Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter

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Bring Them Home Now!

One of the features of military families in this war that differs from previous wars is that there are more young married soldiers.

Here are some statistics:

-- in Iraq war, soldiers often married, with children

-- 55% of military personnel are married. 56% of those married are between 22 and 29.

-- One million military children are under 11.

-- 40% are 5 or younger.

-- 63% of spouses work, including 87% of junior-enlisted spouses.

Source: Department of Defense and National Military Family Association.



Dissent is loyalty Robert Taft, the conservative Ohio senator who is a hero to many of today's conservatives, gave a speech at the Executive Club of Chicago in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

There are a number of paragraphs that are just grand, but here's the best one, which is worth quoting in full:

As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government

... too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism.

If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because
the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy,
and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.

Drink in those words.

That's not William Fulbright two years into the Vietnam War.

It's not Ted Kennedy last week.

It's Mr. Republican, speaking -- when? Not mid-1943, or even March 1942

Taft delivered this speech ... on December 19, 1941!

That's right: Twelve days after the worst attack on American soil in the country's history,

perhaps with bodies still floating in the harbor,

the leader of the congressional opposition said to the president, 'we will question, we will probe, we will debate.'

By Michael Tomasky,
The AMERICAN Prospect online


Order and send postcards to Congress - Fund our Troops, Defund the

Bring Them Home Now postage stamps


For more information see Appeal for Redress website.


For more information go to dvd 'The Ground Truth' website.


Some Past Campaigns - Washington state chapter MFSO members participation

2007

(photo - Daniel Ellsberg, Lt. Ehren Watada)

(photo - Organizing Team; Lietta Ruger - MFSO - WA chapter introduces the Panelists)

(photo - on the Panel - Elizabeth Falzone - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA chapter and Rich Moniak - MFSO - Alaska chapter listen to two days of testimony)

(photo - close up of Panelists Elizabeth Falzone - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA chapter and Rich Moniak - MFSO - Alaska chapter)

(photo - rRetired Diplomat Col. Ann Wright gives her testimony)

(photo - Organizing Team - Lietta Ruger - MFSO - WA chapter with retired Col. Ann Wright - Testifier)

(photo - Stacy Bannerma, wife of returning Iraq veteran - WA Natl Guard, gives testimony)

(photo - close up Stacy Bannerman, author of 'When The War Came Home' gives her testimony. Formerly MFSO - WA chapter. For more on Stacy, her book, media archives, see her website at www.stacybannerman.com)

(photo - IVAW veterans Geoffrey Millard and former Lt. Harvey Tharp give their testimony)

See website; 'Citizens' Hearing on Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq';

Jan 20-21- 2007, Tacoma, WA.

A 2 day citizens' tribunal support action in defense of Lt. Ehren Watada court martial at Fort Lewis.

(Organizing Team from MFSO - WA chapter; Lietta Ruger, Judy Linehan)

2006


(photo Lietta Ruger, MFSO- WA, in support Lt. Ehren Watada, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Jenny Keesey, Judy Linehan, Lietta Ruger - from MFSO-WA in support of Lt. Ehren Watada June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Lietta Ruger, Judy Linehan, Jenny Keesey - from MFSO - WA chapter, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Judy Linehan, MFSO - WA at support rally for Lt. Watada, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

June 2006 ongoing through court martial Feb 2007

For more information, see 'Thank You Lt. Ehren Watada' website.


(photo - right is Stacy Bannerman, MFSO -WA; organizing team)

Representative Brian Baird, Washington state 3rd Congressional District, in blue shirt comes out to talk with MFSO members at 'Operation House Call')

'Operation House Call' June thru August 2006 in Washington DC.

MFSO members make individual calls on Senators and Representatives advocating to Bring Them Home Now.

For more information go to 'Operation House Call' website.

postcards sent to Congress - summer 2006, 'Operation House Call'


2005


(photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO-WA on central tour. Not pictured - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO -WA on northern tour)

Bring Them Home Now tour - Sept 1 thru Sept 25 2005. From Crawford, Texas to Washington DC. see Bring Them Home Now tour website


(photo - left Lietta Ruger, MFSO -WA with center Cindy Sheehan and right Juan Torres at Crawford, Texas, Camp Casey, Aug 9, 2005


2004

photos from Newshour with Jim Lehrer; segment 'Homefront Battles' aired Oct 2004.

