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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Saturday, 10 June 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada

Update; Military attempts to stop Lt. Watada from speaking against illegal war

link Thank you Lt Ehren for resisting an illegal war website

An expected reaction by U.S. Army to Lt. Watada's public statement of his intent to refuse to deploy with his unit to Iraq.  

The time to act in support of Lt Watada is now, as Stryker brigade our of Fort Lewis is scheduled to deploy to Iraq before the end of June 2006.  This is not a time to languish, rather a time to give direct support to Lt Watada's act of courage as an Officer of the U.S. Army.  

Lt Watada has said he expects and accepts there will be consequences to his public statement of illegal war / illegal orders and the Army is correct to act.  What you can do right now will unlikely influence what Lt Watada will have to face, and he expects fully to face charges and resulting punishments.  

But, you most assuredly can influence furthering authentic dialogue about what compels Lt Watada to take this action.  Please help get Lt Watada's story widely distributed, sign the petition at his support website, and contact the influential people you know to alert them to unfolding developments.   Washington can and should do everything it can to further the courageous actions of Lt. Watada.  Please don't leave it to the usual peace and activist groups.  This is a real opportunity, imo, that has potential to be more effective in engaging people to act on their own consciences much like Lt. Watada is doing.

Please don't let his act of an Officer's courage be his alone.  Thank you.

more below the fold


link Thank you Lt Ehren for resisting an illegal war website

Military attempts to stop Lt. Watada from speaking against illegal war       

PRESS ADVISORY (June 9, 2006) - On Thursday, June 8, 2006 U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada's commanding officer moved to prosecute Lt. Watada for protected speech. An official investigation into his public speech in opposition to the illegal war in Iraq is underway. Lt. Watada was read his rights and declined to make a statement without a lawyer present.

In response, Lt. Watada confirmed, "I have a legal and ethical obligation to speak out against, and refuse to fight, this patently illegal war in Iraq. This has not changed."

Eric Seitz, lead attorney for Lt. Watada's legal team, declared "It is obvious that the military is simply trying to keep him from speaking out in opposition to the unlawful war."

On Wednesday, June 7th U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada became the first U.S. commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the unlawful Iraq war and occupation. Standing before the national media at a Tacoma, Washington press conference, Lt. Watada outlined his duty to refuse the illegal order to deploy in support of an illegal war. A showdown with military is imminent as Lt. Watada's Stryker brigade is scheduled to deploy from Fort Lewis, Washington for Iraq within days.

Steve Morse, director of the GI Rights Hotline, a non-governmental legal resource center for members of the military, explains "When soldiers join the military they swear to uphold our Constitution, they do not give up their basic right to freedom of speech." According Mr. Morse, "Members of the military clearly have the right to say what they think and feel about the military, and even participate in peaceful demonstrations, as long as they are off-duty, out of uniform, off-base, and within the United States. This is outlined in Department of Defense Directive 1325.6".

It is expected that the military is moving to stage a Commanding Officer's Non-Judicial Punishment hearing (Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) in order to impose even further restrictions on Lt. Watada. The military will likely focus their investigation on vague UCMJ articles that bar "conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman" (Article 133) and "any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President (or any senior members of government)" (Article 88).

# # # END # # #

Note: We are aware that the Fort Lewis military public affairs office may have not yet been informed of this new development.


  Support website for Lt. Ehren Watada; follow updates there (and you can add your name to the petition there)
Thank you Lt Ehren Watada

  Hear Lt Ehren Watada speak for himself.  Video; Lt Watada answers media questions; June 7, 2006, Tacoma, 6 PM.  
media conference, Lt Ehren Watada answers media questions

  Daily Kos Lt Watada stories; see Daniel Kirkdorffer's DK diary
U.S. Soldier Publicly Protests Deployment

 and Lietta Ruger's DK diary Military Families support Lt Watada at Tacoma press conference text

  see Daniel's blog here at the Portal; he is blogging Lt Watada's story; On The Road To 2008

  and see the stories on Lt Watada here at Washblog; Fort Lewis Army Lt. Set To Refuse Deployment To Iraq

also Military Families support Lt Watada at Tacoma press conference

Please add some part of the story or link referrals to your own blog, and please network Lt Watada's story widely. Whether your conscience supports his decision or it doesn't, his actions nonetheless depict courage and at the very least are deserving and befitting of authentic dialogue among the 'netroots', blogging community, media community, political community, military community, and among citizens of this country who have civilian responsibilities to our troops at a time when our nation is at war.  

Thank you -

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Friday, 9 June 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada

Military Families support Lt Watada at Tacoma press conference


[Update] The Nation has comprehensive and substanative article, June 12, 2006, addressing Lt Watada's decision, position and legalities; Lieutenant Watada's War Against the War [end update]

Reporting on press conference of Lt Ehren Watada, Tacoma, WA, June 7, 2006.  Yes, that is me in the photo, to the right of Lt Watada when he was first introduced at the 6 PM media conference.  I'm in the white Military Families Speak Out - (WA state chapter) t-shirt.  Supporters give him welcome applause.

I was there at the noon press conference, Lt Watada was prohibited by his Fort Lewis chain of command from attending the scheduled noon press conference. In his absence his statement was given  in the prepared video taped DVD.  Announcement made that Lt Watada would be available at 6 PM to answer questions if media/press wanted to return at that time.  Media/press did return, and I was there for both the noon and the 6PM press conferences.  

My report and perceptions with links to actual video of Lt Watada answering questions from the media which you can hear for yourself and form your own perceptual opinions.  He is very poised and even in expressing his thoughts and I was very impressed with this young 28 yr old Officer.  

