US Veterans, Including Active Duty, Reject Militarization Against Demonstrators

| Podcast

The United States is in the midst of a mass uprising against police violence, but also a whole list of grievances such as the lack of jobs, health care, education and more. Sustained protests have been going on for two weeks defying curfews and severe repression by police. The national guard has been deployed to 23 states and President Trump threatened to deploy the military against people expressing their First Amendment rights. We speak with Danny Sjursen, a retired Major and spokesperson for About Face: Veterans Against the War, about how members of the military are responding to current events. Veterans have called for members of the national guard and military to refuse illegal orders and they are receiving an unprecedented number of responses. Danny also provides insight into the police community and why they are doubling down on repression.

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Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer and contributing editor at His work has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Mother Jones, Popular Resistance, and Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. His forthcoming book, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War(Heyday Books) is available for pre-order. Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet and see his website for speaking/media requests and past publications.

  • John Cook

    Defending the Constitution of the United States against it’s enemies, both foreign and domestic is long term suicide when the criminals creating the terror are the same as those signing their deployment papers.

  • Southern

    The militarization of the US police was first initially done to create more profits for the MIC and to ofload military surplus while making more profits to replace it – Is the US still bombing brown people at the rate of 1 bomb every 12 minutes?

    Part of the trouble of equipping police with military equipment and then dressing them up as soldiers in combat gear only increases the likely hood that they’ll start looking for a reason to start using this new equipment – the same goes for increased police powers – or diminished civil rights.

    Danny makes an excellent point for suggesting that police should not turn up in their riot gear at the first call but only if things have gotten out of hand – even then there’s still time to deal with agent provocateurs to identify and remove them instead of firing rubber bullets at non violent protesters and media – Then there’s plenty of evidence of police damaging their own vehicles – whatever happened to that?

  • Teo Blas

    Defund the DoD

  • SCM

    So it’s okay to kill brown ppl over there but not over here? Sorry but resign then protest then I’l have respect. This is riding the wave/strong horse.

  • Southern

    And cancel the contracts they have with US government regardless of ISDS/IIAS provisions.

  • Nina Marrocco

    A lot of white people have been murdered by police it is not only black people!!!!! You lost me on that one!

  • Nina Marrocco

    As far as I am concerened you are one sided on the police issue! MORE white people have been murdered than black people.

  • Nina Marrocco

    Goodbye, now that you have made this a “One sided issue”

  • Patrick Chamberlain

    They say the rich send the poor of to war!

  • David Watson

    Don’t forget that by militarizing our police it make the American Public the enemy. Instead of them serving the American Public.

  • David Watson

    There is a problem between the picture and what the article says. Try what is the difference between a PFC and an Officer? This feels to me as click bate. As for the importance of what it says, yeah that is important.

  • David Watson

    I also know the difference between Dress Blues and Dress Greens too.