Online video, audio and article still available at Newshour website. photo - Sue Niederer, MFSO. Her son U.S. Army 2nd Lt.Seth Dvorin, 24 yrs old was killed in Iraq Feb 3, 2004.

photo - Nancy Lessin, MFSO Co-Founder

photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO - WA

photo - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO - WA


See at Seattle PI; List of casualties with Washington state ties

This is one of WA state casualties; Army Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, Whatcom County, Washington died Oct 15, 2004

Watch a slide show of family photos and listen to audio recordings of Army Cpl. Jonathan Santos' mother, brother and the woman who's documenting his life.

See the trailer for the documentary "The Corporal's Boots." (QuickTime 7 required).

A special thank you to mother, Doris Kent - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA for her generous sharing and contribution in speaking of her son's life and death in Iraq


Title 17 disclaimer In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
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Contact us


mfso@mfso.org




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.

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.

Send us an e-mail at
mfso@mfso.org
.
You can call us at 617-522-9323
or Send us mail at:
MFSO
P.O. Box 549
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.

click here - MFSO Membership Form – to join Military Families Speak Out or

JOIN us by sending an e-mail to mfso@mfso.org.


MFSO - Become a Member

Membership in MFSO is open to anyone who has a family member or loved one serving, since August 2002, in any branch of our Armed Forces

* The Reserves

* The National Guard

* Returned from serving but still eligible for redeployment under stop loss.

There is no membership fee. Donations are welcome.

People who are not eligible for MFSO membership may join our Supporter Group. You are welcome to attend meetings that are open to the public, volunteer to help with event preparation and participate in our community actions and events. Supporters may purchase MFSO t-shirts and wear them with the "Proud Supporter of MFSO" button. Buttons may also be worn without the t-shirt.

Our Supporters provide emotional encouragement and physical help to our MFSO military families who are under extreme stress, especially if their loved one is in Iraq or Afghanistan

We welcome your involvement, please contact us.


click to see the list MFSO chapters other than Washington state forming around the country.


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Sunday, 19 October 2008
The Wall McCain Tore Down
Now Playing: Republican States of the Great Basin trading kool aid for coffee?
Topic: Breaking News

Republicans have single-partyedly fractured their base out in their last remaining bastion states. 

This headline and the following comment titles at Democratic Underground say it all.  

Idaho's flagship newspaper endorses Obama. 

Idaho Statesman endorsement: America needs Obama's steady hand

[Comment titles]

Idaho???

W0W! Idaho!! -- and Powell Endorsement

Holy Shit!!! Idaho???

Idaho?

Latest list of newspaper endorsements ... 76-19

62% for McCain Idaho?

and this: 

Hell definitely just froze over. Salt Lake Tribune (Utah!) endorses Obama!

The Salt Lake Tribune has been there since the 19th century. In the twentieth century the Tribune is the successful competition to the other daily there, The Deseret News - more the voice of Utah conservatism and the LDS Church.

In terms of profit and loss, endorsing the Democrat for president would not be a wise economic decision unless ...  

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 9:15 AM PDT
Sunday, 6 January 2008
MFSO Statement of Support for or Loved Ones and on Resistance in the MIlitary to the war in Iraq
Topic: MFSO National
   
  
 
The war in Iraq was wrong to begin with and continues to be wrong. Military Families Speak Out has consistently pointed out that when the drumbeats for war in Iraq were growing louder and louder, those with decision-making power who were saying “we gotta go to war” weren’t going anywhere, nor were their loved ones. Now, as this war that should never have happened continues, the vast majority of the decision-makers who are consistently funding the war still have nothing at risk. They don’t have to personally face the human consequences of their decisions, nor do their loved ones. They don’t risk their own lives. Their loved ones aren’t coming home wounded – or in body bags. They don’t have to face family members who have turned into hollow-eyed strangers suffering from the invisible wounds of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and sometimes succumbing to them. Nor do they have to face the families of the Iraqi children, women and men who are daily caught in the cross-fire of a war that should never have been.

