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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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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Friday, 9 June 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada

Military Families support Lt Watada at Tacoma press conference

 


[Update] The Nation has comprehensive and substanative article, June 12, 2006, addressing Lt Watada's decision, position and legalities; Lieutenant Watada's War Against the War [end update]

Reporting on press conference of Lt Ehren Watada, Tacoma, WA, June 7, 2006.  Yes, that is me in the photo, to the right of Lt Watada when he was first introduced at the 6 PM media conference.  I'm in the white Military Families Speak Out - (WA state chapter) t-shirt.  Supporters give him welcome applause.

I was there at the noon press conference, Lt Watada was prohibited by his Fort Lewis chain of command from attending the scheduled noon press conference. In his absence his statement was given  in the prepared video taped DVD.  Announcement made that Lt Watada would be available at 6 PM to answer questions if media/press wanted to return at that time.  Media/press did return, and I was there for both the noon and the 6PM press conferences.  

My report and perceptions with links to actual video of Lt Watada answering questions from the media which you can hear for yourself and form your own perceptual opinions.  He is very poised and even in expressing his thoughts and I was very impressed with this young 28 yr old Officer.  

Noon press conference, June 7, 2006.  When I arrived there was already considerable media with the satellite vans parked around the building, along with cameras, camera people and microphones. I was pleased as it signalled to me that media viewed this as an important story.  Inside the lights, cameras and mics were set up and the plasma tv was in place.  

Supporters were outside and inside, and there were four of us from Military Families Speak Out in our t-shirts to show visible support of military families for Lt Watada decision to make public his intention to refuse deployment orders to Iraq. We took our place alongside the veterans of Veterans for Peace who were there to show support.

left to right; Military Families Speak Out Jenny Keesey - Elma; Judy Linehan - Olympia; Lietta Ruger - Bay Center.  Also not pictured Stacy Bannerman - Kent.  

It was announced Lt Watada would not be able to attend so we knew the prepared DVD statement would be used.  There were to be 4 presenters prior to introducing Lt Watada.  We went ahead with the presenters anyway followed by the DVD of Lt Watada's prepared statement.  

Presenters;  
-- The Rev. Jim Davis, a United Methodist minister and chaplain of the University of Puget Sound.

-- Majorie Cohn, a professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the Natioinal Lawyers Guild

-- Joe Colgan, WA veteran and father of Lt Benjamin Colgan, killed in Iraq in 2003. See dvd Gunner Palace in which Lt Benjamin's unit was being filmed when Lt Benjamin Colgan was killed.

-- Judy Linehan, Military Families Speak Out, mother of son, returning Iraq veteran who had deployed to Iraq with Stryker Brigade. (We elected Judy to speak for all four of us and it was emotional for her since her own son has connection to Fort Lewis and Stryker brigade)

-- Lt Ehren Watada's prepared DVD statement.

links;

  video of noon press conference
Northwest Cable News

   video of Lt Ehren Watada's prepared DVD statement
KIRO 7 tv

   Announcement was then made that Lt Watada would be available at 6PM to take questions from the media if media wanted to return.  I decided to return for the 6 PM conference.  Interestingly, Jenny and I had arranged to meet and drive one car (save gas $$) and she had previous committments so could not stay in Tacoma till 6PM.  Same for Judy and Stacy.  Jenny drove us back to our neck of the woods out here in Grays Harbor and Pacific County, and I got back into my own vehicle and immediately drove back to Tacoma.  These are about 2 hour drives from where we live in these outlying counties. So not a few hours spent in driving on Wednesday.  

   I arrived back in Tacoma at 6PM straight up, and bustled through the cameras and mics to get up front with the supporters. Veterans for Peace was already there, and made room for me with them and that is how I wound up right next to the podium.

  When Lt Watada was introduced, the warm and welcome applause was heart-warming and that is the only photo I've seen that has me smiling.  There are several other photos of Lt Watada and I show up in the photos since I was standing right next to him, but I'm not smiling in any of the other photos.  Well, it was a somber occasion.

  As I listened to the young Lt Watada field the hardball and softball questions from the media, I was much impressed with his poise.  He behaved with the kind of humility, dignity and respect I would expect from an Officer.  Obviously he has had time to reflect, prepare for this moment since he has been contemplating his decision since Jan 06, and it is evident a lot of thought went into his decision, his prepared statement and he answered the media questions put to him from his own convictions.  

  Rather than report and repeat the media accounts you likely have already read, refer to the video link for the 6 PM media conference and hear him for yourself in entirety.  He answered questions for 1/2 hour or longer and it is all in the video link.  He answered a question from a little boy, not more than say 7 yrs old who asked the Lt 'why do you think this war is bad'.  Lt Watada answered him patiently and did not talk down to him.  I was impressed.
Link video
6 PM media conference, Lt Ehren Watada answers media questions KING 5

  It was Lt Watada's 28th birthday the same day of the press conference, June 7, and some of you may know how I feel about the importance of young people participating actively in this process of democracy and our nation's future.  I was personally moved as I stood there thinking 'he's so young, and he's having the courage to do this' -- it was moving.

  Lt Watada had two lawyers standing behind him, and when they thought enough media questions had been asked and answered, they wrapped it up and announced enough questions.  They then started to escort Lt Watada out of the room, and I said to one of the lawyers 'wait, I very much want to shake his hand'.  The attorney smiled and was willing, but by then Lt Watada was already out the door.  The attorney shrugged, smiled and moved on.
I really wanted Lt Watada to know we are a military family with returning Iraq veterans and I was there to support him.  

  Ahh, but wait, there on the podium was Lt Watada's cell phone he had set down and I just knew he would need his cell phone.  So I grabbed it, and made my way to the door and to the back room where they had taken him for debriefing.  I explained to the people monitoring in the hallway that I needed to give him his phone.  They let me pass, and of course, my t-shirt rather is recognizeable, so I guess I was considered safe.

  I went into the room, where Lt Watada and the two attorneys were in conversation.  I thanked Ehren, shook his hand, explained I was a military family.  He asked if we had -- well he didn't have to finish the question -- I knew.  Yes, I told him - 2 returning Iraq veterans in our family.  I gave him his phone and shook his hand agan and said 'thank you Sir, for what you are doing'.  Then I left the room.

  It was over, and many of us milled about for a short while outside.  There were some either impromptu or planned private interviews by media with Lt Watada afterwards so we did not get to see him again that evening.  

  That wraps up my account.  Questions, please ask, as I may have overlooked writing some detail.  Please do view the video of Lt Watada's 6 PM media conference and listen to him answer media questions, as I think it will give you a more personal perspective of him.
6 PM media conference, Lt Ehren Watada answers media questions KING 5

My understanding is that Lt Watada will be presenting over the weekend, and at this time the best information I have so far is;

On Sunday, June 11 at 1 p.m. at the Traditions Fair Trade, corner of 5th and Water, Olympia, WA, Lieutenant Ehren Watada will speak on his reasons for Refusing to obey the order to deploy to Iraq
[edited to add link and also posted at Daily Kos]


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM 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