Signs of Anti-War Sentiments Become Harder to Ignore, Writes Prof. Ken Bode
August 12, 2005
August 12, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - "An unusual addition to this summer's Putnam County Fair was the team of Army recruiters wandering among pens of sheep, cattle and goats, collaring 4-H youngsters, passing out trinkets and touting the possibility of a free college education," writes Ken Bode in today's Indianapolis Star. The weekly op-ed by DePauw's Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism continues, "Dressed in camouflage, combat boots and black berets, the soldiers were an impressive group, and the kids were listening. Trouble is, like everywhere else in America, their parents at home were also listening -- to the news from Iraq."
The professor continues, "Recruiters are spending this critical summer canvassing rodeos, fairs, X Games, NASCAR races and rock concerts. The Army recruiting chief for the Chicago area is Sgt. Major Ozell Johnson. He recently told the Lehrer Newshour that young men and women are persuadable: 'However, when they get home and tell Mom and Dad, 'Hey this is something I want to do,' then that's where the resistance starts.'"
Bode states, "The war on terror once was President Bush's strongest suit, but now polls show that support for his Iraq policy is tanking." In the meantime, the former CNN senior political analyst points to Ohio, where "Marine veteran Paul Hackett almost won a special election in a district that Bush won by 64 percent in 2004 and the Democrats have not carried in 30 years. How difficult it must be for a veteran to come home and oppose a war when his comrades are still at risk in the violence of Iraq. But Hackett gave it to the voters with the bark off. He called President Bush a 'chicken hawk' and said the war is a misuse of the military. When returning veterans begin to speak out, the times they are a'changin'."
Dr. Bode also notes the story of Cindy Sheehan, "a Gold Star mother whose son Casey was killed in Sadr City in April 2004. Sheehan is camped outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. She is demanding a meeting with the president and a better explanation of his intentions than his Aug. 3 statement: 'We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission... The families of the fallen can be assured that they died for a noble cause.' Now other Gold Star families are traveling to Texas to join Cindy Sheehan. A crowd will soon form in Bush's driveway, a gathering of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in a war that the rest of us are mostly free to ignore. This crowd from the families of the fallen will be hard to ignore. Along with Paul Hackett in Ohio, it is one more sign -- far more important than the declining polls -- that the times they are a'changin'."
Read the complete column at College News.org.Back