Wow, Charles Sweckert's letter is a difficult one to reply to because it's so rhetorical - no facts, just questions. Military recruiters have a place they can recruit; it's called a recruiting station. They have no business preying on our junior and high school students.
I think it is important that those of us who are supporting the troops by working for peace have organized peace vigils for five years in Bend, while the pro-war fanatics want to send our children off to two wars based on nothing but lies.
As a veteran who served in Germany during the Vietnam War, I am very aware that all branches of the military are in need of reform. The Air Force I served in encouraged alcoholism and looked the other way at homophobic and racist incidents. It is unfortunate that the military is a static organization and very slow to change or clean up its ranks. In fact, because of lowered enlistment the military is now lowering already low standards. We in the peace movement are the ones working to see that our veterans receive help once they leave the military, while the pro-war folks decorate their cars with plastic ribbons.
I personally am opposed to the draft, although I know others in the peace movement think it might get this current generation energized to oppose our aggressive wars.
I served honorably in the military; I just want it cleaned up. I believe that if military recruiters are allowed on campus, then those of us who want to suggest alternatives to military recruitment also should be. That is what a balanced education is all about.
I suggest that Charlie visit the Middle East, as I have done, so that he is less naive and better informed about that region of the world. Also maybe he should check out the movies War Made Easy and Iraq, the Untold Story.
His "love or leave it" statement is beyond contempt. My late father fought in World War II and was one of the few bomber pilots who returned from the raids on Ploesti, Romania. Also I am a direct linear descendant of Robert Richard Randall, a naval hero of the Revolutionary War, for whom Randall's Island in New York is named.
Philip H. Randall, Bend