Lietta Ruger; profile in speaking out as military family, as a citizen civil activist on Iraq war

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Diary of Thoughts

Mr President, I'll fly my flag at half staff on July 4

I was struck by the demeanor of the 700 soldiers in dress uniform attending the President's speech last night at Ft Bragg.

They were polite.

The singular time there was applause came at the prompting of a White House Advance team person.

The soldiers were the dignity and nobility in that room last night. Their Commander in Chief, our President seems to have a way with exploiting the dignity of our military and our loved ones deployed who are doing the grist of the 'hard work' .

The litany of disrespect shown to our troops by this President and this administration is a wearisome and growing list.

There will be much said about the President's speech and I took my own notes. I will do as the President asked and fly my flag on July 4th. I will fly it at half staff in respect for the fallen soldiers, for the fallen ideals of what the United States of America has come to represent, and as an effort to represent with dignity the soldiers who fight under the auspices of our flag and do so in honor, integrity and good faith.

They are doing their job and their Commander, the President, needs to do them justice by doing his job. I will fly my flag for them, Mr President, in respect for them. I will fly it at half staff.

Would that you would so order, in the deepest respect, that Americans fly their flags on the Fourth of July at half staff to honor the troops who are doing the job with their very lives.

I have checked the protocols regarding the flag and checked with my Governor's office and there is no penalty or wrongdoing if I choose to fly my flag at half staff and when I indicated my reasons for wanting to do so I was given a welcome to do so....


Waddling like Penguins, Roaring Like Lions
By Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Fri Jan 13, 2006
Well, I'm proud to say (NOT) that I have been  on the Military Family Panel for the USA Today for over a year now and colmnist/reporter Gregg Zoroya is my point of contact. Here's an example of his superb reporting at USA Today (supposedly with actual military families helpful input)..article Pentagon to Families; Go Ahead and Laugh .
  And here is my ltte to address what this military family with 2 Iraq veterans thinks of the Pentagon's helpful advice and Gregg's need to report on it.  (below fold).
 Guess we'll see the military families at the military bases in Washington waddling like penguins, roaring like lions and clapping while they laugh their way through deployments using the wonderous advice of the Pentagon.  Maybe we'll see some of our WA elected officials and candidates waddling like penguins as they take on the deadly serious subject of Iraq war...
  Maybe today I'll send a letter to my Senators and share this latest coping strategy offered by the Pentagon.  Murray and Cantwell can 'safely' stand with this ridiculous bit of wisdom not unlike they 'safely' stand with this administration's ridculous wisdom on war in Iraq.
Jan 13, 2006
USA Today;
Gregg  Zoroya, Military Family Panel,
Article; 'Pentagon to Families; Go Ahead and Laugh', in USA Today, Jan 12, 2006
    To be sure military families with deployed loved ones need some helpful support and laughter may help momentarily ease a tense situation; laughter medicine is the current hip training curriculum for large corporate entities.  We've had a few of these 'laughter trainings' offerings in my employment and yes indeed there is some value in offering a different way to cope at intense moments.
    And I'm also a military family with 2 Iraq veterans in our family, and included in this Military Family Panel at USA Today with Gregg Zoroya as the contact point.  Checking in with my daughter and her 3 children and her returning Iraq veteran husband, I asked if all those times of intensity, anquish, deathly worry, strife, and overwhelm could have been better handled by the penguin exercise, or the lion exercise or the clapping exercise.  What do you think their reaction was to that question?   Well it surely wasn't 'gee thanks for the helpful suggestion on how to cope with a deployment to Iraq'.  Is it being suggested we just laugh our way through his next deployment?  Why not suggest we fiddle while Rome burns, it worked for Nero?
    I'm waddling and doing the lion roar and clapping as I write this and laughing at how silly it all is, thanks USA Today and Gregg Zoroya, I feel better now.  I'm ready for that next deployment.  Oh, did I mention the latest casualties in Iraq (waddle); or Stop-Loss (roar); or IED's (clap clap)?
This article is as ridiculous as the exercises touted in it.
Lietta Ruger
Bay Center, Washington
military family with 2 Iraq veterans

I'm an Honest Critic Mr President!
By Lietta Ruger in Washblog
Wed Jan 11, 2006
Well so the Commander-in-Chief has made a public statement on how to conduct the debate on Iraq war.  excerpt quote... Americans know the difference "between honest critics" and those "who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people."
 Me, I'm a military family with 2 Iraq veterans who served an extended tour in Iraq. I was also raised a military brat.  I was young wife to a young husband, drafted and sent to Vietnam while I was pregnant with our first child.  I think I qualify as  an 'honest critic'.
 I've been pushing the public debate on Iraq war for almost 3 yrs.  Well it's definitely in the 'public' again (Cindy Sheehan movement put it back in the public dialogue).  That made for some amazing progress since the past 12 months there seemed to be little to no serious public dialogue on Iraq war.  Now that the distinquished Congressman Jack Murtha with his 30 yrs in Congress and his decorated military career as a Marine has weighed in, the public debate has moved into Congress.
 Looks like the heat is on and the President is hard at work trying to 'frame' what that is going to look like and who will be labelled an 'honest critic'.  Well I don't think it gets any more honest than Murtha...the man speaks my language.
 So for our elected officials, including our Washington Senators and Representatives, maybe now you can step up to the plate and become 'honest critics' of the Iraq war...speak Murtha's language or speak the  President's language as he once again uses the troops as a sheild to his own cowardice. 

Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour Notes
MFSO Pac NW meets with Murray, Smith and the Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee
(This one is long but no apologies offered for its length. What she had to say tonight has got me fighting mad and fired up! - Arthur)
Lietta Ruger: "walking the halls of Congress in shorts."
Thursday night, 11:30 PM ...
(Lietta)This was an extremely busy day. I got to see a lot of famous buildings I've only seen on TV and in movies ... The Supreme Court Building, the Library of Congress, the Senate office buildings, the Capitol Building ... just like the tourist I always felt I'd be when coming finally to Washington D.C. to see first hand the tangible monuments to our national heritage and democracy-in-action.
Only I wasn't a tourist today, but an activist lobbying for our core American values and what we baby boomers were taught growing up in a country proud of its heritage ... unafraid to practice what we we taught.
However, today, as we pursued our talks with those who we helped place in the positions as our representatives, we were not dressed as government business-people; formally, in 3-piece power suits, in skirts, blouses or dresses with earrings, eye-shadow and lipstick. We walked the halls of Congress in the heat of the day in the happy casual dress of tourists. How strange to deal with three-piece-suiters and power-fashioned women of authority.
Yes, I saw all those photogenic buildings, over and over, back and forth all day - walking through or by them - on our way to see one after another person we all hired with our ballots in some prior election. It was thrilling, moving and also embarrassing.
How many who read this have ever felt embarrased by the Senator or Congressperson chosen to be our voice in Washington? I met some today who embarrased their constituencies and others who honored them. More later, but first the highlight of the day.
This evening Bring Them Home now Tour members went with Elaine Johnson MFSO member) to participate in the Black Voices For America town hall meeting at Plymouth Congregational Church where Elaine was one of the primary speakers. Also in attendance were many officials and politicians and activist organizations - all powerful advocates.
The evening was spent in strong discussion and public discourse on the war in Iraq, rights and support of our troops, consequences of hurricane Katrina, racial injustice, justice for all, the roots of war and more. There were two different panels and the evening was both amazing and powerfully inspirational.
Adam Smith
Earlier today representing MFSO, we (Stacy Bannerman, Judy Linehan, Rose Gentle from MFSO U.K. and I) met with Congressman Adam Smith (D Washington). After a brief discussion about Congressman Smith's position on an upcoming vote regarding troop withdrawals/reductions we emphasized to him that withdrawals/reductions based on a future deadline were no longer as important as bringing the troops home now.
Again, we were able to emphasize how recent weeks had demonstrated the invalidity of the administration's oft-changed reasons for the war, any Bush-defined noble cause and justification for more loss of troops in a Republican mantra of "staying the course" despite the failure of Bush's foreign policy objectives and strategy.
Smith was respectful, polite and obviously interested in our discussion, showing no signs of impatience or a desire to keep the discussion limited, brief or redirected to other venues.
Smith: (paraphrasing) "You're not saying later, you're saying now?"
"Yes we are."
When we talked about the relationship between the troops, the commander-in-chief and the citizens responsibility to hold the CIC accountable to insure that lives are not placed in harm's way for invalid reasons or political agendas, Smith "got it," and told us "You are right!"
Patty Murray
Contrast that with our disappointing visit with Senator Patty Murray ( who, like Congressman Adam Smith, did not send an aide to meet with us but instead talked to us personally) who gave us only five minutes and declared that her position on the troops and the ware were "non-negotiable".
Senator Patty Murray, talking like an Bush insider, flatly declared that we needed to keep our troops in Iraq and stay the course until the mission was completed.
I felt that my Senator - like many prominent Democratic politicians - is too intimidated by the Republican majority to take any other stand ... possibly thinking that there is still a silent majority in her home state and the country that continues to drink the kool-aid Republicans have been offering now into a fifth year of political dominance.
As this is written, the most recent USAToday/CNN/Gallup poll indicates that 67% versus 32% of American citizens disapprove of what Bush is doing in Iraq.
That is not an insignificant number and evinces a silent majority that might have a thing or two to say to an intimidated elected Democratic minority.
Bill Thomas (R California), Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee
But the "stinkiest" moment of our day was when Kalisa Stanley and I (Lietta) accompanied Gold Star co-founder (with Cindy Sheehan) Bill Mitchell as he made another of several attempts to meet with his Congressman, Bill Thomas (R California) who was elected Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in 2001.
Bill Mitchell is a single parent who raised his only child - only to lose him in Iraq the same day Cindy Sheehan lost her son, Casey. Bill has attempted for over a year to have - even if only briefly - a meeting with Rep Thomas with absolutely no success. They've never once offered Bill an appointment with Rep Thomas.
Lietta and Kalisa Stanley volunteered to go with Bill in another attempt as a constituent to meet his congressman. They went in handicapped by not having an appointment. An aide to Thomas was called to the desk by the receptionist. The aide escorted the group out of the office to - as she put it - the "other meeting room."
Bill told us that this is what happens every time and he's been to the "other waiting room" before. It's not a waiting room, it's a place where we stand next to window to talk through the window.
(Lietta was not aware at the time that Thomas is Chairman of what the press has for years cliched as "The Powerful Ways and Means Committee") and asked a question that was even more pointed than she realized:
"Are you saying that Congressman Thomas has no place where you can sit down and talk to him?"
Aide's response: (again paraphrased) "His office is not equipped for visitors."
(Lietta)"How come Congressman Adam Smith has a meeting area and Rep Thomas doesn't? We've crossed several states to get here, we've meet with numerous congressional aides in those states and here in D.C. - all of whom met us in a room with tables and chairs where we could discuss ssues with them. But Rep Thomas (the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee) tells us to go stand by a window sill?"
Lietta's perception of the aide was that of a woman who was cold and showed absolutely no emotion and was distant when she told Bill, "I remember you from before. Didn't you talk to our scheduler?"
Bill:"Yes I have several times. But she never called me back."
Kalisa and Lietta: "We're here to support Bill Mitchell, your constituent. He's attempted to get an appointment with his elected representative 6 times in the last 12 months with no success. Both in California and here in D.C. - with no success. The 'scheduler' has never called him back. He wants to meet with his representative and for the sake of decency Representative Thomas owes it to this man; owes this grieving father acknowledgement, owes the loss of his only child an acknowledgement."
Lietta: "That is what we do in Washington and Oregon and we are treated respectfully by our congress persons. Bill and his son are Rep Thomas's constituents and deserve at least 15 minutes of his time."
The aide called the scheduler in: "No, the congressman isn't available. He's voting."
Lietta: "So you'll make an appointment for Bill?"
Aide: "Not at this time. But we'll tell the Congressman about our little chat."
Lietta: "This is not a 'little chat' - it's serious business."
At this point the scheduler seemed to grow uncomfortable, conciliatory and apologetic. The aide then said that as staffers, they will make this a "work in progress," to which Kalisa, Bill and Lietta responded:
"We will follow up and expect to see an appointed meeting between Bill and his Congressman take place as soon as possible."
Lietta was still fuming, calling the episode the "stinkiest" part of the day.
"This single parent and grieving father has been so dishonored and disrespected by his congressman who forces him to resort to a meeting with an aide at a window sill like a ticket buyer to a circus. We're going to help Bill compose a letter to be sent to the Congressman every week (the same letter) and to local news media in Bill's district until an appointment is set and a meeting is held. That's our project and we don't intend to drop the ball."
Bill Mitchell is a veteran, a quiet man, polite and respectful by nature, not brash and not overly agressive - all attributes we as Americans are supposed to cherish. And for this he has been politically snubbed and treated with a cold and brutal disregard by one of the stalwarts of the current Republican administration.
But since this shameful and embarrassing display of ignorant arrogance took place in the morning, all that followed today - capped by the wonderful meeting at Plymouth Congregational Church tonight - helped dilute the bad taste in our mouths from someone who has talked the tough fight but for whom the war and loss of life remains a political abstraction.
End of report.

Lietta on the Central Tour Bus in Pennsylvania
by husband, Arthur Ruger
Sunday 9/11/05 4:30 PM CAMP NEIL: Speak Out/Pot-Luck Picnic with Musical Perfomances at Flagstaff Hill (Schenely Park, Oakland)
The picnic was fun and MFSO founders Nancy Lessing and Charlie Richardson were speakers along with Cindy Sheehan.
7:00 PM Candlelight Vigil and MARCH: From Flagstaff Hill (Schenely Park, Oakland) to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial.

Following the pot-luck we marched to the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial. My thrill was that I got to carry one end of the IVAW banner. Again I have praise for IVAW member Hart Viges who has a powerfully expressive style in his presentation.
Our lodging turned out to be a convent which provided spacious comfort and a wonderful sense of repose and security.
Monday, September 12th
11:45 AM Truth in Recruiting Press Conference/Protest at Oakland Military Recruiting Station (3712 Forbes Ave., Oakland)
The recruiters shut the office and left.

