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Army recruiters draw protestors and supporters

Original post made on Feb 15, 2008

A new Army recruiting office in Mountain View was the scene of a protest by about two dozen anti-war demonstrators today, who in turn attracted a half-dozen people protesting the protestors.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 15, 2008, 2:45 PM

Comments (71)

Posted by Citizen, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Why the need to have a stupid & cute "we are all people" type of ending to this story?

"His dog, Maggie, a black Labrador mix, was friendly to people on both sides of the debate." -

Did this sentence really add anything? its just sappy.


Posted by GMC, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2008 at 4:05 pm

How annoying. I'm not sure if Raging Grannies can really grasp this idea, but military recruiters aren't just signing people up to fight in Iraq. They sign people up for the military generally, and many of them do (and many do not) go fight in Iraq. Why don't you just protest this specific war, and not general recruitment?
I think these people are just wannabe's who saw all of the hullaballoo in Berkeley and now want some attention for themselves. How about you go make yourself useful and do some volunteer work with all that spare time you have? Maybe you could tutor or mentor some kids in EPA, San Jose, Menlo or Mountain View? If you have that much time that you can sit in front of a recruiting office accomplishing nothing, its time to examine your priorities. You will not stop this war.


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 15, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Without getting into a huge debate, I would like to make a comment:

Some military recruiters lie. They lie about benefits and what duties will be assigned. They lie for numbers. They get bonus points (what, I don't know) to meet or beat a quota.

I am sure that most recruiters are honest and are following orders. There are some, however, who are not. Maybe the grannies are protesting about these types of recruiters?

Anyway, the fight doesn't belong at the "messenger's office."


Posted by sick of phonies, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2008 at 4:50 pm

These protesters lie about our fighting men and women. They falsely accuse them of hideous crimes and spew hate in the name of "peace". They are the truest of hypocrites.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2008 at 6:29 pm

...whereas recruiters for industry an academe are scrupulously honest? With few exceptions no one goes into an armed force recruiting office unaware of the mission of the armed forces.
Our choices are - a volunteer military, compulsory service or disarming and trusting to the kindness of strangers.As these children bask in the glow of their tantrum, they might like to consider their fate if grownups decided to apply themselves to civil disobedience.


Posted by Jim Nystrom, a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Hello,
That is my dog and I Don was referring to. I believe he was trying to convey to the readers is that even while there was a disagreement in philosophy on the sides of the demonstration, that indeed we are all human. We showed up there in an attempt to open dialog as the wall and finger pointing across the isle has to stop. A polarized nation means that citizens will loose their voice as it inevitably empowers the politicians even more. I must say that I spoke to quite a few people who are so deeply ensconced in their rhetoric that they do not even listen. When both side listened, it is obvious that together, we the people, can make a difference!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm

It strikes me that these "grannies" are the same people who were flower children back in the 60s, turned into regular family types and now that they are empty nesters, they are back doing the same thing as they did in their youth. It seems quite nostalgic really that although they are older in years, they are no older in maturity.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm

It strikes me that these "grannies" are the same people who were flower children back in the 60s, turned into regular family types and now that they are empty nesters, they are back doing the same thing as they did in their youth. It seems quite nostalgic really that although they are older in years, they are no older in maturity.


Posted by Frances, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 15, 2008 at 7:50 pm


As I said to one of the small group of pro-war people present at this event, we consider all the young men and women in Iraq to be our children and we care about them even if they do crack under pressure and commit war crimes.I added that we care about the children of Iraq as well. She took violent exception to showing concern for Iraqi children. That was the most hateful thing I heard at this demonstration. I did not hear a single one of the anti-war people express any ill will against the troops.
Also, while we lament the deceptive tactics recruiters use, I/we explictly stated that I/we do not hate them. We know the recruiters are under tremendous pressure. We do however work to educate youth and family about the deceptions they may encounter.
As for dialog, two members of the pro-war group were actually capable of some level of dialog. The others were irrational and in total denial about well documented facts.
The situation in Iraq is tragic for all concerned. Burying one's head in the sand does not help.




Posted by The True Picture, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Frances, no one cares more for the lives of innocent Iraqi children than our soldiers. Their whole mission boils down to protecting those who can't protect themselves.
The media refuses to show the public how soldiers befriend Iraqi children, care for their wounds (inflicted by terrorists typically) and grieve terribly when they are harmed or die.
These men and women do a very difficult job. (One that most people would not do.) And they risk everything doing it.
They should not be the target of some people's frustration with president bush or the war. On the contrary, they deserve our highest thanks and praise!


Posted by Jim Nystrom, a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Francis,
re; "we consider all the young men and women in Iraq to be our children and we care about them even if they do crack under pressure and commit war crimes."

I rest my case...


Posted by Patrick, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2008 at 9:12 pm

You wouldn't want a heroin dealer setting up shop in your neighborhood, why would you want a recruitment center with the primary objective of enlisting more people to send off to Iraq so that they can lose their lives in an unjust war?!


Posted by BP, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 15, 2008 at 9:29 pm

So.....being part of the military is now akin to being a heroin user? Nice analogy. For those that are just "tuning in," our Founding Fathers established civilian leadership over our military for a reason. If you have a problem with the war, then you should be focusing your attention on our CIVILIAN leadership that VOTED for the war. Last time I checked, I don't remember being asked whether or not I felt it was in my "best interests" to deploy. Attacking the military is cowardly. It represents an easy way out for the privileged masses of the Bay Area. If you think one signs up for the military today and doesn't understand that he/she stands the chance of being deployed, than you are not giving enough credit to those VOLUNTEERING for military service. It's easier to attack the kid who is trying to make something of him/herself in joining the military than it is to do what is necessary in order to change their representative's mind in Washington. Sad.