Noon press conference, June 7, 2006.  When I arrived there was already considerable media with the satellite vans parked around the building, along with cameras, camera people and microphones. I was pleased as it signalled to me that media viewed this as an important story.  Inside the lights, cameras and mics were set up and the plasma tv was in place.  

Supporters were outside and inside, and there were four of us from Military Families Speak Out in our t-shirts to show visible support of military families for Lt Watada decision to make public his intention to refuse deployment orders to Iraq. We took our place alongside the veterans of Veterans for Peace who were there to show support.

left to right; Military Families Speak Out Jenny Keesey - Elma; Judy Linehan - Olympia; Lietta Ruger - Bay Center.  Also not pictured Stacy Bannerman - Kent.  

It was announced Lt Watada would not be able to attend so we knew the prepared DVD statement would be used.  There were to be 4 presenters prior to introducing Lt Watada.  We went ahead with the presenters anyway followed by the DVD of Lt Watada's prepared statement.  

-- The Rev. Jim Davis, a United Methodist minister and chaplain of the University of Puget Sound.

-- Majorie Cohn, a professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the Natioinal Lawyers Guild

-- Joe Colgan, WA veteran and father of Lt Benjamin Colgan, killed in Iraq in 2003. See dvd Gunner Palace in which Lt Benjamin's unit was being filmed when Lt Benjamin Colgan was killed.

-- Judy Linehan, Military Families Speak Out, mother of son, returning Iraq veteran who had deployed to Iraq with Stryker Brigade. (We elected Judy to speak for all four of us and it was emotional for her since her own son has connection to Fort Lewis and Stryker brigade)

-- Lt Ehren Watada's prepared DVD statement.


  video of noon press conference
Northwest Cable News

   video of Lt Ehren Watada's prepared DVD statement
KIRO 7 tv

   Announcement was then made that Lt Watada would be available at 6PM to take questions from the media if media wanted to return.  I decided to return for the 6 PM conference.  Interestingly, Jenny and I had arranged to meet and drive one car (save gas $$) and she had previous committments so could not stay in Tacoma till 6PM.  Same for Judy and Stacy.  Jenny drove us back to our neck of the woods out here in Grays Harbor and Pacific County, and I got back into my own vehicle and immediately drove back to Tacoma.  These are about 2 hour drives from where we live in these outlying counties. So not a few hours spent in driving on Wednesday.  

   I arrived back in Tacoma at 6PM straight up, and bustled through the cameras and mics to get up front with the supporters. Veterans for Peace was already there, and made room for me with them and that is how I wound up right next to the podium.

  When Lt Watada was introduced, the warm and welcome applause was heart-warming and that is the only photo I've seen that has me smiling.  There are several other photos of Lt Watada and I show up in the photos since I was standing right next to him, but I'm not smiling in any of the other photos.  Well, it was a somber occasion.

  As I listened to the young Lt Watada field the hardball and softball questions from the media, I was much impressed with his poise.  He behaved with the kind of humility, dignity and respect I would expect from an Officer.  Obviously he has had time to reflect, prepare for this moment since he has been contemplating his decision since Jan 06, and it is evident a lot of thought went into his decision, his prepared statement and he answered the media questions put to him from his own convictions.  

  Rather than report and repeat the media accounts you likely have already read, refer to the video link for the 6 PM media conference and hear him for yourself in entirety.  He answered questions for 1/2 hour or longer and it is all in the video link.  He answered a question from a little boy, not more than say 7 yrs old who asked the Lt 'why do you think this war is bad'.  Lt Watada answered him patiently and did not talk down to him.  I was impressed.
Link video
6 PM media conference, Lt Ehren Watada answers media questions KING 5

  It was Lt Watada's 28th birthday the same day of the press conference, June 7, and some of you may know how I feel about the importance of young people participating actively in this process of democracy and our nation's future.  I was personally moved as I stood there thinking 'he's so young, and he's having the courage to do this' -- it was moving.

  Lt Watada had two lawyers standing behind him, and when they thought enough media questions had been asked and answered, they wrapped it up and announced enough questions.  They then started to escort Lt Watada out of the room, and I said to one of the lawyers 'wait, I very much want to shake his hand'.  The attorney smiled and was willing, but by then Lt Watada was already out the door.  The attorney shrugged, smiled and moved on.
I really wanted Lt Watada to know we are a military family with returning Iraq veterans and I was there to support him.  

  Ahh, but wait, there on the podium was Lt Watada's cell phone he had set down and I just knew he would need his cell phone.  So I grabbed it, and made my way to the door and to the back room where they had taken him for debriefing.  I explained to the people monitoring in the hallway that I needed to give him his phone.  They let me pass, and of course, my t-shirt rather is recognizeable, so I guess I was considered safe.

  I went into the room, where Lt Watada and the two attorneys were in conversation.  I thanked Ehren, shook his hand, explained I was a military family.  He asked if we had -- well he didn't have to finish the question -- I knew.  Yes, I told him - 2 returning Iraq veterans in our family.  I gave him his phone and shook his hand agan and said 'thank you Sir, for what you are doing'.  Then I left the room.

  It was over, and many of us milled about for a short while outside.  There were some either impromptu or planned private interviews by media with Lt Watada afterwards so we did not get to see him again that evening.  

  That wraps up my account.  Questions, please ask, as I may have overlooked writing some detail.  Please do view the video of Lt Watada's 6 PM media conference and listen to him answer media questions, as I think it will give you a more personal perspective of him.
6 PM media conference, Lt Ehren Watada answers media questions KING 5

My understanding is that Lt Watada will be presenting over the weekend, and at this time the best information I have so far is;

On Sunday, June 11 at 1 p.m. at the Traditions Fair Trade, corner of 5th and Water, Olympia, WA, Lieutenant Ehren Watada will speak on his reasons for Refusing to obey the order to deploy to Iraq
[edited to add link and also posted at Daily Kos]

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Friday, 2 June 2006

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

Deal with it; KING 5 interview w/ Haditha Marine in WA

 As more disturbing facts come out surrounding the killings of up to two dozen civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha last November, KING 5 talked with a local Marine who was a member of the squad now under investigation.

