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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Sunday, 30 July 2006

Now Playing: Elizabeth Falzone
Topic: MFSO National
 from Elizabeth -
 
VFP convention Seattle August 2006

Hello Friends,

As many of you know I am on the planning committee for the Veterans for Peace National Convention.  PLEASE forward the attached workshop proposal to anyone you think would be a good match to coordinate and present a workshop at the convention August 10-August 13. 
 
The theme of the convention is "SOW JUSTICE – REAP PEACE: Strategies for Moving Beyond War". 
 
The convention will be held on the University of Washington campus and registration will be open to the public.  I encourage you all to consider attending and/or presenting a workshop.

Also, if you would like to be considered for any entertainment portion
of the convention please email me at
secretary@vfp92.org.  Limited spots open for musicians, poets, storytellers, dancers, and
FILM/SHORTS related to the theme.   
 
Volunteers still needed!!  

Yours in peaceful solidarity,
Elizabeth Falzone

Entertainment Lead
VFP National Convention
Seattle, Washington
August 10th-August 13th
www.vfpnationalconvention.org

www.veteransforpeace.org

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Thursday, 27 July 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Politicians in Action

Heads Up WA Legislators; Congresswoman Woolsey calls for Repeal of President's Iraq War Powers

Legislation introduced to repeal President's Iraq war powers .. does it have teeth?  Message for our current, seated U.S. Senators and Representatives from WA state; please review and don't miss yet another opportunity to do something concrete in bringing common sense Congressional action to bear on issue of Iraq war.  With President announcement yesterday to send in additional 5,000 troops due to the uprising in Baghdad; Tacoma News Tribune reports more from Fort Lewis Stryker brigade may be sent to Baghdad; U.S. talk of sending troops into Lebanon; and U.S. hold out nation objecting to cease-fire in Israel/Lebanon combat fighting.......

Please, it's way past time to use the power of Congress to effect shift/change in this paradigm of U.S. military being the cannon fodder in perpetual combat in Middle East.

See more on HR 5878, Congressman Lynn Woolsey introduced July 25, 2006

NEWS from CONGRESSWOMAN LYNN WOOLSEY 6th District, California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chris Shields July 25, 2006 202-225-5161

CONGRESSWOMAN WOOLSEY CALLS FOR REPEAL OF PRESIDENT'S IRAQ WAR POWERS
- Says Congress never authorized an occupation of Iraq -

Washington, D.C. - One of the most outspoken critics of the war in Iraq, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) today introduced H.R. 5878, legislation that would repeal the President's War Powers for the Iraq War. While the Congress authorized President Bush to wage war against Iraq in 2002, the original authorization did not anticipate an open-ended U.S. military campaign against Iraq, or the occupation that currently exists.

"Six weeks after we invaded Iraq, President Bush stood aboard an aircraft carrier before a banner that read 'Mission Accomplished,' declaring that 'major combat operations in Iraq are over,' Woolsey said. "From that moment on, we were no longer fighting a war, but rather participating in an occupation. You can not win an occupation!"

Not only did Congress not authorize the long-term occupation of Iraq, but our troops' presence is contributing to the state of civil war that exists in the country. According to the United Nations, the violence in Iraq is increasing, with an average of 100 Iraqis dying every day.

"Rescinding the President's War Powers in Iraq is the least that we can do for our troops, and for their families who anxiously await their return," Woolsey said. "With over 2,550 brave men and women having given their lives, and thousands seriously wounded, how many more must die before we put an end to this madness?

"By repealing the Iraq War Powers, Congress would resume its Constitutional role overseeing the use of military force, and would reassert its authority by bringing our troops home."