For them the decisions are too easy and the results are abstractions.

But our loved ones, and all of our troops who agreed to put their lives on the line to defend country and Constitution, have been put into untenable situations, facing unconscionable choices. They have to suffer the consequences of horrendously flawed decision-making in Washington, D.C. They have to decide how to respond in a situation with no good choices.
 
Many of our loved ones are currently serving in Iraq and for many of them accepting deployment and re-deployment is a way to help their fellow service members come home alive. Some of our loved ones were killed in Iraq; others died by their own hands months after coming home, unable to live with what they had seen or done. Some of our loved ones have come to see the Iraq war as an illegal, immoral war and have refused deployment as their way of refusing what they consider to be an illegal order. Some have sought refugee status in Canada. Some have gone AWOL or UA. And some have turned themselves over to military authorities to face possible court martial. Some have served jail time for resisting the war in Iraq.
As military families, we love and support our troops and stand by them and their choices. We support those who choose to honor their commitment to military service, to their fellow troops and to the nation and we support those who choose to resist this illegal war by refusing to serve.

We condemn the architects of this war - those who had or have a role in sending and re-sending our troops off to fight it, those who have put our loved ones in such untenable situations.

Until every person in this country, and every one of the decision-makers who sent our loved ones off to war, is willing to face the real consequences of the war, they are in no position to judge our service men and women who go to war, or those who choose to resist.
We are military families. We support our loved ones, we support our troops.

We are speaking out to say: bring our troops home now, and take care of them when they get here, and never, ever again send them off to fight an unjust and unjustifiable war, a war based on lies. 

 The Military Families Speak Out Board of Directors

 

 

posted to MFSO Washington chapter by Lietta Ruger

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 3:05 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 9:31 AM PST
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Thousands march in streets of Seattle; message Support our Troops; Stop funding Iraq war
Topic: Members Speak Out

 

 Washington state chapter of Military Families Speak Out among other thousands participate in Seattle march/rally October 27, 2007.  Seattle was one of eleven cities nationwide participating in UFPJ coordinated protest to encourage Congress to vote against funding the Iraq war. 

 (photo courtesy of Dina, artisan and contributing editor at Washblog shows Joe Colgan and David; Washington;  holding the Military Families Speak Out banner. See more photos at Washblog.

 

Thousands in Seattle march against Iraq war  article in Seattle PI 

Under a brilliant blue sky Saturday, thousands of people sang, chanted and marched through the streets of Seattle, one of 11 cities nationwide participating in a coordinated protest against the war in Iraq.

"Veterans need to take the lead on this," said Chanan Suarez-Diaz, president of the Seattle chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. "This has been a war for oil, for profits and for corporations. It's time for the occupation to end and veterans should be at the head of the movement to end it."

The 25-year-old Suarez-Diaz was wounded by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade while serving in Aramadi, Iraq, as a member of a U.S. Navy medical team supporting the Marines. Joining the young man at the protest was David Meeds, 74, of Monroe, also a navy veteran.

"I served in the Korean War," said the white-haired Meeds, holding a sign saying: "War is Not the Answer." Meeds said he has been demonstrating weekly, at a strip mall in Monroe, against the war in Iraq since before it began because he views it as contrary to American values and principles. He said he was heartened by the Seattle protest, seeing that more young people are becoming active and speaking out against the war.

read more here

(photo, courtesy of Dina, artisan and contributing editor at Washblog, shows woman with 'Military Mom for Peace' sign.   See more photos  at Washblog. ) 

 

MILITARY AND GOLD STAR FAMILIES TO PARTICIPATE IN NATIONWIDE IRAQ WAR PROTESTS ON OCTOBER 27
 

Military and Gold Star families from across the nation will participate in regional demonstrations opposing the war in Iraq on October 27th, organized by United for Peace and Justice. These families whose loved ones are or have been on the frontlines of this war will be calling on Congress to vote against the upcoming appropriation that would allow the war in Iraq to continue.

