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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into our 3rd year of speaking out
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Friday, 14 July 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada

Watada: Who taught him moral courage, integrity & values?

Expectations: The warrior immunized against the infection of moral blindness.

What do our adult children say when asked about who Americans are and what core values represent America's best message to the world?

Are our children opportunists with little regard for whatever America's core values truly represent because they are more motivated by some slick sales presentation that says excitement awaits when you're on the path of being all that you can be?

Are they, as has been pointed out in several venues, children out of poverty who joined up out of economic and intellectual desperation?

Are they genuine civic-minded patriots who combine their personal sense of self-development with career objectives blended with legitimate appreciation for what it means to live in the American democracy?

Or somewhere in between?

 

Voluntary military recruits - both those who've enlisted and those with commissions - bring to the military initiation process that set of ethics and morality cultivated in childhood. Although family circumstances in some cases were inadequate in helping create a solid foundation of ethics and morals, most who join come out of families where at least some degree of a value system was encouraged and demonstrated.

Ideally then, entry into military life would include a strengthening of moral and ethical traits into a blend with a warrior's code of conduct.

Soldiers are neither devoid of nor excused from ethical and moral responsibility. If - in destroying those preconceived notions considered by the military to be contrary to the values and skills necessary in a soldier - new notions, values and skills do not include a strong sense of moral responsibility then our basic training and combat training programs are harming both recruits and the nation.

Our sons and daughters are not to become amoral killing machines totally lacking in moral responsibility. This sense of moral responsibility absolutely must graduate from basic training intact in a soldier's mind and heart.

In the absence of real moral responsibility in our soldiers, not only will we see more and more tragic incidents of the shaming of one's self, one's unit, one's branch of service, one's community, and one's country, but the absence of moral responsibility will stand more fully revealed as a flaw in the civilian society as well.

The antics of civilian leadership when it deliberately ignores or downplays the horrific consequences of war, bombing campaigns and torture justified by something other than literal defense of the homeland reflects a legitimate moral blindness.

We do not send our children out to fight irresponsibly with no sense of ethics simply because the ethical and moral sense has been assigned to higher authorities.

We don't excuse our soldiers for ethical and moral lapses because authorities placed in positions of appointed power have - with self-preserving hypocrisy - labeled offenders as some few "bad apples," who deserve no further close scrutiny and need to be locked up, the key thrown away.

We should not tolerate civilian administrators pleading innocence because of the vast gap between the highest echelons of authority and the lowest front line chain of command; that front line where sergeants can be punished because a corporal suffered the same moral blindness as those self-serving civilians on Mount Olympus.

Moral blindness at an even more starkly elevated level insists that:

An invasion that became a military occupation must be continued in the name of staying on an immoral and unethical course of deliberate destruction of innocents because we were lied to by the liars who now declare that to cease the immoral aggression would be "cutting and running."

This is the lack of moral responsibility we've seen in the civilians now seated at the steering wheel who are passing judgment on the moral fiber of anyone who disagrees, thereby labeling dissent as treason.

Our soldiers absolutely must emerge from basic and combat training with moral competence intact.

I hope that stories of institutionalized programming of racial hatred, bigotry, stereotyping and name-calling are not predominantly a part of teaching warriors a moral and ethical code. If the stories are true, I declare here and now :  

They are not doing it in my name nor on behalf of my family. I repudiate these tactics of moral recklessness.

That is of course why we raise our children to become independent and self-reliant adults.

When my son or daughter join the military and enter into its initiation, I am not being unreasonable in expecting the military to blend its own sense of ethical and moral responsibility with that which we as parents have endeavored to plant in our children's hearts.

I clicked on a link in the article referred to at the end of this post and immediately found a book by Shannon French entitled The Code of the Warrior.

This from the Amazon site quoting Publisher's Weekly:

"French, a professor of philosophy and ethics at the U. S. Naval Academy, believes that the warrior needs an ethical framework not only to be an effective fighter but to remain a human being-and even to save his or her soul."


To which I want to add that as an American citizen who willingly endorses - if it happens - the decision of my own flesh and blood to join and serve in the military, I request that the military act in ways that reflect professionalism, integrity and personal class, teaching the real moral and ethical code of the warrior.

If my child has an officer's  commission and is to become a leader of soldiers, I do not expect a professional military leadership to attempt to destroy the inner sense of integrity of that fledgling officer. Nor to try to replace integrity with moral blindness.

Moral blindness can be infectious and if left untreated will pass from soldier to soldier, even from officer to officer.

Discernment is the key here and it is absolutely vital to this nation that we do not place morally blind officers in positions of command that lead to blind amoral obedience.

We do not want morally blind soldiers who cannot act competently when confrontations with ethical dilemmas arise. We want to see in our soldiers' behavior a strong support for legal authority, moral authority and ethical authority. To the degree that such authority is lacking or not modeled by the political leadership, America suffers.

This is no more amply demonstrated than by behavior at the highest levels that denigrates genuine dissent and genuine efforts to ascertain legalities, moralities and ethics involved in launching an invasion that has become an occupation of Iraq.

Hiding behind shallow "cut-and-run" slogans demonstrates aptly and without question the moral and ethical shallowness of placing politics at the forefront of national security priorities.

... of placing soldiers in confrontations demanding high ethical and moral values where none were taught or encouraged in a military too focused on fear of its civilian leadership.

Our 2004 election has been publicized as a victory for voters supporting moral values. The most prominent and whining conservative Religious leaders in this country have contributed to this fog of confusion regarding ethics and moral competency.

We have prominent voices declaring ethical nonsense like the U.S. should "blow them away in the name of the Lord,"  (J. Falwell)  

... or the disingenuous non-Christian immorality of looking the other way while a Republican administration invaded and occupied Iraq, requiring our children in the military to kill thousands of innocent Iraqis in the process.

These are ethical and moral lapses of the highest gravity - especially when it's revealed that Christian celebrities and policy lobbyists consider a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage or teaching creationism in schools to be higher godly priorities than murder wearing an American  Military uniform.

... As if God were focused on gays and evolution, looking the other way with no almighty interest in focusing a divine gaze on Iraq.


So what do we do when a soldier refuses an order based on his own developed sense of ethics, morality, loyalty and patriotism?

Again from the author of  The Code of the Warrior

"The best way to ensure that military personnel will not commit a war crime even if given (illegal) orders to do so by a superior officer, is, not to drill them on codes of conduct and provisions of international law but rather to help them internalize the significance of the history and tradition of the military and of concepts such as honor and courage in order to develop a coherent sense of what it means to be a member of the military."


What does the initiation into the military teach our children?

Discipline ... which of course takes many forms.

What does moral and ethical discipline look like in the life of an American soldier?

Whose moral and ethical values are the primary instinctive and emotional guides in a human being?

Certainly none taught by those infected with moral blindness.

I recommend the following article:

Teaching Military Ethics: Personal Development versus Moral Drill

By Mrs. E.M. Wortel
Faculty of Military Sciences
Netherlands Defense College
and
Major J.P.M. Schoenmakers
Netherlands Royal Military School

Which can be found at
The International Military Ethics Symposium.

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