Woolsey was joined by 18 other original co-sponsors of the legislation, in no particular order they include: Barbara Lee (D-CA); Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); Maxine Waters (D-CA); Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); James Moran (D-VA); Major Owens (D-NY); Cynthia McKinney (D-GA); Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA); Bob Filner (D-CA); Julia Carson (D-IN); Chaka Fattah (D-PA); Carolyn Kilpatrick (D - MI); Marty Meehan (D-MA); Donald Payne (D-NJ); Jose Serrano (D-NY); Danny Davis (D-IL); David Wu (D-OR) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

 see link to same here        


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Thursday, 20 July 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Politicians in Action

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird - WA stands with 'Operation House Call' in DC


U.S. Rep. Brian Baird from Washington state joins MFSO members in D.C. participating in 'Operation House Call'

Good on you Rep. Baird; who represents us in the southwest part of WA state.  Thank you for standing with the good people of 'Operation House Call' in Washington D.C..  We, from Pacific County and other southwest counties in WA state are proud of U.S. Representative Baird! Thank you, Sir, for honoring our efforts both in D.C. and here at home.

I've shared the story here at Washblog of Operation House Call campaign, which is summer long campaign with military families who have deployed (x 2,3 and more times), returning or killed loved ones in Iraq/Afghanistan (you know - us ordinary citizens) interacting directly with U.S. Congress - Senators and Representatives - from any and all political parties.  The premise of Operation House Call was born out of a little idea here in WA state which fostered the growth of a national campaign.  In the 100 + degree weather in D.C., military families from different states across the nation stand each day in front of the boot vigil.  Each day visits with Congress are scheduled and 'Operation House Call' is keeping a blog to report on events of the day; actions and reactions of their house calls on our U.S. Congress as Congress does it's work in D.C..  

The boot vigil message is one I have posted here before; if we wait until elections, we can accurately estimate 2 of our U.S. soldiers a day will die in Iraq; along with uncounted Iraqi civilians.  By the time of Nov 06 elections, 350 more U.S. troops will be counted among the growing number of those killed in Iraq.  Boots, representing those U.S. soldiers newly killed in Iraq each day continue to be added to the vigil with each passing day. Civilian and children shoes are added each day representing the uncounted Iraqi families who die each day as U.S. troop presence in Iraq continues.

At this time in Seattle, I'm given to understand a smaller version of this same vigil under auspices of Operation House Call is planned or already underway at the Federal Plaza. If you see the boots vigil in Seattle, why not stop by and say a word or two to those fine people in Seattle.  

I extend an invitation to both our U.S. Senators; Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to stop by and visit Operation House Call while you are in D.C..  


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 10:17 AM PDT

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Politicians in Action

Senator Cantwell - Thank You! Knew you had it in you! Proud of you!

Friends, I have reason to sing Senator Cantwell's praises today!  Amen! And despite my many blog posts here at Washblog calling Sen. Cantwell to her own giftedness, I am pleased to be smiling on her today.  

From Stacy Bannerman, Kent, WA, wife of returning Iraq veteran (WA Natl Guard) comes this news today.  She is member family of Military Families Speak Out; WA state chapter; on advisory board of national Military Families Speak Out and has participated in one of our three meetings in Seattle with Sen. Cantwell.  Stacy is heading up Operation House Call in D.C. and her blog today reports;  (I can't believe it and I'm beaming here)

When Baird was pressed to name the exact resolution he had signed on to calling for the return of our soldiers from Iraq, he couldn't say.  We did secure a commitment from him to look into endorsing HR 4232, McGovern's resolution.  which, in an unexpected turn of events, Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-WA), had said she would review with the idea of considering presenting a companion bill in the Senate.

McGovern's Resolution calls for the immediate discontinuation of all funding for the war in Iraq, with the exception of such monies as would allow for the safe and orderly return of the troops.

