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US Defence Rejects, “Not In Our Name” statement


Stars and Stripes Accepts, Then Rejects, “Not In Our Name” statement

(New York) Stars and Stripes, the Department of Defense’s official newspaper for servicemen and women overseas, pulled the Not In Our Name statement of conscience from their Wednesday edition at the last minute. The statement was to have run as a full-page paid ad on February 5.

The Not In Our Name statement, signed by over 50,000 people including artists, public intellectuals, and local elected public officials, has already appeared in over 45 newspapers across the United States. The statement and a list of its signers is available at www.nion.us.

Stars and Stripes advertising executive Michael Hiesener said that “we feel it would be inappropriate for us to profit from the publication of both pro and con war messages.” Hiesener conceded, however, that Stars and Stripes has run “support the troops” ads in the past.

Clark Kissinger, coordinator of the Not In Our Name statement, said “Servicemen and women overseas have a right to know that public support for a war on Iraq is both thin and eroding. They also have a right to hear the content of the criticism of the administration’s policy.”

Kissinger said that Stars and Stripes had earlier received and approved the content of the ad. The paper sent an invoice for the ad to the statement office and accepted their check for $4,250 to pay for the ad.

Melvin L. Wulf, attorney for the statement group, wrote to Stars and Stripes demanding that they honor their contract. “Having accepted the offer by NION to place the advertisement in Stars and Stripes, your refusal to publish the ad is as plain a breach of contract as one could imagine.”

Wulf added that “The Department of Defense ought not try to insulate our troops from that knowledge; indeed, it is important to our basic democratic principles that the wide and growing opposition to the war be circulated as broadly as possible.”

The pulling of the critical ad follows on the heels of First Lady Laura Bush “postponing” a literary symposium at the White House when she got word that anti-war poems might be read.

The Not In Our Name statement describes the current atmosphere as one in which “the government has brought down a pall of repression over society.” It cites the remark by White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer that people to “watch what they say.”

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