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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Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying

Two more Ft Lewis Stryker soldiers killed - Cantwell to rally support from veterans

Two different stories this morning struck me in what seems a cruel juxtaposition of WA Senate elections politicking this Iraq invasion/occupation. Story in The Olympian - Sen. Cantwell meets in a rally with veterans who support (in my opinion, her mediocre politically profitably emerging ) position on Iraq; another story today in Tacoma News Tribune reports two Fort Lewis soldiers - Stryker - died in Iraq Sunday.  The count is three Fort Lewis soldiers of the recently deployed (June 06) Stryker brigade our of Fort Lewis who have died in Iraq.

These were two of the six U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq this past weekend, Sunday. The reports tell of an explosive, violent, bloody Sunday in Baghdad.  

It seems to me still a bit unclear what Sen. Cantwell wants to have happen in Iraq; quoting from The Olympian article

Cantwell also has supported efforts to turn the management of the country over to Iraqis more quickly. She has differed from her main opponent, McGavick, who acknowledges mistakes have been made in the Iraq occupation but bluntly opposes talk of a timetable for withdrawing troops.

Oh so close to November elections, and if we could just hold on till then ... yeah, I know the argument.   In other words, despite civil war in Iraq, despite it now being politically correct and acceptable to take issue with the Bush failed policy in Iraq, still politicians want to hedge their bets in fear of the November elections.

 ... in fear ....  tell our deployed troops and their families why they have to continue to die while their politicians at home play it safe.

In June, I posted story reporting on Operation House Call at Washblog that if we wait till November elections, 350 more U.S. troops will die, untold numbers will suffer casualties, and hundreds to thousands of Iraqis will die.  

Guess we keep on just counting the fallen right up through November; Sen. Cantwell gets re-elected, then what?   More deaths until the Iraqis take control - more quickly?  What does quickly mean, anyway - 2 years, 1 year, 1 month - what?

When is it acceptable to redeploy the troops out of Iraq using established military protocols (not Congressionally set time-tables - what do they know about it anyway)?  When is it acceptable to bring them home NOW (which doesn't mean by tomorrow, despite politicians, including Sen. Cantwell, pooh-poohing and using tactic to dismiss the message in deliberate obtuseness of implying when we say Now, it means tomorrow)?   When is it acceptable for Congress to get around to pulling the funding of this failed policy in the Iraq invasion/occupation.  

Sidebar note; reading an article at Truthout by Geoffry Millard,an Iraq veteran and member of IVAW and VFP, is it true that Dal LaManga, co-chair of Sen. Maria Cantwell's 2006 campaign was among the delegation that met in Jordan with eleven members of the Iraqi parliament August 2 this month in a US Peace Delegation?  

According to article at truthout,  part of a 12-person peace delegation included CODEPINK co-founders Medea Benjamin, Jody Evans and Gale Murphy; former US Army colonel and US diplomat Ann Wright; ex-state senator from California Tom Hayden; United For Peace and Justice national co-chair Judith Le Blanc; an Iraqi-American, Raed Jarrar, of Global Exchange; Franciscan priest Father Luis Vitale; Congressional candidate against the war Jeeni Criscenzo (D-Calif.); businessman and peace activist Dal LaMagna; a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War; and others.

... I wonder what Dal LaMagna learned from this meeting and shared with Senator Cantwell. Since I recognize most of the names of the people who comprised that delegation, it is a hopeful sign to me that Dal LaMagna is keeping company among the voices for bring them home Now. There is hope yet ... perhaps ... why can't it be sooner than later?


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Media Involvement

Any Reason to Keep Funding Iraq invasion/occupation?


Arthur Ruger, my veteran husband, taking a position at Veterans for Peace conference, Seattle, WA, Aug 12, 2006.

-- 172nd Stryker Brigade extended in stop loss, sent to Baghdad after a year deployment in Iraq. July 27, 2006 (Read backdoor draft of involuntary service, involuntary military) Many were on their way home, actually arrived home after a year in Iraq, only to be turned back and sent to Baghdad in a stop-loss extension.  This happened in our family also back in April 2004; 1st Armored was to come home in April 2004, after a year in Iraq. They were extended, stop lossed at very last minute and our two, who were with 1st Armored - we had homecoming plans in the works - were kept in Iraq an additional 3 months due to Sadr City uprising.