The incident began November 19 when the Humvee that North Bend, Wash. native Lance Cpl. James Crossan was riding in was blown up by a roadside bomb.

link; video interview at KING 5



   Think issue of Iraq doesn't affect everyday life in our fine state of Washington?  Think selectively ignoring the reality of WAR because it's too hard to grasp the inevitabilities of combatant war is a good way to cope with a reality-based issue?  Wonder why I feel the need to continue to demand leadership from U.S. Senators of Washington state?  And I wonder why more Washingtonian's don't feel as strong a need while the political football game continues to be played as a 'game' in the face of 'war'.

  Did folks really think ignoring that our troops are sent into combat in 2nd and 3rd and 4th deployments wouldn't come home to roost in your hometown?  How about when I asked Sen. Cantwell at  my second opportunity to meet with her, May 6, 2006 about the two Fort Lewis Rangers who were killed in their 6th deployment and she didn't know a thing about it.  And once she realized I was citing a link; Tacoma News Tribune;March 22, 2006; Two Ft Lewis Army Rangers killed in Iraq on 6th deployment  article, she made a stab at ignorance 'how could they be on 6th deployment when the war has only been 3 yrs.  That would mean the war would be in 6th year'  

  My reaction probably didn't help enlighten her much, but my astonishment at her lack of knowledge of military combat deployments in her own state astonished me into an astonished response.  What I said was 'Maria, they're Rangers and combat deployments are combat deployments'.  What was left unsaid by me was that combat deployments whether 3 months at a time or a year at a time are still 'combat deployments' where death happens on all sides. What I failed to respond to in my own astonishment was to point out the very real impact on a human being in a trauma-based killing, carnage and combat situation continues to live on manifesting the natural human reaction response to trauma for years to come, in our own communities here in Washington state.  

  Not a great way to help our U.S. Senator better understand the situation, I agree, but then, you know I would have actually expected the Senator to know more about the circumstances that directly affect some of her constituents in an issue of our country at war.  And I would have actually expected that if she didn't or doesn't know, that she would listen to those of us who might have more direct knowledge since we are so directly impacted by this war.  Yeah, us military families,  who live with this freakin war while others are 'drinking liberally' and finding the stimulating fun in blogging.

   Guess you can tell I'm extremely upset, and it probably reflects in my writing.  I can only guess now at how people and media and blogs will react to Haditha, along with the other incidents that will be unveiled.  But then I lived as a young military wife with a husband returning from Vietnam, so it won't be too hard to guess at some possible reactions.

   You're willing to have the 2 returning Iraq veterans in my family be redeployed to this carnage?  Expand that to mean returning any of the returning Iraq veterans to this horrific, undefined mission as an agreement with the Dem position of 'transition in 2006; when the Iraqi security stands up our troops can stand down'. You're willing to send in fresh new troops? Oh, you did catch the news that additional troops were just sent in, some fresh for the first time, some on repeat deployments.  As in fresh out of high school, a high school perhaps in your community?   How courageous is that and doesn't that make you complicit somehow in failing to do what we expect our U.S. troops to do in having integrity, courage on the battlefield, honor and dignity in the act of killing, maiming and carnage?  

  You do have a job as citizens in this upside down political relationship when our country decides to deploy military into combat.  An old model I learned growing up as a military brat was a triangular model regarding war.   A prepared military intended to PREVENT war.  In war, a Commander-in-Chief with responsibility to the actual Constitution, to the deployed military troops and to the citizens.  Military troops with responsibility to the Constitution and subsequent to that the Commander-in-Chief and subsequent to that the citizens.  Citizens have a responsibility to the military troops by fully expecting and demanding the Commander-in-Chief respect and fulfill the responsibility to the Constitution and to the military troops he has put into combat on a war footing. Congress factors into this equation with both responsibilities and accountabilities of the same.

   When that model is broken as it is in this circumstance with war in Iraq (and was with war in Vietnam), then I damn well do expect legislators to fulfill their end of the contract as representative of citizens of this country. And they damn well know they have responsibilities to live up to when they act in concert to send troops into combat. When it becomes apparant that legislators are not acting in good faith, what is left then is the citizens.  And if the citizens are choosing not to act, then what is left?

  Can you dare wonder why I expect more from our U.S. Senators, specifically Sen. Cantwell, and yes, I'm looking now at Sen. Murray who recently provided a lukewarm response on her position on the war; link; The Olympian; May 31, 2006;Iraq dominates talk during Murray visit .

Murray stayed away from taking a firm position on the U.S. future in Iraq, saying she voted against starting the war but has voted to help its veterans. She insisted that the next step for the United States is far from easy to discern in a war she estimated has cost
$450 billion.

She said she personally witnessed Baghdad's devastated infrastructure and has spoken to generals who say infrastructure repairs are needed to bring security to the region. "That is a completely different strategy ... and it's something the American people need to discuss and debate," Murray said. "I think the president should redefine the mission and have a debate on it.'

  Can you dare to wonder why I feel disgust with the political haranguing that argues in favor of doing nothing while folks argue we have to try to put Dems in power positions with no assurances whatsoever they will ACT in leadership on a life and death issue?  Don't upset the Dem applecart cause we would get the other party candidate, so shhhh, keep still and just wait - you'll see.

  What?  What will I see?