Note; Jessie Archibald, WA, also a member of MFSO - WA chapter, who has deployed son in Iraq is also in D.C. this week participating in Operation House Call.  Proud to see Jessie, fairly new speaking out military family in WA get to participate in what seems (to me) monumental movement from Sen Cantwell regarding her (Sen. Cantwell's) position on Iraq.

 copy of Stacy's blog today at Operation House Call Operation House Call

 Week Four, Day Three
Posted by Stacy Bannerman on

Folks on the ground for yet another sweltering day were Al, Audrey, Billie, Jessie, and Stacy.  Billie and Jessie spent some time on the Senate side, hoping to connect with folks from the NAACP, but got a surprisingly lukewarm response. On the House side, a number of elderly folks walked by the site, loudly proclaiming that we needed to keep the troops in Iraq and "fight the terrorists over there."  Inside the Longworth Building, Washington State residents Jessie Archibald and Stacy Bannerman met with Congressman Brian Baird, (D-WA).  The candid Congressman didn't mince words when speaking about the decision to invade Iraq, calling it "the single biggest foreign policy mistake in history", and had a few other choice remarks about the administration.  He proclaimed that he had voted against the invasion of Iraq, and remarked on the power of our vigil in front of the Cannon Building.  But he believed now that we had a responsibility to make things better for the people of Iraq, at which point Jessie reminded him that his primary responsibility was to his constituents, which included the men and women stationed at Fort Lewis.  Stacy laid out the obvious, telling him, "If someone breaks into your house under false pretenses, thinking there's a fire, for example, only to find that it's a picture of a fire, and then proceeds to rape your wife, kill your children, destroy your belongings, and gut the whole infrastructure of the house, do you ask him to stick around and re-build?  And just because he buys you a dishwasher, is that going to make it okay?"

When Baird was pressed to name the exact resolution he had signed on to calling for the return of our soldiers from Iraq, he couldn't say.  We did secure a commitment from him to look into endorsing HR 4232, McGovern's resolution.  which, in an unexpected turn of events, Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-WA), had said she would review with the idea of considering presenting a companion bill in the Senate. Stacy Bannerman made sure that Cantwell fully understood that McGovern's Resolution calls for the immediate discontinuation of all funding for the war in Iraq, with the exception of such monies as would allow for the safe and orderly return of the troops.  In the late afternoon meeting with the Senator on Tuesday, she repeatedly spoke about needing to flex "the power of the purse", and even thanked Stacy and Jessie for their advocacy.  Could Cantwell be the dark horse of the Democrats?

Stacy finished the day with a very brief, but extremely productive meeting with Congressman Kucinich (D-OH), who immediately agreed to initiate the process for a convening a hearing before his subcommittee on the human costs of war, with testimony from those who pay the price.

Report filed by Stacy Bannerman

Note: additional link to Stacy Bannerman ; author of 'When the War Came Home' published March 2006.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 10:22 AM PDT
Wednesday, 19 July 2006

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

Relevant to Cantwell position Iraq security; 2nd Lt account of 'illusion' of efforts to train Iraqis

From a website called The American Conservative comes this article ; first hand account from 2nd Lt Joe W. Guthrie 'Nation Breaking - A soldier discovers that training the Iraqi army is not President Bush's priority.'   I can't vouch for the authenticity of 2nd Lt. Joe W. Guthrie detailed account, but I do find it interesting to have found it where I found it.  

Given Sen. Cantwell's assertion of her position on Iraq invasion/occupation as need for security of Iraqis (when Iraqis stand up, U.S. troops can stand down - Iraqi security needs to be in place), it might be useful for her to have access to this 2nd Lt's account of how the training is actually going in Iraq.  Might be useful to first authenticate the story, and if it is indeed an authentic first hand account from an Officer who was there and involved directly in the training of Iraqis, it is relevant to Sen. Cantwell's stated position on Iraq.

3,149 Iraqis die in June in undeclared civil war

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 9:16 AM PDT
Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman
Topic: Members Speak Out
A new book by MFSO - Washington State Chapter member Stacy Bannerman:

Where to buy the book and Stacy's Home Page

Stacy's Testimony 3/1/06 to the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 11:14 AM PDT
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
Monday, 10 July 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Simplistic says David Goldstein... Simplistic!! What does he know about it?

When Goldy is ready to stake 'real cost' beyond words like local/region efforts have been simplistic.....that's when I will begin to take him more seriously.  

