Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter

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Bring Them Home Now!

One of the features of military families in this war that differs from previous wars is that there are more young married soldiers.

Here are some statistics:

-- in Iraq war, soldiers often married, with children

-- 55% of military personnel are married. 56% of those married are between 22 and 29.

-- One million military children are under 11.

-- 40% are 5 or younger.

-- 63% of spouses work, including 87% of junior-enlisted spouses.

Source: Department of Defense and National Military Family Association.



Dissent is loyalty Robert Taft, the conservative Ohio senator who is a hero to many of today's conservatives, gave a speech at the Executive Club of Chicago in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

There are a number of paragraphs that are just grand, but here's the best one, which is worth quoting in full:

As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government

... too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism.

If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because
the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy,
and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.

Drink in those words.

That's not William Fulbright two years into the Vietnam War.

It's not Ted Kennedy last week.

It's Mr. Republican, speaking -- when? Not mid-1943, or even March 1942

Taft delivered this speech ... on December 19, 1941!

That's right: Twelve days after the worst attack on American soil in the country's history,

perhaps with bodies still floating in the harbor,

the leader of the congressional opposition said to the president, 'we will question, we will probe, we will debate.'

By Michael Tomasky,
The AMERICAN Prospect online


Order and send postcards to Congress - Fund our Troops, Defund the

Bring Them Home Now postage stamps


For more information see Appeal for Redress website.


For more information go to dvd 'The Ground Truth' website.


Some Past Campaigns - Washington state chapter MFSO members participation

2007

(photo - Daniel Ellsberg, Lt. Ehren Watada)

(photo - Organizing Team; Lietta Ruger - MFSO - WA chapter introduces the Panelists)

(photo - on the Panel - Elizabeth Falzone - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA chapter and Rich Moniak - MFSO - Alaska chapter listen to two days of testimony)

(photo - close up of Panelists Elizabeth Falzone - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA chapter and Rich Moniak - MFSO - Alaska chapter)

(photo - rRetired Diplomat Col. Ann Wright gives her testimony)

(photo - Organizing Team - Lietta Ruger - MFSO - WA chapter with retired Col. Ann Wright - Testifier)

(photo - Stacy Bannerma, wife of returning Iraq veteran - WA Natl Guard, gives testimony)

(photo - close up Stacy Bannerman, author of 'When The War Came Home' gives her testimony. Formerly MFSO - WA chapter. For more on Stacy, her book, media archives, see her website at www.stacybannerman.com)

(photo - IVAW veterans Geoffrey Millard and former Lt. Harvey Tharp give their testimony)

See website; 'Citizens' Hearing on Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq';

Jan 20-21- 2007, Tacoma, WA.

A 2 day citizens' tribunal support action in defense of Lt. Ehren Watada court martial at Fort Lewis.

(Organizing Team from MFSO - WA chapter; Lietta Ruger, Judy Linehan)

2006


(photo Lietta Ruger, MFSO- WA, in support Lt. Ehren Watada, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Jenny Keesey, Judy Linehan, Lietta Ruger - from MFSO-WA in support of Lt. Ehren Watada June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Lietta Ruger, Judy Linehan, Jenny Keesey - from MFSO - WA chapter, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

(photo - Judy Linehan, MFSO - WA at support rally for Lt. Watada, June 2006, Tacoma, WA)

June 2006 ongoing through court martial Feb 2007

For more information, see 'Thank You Lt. Ehren Watada' website.


(photo - right is Stacy Bannerman, MFSO -WA; organizing team)

Representative Brian Baird, Washington state 3rd Congressional District, in blue shirt comes out to talk with MFSO members at 'Operation House Call')

'Operation House Call' June thru August 2006 in Washington DC.

MFSO members make individual calls on Senators and Representatives advocating to Bring Them Home Now.

For more information go to 'Operation House Call' website.

postcards sent to Congress - summer 2006, 'Operation House Call'


2005


(photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO-WA on central tour. Not pictured - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO -WA on northern tour)

Bring Them Home Now tour - Sept 1 thru Sept 25 2005. From Crawford, Texas to Washington DC. see Bring Them Home Now tour website


(photo - left Lietta Ruger, MFSO -WA with center Cindy Sheehan and right Juan Torres at Crawford, Texas, Camp Casey, Aug 9, 2005


2004

photos from Newshour with Jim Lehrer; segment 'Homefront Battles' aired Oct 2004.