Bring Home 172nd Stryker Brigade a non-political, non agenda website intended only  to permit families of 172nd Stryker to express their thoughts and feelings.  Why is it valuable?  It reflects some of the military families who hold more traditional military culture views and in exhaustion are beginning to speak out - not by joining an organization, but some of the stories written by the families speak to how fragile the military families are feeling at this point in history.

-- U.S. military calling back troops who've been out of uniform for years Aug 20, 2006 Marines, IRR (Individual Ready Reserves) being called up to deploy to Iraq - as many as 20,000. (whisper; pre-curser to an all out military draft?)

-- Fort Lewis soldier killed Aug 23, 2006 - Stryker Brigade, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division,out of Fort Lewis, recently redeployed to Iraq in second deployment, June 2006

--   Article; 7 Facts Making Sense of Our Iraq Disaster   Aug 20, 2006

Any reason not to authentically support our troops by bringing them home Now and stop funding the Iraq invasion/occupation Now - before November elections? Senators, Representatives, Congress, Washingtonians, People?

read more on the flip..

  It doesn't look at all like a troop call down in Iraq; quite the opposite.  So much for transition in 2006, when Iraqis stand up, troops can stand down.  Oh, that's not the Dem position anymore is it?  Now it's something like 'it might have been a mistake'. Courageous people like Ned Lamont change the political playing field in taking an absolute stand - gee, and he wins the election!  There is a message there, not unlike the message I've been trying to put forth here at Washblog for months....

  Article; 7 Facts Making Sense of Our Iraq Disaster   by Michael Schwartz, Aug 20, 2006

1. The Iraqi Government Is Little More Than a Group of "Talking Heads"
  -- A minimally viable central government is built on at least three foundations: the coercive capacity to maintain order, an administrative apparatus that can deliver government services and directives to society, and the resources to manage these functions. The Iraqi government has none of these attributes -- and no prospect of developing them.

2. There Is No Iraqi Army
  -- The "Iraqi Army" is a misnomer. The government's military consists of Iraqi units integrated into the U.S.-commanded occupation army. These units rely on the Americans for intelligence, logistics, and -- lacking almost all heavy weaponry themselves -- artillery, tanks, and any kind of airpower. (The Iraqi "Air Force" typically consists of fewer then 10 planes with no combat capability.) The government has no real control over either personnel or strategy.

3. The Recent Decline in American Casualties Is Not a Result of Less Fighting (and Anyway, It's Probably Ending)
  -- At the beginning of August, the press carried reports of a significant decline in U.S. casualties, punctuated with announcements from American officials that the military situation was improving. The figures (compiled by the Brookings Institute) do show a decline in U.S. military deaths (76 in April, 69 in May, 63 in June, and then only 48 in July). But these were offset by dramatic increases in Iraqi military fatalities, which almost doubled in July as the U.S. sent larger numbers of Iraqi units into battle, and as undermanned American units were redeployed from al-Anbar province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency, to civil-war-torn Baghdad in preparation for a big push to recapture various out-of-control neighborhoods in the capital.

4. Most Iraqi Cities Have Active and Often Viable Local Governments
  -- Neither the Iraqi government, nor the American-led occupation has a significant presence in most parts of Iraq. This is well-publicized in the three Kurdish provinces, which are ruled by a stable Kurdish government without any outside presence; less so in Shia urban areas where various religio-political groups -- notably the Sadrists, the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Da'wa , and Fadhila -- vie for local control, and then organize cities and towns around their own political and religious platforms. While there is often violent friction among these groups -- particularly when the contest for control of an area is undecided -- most cities and towns are largely peaceful as local governments and local populations struggle to provide city services without a viable national economy.

5. Outside Baghdad, Violence Arrives with the Occupation Army
  -- The portrait of chaos across Iraq that our news generally offers us is a genuine half-truth. Certainly, Baghdad has been plunged into massive and worsening disarray as both the war against the Americans and the civil war have come to be concentrated there, and as the terrifying process of ethnic cleansing has hit neighborhood after neighborhood, and is now beginning to seep into the environs of the capital.

However, outside Baghdad (with the exception of the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul, where historic friction among Kurd, Sunni, and Turkman has created a different version of sectarian violence), Iraqi cities tend to be reasonably ethnically homogeneous and to have at least quasi-stable governments. The real violence often only arrives when the occupation military makes its periodic sweeps aimed at recapturing cities where it has lost all authority and even presence.