We also went to the office of Senator Arlen Specter and met a Regional Rep/Office Director. Our usual discussion points and some active interest even though Specter (a Republican) was in D.C. chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee trying to get answers out of Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee, John Roberts.
Later in the afternoon we went to a studio for taping a CNBC with CNBC personality, Donnie Deutch in a Town Hall meeting about the Tour and Military Families speaking out. They put makeup on many of us but the principal speaker was our Beatriz Saldivar, MFSO.
However they also had the pro-Bush Prewitt family from Boise, Idaho whom Bush attempted to use as a c ounterpoint to Cindy. They gave much more time and emphasis to the Prewitts - who have five military members (the spouse and 4 adult children I believe) - and who have not suffered a family loss ... yet. We felt extremely slighted by this production, particularly when Beatriz's presentation was evoking emotional support in the audience and CNBC abruptly cut her off in mid-sentence after only about 3 minutes and spent most of the rest of the time doting on the Prewitts.
I understand that this taping will air this Wednesday (10:00 pm Eastern) on CNBC if it has not already.
7:30pm PUBLIC GATHERING to discuss Truth in Recruiting - Friends Meeting House (4836 Ellsworth Ave, Oakland)
This gathering also included a discussion of conscientious objectors. Regarding recruiting, I had a chance to share my perspective of the Emiliano Santiago and the Seattle trial where he was overruled by a judge and ordered to fulfill the terms of his contract and return to Iraq.
The Friends Meeting House is of course Quaker - hence a consideration of what it means to be a conscientious objector.
Nancy Lessing was one of the speakers tonight. The ultimate theme of the evening, in my (Lietta) opinion is that "soldiers are people too."
Tuesday, September 13th
12 noon PRESENTATION and Q&A with members of the Tour United Steelworkers of America headquarters (60 Blvd.of the Allies, Downtown)
The steelworkers passed a resolution today demanding that the president bring our troops home now.
Wed, Sep. 14th
We spent the day in Harrisburg meeting with elected officials ( Pennsylvania state officials and congressional representatives/staffs) discussing the issues raised by Camp Casey and the tour.
We ended the day in Harrisburg with a rally on the steps of the capitol building.
Thursday, September 15th Philadelphia
11:30 AM Discussion with the AFL-CIO at AFL-CIO Headquarters - 22 South 22nd Street.

Our contact for this meeting was the president of the AFSCME District 47. AFSCME is a member of the AFL-CIO and also the parent organization of the Washington (State) Federation of State Employees of which husband, Arthur Ruger, is a president of Local 970 in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties.
The AFL-CIO also passed a resolution today demanding that the president bring the troops home now.
Activity: Induction of "Camp Gold Star" to recognize all who have fallen - Independence Mall, 5th & Market Streets
Today we accomplished the induction of "Camp Gold Star" near the Liberty Bell at the Independence Mall, 5th and Market Streets.
There was some pain in the building of Camp Gold Star because the rules do not allow us to "poke holes in the ground" which for us is not the same as inserting the crosses so that they stand up.
Eventually we decided to be civilly disobedient and planted the crosses anyway. It's curious that we would have such resistance to honoring our beloved soldiers with crosses at what is famously known as the Birthplace of Liberty. Well ... the crosses remained.
We also - in reminder of the "Eyes Wide Open" campaign - placed empty boots with the crosses and in fact placed a cross in the boots. We then placed a set of empty boots among the others with the idea that the next owner of a set of boots here is yet to be determined. What can we do to help end it?
We who have never been to this city also took time toward the end of the day when the lines were shorter to see the Liberty Bell and again ponder our own history and heritage in the presence of something real and tangible that evokes feelings akin to when we see our flag or sing our anthem.
We met another mother who lost a soldier in Iraq a month ago. As she is tragically eligible to join Gold Star Mothers, we do not know if she will. But her agony is no so great as to overpower her wisdom.
We saw as she spoke with 4 young R.O.T.C. cadets who apparently knew her son, pleading with them to not take a similar path to risk a similar fate for such a discredited reason.
Later, a security guard, after finishing his shift, came by. He's a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq in his mid-to-late 30's. If we understood him correctly, he joined (or rejoined) the military after September 11th because he had a sense that if the military (including him) could "end it" before his 10-year-old son reached draft age. An extraordinary thing - yet so typical of what a parent instinctively feels for the children. We see it all the time, sacrificing one's self so the next generation has a chance.
The VFP have been wonderful in their participation, support and activities all day.
We we also excited late in the day to receive notice from Beatriz Saldivar that Daniel Torres' widow, Sophia, gave birth to a valiant soldier's daughter, a new niece for Beatriz and a living legacy of a heroic man.
They named her Daniela.

Bring Them Home Now Tour Bus, Central Route Notes

Hi Friends, I've been on the bus for 13 days now and first time I could get to a computer. Our Central Tour bus is in Philadelphia as I write this today. It looks like my dear husband, Arthur, has kept the blog going with updates I've been sharing with him.
The tour is Amazing!
How so? The response from the people in the towns where we stop and visit is what is making it amazing. People have turned out now in the hundreds to thousands in the cities where we have made stops on our Central Tour route. We've learned of busses being arranged to go to Washington DC for the Sept 24 rally in every town and city we have visited. People have been gracious, hospitable, filled with questions and eager for dialogue. I like to believe for every town we have visited, we have left people there even more committed to doing the 'hard work' to end this war, bring our troops home, and take care of them when they get home. You know what? I think it's going to happen!
As lovely as people have been to us, let me tell you, we've been kept busy with back to back events, forums, rallies, and visits to Congressional aides in every stop. One day in one town or city might have 3-4 to 5-6 activities already planned for that day. Our visits are being used expeditiously to maximize exposure in several venues simultaneously. I can feel the power of the people at every stop as our journey comes closer to it's destination of Washington DC. The grassroots level feels like a prairie fire of the people's will is sweeping through our nation.
I am proud of our Central Tour, our panel speakers have formed a cohesive and intuitive bond, and what we share in common with each other is the respect and dignity of our unique voices, strengths and talents as we bring forth the military community voice and message. Our organizations of Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace are reflected in the harmony our group has developed precisely because we do have such high regard for our troops.
And from where I'm sitting (on the bus going from town to town) it looks like so does America! Bring Em on Home America, let's get the job done and get it done right, bring our proud troops home...they've done their jobs, now let's make sure and do ours! Get on a bus and get to Washington DC on Sept 24, stand with us and in one thunderous voice all at the same time, Bring our Troops Home Now!
PS (whisper, whisper, some of us are working on a tour of the Western States; get ready, we may be coming to your town..)
regards to all who follow my blog;
Lietta Ruger,
of Camp Casey, Crawford, Texas
of the Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour, Central Route.
member Military Families Speak Out

