It was a victory for peace activists in Milwaukee this week, as Summerfest officials asked the U.S. Army to remove a display featuring a fully armed Humvee and a virtual reality combat sequence. Julie Enslow with Peace Action Wisconsin says her group is still not thrilled with an Army recruiting tent at Summerfest, which she says now features target practice.
Peace Action Wisconsin was able to get Summerfest officials to shut down a display featuring a fully armed Humvee and a virtual reality combat sequence which she says only told part of the story. "It didn't show any of the blood and the guts, and . . . our soldiers coming home in body bags, and without limbs and faces, and with PTSD." Enslow says her organization rallied around the issue after a couple of members visited the Army tent last week. Their brief campaign resulted in hundreds of calls from groups and individuals protesting the simulated combat, which was available to kids as young as thirteen.
Summerfest officials said they did not intend any disrespect to the military, when it asked the U.S. Army to remove the simulated combat. The state's largest music festival released a statement Wednesday, stating it has the "utmost respect" for the Armed Forces and maintains strong partnerships with the military. The episode created a public relations tempest with conservative radio talk hosts complaining that the festival was caving in to peace activists. The game was removed Tuesday but returned with the target practice by Wednesday The festival's statement claimed Summerfest never sought shutdown of the entire Army display, but only "minor modification to a very high-quality exhibit."