Contents: The Sir! No Sir! blog is an information clearing house, drawing on a wide variety of sources, to track the unfolding history of the new GI Movement, and the wars that brought the movement to life.
Where applicable, parallels will be drawn between the new movement and the Vietnam era movement which was the focus of the film Sir! No Sir!
Disclaimer: In accordance with title 17 u.s.c. section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.
The Sir! No Sir! Blog has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is the Sir! No Sir! Blog endorsed or sponsored by the originator. Links are provided to allow for verification of authenticity.
The following report, from Alan S & Elaine B, was published in Military Resistance, September 28, 2009
“There were Traveling Soldiers everywhere!” reported one of our Military Project outreach group of 9. [Traveling Soldier is a newsletter produced by Military Project, featuring information for and from troops opposed to the Imperial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: http://www.traveling-soldier.org/]
This was eyewitness news at its best since Elaine B had actually entered the armory, the first of any of us to have done so in more than 4 ½ years of outreaching to the site.
Our valiant correspondent had been invited minutes before (on two separate occasions) by friendly officers after inquiring about a drill schedule and in the process of obtaining the schedule (yes, we now know when to go for at least another year) saw the copies of Traveling Soldier inside the armory first hand:
“I decided to cross over the line, backed by my friend RM from the Military Project. We walked right through the line of camouflage and duffel bags, up the steps and into the building. Not a peep from anyone, in fact lots of smiles and hellos.”
“We asked where the ‘office’ was, and was pointed to the elevator, told to go upstairs and it was right there.
“So we went to the elevator, and off came 4 soldiers ready to go to the buses. They smiled, we smiled and got in the elevator.
“As we did this we noticed our handouts all over the place; on desks right outside the elevator on both floors, on the steps.
“Some of the plastic bags we wrapped them in were open, and ALL of the cookies and brownies were gone!
“We went to the office and said we were there to obtain a drill schedule. Amongst at least 6 soldiers there, one female NCO, who looked familiar to me, carrying a duffel bag on her back larger than she was, said ‘oh, here...’ she turned around, reached into a wire basket on top of the room divider, and whipped around holding out the latest drill schedule for the entire year!
“She smiled and said ‘here you go!’ We said thanks so much, we'll be back!”
All this took place after a very successful outreach on 9/18/09 that distributed 98 lit packets, hundreds of snacks, 20 “Sir! No Sir!” DVDs and, for the first time a handout of 34 “Querido Camilo” DVDs. [This is a DVD featuring Camilo E. Mejia, Iraq Veterans Against The War & Military Project, who was imprisoned by the Army for refusing to return to fight in Iraq after seeing the war was wrong.]
But no matter how joyful an outreach can be, these events always remind us of the serious nature of the work and responsibilities we have toward brave people undergoing enormous, unrelenting pressures: soldiers and their families.
No outreach is successful without personal contact and this one yielded its share.
We noticed a woman dropping off a soldier and in conversation learned her fears.
She was the soldier's mother, a hospital worker, and after telling us wars are all about money “and not knowing what we're doing over there,” cited continuing verbal abuse and harassment her son was undergoing from a superior officer who was denying him promotion, thereby keeping him a truck driver, an extremely dangerous MOS when deployed.
The fatigue of her ever present concern clearly lined her face, she sighed, “but what can I do?”
We gave her a package of the publications being handed out to the soldiers, pointing out that there was information about the GI Rights Hotline inside where legal assistance was available for soldiers with harassment complaints, and also let her know how to get in touch with us if further information or contact would be helpful.
Another soldier seemed needful of telling some of us he had been to Iraq twice and didn't want to go back, so he decided to switch to the Guard thinking he wouldn't get deployed. He was a bit naive when it came to that point!
But he said that he kept his head "low" when he was in Iraq for 2 tours, one of which was 15 months, and pretty much did what they call "search and avoid" missions.
He said he was very lucky, never got into a firefight, never saw anyone killed. But hated being there. He's attending school, and hopes to return to the Middle East as a civil engineer to help build.