Bring Them Home Now Tour: Central Route Notes
9/8/05 by husband, Arthur Ruger
Columbus Ohio: The day Steven Williams met the TOUR and joined MFSO
When we arrived, we got off a bus in Columbus for a press conference that didn't happen. But we did meet with our local sponsors and were joined by 2 local MFSO families with soldiers serving in Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, based in Columbus. This is the Lima Company that lost 23 soldiers in Iraq the first week in August.
The two families met with the mayor who also has a son in Lima Company. The mayor was warm and welcoming to the two families and the Tour group.
The group encountered a young African-American man (Lietta estimated his age as early 20's), Steven Williams, who's personal experience today was the predominant theme and perhaps underlines a most powerful effect of the Tour in helping citizens find their own voices.
Steven was passing by and stopped to ask questions, including, "I have a cousin serving in Iraq. Does that qualify me to join MFSO? The group inducted him into MFSO immediately and he stayed with them, accompanying them everywhere all day. To his surprise, he found himself very shortly with the group and the two families meeting the mayor of Columbus.
Next the tour group was to meet with aides to the two U.S. senators from Ohio, Republicans Mike DeWine and George Voinovich. Lietta not impressed with how the meetings went with the aides of both senators, but Steven Williams certainly was. He told the tour that he had tried to meet with these same aides previously without success. He expressed an astonished pleasure at having been able to be part of the group that met with them today.
Following the meeting was a debriefing with the press and - you guessed it - Steven Williams got to participate in that debriefing and speak to the press.
At one point during the day, I believe the group was to meet at something called the Huntington Plaza Building but instead went to the Huntington Bank Building and 13 persons got on the elevator which either stopped or did not move after the doors closed. After brief button pushing without results, several cell phones came out and calls were made to 911. Eventually building security got the door open and 13 anxious souls stampeded out of the elevator. Realizing they'd been in the wrong building, they headed to the door only to see 4 fire trucks and a brigade of fire fighters carrying fire axes for breaking down the elevator door charging up the stairs.
The group attended a huge potluck dinner at a Mennonite Church after which a panel of speakers made presentations and participated in discussions.
On the panel were the Tour group, one of the Ohio MFSO members, a mother of one of a marine in Lima Company due to return in a month. She spoke (she said for the first time publicly) and gave a wonderful speaking of her story for 15 minutes. Next?
You guessed it. Steven Williams who was now astonishing even himself. Celeste Zappala, MFSO/Gold Star Mothers was the concluding speaker and Lietta says the local supporters were inspired by all the talks.
Then came a powerful candlelight vigl followed. Lietta was then asked to interview with local Channel 4 and she insisted on including Steven Williams who took a significant part in the interview. Lietta and Tour Group partner Bill Mitchell (MFSO/Gold Star) more or less shepherded Steven Williams through the day. At the end of the day Steven Williams told them with awe in his voice,
"This morning I got up to go to the library, but then met these people, joined MFSO, then saw the mayor, the aides to two U.S. Senators, spoke to an audience of supporters at a Mennonite Church and then got interviewed by Channel 4 News!"
He was so excited he called his grandmother to tell her to watch the 11:00 News.
For Lietta it was an amazing day, especially in being able to see letting others - especially local supporters - have a chance to speak for the whole group. The Mennonites were great, the vigil powerful and Steven Williams the highlight.
Tomorrow the bus leaves for Cleveland.

Bring Them Home Now Tour: Central Route Notes
by husband, Arthur Ruger
She was pumped up tonight. "We just finished a super great rally tonight in Cincinnati." More on Cincinnati later.
Before leaving Indianapolis we met with aides to both Senator Evan Bayh (D) and Richard Lugar (R). The meeting with Bayh's aide was productive and we felt that he "got" our message. The aide was responsive, with questions the reflected engagement and interest.
At the end of the interview, Lietta gave him her card and told him, "I'd like the Senator to call me." She said the aide appeared somewhat astonished.
She also told me that meeting with these aides in the presence of locals (their constituencies) was very helpful as awareness of the audience was obvious in both interviews.
She was not impressed with the Lugar episode. In her opinion Senator Lugar sent what she perceived as "second-stringers" out to meet with them and they were totally focused on politics as usual.
She felt the aide who spoke the most was intent on stalling tactics, one of his earliest statements being clearly for the constituent audience as he dramatically and pointedly stated that the coffee they were being served was not paid for by tax-payer funds.
He also seemed to be deliberately taking up time, playing against the clock as he listened to each of the group one by one, interrupting to move back to ask a previous speaker a question repeatedly.
She laughed when she told me that - being short-tempered because of not having any coffee until that interview, that she let her passion turn to "impassion, I mean, impatience."
Again when leaving, she handed that aide a card and told him to "Ask the Senator to call me."
"You? You're not his constituent. Why would he call you?"
"Because I have something to say to him." was her reply.
Some of the group members including Lietta were then taken to a college class studying social movements and asked to make a presentation about the various organizations involved in the bus tour. That went well and the class teacher had used the Tour group as a kind of "show and tell" about social activist groups up close.
Then the bus ride to Cincinnati.
They were taken to dinner and a reception at St. George Catholic Center.
One of her highlights she said occured while she was in the parking lot preparing for the panel-discussion/reception about to occur. A young man came out in tears and wanted to speak with her. He had been inside studying the pictures the group had laid out and it had gotten to him. Lietta says she hugged him and told him "What we are doing is about you, your peers, your generation - people your age. You cannot inherit this war at your age."
During the panel discussion and Q&A that followed she made referenence to the incident without naming the young man. He later thanked her.
During the panel discussion she was asked by a young African-American about whether or not the group considered itself as including the impoverished communities - "poor people" - in their advocacy. "Are you reaching out to them (us)?"
At that point the audience applauded his courage.
Lietta spoke at length about the Tour as representing all Americans and touched again on the generational point she had made earlier. She also spoke at length with the questioner after the session.
Finally, "I'm in another host's house tonight and I'm going to take a shower. And tomorrow I'm going to find a store and by a 4-pack of Starbuck's Frappucino's. I'm not going to get caught again having to go so long without coffee!"
And then we talked about stuff that's none of your business before we said goodnight.