   Young readers who didn't live through Vietnam, can't expect you to know that 'history'.  Since it isn't a high priority in school curriculums, can't expect you to know 'of it historically'. Ignorance is not bliss, however, and you don't get a pass because you didn't know better.  Someday it will be your own children asking you the questions about what you did during this critical juncture in history.  You can answer you were too busy making a living, going to college, studies, building a career and family but that you cared.  And you will teach them to do the same should they face another critical juncture in history.  

  Older readers who have the history of Vietnam, (and this Administration does have a history of Vietnam, well enough to know what not to repeat and how to lull citizens to sleep) shame on you for taking our young to a new Vietnam.  Doesn't matter what side of the argument or political party talking points you ascribe to, it was always bigger than politics and your legacy will live on; what did you do during this critical period?  

   What will you do tomorrow different than you did today to bring this horror to an end?

   Keep quiet? Please don't, and if you make the choice to keep still till Nov elections, appreciate that 350 more U.S. troops will die by then (at the statistical rate of 2 a day are dying in the war) along with uncounted numbers of Iraqi citizens.  Let that be on your heads come election day when you celebrate in victory parties the incredible work of getting your candidate elected or re-elected.  And with no promises a Dem in power in Congress will assure any shift or difference for war in Iraq, except the continued cowardice already being shown, the death rates will continue to climb.  

   Depressing?  You bet it is, and feeling hopeless, helpless?  Then DO SOMETHING EMPOWERING and stop being Fearmericans.  

   To those of you who are doing something or believe you are doing something to hasten an end, and get our kids out of this war (extension of that is reduce the killing of kids in Iraq) I thank you and sincerely mean it from the depths of my heart.  To those of you ignoring what is staring you in the face, it's not too late...

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Sunday, 21 May 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Urgency about death, dying, political failure and why suddenly I feel sheepish ...

I'm not a Democrat first and a patriotic civic-minded American citizen second.

I'm not one of the local flagship bloggers who don't seem to be able to resist showing off their political savvy and acumen obtained and presumably earned over perhaps five years of political struggle complete with battle scars that make others swoon in the moonlight.

No I don't swoon and although a late-comer in terms of speaking out, I'm not a late-comer in terms of seeking out political truth for civic reasons, voting my conscience and having my own collection of scars - some inflicted before most readers under 40 years old were born - and much deeper than some supposed shame in my state's possible loss of a senate seat to a Republican.



I'm also not a member of the fighting keyboardists who talk about war, Iraq and collateral damage as if it were some aspect to a video game where the pleasure is in pretend.

Military families (those who speak out, those who can't and those who don't dare) are all part of one big family whose actual and potential sacrifice on behalf of this nation is way out of proportion with the rest of the country. Those of us who speak out have not been fooling with theories, strategies nor tactics that pander to my blogging colleagues and their pretense that lock-step voting and campaigning will lead to the most prompt and immediate end to death and dying.

Truth is, we have no guarantee that a Democratic sweep of both houses will lead to the quickest end to death and dying in Iraq.

We have no guarantee that a democratically controlled congress will have as its first or highest priority, the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the consequential immediate lowering of the amount of gasoline America's presence in Iraq pours on the fires of resistance and contributes to our family losses and killing of Iraqi civilians.

We do face a strong likelihood that a foolish newly elected Democratic majority will arrogantly allot to itself a greater wisdom in how to get the job done in Iraq and how to accomplish what Bush and neocon nutcases (Just ask Francis Fukuyama ) couldn't do right. If you want proof, go to the Democratic Leadership Council site and read their foreign policy nonsense.

Mark my words and I promise you that if/when party takeover of Congress happens, my words will be true:

The Demos will attempt to accomplish the same goals the Republicans couldn't.

The Demos will not take immediate action to remove the troops and get this country's inflammatory presence out from its position as the direct cause of dreadful effects in Iraq.

Too many voters and leaders see this from an abstract point of view and so long as it remains an abstraction, the competitive gaming-lure of strategic debate remains more enticing and involving than actually staunching the flow of blood.

We are seeing DLC strategy played out even as I write this. We are seeing why Cantwell, the DLC/neocon under-informed foreign policy lightweight, believes that she can go through motions with folks like we who've met with her, that she can ultimately point to having met with us several times and heard us out, and then do nothing inconsistent with her unchanged attitude, philosophy and voting record.

In the meantime, the DLC/Democratic tactic of doing nothing while Republican scandals multiply seemingly exponentially - thereby facilitating a greater probability of their being swept out of power - means that the DLC/Democratic tactic is also to express that two military and several civilian deaths every single day in Iraq are needful and worth the price of doing nothing.

How would you like to be standing at the lip of a human meat grinder watching your military loved one move forward in the sacrificial line and listen to do-nothing Democrats like Maria - who are content to do nothing but watch eroding Republican popularity - tell you that when your loved one steps off the lip and into the grinder, it's for a higher national good?

But if we acquiesce, shut our mouths and pretend that supporting Ms. Cantwell is the wisest and most patriotic act we can take, we fool ourselves and pass me another glass of Kool-Aid.

What can we count on if we let the Democratic Party stay fully managed by DLC centrists and their local party fools in every state? Will stopping the killing in Iraq be one of the highest priorities - like, for example - putting out a house fire where people are dying?

From their own site where pretense begins with the visual illusion that the DLC is somehow "official" party authority:


Democrats should begin by reaffirming their party's commitment to progressive internationalism -- the belief that America can best defend itself by building a world safe for individual liberty and democracy.

Progressive internationalism occupies the vital center between the neo-imperial right and the noninterventionist left, between a view that assumes our might always makes us right, and one that assumes that because America is strong it must be wrong. It stresses the responsibilities that come with our enormous power: to use force with restraint but not to hesitate to use it when necessary; to show what the Declaration of Independence called "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind"; to exercise leadership primarily through persuasion rather than coercion; to reduce human suffering where we can; and to bolster alliances and global institutions committed to upholding an increasingly democratic world order.

