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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Tuesday, 20 June 2006

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

In a second Lt Watada press conference; supporter Col Ann Wright says illegal war and war crimes

 

{Update - Tomorrow = Natl Day of Action to Stand Up with Lt. Ehren Watada - Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Ft. Lewis, WA - 7am - Morning bannering on the Exit 119 (DuPont Rd.) bridge over Interstate 5.
Ft. Lewis, WA - 4pm - Bannering and support rally on the Exit 119 (DuPont) bridge over Interstate 5.
Tacoma, WA - 7am - Bannering: (1) McKinley Way overpass above I-5; and (2) Pedestrian Bridge over Route 16 near Narrows Bridge.
Tacoma, WA - 4pm - Bannering: (1) McKinley Way overpass above I-5; and (2) Pedestrian Bridge over Route 16 near Narrows Bridge.
Seattle, WA - 5pm - Vigil and sign holding: (1) Westlake Park, 4th and Pine Streets; and (2) Greenlake, East Green Lake Way N and N 64th St.

[Update - June 22, 2006. Lt. Watada refused Iraq deployment this morning; Under restriction and gag-order. More at website Thank You Lt. Ehren Watada ]

In a second press conference Lt Ehren Watada held in Seattle, June 19, 2006, (ret) Army Colonel and Diplomat, Ann Wright, speaks in support of Lt. Watada's decision to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq as his right to disobey illegal orders.  His parents, Robert Watada and Carolyn Ho, came from Hawaii to be with their son in Seattle and spoke at his press conference.  I had the opportunity to have a personal phone call exchange with his mother, Carolyn Ho, as she was on her way from Seatac airport to the University Lutheran Church in Seattle, for the 6:15 PM press conference.

  Mother to mother, military family to military family we talked, me with two returning Iraq veterans in our family who will be redeployed; she with a son who is an Officer in U.S. Army making the monumental decision as an Officer to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.  I valued our exchange and she said she valued what I had to share with her. She seemed very moved when I said to her that her son, as an Officer, was doing what I would expect an Officer to do and if he were an Officer for the two Sgts in our family, I would want him to deliberate on the orders being given for our two to carry out.

  While I wasn't able to make the 3 hour trip up to Seattle on Monday evening, I was able to listen to the video of the press conference that KING 5 has posted to their online website (you have to listen first to a 20 second commercial then the video coverage begins).  It helped me feel very much  like I was there.  Gratitude to KING 5 for posting the entirety of the press conference making it available for all to hear firsthand. There is strength in the words of Col Ann Wright, and rather than report on her words, I have transcribed her speech and am placing it here.

NOTE: June 27 will be a national day of action in support of Lt. Watada and his refusal to deploy.  Supporters have planned events across the country, including events at Ft Lewis, WA; Charlotte, NC; Cleveland, OH; Harrisburg, PA; San Francisco, CA; and Oklahoma City, OK.

Colonel Ann Wright (Ret.) served 29 years in the Army/Army Reserve and 16 years in the U.S. Foreign Service.  She resigned from the U.S. Foreign Service  
on March 19, 2003 in protest over the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq without UN Security Council authorization, and over the curtailment of civil liberties in the United States.

text of her speech June 19, 2006, Seattle at press conference in support of Lt. Ehren Watada.

Good Afternoon.  It is with heavy heart that I am here.  Heavy heart that the U.S. Military may be taking action against a noble and principled Officer of the U.S. Military who is saying to U.S. Military and U.S. goverment that the war in Iraq is an illegal war and he refuses to take orders to go to an illegal war.

This is a right that a military officer has to disobey illegal orders and to be ordered to an illegal war is something people can stand up against.  And as you can see, not many people do.  We have one officer that's done it; we have 24 in Canda who have done it; 10 in jail or imprisoned who have said no to these illegal orders.  Ehren will be the first Officer that will say no.

