions on civil liberties—keeping files on legal groups, closing borders, and recruiting citizen spies. Goals shift to artificially create progress: First we were after Osama bin Laden, then the defeat of the Taliban. Finally, immense cuts in social spending must be made to accommodate military buildup. Why are our schools suffering the worst cuts in years while military contractors get fat?”
Reise invariably deems America’s use of its military to defend its national interests inappropriate and immoral. In 2002, she led WAMM members in occupying the offices of Minnesota’s two U.S. Senators to demand that they vote against going to war with Iraq.
Before becoming co-director for WAMM, Reise worked on issues of campaign finance reform with Common Cause, a government watchdog group. Common Cause declares itself to be a non-partisan organization, but has been ardently outspoken against the Bush Administration on everything from the War in Iraq to the President’s environmental policies. Recently, Common Cause joined forces with Moveon.org to “institute a complaint against Fox News . . . for deceptive practices in the advertising and marketing of the programming of Fox News Channel,” which they state is biased in its news coverage. Moveon.org was created as an Internet mobilization tool against the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and now serves as a platform from which condemnation is launched at Republican policies and politicians everywhere.