They can pretend they sit "between" neo-imperial and non-interventionist, but they are still advocating spreading American's version of corporate capitalistic democracy from the barrel of gun if necessary.

The barrel of a gun philosophy is the precise reason why today, tomorrow, the next day and every f***ing day from here on out two soldiers and who knows how many Iraqi civilians will be killed while politicians and parties in this country continue to behave badly, unwisely and stand with their fingers stuck up their politically failed orifices.

Geov Parrish  expressed the problem we face with blind and nervous support of the (D)-bird in hand versus  more appropriate alternative (D)-birds in the bushes around America where dumb DLC Democrats need them to stay.

After doing more homework, something I recommend to local party strategists, I'm feeling more sheepish than ever, going to have to flip flop and withdraw my declaration of intent to vote for Maria Cantwell in my party's primary election.

There is a significantly more important election for Democrats than the November midterm and that is their soul-searching primary election - regardless of all those "in-place" leadership Demos and self-appointed PAC apologist-type party activists who have yet to prove that they possess a higher wisdom for the well-being of this country and that they can win with it.

Until or unless they ever do, I'm not throwing in with them.

I'm not throwing away any opportunity to say that I also have a voice that is NOT traitorous to America because it disagrees with narrow party fearful thoughts

I also have a voice and ask everyone else who reads me to speak up, even if your voice shakes - or even if others who read me tell you, like they tell me, to shut the hell up. We have opinions that can and should be expressed in a public venue regardless of who likes it and who doesn't.

At this stage in the midterm election process, the (D) bird in hand is not worth more than what's out in the bushes. The one in hand has made no declaration that expresses anything other than a DLC/neocon foreign policy foolishness that in this case has a disproportionate share of the families in this country at risk for paying the highest price for everyone else's right to live free or die.

Like General Zinni, as a veteran, I served to preserve the right I myself and all of you have to speak out, to dissent, to criticize presidents and senators. Folks like us have the least obligation to shut up or defer to other folks who didn't serve, who have no intention of serving and who in fact live in a world of political and economic abstractions based on pretense.

Why in the land of the free and home of the brave where Lincoln sits on a granite chair, and where a rowdy group of 18th century dissenters are now revered as founding fatherly icons of the United States of America, who the hell has the right to say or imply that what Mark Wilson stands for isn't good enough?

In Washington State Democratic hands is a bird who wants to just sit in your hand, look pretty, look senatorial and do nothing of immediate good for this country.

In the Democratic bushes however is a candidate who has spoken out, who has gotten up off his ass and put his money and his personal life where his mouth is.

All of a sudden I have to ask why that isn't good enough?

Why is it shameful or stupid to recognize that?

Why can't a citizen run and a party respect that running? (BTW: I still haven't seen explanation or justification from King County or Suzy Sheary - see my wonderings on 5/11/06)

Why do people who haven't taken that step have the gall to pretend they are greater judges of American character, core values and citizenship, not to mention behaving as self-appointed expert advocates of political expediency?

Why must we settle for mediocrity because that's the Republican standard in this country?

Why must we diminish ourselves and concede to an ignorant lower standard of political acumen, civic duty and citizenship patriotism?

Why are so many of us fearful of standing up, speaking out and working to make a difference?

Why do so many pretend it is wise to accept mediocrity out of a fear of the loss of one election, a fear that leaves us caught in the headlights and too terrorized or intimidated to do more than stare at an oncoming disaster, hoping it passes by with as little damage as possible?

Why are so many afraid to fight?

Is it more convenient because Maria Cantwell gives an excuse not to get in there and mix it up directly with the bad guys?

to sit back, vote Maria in the primary, tell everyone else to be quiet?

And wait for Cantwell to do the dirty work of resisting and overcoming the Republican villains?

When she's demonstrated that she voted to support dirty work in the first place?

I'll say it again, I'm not a Democrat first and a patriotic civic-minded American citizen second.

And there are no lines to read between here.

I do not endorse Maria Cantwell who hesitates and has lost for herself and for all of us more than we can measure.

I do endorse Mark Wilson.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Friday, 12 May 2006

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

WA Conservative PAC supports Cantwell Iraq position

In Seattle Times today, Craig Spicer, director, WA Conservative PAC, Lynnwood felt compelled to send
  ltte titled Something good standing up for Sen. Cantwell in that her position on Iraq has his respect in 'not turning her back on our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan'; in her 'support for planting and nurturing a democracy in Iraq while fighting Islamic extremists'


I leave it to you to interpret but it says to me that if her position is interpreted to mean 'support our troops, stay the course', that is exactly what I have been fighting for 3 yrs now; support our troops jingoism like this ...  72% of our troops (per Zogby poll of the troops) want to come home!  

Staying the course until the Nov elections translates to a conservative estimate that 350 more U.S. troops will die in Iraq by then, and untold # of Iraqis.  This estimate based on the current average from April/May 2006 that 2 U.S. servicemen and women die in Iraq each day.  Although, based on the recent deaths in Iraq, I'd guess that average will be increasing.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Thursday, 11 May 2006

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman
Topic: Members Speak Out


May 11, 2006

Katya Kruglak (703) 304-5075

Stacy Bannerman (253) 859-6465/(253) 217-2153




Mother’s Day Weekend: Military Families and War Veterans Speak Out


kent, washington — Over Mother’s Day Weekend, military families and war veterans from across the United States will be coming to the National Mall in Washington, DC for Silence of the Dead, Voices of the Living to send an urgent message to Congress:  Bring our troops home now and take care of them when they get here.