By the Nuremburg Principle codified after World War ll, when United States of America executed Japanese and German military officers and civilians for going along with what the International Communities termed 'illegal wars'.  That's when it came to the front, that we as civilains and military have the obligation and responsibility to say no to a government that takes us into an illegal war - a war of aggression.  And by the Nuremburg Principles, a war of agrression is called a war crime.  The Bush administration is committing war crimes.  The country of Iraq did nothing to the United States of America.  The Bush administration invaded and occupied a country that did nothing to the United States of America.

By the three principles of legal wars;

 - If the United Nations Security Counscil will vote that the International community has to take military action against a threat to the International community.  The Bush administration was unable to get U.N. Security Council to vote for military operations on Iraq.  

 - If imminent danger to your country ... the weapons of mass destruction were not imminent danger.  In fact, there was an ongong U.N. inspection to determine if there were WMD. But the Bush administration threw away that and said we're going in anyway.

 - The third is to prevent humanitarian disaster such as genocide; a genocide taking place.  While the Saddam Hussein regime had committed atrocities on it's people, it was not doing so at that time.   In fact, the atrocities that were being committed on the people of Iraq were being committed by the International community by the International sanctions that had been placed on the country.

  So, in my opinion, and, in fact, and I resigned my career as a diplomat, because I firmly believe the U.S; the Bush administration has taken the country into a war crime and an illegal war of agrression.  I firmly support Lt. Watada's decision to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.  I think he is on firm, solid, legal ground that he is disobeying an illegal order.

  We support him - others support him too - not just myself.  A colleague in the Diplomatic Corps of the United Kingdom back in March 2003, same month I resigned, she resigned.  She was the Deputy Legal Counsel of the equivalent of the British State Department or the Foreign And Commonwealth Office.  Her name is Elizabeth Wilmshurst.  In her letter of resignation she specifically states the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom would be a war crime as a war of aggression.  The British government also threw away the legal opinions of it's lawyers and went ahead, just as the Bush administration went ahead to this illegal war.  

  I think we all have a responsibility as citizens to support those in our government, particularly our military who stand up.  It is not easy to stand up.  Having been in the military 29 years, I know the pressures that Lt. Watada is under.  It is very difficult thing to go against the organiztion.  When I resigned from the State Department, that was very difficult.  I had spent 16 years there.  It is hard to leave your colleagues and I know Lt. Watada is having a difficult time leaving his colleagues, the people he trained with..

  But there are higher principles at stake.  There are principles that will save one's conscience; I mean it is an act of conscience that he is doing but it will save his soul ... for going to war, to an illegal war where you will be committing illegal acts, where you will, in the name of the United States of America, be committing murder. These are things that people have to evaluate, what they want to live with the rest of their lives.   And Lt. Watada has said I will not have on my conscience the murder of innocent men, women and children.  I will not participate in an illegal war of agrression, a war crime.

  I hope all people of the United States will join us on June 27 when we do call for a National Day of Action to stand up for Lt. Watada.  (Here she names the organizations that endorse a National Day of Action, both national organizations and Washington state organizations and identified cities that are participating.)   We hope that hundreds and hundreds of cities all throughout America, cities and towns will join with us in a day of protest against this illegal war and a day of conscience where people, citizens and military stand up to say no more to these wars.

      Thank you.

 On a personal note, I have met and spent time with Col. Ann Wright, at Crawford, Texas, last August, and in Washington DC last September.  I vividly recall a press meeting in DC we were invited to attend, which included General Wesley Clark.  I was moved that General Clark asked for the U.S. flag to be brought into the room and the veterans from Veterans for Peace ceremoniously bringing the flag into the room and placing it in front.  I remarked to Ann that I was moved by the ritual, and it still stirs in me what feels like a strong sense of patriotic ownership in honoring what our flag means to me.  I have heard Ann speak before, and her speech in conjunction with Lt. Ehren Watada's action and decision brings more power to her own action and words and to his.

Coverage of this second press conference is carried in Seattle PI, the Seattle Times, and video coverage at KING 5 website .


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