Posted by Helen, a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2008 at 9:41 pm

If you look closely at the video and read the text of the article, one of the women who is protesting says that her son works in the recruiting center She goes on to say that he HATES what he has to do, that he has been to Iraq and thinks the war is wrong. Yet he is FORCED (by his own enlistment contract) to recruit others to do what he himself believes in wrong. I think this is what the Raging Grannies and others are trying to point out (again, looking at the video and listening to what they are saying) that recruiters, at least some, are ADMITTEDLY ensnaring unsuspecting recruits for an unjust war. It has been widely documented that they also work with impossible to meet quotas with the threat of being returned to Iraq themselves. What does this say about our government? What does this say about the recruiters who, while admittedly stuck in an extremely difficult situation, have to lie to those whom they must ensnare?


Posted by Patrick, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2008 at 10:01 pm

BP: No, the same way you wouldn't want people in danger due to heroin use, you don't them to be in danger by enlisting for the wrong cause. The protest today was not in anyway aimed at the individuals working in the recruitment center, but rather it was an objection to the predatory practices of recruiters in general and the wars which they aim to fuel with new recruits.

The recruiters need to think that as a result of their work many future recruits will lose their lives, and they will be in part responsible for their deaths. It seems that if they were sincere about their opposition to the war they could choose the option of being a conscientious objector, rather than hiding behind the hollow "I'm just doing my job" excuse.


Posted by Bob Nystrom, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Having "dialogued" with many "anti-war" folks over the last few years, and today in Mountain View, I have distinguished some pervasive irrationalities in their perception of reality. One is that anyone who opposes the "anti-war" position is "pro-war". The truth of the matter is, we ALL (yes, *both* sides) find war abhorrent and want this one concluded ASAP. The fundamental difference between the sides is that one has an established set of intended outcomes for the people of Iraq, the people of the United States, and humanity at large. The other side stomps about and pouts in a tantrum for immediate gratification, and proudly refuses to take any responsibility for what would follow.

A second common bond among the "anti-war" side is a seething rage toward their shared definition of what "America" is and stands for. Repeating this incessantly amongst themselves, and refusing to consider let alone explore any differing point of view, their opinion soon transforms into "truth" yielding bizarre rationalizations and justifications. For example, one of the "anti-war" folks I spoke with in Mountain View today repeatedly insisted that he supported the troops and that was why he wanted them home now. Then he declared that "the Iraqis" (implying ALL) want "the Americans" (yes ALL) to leave because of what "America" is and what it stands for - which is why they kill Americans. Then he said "and I support the Iraqis in killing them!" SAY WHAT!?! Even he was taken aback by the words that had tumbled out of his own mouth, but merely tried to gloss them over with more rationalizations and justifications.. Sadly, this twisted conclusion is one I hear quite frequently from "anti-war supporters" (?).

The one that stands out for me however is that "anti-war" folks believe that a war "ends" when the US troops pick up and "bug out" - just like it did in Vietnam. In reality, throughout recorded history, what results is a power vacuum is created which kicks off a "king of the hill" battle where the most ruthless person thirsting for that power will nearly always win. In effect, should we "bug out" our nation (read ALL Americans) will have abandoned the people of that nation, leaving them at the mercy of the most ruthless among them. In the wake of "bugging out" of Southeast Asia, Pol Pot slaughtered nearly one quarter of the population of Cambodia. In the wake of the Gulf War, Saddam re-grabbed the reins of power and slaughtered countless Kurds, Shia, and marsh tribesmen. When confronted with the irrefutable procession of historical examples, they finally accept that there will be serious carnage should we simply leave. What usually follows however still chills me to the bone despite having heard it many times before. More often than not they say something like "and those that would be killed are American sympathizers and so they would deserve it!"

Yes, we must remember the Holocaust, because clearly it CAN happen again.


Posted by Keith Wilson, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2008 at 10:38 pm

As one of the few standing up for a strong military I was pleasantly surprised to see those RAGING GRANNIES out there. It allowed the recruitment center to see all whom they are charged to protect. The hypocrites, the ungrateful, the misconstrued. You should be thanking the very people you are so desperately chastising. They are the ones that protect the freedom to speak your opinion

I find it embarrising that what America stands for is not at my doorstep.
To all the anti military people, be careful for what you wish for.


Posted by BP, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 15, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Patrick,
I think we differ here:
You think that a person volunteering for the military is essentially enlisting to fight in an unjust war.
I think it is really unfair to make the next step in making the analogy that military recruiters are like heroin dealers.
I am in the military. I certainly don't think of myself as a heroin dealer nor a user.
You fail to consider that some people in the military join up for reasons other than "dying for an unjust cause." Some people join because of the benefits (which there are many - free medical/dental, education benefits, training, experience, etc), some people join out of selflessness, some out of patriotism, and yes, some because of unscrupulous recruiters. But this latter reason doesn't justify people protesting outside of a recruiter's office any more than it would be justified to protest outside of a Catholic Church in Mountain View because of a molestation scandal elsewhere. If you are a conscientious objector (even after you sign up for the military), the military recognizes your beliefs and takes appropriate actions.
The military is apolitical. We take an oath to defend the Constitution and obey our civilian leadership. Imagine a world where the military called the shots and determined for themselves which wars to fight and which ones to avoid. You wouldn't want that. I can assure you that the majority of people serving in the military wish the need to deploy never surfaced during their tenure. But hen you sign up over your own volition, you go where your civilian leadership tells you to go. That's part of the deal and you know that going in.
If you would like to discuss this matter further, I'd be more than happy to meet you in person and talk this over like adults face to face.
Otherwise, I hope the dialog in this forum remain respectful and mature. Watching the clips of grown adults yelling at each other is sad and counterproductive.
BP


Posted by Mother Mt. View Recruiter, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2008 at 11:04 pm

I am the mother of the Mountain View recruiter being misquoted by Helen. My son does NOT hate being a Soldier and he is not working under threat of being sent back to Iraq. He prefers doing his regular job as an infantry Soldier. His tour as a recruiter is up in June and he is being sent back to 82nd Airborne BY CHOICE. In all likelihood he will be deployed to Iraq (again) or Afghanistan. Yet, he still wants to be back with his fellow Soldiers on the line.

