My name is Adele Kubein; I am a member of Military Families
Speak Out, and the mother of a twenty-six year old veteran of the Iraq War.
Adele is recipient of many grants and scholarships for her excellent work for peace and social
reform at both local and international levels
Member: The Oregon Academy of Science
Section Chair: Political Science, Oregon State University
Matters of Conscience
name is Adele Kubein, I am a spokesperson for Military Families Speak Out, a landscaper, the mother of an injured soldier,
and a student.
As a teenager during the Vietnam War I became convinced peace and diplomacy were the most effective
way to improve international relations. I marched and protested, and I began to develop the ethics which guide me today.
After that war I mistakenly thought America had learned a lasting lesson.
the last twenty-eight years I have tended people’s gardens for my living. Through my customers I have gained an increased
understanding of the consequences of war, and through my daughter I have personally been affected by war. This knowledge has
propelled me back into peace activism as the major focus of my life.
have a favorite customer; she is a tiny, fiery, Japanese woman. She was a girl when Hiroshima was bombed. Her family, starving
to death, had to eat fallout covered weeds by the roadside, to survive the war-induced famine. I have watched Michiko fight
for life, affected by cancer caused by radiation, for many years now. We share many things: the love of gardening, the love
of our children, and our desire for war to end forever.
customers tell me their stories of loved ones lost or injured in WWII, and of what life was like then. I remember the scars
borne by friends who returned from Vietnam alive, and the friends who did not return at all. I now carry with me the knowledge
of more than one war, and the pain of my only child, my daughter, sent to fight a war under false pretenses.
I see photos of weeping Iraqi families, of parents holding bloodied children, I hear their stories in my daughter’s
voice. I think of the letters sent home over a span of ten months and of how I wept with her, unable to hold her in my arms,
unable to make things any better for her.
are naturally fearful; we worry about our children’s safety, we teach them to be good, and we protect them from evil.
But most of all, we worry that they may do something that they can never erase, something that will change their lives forever
in ways that will always cause them pain.
I raised my daughter to love all life, to be generous and to respect
all people. She saw the Iraqis as people like herself; she could not reconcile that with the things she saw and did in Iraq,
and that knowledge threatens to tear her apart. In the fall of 2003, when she called me sobbing and told me she would never
be able to be normal again, never be able to come home because of the things she saw and did in Iraq, I knew she had lost
her humanity for a time.
wept with her. I knew that there was no going back on the effects of her decision to serve her state. She would bear the burden
for the rest of her life.
My daughter enlisted in the National Guard eight years ago to serve the people of Oregon,
to build roads and fight fires. She had a contract that said she would never be in a combat situation. How could she know
that she would be manning a fifty-caliber machine gun on a humvee? How could she know that terror and circumstance would conspire
to cause her to take life? As young people do, she trusted the leaders around her to make the right judgment. She trusted
the administration to send her to fight for a just cause.
Her unit was told they would be welcomed as liberators,
to bring peace, prosperity and freedom to Iraq. Instead our troops have endured fear, maiming and death. They did not choose
to be instruments of destruction, yet found themselves caught up in an ever-escalating cycle of violence.
is an excerpt from a letter she sent me in April of 2003:
“Dear Mom, I have angry moments, frustration, all those things I had before, but I also have found something
else. I cannot describe the joy I have in living. Even the bad moments, I find something of beauty around me. I hold to this
with all my power. I may not be able to change the situations I face, or the world here, but I can hold true to the things
which make me myself. I will change, I will come home different. But I will not let go of this joy in life. I will not let
go of the ability to find beauty in squalor. I can’t explain the faith that surges through me, but I know that I will
return whole. I will not let this tear me apart.”
promise to my daughter and to all of you is that I will do my utmost to keep other young people from being torn apart. We
cannot condone destroying a nation in the mistaken belief that violence can bring peace. The women of Iraq once walked the
streets safely with their children, and people had jobs and security, water and power. Now families are torn, cities are in
rubble, and places spoken of even in the Old Testament are once again covered in blood.
is not progress, and the American occupation of Iraq is drawing even more death and destruction upon innocent people.
cannot condone over 1500 dead American soldiers, and the thousands who have suffered life altering wounds, brain damage, mutilation,
blindness and missing limbs. The human price the United States has paid is not only in our own casualties, but increased by
the number of Iraqi dead, maimed, and homeless.
