March 14, 2005

Former Sergeant Criticizes Iraq War

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“I lied, I cheated, and I deceived,” Iraq War Veteran and former staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey said Friday in Anabel Taylor Hall. His lecture was part of his mission to reveal his own experiences as a recruitment counselor and a sergeant on the front lines of Iraq. Massey is currently touring upstate New York as a pacifist, commenting on American manipulation and treachery in the Marine Corps and in the War in Iraq.

Massey was brought to Cornell by an Ithaca organization called Conscious Alternative to Militarism (CAM), which is currently working on a movement of counter-recruitment. Its goal is “to make people informed consumers,” said Grace Ritter, a member of CAM and organizer of this event.

Massey’s discussion unveiled his participation in the Marine Corps’ manipulation as a recruitment counselor.

“I was able to plant seeds in their minds,” Massey said.

The recruitment process, Massey said, works under the assumption that it can convince young recruits that it is necessary and beneficial to join the Marines.

Assigned a list of hundreds of young men, each recruitment counselor gathers detailed information on the young men’s personal lives, from their SAT scores to their eyesight. According to Massey, once a counselor convinces a person to sign up, he encourages the recruit to lie in order to pass the drug, medical and police tests.

“It’s just a manipulation of the English language,” Massey said.

Massey himself recruited 75 young men, one of whom even had a serious neurological disorder. Massey explained that he understood what he was doing was wrong but continued to recruit out of fear of losing his job in the Marine Corps.

As a reward for his accomplishments as a recruitment counselor, Massey was sent to the front lines of Iraq where according to Massey “the Rules of the Geneva Convention, were out the windows.” He admitted to killing innocent civilians and cited a specific example in which he stormed a car of four young Iraqi men, killing three of them.

“We created the enemy,” Massey said.

Massey added that a young man whose brother was just murdered will inevitably fight back. Nathan Newman, an Ithaca resident in the audience, expressed his desire for his brother, a lieutenant in the Marines, to speak out like Jimmy Massey.

“I don’t know what could be more important than a person speaking out to a community about finding or re-finding their humanity,” said Luke Cannon, another Ithaca resident.

Upon his discharge on Dec. 31 2003, Massey has been speaking out under the assumption that the public has the right to know the truth about military conscription and the War in Iraq.

“I will take back everything I said if [The Marine Corps] could answer one question. How is a six-year-old child with a bullet in his head a terrorist, because that is the youngest I killed,” Massey said.

Archived article by Nessia Sloane