The only point I was making is that the "support the troops but hate recruiters" analogy is contradictory, since the recruiters ARE the troops. There is no fox and hen relationship. If there were my son went from being the hen, to the fox, and now going to be he's a hen again? That makes no sense.


Posted by Mother Mt. View Recruiter, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Furthermore, that video is a small snippet of a lot of things that I said this afternoon. I asked for the names of specific people that the raging grannies claim were lied to and cheated by army recruiters. I offered to go to bat for them. Naturally, no one could give me a single name. I also talked about how proud my son is to be a soldier. Anyone who thinks we don't need a strong military force must be living on Mars. Soldiers do not choose which wars to fight. It is not their job. If you want to protest the war effectively, go to Washington DC and/or vote! Can you imagine how ineffective an army would be if everyone in the military simply did as they pleased?

Some of the things the video are how verbally and physically some of the raging became. I can't even repeat what one them said to me regarding my private parts when I told not to hate my son. I also witnessed another raging granny shoving a gentlement only to run away when the police went to arrest her.

In all honesty I am actually embarrassed for having even been in their company. Never have seen adults act more like spoiled children in desperate of supervision, attention, and discipline in my life.

If you want to protest the war effectively, go to Washington DC and/or vote! And for heaven's sake, if you want to be taken seriously try being civil!


Posted by Frances, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 16, 2008 at 2:29 am

I notice that the supporters of the present military action are good at nasty and dismissive personal labels. This is known in logic class as argumentum ad hominem.

Interestingly, if you read the comments above you will not find the critics of the occupation using personal attacks. We actually tend to prefer facts.

I also notice that the folks who approve of our current military actions are good at false dichotomies:

either you accept having recruiters in your town/school or you hate them--false

either you support the present war policies or you hate the troops--false

either you pretend that the numerous reports of abuses amounting to war crimes are not happening or you hate the troops--false

either you engage in protest or you do volunteer work--well actually most of us do BOTH. ( Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the food closet, our church, the election polls, civic committees, etc. etc.)

either we pursue the Bush agenda until we have some sort of "victory" or we abandon our victims in an irresponsible way--false
(HINT: see the disengagement plan set forth on Bill Richardson's website)

either you protest or you use traditional means to lobby your legislators--false: we do BOTH

Either you are a "good German" and shut up or you are a former "flower child"--false

Ah yes, and there is the favorite form of "dialog" of those who support Bush's actions: ask a leading question, shout down any attempt to answer, then announce that the person did not have an answer

Sigh






Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2008 at 4:12 am

Like the flower children, the Grannies show a remarkable insensitivity to the likely consequences of following their advice.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 16, 2008 at 5:18 am

I question the tactics of the "raging Grannies." They seem so immature for grannies.


Posted by Rick, a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2008 at 5:52 am

From Frances: "I notice that the supporters of the present military action are good at nasty and dismissive personal labels. This is known in logic class as argumentum ad hominem."

Hey, Frances. I notice that you label everyone who finds the Raging Grannies' actions despicable to be "war supporters." One does not have to support the war to find your harassment of military recruiters, most of whom are also war veterans, to be wrong.


Posted by Thanks BP and Mt View Mother, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2008 at 7:23 am

Thank you very much Mt View Mom. As soon as I read the absurd sentences claiming your son hated being a recruiter and didn't support the War in Iraq, I KNEW that it was a lie.

Thank you BP for your service and the usual military calm, professional and respectful way you voice your case.

What the fools don't understand is that this is a VOLUNTEER military, that there isn't one single person left in any part of the military who has not specifically CHOSEN to join or re-enlist in the miitary since the start of the war, that the re-enlistment rate for Iraq veterans is the highest re-enlistment rate ever.

They don't know that the average education level for the military is higher than the average civilian education level. And they don't know that TWICE as many children of Congress are in the military as are children of civilians.

They are filled only with a left over vision of their supposed glory days, when their propoganda, gleefully supported by the Communists and the likes of Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, and John Kerry, caused the American people to believe that we had lost in Vietnam, and that our soldiers were committing atrocities AS A POLICY. ( Not knowing that virtually all of the famous photos were NOT caused by our military). They are proud that they led us to abandon Vietnam just when we had militarily won it..so that 2,000,000 people were massacred in Vietnam and the resulting fall-out in Cambodia.

They are trying desperately for a repeat performance in Iraq, and are horribly frustrated that they have lost this propoganda battle, thanks to us finally having a truly free press where we can get "the rest of the story".

The best way to support the Raging Grannies is to do what they are doing to support our Troops, call for them to be forced to stop doing their chosen job.


Posted by I'm curious, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:43 am

So grannies I am curious,

What do you think distinguishes you from people that protest outside of abortion clinics? If you can see that this clinic style of protest is misguided, perhaps you should reexamine your own tactics.

I personally dislike ends justify the means protesting whether it agrees with my personal philosophy or not


Posted by Jeff G., a resident of Stanford
on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:52 am

Recruiters do have it tough. As someone says in the video, the army makes them do it. "He doesn't agree with the war in Iraq but he cannot speak against it". Sounds like something that potential enlistees should know before they sign up. Helluva situation to find themselves in after it's too late!