Goldy interviews Senator Cantwell and candidate, Mark Wilson on his radio show yesterday.  I didn't hear it live, as I was deeply involved in tele-conference call with the Friends and Family of Lt. Watada national council at the time.  When I finished, I checked my email to find an invitation from Goldy for Arthur and I (as from the anti-war movement) to call into his show/interview with both Senator Cantwell and Mark Wilson.  Unfortunately, Goldy cited 9 PM and there was a shift in the line-up of his guests, so we missed the opportunity of Goldy's invitation.  Too bad and a shame, cause Goldy Does Not speak for me and I'm extremely disappointed in his dismissiveness of local/region efforts to call attention to Sen. Cantwell's position on Iraq war/invasion.

Courtesy of Daniel K, who provided a podcast, I did just listen to the podcast interview Goldy did with Sen. Cantwell and Mark Wilson.  And having dedicated every waking and sleeping hour this past 3 + years to the campaign to bring our troops home now and take care of them when they get home, I can't help but react to Goldy's dismissiveness of my personal efforts as 'simplistic'.  

Goldy made that statement that drives me into outrage in stating that Dems need to win the election if we're going to turn things around, and we need Sen. Cantwell for that.......

Really!  We need Sen. Cantwell to continue to give neutralized politically safe statements on how she believes we might transition the Iraq war/occupation?  We need more of the same next year, the year after and the year after and that is a mark of courageous politics?  We need to buy into the false choice belief that once Dems take back Congress they will act to change the course in Iraq?  

Who.....who among the Dems have actually said they would act to change the course in Iraq?  What is the basis of this political argument that with Dems no longer the minority party, they would act cohesively to change anything about the course of Iraq war/occupation?

As to our region/local efforts to call attention to Sen. Cantwell's position on Iraq war which Goldy has called simplistic...a slow burn causes me to react strongly to Goldy's characterization.  Without the 'simplistic' efforts of local/region activists Goldy would not have had the opportunity to have this interview with Sen. Cantwell.  

With support like that from our friend Goldy, maybe we should just give it up and bury our heads and silently continue to count the daily deaths of our own loved ones who are military and being sent into repeat deployments (count them x 2,3,4 and more)  Yeah, right Goldy, that's real simplistic ...you bet, they live or die .. it's that simple.  And the Iraqi civilians, women, children, families..you bet, they live or die daily .. it's that simple.

So I invite Goldy to 'advise' us in our local/region activist efforts how we might act to be more than 'simplistic' as clearly he has some ideas about what it is that we should and can do to articulate our message in sophisticated terms beyond simplistic.  And Goldy, I invite you to engage directly with military families and troops and get a close-up view of reality that will help you in your language perhaps transcend perpetuating the current political shell game.

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 5 July 2006

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

Army brings official charges today; Lt Ehren Watada refusal illegal orders

 Three charges are being leveled at Lt. Ehren Watada today.  Most all our local to Washington newspapers and tv media have published a brief account per the news release from Fort Lewis spokesperson; Tammy Reed who indicated he would be charged today but she did not know what the charges Lt Watada would face.  All the first published stories have now been updated again to give more full account. Lt Watada will be charged with three counts; missing movement, contempt toward officials, and conduct unbecoming an officer.  His attorney, Eric Seitz, reports that by  calculations of military lawyers indicate Lt Watada could face up to eight years in prison.

 Kudos to Washington media for their extensive coverage of Lt. Watada since he first announced on June 7, 2006 his intention to refuse what he has discerned to be an illegal order to deploy to Iraq. What seems to be missing is the lack of reporting by those more big gun media, ie, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times - you know - the national/international level 'it's an important and worthy story' kind of reporting.
 

Rather than cite specific links (there are far too many), you can easily google news entering Lt. Ehren Watada to read the accounts and see the huge number of local media across cities and towns in our nation, as well as some international localized media reporting on charges being brought today.

What is not absent is a groundswell of support for Lt. Watada who is exercising a different kind of courage and is, in fact, in my opinion, exercising conduct most becoming to an Officer with regard to this war/occupation in Iraq.  This is not a military only story, friends, and while Lt. Watada is both aware of the severity of punishment and willing to accept the consequences of his decision, that courage is inherint in each and every one who questions the validity of the Iraq war/occupation.  

