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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CHRONOLOGICAL ARCHIVES
into our 3rd year of speaking out
13 Oct, 08 > 19 Oct, 08
7 Jan, 08 > 13 Jan, 08
29 Oct, 07 > 4 Nov, 07
10 Sep, 07 > 16 Sep, 07
16 Jul, 07 > 22 Jul, 07
2 Jul, 07 > 8 Jul, 07
4 Jun, 07 > 10 Jun, 07
28 May, 07 > 3 Jun, 07
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9 Apr, 07 > 15 Apr, 07
2 Apr, 07 > 8 Apr, 07
26 Mar, 07 > 1 Apr, 07
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5 Mar, 07 > 11 Mar, 07
26 Feb, 07 > 4 Mar, 07
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5 Feb, 07 > 11 Feb, 07
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Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Now Playing: Rich Moniak
Topic: Members Speak Out
Rich Moniak is an MFSO member who was invited to serve as a Citizen's Tribunal Panel Member this coming weekend. I've been trying for some time to get Rich to join Washblog and post some of his writings here. He has written some excellent stuff but has not been a blogger although he has written and spoken publicly as a member of Military Families Speak Out.

I'd like for Washblog to be the place he turns into a blogger.

Rich sent me the following article which asks a provocative question:

Why Can't Bush Find 21,000 Iraqi Troops?
As the debate about President Bush's new "surge" strategy intensifies, we might also try to engage in a critical assessment of one of the primary elements of his long standing "stay the course". Way back in June 2005 he told us "our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." And as recently as a week after the 2006 election, he seemed to be holding firm to the objective to train Iraqi troops.  

 

 

Two years ago during the presidential debates, Bush boasted there were 100,000 Iraqis already trained to "make Iraq safe and secure." Four weeks ago, Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey predicted that the "Iraqi security forces will reach their goal of 325,000 trained and equipped members this month."By these numbers we might imagine the coalition forces in Iraq have increased threefold. So why can't the administration find 21,000 reliable Iraqi troops for his "surge" to secure Baghdad and the western provinces?

Americans are thoroughly familiar with the debate about supporting our troops through adequate funding. It will be called to the forefront again as Congress debates Senator Kennedy's proposed legislation that will deny the President the authority to use the funds necessary to commit more troops to Iraq without specific approval of Congress.  The anti-war movement is being accused of not supporting the troops in their campaign to "de-fund" the war and bring them home now.  

From a funding perspective, who is supporting the Iraqi troops America needs to stand up so ours can come home? According to the Iraq Study Group report our "military priorities in Iraq must change" to make one of the highest priorities the training, equipping, advising of Iraqi security forces. The much celebrated bipartisan report that Bush has essentially ignored explains that the Iraqi security forces:

"cannot carry out their missions without adequate equipment. Congress has been generous in funding requests for U.S. troops, but it has resisted fully funding Iraqi forces. The entire appropriation for Iraqi defense forces for FY 2006 ($3 billion) is less than the United States currently spends in Iraq every two weeks. ... They [Iraqis] lack the ability to sustain their operations, the capability to transport supplies and troops, and the capacity to provide their own indirect fire support, close-air support, technical intelligence, and medical evacuation."  

Not fully funding the Iraqis with the equipment for the mission they are supposed to take over from us seems to be a major reason why our troops are still in Iraq. It undermines the progress Bush has been boasting about for almost two years. The failure to fund his own strategy seems to be a conscious decision by the Bush administration that has put forth every budget request that Congress has approved.  

Perhaps the administration and Congress don't trust what the Iraqis will do with the funds and equipment we provide. There's been plenty of evidence that give rise to question the loyalties of some Iraqi units. With more than half of the Iraqi people claiming to support attacks against U.S. troops, strong suspicions that weapons might be siphoned off and delivered to the militias and other resistance groups seems well justified.  

Yet how can we expect the Iraqi forces that supposedly now double the U.S. troops there to succeed on less than 4% of the budget for our troops? Shouldn't they expect the same quality of weapons and equipment to fight the same enemy? When the Iraqis see the shortcomings of their equipment next to the mighty American war machine, how could they trust U.S. intentions as sincerely aimed at helping them defend Iraq?  

Has the program failed because it was under funded or has the U.S. resisted funding it because we've been betrayed by the people our troops are fighting for? But the word failure implies the intentions were honest. Perhaps we should be asking how well has the administration succeeded in camouflaging its intent to fail. What would happen to Iraq if our tax dollars were adequate to support the military mission of training the Iraqis so we can leave their country?

It's no secret that Bush's goals and the neocon agenda of installing a pro-American secular government in Iraq failed. Instead, the country's free elections gave them a government dominated by a Shiite coalition much more aligned with Iran's interests than ours. Iran remains part of Bush's axis of evil, and an Iran-Iraq alliance may shut him out of the oil bonanza.

The lack of mutual trust seems obvious. It's placed the administration and Congress in the impossible situation of needing the new Iraqi military to succeed so we can leave, while being hog tied to the fear that whatever weapons and equipment are provided might end up in the wrong hands. They don't want to arm and strengthen those they blame for the sectarian violence, and certainly not a potential future enemy. They have to prolong the failure of getting the Iraqis prepared to defend their own country because they're afraid that seeking success might more readily guarantee a long term failure.  

The word surge isn't a mask for escalation, but for stalling. The administration doesn't want an independent Iraq unless it comes with the government it deems as acceptable. It's not coming soon, and while we wait, Bush wants to send more of our men and women to fight a battle they can't win. By not fully funding training and equipment for the Iraqis to defend themselves, it's difficult to imagine how President Bush has been supporting American troops who need their new Iraqi allies to succeed so we can stand down and bring them all home.


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