Posted by Mt. View Mother, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:21 am

Hi Jeff. Everything my son is experiencing was spelled out from the beginning. There were NO surprises. My son is an adult who chose to accept the terms of his contract. As are most of the recruits he is extremely intelligent, well educated and perfectly capable of reading and comprehending a contract. I can say that emphatically because all applicants must pass a comprehensive education test prior to acceptance. As far as I can tell, the only people complaining here are the ones who have never served in the military and, therefore, have no first hand knowledge of the induction process. As is the case with any type of employment I'm sure there must be some disgruntled military personnel who regret having enlisted but I don't know any. As people have mentioned over and over, this is a VOLUNTEER army. Recruiters simply expound on the benefits and handle the paperwork required for induction. My son was not lied to and neither were any of the many soldiers we know. He appreciates the benefits so much he reenlisted and decided to make it his career. Even his wife is getting a paid education because her father was career military. I am proud that my son is willing to perform the job that we, the taxpayers, pay him to do without so much as a whimper over risking his life. The people who makeup the troops have nothing to do with declaring war. That is not what we pay them to do. And, trust me, every recruit knows there is not a clause in their contract that says "I'll defend America ONLY IF I believe in the war!" Granted it's not a perfect system, but in a perfect world we wouldn't even need armies. Seeing as how I live in reality, I know we need a strong, well trained, obedient army to protect our lives as well as our interests. I don't personally believe that we should be in Iraq so you know what I do? Campaign, campaign, campaign, vote, vote, vote, and write my congressmen. All civil and constructive methods for fixing a problem while making the least amount of ruckus. I for one am proud of our men and women who risk their lives without reservation whether they believe the war is just or not. The Raging Grannies have suggested that my son take all the salary and percs that the army invested in him and say, "Ooops, I changed my mind...My bad!" on his way to Canada!


Posted by BP, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 16, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Frances and other supporters of the Grannies,

I think you have every right to challenge the war and I recognize (and support) your right to protest if you are against it.
You mentioned the problem of dichotomies earlier in another post, and I believe you might be guilty of the same thing. Just because you are in the military doesn't mean you support Bush's policies, nor does it mean that you support the war. In an earlier post, I made the analogy of the Catholic Church. I am Catholic and don't agree with priests molesting young boys, but I don't label all priests as child abusers nor would I fathom protesting outside of a church in Mountain View in response to a case of molestation in NC. Just because I'm in the military doesn't mean I am for war crimes or that I try to shout down people with opposing views. Furthermore, I haven't engaged in name calling or labels.
The mother of the recruiter made a good point and one that I tried to make earlier. Our volunteer military is not a perfect system, and as I recognized earlier, there are some recruiters out there that are less than ethical. But that shouldn't be used to paint the entire military as being unethical anymore than it would be right to label all Catholics as being unethical.
I'm assuming you recognize the need to have a military right? And I also assume that you recognize the need for the military to obey the orders of their civilian leaders rather than a system where our military decides what it wants to do independent of our civilian leadership. I'd be interested in your suggestions for how to improve the system we currently have.
Last question (and I'm not trying to be coy here), have you ever met a member of today's military and talked with them about any of this?
If you haven't (or even if you have) and want tot talk, just let me know. I think you'd be really surprised and it might even dispel a lot of your stereotypes of the military.


Posted by Heard-It-All-Before, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2008 at 1:35 pm

> Ah yes, and there is the favorite form of "dialog" of those
> who support Bush's actions: ask a leading question, shout
> down any attempt to answer, then announce that the person
> did not have an answer

These are well-documented techniques that were used by the Anti-Vietnam "Left". If people on the "Right" happen to use them now--then that is "not fair?"

Sorry .. we've seen all of this before as so many college-aged kids were convinced that Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and Mao Tse Tung were "great guys" and the real enemy was the US, it's military and "the running dogs of Capitalist Empire".

Given the high death count under the governments of these icons of the left, it's a little surprising to see them trying to pull the same stunt off this time.

Given the sad state of public education, it's understandable how some people never learn.


Posted by Mother Mt. View Recruiter, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Hey all you Raging Grannies. I just came up with the perfect solution for you! One of the great things about this country is that if you don't like it you're welcome to leave. No one is forcing you to stay here. You say this country is so terrible yet you choose, yes CHOOSE, to continue living here all the while spewing out hate. I remember a great line from the movie, "White Nights" whereby an American who was living in Russia told Baryshnikov that he had defected from America because things were so bad; to which Baryshnikov responded "You don't defect from America, you select..." Many of you have suggested that those in the military who don't agree with the Iraq war should desert their jobs and head for Canada. If this country is so horrible, why don't you take your own advice?


Posted by Stephen Ferroni, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2008 at 2:34 pm

I am the owner of Play It Again Sports located 10 feet from the recruiting center. This is now the 2nd time the Raging A-Holes have messed with my Friday sales. Where are my rights as a small business owner in all of this? I respect everyones right to say what they want but not if it hurts anyone else. I have $11,000.00 reasons every month to feel this way. This is only a way to get some attention if they really cared they would think this whole thing out and target areas where they can make a difference and be heard. All I can say is there will not be a next time for this type of demonstration because it will be quickly ended and moved somewhere else.

Steve Ferroni
Owner Play It Again Sports
San Jose and Mt View CA


Posted by Danny, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 16, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Stephen,

Although I completely understand your frustration with protests and the Raging Grannies specifically and how it effects your business, your post comes across as vulgar by referring to the Grannies as "A-Holes." Not very professional, to be frank, and even though I'm a huge sports enthusiast I'm now not inclined to shop at your store. Just pointing out that the way you speak about others -- even if it is right on -- shines a negative light on you when it comes across as particularly crude or unprofessional.