 

 posted by Lietta Ruger


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 4:19 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007 5:12 PM PDT
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Women and the War in Iraq
Topic: Events

 

King County Washington Women Lawyers presents

 

Women and the War in Iraq

CLE and Public Forum

2 CLE (including .5 Ethics) credits pending

Venue: The Seattle Art Museum

Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Public Forum: 6p.m.- 9:00 p.m (free admission)

Our Public Forum will include the debut of a short documentary film "Female Faces of War." Panelists include nationally recognized speakers:

Dr. Bridget Cantrell author of "Down Range to Iraq and Back;"

Sara Rich, M.S.W. and mother of soldier Suzanne Swift;

Stacy Bannerman, author of "When the War Came Home," founder/director of ‘The Sanctuary for Veterans and Families' and

Dr. Tracy Simpson, co-director of Seattle VA's Women's Clinic,

Lourdes E. Alvarado-Ramos, Deputy Director of Washington State's Department of Veterans Affairs;

Julia Villalobos, Port Security Specialist 2, Coast Guard (served in Iraq and Kuwait Feb-Aug. 2003);

and special appearance by video, Senator Patty Murray (member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee).


To RSVP to the public forum (space is limited): email womeniniraq@yahoo.com

To become a sponsor, please contact: Tracy Sarich - tsarich@tousley.com (Sponsorship)

*(includes refreshments following CLE and before public forum)

 

CLE: 3 PM - 5:15PM (only $75.00)

Our CLE "Representing Military Personnel: Hot Topics in Employment Law, Family Law and Benefits" includes presenter:

Thomas Quinlan, who practices in Pierce County with the law firm Miller, Quinlan & Auter. He is a WSTLA Eagle with a general civil trial practice, and also a Judge Advocate with the rank of Major in the United States Army Reserve.

The other presenter Kimberly Cox is an attorney for Safeco and is a Captain in the JAG Corps. She was also on active duty at Ft. Lewis.

To register for the CLE, please contact Jill Pugh -jill@employmentlawWA.com

entry by Lietta Ruger



Posted by SwanDeer Project at 8:04 AM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 9:37 AM PST
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Iraq veterans present the first of the folded flags to Congress in
Topic: Soldiers Speak Out
Iraq veterans present the folded flag to Representative Hoyer's Chief of Staff.




Iraq Vets Announce Tri-Folded Flag Campaign to Hold Congress Responsible:
"FUNDING THE WAR IS KILLING THE TROOPS"


Washington , DC : Iraq Veterans Against the War is urging a rapid and safe withdrawal of troops from Iraq , adequate funding of the needs of veterans when they return and the rebuilding of Iraq by Iraqis.

According to Garett Reppenhagen, Chair of Iraq Vets Against the War: " Iraq Veterans Against the War is a growing movement of Iraq War era veterans and active duty service members that are opposing the occupation of Iraq . Through our military experience we have learned that the continued presence of US troops in the Middle-East is instigating further hatred toward American Armed Forces and undermining our nation's security. As a result, our military in Iraq is viewed by the majority of the world as occupiers and not peace keepers. The Iraq Veterans Against the War stands by the belief that funding the war is killing the troops."

IVAW will be holding a press conference, rally and the delivery of Tri-Folded American Flags to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Majority Whip Clyburn on Tuesday, July 17th at the Upper Senate Park at 1:00 PM. A rally will be held at 2:00 PM and flags will be delivered at 3:00 PM.

Speaking at the press conference will be Garett Rappenhagen, Adam Kokesh – who recently gained national media attention when the Marines threatened him with discipline for his anti-war advocacy and Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. is the President of the Hip Hop Caucus, an Air Force Officer who is being threatened with discharge from the Air Force Reserve Individual Reserve Program as a 'national security threat' due to his anti-war, climate change and civil rights activism.

