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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
GIFP Must Maintain Broad Base
The article entitled "MOS Waste" in the August Gigline reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a DLI student. This man had heard that interpreters in VN often end. up pounding the turf with the infantry, and was complaining about the Army's wasteful use of manpower. I pointed out that the inefficiency of the Army is good, because if the Army made good use of its vast resources it could probably crush the revolution in VN and seriously impede progress throughout the third world. My friend answered "The revolution can go to Hell while I'm in VN. I want to stay alive." It is worth noting that this student has made his own analysis of the VN situation and has concluded that the U.S. is fighting against history.
GIs For Peace must realize that very few soldiers are committed pacifists, antimilitarists, or revolutionaries, and this applies to peaceniks as well as lifers. Cries for peace, like cries for efficiency, are generally motivated by a desire to survive and lead a pleasant, superficially useful life. Since GIFP presents itself to be a broadly-based-coalition rather than a nucleus of reformers, it is entirely appropriate that the 14 Points are as much concerned with the welfare of the already pampered American GI as with the plight of the beleaguered VN peasant.
Nor should those who are humanistically or ideologically committed use the lack of committments on the part of most GIs as an excuse to keep aloof from GIs For Peace. The desire for survival may not be a dramatically heroic motivation, but it is a strong one and an honest one. We mustn't allow revolutionary prudery to prevent us from recognizing its validity.
GIs For Peace can provide the forum in which all of us who desire to end the war can get together for critical analysis of each other's views and development of our thoughts. Perhaps smaller groups with more in common than the simple desire for peace will eventually he formed within the coalition. The GIs For Peace can continue to delineate the common ground among these groups and to work for their common objectives,
Gigline, vol. 1, no. 3