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2008 at 4:08 pm

The thing about these forums is that anyone can write under anyone's name..don't assume that the real Stephen Ferroni wrote the above post.
Why don't you call him and ask him? Could be a competitor trying to have the effect Danny wrote about.


Posted by Bob Nystrom, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2008 at 4:55 pm

We live in a 3-D world where the major issues are far too large to see from any one point of view. Each point of view has access to information and ideas not even visible from other points of view. To act solely upon information from a single vantage point yields unintended consequences easily foreseen from another. When we permit one point of view to dictate a course of action and impose its will, we all lose … even if the point of view imposed is our own. Webster defines "little-f" fascism as "a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control". Every point of view is capable of fascism when it unleashes its dogma upon others (no "Maggie dog", I'm not referring to you here ;-).

The power of our democratic system lies in our ability to bring multiple points of view together and generate ideas, solutions, and courses of action not possible from any single point of view. There are two points upon which all of us can agree:

1. There is a war in Iraq
2. We all want it to conclude ASAP.

All that is left to do is, through dialogue, chart a course from today to there, then petition our government representatives on both sides of the aisle to adopt our community charted course if they wish to remain our representatives. This would be far more productive than protests and counter-protests, and would allow the folks working near the recruiting center to make a living.

I just finished creating a Yahoo group for those who wish to continue the dialogue from here:
Web Link
Drop on by and join the community.


Posted by No-Surrender, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2008 at 5:01 pm

> There is a war in Iraq

Not in any traditional sense. Asymetric wars, and Jihads, do not allow the US military to operate as it would like--open field, clear lines of territorial ownership, and soldiers who are officially soldiers-- protected by, and honoring, the Geneva Convention.

The US needs to continue this war until it is won. It can easily be concluded by surrendering.


Posted by Bob Nystrom, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2008 at 6:36 pm

>> It can easily be concluded by surrendering.

You make a good point. This is True, but as many point out - not without severe consequences. I personally agree with your point that the war must be won. To that another point of view will say "define winning".

As the first point of order in the dialogue, we must define and agree upon the intended outcomes for the people of Iraq, the people of the United States, and the people of the world.

Any proposals?


Posted by Bob Nystrom, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2008 at 6:37 pm

>> It can easily be concluded by surrendering.

You make a good point. This is True, but as many point out - not without severe consequences. I personally agree with your point that the war must be won. To that another point of view will say "define winning".

As the first point of order in the dialogue, we must define and agree upon the intended outcomes for the people of Iraq, the people of the United States, and the people of the world.

Any proposals?


Posted by ??, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Look at Spain. They gave in to the Muslim terrorists. They have lost the respect of many in the West. They basically have lost the war on terror. They cannot make a stand in the future against terrorism because terrorists will once again win, looking on them as soft.

Do we want that to happen here? Do we want the terrorists to see that this Country is equally soft. Do we want to loose the respect of the rest of the World. If we give in to terrorists what will be the next stage? Will our trading partners still want to trade with a country that at any stage can bow to the demands of a Muslim state?

This is not the same type of war as Vietnam. This is not the type of war when losing means coming home with a feeling of honorable shame. If this war is lost, then this country will never be the same again. If this war is lost, which Muslim nation will try next?

We must ask ourselves some deep questions because if we don't, the future may just be worse than what we are going through and have been since 9/11.


Posted by Frances, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 16, 2008 at 7:45 pm

For those who say "Support Our Troops"
Notice how the government supports them

Study: Lack of MRAPs Cost Marine Lives
By Richard Lardner
The Associated Press


Friday 15 February 2008

Washington - Hundreds of U.S. Marines have been killed or injured by roadside bombs in Iraq because Marine Corps bureaucrats refused an urgent request in 2005 from battlefield commanders for blast-resistant vehicles, an internal military study concludes.

The study, written by a civilian Marine Corps official and obtained by The Associated Press, accuses the service of "gross mismanagement" that delayed deliveries of the mine-resistant, ambush


Posted by just saying, a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2008 at 8:13 pm

I read that news article on yahoo last week. Notice that it is a study done from an error in judgement in 2005 -
I tend to think that error caused the study and hence changed. But maybe you have a newer study for 2007?


Posted by Robert Cummings, a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 16, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Danny

I personally witnessed what took place (I was shopping at Play It Again Sports) and was screamed at and by the grannies. Some even had the nerve to come into the store and try and spread their views on the customers in the store. I say right on Mr.Ferroni for standing up for your business rights. Where was the professionalism on the part of the grannies and other protesters who where bothering his customers by playing their instruments loudly and yelling at the customers in the store to listen to their view.

Robert Cummings


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Whereas I don't necessarily condone the business owner from his language, I do understand his frustrations.

Sometimes, for a small business, the difference of one day's earnings can make the difference of surviving that month or not. This is the season whereby sports are changing from winter to spring sports and if a customer has chosen to go to another sports shop for what they need to buy, then that business is lost entirely. The customer will possibly go to that other business every time in the future.

Please do not judge the business owner for his annoyance. He has explained his situation, shown his annoyance, and does not deserve to be blackballed. In fact, I think he deserves the sympathy of us all and next time we need sports equipment, we should think of shopping there and supporting him (not his neighbor).


Posted by Brian Pelayo, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:01 pm

I know Steve personally and it has been a very frustrating week at his business. On Monday night his store was held up by an armed robber at the time his daughter and close friends son where working. Let's just say everyone is really frustrated and scared. I know a little over $1000 where stolen and his daughter is really upset now this! Let's show the guy some support instead of throwing him under the bus. I also know his store donates close to $20,000 to about 22 local Little League, Pony Leagues and Girls Softball leagues in the area including Mt View, Los Altos,San Jose and Sunnyvale. What have some of us done for our comunities plus he gives discounts to all of the league players and coaches. I say he deserves to be a bit frustrated with our community.