Adam Kokesh described how funding the war is killing the troops saying "As a proud combat veteran who believes in a strong US military and national defense, I find the Iraq war most offensive. Resources that could be allocated to a multitude of other projects to enhance our security are instead being diverted into the futile occupation of Iraq . The brave men and women who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution deserve better than to risk their lives in a misadventure that is detrimental to our security, and our Constitution. Further funding of this quagmire will only result in more needless deaths."

Rev. Yearwood put the blame for failure to end the war on the Democratic Party leadership saying "On Nov 7, 2006, America went to the polls to demand an end to the war in Iraq, yet this Democratic Congress continues to fund the occupation. As a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, I can say we did not vote for a Democratic Congress or a Republican Congress, we voted for a Human Congress. Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn are putting the interests of the Democratic Party before the interests of humanity, and until they use their leadership in Congress to de-fund the war, Iraq Veterans Against the War holds them personally responsible for the deaths of U.S. soldiers." Yearwood is also a board member of VotersForPeace which puts 'peace before partisanship.'

The Tri-Folded Flag Campaign is being spearheaded by Iraq Veterans Against the War but already other anti-war groups are joining in. Among the groups already signed on to the multi-month campaign are Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, VotersForPeace, Grassroots America, the Hip Hop Caucus and Democracy Rising. The campaign will let the House Democratic leadership know that voters will be holding them responsible for failing to end the war by sending them tri-folded flags between now and the end of September.



Digg!

Seed Newsvine

(posted by Lietta Ruger)

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 9:32 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007 9:56 AM PDT
Friday, 6 July 2007
'The Olympian' July 4 editorial titled 'Bring Home U.S. Troops'
Topic: Media Involvement
"A total of 134 service members assigned to Fort Lewis have died in Iraq. A total of 208 service members with ties to Washington state have died in the war."

To: Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter members, supporters and friends

Re: Write or call in with your support for editorial in 'The Olympian' - July 4 - ' Bring Home U.S. troops'. Good time to press your points as military families speaking out;

Perhaps can be construed as 'good news' - the newspaper referenced in the article at Huffington Post is our own 'The Olympian' in Olympia, WA - the town next to Fort Lewis Army base and McChord AFB; the town of our state capitol where legislators make legislation happen. I read this morning in my usual morning local news reads about our military friendly newspaper writing the editorial on July 4th 'Bring Home U.S. Troops' and gave a shout of whoop - amen. Then as I was going about my national morning reads, I see the 'news' makes Huffington Post.

I can tell you candidly, that as I listen to our Seattle based nightly newscasts and the daily reports of another Stryker soldier killed in Iraq or more accurately, another several more Stryker soldiers killed in Iraq, that the newcasters voices and tones are taking on a more somber quality as night after night they have to report on more Stryker soldier deaths. Strykers, you may or may not know are at military base, Fort Lewis, Tacoma, WA. We have had a fair share of vigils and protests over the years and especially this past year on the freeway overpass at the gates of Fort Lewis. You may have heard in the news that Fort Lewis was thinking about having to shift to doing a monthly memorial for all the soldiers killed in Iraq in that month because there were too many to do them weekly. As of yet, that hasn't happened, and Fort Lewis still is doing the respectful individual memorials. Well, now in groups of three and four as week to week many more Stryker soldiers are killed in Iraq.

So, the newspaper 'The Olympian' is certainly not up there on a scale of New York Times, this bit of 'news' is perhaps an indicator of the shifting paradigm here in our state (Washington state with 14 military installations across the state). While it's true this is a more 'blue' or liberal state, it is also true that the two newspapers connected to the military communities in Tacoma and Olympia are 'military friendly' and reluctant to come across in what could be construed as non-supportive of the troops and families. I would hope this particular editorial call for troops pull out of Iraq is a hopeful sign.

Take heart, blessings in the struggle

Lietta Ruger, chapter coordinator

Military Families Speak Out - Washington state

 

headline today at Huffington Post
Paper With Strong Military Readership Calls for Iraq Pullout


By Greg Mitchell

Published: July 05, 2007 1:10 PM ET
NEW YORK Even though U.S. casualties in Iraq continue to mount -- and we have now been there longer than we were involved in World War II -- surprisingly few newspaper editorial pages have come out for any kind of withdrawal (even a very slow one) or timeline for a pullout. Polls show that about 2 in 3 Americans favor the start of a withdrawal, and even Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, a strong conservative, came out for it last week, but newspapers have remained largely silent.

