A soldier's wife blasts Bush for 'backdoor' draft
Monday, October 18, 2004
By SUSAN PAYNTER
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST
[Excerpts below. Click here to read entire article.]
Stacy Bannerman has a big stake in the war in Iraq -- 6 feet 1 1/2 inches big.
But to her, supporting the troops -- including the tall, likable National Guardsman named Lorin to whom she is married -- does not mean yellow ribbons or an unconditional salute to her husband's commander-in-chief.
The Kent woman is featured in a TV ad hitting swing states this week that blasts Bush for the so-called "backdoor draft," which is extending the tours of thousands of Guardsmen like Lorin. The ad, sponsored by Texans for Truth, is just one of the ways Stacy is actively questioning the war her husband is being kept on to fight.
For many in the area who have joined groups like Military Families Speak Out, the act of standing up and speaking out is a new and tentative process.
When he married her on Dec. 23, 2000, her husband knew he was marrying someone with a point of view. She had been the first white executive director of the Martin Luther King Center in Spokane.
In turn, Stacy knew her husband had joined the Guard soon after high school and had served almost 16 years. So when he told her he'd decided to answer a (pre-war) call to "re-up" with an eye toward fighting forest fires and securing retirement "bennies," she was surprised but not worried.
Then came war. And soon after -- on a day Stacy was folding thousands of school fliers for a peace-and-poetry workshop -- Iraq.
Lorin should have been home this summer. His 20-year commitment to the Guard ended June 22. Now his tour in Iraq won't end until late March or early April -- a year and four months since the last time she saw him.
"This is the work. This is the critical issue of our time. It's about integrity and defining the soul of America," she said.
Sure, she's been shouted at, told she is "jeopardizing the mission" and not supporting the troops.
"But silence is not support. My husband is 'the troops' and if exercising my right to speak up is truly jeopardizing the mission, if the mission is that tenuous or questionable, then we've got no business being there," she said.