6. There Is a Growing Resistance Movement in the Shia Areas of Iraq
  -- read more at link article

7. There Are Three Distinct Types of Terrorism in Iraq, All Directly or Indirectly Connected to the Occupation
   -- read more at link article

Where the 7 Facts Lead

With this terror triumvirate at the center of Iraqi society, we now enter the horrible era of ethnic cleansing, the logical extension of multidimensional terror.

When the U.S. toppled the Hussein regime, there was little sectarian sentiment outside of Kurdistan, which had longstanding nationalist ambitions. Even today, opinion polls show that more than two-thirds of Sunnis and Shia stand opposed to the idea of any further weakening of the central government and are not in favor of federation, no less dividing Iraq into three separate nations.

Nevertheless, ethnic cleansing by both Shia and Sunni has become the order of the day in many of the neighborhoods of Baghdad, replete with house burnings, physical assaults, torture, and murder, all directed against those who resist leaving their homes. These acts are aimed at creating religiously homogeneous neighborhoods.

This is a terrifying development that derives from the rising tide of terrorism. Sunnis believe that they must expel their Shia neighbors to stop them from giving the Shiite death squads the names of resistance fighters and their supporters. Shia believe that they must expel their Sunni neighbors to stop them from providing information and cover for car-bombing attacks. And, as the situation matures, militants on both sides come to embrace removal -- period. As these actions escalate, feeding on each other, more and more individuals, caught in a vise of fear and bent on revenge, embrace the infernal logic of terrorism: that it is acceptable to punish everyone for the actions of a tiny minority.

There is still some hope for the Iraqis to recover their equilibrium. All the centripetal forces in Iraq derive from the American occupation, and might still be sufficiently reduced by an American departure followed by a viable reconstruction program embraced by the key elements inside of Iraq. But if the occupation continues, there will certainly come a point -- perhaps already passed -- when the collapse of government legitimacy, the destruction wrought by the war, and the horror of terrorist violence become self-sustaining. If that point is reached, all parties will enter a new territory with incalculable consequences.

by Michael Schwartz, Professor of Sociology and Faculty Director of the Undergraduate College of Global Studies at Stony Brook University, has written extensively on popular protest and insurgency, and on American business and government dynamics. His work on Iraq has appeared on numerous Internet sites, including Tomdispatch, Asia Times, Mother Jones.com, and ZNet; and in print in Contexts, Against the Current, and Z Magazine. His books include Radical Protest and Social Structure, and Social Policy and the Conservative Agenda (edited, with Clarence Lo). His email address is Ms42@optonline.net.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Monday, 14 August 2006

Now Playing: Dahr Jamail Truthout.org
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada
 Ehren Watada
By Dahr Jamail
Monday 14 August 2006

On Saturday night, I was lucky enough to be at the Veterans for Peace National Convention.

For that night, Lt. Ehren Watada was able to give the following speech, which I've just received permission to post here. The speech was met with a powerful, standing ovation from the vets who've been there.

Lt. Ehren Watada, for those who don't already know, became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the unlawful war and occupation in Iraq. While doing this on June 22, 2006, Watada said,

"As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must refuse that order."

Just as Watada took the stage and began to speak, over 50 members of Iraq Veterans Against the War filed in behind him. Watada, surprised by this and obviously taken aback by the symbolic act, turned back to the audience, took some deep breaths, then gave this speech:
"Thank you everyone. Thank you all for your tremendous support.

How honored and delighted I am to be in the same room with you tonight. I am deeply humbled by being in the company of such wonderful speakers. You are all true American patriots. Although long since out of uniform, you continue to fight for the very same principles you once swore to uphold and defend.

No one knows the devastation and suffering of war more than veterans - which is why we should always be the first to prevent it.

I wasn't entirely sure what to say tonight. I thought as a leader in general I should speak to motivate. Now I know that this isn't the military and surely there are many out there who outranked me at one point or another - and yes, I'm just a Lieutenant.

And yet, I feel as though we are all citizens of this great country and what I have to say is not a matter of authority - but from one citizen to another.

We have all seen this war tear apart our country over the past three years. It seems as though nothing we've done, from vigils to protests to letters to Congress, have had any effect in persuading the powers that be. Tonight I will speak to you on my ideas for a change of strategy.