daughter is one of the injured. She will never again run, or walk without a brace. Some of the things we did together we will
never be able to do again, yet I am one of the fortunate ones; I have my child back alive, I can once again hold her and hear
The lasting legacy of this war besides bankruptcy, the division of our nation, and the disapproval
of the rest of the world, will be in the eyes, souls and hearts of the veterans. My daughter once said that the war is real,
not just on TV, not a video game.
struggles to control the anger and guilt within her. She said that the real costs are to the children and the families of
the veterans, to the wives and husbands who struggle to keep families together through fear and impoverishment, to the co-workers
who wonder what happened to their friends who return changed, to the children of divorce and anger.
is this legacy for America and for the Iraqi people. Many generations will bear the debt and the scars of being lied to by
the people we are supposed to trust. We must not allow this to happen again. We became complacent when Vietnam was over. We
must now keep up the pressure; show that not all of us want war.
cannot squander our spiritual well-being, our nation’s resources and human lives. We cannot judge the value of those
lives; each is a gift to be respected. Together we are strong. We have the power to change things with every dime we
spend, and every word we speak. What legacy will America leave in the eyes of the world and the hearts of our children? How
will we be judged? Will we be remembered as the people who did not raise our voices to stop this crime? It is up to us to
decide. Our loved ones depend on us to act morally, the world depends on us to lead the way, let us lead well.
by Adele Kubein for Matters of Conscience and War: A Public Forum on the second anniversary of the United State’s attack
on Iraq. March 19, 2005. First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Street Portland, Oregon.
This speech may be used with full attribution by Military Families Speak Out and other peace organizations. AK
“you can check out but you can never leave”.
My name is Adele Kubein, I am a spokesperson
for Military Families Speak Out, and the mother of a Guard member injured in Iraq. I am here as a representative of families
who have been affected by the Military Stop Loss Order.
In the early 80s the Eagles sang “Hotel
California”, the refrain said: “you can check out but you can never leave”. Well, that is what life is like
for over 40,000 soldiers, over 16,000 of whom are Guard or Reserve, whose civilian lives and retirement plans have been curtailed
by the army stop loss policy. We think of forced conscription as something that happens in Africa, not here in the land of
the free. Yet, in order to avoid the negative perceptions a draft would arouse, thousands of soldiers, including citizen
soldiers in the Guard and Reserves are denied justice by forced retention in the armed forces.
These are soldiers who enlisted to serve
us; Guard members who enlisted to help the states cope with emergencies and to protect the nation in times of need, Reservists
who sometimes are Vietnam Vets, mothers, fathers, and even grandparents. Back door draft is a term that is bandied about,
yet has real implications. Unlike a draft which is in the public eye; and to which rich and poor alike are subject to, or
should be, the stop loss orders are an underhanded way to hide the true costs of war from the American public while hurting
the future security of our nation.
Stop loss is an indefinite and undetermined
deployment, regardless of retirement status, civilian obligations, or original contract. Stop loss is also a drain on the
state’s resources. Our National Guard units are deployed for up to 18 months at a time, along with their equipment.
The state is left unprotected in the event of disaster, and state coffers bear the brunt of these deployments. In what is
shaping up to possibly be one of the worst fire years in recent history, the western states are unprotected, our guard units
are in Iraq along with our helicopters and all pilots who could pilot the one or two helicopters left behind.
Further impacting the state is the 40%
reduction in Guard enlistment rates. This will hurt for years to come. One of the reasons for this reduction is that people
want to know what they are getting into. If they have a contract, as my daughter did, that states they will not be in combat,
if they have a retirement date, they want to know they can count on that contract being fulfilled. They are committing to
help the people of this nation; they deserve to have an equal commitment on the part of our administration to fulfill its
contract in return.
Stop loss impacts the families of the
guard and reserve members disproportionately. To soldiers with their own businesses stop loss can mean disaster. They must
find a way to cover their overhead and retain their customer base. When small businesses go under it hurts our economy. People
who made a living wage in civilian jobs are now gone for 18 months, leaving families to sometimes survive on a small portion
of their former income. It is shameful to have military families living on food stamps, fighting for what this nation should
Most painful are the dashed expectations
of families who expected their loved ones to be home, only to be told that their deployments are extended, sometimes for many
months. Exhausted troops, ready to come home to their struggling families sometimes find out at the last minute that they
will not be leaving after all.
Children try to understand why their mothers
and fathers won’t be back when they said they would. Some Guard and reserve troops may end up serving two years over
their original contracts. Unlike regular army soldiers, citizen soldiers never planned for long deployments, the stress has
rent families asunder. People who had never prepared themselves to be in combat try to return home to civilian lives bearing
the mental and physical scars of combat.