Online video, audio and article still available at Newshour website. photo - Sue Niederer, MFSO. Her son U.S. Army 2nd Lt.Seth Dvorin, 24 yrs old was killed in Iraq Feb 3, 2004.

photo - Nancy Lessin, MFSO Co-Founder

photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO - WA

photo - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO - WA


See at Seattle PI; List of casualties with Washington state ties

This is one of WA state casualties; Army Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, Whatcom County, Washington died Oct 15, 2004

Watch a slide show of family photos and listen to audio recordings of Army Cpl. Jonathan Santos' mother, brother and the woman who's documenting his life.

See the trailer for the documentary "The Corporal's Boots." (QuickTime 7 required).

A special thank you to mother, Doris Kent - GSFSO/ MFSO - WA for her generous sharing and contribution in speaking of her son's life and death in Iraq


Title 17 disclaimer In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
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mfso@mfso.org




Military Families Speak Out
is an organization of people who are opposed to war in Iraq and who have relatives or loved ones in the military. We were formed in November of 2002 and have contacts with military families throughout the United States, and in other countries around the world.

As people with family members and loved ones in the military, we have both a special need and a unique role to play in speaking out against war in Iraq. It is our loved ones who are, or have been, or will be on the battlefront. It is our loved ones who are risking injury and death. It is our loved ones who are returning scarred from their experiences. It is our loved ones who will have to live with the injuries and deaths among innocent Iraqi civilians.

If you have family members or loved ones in the military and you are opposed to this war join us.

Send us an e-mail at
mfso@mfso.org
.
You can call us at 617-522-9323
or Send us mail at:
MFSO
P.O. Box 549
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.

click here - MFSO Membership Form – to join Military Families Speak Out or

JOIN us by sending an e-mail to mfso@mfso.org.


MFSO - Become a Member

Membership in MFSO is open to anyone who has a family member or loved one serving, since August 2002, in any branch of our Armed Forces

* The Reserves

* The National Guard

* Returned from serving but still eligible for redeployment under stop loss.

There is no membership fee. Donations are welcome.

People who are not eligible for MFSO membership may join our Supporter Group. You are welcome to attend meetings that are open to the public, volunteer to help with event preparation and participate in our community actions and events. Supporters may purchase MFSO t-shirts and wear them with the "Proud Supporter of MFSO" button. Buttons may also be worn without the t-shirt.

Our Supporters provide emotional encouragement and physical help to our MFSO military families who are under extreme stress, especially if their loved one is in Iraq or Afghanistan

We welcome your involvement, please contact us.


click to see the list MFSO chapters other than Washington state forming around the country.


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into our 3rd year of speaking out
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Sunday, 31 December 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Members Speak Out

"There are no warlike people - just warlike leaders." - Ralph Bunche

 

I thought that back when the broadcast debate about whether or not Iraq was another VietNam was interesting but too focused on literal comparison.

For me the legacy of VietNam was the massive expansion of the idea of dissent as a patriotic act.

Further, VietNam legitimized a permanent change in society in the sense that a larger segment remains willing to question the motives and speak out against the administration with considerable less risk of being isolated and marginalized by pseudo-patriotic politics.

In our experience of speaking out, the most consistent disagreement with our point of view is not the political disagreement of our contemporaries, but that of the generation older than ours that remembers World War II more than it remembers VietNam.

Arthur Ruger 

 

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Saturday, 30 December 2006

Now Playing: Rich Moniak
Topic: Members Speak Out

Guest Op-Ed by Rich Moniak: Who are we fighting in Iraq?

Rich has permitted me to publish his recent Letter to the Editor to the Juneau Empire. - Arthur Ruger, Washblog


Rich: "It's nice to live in a small town where a voice can be heard above the clamor of so much nonsense that dominates the newspapers next to the select few writers we all recognize.