Bring Them Home Now Tour: Central Route Notes
09/06/05 by Arthur Ruger
Indianapolis, Indiana
She's tired folks. Her voice is worn out but she says it's a "good" tired.
Up early this morning to get to Bloomington, Indiana (home of the Indiana University Hoosiers) for a press conference around 11:00.
(I'm not sure when but Lietta says that she gave a brief TV interview as well as a radio interview today in addition to the planned events.)
The Bloomington Press Conference was a room full of reporters at a book store. The group sat as a panel and all answered questions that Lietta says were very good questions. The reporters, though friendly and not hostile, were definitely knowing their business.
The Tour then went to a park in Bloomington where Hart Viges, Tour member from Iraq Veterans Against the War, was the principle speaker sharing his thoughts and experience in Iraq. He's an impressive speaker with a very effective style that seems to connect with listeners.
At a second park with a "Free Speech Zone" members of the group spoke individually and answered questions.
Sometime during the day Lietta says she interviewed with a local DJ named "Amos ???? (she couldn't remember his last name) on a progressive African-American station.
In the evening in Indianapolis there was a candlelight vigil held, I believe, at something called the Quaker Friendship House. The vigil leaders read off the names of the 51 Indiana soldiers who have died and followed the reading of the names with a prayer. They then sang God Bless America and My Country Tis of Thee. The flag was there ... the candles ... the 51 crosses ... it was a tearful time (Lietta.)
A local Methodist Church nearbye allowed the group to place the crosses on a triangle of their property and the candle-bearers circled the crosses before placing the candles in and around them.
(Lietta) I cried during the TV interview that took place at that time involving Hart Viges and me.
We then began to clean up - tired and emotionally spent. I made an effort to try to personally thank as many of the families who came as possible. One African-American family in particular tapped into my feelings which were so close to the surface (and for those who know Lietta, I can count on less than ten fingers the number of times I've seen her cry). The mother was concerned about recruiters and I asked if they were contacting his son, age 17, who was standing right there. She nodded.
Her son told her "Mom, it's okay."
But it wasn't okay with Mom. I could see that. I said to that young man, "Please don't go."
It was obvious that the son's conflict with choosing whether or not to sign up was something the family had been discussing for a while. I told them, "It looks like you have the makings for a serious family discussion. I wish you well as you work toward your decision."
When I got back to the bus there were two young girls looking to be 4th or 5th graders - again African American. One asked me, "Were you [the one] on TV? I hope I wasn't on TV."
"We don't want any more young people to go [to this war]" I told them my emotions still very close to the surface.
She hugged me, saying, "I hope it will be okay."
Then the other girl asked if she could see the inside of the bus. So I led them inside where we sat and talked. They were wide-eyed and fascinated. Hart came in, saw them and immediately engaged them in talk as only he can. He is so authentic!
Their school had just raised $1000 to sent to hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast.
As they were leaving one of them turned and said "I feel like my life changed forever."
Not sure what prompted that but I told Todd, one of our directors, "We need to try to go to a school - and I'm taking Hart with me!"
I think that the highlight of this day may very well have been the encounter with those two children. Our time in Indianapolis and Bloomington has been good. Tomorrow we meet with aides to U.S. Senators Bayh and Lugar before leaving town at noon.
Next stop Cincinnati for Wednesday and Thursday.

Bring Them Home Now Tour: Central Route Notes
09/05/05  by Arthur Ruger
Terre Haute and Indianapolis Indiana
The Tour stopped at Terre Haute, IN, enroute to Indianapolis and met a group of 25 people and local press for what turned out to be mostly a press conference. At first, when they began answering an assortment of routine questions, it seemed VERY routine as if both the crowd and the press were merely going through the motions.
Beatrice Salvador and Lietta - when their turn came - took the microphone and began to engage members of the audience one by one, trying to speak in a more individual sense that eventually seemed to generate engaged responses. Per Lietta, that seemed to salvage what started out as a "going through the motions" mentality.
The Tour got a warm reception in Indianapolis (including home-cooked FOOD) and Lietta stayed again at another home of volunteer hosts ... "another couple, Arthur - older than us."
The volunteers, although mostly not directly connected to MFSO, belong to different groups sponsoring the events of the Tour while in Indianapolis. "They're activists and engaged. You can sure sense that!"
During the Indianapolis rally protestors began to gather across the street and after a while numbered about 50. They began singing God Bless America so we joined them from across the street and drivers could hear God Bless America in stereo as they passed by.
Responding to the protestors seemed to really spark the Tour members and certainly ignited our audience. You could sense a combination of relief and determination as we supported each other and openly dealt with protestors in a way that did not provoke ugliness. That crowd was pumped when we ended.
We held a "bus meeting" tonight and focused on clearing the air, reaching understandings and resolving misunderstandings. Both Beatrice and I, remembering what evolved as the days passed at Camp Casey and a kind of "presentation protocol" evolved, feel like we know what we want in terms of how we're most comfortable in delivering our message and engaging our audiences. In these intitial days of the Tour, our group seems to be working out what will become the presentation style and format.
There is no formal control or guidance regarding this. Rather, the personalities of the group members and their individual styles will more fully reveal the most effective style and presentation. I suppose this means that toward the end of the tour we'll all be more polished and cohesive.
Lietta felt that the "bus meeting" ended with a better sense of harmony, purpose and who functions best in specific roles, in dealing with specific issues and subjects.
Back in host's homes in Indianapolis tonight (Monday) because there's more to do here tomorrow.

Bring Them Home Now Tour: Central Route Notes 09/04/2005 by husband, Arthur Ruger

St Louis

I spoke with Lietta late last night at the end of her day. She was back in the home of a local attorney, Bill Quick and his wife Diane in St. Louis.

Her day began with Bill and Diane at a local Catholic church service during which Lietta was able to speak briefly and announce that the Veterans For Peace bus diverted to Louisiana to deliver supplies to Covington (La?). Afterward, they travelled to a vigil being held at a large beautiful "cathedral-looking" church in St. Louis that was - per Lietta - sparsely attended although a few folks walking by did stop with questions and opinions (mostly supportive).

One interesting thing at the vigil that she felt was a good idea was a reading of the names of the 28 Missourians who have died in the war and a formal proposal to the governor of a state-wide half mast of the flag whenever the state loses another soldier.

Following the vigil, they went to another location for a forum-type meeting in which the topic was "what can we do?" Lietta says that at first the activity commenced with folks who stood up and gave "shoring up" and encouragement type speeches. The way she described them caused me to envision almost a comiseration session in which there were rants, lamenting and encouragement.

Lietta was given a chance to speak and when she did, she explained that what she had heard so far was (in her sometimes blunt way) non-productive. (Echoes of what she told the Iraq war anniversary rally in Seattle earlier this year.) She asked the forum, "What could you do tomorrow that would change what is going on on the ground?"

After a moment or two of silence (shocked?) hands began raising. Useful suggestions for more tangible and immediate activities began to come forth - ideas, suggestions and "let's do it".  Based on how pleased she was with the shift in focus, it sounded to me like the forum then turned into a productive workshop - which is what we hope to see from the tour.

Moving off ideals to the tangible which hopefully will result more than just a flare or flash-in-the-pan ignited merely for support for the rally in D.C. on the 24th. Lietta also impressed with fellow MFSO/GoldStar member, Beatrice Salvador who is also on the Central bus and was in Crawford during the time Lietta was there.  Beatrice who is Hispanic and speaks powerfully from her cultural viewpoint, seems to have as her theme her own equivalent of staying the course and staying on-topic. We need to keep current and contemporary with what is going on in the country and linking current events, such as Katrina, with the purpose of the Tour.

There is a direct connection that has been publicized powerfully between Bush/Iraq and the consequences of Katrina and gives greater credence to not only the idea of bringin National Guard Troops home countrywide, but also the disaster of underfunded emergency preparedness because of diversion of funding to Iraq.

Beatrice seems to home in on this point in a powerful way. Lietta by now is on the RV (a large Winnegago but not the size of, for example, a chartered bus. The travel will be an exercise in crowded conditions with the current number of 6 travelers expected to increase to 9 or 10.

