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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!

EMs Sue Army!

The underground peace movement among GIs is gaining ground. One aspect of that development is the latest political happening at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. At that sprawling infantry training base an antiwar group called GIs United Against the War in Vietnam is suing the Army in an attempt to gain the same right to protest as civilians.

They formally charged Army authorities with using a "pattern of harassment and intimidation" to suppress the growing movement of dissent among EMs everywhere. Army spokesmen in Washington described the suit as probably without parallel in American military history.

The organizing activities of GIs United have been going on at Fort Jackson for some time. In mid-February, GIs met to publicize their activities. The result of that meeting was the quiet circulation of a petition asking the army to authorize a meeting to "freely discuss the legal and moral questions related to the war in Vietnam and the civil rights of American citizens."

The petition campaign seemed to be the strongest waged thus far; many GIs responded to it. GIs United said that 200 signatures were turned in after 21/2 days of petitioning. The petition read in part: "We the undersigned enlisted men, stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, request permission to hold an open meeting on post on 26 February 1969, at which all those concerned can freely discuss the legal and moral questions related to the war in Vietnam and to the civil rights of all American citizens both within and without the Armed Forces. It is our intention to hold a peaceful, legal meeting open to any enlisted man and officer at Fort Jackson. We desire only to exercise the rights guaranteed to us as citizens and soldiers by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

The army brass refused to comply & the EMs filed suit.

About Face, no. 2



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