I was told last week by a new resident from Pittsburgh that the local paper he read there allowed but one community perspective piece a year. We're allowed one every six weeks it seems.

Then again, few read a small town newspaper, so maybe I'm just hearing myself think."

 

 

My turn: Who are we fighting in Iraq?
Letter to the Juneauempire.com

By RICH MONIAK

Two months after declaring the end to combat operations in Iraq, President George W. Bush issued a challenge to an Iraqi opposition he's never had to face: "Bring them on."

Three and a half years later, they're still coming. But according to the most celebrated study of the war, "Our government still does not understand very well either the insurgency in Iraq or the role of the militias." Who is then opposing the U.S. occupation?

The Iraq Study Group, headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, doesn't attempt to provide solutions to the war in terms of the simple rhetoric we've become accustomed to hearing. The group's admission that there aren't any guarantees to success is a sobering introduction that displaces politically crafted speech with some degree of honesty.

Yet why does the final assessment of not understanding the enemy in Iraq lay buried near the end of the text? How accurate is the portrayal of the sources of violence as the Sunni Arab insurgency, al-Qaida and affiliated jihadist groups, Shiite militias, death squads and organized criminality? Is it true that most attacks against our troops come from the Sunni Arab insurgency?

History suggests that outside forces support such resistance movements. Not with uniformed fighters, but rather with funds, weapons and mercenaries. Iraq is no different.

The accusations that Iran and Syria are sending support across their borders aren't new. The Iraq Study Group recognizes that both nations are "content to see the United States tied down in Iraq." But they bring in a new player, the private citizens of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, who the study group claims are providing funds to the Sunni resistance.

Are the governments of those citizens aware of this? Is there any connection to the group's claim and the recent resignation of the Saudi ambassador to the United States? Where might the energy agreement signed last January between Saudi Arabia and China fit in?

Some pretty murky political questions begin to appear once all the various international relationships are considered. Is it possible that the most obvious adversaries to our presence in the Middle East aren't the only antagonistic forces behind the resistance movements?

China is the second-largest lender the United States relies on while our national debt soars, in a large part because of the war in Iraq. A longtime opponent of U.S. ideologies, China is emerging as a serious economic competitor. The building boom has been steady there for several years. Their thirst for oil is no less than ours.

Today's superpowers don't engage in direct warfare. America's aid to the anti-Communist freedom fighters in Afghanistan during the 1980s is merely one example. The Nicaraguan Contras are another, and that chapter of our history includes covert arms deals with Iran. And of course, the North Vietnamese received massive support from the USSR and China that helped keep the U.S. military tied down in Southeast Asia for years.

What is obvious here is that political leaders of nations share a common philosophy that is grossly insensitive to the citizens of other countries. The support of proxy armies and freedom fighters of less developed nations isn't about freedom and eventual peace for the people. Instead they aid and arm the resistance movements to undermine the economic and military strength of their global competitor. They add flames to the war with little regard for the suffering of the innocent.

The United States doesn't own the copyright to covert actions such as the Iran Contra Affair or their legal counterparts. We don't have the patent rights to shipping arms into areas of conflict that we deem essential for our national interest.

The objective here is not to accuse China of aiding the so-called insurgency, but that to understand it, we may do well to look past the Middle East geographically and ask who else prefers to see the United States fail in the country with the second largest known oil reserves in the world.

Enemies aren't created by searching for peace, but rather by the competing interests of nations. Baker and Hamilton again tell us that our war hasn't made friends: "Sixty-one percent of Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces." Might that not encourage ideological and economic competitors around the world to lend the resistance movements support to try to undermine U.S. goals in Iraq?

It's time to be honest about the Iraq war. It will last for years unless we choose to do what's right and end it.

 



You can read Rich Moniak's speech at the MFSO rally observing the 3rd anniversary of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq in Juneau (3/19/2006)


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Friday, 29 December 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Members Speak Out

Tacoma News Tribune wants to know ....

Lietta is on the TNT's survey opinion list and got the following email today:

 

With the execution of Saddam Hussein imminent, The News Tribune is looking for readers' reactions. How will history judge him? Was his removal worth going to war for? What effect do you think his death will have on Iraq and the war?