The administration makes no move to aid
the states in the treatment of the physical and psychological injuries, adding a further burden on states already reeling
from budget cuts. The treatment of those who only wanted to help by giving of their time to the National Guard and Reserves
Breach of contract is a crime in the civilian world, but acceptable on the part of the administration to
cover up its criminal invasion and destruction of a nation that posed no threat to us.
Voluntary service should be just that:
voluntary. We cannot allow underhanded tactics, and misrepresentation of motives to undermine our true national security.
Please write letters;
call your representatives, make your voices heard, don’t allow the wool to be pulled over the eyes of the public.
Let’s call a war a war, a draft a draft, and call for accountability on the part of the administration. Accountability:
our nation was founded on it. And help those families, they need your support, they are giving the dearest gift, their own
loved ones, pledged to protect us. Don’t allow that gift to be misused.
For teach in and peace march
event “Saying No to War and Occupation”, Portland, Oregon, March 19, 2005. This event is co-sponsored by Peace
and Justice Works, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, PSU Students United for Nonviolence, and Portland Campus Christian
Ministry, and others. Endorsed by war Resisters League, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and others.
Location: Portland State
University Campus Ministry. 633 SW Montgomery, Portland Oregon.
This speech may
be used by Military Families Speak Out and other peace-oriented organizations, as long as attribution is made as to authorship
and location of speech. AK
Speech for the June 13th Week-long Walk
for Truth, Justice and Community, Governor's office, Salem, Oregon
My name is Adele Kubein; I am a member
of Military Families Speak Out, and the mother of a twenty-six year old veteran of the Iraq War. My daughter served in Mosul
for ten months and was injured and medevac'd out of Iraq in January of 2004.
The window of opportunity for our troops
to bring peace to Iraq slammed shut shortly after the invasion. The criminal lack of planning on the part of this administration,
immediately and cruelly resulted in chaos, disorder and death for the citizens of Iraq, who had never asked to be bombed and
invaded, and posed no threat to America. Recent events such as the Downing Street Memo prove the administration's intent to
deceive the American people.
Our political system is based on accountability. Elected officials are held accountable
by the people who place them in office. In order to exercise our right of accountability, it is imperative that we inform
ourselves from a broad spectrum of sources. As the electorate we must learn our rights and insist that our officials answer
The terrible costs of war are seemingly unending. National Guard and reserve troops who never chose to be instruments
of destruction, went to Iraq as my daughter did, with the implanted belief that they would be welcomed as liberators, to bring
freedom, peace and prosperity to Iraq. Personally I have seen the effects of this lie as my daughter struggles to control
her anger, fear and depression. As she learns to live with disability.
Instead the troops have endured fear, maiming
and death. Evidence of the failure of the administration’s plans are the several hundred soldiers who have suffered
life altering wounds, brain damage, mutilation, blindness and missing limbs. Over fifteen thousand medically evacuated soldiers,
and almost 1700 dead loved ones are the human price we have paid. The people of Iraq, particularly the women, have paid the
greatest price, with destroyed homes and dead children. They cannot walk the rubble strewn streets of their cities safely.
At first I thought that once we had broken the country, we needed to stay to fix it, but the longer we stay the worse
the consequences. American troops are the magnets that attract death and destruction to the Iraqi people.
once walk the streets of Baghdad with their children, hold jobs, and lead normal lives; Mosul was a thriving city of 2 million
people, Fallujah a center of religion. Iraq is the biblical site of early civilization. Now these cities are in ruins, women
live in fear and poverty, children starve and families are split. I saw a photo of a wailing Iraqi man with his bloodied child
in his arms. This scene is repeated thousands of times over. How can we condone destroying a nation to bring democracy to
As long as American soldiers occupy Iraq there will be a reason for an insurgency, it is time to step down and
ask the world to help us repair the damage we have done.
Collateral damage is a dry phrase, but what it stands for
is an Iraqi parent holding a tiny body, it is our soldiers kneeling over a comrade, begging them to hold on. It is disabled
guard members isolated far from home, on bases, and their families surviving on below-poverty wages. Instead of peace and
prosperity we have brought chaos and death to ourselves as well as to the Iraqi people.
By the end of 2004, the last
date I have figures for, the state of Oregon has borne the brunt of 1.3 billion dollars we have given to pay for this war,
at that time, an average of 388 dollars for every Oregonian. What could we do with that money in a state with one of the highest
hunger rates in the U.S., with schools that struggle just to buy textbooks?