Brian


Posted by No-Surrender, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:20 pm

> As the first point of order in the dialogue, we must define and
> agree upon the intended outcomes for the people of Iraq, the
> people of the United States, and the people of the world.

Why? How? The Mullahs of Iran are shouting "Death To America" and sending money and men into Iraq to destabilize and kill. The Sunnis and Shia are at each others' throats because that's what they do. Al Qaeda is here and there and sort of everywhere--doing what they do.

And we here in the US are going to "dialog" about this?

There are many who believe that the US is too strong and should be brought to its knees--because it is "arrogant", or some such reason. It is not possible to talk to these people--as they have nothing to offer other than a path to national suicide.

These so-called "raging grannies" seem to be of the mind that "all war is bad and we are going to stop war!" They are outraged at the US response to terrorism, but don't seem to be remotely concerned about terrorism itself.

So .. what can be the possible basis for "dialog"?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2008 at 6:06 am

One of the most contemptable forms of warfare is that of attacking your enemy from amidst protected classes like women and children and protected facilities like churches and hospitals.
The "Raging Grannies" take advantage of the respect our society pays those protected classes as they advocate the cause of a society where there are no such protection. Like brats, they behave outrageously knowing they are safe from any significant retaliation. It is difficult, in a family paper, to adequately express my contempt for the Grannies.

Sincerely,
A great grandpa


Posted by Mother Mt. View Recruiter, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2008 at 9:03 am

You truly are a great grandpa! Thank you for your support! As a grandmother and the mother of a Mt. View Army Recruiter, I couldn't have said it better!

And I thank everyone else for their support. I am so proud to live in this area. I know from spending time with my son in uniform that the "raging grannies" are in the minority. Irregardless of how they feel about the Iraq war, virtually all of the people who live here are kind and respectful to our military personnel.


Posted by Advice?, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 17, 2008 at 11:49 am

Walter -

You seem to have a firm grasp of common sense and experience to go with it, especially around authority and brats of whatever age.

I have a six year old selfish brat, who "behaves outrageously knowing that he is safe from any significant retaliation."

I'm thinking it would be a good thing to help accelerate his maturity beyond this, is that a good idea? And if so, how can I do it?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2008 at 12:48 pm

While I am no substitute for Abbie or Spock, I would generally suggest granting some privelege subject to good behavior for a 6 year old.


Posted by nick, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Government intelligence tells us that our military adventures in Iraq are not making us safer. They are increasing terrorism in the world. I am not surprised. I predicted this result before the invasion even started.
Terrorist attacks throughout the world have increased since the war started and the situation has been great for recruiting terrorists.
If it comforts you to persist in the delusion that the horrible suffering and sacrifice makes you safer, so be it. Unfortunately, it just ain't true.
The whole mess is tragedy of the first order. Meanwhile the oil and gas industry is laughing all the way to the bank.

References:
1. Dana Priest and Josh White, "War Helps Recruit Terrorists, Hill Told; Intelligence Officials Talk Of Growing Insurgency," Washington Post, 17 February 2005; Porter J. Goss, director, CIA, Global intelligence Challenge 2005: Meeting a Long-term Challenge with a Long-term Strategy, Statement for the Record, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 16 February 2005; Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director DIA, Current and Project National Security Threats to the United States, Statement for the Record, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 16 February 2005;
Web Link

2. Warren P. Strobel, "Iraq seen emerging as prime training ground for terrorists," Knight-Ridder, 4 July 2005.

3. Mark Mazzetti, "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat," New York Times, 24 September 2006.




Posted by No-Surrender, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2008 at 4:23 pm

> Dana Priest and Josh White, "War Helps Recruit Terrorists,

After the US engaged the Japanese and the Germans in 1841, both nations increased the sizes of their Armies to meet the threat against their respective nations. Guess the US can be blamed for aggravating the situation in 1942 and 1943?

Given the logic of Priest and White, Roosevelt should have stood down in order to help bring "peace" to the world.

Sorry .. people who look at "war" through the lens of the day-by-day will never understand the "hows" and "whys" of National Security, or provide useful insight into how to win any war.


Posted by No-Surrender, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2008 at 4:24 pm

The date 1841 in the previous post should have been 1941.


Posted by Army Officer, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm

When you protest a recruiter's office, you protest everyone in uniform. We stand as one and united. Protest outside your politician's office and stop grandstanding if you disagree with the war in Iraq. I am hispanic and joined while in high school and no one lied to me. The Army ended up paying for my education at UC Berkeley, allowing me to become an officer, and earn enough to buy a house in Mountain View. It's the protestors who are uninformed and lying. Spend some time in Iraq or Afghanistan and you'll understand what this war is really about and why it's worth fighting.


Posted by Jim H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2008 at 7:34 pm

I'd love to see the "Grannies" and other protesters try to survive for 30 seconds in a world without the U.S. Military. The brave and unselfish men and women who carry our flag overseas are the reason we have the freedoms we have now - including the freedom to protest. Where would we be now if we hadn't stood up to Hitler? Or confronted Russian nuclear power in the Cold War? Bored and selfish "Grannies" didn't win those conflicts - courageous men and women in uniform did.


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2008 at 11:28 am

To No Surrender: VERY well said.

Wasn't it Churchill who said, at the onset of England entering into WW2, "You were given the choice between appeasement and a smaller war, you chose appeasement, and instead you got a bigger war"?


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2008 at 11:31 am

To Army Officer:

THANK YOU for your service!




Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2008 at 11:31 am

To Army Officer:

By the way, darn insulting, isn't it, that the uninformed think that only stupid people with "no choices" join the military?

I prefer the uniformed to the uninformed any day.


