Puerto Rican Pacifists Say No To Pentagon

Activists undermine recruitment push with opt-out forms
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2007 1:43 PM CDT
Puerto Rican Pacifists Say No To Pentagon
Marlene Fernandez, the mother of U.S. Army soldier Jason Nunez, holds a ceremonial flag and wears a peace button reading in Spanish "Mothers Against the War," during her son's funeral, at the military cemetery in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, April 4, 2007. Of the 82nd Airborne Division, Nunez was...   (Associated Press)

Anti-war sentiment is pulsing through Puerto Rico, the Washington Post reports, even rattling dormant talk of independence. Pacifists have been giving high schoolers leaflets with instructions for avoiding Pentagon recruiters who have been ravenous in the poor island territory; an independence activist said the forms helped prevent young Puerto Ricans from becoming “colonial cannon meat.”

The Pentagon conceded anti-war activists had affected recruitment and accused them of “manipulating” youth, but added that it will meet its recruiting targets. While some of the island’s youth do decide to join the military, citing patriotism and gratitude toward the US, opt-out rates (rarely more than 10% on the mainland) are at 60% in Puerto Rico. (More Puerto Rico stories.)

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