As of last December one out of every 210
Oregon Guards members has died and 119 had been wounded in combat. As of May 22 forty-four Oregon soldiers have died. That
does not include the heart attacks, deaths from infections and motor vehicle accidents, and psychological as well as other
casualties not considered combat related. This number has grown in the last six months. How many times must we see the flag
at half-mast in our state before we act to bring our soldiers home?
But the lasting legacy of this war besides bankruptcy,
the division of our nation, and the disapproval of the rest of the world, is the cost to the Oregon military families directly
affected. I heard my daughter say that the war is real, not just on TV. She told me of holding dying people while their blood
flowed over her. She once said that the real costs are to the children of the veterans, to the wives and husbands who struggle
to keep the families together through poverty and fear, to the children of divorce and anger.
Bitter indeed is this
legacy for America. Many generations will bear the debt and the scars of being lied to by the people we are supposed to trust.
We must keep up the pressure; show that not all of us want war. A few people in this administration should not be allowed
to lie to us, to squander our nation's resources and our loved one's lives.
Together we are strong. We have power
to change things with every dime we spend, every conversation we have with strangers. What legacy will America leave in the
eyes of the world and in the eyes of our children? Will we be people who did not raise our voices to stop this crime, or will
we be remembered as the ones who spoke out? It is up to us to decide. Our loved ones depend on us to act morally, the world
depends on us to lead the way, let us lead well. Remember, the only true, lasting, national security is Peace.
Consequences of Foreign Policy
My name is Adele Kubein, I am a spokesperson
for Military Families Speak Out, and the mother of an injured Guard member. I am also a student of political science and foreign
policy. I could speak of the reasons we should not have attacked Iraq, and of the consequences of this illegal war. But here
are people more qualified than I to speak on these matters; what I speak of is the personal effect of U.S. foreign policy
on my family and Iraqi families.
When my daughter was deployed to Iraq
in April of 2003, her Guard unit was told they would be welcomed with flowers and candy; that they were going to Iraq to liberate
the nation, to build schools and orphanages. Just as the soldiers who went to Vietnam were told that the Vietnamese had asked
for their help, so were our loved ones lied to.
What these soldiers were not told is that
they were entering nations “softened up” by bombings, and made bitter by years of sanctions and abuse on the part
of their own rulers aided by the United States for its own strategic reasons. These soldiers did not find what they expected,
and they reacted as any person under threat does: they began to engage in war.
The war should never have begun, but once
it was, there was a narrow window of opportunity to get the troops back out, and allow the rest of the world to help a liberated
Iraq form a government suitable to its culture. Instead, in their hubris, the administration thought it could occupy a nation
of people who have fought off foreign occupation before.
The very real consequences to me personally
have been tragic. I raised my daughter to love all life, to be generous and kind. When she left for Iraq she thought she would
help, and make friends. She knew war is not the way to solve problems; but as many of us did, she thought we would exit Iraq
swiftly. The American public trusted the administration to have an exit strategy, and so did she.
building and helping, she was put to man a fifty caliber gun on a humvee. On her first convoy from Kuwait to Mosul, she had
no ammunition, no body armor, and the unit had only one meal a day and hardly any water for almost a month. The criminal negligence
of this administration did not stop at allowing chaos to be inflicted on the Iraqi people upon invasion, it extended to its
At first she did make friends, share meals with Iraqi families, but the blunders of this administration
removed all possibility of our occupation to bring peace to Iraq. She began to fight to preserve her life and the safety of
her fellow soldiers.
At first I thought that once we had broken the country, we needed to stay to fix it, but any
thinking mind can see that the longer we stay the worse the consequences to the Iraqi people. American troops are the magnets
that attract death and destruction to the Iraqi people.
Women could once walk the streets of Baghdad with their
children, hold jobs, and lead normal lives; Mosul was a thriving city of 2 million people, Fallujah a center of religion.
Now these cities are in rubble, women live in fear and poverty, children starve and families are split. I saw a photo of a
wailing Iraqi man with his bloodied child in his arms; he was frantically looking for a hospital to treat his mortally wounded
daughter. This scene is repeated thousands of times over. How can we condone destroying a nation to bring democracy to it?
policy is a dispassionate term, but in reality it is grieving families, wondering why this disaster is upon them, it is my
daughter, injured and crippled for life, who will never run or hike again.
It is what she calls “the gaping
black hole” in her soul.
I nurtured my daughter when she was a child, just as Iraqi families nurture their
children. Our children now take up arms and kill other humans, pawns of governments and groups that treat them as disposable
killing machines. We value individuality and choice, but a single act of killing strips away all that makes us human.