How many stories are there at this armory and all the others visited and unvisited?
And endless amount one would think since soldiers are as much part of the human community as non-soldiers.
It's past time to find those stories and put them in print so troops will know their true friends and allies; those willing to march with them to mutual destiny.
Are we going back in October?
Since we have the dates, how couldn't we?
This announcent, by Tom Barton, was published in the l;ast issue of GI Special, September 13, 2009
Beginning with this issue, GI Special becomes Military Resistance. The numbering will remain as was, to avoid confusion.
In April 2003, GI Special was the best name for a new publication that could be thought of. Not good enough anymore.
Military resistance to the government’s wars of occupation is here, now, and not limited to the Army, as implied by the term “GI”.
The resistance inside the armed forces and among veterans of today’s Imperial wars is increasing in numbers and dedication to the cause.
Without laying an organized foundation for more and better resistance actions through face-to-face contact between members of the armed forces considering or engaged in resistance and civilians ready to step up and support them, nothing will change; the wars will go on.
Presidents come and go, but the push for Empire is the fixed policy of those who own the government and buy the politicians in Washington DC to operate their government.
The Imperial politicians care nothing for the members of the armed services or the majority of civilians, except to use them as tools to accumulate wealth and power for themselves and their masters.
Incompetent doctors treat the symptoms of disease and ignore the disease itself.
The disease is the economic system that expresses itself in the drive for Empire and the wars of conquest used to extend the Empire: only today Iraq and Afghanistan.
The first step towards achieving our liberation from the common bondage imposed upon us by those no longer competent to rule society is the mass refusal of members of the armed forces to die for them in their Imperial wars.
Laying the foundation for future armed forces mass resistance means taking action now, working now to organize a network of armed forces members, veterans and civilians explicitly committed to that cause.
Therefore, when it is a question of expending time, energy and funds, the only question is how a given activity does or does not advance achieving that objective.
Anything less is a pointless game of trivial pursuits.
This article, by Mazhar Tufail, was published in the The News (Pakistan), Februuary 24, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The militants active in North and South Waziristan agencies have been directed by Mulla Omar to immediately stop their attacks on the Pakistani security forces.
In a letter to the militants, who have forged a new alliance, Mulla Omar admonished them not to fight the Pakistani security forces and kill their Muslim brethren, a reliable source told The News on Monday.
“Mulla Omar first sent an envoy to the local Taliban and then wrote a letter to the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) admonishing these leaders and told the TTP that fighting Muslims could not be described as Jihad so they should immediately cease attacks on the Pakistani security forces.
He told them that if they really want to participate in Jihad, they must fight the US and Nato troops inside Afghanistan because their attacks on the Pakistani security forces are undermining the objectives of the war against the invaders and cause of the Taliban movement.
“If anybody really wants to wage Jihad, he must fight the occupation forces inside Afghanistan,” the source quoted Mulla Omar as having told the TTP leaders. “Attacks on the Pakistani security forces and killing of fellow Muslims by the militants in the tribal areas and elsewhere in Pakistan is bringing a bad name to Mujahideen and harming the war against the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.”
“Our aim is to liberate Afghanistan from the occupation forces and death and destruction inside neighbouring Pakistan has never been our goal,” he added. The source said according to Mulla Omar, the US was devising a new strategy and adopting new tactics to crush Mujahideen in Afghanistan so the Taliban, too, must forge unity in their ranks, and instead of operating in Pakistan, they must concentrate on actions against the US and Nato forces.
He said the new alliance has been directed by Mulla Omar to devise a new strategy to counter the invaders because the reinforcement of the US forces in Afghanistan is food for thought for all the forces fighting the occupation forces in the war-ravaged country.
“The formation of a new alliance of militants by the name of Shura Ittihad-ul-Mujahideen is aimed at implementing the advice given by Mullah Omar,” the source said. “After this development, the attacks on security forces by the local Taliban will decrease if not end completely,” he said.