But yesterday, on Indepedence Day, a McClatchy newspaper with a heavy military presence in its circulation area came out for withdrawal. The headline: "Bring Home U.S. Troops." It concludes that this war "isn't worth a single more American life."

The paper is The Olympian in Olympia, Wash. Nearby are Ft. Lewis (which has sent tens of thousands of troops to Iraq) and McCord Air Force Base. Daily circulation is about 32,000. The president and publisher is John Winn Miller. Vickie Kilgore is executive editor.

"The Fourth of July is a time when Americans celebrate the values that have made us a great nation," Miller tells E&P today. "So it seemed like an appropriate time to editorialize on what has become a national disgrace.

"It is a particularly important and local issue for us because we are a military community with Ft. Lewis and McChord Air Force Base in our area. We seen too many of them killed, so many that Ft. Lewis considered stopping individual memorials. Our men and women have done their duty with honor. It is time to honor their sacrifices by ending this ill-conceived mission.

"A total of 134 service members assigned to Fort Lewis have died in Iraq. A total of 208 service members with ties to Washington state have died in the war."

Today, Sen. Pete Domenici became the latest veteran Republican in Congress to break with the White House on Iraq policy.

Here is The Olympian editorial.

http://www.theolympian.com/editorials/story/153009.html
*

'Bring Home U.S. troops'
Hearts are heavy this Fourth of July as the United States continues to wage an unwinnable war in Iraq.

Public support for President Bush and his war has steadily declined as the number of war dead continues to climb.

On a day when Americans are supposed to celebrate the freedom and liberty won by the blood of our forefathers, most Americans instead find themselves disgusted with the trillion dollar war being waged in their name with their tax dollars.

On a day when Americans are supposed to wave the flag with honor and respect, many Americans are disheartened and embarrassed. They are fed up with an arrogant president and an ineffective Congress and their inability to extract this nation from the ill-conceived war that has alienated U.S. allies and unnecessarily sullied the reputation of this great nation.

This year, our day of national pride feels more like a day of national shame.

Fed up

Americans have had it with the war. According to a CNN poll a week before today's holiday, only 30 percent of Americans support the war effort - a new low in public opinion. President Bush's popularity - the percentage of Americans who think he is doing a good job - has eroded to the same 30 percent level.

Sixty-nine percent of those responding to the CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll believe things are going badly in Iraq. Only 17 percent think the situation is improving. And President Bush is losing his base of support - fellow Republicans. The CNN poll found 42 percent of Republicans now believe the United States should be withdrawing troops from Iraq.

The tide is shifting in Congress, too.

Soft-spoken and well-respected Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., shook the capital community last week when he distanced himself from Bush and called the Iraq War strategy a failure. In a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, the mild-mannered Lugar said, "I speak to my fellow senators when I say that the president is not the only American leader who will have to make adjustments to his or her thinking. In my judgment, the costs and risk of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved."

Lugar's courageous - albeit late - condemnation of the war in Iraq sent shock waves through the halls of Congress. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, followed Lugar's lead the next day with a letter to the president that said, in part, "We must begin to develop a comprehensive plan for our country's gradual military disengagement from Iraq and a corresponding increase in responsibility to the Iraqi government and its regional neighbors."

Voinovich told CNN, "I think everybody knows that we fumbled the ball right from the beginning on this."

The two Republican lawmakers are right. We have to begin the withdrawal of troops. It needs to be an orderly exodus in order to protect our troops and to give some hope that the Iraqi army will fill the void over time.

It was a lie to say we invaded Iraq to protect the United States from terrorists just as it is a lie to say leaving will aid the terrorists. Let them wallow alone in the middle of this bitter, multi-front civil and sectarian war. It isn't worth a single more American life.

Cover for Republicans

As the top Republican and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar's criticism should give more Republicans the cover they need to challenge Bush on the war.