But, she says, it's still better than living in a ditch in Crawford and well worth the movement toward 9/24/05 when hopefully the voice in D.C. will be massive. All for now, I'm still working emails, the website, blogs and going after local media.

I'll be on the bus, central tour, as a member military family representing Military Families Speak Out.

MFSO website at

Military Families Speak Out is an organization of people who are opposed to war in Iraq and who have relatives or loved ones in the military. We were formed in November of 2002 and have contacts with military families throughout the United States, and in other countries around the world. Our membership currently includes over 2,400 military families, with new families joining daily.

As people with family members and loved ones in the military, we have both a special need and a unique role to play in speaking out against war in Iraq. It is our loved ones who are, or have been, or will be on the battlefront. It is our loved ones who are risking injury and death. It is our loved ones who are returning scarred from their experiences. It is our loved ones who will have to live with the injuries and deaths among innocent Iraqi civilians.

If you have family members or loved ones in the military and you are opposed to this war, JOIN us by sending an e-mail to

Bing Them Home Now Bus Tour website

See map of tour stops

See full tour schedule list of tour stops, dates, cities and states

See how you can help
host a tour

See what you can do in your community as local events

Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour being sponsored by Military Families Speak Out,
Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace.

Bring Them Home Now Tour


Home now from a week at Crawford, left Crawford, Monday, August 15. One of the photos of me with Cindy Sheehan. Lietta Ruger, MFSO, to the left and Juan Torres, GSFP, to the right, Cindy in the middle. The day I left, was the same night a midnight caller mowed down the crosses alongside the ditch.

Click here to see pictures and comments on the Crawford, Texas event.

Operation: Noble Cause
There is nothing on this earth more moving than seeing a group of military families standing together in solidarity. When they speak, it is doubly so. .
Today's press conference under the blazing sun (yes, still complaining about the sun) was devoted to all of the Gold Star Families for Peace and members of Military Families Speak Out that had come to join Cindy in her stand against the war.
Mimi Evans, whose son is deploying to Iraq within days, opened the conference saying, "Mr. President, we are here outside your ranch, and we are staying here. We Gold Star Families, MFSO and Iraq vets will remain encamped here until you meet with us-- because we ALL deserve answers."
Representatives from the other families as well as the Iraq vets added their messages to the President.
You know what Bush should really hear, though? He should have to sit down with these families, like so many of us here at Camp Casey have done, and hear their stories about the loss of their children, or the awful anxiety of having them over in Iraq.
He should have to spend a half an hour with Beatrice Torres, the aunt of Daniel Torres who was killed in Iraq this year, and listen to her read his Daniel's letter to his fiance, written 4 hours before he was killed by a roadside bomb. He should have to hear Beatrice sob as she recounts having to tell Daniel's fiance, already several weeks pregnant with their child, that the love of her life had been killed.
In fact, Beatrice's story is so moving that I recorded it so others could listen-- I hope to have the audio file up soon. see at

"Bush, Talk to Cindy!" - Seattle overpass support Tuesday
Getting the word out in Seattle on Day 3 with great response!
Tuesday August 9, 2005 see more photos at
MVP, Seattle

I'm proud of my home state, Washington.
Seattle was on board and already bannering, along with sidewalk vigils for Cindy by the third day of Camp Casey, in Crawford, Texas.
Here is photo of one of the freeway banners. While I was at Crawford, camping in a tent in a ditch at Camp Casey, for the week I was there, I was pleased to be able to report that Washington state was already showing support for Cindy.
I'm proud of you all, and you know who you are...thank you for helping me to take the flavor of Washington's support for Cindy with me to Crawford, Texas.

New York Daily News 08/17/2005

Looks like Pentagon's walk tramples truth


 It has been established with painful clarity that the 9/11 terror attacks had zip to do with Iraq.

So why is the Pentagon planning a 9/11 memorial march that is also a salute to our troops in Iraq?

For the same reason President Bush always mentions 9/11 when he's justifying this war: Conflation, conflation, conflation.

The so-called Freedom Walk that will take place in D.C. on Sept. 11 has a jumble of patriotic raisons d'etre. According to its official Web site, the walk from the Pentagon to the Mall, is to "recognize what happened that day, to reflect on that and to commemorate our victims, their families and our American service men and women, both past and present."

Got all that?

Lietta Ruger does. She's one of the moms in Crawford, Tex., demanding an audience with Bush.

"Obviously somebody is trying to capitalize on 9/11 yet again," says Ruger, whose son-in-law and nephew are serving in Iraq.

"As far as we can tell, Iraq and 9/11 do not go together. We realize we may not know who did those acts, but we do know it was not Iraq. 9/11 has been capitalized on long enough. It is an empty message."

Lietta in Crawford helping out with Cindy
Written by husband, Arthur Ruger.
She left the PDX airport around 11:00 and went to bed at 2:00 a.m. She arrived in Dallas at 5:30 a.m. (CST) and promptly called me to say she'd arrived safely -forgetting that it was only 3:30 P.M. in West Coast and I'd been asleep only 90 minutes.
She got to Crawford around 9:00 and was immediately put to work mostly taking media calls. She says anyone there is definitely "second fiddle" for the media who all want exclusive interviews and/or time with Cindy.
They're all frustrated but content even if they can't talk directly to Cindy to get updates from the different "surrogates" returning calls, answering messages, etc. on Cindy's behalf.
Although intellectually aware of the primitive or rural environment she had entered, she was somewhat surprised when given a child's pup-tent for sleeping. Later today, with the arrival of more supporters including a larger contingent of MFSO members, she found herself the beneficiary of a larger group tent which made it more tolerable.
Apparently no or limited facilities for personal needs and she did not even mention a port-a-potty which, based on her description of what the attitude of owners of the private property might be, would be something perhaps to which they would object.
She also says that the only real face to face action is on-going dialogue with the county law enforcers and discussions about tires totally off the highway, arrest and jail time if the trespass laws are violated and the firm but respectful manner of the sheriff and his deputies.
The Secret Service presence is never forgotten but that they are only seen when cars with tinted windows drive by. "You can tell who the S.S. guys are since their cars are the only ones with tinted windows.
Tomorrow looks to be absolutely major media exposure time in terms of interviews and meetings with press. Also confirmed the rumor of a midnight rousting(which might be happening even as I type this.)
Cindy is holding up very well and seems to be such an incredible magnet amont the group which, did not seem to number more than a maximum of 100 bodies (half of which were media folk) throughout the day. They are for the most part functioning on news items passed to them from sources like us via cell phone and wireless gadgets.
She did ask me to keep the TV on news channels and pass on any pertinent news we saw.
I was interested that she had no idea about the current "Bonnie and Clyde" drama that temporarily upstaged most of the other news. I got quite frustrated with two TV's playing (one on MSNBC and the other on CNN) and absolutely tired of how they were picking the Bonny and Clyde storie to detailed pieces.
... Almost as if you could tell they'd rather stay on that story than venture out to where they might have to do a direct or related piece on Cindy. Anyway, one of our own is on location and despite the shock and awe of primitive rural Texas, believes she had been given a wonderful opportunity and that she is having an adventure. I'll talk with her again in the morning.