Congress recently passed another Supplemental bill, which included roughly $70 billion for the war in Iraq. Judy Linehan will join Stacy Bannerman at this nation’s Capitol to repeat the message Bannerman gave to a House Appropriations Sub-Committee on March 1, 2006, when she became the only peace activist to testify before a Congressional Committee since the war in Iraq began:   “Congress gave the Bush administration a blank check for a war based on lies. Stop payment. Immediately. Not one more dime, not one more life.”


WHAT:     Silence of the Dead, Voices of the Living, featuring families who lost loved ones to the war in Iraq; families of those currently serving and soldiers who may be redeployed; veterans of this and previous wars; Iraqis and others who bear the heaviest burden of the Iraq war.


WHEN:    Thursday to Sunday, May 11 - 14

EYES WIDE OPEN: THE HUMAN COST OF WAR, the American Friends Service Committee’s widely acclaimed memorial exhibition that features a pair of combat boots for every U.S. military casualty. As part of the multi-day event, a dramatic new exhibit featuring boots for soldiers currently in Iraq will be unveiled, whose lives are at risk each day that this war continues.  The exhibit also includes a memorial to recognize the thousands of Iraqi children, women and men who have died in the war.


Saturday, May 13

Silent march around National Mall; speak out to follow. 


WHERE: National Mall, Washington, D.C.


WHO:       Military and Gold Star families, Iraq War veterans and others, including:

Stacy Bannerman, author of When the War Came Home, (Continuum Publishing, March 2006) and wife of Washington National Guard soldier awarded a Bronze Star for his year of service in Iraq.

Judy Linehan, mother of Iraq War Veteran, Olympia, WA, (360) 791-1558

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Lietta Ruger  to Wamfso

3 Private Meetings w/ Sen. Cantwell - is her position on Iraq evolving?

I don't know if her position is evolving, but I do know she is now at least talking about her position on Iraq war. From what I am given to understand that is not something she has done these past months. I've been a participant in 2 of the 3 meetings with the Senator scheduled specifically to discuss her position on Iraq. I've now heard her first hand on two separate occasions in these meetings.

My participation in both meetings with Senator Cantwell has been representing
Military Families Speak Out. We do have a chapter in WA state with 60 + WA military family members. That means military families with loved ones who have or will deploy to Iraq/Afghanistan, have returned and will redeploy in repeat deployments, or have died in Iraq/Afghanistan deployment. I posted my perceptions of that second meeting with the Senator on April 10 at Washblog; Sen. Cantwell explains her position Iraq war in Monday meeting with us April 10, 2006.

Prior to the third meeting of May 6, 2006, which came about as her response to a sit-in that took place in her Seattle office April 25, 2006, Senator Cantwell placed her own guest op-ed article in Seattle Times, May 4, 2006; The year of transition in Iraq stating in her own words her position on Iraq. Another article in the Seattle PI, May 4, 2006  Cantwell clears the air on her Iraq stance  addresses what the Senator has now publicly stated as her position.

Then another article in Seattle Times on May 5, 2006, a day before our third meeting w/ Senator Cantwell; 
Cantwell's stance on Iraq keeps volunteers away, party chief says

Reporting on the May 6 meeting with the Senator, Seattle Times on May 7 
Cantwell speaks to party faithful, then meets with critics in private

My husband attended with me the May 6 meeting with the Senator and posted his perceptions of that meeting also at Washblog; It wasn't Camp Casey and Maria Cantwell is not George Bush.    

At this point, the Senator and I share common ground on one point; she feels a responsibility to her Senator's vote in favor of U.S. invading Iraq and believes stability and security of Iraq must be established in this year of transition 2006; I feel a responsibility for my vote of confidence in the Senator in the last election and believe stability and security of our U.S. troops and Iraq must be established by responsible Congressionals taking a leadership role in defining a clear exit strategy in bringing them home now. Furthering this catastrophe furthers continuing catastrophic devastation to our troops who have become targets in what looks like civil war; and to the Iraqi people who become the collateral damage to our troop presence in Iraq.

Questions and information were shared with the Senator in all three meetings and in some instances she was given room to address and respond. Other times, imo, she was not given nearly as much opportunity to respond as I would have preferred. Essentially though, with her now stating a position, what is not yet clarified for me is the definition of Iraq stability and security in the year of transition 2006. In the second meeting with Senator Cantwell, April 10, 2006, it was shared with her by Iraqi/American citizen participating in the meeting that the 'standards' of what defines for the U.S. and what defines for the Iraqis are very different standards. In other words,if training Iraqis according to U.S. standards to take over their own security/stability is the objective, has consideration been given to the Iraqi standards as they define it for themselves?

Somehow to me, that is a relevant question that provides far too much wiggle room for Congressionals to take the 'safe' stand and continue to push the timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops further into 'indefinite' future.

Lietta Ruger, military family with 2 returning Iraq veterans facing multiple deployments;

Since March, 2003, on average, over two service men and women have died each day as a result of the war in Iraq; that fatality rate continues in May, 2006. Discussions in Congress about the war in Iraq and exit strategies include many proposals for bringing troops home after the mid-term election in November, 2006. If Congress waits until November to act, it is likely that 350 or more U.S. servicemen and women will die along with countless Iraqi children, women and men.