It's clear that the president's prescription for victory - the so-called surge - is well in place, yet the increase in troops has not diminished the violence. If anything, Baghdad is a bigger killing field today than it was prior to the troop buildup.

Bush continues to stall for time, saying no rational assessment of the surge's success or failure can be made until September.

How many more Americans will forfeit their lives on the battlefield between now and then? How many more tax dollars will be spent to stall America's inevitable departure?



Posted by SwanDeer Project at 9:54 AM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 9:44 AM PST
Thursday, 7 June 2007
Military Families Speak Out at weekly Seattle Federal Building Vigil
Topic: Members Speak Out

 

Photo shows memorial with multitude of orange poppies banners naming Washington state soldiers killed in Iraq.

 

Weekly vigil on Tuesdays in front of Seattle Federal Building.

Every Tuesday - 11:00 AM through 1:00 PM

On 2nd Avenue between Madison and Marion Streets, 
downtown Seattle, Washington

 

Military Families Speak Out members Joe Colgan, also Gold Star father of Lt. Benjamin Colgan who was killed in Baghdad,Iraq Nov 2003, invites you to join him in his weekly vigils on Tuesdays at Seattle Federal Building.  

Help convey message to our U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to exercise their power of the Congressional purse strings to De-Fund the war in Iraq, Bring the Troops Home Now, and take care of them when they get home. 

Fellow Military Families Speak Out members join Joe Colgan in the weekly Tuesday vigils, and we invite you to stop by and speak with them.

 

 

 Special thanks to David Kannas, member of Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter for the photos and reports. 

(posted by Lietta Ruger) 

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 11:48 AM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 9:51 AM PST
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
Speaking of Cindy Sheehan ... I have a few things to say
Now Playing: Imagine - John Lennon

Upon reflection, nine days after the news of Cindy Sheehan's announcement of her resignation as the face of the anti-war movement, Lietta, who went down to stand with Cindy that first week of Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas expresses her thoughts at her blog, Dying to Preserve the Lies.

 Cindy Sheehan, the mother of Casey Sheehan, a soldier killed in Iraq April 04, 2004, went to the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas in August 2005, while President Bush was on vacation, to ask him the question                   'What is the Noble Cause'  

   

                       Peace Cindy - and Imagine

 

Video of Camp Casey, August 9 - 15, 2005

by Peter Dudar and Sally Marr of Arlingtonwestfilm.com

(the first week of Aug 9 thru Aug 15 at Camp Casey, when I was there, I met Peter and Sally as they filmed this and I regret that I declined his offer to be included in an interview for this film, although Sally did get some footage of my swollen feet and legs = fireants allergic reaction. This film still brings me to tears, in memory of the early nugget of hope that sprang forth and flowered)

 

 

(posted by Lietta Ruger)


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 2:12 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 9:47 AM PST
Saturday, 2 June 2007
NPR Interview; Anti-War Moms Press on Without Cindy Sheehan
Topic: Members Speak Out

Doris Kent, of Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter among three Gold Star Mothers interviewed on NPR at the news of Cindy Sheehan's departure. Email received from Doris Kent;

Hi all,
I, along with two other mothers whose sons were killed in Iraq, were interviewed on NPR on Thursday.  Here is a link for you to listen to the interview.  (Our interview was actually an hour long but they cut it down to 20 minutes.  That is unfortunate because a lot more was said but I am grateful they aired our message.)  The interview was part of the "Tell Me More" program with Michel Martin.
sending you all lots of love,
Doris

 

 

NPR Interview; Anti-War Moms Press on Without Cindy Sheehan

NPR Program - Tell Me More, May 31, 2007

 Cindy Sheehan — one of the country's most prominent anti-war activists — is withdrawing. She announced this week that she is stepping away from the limelight and her role as the "face" of the anti-war movement. It is a role she assumed after her son, Casey Sheehan, died while serving in Iraq in 2004.

In an online statement, Sheehan says she has come to the "devastating" conclusion that her son did, indeed, die for nothing. Her post-activist plans are to reclaim her health and take care of her surviving children.

