Austin G.I. Rights Hotline

Activists try to counsel soldiers having second thoughts

There's nothing worse than making a decision you can't get out of – except maybe making that decision based on false information from someone wearing a U.S. Army uniform. For some young soldiers, the choice to enlist is based on economic pressures, false promises from recruiters who are under a great deal of pressure to produce new enlistees, or conversations held without their parents' knowledge. Whatever the reason, it's important that these kids have an avenue to learn what rights they do have, whether it is in the face of conscientious objection, mistreatment by officers or fellow soldiers, having gone AWOL, or simply wondering what the hell they've gotten themselves into.

With Texas holding the largest number of active-duty service members, the demand for this service is that much more great. Luckily, a local group of concerned citizens is in the process of putting together the Austin GI Rights Hotline, part of the national network of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations dedicated to providing information to members of the military, old and new. (Last year alone, the national GI Rights hotline received 32,000 calls, which speaks volumes about this country's process of enlistment.) This local group is looking for volunteers who are willing to make a commitment of two hours per week for up to one year to attend training on Oct. 1-2. Donations are also being accepted at thirdcoastactivist.org/girights.html. To learn more, e-mail austingirights@mail.com or call Katherine at 659-1304.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Iraq War, U.S. Army, Austin GI Rights Hotline

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