For nearly two decades now a group that calls itself "Salute to Veterans" has perverted the original meaning of Memorial Day--a time to decorate the graves of war dead and remember all who died in the tragedy of war--and turned it into a Salute to War & the Machinery of War. Beyond making this once solemn holiday into a weekend of reverence for the nation state--hyper-nationalism --and adulation of the weaponry that facilitates military dominance, the organizers and their collaborators in the military recruitment divisions structure the weekend to provide maximal opportunity to boost sagging enlistment rates by aggressively marketing enlistment to vulnerable youth.
This year, we are aghast at the new level these boosters have taken the process to in an effort to provide cannon fodder for the occupations and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We hope you will take a minute to learn more about what is coming our way by visiting the Army's VAE website CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE. Here's an except:
THE ARMY'S DESCRIPTION OF THE VAE: "The Virtual Army Experience (VAE) provides participants with a virtual test drive of the Army, with a focus on operations in the Global War on Terrorism. The core of the 10,000–square-foot VAE is the America’s Army: Special Forces (Overmatch) computer game, rendered with state-of-the-art Army training simulation technology to create a life-size, networked virtual world. The VAE highlights key Soldier occupations, Army technologies, operating environments and mission profiles, within a fast-paced, action-packed, information-rich experience that immerses visitors in the world of Soldiering in the U.S. Army. Participants employ teamwork, rules of engagement, leadership and high-tech equipment as they take part in a virtual mission to capture an HVT (High Value Target).
"Participants receive video briefings by Soldiers who embody the training, occupations and abilities that make the U.S. Army the world’s premier land force. At the Joint Operations Center, participants receive a briefing that covers intelligence, force protection, signals, support and the current situation, to prepare them to enter a virtual combat operation. Participants then enter the mission simulator area where they execute a simulated operation in the War on Terrorism. Forty participants, who are split into two teams, fall in on six HMMWV simulators modeled on vehicles employed by Army Special Forces, and onto two Overwatch or covering positions where participants employ light arms and TOW anti-tank missiles. Working as a team, participants are charged with executing the ground component of a raid on a terrorist stronghold. Upon mission completion, participants move to the After Action Review area where they receive a debriefing on their performances."
Also note that:
"The VAE supports up to 250 participants per hour (including the VAE experience and game stations)."
They really hope to suck them in en masse.
You can also see what the inside of this multi-million dollar, 10,000 sq. ft. facility looks like. CLICK HERE
For another preview from the Salute to Veterans site, CLICK HERE.
IT'S TIME TO SAY "NO" LOUD & CLEAR TO THIS--WE NEED YOU TO DO IT: As people of conscience we must take a stand and warn our young people. The 2007 U.S. military is not about defense of our nation. Operating from bases in 130 countries, and spending at least 48 percent of the world's military expenditures, its mission is clearly that of global domination. And today, this is being done through wars of aggression that are illegal and immoral.
The primary take-home lesson to come out of the Nuremberg Tribunals held in Germany at the end of WW II, is that the people of a nation that engages in the crime of launching wars of aggression bear collective responsibility.
It is, therefore, our responsibility to do all we can to end the U.S. aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, it is our responsibility to do all that we can to reach our young people, many of whom have been indoctrinated into believing that the United States is fighting a so-called "Global War on Terror" against powerful terrorist groups that are a mortal threat to our nation. Our government and their lap-dog media have presented a topsy-turvy view of reality in which the most aggressive imperial power in the world today is portrayed as a force for freedom and democracy and a protector of the innocent.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: We are asking you to come to the Air Show either Saturday or Sunday (or both days if you can). There will be a carpool assembling outside the Peace Nook at 8:45. We plan to be out at the Air Show when the gates open at 9:30.
We need folks to distribute leaflets outside the gates to the Air Show, as well as outside the VAE. We also need people to hold signs and banners.
We plan to be present from the time the gates open at 9:30 until the end of the Air Show at 3:30. We know that not everyone can be present for that long, so it's fine to do what you can. Some people will probably come at 9:30 and leave at around 12:30. Others might do 12:30-3:30. Whatever works for you, we are happy to have your help and participation. Please let us know if you plan to participate. Thanks!
PLEASE LET US KNOW YOUR PLANS: Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call PW at 573-875-0539 and speak with Mark Haim to let us know what you can do. In particular which day(s), what hours, and if you have a car you can bring to help with the carpool (and how many it would hold), or if you need a ride.
LEAFLETING ON MONDAY: We also will be leafleting the Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 28. This involves a shorter time commitment. We will gather at the Peace Nook at 8:45, and leaflet parade-goers between 9-9:55 a.m. Let us know if you'd like to help with this.
VETS FOR PEACE GATHERING MONDAY AFTERNOON: We encourage you to turn out for a much more appropriate Memorial Day observance sponsored by Veterans for Peace that will be held at 4 p.m. Monday in Shelter #1 at Albert Oakland Park. This shelter is accessed via the Edris Dr. entrance to the park, on the east side of the park south of Oakland Jr. High.