Iraq War veteran Dave Airhart should be commended not reprimanded by Kent State for his actions. The real crime on October 19, 2005, at Kent State University was not committed by Airhart but by the military recruiter who attacked him as he exercised his right to protest an unjust war. More importantly, the greatest crime of October 19 was the continued occupation of Iraq. Resistance to this occupation and to recruitment through systematic lies, about both the nature of the conflict in Iraq and the reality of service in the military, is completely legitimate. Recruiters are asking people to sacrifice their lives and to kill innocent people for oil, for empire, for profit, and to keep in power the tiny elite that benefits from the invasion and occupation of Iraq, not to “fight for freedom and democracy” or to “defend America.” By confronting the lies of the recruiters, Airhart is standing in a proud tradition of people who have resisted war, including Eugene Debs, who was sentenced to ten years in prison for speaking out against World War I in Canton, Ohio. We all should defend Airhart and demand that Kent State immediately drop all charges against him. Then we should all renew our efforts to build the movement to end this war and bring all the troops home now.
Anthony Arnove, editor, with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People’s History of the United States.
You may hear Arnove debate the occupation of Iraq, and call for an immediate withdrawal, at http://www.traprockpeace.org/iraq_debate_06april05.html