Posted by Peace on Earth ?, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Name the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons on another?
I can guarantee that the same country will be the one to strike the second time ! Look at the above post justifications ... (bringing peace to the world etc. etc.) ...


Posted by Natalie, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2008 at 5:42 pm

I see comments from critics of the Raging Grannies that include insults, profanity, falsehoods and misquoting. I observed the events at the recruiting station. There was no screaming. From the start, The loudest shouting came from the counter demonstrato who from the start began taunting the Grannies with personal comments.

The reporter accurately stated that the discussion was heated at times and that two minor incidents of pushing occurred. A tall older man pushed a Granny from behind and one woman gave a younger, taller man a one handed push, followed by immediate calming intervention from one of the Grannies.

If you read the string of comments above carefully you will see how the most reasonable statements can be turned into absurd exaggerations if you misquote the person. Reasoned criticism of American policies or recruiter behavior gets described as "hate." Concern expressed about the "poverty draft" gets turned into the utterly false accusation of having said that "only stupid people...join the military."
Looks like they've been watching Bill O'Reilly who is famous for viciously misquoting people.

By the way, there were several groups at the demonstration, not just Raging Grannies


Posted by No-Surrender, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm

> Reasoned criticism of American policies or recruiter
> behavior gets described as "hate."

There is such a great distance between the criticism of "American Policy" and "Recruiter Behavior" that these two topics can not be discussed together.

Unless the Recruiters were involved in the fracus in front of the Recruiting Station, what evidence about possible "Recruiter Behavior" (or "Misbehavior") can be brought to this discussion?


Posted by Mother Mt. View Recruiter, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 18, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Natalie, I don't know which demonstration you were at but it wasn't the same one I attended on Friday. Take a look at the video on the left hand side at the top of this page. Do you see the woman in red shouting and pointing her finger in the first frame? I'm not sure which group she was with but the women she is screaming at are military mothers. In my opinion she was one of the least offensive protesters.


Posted by Dale, a resident of Stanford
on Feb 18, 2008 at 7:17 pm

HEY NATALIE:

The guy pushed her and she didn't break her hip?

Oh.. and...

Web Link
The only reported physical confrontation occurred when a member of the Peninsula Raging Grannies Action League pushed a man and quickly ran away, police spokeswoman Liz Wylie said.

Oops. Sorry to catch you in a lie.


Posted by Army Officer, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 18, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Regarding some of the premises upon which the Raging Grannies base their flawed strategies and protests on:

"Within a couple of percentage points, the figures from Iraq show that the deaths are representative of the composition of the military right now," says David R. Segal, a University of Maryland sociologist who is director of the university's Center for Research on Military Organization. "So the real question is how representative is the military of society as a whole."

Segal says that studies show that the all-volunteer military is resolutely middle American, with the top 25 percent—the economic elites—and the lowest 25 percent largely failing to serve.

"There's a preponderance of what we might call upper-working-class or lower-middle-class servicemen," Segal says. "The numbers represent economically distressed America, small-town kids with ambition but no jobs who are using the Army as a way to get out and progress."

One study of American deaths in the Iraq war has already yielded significant findings about race. Brian Gifford is a researcher with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at the University of California, Berkeley. His study "Combat Casualties and Race: What can we learn from the 2003-2004 Iraq Conflict?" will be published this winter in the journal Armed Forces & Society.

"Hispanic deaths were way over-represented in the opening war phase in Iraq, comprising about 16 percent of all deaths," Gifford said. "But they represent just 11 percent of Army and Marine combat personnel and less than 9 percent of all active-duty personnel."

Other studies show that in some Marine units involved in the heaviest fighting before the occupation, Hispanic casualties were as high as 19 percent of all deaths.

Hispanic casualty rates dramatically declined, however, as soon as the occupation began and there were less-frequent, less-intensive battle conditions. For this period, Hispanic deaths represented less than 12 percent of all deaths, roughly proportional to the group's numbers within the active military.

"If any group of minority service members faces an elevated risk of casualties, it is Hispanics under high-intensity combat conditions," Gifford wrote in his study. "When U.S. tactics dictate a more active, aggressive role in finding and attacking enemy targets, Hispanics incur casualties in excess of their participation in ground combat units. In less intense environments, the Hispanic casualty rate more closely resembles their presence in the military as a whole."

Most experts agree on the explanation for these unexpectedly high Hispanic casualty rates. The majority of Hispanic recruits are either first- or second-generation Americans with relatively low rates of educational achievement. Their test scores simply don't justify placing them in relatively select—and safer—occupations behind the front lines.

I was surprised by this the last paragraph myself which actually supports the assertion that the Raging Grannies might want to protest the schools instead. The lower ranks of combat forces would hold individuals who volunteer with lower test schools. But they are statistically outnumbered by higher test scorers. However, they are led by the Army's best officers and non-commissinoed officers, who compete for combat unit positions.

African American volunteers into the Army have been declining since 2001.


Posted by Natalie, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:25 pm

The reporter had it right about the man pushing the Granny. Reporters check such things against the police report.

This was also witnessed by a group of guys from De Anza who spoke to the man who did the pushing. They saids "Hey peace man." He shouted "Fuck peace."

Before slinging defamatory language like "lying" around, you might take the time to check your facts.

However for true Bill O'Reilly fans, facts and documents don't count for much, I guess.

p.s. the woman in red was with Los Altos Voices for Peace and if you review the video you will see that she is saying "We are just as proud as you are. But you are proud with the wrong attitude." Not exactly "outrageous" or "spewing hate," is she? I heard way worse coming from the counter demonstrators.


Posted by Dale, a resident of Stanford
on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:34 pm

NATALIE,

Reading is fundamental. Here is is again.

Web Link

"The ONLY reported physical confrontation occurred when a member of the Peninsula Raging Grannies Action League pushed a man and quickly ran away, police spokeswoman Liz Wylie said."