She's too busy focussing on a story with more substance, that of the upcoming citizen's tribunal regarding Lt. Watada.

So she asked me to respond and try to keep it down to 60 words. Me? 60 words?. I tried:

 

"Saddam will be no more than a footnoted dictator whose primary historical claim to fame will be Mr. Bush's excuse for exploitation based on corporate greed.

The only remaining aspect of interest for me will be the self-serving baloney from the little man Bush who'll pretend he single-handedly roped Hussein while sitting in the saddle of his presidential hobby horse."

 

This worst president's legacy to America will not be the trackdown and arrest of a second-rate dictator. No ... it will be this -

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Sunday, 19 November 2006

Now Playing: Voices in War Time
Topic: Events

"Voices in Wartime" curriculum at Bellevue and Shoreline Community Colleges 

Shoreline Community College;
This fall, a class at Shoreline Community College in north Seattle is using the
Voices in Wartime Education Project
to spark deep discussions about a painful topic. To the complete surprise of the teacher, almost every student is attending every session of a class at 7:30 AM. For many, this is the first time they have been prompted to think seriously about a subject they have previously avoided.

Bellevue Community College;
During the whole of the 2006-2007 school year, a campus-wide program sponsored by the Center for the Liberal Arts at Bellevue Community College is incorporating
Voices in Wartime Education Project
into its programming and events:


my added note; Voices in Wartime is a Seattle based enterprise and let's hope it serves as a prototype for schools all across the country - kudos and way to go Seattle - way to go Washington state! We have some very dedicated people at work in this state in different venues trying to bring attention to Iraq war, help our military and their families in what continues to be an uphill climb. Pushing that rock up the mountain has to be a better alternative than sinking in hopeless futility into the cesspool.

 at Bellevue Community College (continued)

    * Teachers from a broad mix of arts, humanities, and social sciences will be using the Voices in Wartime DVD, Anthology, and Curricula in their classes, including English composition, literature, sociology, history, political science, communications, drama, and English as a Second Language.
    * In a program called BCC Reads! thousands of students will read and discuss an extraordinary novel, The Things They Carried, by Vietnam veteran Tim O'Brian.
    * The campus radio station, KBCS, will broadcast a 25-weeklong series of Voices in Wartime stories told by students who are witnesses of war, whether they are combat veterans or family members of veterans, war refugees, or their relatives.
    * The weekly student newspaper, The Jibsheet, will publish Voices in Wartime stories from students based on their experiences and reactions to war.
    * A BCC faculty member, acting as a story curator, will work with other teachers to help a thousand or more students publish their essays and narratives on the Voices in Wartime website.

The Voices in Wartime Education Project is using art, dialogue, and education to create healing and social change - in the midst of an ongoing war. Our focus this year is to build a powerful and successful model - an educational program using the Voices in Wartime DVD, Anthology,  and Curricula that can have a deep and lasting affect on thousands of students and teachers nationwide.

A Teachable Moment in America?

Three and a half years after the invasion of Iraq, I believe our country is nearing an historic "teachable moment" when we may be open to new insight into how we can live in a more sustainable and peaceful world. Out of the chaos and wreckage of war might come a new understanding of the terrible human cost of war, and the legacy of trauma created by war. And we might arrive at new wisdom that will help us discover peaceful alternatives to war

Voices in Wartime,
4509 Interlake Ave. N. #263,
Seattle, WA 98103-6782
Phone - 206-632-7587

Home -  http://voicesinwartime.org

About the Movie - http://voicesinwartime.org/movie.htm

About the Education Project- http://voicesinwartime.org/about.htm

Contact Us - http://voicesinwartime.org/contact.htm
Email - info@voicesinwartime.org
Phone - 206-632-7587

Voices in Wartime is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to transform how we respond to, engage in, and recover from conflict, through education and the arts. The Education Project offers tools, philosophies, and learning methods that can help us transform the conditions under which conflict becomes intractable and violent.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Sunday, 12 November 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Members Speak Out

Support the Troops? VFW cut and ran

I see where the VFW chose to endorse a Republican candidate who has never served in the military and repudiate Tammy Duckworth, a Democratic candidate who is not only a Vet but lost both legs in the Occupation of Iraq. If the local VFW comes calling to recruit me into membership, they need to send someone like Bill Moyer, a 73-year-old vet who wore the "bullshit protector" in his ear while at the VFW convention.