100 a month, US Soldiers killed in Iraq
Just my own simple math here, since I keep this blog updated with number of US troops killed in Iraq.

From Mother's Day to Father's Day (May to June 2005) I had to change the number up by 100.

From June to July, I had to change the number up by 90.

That is just the most recent 2 month period.

Approaching 1,800 US troops killed in Iraq, within matter of days now. At this rate, another one hundred killed by August 2005, another one hundred killed by September 2005, so by Sept will have reached another benchmark figure of 2,000 US troops killed in Iraq.

Of course, that doesn't reflect all the coalition troops killed in Iraq, and now that the Iraq army in training is part of the 'coalition' (it is, isn't it?)..... Seemingly, counting killed families of insurgents, terrorists, suicide bombers are irrelevant (those children, old women, mothers who just happen to be in the way must be categorized with some kind of demonizing label, innocent wouldn't do). Wanted to make a brief note in the blog.

It is noteable;


and Away for next 10 days
Just to leave a bookmark here that I'm away for next 10 days or so, and if no new entries in the blog, it does not mean blog has gone inactive.

It's noteable to note that a movement is growing regarding deceptive recruitment practices and in some ways I am hopeful as this engenders a different segment of the population who will have a diffferent focus and entry point into a position on the war in Iraq.

It's noteable that mainstream news is beginning to report again on aspects of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. While it's not 'new' news to me and in some instances months and months outdated news (to me), it's heartening to see msm take an interest again, for whatever that is worth.

It's noteable that activity is heating up again in Afghanistan, and I'm seeing more deaths of our troops being reported in Afghanistan. I get the daily updates of reported casualties via the subscription to DOD newsletters.

It's noteable that it appears the situation in Iraq is at a place of their own internal civil war now, with our troops being pretty much caught up in an undefined role; one that is still costing them their lives.

It's noteable that the potential for crisis with the threat of an unwarranted airplane in the airspace of the Capitol caused notification to all of our political people to evacuate the buildings with the exception of one rather significant or insignificant person, our President, George Bush. You be the judge, as he didn't get the notification while he was on his bicycle jaunt, and we are told was not aware or made aware of the 'potential' of threat. This followed on the heels of the unexploded grenade left in close-by vicinity to where he was speaking in Georgia, Russia.
Neither he nor his Secret Police (why do they call it Secret Police, it's not a secret?) seemed to be aware of the 'threat'. But then we hear it from the msm as news, who knows anymore the accuracy of what gets reported. One thing is for sure, whatever does get reported is an agenda for someone guided to 'guide' our reactions and responses.

It is noteable that there is now a pattern of the weekly 'flap' or 'crisis' reported in the news, we can count on a new weekly 'crisis' now as part of normalcy. The trouble is, that what is reported is either manufactured news; approved for release news; the accepted 'spin' on old news or new news; whatever............... for our troops, normalcy continues to be daily combat, daily casualties, daily losses. You'd think that after this long with no clear improved circumstances, the troops might come to believe our country has abandoned them.

It is noteable that of a sudden there is news of devaluing the sacred Koran; like that was already an ogoing practice in our country's 'vigorous interrogation' policies. My, my but Administration was offended and demanded an apology and retraction from Newsweek, who reported on it. This from a country that elevates it's own counterpart of the holy book, the Bible as sacred political policy now, provided one interprets Biblical scripture in accordance with official policy. Why, we even have political firefights over iconoclasts symbology in our public buildings. Meanwhile, the squandering of sacred life goes on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So it's One, Two, Three, Four, what are we fighting for, next stop is ...............

And in the noteable words of the now California Governor, Schwatzernegger, 'I'll be back' .

And I know when I get back to this blog, I'll still be recording on the continued dying of our troops along with civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Happy Days, America, grab your hula hoops, tend to your manicured lawns, watch that nest-egg, pinch in the belt as we watch a way of life dissolve in the good governing policies this administration has fostered and nurtured in some far-reaching wisdom few can yet see, understand, comprehend or grasp. Change is definitely on the march and history is being made. As long as it's happening over there and not here, we are that much safer, isn't that the jingoism of our patriotic endeavors these days?

Hey Moms and Dads, Hey Young Adults, it's getting time to support the troops with your own loved ones cause well, our country has done an outstanding job of pushing our military to the breaking point. Get on board and help the troops. If that's not attractive to you, then get on board and get our troops home and put an end to this fiasco.


The secret Downing Street memo

If as early as July 2002, both Bush and Blair knew they were taking their countries to war in Iraq, knew they would be sending in troops, why then by March 2003 (8 months later) was neither prepared to equip the troops they knew they would send into Iraq?

If there was lead up time to prepare the plans to go to war and induce fear into a susceptible congress/parlaiment and citizenry, there was time then to adequately prepare for the needs of troops being sent into combat.

Even if an optimistic case scenario of shock and awe and a quick finish was an expectation of these 'planners and leaders', now 2 + years later it's abundantly apparant this will be a long drawn out IraqNam and IranNam next?

And if PNAC had years to prepare their blueprint, why didn't that blueprint include the needs of troops in combat? How disposable are our troops?

excerpts from
Common Dreams article and the Downing Street memo

 Learned yesterday that my sil's unit was briefed on their redeployment to Iraq (2nd for him) and were told that Rumsfeld to be visiting their unit (Germany). I am not sure when he will visit nor how many unit(s) will be included to hear Rumsfeld's encouraging support message. Unit was given this admonishment however;

'Do not ask Rumsfeld about uparmored humvees on threat of an Article 15'

Why not? It's public knowledge there are production problems with getting the troops the uparmored humvees; it's public knowledge the question was already asked of Rumsfeld months ago by a soldier in the field; it's public knowledge the President responded that we need to do all we can to get the troops the protection they need; it's public knowledge that production of uparmored humvees is being done by only 1 company; it's public knowledge that production has not improved since that question was put to Rumsfeld.

Since my sil (and all of his unit + the other units of 1st Armored) has orders to redeploy to Iraq and is Stop Lossed, and situation in Iraq is worsening, what more logical question could they ask than what kind of equipment they will have during combat?

The Seattle Times Thousands rally to protest Iraq war

March 19, 2005; 2nd anniversary of war in Iraq with upwards of 750 rallys and protests held across the world...or so that is what is reported. For our local area, Seattle, the article below reports on the rally held at Seattle Center. And yes, that is us being referred to in the interview. We were invited to be guest speakers representing Military Families Speak Out, Pacific Northwest.

We got a last minute call on Thursday evening and had one day to pull together our resources and prepare for our presentation. There was some confusion about the amount of time we were alloted to speak, it went from 10 minutes to 5 minutes to 8 minutes total for the both of us combined. We carved down our pepared speeches to meet the time alloted, yet even that was was shortened to about 6 minutes total as prior speakers ran over their allotted time... considerably.

We were scheduled to speak at 1:15pm and as other speeches ran long we didn't actually speak until 2:30pm. By then the feeder marchers from a variety of other meetings and rallys had arrived at the Seattle Center for the convergence of one large march and were justifiably impatient to get started. I didn't get to deliver my brief prepared speech with 3 items I wanted to call to attention, but I was able to make mention of 2 of the items and particularly to call attention to the Resolutions already presented to both Oregon Governor Kulongoski and Washington Governor Gregoire to call home the National Guard for their respective states.