Now what to do with your own courage....

Act on it.

Support for Lt. Watada is not isolated to the act of supporting one Army Lieutenant, rather the symbology it represents.  What makes Lt. Watada, as an Officer, refusing an order to deploy to Iraq is that while he is not the first Officer to refuse combat deployment orders since 911 attack, he is the first Officer to make a public staement on his reasons for refusing the order.  Army officials at the Pentagon reports 10 officers have refused combat deployment orders since 911 attack.  My understanding is that the situation for other officers refusing combat deployment have been individualized situational refusals citing extreme family concerns.  Lt. Watada has cited his reasons as the illegality of the war/occupation in Iraq, therefore the need as an Officer to determine a legal from an illegal order.  

How you can best help Lt. Watada is to help ensure his act of courage and speaking out becomes part of the public dialogue.  Obviously, the Army has to do what it has to do, according to military discipline, and I am not writing a plea to rescue Lt. Watada.  I am writing a plea to not let his act of courage become irrelevant.  Thank you for listening.


see Friends of Lt Watada website

links to previous Lt. Watada accounts at Washblog:

2nd Lt Watada Press Conference in Seattle w/ Col Ann Wight

Military Families Support Lt Watada at Tacoma Press Conference

Fort Lewis Army Lt. Set To Refuse Deployment To Iraq


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Saturday, 1 July 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada

I'd Like Your Blessing, Dad.

My generation is one in which there are still many living veterans. Furthermore, from our generation primarily come the children who make up the current blood and guts of America's military with its duty of defending the American Constitution, Country and Citizens.

If our children - or their children - come to us when considering enlistment or a commission, asking our reaction or even our blessing for their willingness to sign the bottom line, are we ready to speak honestly with them?  

Have the things we've taught them about citizenship and patriotism come back to gratify us?

... or haunt us?

Just what have we tried to instill in them  in terms of a civic and patriotic sense? What did we teach and model for them when they were young?

... we who were part of a generation of soldiers betrayed by a government we all wanted desperately to trust?

 

The letter from college arrives.

 

"Dear Dad .......

Dad, I'm signing on and I'd like your blessing and advice.

I'm not having too many doubts about signing on Dad. Not too many questions - but I want your support and endorsement. You've never talked much about your service and I need to know what's in your mind before I leave."

Very well then ....

Dear daughter,

As you know, you do not come from a family of warriors.

Your Grandfather was drafted.  

Your uncle and I joined up in the 1960's because it was that or the draft. Our national leadership had failed us badly because of their misguided and exaggerated fear of communist enemies;

Of foes who had never proven themselves capable of toppling continents nation-by-nation,  domino-like, let alone conquering the world based on military or economic power.

As a result of those years, the extremely poor choices made by politicians we trusted and elected left us with a powerful legacy not previously seen so powerfully in this country ... acceptance of dissent as a patriotic act.

To this day, that concept has not been refuted. More so, this current government has tragically demonstrated again just why it is vital that citizens hold government accountable.

Viet Nam legitimized a permanent change in civic thinking. That's why a large segment of today's society sustained by legitimate baby-boomer wisdom remains willing to question the motives and speak out against the administration ... and with greater empowerment to resist being isolated and marginalized by pseudo-patriotic politics. Our perspective is much more legitimate than it was in the 60's and 70's. We as citizens are duty bound to take and hold the ethical and moral high ground in this country rather than trust broadcast blowhards and pretend political genuises.

The party officials, cheerleading TV networks and pundit blowhards don't have a monopoly on patriotism, daughter. Those are - every one of them - the least qualified to tell you or me what it means to be patriotic. They are the cut-and-run actors from my generation who have never served and have never justifiably spoken for the troops and veterans in today's world.

You are going to join an all-volunteer military force that has the same commission given the military services during World War II. The big difference today is that the bulk of the troops back then were drafted. Your choice is voluntary - signing a contract offered by the Pentagon.