The apparent thinking as voiced by the VFW endorsing entity had to do with the Repug's track record of cheap talk and votes in support of military and or veteran issues ... as if a newly elected Iraq Veteran in Congress would not vote with an even greater wisdom.

There is a horrendous naiveté in this action in that VFW veterans who have been there and done that have taken a coward's route perhaps voting more their fear about pensions and health benefits (ironically endangered more under Bushco than any administration) than demonstrating any long-time veteran's genuine desire for national well-being.

If so, this in a way makes of the VFW the same corporate capitalists as jokers like Delay, Ney, and Burns  and others who accept money from Abramhoff in exchange for votes and endorsements.

 

 

Choosing the republicans for such a sissified reason demonstrates not only a lack of current courage, but a blind-sighted gullibility to the cheap talk of a desperate republican party;

the same republican party which also includes an extra-ordinary number of citizens the age of the VFW'ers who not only did not serve, but went out of their way to avoid the military.

Although VFW would certainly not want to support an anti-war candidate perceived as a "socialist/commie" espousing lots of contraries to American political and economic traditions, to choose a did-not-serve party puppet over one of their own for shabby and inaccurate reasons demonstrated questionable veteran wisdom.

Senator McCain typifies the waffled-thought and behavior manifested by the VFW.

The mantle of being the last great Republican veteran seems now to be Robert Dole and not John McCain who has cheapened his life with a political hypocrisy that has in no justified itself by his courageous performance and record while wearing the uniform.

There was a time at the end of the 1990's when I was willing to put down the TV clicker and get out to work for McCain for president - regardless of party affiliation.

No longer.

McCain's performance over the past two years is emarrassing. The VFW has now joined his club. What will we see next - as we saw with George and John -  a VFW and the little president in a foto bear hug to complete the deal?

When I finally arrived at a time of interest in organizations like VFW and the American Legion I ignored the temptation to join them - primarily because I had become dismayed by their tendency to look the other way while blindly believing and supporting insincere and manipulative presidents ... er, commanders-in-chief.

There is no reason for a Veteran to support this particular CIC in his pretend uniforms and pilot jackets and who has been able to perform the one simple thing his puppeteers require - talk cheap flag talk.

I'd like to think that the older generation of Veterans contains but a more mature reflection of the younger Vet's organizations;

groups like Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Iraq Veterans Against the War, the epitome of why veterans are wiser than never-served civilians who think war is a game;

veterans who easily demonstrate a greater and wiser perspective of how civic duty blends with military duty in this day and this age of placing party above country and political profit above military well-being.

Why is that one may ask?

Perhaps because the older American Legion and VFW veterans were not betrayed by presidents who prioritized genuine national best-interest behind party priorities and  unsound economic ideologies

- ideologies which have proven themselves extremely advantageous for business and wealth at the expense of the working class from which comes the majority of soldiers .

Veterans on pensions should know better than to support robber barons.

VFP, VVAW and IVAW  are primarily populated by military veterans whose sense of civic responsibility transcends any blind and naïve trusting of a leader merely because of his supposed CIC uniform.

VFW and the American Legion have supported this current American shyster president despite his obvious leadership ineptness. If there's one thing all veterans of all ages know, it's when the officer has his head up his ass and doesn't know shit from shinola. We've all been there, seen that and done that.

Wise veterans do not ascribe to the little president any high moral authority and patriotic wisdom. He doesn't have it, doesn't wield it, and no amount of old-time chain-of-command blind loyalty will create it.

Nevertheless, because the little man became President of the United States, VFW behaves as if there is a tooth fairy-type of spirit that visited small George in the dark quiet of his first night in the White House;

that the patriotic tooth fairy in some mystical way poured a spirit of civic wisdom into that small mind;

forcing his born-again dreams aside so the wisdom of Lincoln and the courage of Eisenhower somehow blended.