As my last statement I got to mention that copies of the Resolution for Washington Governor Gregoire were available at our table (Military Families Speak Out) to take and freely distribute. I asked that people sign and put address on the Resolution and mail in to Governor Gregoire's office.

Despite the delay in the planned tight time schedule and the eagerness of folks to get the march started, the lines formed immediately to obtain copy of the Resolution. This intrigued me because it seemed to demonstrate that people Want to take action steps beyond rallying to protest when actions are made available to take and I will be most curious to see where the Resolution goes.

We are grateful to some significant people among the event organizers who made this opportunity possible for us to share our personal message on behalf of our deployed loved ones and on behalf of the troops. We are particularly grateful to Mike of the
Major Visibility Project, Seattle, who shepherded the representation and visibility of our MFSO organization amongst the many groups represented at the rally. With the help of many Friends our last minute invitation which left us inadequately prepared gave us what amounted to an opportunity to not only share our voices, but more importantly to give yet another avenue for many to act to make their voices heard.

Here is the
Seattle Times news article reporting on the Cost of War, Bring the Troops Home Now rally at Seattle Center, March 19, 2005.


Vermont, Montana, Oregon and now Washington; Resolution to Governor Recall National Guard troops

Vermont, Montana, Oregon and now Washington; Resolution to Governor Recall National Guard troops

This might be a good time to lend support to what is going on in Recall the National Guard troops initiatives in now 4 states; Vermont, Montana, Oregon, Washington.

This week I accompanied a small delegation to our State Capital to present the Washington state Resolution to the Governor's office. The delegation represented Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families for Peace along with some other partnering groups.

For more detail on both the Washington Resolution and the Oregon Resolution, visit website
Military Families Speak Out, Pacific Northwest

Two articles in our Washington local media have carried the story of our meeting with Executive Policy Advisor, Antonio Ginatta of the Governor's Executive Policy Office.

Fort Lewis soldier's family urges Gregoire to oppose deployment

Families want Guard excused from Iraq

Too much to say, but of particular relevance is that the two young ladies (20 something) who were part of our delegation were beyond impressive and were the vital heart of our delegation's presentation. It was inspiring to see ones so young carry themselves with such dignity and composure in this important meeting in the political venue. More so in that they have suffered the loss of their own beloved in Iraq.

Request: if you are from Oregon or Washington, there is download copy of the Resolution for both states at our website. We invite you to download a copy, sign it and add your address and mail it to the respective Governors (Oregon = Kulongoski; Washington = Gregoire).
see Resolution Oregon and Resolution Washington at

Military Families Speak Out, Pacific Northwest

Bush policy in Iraq...


never ending war, recycling the same troops over and over and over again. Wondering when those who voted Bush this time will be signing up or sending their kids to do their patriotic part in Iraq. Not really, I want no more carnage of humans in Iraq....but will never, ever understand how people could Vote For War, Killing, Maiming and Death for our young Posted by Hello

Review, 15 months later.
Last night we took our Iraq veteran son-in-law to the airport and put him on a plane back to his base in Germany. His wife (my daughter) and their 3 children will be themselves soon getting on plane to join him at his base in Germany once they have cleared through the passport processing.
My connection with MFSO has put me in contact with Newshour with Jim Lehrer and it looks like the Seattle production will be including some of my thoughts in a piece they will be doing on Newshour in the near future.
I'm a little nervous (okay I'm a ton nervous), and I am also calmly prepared to share the message a bit more widely than our immediate community.
What is the message, though, I keep asking is so large and complex, what can I do and say in a 30 second spot that will have the impact I would want the message to have? Needless to say, I'm reviewing in my mind 15 months worth of thoughts, reflections, contemplations and my efforts at study and reasearch and it just seems Huge!
Well essentially, they will be doing the filming, interviewing and they will be deciding what the piece will look like and what gets left on the cutting room floor. So wisely, I will let it be what it will be and trust the process, for I really don't have much control except the feelings of my heart, the experience of our family these last 15 months.
I really, really wish I had known about blogging much earlier than this, it would have served well to have had a journal to refer back to that had recorded thoughts and awarenesses as they emerged over these many months.
One of the ideas suggested to me by the contact person from Newshour is to film me in my church giving a sermon, as my sermons have taken on a quality that references the devastation on families as a result of the Iraq war and the President's decisions.
Coordinating that now with my own local church, and we are a tiny, small-town Episcopal church in a rural community, quietly going about our worship services and for the most part what remains of a dwindling congregation, the remaining elderly who have kept this church building and presence alive through these many decades.
It is not at all our usual experience to have a national tv news show come to our church to film. So, we'll see, not sure this will actually materialize and if not, that is okay too. Already a part of my message is in the hands of the producer and of interest.
So my thoughts now are in a kind of review mode, and while there is indeed some relief that the soldiers in our family deployed, for now, are alive and safe, this is a good time to reflect on the last 15 months and bring some closure to our own family experiences.
But it is not, for me, the time to relax the vigil...there is more to be done as long as their are still soldiers (and civilians) dying and being maimed daily in Iraq. In fact, just today, have seen an article that points to one of my own fears..that of effects of Depleted Uranium on people exposed.
I will post the article [on my blog:Dying to Preserve the Lies], as there appears to be evidence that the effects on soldiers in the 2003 Iraq invasion are manifesting themselves as malignancies in 40 % of soldiers in one unit alone in a short 16 months.
Sigh...sigh, I think I'll post my first sermon too, since it is exactly DU that raised my alarm enough to compel me to speak seems a human issue to me, a-political and certainly not something that could be construed as partisan. An issue military families will hold in common beyond who should be President or Commander-in-Chief and beyond the constraints of definitions about what constitutes a patriotic show of loyalty in supporting the troops.
Make no mistake, my support of and for the soldiers is unwavering, they are the ones mustering up the courage to prevail at the risk to their own selves, lives and future livlihoods.
However, I do also believe as civilians we have a responsibility to our soldiers to be looking after their well being by our own actions at home, not strictly how we vote in upcoming elections or our political differences, but the fact of issues that directly affect and impact our soldiers now and when they come home.

Why This Blog

Why this blog, because once again, my own fervor is renewed having discovered that actual Iraq veterans from this war in Iraq have built a new organization and website.

Iraq Veterans Against the War

When the soldiers who have courageously been there and then further have the courage to Speak Out, then I as civilian with a civilian responsibility on the homefront must continue to Speak Out as I have been doing.

I am proudly a member of Military Families Speak Out

Military Families Speak Out

and I believe as a civilian with a civic duty to speak on behalf of soldiers who aren't permitted a public voice, that I and other civilians in this country have an obligation, a civic duty, if you will, to speak on behalf of the soldiers serving on warfront in Iraq and Afghanistan and any other future country our President decides to wage war against.

Leisure time, I paint among other things;
Winter Cabin, oil painting by Lietta Ruger

See more of Lietta's paintings at  Lietta's painting gallery