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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Victory At Ft. Jackson
We're winning the battle On May 20 army authorities at Fort Jackson, who have been backing off steadily since the public outrage against their persecution of antiwar GIs has grown, announced that they were dropping their planned prosecution of the last three of the Ft. Jackson S. Charges against the others had been dropped earlier.
The eight victorious servicemen had been placed in custody March 20, after their participation in a spontaneous rap session on the barracks lawn which attracted over 100 GI's. All were members of GI's United, a group originally initiated by black and Puerto Rican GI's, but also including whites.
GI's United has always been a pain in the brass. The men spoke out against the war in Vietnam and against racism in a way which infuriated the brass, but at the same time they were careful not to get trapped into breaking regulations or doing things which would have allowed the brass to ignore the free speech issue by getting them on petty violations. In addition, GI's United had excellent legal counsel, an effective political defense, and wide public support, inside and outside the army.
Asked by New York Times reporter Ben Franklin if dropping the case was not an admission that the men were right in their claim that they were being persecuted for their views, a Ft. Jackson public relations officer replied "No comment."
Counterpoint, vol. 2, no. 12