Some version of this assumptive logic lies behind the VFW decision to repudiate the Democratic candidate who has paid more than her fair share of dues;

all the while making themselves look like foolish game-players who think political endorsements are things to brag to Mabel about after the lights go out.

As a military veteran I continue to withhold any endorsement of the VFW and will continue my refusal to join them in any kind of society of pretend patriotism that worships lack of form without substance;

that lives in darkness and crows unwisely in foolish gratitude for any mushroom food tossed in their direction.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Sunday, 5 November 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Soldiers Speak Out

Military Newspapers, real patriotism & outrageous courage from a surprising source


Tomorrow the Air Force Times, The Army Times, The Navy Times and the Marine Times are publishing an editorial calling for Bush to fire Rumsfeld. The editorial says Rumsfeld has "lost credibility" with top officers.

As a legitimate action of genuine political support of our sons and daughters at war, the implication of these editorials is enormous. They  accomplish more in one moment than 6 years of presidential appearances on military installations, in military communities and at VFW and American Legion Conventions.

In addition, the military "Times" editorials effectively counter the shabby and foolish decision of the VFW to endorse a did-not-serve cheap-talking Republican candidate rather than Democratic Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq veteran who lost both legs to the Republican Occupation of Iraq.

 

Without doubt, historically these newspapers have been solidly in the Bush-as-CIC adoration society. That they now choose to risk disfavor among their subscription base which is - of course primarily military families - speaks loudly and clearly about the changed direction of the political breeze in this country.

The White House can't really launch a swift-boat-liars campaign against these Military Times publications because of who the subscribers are, but they can fall back on their own historical cupidity and go to the dumb-them-down well one more time before the election.

Regardless of White House and Tony Snow protestations that  "the military papers, produced for military personnel by a subsidiary of Gannett, are biased,"  the dumber statement Snow and Bushco made was that the editorials are  "a caricature" and a "shabby piece of work" filled with inaccuracies.  

I find it ironically apropos that such a phrasing comes from Mr. Snow who himself in his short career as Scotty McLellan's replacement has been nothing but a caricature and given us nothing but shabby pieces of work filled with inaccuracies in his own role.

When asked at the press conference "Has the President seen or been told about the editorials?"

Snow replied,

"He's been told about the editorial.

... His reaction was just to sort of shrug it off. I mean, he understands what editorial writers sometimes do, and in this case, they're grandstanding.

The notion that somehow, as the editorial says, that this is not intended to influence the elections -- you've got to be kidding me. I mean, if they didn't want it to influence the elections, they could have published it Wednesday."

I suppose Snow is making a valid Republican talking point about the timing. But isn't timing part and parcel of when you write an editorial?

Not to mention the "timing" thing when Saddam is sentenced to hang three days before the mid-term election - as if when we vote we have been reminded that Republicans and the President who couldn't find WMD's under his own desk and gave up trying to find OBL deserves our vote now because we're finally getting around to executing the guy they said would attack America with WMD's.

The importance of these editorials is not the call to dismiss Mr. Rumsfeld who long ago proved totally incapable of running an invasion and occupation.

Rather, the importance is that the angry and disgusted breeze blowing every more fiercely against Republicans, neo-cons and the true betrayers of our military loved ones is reaching gale-force.

More American military families are speaking out, voicing opinions they used to suppress out of patriotic habit - and fear of insitutional military retribution - confirming what we've all known for more than three years.

Our military families are losing their most precious blood;  

the vigorous and disciplined young men and women of our future.

The shabbiest work and caricature that was always the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq sits broadly in loud full view of the American conscience.

More and more Americans have awakend from a fixation on dummies who eat insects and swim with worms,

on who can dance and who can't,

on a shallow focus on the wrong American idols,

on whether or not gay neighbors are the greatest threat to America,

because Iraq dominates our fears and hopes. The military Times editorials are worth their weight in tons of the real gold of American values.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Saturday, 21 October 2006

Topic: Soldiers Speak Out
APPEAL FOR REDRESS by active duty troops.

mail from MFSO mfso@mfso.org on Oct 21,2006

Dear Member of Military Families Speak Out,

Recently a number of active duty Sailors and Marines started a project to give current service members a voice in the call to bring our troops home from Iraq. They initiated an APPEAL FOR REDRESS to be delivered to Congress.

