Stopping the War in Iraq: Targetting Recruitment

I have an idea for a tactic to build power and end the war in Iraq: create a website to coordinate the most extensive picketing that US military recruitment offices have ever seen. The US military is already having trouble recruiting, and a website could be a powerful spark that could reduce recruitment and otherwise exert enough pressure to be a major factor in causing the US to leave Iraq.

I'm not talking about a day of action. I'm talking about round the clock picketing of hundreds of military recruitment offices.

The website would include a database of military recruitment offices and a schedule. Users would sign-up to picket their local office and to mobilize the people in their community to do the same. The goal would be to picket the office for as many hours that it is open as possible. It might be best to try and get two people doing it (having someone with you makes it easier). Each recruiting office would have a picketing schedule that would be publicly displayed online.

The website would also offer materials to distribute to people walking by, materials for would-be recruits, perhaps a general sign to put in the ground (that mentions the general goal, and/or the fact that this is part of a massive national effort), information on your rights (you should be able to picket without a permit on public property in most, if not all, cities - malls are another story), report backs from people doing it, an email discussion list, perhaps a regular conference call to plan the campaign, etc.

One of the best features of the website would be a dynamic tally of how many recruitment offices were being picketed, the number of hours of picketing, and the number of participants. The site could provide image buttons (like the Iraq Casualty ones) that are hosted on other sites that display the number of hours picketed.

I think that this tactic would prove more effective than more mass mobilizations against the war. It would both reduce military recruitment and create possibly hundreds of local media stories. From my personal experience living in South Bend, Indiana - it's a lot easier to make the local news than it is to make the national. And if we're going to stop the war, it will be helpful to have people see that their neighbors are protesting it in their community. Congressional representatives will appreciate this too.

For this to happen, we'd need a database of recruitment offices (my guess is that one of the counter-military recruitment organizations has one, or this should be available by a Freedom Of Information Access request), and a commitment by a couple organizations/organizers to get it going. I could probably create the site.

Other Tactics

Beyond picketing, having an online database of recruiting stations could be used for other forms of action including intentionally wasting recruiter's time, larger protests, and civil disobedience.