I am here tonight because I took a leap of faith. My action is not the first and it certainly will not be the last. Yet, on behalf of those who follow, I require your help - your sacrifice - and that of countless other Americans.

I may fail.

We may fail.

But nothing we have tried has worked so far. It is time for change and the change starts with all of us.

I stand before you today, not as an expert - not as one who pretends to have all the answers. I am simply an American and a servant of the American people. My humble opinions today are just that.

I realize that you may not agree with everything I have to say. However, I did not choose to be a leader for popularity. I did it to serve and make better the soldiers of this country. And I swore to carry out this charge honorably under the rule of law.

Today, I speak with you about a radical idea. It is one born from the very concept of the American soldier (or service member). It became instrumental in ending the Vietnam War - but it has been long since forgotten.

The idea is this:
that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it.

Now it is not an easy task for the soldier. For he or she must be aware that they are being used for ill-gain. They must hold themselves responsible for individual action. They must remember duty to the Constitution and the people supersedes the ideologies of their leadership.

The soldier must be willing to face ostracism by their peers, worry over the survival of their families, and of course the loss of personal freedom. They must know that resisting an authoritarian government at home is equally important to fighting a foreign aggressor on the battlefield.

Finally, those wearing the uniform must know beyond any shadow of a doubt that by refusing immoral and illegal orders they will be supported by the people not with mere words but by action. The American soldier must rise above the socialization that tells them authority should always be obeyed without question. Rank should be respected but never blindly followed.

Awareness of the history of atrocities and destruction committed in the name of America - either through direct military intervention or by proxy war - is crucial. They must realize that this is a war not out of self-defense but by choice, for profit and imperialistic domination.

WMD, ties to Al Qaeda, and ties to 9/11 never existed and never will. The soldier must know that our narrowly and questionably elected officials intentionally manipulated the evidence presented to Congress, the public, and the world to make the case for war.

They must know that neither Congress nor this administration has the authority to violate the prohibition against pre-emptive war - an American law that still stands today. This same administration uses us for rampant violations of time-tested laws banning torture and degradation of prisoners of war.

Though the American soldier wants to do right, the illegitimacy of the occupation itself, the policies of this administration, and rules of engagement of desperate field commanders will ultimately force them to be party to war crimes. They must know some of these facts, if not all, in order to act.

Mark Twain once remarked,
"Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country …"

 By this, each and every American soldier, marine, airman, and sailor is responsible for their choices and their actions. The freedom to choose is only one that we can deny ourselves. The oath we take swears allegiance not to one man but to a document of principles and laws designed to protect the people.

Enlisting in the military does not relinquish one's right to seek the truth - neither does it excuse one from rational thought nor the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. "I was only following orders" is never an excuse. The Nuremburg Trials showed America and the world that citizenry as well as soldiers have the unrelinquishable obligation to refuse complicity in war crimes perpetrated by their government.

Widespread torture and inhumane treatment of detainees is a war crime. A war of aggression born through an unofficial policy of prevention is a crime against the peace. An occupation violating the very essence of international humanitarian law and sovereignty is a crime against humanity. These crimes are funded by our tax dollars. Should citizens choose to remain silent through self-imposed ignorance or choice, it makes them as culpable as the soldier in these crimes.

The Constitution is no mere document - neither is it old, out-dated, or irrelevant. It is the embodiment of all that Americans hold dear: truth, justice, and equality for all. It is the formula for a government of the people and by the people. It is a government that is transparent and accountable to whom they serve. It dictates a system of checks and balances and separation of powers to prevent the evil that is tyranny.

As strong as the Constitution is, it is not foolproof. It does not fully take into account the frailty of human nature. Profit, greed, and hunger for power can corrupt individuals as much as they can corrupt institutions.

The founders of the Constitution could not have imagined how money would infect our political system. Neither could they believe a standing army would be used for profit and manifest destiny. Like any common dictatorship, soldiers would be ordered to commit acts of such heinous nature as to be deemed most ungentlemanly and unbecoming that of a free country.

The American soldier is not a mercenary. He or she does not simply fight wars for payment. Indeed, the state of the American soldier is worse than that of a mercenary. For a soldier-for-hire can walk away if they are disgusted by their employer's actions. Instead, especially when it comes to war, American soldiers become indentured servants whether they volunteer out of patriotism or are drafted through economic desperation.

Does it matter what the soldier believes is morally right?

If this is a war of necessity, why force men and women to fight?