According to their website www.appealforredress.org:

     "Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation."

The text of the APPEAL FOR REDRESS is short, simple, patriotic and respectful in tone:

    As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.

This appeal gives current service members a concrete, legal way to let their voices be heard. See http://www.appealforredress.org/php/legal.php for more information about the legal basis for this APPEAL FOR REDRESS.

If your loved one(s) in the military are Active Duty, Guard or Reserves and if they oppose the war in Iraq, please share this email with them to see if they are interested in submitting an APPEAL FOR REDRESS at www.appealforredress.org.

 If you or your loved one(s) know others who might be interested, please let them know about the APPEAL FOR REDRESS. The active duty service members spearheading this project are seeking to collect thousands of APPEALS FOR REDRESS from Active Duty, Reserve and Guard service members. They plan to deliver these to Congress in mid-January, around the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.

Thus far, service men and women from Norfolk, Virginia; Quantico; Ft. Hood, Texas; Ft. Campbell, Kentucky; several other U.S. bases, and bases in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan have submitted APPEALS FOR REDRESS on-line.

Iraq Veterans Against the War has sent this information to its membership. Military Families Speak Out is now sending this to our members.

We understand that there will be an article about the APPEAL FOR REDRESS in Navy Times on Monday, October 23rd; and subsequent press events involving the active duty troops who are spearheading and supporting this action.

If your loved one(s)/relation(s) in the service would like more information about this project, we can connect them with the active duty servicemembers who began this project and are currently speaking with fellow servicemembers on bases across the country and around the world about the APPEAL FOR REDRESS.

You can reach us at mailto:mfso@mfso.org

Please be in touch and let us know if your loved one(s) are interested in this APPEAL FOR REDRESS and/or have any questions.

In Peace and Solidarity,

Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson

for Military Families Speak Out

www.mfso.org

http://www.bringthemhomenow.org

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Sunday, 15 October 2006

Topic: MFSO National
National Military Families Speak Out Committe;  Take Care of Them When They Get Home Outreach. 
 
As this committee which has a high number of MFSO members from many states continues to discern approaches to the vast issue of returning veteran care, reports should be forthcoming along the way. 
 
There are 2 from Washington state MFSO chapter on this committee; Anne Leigh ughz4@comcast.net, and Lietta Ruger   rugerla@centurytel.net).  
 
Recently in discussion with Bill Moyer of Backbone Campaign, he posited some useful questions in terms of what is it that we want the public to know and what actions do we want them to take to help.  
 
Additionally, Stacy Bannerman, sbannerman@comcast.net,  from MFSO chapter in Washington has some independent activities in the works trying to adrress this vast issue as well.  
 
Before the holidays and again recently this past weekend, I've had 2 separate independent WA documentary filmmakers inquire about finding Iraq Veterans willing to talk on camera (identities can be concealed on camera) about their own experiences and unmet needs regarding medical/health issues.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Topic: Local Lobbying

I spoke with Gene Marx via telephone last night and asked him to write and send a detailed eye-witness account of the meeting. The following was in my morning email - Arthur

VICTORY for BELLINGHAM: Troops Home! Resolution Passes 6-1

On Monday night, Oct 9th, the Bellingham City Council passed the Troops Home! Resolution by a 6-1 vote, with only Councilman Bob Ryan voting against it, becoming the first city in Washington State and the 108th nationally to adopt such an initiative.

Councilman Terry Bornemann sponsored the resolution and strongly supported the Troops Home! Advisory Committee's efforts from the outset in June. The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Beardsley.

Before the vote, Bornemann, a Vietnam Veteran, powerfully stated that he supported this resolution to honor Gold Star mother Doris Kent, whose son Corporal Jonathan Santos was killed in Iraq two years ago this week, and other parents of soldiers; and also to honor the many Vietnam Veterans who still suffer from the consequences of that war.

Council President Gene Knutson said that when our national representatives won't listen, the people come to their local politicians.

