Iraq Vets Against the War (IVAW) has begun planning for the IRR direct action project. Many of us know that involuntary activation from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) has had a significant impact on the veterans’ community. Some vets may go two to three years without beginning to process their post-traumatic stress as they expect to get recalled for another deployment. Other veterans who may not have had a combat specialty are now being forced into provisional rifle squads with very little combat training. This irresponsible dependence on reserve forces by our policy makers is not only unjust to veterans, many of whom have already deployed and are trying to start their lives anew, but it needlessly endangers human life when forces enter combat zones unprepared.
It is true that the enlistment document states four years of inactive duty for most, and it is well known that we have an all-volunteer force. Though this lays a basis for seemingly easy arguments advocating that veterans fulfill their inactive duty obligations, it ignores the question of whether the military is behaving responsibly. The exploitation of inactive forces has never been so severe. As this issue has affected many in our IVAW chapters, we understand that the decision about whether or not to report is a heavy one.
The IRR direct action project is an opportunity for IVAW members to get information about the IRR and GI rights into the hands of those who may need it. Also, this action conscribes with IVAW’s strategy for ending the war by removing one of the pillars that supports war: people. The project will be based around the actual musters the Army and Marine Corps will be holding.
If you are like me, you may think that the peace movement mitigates itself at times as people get caught up in politics and personality clashes. Though this is inevitable when dealing with people, I am more interested in making a direct impact in the peace movement. This is a project that everyone can get behind regardless of personal ideologies. I think that it is time to drop some baggage and to get back to doing what IVAW does best: making a difference through direct action. If you want to be a part of this project please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include Alex Bacon (email@example.com) on the email with your interest. Otherwise, start a conversation, write a letter to the editor, speak up!
Donna Perdue. After 22 years of service as a print journalist, photographer, and international media coordinator in the US Marine Corps, Donna is now a business owner in Cleveland, Ohio, where she resides with her husband and son. A Democrat turned Republican and recently converted back to Democrat, Donna is anxious for the USA to leave Iraq. She is especially proud of her military service while in the Horn of Africa 2005-2006. Working with the US Embassies and host nation governments of 11 East African nations, she coordinated all aspects of media access for domestic and international audiences. Seeing much disparity while growing up in inner-city Baltimore, Donna has dedicated a good portion of her personal time to advocating for the underprivileged. While realizing she’s lost much of her former street credibility, during the past five years she’s volunteered at an Ohio Maximum Security Detention facility for boys teaching a Junior Achievement economics package to 17-22 year-old men preparing to re-enter society. Donna’s most notable achievements include: becoming a mom, being a Marine, earning her gray belt in Marine Corps Martial Arts, driving a forklift, firing expert eight times with an M16, running eight marathons, and marrying the greatest guy in the world!