Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter was invited to give a presententation at 2007 NW Progressive Conference held at Washington State University in Pullman, WA.
David Kannas, Arthur Ruger and Lietta Ruger headed out on a sunny Friday, April 20, from Western Washington to Eastern Washington to introduce Military Families Speak Out to Eastern Washington. David got within 150 miles of Pullman when his vehicle decided it would go no further.
David spent the rest of Friday making arrangements for vehicle repairs. He had a great introduction presentation prepared, and even if he didn't get a chance to give it, I'd like to include the text here.
Arthur and Lietta gave the presentations at WSU, and followed up with meeting people at the MFSO merchandising table. Photos below.
2007 Northwest Progressive Conference
Washington State University
April 19-21, 2007
Bios as they appeared in the program for Military Families Speak Out;
His son is career Security Police serving TDYs in Kuwait, Kyrgistan, and two in Iraq (Balad and Kirkuk). During his last tour he worked with the Army doing convoy security from Balad to FOBs. Trained by the U.S. Army in heavy weapons and field medical treatment. He was responsible for a medical kit that included equipment to treat traumatic amputation and IV insertion. He is going to return to Iraq some time this summer.
David is a Vietnam veteran as Security Police with the U.S. Air Force. Masters in Speech Communication. Taught public speaking at College of Marin in CA while a graduate student. Taught Criminal Law at Shoreline Community College; Intro to Criminal Investigation at Washington State Police Academy. Invited guest speaker at several colleges on various issues related to Criminal Justice. Retired from the Seattle Police Department; Detective - Homicide/Assault Unit.
"I am proud of my service and remain a patriot to this day and strongly support the military but not the abuse of the military as is now the case."
She has two returing Iraq veterans in her famil, her son-in-law and her nephew. Both are active U.S. Army and served in a 15 month extended (stop-lossed) deployments, 1st Armored, Operation Iraq Freedom, March 2003 through July 2004. Her son-in-law is in training now for second deployment to Iraq in 2007, which will be another extended (stop-lossed) 15 month deployment. Her nephew believes he will also face second deployment to Iraq this year, 2007.
Lietta was a young military wife to husband drafted and deployed to Vietnam. She was was raised in the military life in an Air Force family where home was numerous military installations abroad and in U.S..
Lietta has had 16 year career in social work specification with state of Washingtn. She began training to become a licensed Episcopal lay preacher in 2003. She began her activism in speaking out against the Iraq war with her sermons in 2003, then joined Military Families Speak Out where her first public media interview was with Newshour with Jim Lehrer, which aired October 2004.
She is now the Military Families Speak Out, Washington state chapter coordinator, and over the years of activism, she has participated in delegation meetings with many U.S. Congress Senators and Representatives in supporting our our military troops by advocating to bring them home now and take care of them when they get home. She has spent time camping in a ditch in Crawford, Texas in the first week August 2005 in support of Cindy Sheehan's month long Camp Casey Vigil. She spent four weeks on the Bring Them Home Now bus tour from Crawford, Texas to Washington DC in September 2005.
She was one of the organizers for 8 months of support campaigns leading up to the court martial of Lt. Ehren Watada, the first U.S. Army Officer to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq in June 2006 based on his discernment of Iraq as an illegal war, therefore illegal orders to deploy to Iraq.
Military Families Speak Out - www.mfso.org
website - Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter
Lietta's blog - Dying to Preserve the Lies http://dyingwarriors.blogspot.com/
Arthur is a Viet Nam Era Veteran having served 6 years in the USAF and 2 years in the Army Reserves. Arthur is also a member of The Prop Wash Gang, an online group of veterans who all served a somewhat unique airborne duty. See Silent Warriors.com http://www.silent-warriors.com
Arthur Ruger is a social worker employed by the State of Washington, past president of Local 970 of the Washington Federation of State Employees and serves currently as the union shop steward for DSHS offices in South Bend, Long Beach and Aberdeen, Washington. Arthur is also certified as a Spanish and Russian interpreter for DSHS.
Born in Idaho in 1946, he is a charter member of the Baby Boomers who - after classes at six institutions of higher learning - managed to graduate with a B.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Houston, Texas.
Originally trained for priesthood and ministry in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Arthur more recently has labored at St. Johns Episcopal Parish in South Bend, Washington as a lay preacher, organist and Senior Warden.
In addition to an intense interest in the American political and regious scene, Arthur's is actively concerned with leigitmate family values and priorities and not the pretend issues of those seeking political power and wealth.
