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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Authors discuss ‘Army of None’

[media-credit name=’JEFF SCORFHEIDE/Herald Photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]Antiwar-Puppet-Show_JS[/media-credit]Madison residents gathered to listen to the authors of “Army of None” advocate counter-recruitment as a method for stopping wars at Madison Area Technical College Tuesday.

The event is part of a 40-city book tour that will last four months.

David Solnit, who coauthored the book with Aimee Allison, said he and Allison are traveling around the country to support veterans, students and community members who are standing up to military recruitment.


Solnit added people tend to respect a veteran's voice as an alternative to military recruiters’ glamorous stories of war.

"The more we can put veterans in contact with the recruited, the better information they will have," Solnit said.

According the authors of "Army of None," military recruiters are overly anxious to sign new recruits up for the service and do not always answer their questions fully.

"I was one of those kids who didn't have money for college, and the recruiter put his arm around me and promised me $20,000," Allison said. "I never received any of the money."

Allison added two-thirds of veterans do not receive the maximum benefits they are promised by their recruiter.

Many advertising tools used by the military — such as America's Army, a downloadable war game, and Junior ROTC, involuntary leadership training given to middle school children as an alternative to physical education — are directed at younger children, Allison noted.

War veteran Todd Dennis, founder and president of the Madison chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, joined the authors to discuss recruitment and counter-recruitment.

Dennis shared his involvement with antiwar groups after being discharged from the Navy.

"I didn't really know my rights as a military member," Dennis said. "People need to know the truth about all the supposed benefits you get as an army veteran.”

However, arguments supporting counter-recruitment made by the authors have faced opposition from UW College Republicans vice chair, Mattie Duppler.

"Keeping people from hearing about the opportunities of the army undermines the freedom of speech our country was based on," Duppler said.

Duppler added that many people she has met through College Republicans benefited from the military, especially as a means to afford a college education.

"Trying to keep recruiters off-campus limits students from hearing about the opportunities the army provides," Duppler said.

According to the book's website, “Army of None” provides a how-to guide for acting against recruitment to break down support for the Iraq war.

"The way to bring [the troops] back is to cut off the supply of soldiers,” Solnit said. “That is one concrete way people can assert their people power to stop the war."

Allison said she worked as a combat medic at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., where she took care of soldiers coming back from the war.

"The country better give us a damn good reason for making that level of sacrifice, and I don't believe they have," Allison said.

She now counsels soldiers to help them deal with internal conflicts between their personal beliefs and those of the military.

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