Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter


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


(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

(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)


(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'


(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


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.

Contact us

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
You can call us at 617-522-9323
or Send us mail at:
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 - 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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into our 3rd year of speaking out
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16 Jul, 07 > 22 Jul, 07
9 Jul, 07 > 15 Jul, 07
4 Jun, 07 > 10 Jun, 07
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5 Mar, 07 > 11 Mar, 07
26 Feb, 07 > 4 Mar, 07
19 Feb, 07 > 25 Feb, 07
12 Feb, 07 > 18 Feb, 07
5 Feb, 07 > 11 Feb, 07
29 Jan, 07 > 4 Feb, 07
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8 Jan, 07 > 14 Jan, 07
1 Jan, 07 > 7 Jan, 07
25 Dec, 06 > 31 Dec, 06
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1 May, 06 > 7 May, 06
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3 Apr, 06 > 9 Apr, 06
27 Mar, 06 > 2 Apr, 06
20 Mar, 06 > 26 Mar, 06
13 Mar, 06 > 19 Mar, 06
6 Mar, 06 > 12 Mar, 06
27 Feb, 06 > 5 Mar, 06
20 Feb, 06 > 26 Feb, 06
13 Feb, 06 > 19 Feb, 06
30 Jan, 06 > 5 Feb, 06
23 Jan, 06 > 29 Jan, 06
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24 Oct, 05 > 30 Oct, 05
26 Sep, 05 > 2 Oct, 05
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25 Jul, 05 > 31 Jul, 05
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Thursday, 11 January 2007

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Members Speak Out

Does increase of 92,000 troops equate to a "Temporary Surge" ?

92,000 troops   over next five years as is being recommended to the President by the new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates does not sound like a 'temporary surge' to me.

AP yahoo article here Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade will be going earlier than planned.  And likely WA state Natl Guard will be deploying again. Affected will be units based in Minnesota, Kansas, Georgia and Washington.  

Why did US troops have to "storm" an Iran Consulate  and arrest 6 staff members?  Iran? It isn't too difficult to conclude the President has his eye on Iran.  But where would the troops come from for that front?  The troops already have been recycled in repetitious deployments to the point of exhaustion and military recruitment isn't at an all time high. [ed note] correction -Iran Consulate

Senators and Representatives of Washington state will you represent us in Washington with the courage of the purse strings? And since this is not strictly a Washington state issue, but a national issue, you have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership among your peers.

The phone is ringing off the hook at the national office of Military Families Speak Out, with media requests to speak to military families. Media wants to know the reactions of military families to President Bush speech last night. After all, who is most directly affected by the President's plans for troop increase?  

Military families - those who actually have loved ones deployed, not once but twice, three times, and anticipating additional deployments - are in the best position to know how Bush's war is affecting  our troops.  

Military families - whose loved ones won't be returning because they already paid the ultimate price with their lives - know how Bush's war is affecting our troops.  

Military families - those who will live with the progressive effects of trauma in the family for years to come - know how Bush's war is affecting their marriages, children, family, the very fabric of their lives.

Bush's war - well maybe that is where it was initially, but now it's Congress' war. Parse it any way, it is an inheritance to the newly elected 110th Congres. Will they take action to interrupt funding the war with the newly won 'power' they say they didn't have before 2006 elections?   It would be unfathomable to me if our elected Democratic majority Congress were to use a political ploy to keep this as Bush's war and not own what has become their war for another two years in an effort to jockey for political position in some future election.  

I pray for strength and courage for our Congress over these immediate next hours and days as they contend with this critical decision of what to do about the President and Commander-in-Chief escalating the U.S. occupation in Iraq.  So far the non-binding resolution being suggested denotes non-action to me.  Would that they could persuade me that the cost of more lives in Iraq buys them time to carry out some grand master plan they might be keeping under wraps.  

I've heard it said among my political friend circles that first they had to get them elected, then could take action. Well they are elected, the people voted - not so much for a love of the Democratic party  - but for a change in Iraq  and the time for the newly elected Congress to take  action is now - yesterday , today, tomorrow - immediately and urgently.  

You are welcome to download and use the postcard to send to your Congressional Representative and Senators. Try clicking on the postcard. For use and download instructions visit this page at Military Families Speak Out.

With the ball now in their court,  here are reasons why we must insist Congress act with integrity and responsibility;    


* Administration officials have been calling the Bush proposal a troop surge, when it may, in fact be, an escalation of war in Middle East.  I well remember a President Bush speech that spoke of 'the long war' and I took those words to heart because I believe he meant and believed them.  Which is not to say that I believe in him, but I've learned that this President who is Commander-in-Chief and controls the lives and destiny of the Iraq veterans in my family is deadly serious about his war.

    * The Bush administration has always said that they would listen to the commanders on the ground. Yet when the commanders oppose the idea of increasing troop strength in Iraq, they are replaced.  It would seem the administration only listens to the commanders when they say what the administration wants them to.

    * More and more members of Congress (Republican  and Democrat) this week have been pointing out that increasing troop levels by 10 or 20,000 is not going to make things better in Iraq - it will make things worse. Adding more troops adds fuel to the fire raging in Iraq, it won't calm things down. More U.S. troops in Iraq will not "fix" a war that should never have started.  

    * Increasing troops on the ground in Iraq will result in the deaths of more U.S. troops and more Iraqi children, women and men. It will increase the number of wounded and the number of U.S. troops returning with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  

    * If thousands of troops are "added" to the ground in Iraq, they won't be "new" troops. Units currently in Iraq and currently scheduled to come home will be extended; other units that were not supposed to deploy for months, will be sent to Iraq earlier, often without full training or equipment.

    * By moving to escalate the war in Iraq, President Bush is doing the unconscionable: he is paying for his mistakes with the lives of our loved ones and the loved ones of others. If Congress allows this war to continue and escalate, they will also be doing the unconscionable.

    * It is now up to Congress to use their power of the purse to end funding for the war in Iraq. Congress cannot simultaneously oppose and fund this war.

    * It is not enough for Senators and Members of Congress to be talking about using their power of the purse to block the funds needed for escalating the war in Iraq. They must address the fact that there are currently 140,000 troops in Iraq right now who need to be brought home and taken care of when they get here. Each day that Congress fails to act to end the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, on average 3 more U.S. troops and countless Iraqi children, women and men die.

    * Some Senators and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are suggesting that cutting off funds for the war in Iraq will leave our loved ones and all of our troops in Iraq without equipment, supplies, armor, vehicles, and ammunition. They say that cutting funds would be `abandoning' our troops. De-funding the war is not de-funding the troops. In fact, de-funding this war is the most supportive thing that Congress can do for our troops.

    * per Congressman Kucinich - there are currently enough monies in the supplemental appropriation passed by Congress in fall, 2006 to bring our troops home quickly and safely, with all the equipment and supplies needed for this redeployment. If more monies are needed to bring our troops home quickly and safely, monies in the Department of Defense budget could be re-programmed for that purpose. Congress, using their power of the purse to de-fund this war, will NOT be abandoning our troops - leaving them in Iraq is abandoning them.

    * It is past time for Congress to end the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, bring our troops home now, and take care of them when they get here.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST

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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