"Family issues and values are important as we are parents of a blended family with 8 children and 15 grandchildren."
An adamant believer in the power of the internet and need for an online citizen's sharing community, Arthur writes and publishes following blogs:
Willapa Magazine : (General Interest) http://www.swandeer.com/willapa/
The American Choice: (Politics and Civics) http://www.swandeer.com
The American Christian: (Religion) http://arthur-ruger.blogspot.com/
Arthur Ruger, MFSO member stands beside the banner at Todd Hall, WSU, Pullman, WA.
Lietta Ruger, MFSO member stands beside the banner at Todd Hall, WSU, Pullman, WA.
Arthur Ruger at MFSO table points to our message 'Bring Them Home Now'
Just in case you didn't get a good enough look at our new Washington state chapter MFSO banner.
MFSO member, David Kannas, prepared speech:
NW Progressive Conference (MFSO)
By way of introduction, let me say that I am not an anti-military, unpatriotic wacko as some on the other side of my politics would have you believe.
I am a person with a personal stake in this illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq. My son, Dylan, a former student at WSU, has been in Iraq twice and will return some time this summer. My daughter, Rachel, was until recently in the Army Reserve and was activated when she was a senior in nursing at PLU. She was active for a year in Texas then returned to college to make up that year. She is now an RN. Rachel was recently informed that although she served her eight years in the reserve, she is still eligible for recall because of stop loss. She is five months pregnant with our grandchild, so may be deferred like Cheney was during Vietnam. In short, my family has a long history of military service and I am proud of that.
The point here is that my views about this “war” can’t be questioned on patriotic grounds. I just don’t think that blindly following bad leadership is patriotic. My views certainly can’t be judged as unpatriotic by a president who took a reserve slot during Vietnam that assured that he would never go there and who did not complete that commitment. A vice president who took multiple deferments while in college because he was “otherwise occupied” most certainly can’t question it.
All that aside, why am I unwilling to sit by while this illegal and immoral occupation continues? There are multiple reasons, but primarily I don’t want to see my country drug any further down by this administration. I don’t want to see any more names of the military dead who gave the last measure when those who sent them there did not have the guts to do the same. I don’t want to see the carnage that Iraq has experienced continued in my name. I want to be proud of my country. I want my son, who has chosen a military career, to be able to do that in good conscience and with the knowledge that he and his comrades are not being thrown away by an administration that thinks that power and politics trump honor and decency.
So, what am I doing to make my voice heard? There are some fairly mundane things that I do.
Becoming a part of MFSO is one of those.
Every Tuesday from eleven to one I march in front of the Federal Building in Seattle with a group of like-minded people. One of these people is Joe Colgan whose son was killed in Iraq in 2003. We carry placards, hand out flyers, talk to passers by, wave at cars that pass and blow their horns in support. We also visit Senator Murray’s office periodically and let them know that we are still thinking of them. Joe and another one of our group sat in at her office for 28 hours at one point waiting for an answer to a question. They weren’t arrested or forced out. Basically, we forced people to notice us and the purpose for our being there.
I also marched in the parade in Seattle that marked the fourth anniversary of this invasion. We were a huge voice for change that could not be ignored. The marched stopped an orderly commute for many people that day, but I did not here one bad word from anyone. Many who were just walking along the sidewalk joined us and made the voice louder. Such a voice can’t be ignored.
I talk then talk some more.
I write poetry. Not great poetry, but poetry none-the-less, and I spread it around unashamedly. You may be subjected to some of that today.
And I seek out like-minded people for support and a sense that there are others who think you I do.
I recall Vietnam and how I went into it full of piss and vinegar, to use an old phrase. Then I woke up from that nightmare. What brought me around? Time and distance for certain. But also the deafening roar of voices against it. Voices of people like you and me, but mostly of people like you, students and young people in general.
On Tuesday when our little group is marching in front of the Federal Building in Seattle, I notice one thing that stands out in our group: gray hair. We are mostly codgers, gray beards. One man comes in a wheel chair when he comes. One man can only stay for an hour because he has cancer and can’t stand for long, but he comes. There are some Vietnam Vets like me.
Is my voice a call to arms? You better believe it is! I am asking you all to join us in voicing your opposition to this illegal invasion and occupation of a country that did not present a security threat to us and whose people don’t deserve what they’re being dealt.
So, I ask that you support the troops by bringing them home and by taking care of them when they return.