When you sign, remember that we who are not military members make up - along with you - the citizenship that expects you to honor that contract you endorse.

Citizens of this country expect total fealty from you which means loyalty to the United States, to the Constitution, and to the Flag.  Citizens of this country expect the same from our elected leadership. They all owe us that same fealty, loyalty to the United States, to the Constitution and to the Flag.

Citizens also expect of our soldiers the highest honesty, integrity and honorable behavior of which they are capable. Military behavior that is dishonest, lacks integrity and dishonors troops, citizens and country is a betrayal of all that America has traditionally stood for.

The same is absolutely true and equally vital of our elected and appointed leaders.

Citizens do not expect that our fully trained and capable military members are so brainwashed to fight and kill that they have transitioned to a place of shame. While desiring that our military children develop instinctive and effective military and combat skills, we do not expect our children to be turned into mindless killing machines devoid of conscience or the ability to make a moral choice.

Arguments insisting that combat training must teach instinctive hate, bigotry, racial profiling and cultural inferiority in order to create armies and soldiers capable of efficient killing and destruction of enemies are not legitimate reasons for why we fight.

Nor do they hold out a possibly for what we hope the end result of a national military objective will look like.

Citizens want and expect that our troops are warriors of honor who instinctively act and react with exceptional valor;

...Warriors who reflect national ethics, a positive national morality, compassion and respect.

If those things are lacking in the leadership, a way to intervene before a corrupt leadership can poison the military is vital.

The nation cannot abide armies of failed or corrupted warriors.

If those values are lacking in the country, it is the citizens who have failed the military.

Military service is and should always be thought of as an honorable profession where men and women serve with honor;  

... are treated with honor by a grateful nation.

If you are joining the military, I expect you to have a career of honor.

I fear for you but will keep those fears managed in my own heart.

It is your life, not mine, and I do not pretend to dictate your choices.

Nor is it a life that belongs specifically to a General, a Secretary of Defense, a President or a Political Party.

You are not to be a tool of helping a party focus national priorities in such a way as to win elections.

There is no military  code of silence or submissive loyalty to the Commander-in-Chief that requires that you do not seriously consider the legality and morality of orders given you regardless of their source.

I of course hope that your own sense of civic and moral integrity is honed sufficiently strong as to allow you to perceive almost instantaneously whether or not an order is illegal.

But if you need time and have time, then I expect you to take that time and make up your own mind. Whatever decision you make - if informed by your own study, searching and wisdom - is all anyone can ask of you.

Blind obedience in a combat moment is not the same as blind obedience when you are not in a combat moment. Rather in a moment of moral or ethical questioning when a different kind of instinct takes over, if you have a strong sense of ethics and honor, you will not be helplessly tempted to shame yourself, your unit, or your country.

You have a right to expect and function under the integrity and honor of the commander in chief of the military.

You have a right to expect and demand the Commander In Chief's honesty, honor, skill, wisdom and understanding of all reasons when and why military citizens are to be placed in harm's way.

I in turn have a right to expect that you pay attention - for me, for your family and for your country - to whether or not your Commander in Chief is being honest, honorable and legal.

The Commander-in-chief is hardly going to order me to do something illegal or immoral. If he gives an illegal or immoral order there's a greater risk he will give it to you whom he might see as bound to obey blindly and without question.

So your father, your family and your country are at the mercy of your ability to discern and act on that discernment.

You are then left at the mercy of your father's, your family's and your country's ability to discern the acts of our President, to hold him accountable and take action - if necessary - to make sure he is accountable.

You must trust me to be willing and supportive in making sure the leadership does not waste your vital blood, devotion and patriotism in pipe dreams, self-interested agenda's and ideologies.

In closing, my adult child, I express my pride in you and your willingness to act on your desires only after you've given them serious thought and consideration.

I accept and endorse your decision as I trust it is your own.

You do your part and serve.

I'll do my part and cover your back.

Anyone inside or outside this government who wants to criticize, harm or otherwise betray you will have to deal directly with me.

I promise.

Love,

Dad

Cross posted to D Kos


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