This correspondent tried to seek comments from some government officials and leaders of the ruling parties, including the Awami National Party and the Pakistan People’s Party, but they refused to say anything on record.
However, one of the officials contacted by The News feared that if the newly found alliance of the militants stepped up their attacks on the coalition troops inside Afghanistan, it would create many problems for Pakistan and Islamabad would face its consequences.
According to an announcement made on Sunday, the new alliance comprises groups led by central head of the banned TTP, Baitullah Mehsud, and Maulvi Nazir of South Waziristan and Hafiz Gul Bahadar of North Waziristan, two militant commanders who were considered to be pro-government. A 13-member body has also been named to run the affairs of the new alliance.
This article, by Rebecca LaFlure, was published by the Killeen Daily Herald, February 6, 2009
As an Army wife of 17 years, Cindy Thomas struggled through her husband's three deployments to Iraq. The second tour of duty left him close to death with a brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, collapsed lungs and multiple fractures in his spine and pelvis.
But it was not until her stepson, then 19 years old, called to say he was joining the Marines in 2007 that she felt compelled to vehemently protest the ongoing wars in the Middle East and work to improve the lives of soldiers and their families.
"It was at that moment when I thought, 'I have to do something, we have to do something,'" Thomas said. "It's our children who will be fighting in these wars."
Since April 2008, Thomas has devoted her time, thoughts and passion to opening Under the Hood Café, a local outreach center for active duty military personnel, veterans, family members and friends to support and console each other about their daily struggles.
The café house is located at 17 College St. in Killeen.
Thomas said the refuge, scheduled to open Saturday, will be a "free speaking zone" to discuss difficult issues such as the death of a friend or family member overseas, spouses and children coping with the absence of their loved ones during multiple deployments or perhaps a guilty conscience for fighting in a war that increasingly more soldiers no longer believe in.
"A lot of people want to hear the hero story. We don't want to hear that they're hurt because it hurts us," Thomas said. "I did that for a very long time. ... When I started searching for the truth, going online, looking at videos that no one wants to see, it becomes so much harder to live on a daily basis knowing that this is happening, and you're not doing anything about it."
Spirit of the Oleo Strut
Created in the spirit of the Oleo Strut, a GI coffee house that operated in Killeen during the Vietnam War, the Under the Hood concept was first developed in March 2008 when Tom Cleaver, a Vietnam veteran from Los Angeles and former Oleo Strut staff member, noticed a Fort Hood soldier's story online.
The soldier's name was Bryan Hannah, a young cannon crew member who had recently returned from a 15-month tour of duty in Iraq. Hannah was struggling with suicidal thoughts and an overwhelming guilt for fighting in, what he believed to be, a never-ending and unjustified war.
Hannah said he felt alone and largely ignored by the on-post mental health resources.
"I was going through a hard time, not just because of my PTSD, but I didn't know what to do," Hannah said. "I knew this war was wrong, but I had no one to tell me that it's OK to not support the war and be in. I didn't have anyone to comfort me. Home was 1,800 miles away in Michigan."
As a way to vent his frustrations, Hannah kept a candid online blog chronicling his experiences in the military. One particularly powerful entry was published in the GI Special, a widely circulated independent e-newsletter covering the Iraq war from the perspective of the troops and their family members.
Cleaver, an avid GI Special reader, noticed Hannah was stationed at Fort Hood, and contacted the soldier. The two began corresponding by e-mail.
Hannah was honorably discharged from the Army in November, and is now attending college in Austin. He wants to be a history teacher.
According to Cleaver, Hannah and several other Fort Hood soldiers wanted to organize a modern-day Oleo Strut for a long time, but they didn't know how to turn the idea into reality.
With Cleaver's connections and fundraising abilities, he and the Fort Hood chapter of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, began to organize the project.
In April, Thomas was asked to help execute their vision.