 

" When the federal government isn't listening, and the state government isn't listening, where do citizens go? They go to their local officials...we are elected officials, and we have that right to do what we're doing here tonight."

 

Knutson also took on stay-the-course detractors.

"Look at the highest levels of our government that are using cut-and-run, look at the people that are using cut-and-run, look at their military backgrounds."

When Council Member Joan Beardsley questioned whether it was appropriate for the city council to make a vote on behalf of ALL the citizens of Bellingham, Bornemann and Knutson strongly stated that every time the Council votes, they are voting on behalf of the City of Bellingham and ALL its citizens.

In addition to making Northwest news, Bellingham's victory is being celebrated by the national peace movement and Cities for Progress.

Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (www.whatcompjc.org), under Executive Director Marie Marchand, was the Resolution's organizational sponsor from its inception.

For a refreshing counter-balance to The Bellingham Herald's inaccurate coverage of the council meeting, check out Seattle's KOMO 4's 11:00 pm news from Monday night, October 9.

Bellingham's victory was the top news story, even trumping N. Korea's test detonation. The powerful City Council presentation (Sep 25th - beginning at 22 minutes) and successful vote (Oct 9th - beginning at 54 1/2 minutes) can be viewed on http://cob.org/council/packets.htm.

 

Thanks,
Gene Marx
VicePresident,
Board of Directors,
Whatcom Peace and Justice
360-738-8462

 

 

 

 

On September 26, 2006,  about 150 people gathered at a Bellingham City Council meeting to present a Troops Out Now resolution.  

A group of Bellingham parents of soldiers (both deceased and Iraq veterans) and peace advocates prepared and presented the resolution proposal to the Bellingham city council.

Among these families are members of Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter.

Speakers included Doris Kent, Victoria Marx, Susan Livingston, Eileen Herring, and other parents of soldiers.

MFSO member Anna Lawson from Bellingham explains that "this   resolution, of course, has no power other than highlighting that one city strongly opposes federal policy and actions.
... and we hope that Bellingham's council will be the first of many in Washington to do so."

Bellingham Herald Article: City asked to send anti-war message

Parents of soldiers bring resolution to council, 150 attend meeting

The link below describes the resolution and provides much more information.

RESOLUTION URGING THE US CONGRESS TO END THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ & BRING OUR TROOPS SAFELY HOME NOW

QUICK FACTS

The Troops Home! Resolution urges Congress to end the occupation of Iraq and bring American troops home.

Some 106 other U.S. cities have passed similar troop withdrawal resolutions.

To date, no other Washington cities were listed as having passed this type of resolution.

For citizens in other cities in Washington state interested in initiating a City Council resolution to bring the troops home; see the toolkit at link Cities for Progress.

The council will vote at its Oct. 9 meeting to adopt the resolution or not.

Video of the City Council meeting is available online  (September 25, 2006).
The Hearing begins around minute 22 of the video.



Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Now Playing: Jessie Archibald
Topic: Members Speak Out

Tacoma News Tribune
Published: September 5th, 2006 01:00 AM
 
When will soldiers know that their job is done?
JESSIE ARCHIBALD; Tacoma
 
At least 62 U.S. service members died in Iraq in August, compared with 43 in July. President Bush tells us, “We’ll stay until we get the job done.”
 
What is our soldiers’ job?
To find weapons of mass destruction?
To free Iraq?
To stop Iraqis from killing each another?
To rebuild Iraq?
 
None of these goals is being met.
How will we know when the job is done?
When we lose 3,000 troops?
4,000?
 
Now we are told that we have to fight the terrorists there, or they will fight us here. I say, let them come and bring our soldiers home to protect us on our home front instead of in that sweltering desert in Iraq.
 
Our brave young soldiers have suffered enough. This war is a failed effort, not for lack of hard work by our brave young soldiers. It is their commanders at the highest level who have failed them because there is no plan for success. It is not worth it to continue to lose our most valuable resource: our young people who otherwise would have their whole lives in front of them.
 
I applaud the Raging Grannies who understand this and am sad for families that continue to lose loved ones each day while this war rages on.
 
When will the American people say enough is enough?
We need to take back our country by voting out those who want to continue the endless bloodshed.


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