By Rick Jahnkow

The surge(January 2006) Some important stories have appeared recently about disagreements between military commanders and the Bush administration over whether to begin a significant withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2006. A related development is the recent call for an immediate withdrawal by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). Murtha is a decorated combat veteran who is also considered a military hawk and one of the closest congressional allies of the high-level officer corps.

Peace organizations have been quick to add Murtha’s name to the growing list of those calling for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but they’ve given scant attention to the true significance of his voice and the very potent implications of stories about military commanders’ dissatisfaction with their mission.

A more in-depth analysis of these developments and related issues can offer some important lessons on how the peace movement can hasten the end of the occupation and move proactively beyond the limited goal of ending one war.

"I don't think that the majority of students had thought seriously about the implications of military involvement. Hearing veterans talk first-hand about their experiences made them sit up and take notice." Teacher, Patrick Henry High School, San Diego

Capt. Nicolas DeWulf, 510th Fighter Squadron pilot, demonstrates his flying gear to 2nd grade students during the STEMposium at the Aviano Elementary school. - Photo DoDEach year, the military spends billions of dollars saturating our schools and communities with propaganda that popularizes soldiering and war. The campaign to sell militarism to young people and their parents employes slick ads, glossy literature and recruiting tactics that often rely on deception and high pressure salesmanship.

An organization like Project YANO is needed to provide a counter-balance to this marketing of militarism. We give young people information they should have in order to see through the deceptive advertising and discover other ways to pursue their goals for job training, higher education and service to others. In addition to our direct outreach to local young people, we play a key leadership role nationally by supporting the development of similar organizations around the U.S. Among other things, we co-sponsor regional and national conferences for counter-recruitment organizers and helped establish the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth.

YANO board members present a workshop at a high school student conference.You know all the reasons why you should volunteer more often—it benefits others, just plain feels good, and helps you bank good karma—but if those aren’t giving you the motivation you need, try these: Volunteering just one day a month will give your life a greater sense of purpose and will make you feel more connected to your community, finds new research from Duke University and the National University of Singapore.

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