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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
On Going Underground
Over the past week or so, some civilians in the anti-war movement have raised the idea that the best way for GI's to work against the war would be for them to quit open organizations such as GI-CAP and “go underground.”
At the last meeting of GI-CAP on March 26, we discussed this whole idea. All of the peeople who participated in the discussion felt that this was not a good idea for a number of reasons. It was pointed out that our purpose is to reach as many GI's as possible with our views on the war, GI rights, etc. Going underground would make it much harder to reach people, and at the same time, it wouldn't keep the brass from finding out what we are doing (which seems to be one of the main ideas behind the “underground” proposal).
In addition, going underground would leave us open to the charge that we are sneaking around carrying on some sort of “subversive” activities, and would lend an air of truth to charges by the brass that our activities are illegal.
It was also pointed out that one of the ideas that we are constantly stressing is that GI's do have the right to express their opinions, and that one of the best ways to guarantee this right is to exercise it in an open way. That way, the brass have to publicly break their , own rules if they want to try and stop us.
Also, of course, it is much easier to defend someone who the brass is trying to frame-up or even just harass if everyone knows about their activities, and thus knows that their rights are being violated.
The following are some further ideas on this question.
In recent weeks, a number of the GI's have been approached by members of anti-war groups which have not been participating in GI-CAP, and told that they can't accomplish as much in GI-CAP towards ending the war as they could by going underground and engaging in sabotage or planning some kind of soldiers' revolution.
While I'm not about to make a statement opposing these things, I feel that we can accomplish more towards ending the war by an above ground organization like GI-CAP, which operates within the framework of the law, and I'll give several reasons why.
First, any underground group of over ten members will probably be infiltrated by a CID man; I would be very frightened about being a part of any larger group. How much can ten people do? They can do a lot of damage, but not enough to really have any significant effect towards ending the war. Even a number of such groups and individual acts have little success, as the Army will be able to stop anything so wide-scale as to be effective. At this stage, one of the most important tasks for the GI anti-war movement to accomplish is its growth. We need more GI's to become part of the movement, and we need to tell more GI's why we oppose the war. Only an above ground organization can recruit new members, and only an above ground organization can show GI's why we oppose the war.
Lastly, in GI-CAP, operating within the law, you will be defended if you are subject to any attempt by the army to suppress your Constitutional liberties. It you go underground and you are caught, no one can help you, and your sentence will be a long one.
GI's demonstrating peacefully and legally against the war can very effectively work to show the general public that there is serious anti -war sentiment within the army, that a great number of us are unwilling to participate in that war. The public and Congress will have to recognize that fact, and act accordingly. If we feel after a given amount of time that we are not accomplishing anything, then we will have to develop new strategy. But let's not decide that a method is not effective when it hasn't even been tried.
---a McChord Airman
There are people in GI-CAP and other organizations who are suggesting that we move undergound.
That is the worst mistake we, or anyone in our position, could make. As long as we are out in the open, there is plenty of light to illuminate what we do and what is done to us. We receive favorable press coverage, and many people are interested in our wellbeing. Underground, we would expose ourselves to those who would like us quiet.
Stay Safe, Stay Legal, Stay Open!
---Sp/5 Dave Larson
Counterpoint, vol. 2, no. 6