"This is a poignant and painful addition to the Eyes Wide Open exhibit, but one that all decision-makers should see," stated Larry Syverson of Richmond, Virginia, whose son in the Army is currently serving a second tour of duty in the Persian Gulf. "I hope every member of Congress and Senator visits this exhibit and reflects on the urgency of ending this war. Their failure to act could mean that the next pair of boots that is moved from this section to the section devoted to the boots of the fallen could be my son's."

quoted from Military Families Speak Out
press release, May 10, 2006   announcing 'Silence of the Dead; Voices of the Living' vigil in Washington DC May 11-14. Senator Cantwell was given personal invitation to attend at our May 6 meeting with her, and I sincerely hope she will take up that invitation as a time for reflection.

my blog Dying to Preserve the Lies  "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Ghandi

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Now Playing: Jessie Archibald
Topic: Members Speak Out
Tacoma News Tribune
Tacoma, WA - Thursday, May 11, 2006
Iraqis won’t step up until U.S. steps down
Last updated: May 9th, 2006 01:21 AM (PDT)
I am a member of a local organization called Military Families Speak Out. I support our troops and am very proud of our soldiers. I believe that it is wrong to put our troops in harm’s way again and again without a successful plan or strategy in place.
Most of our troops are now on second or third deployments. I recently saw a film clip on CNN of an Iraqi military graduation. When the Iraqi soldiers were told they would not be stationed exactly where they wanted to be, almost half of the graduating soldiers tore off their military shirts and quit on the spot.
I ask why we keep our young people in harm’s way when the Iraqis will not help themselves? It’s time to bring our troops home. We have done all we can to help the Iraqis. It’s time for them to step up and help themselves. That won’t happen until we step down.
Originally published: May 9th, 2006 01:00 AM (PDT)

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Sunday, 7 May 2006

Now Playing: MFSO reps meet with Senator Cantwell
Topic: Local Lobbying

Cantwell speaks to party faithful, then meets with critics in private

[Excerpts below. Click here to read the entire article. ]

 In Seattle for the weekend, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell got a rousing reception from 400-500 of the party faithful at the King County Democratic Party convention.

She didn't say much about Iraq there, but afterward, she talked about the war, an issue on which she differs with some of the city's liberal activists. She met privately downtown with a delegation representing military families opposed to the war and calling for an early troop withdrawal.

... On Iraq, she stuck with a slogan — "In Iraq, 2006 must be a year of transition" — that her critics deride as too vague.

"What does it mean? Transition to what? ... There's no clear definition," said Lietta Ruger of Military Families Speak Out, one of those who met with Cantwell afterward and who wants a clear and short timeline for troop withdrawal.

Rejecting demands that she make a clear call simply to withdraw, she [Cantwell] said very few of her critics truly believe that the troops can be pulled out quickly.

Cantwell left the convention to meet with exactly such critics: members of Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families Speak Out, two activist groups that claim 3,000 members nationwide.

Interviewed before the meeting, delegation members said they would press Cantwell to support an explicit near-term withdrawal from Iraq.

"We want the troops out now," said Ruger, of Bay Center, Pacific County, in the southwest corner of the state. "We understand there's a withdrawal process. ... It can be a matter of weeks to months." Her son-in-law and nephew both served in Iraq.

Ruger's group flatly rejects the argument that U.S. troops are needed to prevent anarchy in Iraq.

"The problem in that nation is the ongoing U.S. occupation," said Stacy Bannerman, of Kent. The wife of a national guardsman, she is the author of an anti-war book, "When the War Came Home."

"We need to remove the cause of the pressure, which is American forces," she said.

Speaking partway through the meeting with the military families, Cantwell spokeswoman Charla Neuman said the meeting was going "pretty well, considering it's an emotional topic" for the families involved. But Neuman said the group was very skeptical of Cantwell's contention that real progress in promoting Iraqi self-reliance is possible in the near term.

After the meeting with Cantwell, Arthur Ruger, Lietta Ruger's husband and a Vietnam veteran, described it as powerful. "It was very frank. She spoke openly," he said, "She has made her position clear. She stuck to that."

"It was a very intense two hours," he added. "Even if she doesn't change her position, definitely she's got things to think about."

Asked if he would be voting for Cantwell, Ruger said yes, that had never been in doubt. He said he has not voted Republican since 2000 and the meeting Saturday reinforced his desire to vote for Cantwell.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 11:31 AM PDT
Saturday, 6 May 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Is Maria talking and walking the DLC version of reality?

Maria's recent op/ed has echoes of somebody else's point of view.

I wrote the following last October in a Daily Kos Diary. I've done some minor editing for grammar and clarity purposes as well as updating my thinking from last October.

October, 2005:

An email from the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)  was forwarded to me yesterday. The following excerpts reveal why those in this country who are smart but remain political spectators need to turn off Survivor, Lost, Nascar, Monday Night Football and step onto the playing field.

DLC: Idea of the Week: What To Do Now In Iraq


While the Bush Administration has committed a long series of mistakes in the aftermath of the removal of Saddam Hussein, America must remain committed to success in Iraq.

From Democrats who think they have their fingers on the pulse of everyday working America? The Republicans have yet to define what that success looks like - and much of what they've instigated still smells of a permanent presence in Iraq.  If the DLC refuses to tell Americans what that "success" looks like, it sure looks like they are in bed with the Republicans.


A failed state in Iraq would destabilize the entire region, hand our jihadist enemies a major victory and result in a devastating blow to our national security credibility and interests.

Come again? Are you DLC'ers telling Democrats, progressives and independents that if we don't fight them over there we'll be fighting them here?

And you supposed politically astute geniuses are flat out stating that "our jihadist enemies" are not primarily trying to extricate their nation from the consequences of America's self-interest at the expense of the national security credibility and interests of Iraqis themselves?


But the right course now is neither to give the terrorists a victory by withdrawing, nor to continue Bush's failed policies.  We urge progressives to place maximum pressure on the administration to reverse its mistakes and pursue a new strategy linked to clear benchmarks for success in Iraq and in the broader war on terror.

That is neither the talk of an opposition party nor the supposed wisdom of progressive thinking.  No, it's pure unadulterated neocon ideology - the sort of thing we expect to hear from the Republican National Committee and the Weekly Standard. But for God's sake, not someone pretending to be the heart and voice of Democratic wisdom.

