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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!

GIs For Peace

As I write these words, my fate is still rather uncertain. Although it appears that the Army has succeeded in its basic objective: to transfer me out of the Fourth Army area. The Army has failed demonstrably in what must be construed as its more overriding objective: to stifle dissent at Ft. Bliss. It is naive, but perhaps not atypical of the military mentality to believe that it can suppress a movement as vital and broadly based as GI's for Peace merely by removing one of its participants. If past performance can be used as any kind of indice, however, we can safely conclude that harrassment, intimidation and ultimately banishment will remain the standard stock-intrade of the military.

Speaking out against the military has never been an excercise for timid men, but the continuation of the senseless and bloody tragedy of Vietnam underscores the need for bold and decisive action. Sooner or later in our lives, each of us will have to come to grips with his conscience and confront the disquieting fact that what the philosopher Herbert Marcuse has defined as the “Welfare-through- warfare state” has now become the American way of life.
Soldiers, as much as any group in American society, understand the dynamics of oppression. From the outset, this has been the premise around which GI's for Peace has been organized. As soldiers we are conscripted, channelled into a repressive, regimented environment, and are expected to accept unquestioningly whatever orders are issued. Even the question of life and death, if one is to accept the logic of the military, is beyond our ken: as the aphorism would have it--”ours is not to question why, but to do and die. “

Perhaps more than any other generation, ours has proven to be one of the most acutely concerned about the questions of war, poverty, and social injustice. Through history these have remained the triple scourge of mankind. It would be a terrible testimony to our indifference if we were to bequeath the world to our children ecactly as we had found it.

Soldiers are in an extremely vulnerable position, but the consequences of our actions have an effect on the public opinion far out of proportions to our numbers. Although our bodies are the instruments of destruction, our minds can serve as an affirmation of life, and as a vehicle to express mankind's deepest yearning for more peaceful, more united world.

Be Brave. Stand up and speak out...

Paul Nevens

Gigline, vol. 1, no. 4

 

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