Other mothers who have lost children in Iraq are still speaking out against the war; listen to

 Doris Kent,  Bellingham, WA, whose son, Cpl. Jonathan Santos, was killed in October 2004;

Celeste Zapalla, Philadelphia, PA, whose son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed in combat in 2004; and

Elaine Johnson, South Carolina resident whose son, Army Spc. Darius Jennings, was one of 17 U.S. troops killed when a helicopter was shot down by Iraqi insurgents Nov. 2, 2004.  

Hear more from Elaine, Doris and Celeste - click on the link to the NPR interview, then click on Listen at NPR website. 

 

(posted by Lietta Ruger)


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 9:15 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007 3:01 PM PDT
Friday, 1 June 2007
Evan Knappenberger, Iraq Veteran Begins Weeklong Tower Guard Vigil in Bellingham, Washington
Topic: Soldiers Speak Out

Iraq Vet Evan Knappenberger introduces himself.



Evan Kappenberger sends a message to his friends still serving in Iraq.



Gold Star Mother, Doris Kent, of Bellingham speaks in support of Evan Knappenberger



Capt Benjamin Marx, a two tour returning Iraq veteran from Federal Way, WA speaks in support of Evan Knappenberger


More from Evan Knappenberger

To see more up to the minute videos of Evan's tower guard vigil, visit Bellingham blogger's blog = Washington Outsiders.

 



Iraq Veteran Begins Weeklong Tower Guard Vigil in Bellingham, Washington  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2007 

 CONTACT: Iraq Veteran Evan Knappenberger: (434) 249-5956 www.TowerGuard.org

 Marie Marchand, Executive Director Whatcom Peace & Justice Center (360) 734-0217 (office); (360) 920-4817 (cell) www.WhatcomPJC.org; WhatcomPJC@fidalgo.net

WHERE: Federal Building 104 E. Magnolia Street, Bellingham, WA WHEN: 24-hrs. a day, June 1-7

 Standing Tower Guard on a 6' scaffold at the Federal Building in downtown Bellingham, Iraq Veteran Evan Knappenberger, 1st BDE, 4th Infantry Division, started a weeklong vigil on June 1st to draw attention to the US military STOP-LOSS and INACTIVE RESERVE policies, which he submits are being used as a substitute for conscription in a political war.

 I spent a year in Iraq. I pulled 97 nights on tower guard, explained Knappenberger. Many of the friends I served with have completed their contractual obligations to Active Duty. Now, they're being sent back to Iraq for their third or fourth tours. Some soldiers are getting called up after living years of civilian life. Stop-loss is an unethical policy.

The Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, a non-profit organization in Bellingham, is supporting Knappenberger's week-long action. "This is a powerful, highly-visible action," said Executive Director Marie Marchand. "It's a nonviolent, creative way of educating the public about this widespread exploitation and abuse of our soldiers.

 Evan has seen this injustice perpetrated against his friends and comrades. We will do everything we can to help him get his message out." Community members have shown an outpouring of support for Knappenberger, including help with night security, media outreach, meals, and solidarity. A new website has been set up: www.TowerGuard.org.

"People come out of the woodwork to support courageous leadership like this," stated Marchand. "This is huge; and the news is spreading across the nation like wild fire." Western WA University students are also hyped-up by this action.

Student group, Western Against War, has made a statement of support for Knappenberger. "For those who take notice, this sobering demonstration will bring the hardships our solders have been forced to endure a little closer to home," stated Michael Biesheuvel, WAW president. "Western Against War wholeheartedly supports Evan." Knappenberger invites the public to talk with him while he is on Tower Guard, and to learn more about the unethical stop-loss policy.

###

Marie Marchand, Executive Director Whatcom Peace & Justice Center 100 E. Maple Street/PO Box 2444 Bellingham, WA 98227 (360) 734-0217 www.whatcompjc.org

 

 (Posted by Lietta Ruger)


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 1:59 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 2 June 2007 12:07 PM PDT

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Criticism of the President is Patriotic

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else.

But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

Theodore Roosevelt, 1918, Lincoln and Free Speech