"We have counseling services on post obviously, but when you're sitting around and hanging out, it's more relaxing and natural, and you feel more comfortable asking for help," Thomas said. "The concept of it is having that place they can come and not only support each other and help each other out, but maybe even advocate for each other."
Thomas said the house will have a kitchen with coffee and snacks, a break room, a pool table, a big-screen television, a jukebox and multiple couches and tables, all funded by donations.
Though a peace activist herself, Thomas stressed the café is open to people of all ideologies.
Thomas said she is prepared for some public backlash, but her goal is to provide an inclusive environment for military community members to share their stories.
"They might not like what some of us or some of the soldiers have to say because everybody's experience is different. If you experienced ... reconstruction and helping the community, then great, that's absolutely great. But not every soldier did," she said. "There are others with difficult stories, and the difficult choices they had to make. They have a right to be heard. If you want to support them, hear them. Just let them have their voice."
For more information on Under the Hood Café or to read about the history of the Oleo Strut from someone who was there, go to www.underthehoodcafe.org.
An Organizers Conference: April 5, 2008, 10 AM -
Middle Collegiate Church, 50 East 7th St., New York, New York
POLITICIANS CAN’T BE COUNTED ON TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WAR THIS IS AN ORGANIZERS CONFERENCE FOR PEOPLE WHO WISH TO ACT TOGETHER TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN CIVILIANS AND MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES BY DIRECT CONTACT
Speakers In Alphabetical Order [Partial List]
Thomas Barton, The Military Project & GI Special
Daniel Joseph Black, Iraq Veterans Against The War
Richard Boyle, Vietnam War Reporter; Author, Flower Of The Dragon
Elaine Brower, The Military Project & Traveling Soldier & Military Families Speak Out
Fabian Bouthillette, Iraq Veterans Against The War & The Military Project
J.D. Englehart, Iraq Veterans Against The War & The Military Project & Traveling Soldier
Mike Hastie, Photographer, Vietnam Veteran
Al Jaccoma, Vietnam Veterans Against The War
Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against The War & The Military Project
Garett Reppenhagen, Iraq Veterans Against The War
Dennis Serdel, Poet, Vietnam Veteran
Clarence Thomas, Local 10, The International Longshore and Warehouse Union
10 AM - NOON: FIRST HAND REPORTS ON SENTIMENT AGAINST THE WARS IN THE ARMED FORCES & OUTREACH TO THE TROOPS [Organizing Tactics In The Real World]
1:00 - 1:30 PM: RESISTANCE THROUGH EVOCATION: PHOTOGRAPHS, POEMS; Mike Hastie & Dennis Serdel, Vietnam Veterans
1:30 - 3 PM: TROOPS RESIST WAR; VIETNAM AND IRAQ: EYEWITNESSES: Richard Boyle, Vietnam War Reporter; Garett Reppenhagen & J.D. Englehart, Iraq Veterans Against The War; Al Jaccoma, Vietnam Veterans Against The War
3:30 – 5 PM: ON GUARD: “WE NEVER SWORE TO OBEY; WE SWORE TO DEFEND” Daniel Joseph Black, Iraq Veterans Against The War
5 - 6:30 PM: IRAQ VETERANS + UNION WORKERS = HISTORY IN MOTION: Michael Letwin & Clarence Thomas
10 AM: OUTREACH TO THE TROOPS
[Organizing Tactics In The Real World]
10 AM: Fabian Bouthillette, Iraq Veterans Against The War & The Military Project
1:30 PM: TROOPS RESIST WAR; VIETNAM AND IRAQ: EYEWITNESSES:
1:30 PM: Richard Boyle, Vietnam War Reporter; Author; Flower Of The Dragon.
1:30 PM: Garett Reppenhagen & J.D. Englehart, Iraq Veterans Against The War
5 PM: IRAQ VETERANS + UNION WORKERS = HISTORY IN MOTION
5PM: Clarence Thomas,
Local 10, The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, San Francisco
The Military Project: firstname.lastname@example.org
[With the assistance of Traveling Soldier & GI Special]