I agree. The Reporter got it right. Keep trying.


Posted by Former-Army-Officer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:54 pm

> One study of American deaths in the Iraq war has already
> yielded significant findings about race.

There have been two phases of this "war", the "invasion" and the "occupation". Each has its own characteristics. The following data comes from a web site that tracks Iraqi War casualties --

Month: Fatalities
11-2003:82
10-2003:44
09-2003:31
08-2003:35
07-2003:48
06-2003:30
05-2003:37
04-2003:74
03-2003:65

Remember, the "invasion" was about 23 days, so the casualty count was incredibly low for a "war".

The casualty counts have been so low that one must look at this data on a per month basis, and probably by region-month basis too.

> Most experts agree on the explanation for these
> unexpectedly high Hispanic casualty rates. The
> majority of Hispanic recruits are either first- or
> second-generation Americans with relatively low
> rates of educational achievement. Their test scores
> simply don't justify placing them in relatively
> select—and safer—occupations behind the front lines.

That's one possible explanation. It would be better for all of us if these so called "experts" had actually served in combat units, both as sergeants and company commanders.

If we think back to WWII, the Japanese-American 442nd Infantry Regiment was the most highly decorated of the War, and also sustained probably the highest casualty rates:

Web Link

The 442nd is commonly reported to have suffered a casualty rate of 314 percent (i.e., on average, each man was injured more than three times), informally derived from 9,486 Purple Hearts divided by some 3,000 original in-theater personnel. U.S. Army battle reports show the official casualty rate, combining KIA (killed) with MIA (missing) and WIA (wounded and removed from action) totals, is 93%, still uncommonly high. Many of the Purple Hearts were awarded during the campaign in the Vosges Mountains and some of the wounded were soldiers who were victims of trenchfoot. But many victims of trenchfoot were forced by superiors -- or willingly chose -- to return to the front even though they were classified as "wounded in action". Wounded soldiers would often escape from hospitals to return to the front line battles.
---

The reason for the high casualty counts was that this Unit pushed itself harder than most other Units--because they had something to "prove". What they had to prove was that they were good Americans too, and wanted the chance to demonstrate that fact.

Have the "experts" been able to investigate the Hispanic casualties for similar motivations? Soldiers are frequently asked to volunteer for missions. Have the Hispanics been volunteering at higher rates? Is there a linkage between these guys being American, and their parents perhaps being "Illegals"?

Given the very, very low number of American/Coalition deaths in this conflict, any statistics that are produced are operating in the "noise" of WWII.

Has anyone interviewed company commanders to get an explanation as to why Hispanics are seeing a slightly higher fatality rate than their proportion of the general population? Until someone talks to those captains who are out there doing what "most Americans won't" .. best not to listen to Ivory Tower bozos.


Posted by Mother Mt. View Recruiter, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2008 at 9:11 am

Natalie, I was standing right next to that woman while she was yelling and screaming and wagging her finger and I can tell you that she wasn¡¦t very nice. I do agree, however, that her comments were less defamatory than others. Also to her credit, she did quit jabbing her finger toward to other woman when I suggested that it wasn¡¦t a very civil way to get her point (no pun intended) across.

I¡¦m not going to continue to debate the words and actions of others but I can tell you what I personally experienced. In response to my saying ¡§Hate Bush, Hate the War, but please don¡¦t hate my son¡¨, one of the grannies said ¡§Hey Blondie¡K¡¨ and proceeded to make a crude remark about the status of my private parts. What in the world my private parts have to do with the war in Iraq I don¡¦t know but perhaps you can enlighten me. I¡¦m fairly certain the Palo Alto Weekly News caught her comment on tape but it was too obscene to post here.

Furthermore, the same woman interrupted my conversation with a news reporter by saying ¡§I bet your face is so full of Botox!¡¨ Tell me, what does my personal appearance have to do with the war in Iraq?

Perhaps you wouldn¡¦t take those comments personally, but I did. As a rule, I choose to not cuss and swear and say nasty things. (Unless I stub my toe; because in that case only a swear word will help. ƒº Even then, however, I say it under my breath.)

As is the case with all American citizens, anti-military groups certainly have the right to cuss and swear and make as many nasty comments as you want. However, I don¡¦t know what you think you accomplished on Friday. The war goes on and you don¡¦t seem to have attracted any new supporters. In fact I think you managed to gain a few detractors.

If all of you are truly trying to stop the war and not just looking for attention, why don¡¦t you spend your time and energy campaigning for Barack Obama? Now that might actually make a difference!


Posted by MJG, a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2008 at 8:19 am

Those "grannies" who had enough energy to protest at a recruiting station, an act that will accomplish nothing, should use that energy for something positive for the community. Volunteering at the VA hospital comes to mind. Help those who volunteered to support and defend your right to protest and became injured or damaged in some way while doing so. I've been a member of the U.S. Military for 26 years and I've been to Iraq and other "hot spots" and I've met very few who enjoy war but many who are willing to do what needs to be done because that is what they signed up for and knew it when they signed up. I grew up in Palo Alto and I remember the Vietnam war protests that disrupted school and accomplished nothing. If you want an end to the war write, write, write to your congress person, write letters to the newspapers and stop annoying people who are simply doing their job and use your energy in a positive way.


Posted by Raging Grannies, a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Raging Grannies volunteer at the Day Workers Center, the VA Hospital and more!


Posted by Granny Fan, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 4, 2008 at 12:13 am

Removed video is here:
Web Link


Posted by Billy, a resident of Woodside
on Feb 4, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Heaven forbid if the Rampaging Grannies volunteer at the VA when it becomes filled with old gray Vietnam and Iraq vets. Guys, don't eat the applesauce!


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