When my daughter called me sobbing and told me that she looked in a young man’s eyes as he died from her bullet, she
knew she had lost her humanity for a time. She will bear the burden for the rest of her life, as the once great nation of
Iraq will bear the scars of U.S. occupation for ever. This is the true consequence of our foreign policy. As ethical
people we cannot turn away from what we have wrought, we must stop the invasion now and help the Iraqi people to regain dignity
and peace. We owe it to them and to ourselves.
For teach in and peace march event
“Saying No to War and Occupation”, Portland, Oregon, March 19, 2005. This event is co-sponsored by Peace and Justice
Works, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, PSU Students United for Nonviolence, and Portland Campus Christian Ministry,
and others. Endorsed by war Resisters League, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and others.
Location: Portland State University
Campus Ministry. 633 SW Montgomery, Portland Oregon.
This speech may be used
by Military Families Speak Out and other peace-oriented organizations, as long as attribution is made as to authorship and
location of speech. AK
A Mother, A Daugther,
March 21, 2004
Kubein / MoveOn.org
Here's the story of one mother, Adele Kubein, whose daughter
was injured while serving in Iraq
A Mother, A Daugther, A War
Adele Kubein / MoveOn.org
March 20 marks the anniversary of the start of the war
in Iraq. It's a good time to take a moment to honor the sacrifices our troops there and their families are making. More than
100,000 American troops are serving in Iraq today.
Here's the story of one mother, Adele Kubein, whose daughter was
injured while serving in Iraq:
Mother, A Daugther, A War
Adele Kubein / MoveOn.org
(March 19, 2004) -- When my daughter enlisted
in the National Guard I was proud of her, for having the discipline to make it through basic training. But I had friends who
went to Vietnam, and I said: "Baby, are you sure you want to do this? And she said: "Oh, mom, I'm going to fight fires in
Oregon, build roads, and there's never going to be another war."
When she called me after her unit went from Kuwait
to Mosul in a convoy and told me that she had gone through roads with depleted uranium dust and tanks with dead bodies in
them, I was afraid. I knew that my daughter was facing mortal danger.
Mom, I Had To Kill Someone Today
I cried for joy that she
was alive when her helicopter was shot down because the one in front of her, everybody died on. But when she called me up
and told me, "Mom, I had to kill someone today, and I looked in his eyes and I saw him die," I cried with her because I knew
there was no going back then.
I want to know that there's a good reason for what happened to my daughter, and to all
the other kids that have been killed an injured in Iraq.
My daughter told me stories about the Iraqi people, their
casualties are just as high as ours, and they love their families just as much as we love ours.
When my daughter was
injured, I cried, I wept with joy to know that she was coming home, because I knew that so many other people were not going
to come home.
Daughter Went to Iraq to Build Schools
My daughter accounted for herself; she did her duties regardless of her
fears and feelings. She thought she was going to Iraq to build houses and schools for people who needed them. That's what
they told them in the Oregon National Guard. Instead she ended up in an ever-escalating cycle of violence.
is based on accountability. I want to know that what our loved ones are going through is for a good reason. When I visit my
daughter once more and hold her as she weeps about the things that she has seen and done, I will tell her that she did the
right thing. But I want to know that the people who lead this country are doing the right thing also. 
Of course, this is just one story. Thousands
of our troops in Iraq have been injured, and hundreds have been killed. Countless Iraqis have also been killed. 
simple way to show our respect and gratitude for our soldiers' service, and our hope for their safe return, is to put a candle
(or a light resembling one) in a window tomorrow night.
Our troops and their families are making incredible sacrifices.
Many reservists serving in Iraq left with as little as a week's notice, and have been told they'll be there for a year, at
constant risk to life and limb. At the same time, the Bush administration has tried to short-change soldiers, veterans, and
their families on combat pay,  health care,  and education funding. 
One way we can help is by giving to
a fund called the Armed Forces Relief Trust, which helps military servicemembers and their families with emergency expenses,
medical bills, flights home, and education costs. If you'd like, you can give at:
take a few minutes to honor our troops tomorrow by putting a light in your window. And if you can help some families in need,
that's great too.
 Adele made this statement at a press conference announcing our Censure campaign, on February
 According to an editorial in today's New York Times, "The innocent Iraqi casualties of Mr. Bush's war are
literally countless because the Pentagon refuses to estimate their number." http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/19/opinion/19FRI1.html?hp