You jokers are not speaking for or with the best interests of the people of this country at heart.


Here are three ways the U.S. can do exactly that:

First, we should formally disclaim any interest in permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq; clearly shift the primary responsibility of defending the country to the Iraqi military (with embedded Coalition troops), and adopt a joint military strategy based on proven principles of counterinsurgency. The last point means abandoning Vietnam-style "search and destroy" missions against the insurgency and instead focusing on progressively securing territory where reconstruction can proceed and normal civic life can resume.

Tell me, how is it that we can justifiably recruit our own young flesh and blood and within 6 weeks to 3 months train them "adequately", ship them to Iraq right smack dab into harm's way and task them with the primary responsibility of defending someone else's country

- yet we have failed to justifiably accomplish the same objective with Iraqis themselves - who have to be more invested in the sacrifice on behalf of their own nation?

Why haven't we accomplished this with the more-motived Iraqis also in less than a year?

This logic no longer holds water. DLC'ers are singing a Republican tune.


Second, we should launch a new political strategy aimed relentlessly at winning Sunni support for the new government, and at isolating jihadists. We still have considerable leverage among Shi'a and Kurdish leaders; we should use it to push for confidence -- building measures like the integration of communal militias into the Iraqi army and police forces; a blanket amnesty for former Baathists not implicated in atrocities; and for intensified talks with Sunnis on supplemental protocols to the proposed constitution that would ensure a viable central government and minority rights.

We have lost the ability and justification to accomplish this in any meaningful way. Without your neocon assumptions, this also does not hold water.

This situation is Colin's Powell's "If you break it, you own it" philosophy. Except that the real owners have seen that you cannot fix it to the ideal you propagandized before walking into the establishment with shock and awe thinking of flowers in your paths.

It is screwed up so badly, they just want and need you to leave.


Third, we should muster all our diplomatic resources to create a more supportive international environment for the new Iraqi government. It should not be that hard to establish a UN-authorized international contact group to coordinate political support and economic assistance.

Now you're talking! ... and that more supportive international environment for the new Iraqi government needs to have ceded to it all authority and credibility necessary to create trust inside Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Republicans and their neocon appointees have made of America the mean drunk whose behavior has been so poor that the drunk needs to walk away and stop trying to fix it by  making it worse.


We should cash our sizable chits with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to work directly with Iraqi Sunni Arabs, using economic incentives where possible, to undermine support for insurgency and encourage political engagement. These Arab states should also push Syria (in conjunction with potential U.N. sanctions) to finally close off travel routes into Iraq for jihadists.

We should come clean with our own populace as to what those sizable chits with Saudi Arabia and Egypt are - how they became sizable and why they have value.

We should come clean with the American public as to what our true investment risk and expected outcome is in these relationships.

Our government should come clean about what the relationship to oil, torture and permanent bases is in connection with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East.


We should formally push for indictment of chief terrorist Zarquawi for crimes against humanity in Iraq, drawing worldwide attention to the vicious anti-Shi'a ethnic cleansing campaign that characterizes the insurgency. All these steps ARE politically feasible, but there's no evidence the administration is taking them.

We should do whatever it takes to acknowledge and then take all necessary measures to address the global indictment of our country for crimes against humanity in Iraq, drawing worldwide attention to our vicious anti-Iraqi nationalist cleansing campaign that characterizes our foolish neocon attempt to impose an American control.

These steps are politically feasible but there's no evidence that neither the administration nor the DLC is interested in taking them.


In calling for this new strategy, we acknowledge that we are asking brave Americans to sacrifice still more for a crucial goal under the direction of an administration that has failed so often to pursue that goal competently or honestly.

We share the anger of most progressives towards Bush's blunders, even as we urge them not to let that anger obscure the very real national stake we all have in taking every step possible to leave Iraq in a condition where it will not become a failed state and a terrorist base for global operations.

As usual, Tony Blair best articulated those stakes, for our people and his, just this week:

"This is a global struggle. Today it is at its fiercest in Iraq. It has allied itself there with every reactionary element in the Middle East. Strip away their fake claims of grievance and see them for what they are: terrorists who use 21st century technology to fight a pre-medieval religious war that is utterly alien to the future of humankind."

That's a reality that all of us, whether or not we supported the original invasion of Iraq, need to keep in mind, holding our leaders most accountable not for their blunders, but for their willingness to recognize them and change course now.

This is the pot calling the kettle black. Quoting Tony Blair reveals more about whose agenda the DLC supports. The DLC is voicing the ultimate arrogantly ignorant assumption that we can ask brave Americans to sacrifice still more for a goal it (the DLC) has failed to describe as different from the administration's neocon stupidity.

The DLC does not share the same anger as progressives towards Bush's blunders so long as they offer only a better way to break more things and cause more damage worldwide.

Deny it as they may, the DLC is assuming that their anger reflects the disapproving American voter opinion in the polls - justifiable anger based on DLC self-interested assumptions - which do not take into consideration the very real personal stake we all have in a peaceful future.

Iraq as a pre-invasion terrorist base for global operations is not something that has been proven or validated.

Iraq as a failed state of forced American design needs to go through the failed state transition - with the help of a supportive international community before we can understand how any country seeking its own independence is doing so purely out of an intent to become a  terrorist base for global operations.

Republicans and the DLC reflect an arrogant assumption that American wisdom, primarily because America entered the 21st century as THE sole superpower, is the best wisdom for global harmony.

It's an assumption based on sustaining those who have the power, Republican or Democrat, who remain part of a minority working to remain permanently in the driver's seat.

Rejection of the DLC is imperative if progressives and liberals are going to unite and take back the country via election of Democratic politicians.

If anything, all citizens should see clearly that groups such as the DLC want a status quo that - precisely as the Republican-controlled government, stays on the wrong course.

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