When it comes to a war of ideology, the lines between right and wrong are blurred. How tragic it is when the term Catch-22 defines the modern American military. Aside from the reality of indentured servitude, the American soldier in theory is much nobler. Soldier or officer, when we swear our oath it is first and foremost to the Constitution and its protectorate, the people.

If soldiers realized this war is contrary to what the Constitution extols - if they stood up and threw their weapons down - no President could ever initiate a war of choice again.

When we say, "… Against all enemies foreign and domestic," what if elected leaders became the enemy? Whose orders do we follow? The answer is the conscience that lies in each soldier, each American, and each human being.

Our duty to the Constitution is an obligation, not a choice. The military, and especially the Army, is an institution of fraternity and close-knit camaraderie. Peer pressure exists to ensure cohesiveness but it stamps out individualism and individual thought. The idea of brotherhood is difficult to pull away from if the alternative is loneliness and isolation.

If we want soldiers to choose the right but difficult path - they must know beyond any shadow of a doubt that they will be supported by Americans. To support the troops who resist, you must make your voices heard. If they see thousands supporting me, they will know.

I have heard your support, as has Suzanne Swift, and Ricky Clousing - but many others have not.

Increasingly, more soldiers are questioning what they are being asked to do. Yet, the majority lack awareness to the truth that is buried beneath the headlines. Many more see no alternative but to obey.

We must show open-minded soldiers a choice and we must give them courage to act. Three weeks ago, Sgt. Hernandez from the 172nd Stryker Brigade was killed, leaving behind a wife and two children. In an interview, his wife said he sacrificed his life so that his family could survive. I'm sure Sgt. Hernandez cherished the camaraderie of his brothers, but given a choice, I doubt he would put himself in a position to leave his family husbandless and fatherless.

Yet that's the point, you see. People like Sgt. Hernandez don't have a choice. The choices are to fight in Iraq or let your family starve. Many soldiers don't refuse this war en mass because, like all of us,, they value their families over their own lives and perhaps their conscience.

Who would willingly spend years in prison for principle and morality while denying their family sustenance?

I tell this to you because you must know that to stop this war, for the soldiers to stop fighting it, they must have the unconditional support of the people. I have seen this support with my own eyes. For me it was a leap of faith. For other soldiers, they do not have that luxury. They must know it and you must show it to them. Convince them that no matter how long they sit in prison, no matter how long this country takes to right itself, their families will have a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, opportunities and education.

This is a daunting task. It requires the sacrifice of all of us. Why must Canadians feed and house our fellow Americans who have chosen to do the right thing? We should be the ones taking care of our own.

Are we that powerless - are we that unwilling to risk something for those who can truly end this war?

How do you support the troops but not the war? By supporting those who can truly stop it; let them know that resistance to participate in an illegal war is not futile and not without a future. I have broken no law but the code of silence and unquestioning loyalty. If I am guilty of any crime, it is that I learned too much and cared too deeply for the meaningless loss of my fellow soldiers and my fellow human beings.

If I am to be punished it should be for following the rule of law over the immoral orders of one man. If I am to be punished it should be for not acting sooner.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said,
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period … was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

Now, I'm not a hero. I am a leader of men who said enough is enough. Those who called for war prior to the invasion compared diplomacy with Saddam to the compromises made with Hitler.

I say, we compromise now by allowing a government that uses war as the first option instead of the last to act with impunity.

Many have said this about the World Trade Towers, "Never Again."

I agree. Never again will we allow those who threaten our way of life to reign free - be they terrorists or elected officials. The time to fight back is now - the time to stand up and be counted is today.

I'll end with one more Martin Luther King Jr. quote:
"One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."

Thank you and bless you all.

 

The only thing Watada said that I would disagree with is that he claimed that he is not a hero. He is a leader, yet again, by taking this stance. And he may never know how many lives he has already touched.

Today, it is up to the anti-war movement to make sure his leadership touches as many soldiers' lives in Iraq as possible.

Watada is making his stand. He needs continued support. As he said, if more American soldiers in Iraq know that they, along with their families, will be supported if they stand up against this illegal occupation, countless more will follow, and this repulsive war will end.

-Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who has reported for the Guardian, the Independent, and the Sunday Herald. He now writes regularly for Inter Press Service and Truthout. He maintains a web site at dahrjamailiraq.com.



Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 11:21 AM PDT
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

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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