Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter


Bring Them Home Now!

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

Here are some statistics:

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

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

-- One million military children are under 11.

-- 40% are 5 or younger.

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

Source: Department of Defense and National Military Family Association.

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

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

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

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

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

Drink in those words.

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

It's not Ted Kennedy last week.

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

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

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

perhaps with bodies still floating in the harbor,

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

By Michael Tomasky,
The AMERICAN Prospect online

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

Bring Them Home Now postage stamps

For more information see Appeal for Redress website.

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

Some Past Campaigns - Washington state chapter MFSO members participation


(photo - Daniel Ellsberg, Lt. Ehren Watada)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 20-21- 2007, Tacoma, WA.

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

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


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

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

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

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

June 2006 ongoing through court martial Feb 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

photo - Nancy Lessin, MFSO Co-Founder

photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO - WA

photo - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO - WA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us

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

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

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

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

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

JOIN us by sending an e-mail to

MFSO - Become a Member

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

* The Reserves

* The National Guard

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

There is no membership fee. Donations are welcome.

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

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

We welcome your involvement, please contact us.

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

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Sunday, 14 January 2007

Topic: Call to Action

Read this ... then tell me why Lt. Watada is mistaken.

Think about this if you will, as if your child, your spouse, your beloved family member or friend were someone like our good Lt. Watada up the road facing court martial for declaring the war illegal and refusing to lead men in a criminal enterprise. Nor coming home with blood on their hands for Bush reasons. - Arthur Ruger

This is still another view of the surge. But this one is the butt-ugliest version I've seen.

Problem is, it's the one that makes the most sense of what has appeared to be absolute lunacy on the part of Bush and Cheney, given their statements today.

I'd really like to print this entire article but cannot legally do that so I'm going to write commentary on excerpts from the article. However, in the strongest terms, I suggest that you all read it. Whether you believe the author or not, your understanding and perspective of what is happening in Iraq almost moment by moment these days will be much greater.

If you link to and read the entire article and don't believe or agree, I'd suggest that one of us is in denial.


Petraeus! Is Baghdad Burning? Petraeus! Is Baghdad Burning?

Posted on January 12, 2007
By Stan Goff

Editor's note: In this piece, a retired U.S. Special Forces soldier takes an oil-filtered look at Bush's "surge" plan for Iraq.

    "Jodl!  Is Paris burning?"
    --Adolf Hitler, Aug. 25, 1944

[Excerpts & my commentary. Arthur]


... The other thing we need oil for is food ... more than people realize.  In Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma," he traces the U.S. food chain back to the oil fields through corn, which is now the basis of most of our other foods, then back to the oil field.  It is widely known that each calorie of food consumed in the world today represents an expenditure of 10 calories of fossil energy, but Pollan's remarks while observing a cattle feed lot, where the beef-on-the-hoof was being force-fed corn produced by Cargill and Archer,Daniels Midland, are more to the point than any statistical review:

... The reason I lead into a discussion of the Bush administration's military "surge" plan for Iraq by talking about fossil fuels is that neither the government nor the media seem inclined to talk about the subject.

I've read quite a bit about peak oil and have respect for the concept. However, I was not in the mood for more peak oil when I started this article. Stan Goff has more than a peak oil on his mind here and I was not disappointed as I continued.


The Hydrocarbon Law

... The desperation of the coming escalation of criminal lunacy is based not on some fantasy but on a real and coming competition between the U.S. and basically everyone else for these energy stores, even as most honest experts agree that world production of oil has now peaked and will begin an inexorable and irreversible decline.  The reason for attempting to implant permanent U.S. military bases in the Persian Gulf area and install compliant governments (the real reason for the war from the very beginning) has everything to do with securing control over the region.

- The surge plan is a painfully twisted military option, but what is twisting it is not well understood.  Stability in Iraq could be achieved relatively easily, even now, in conjunction with a precipitous redeployment of Anglo-American military forces.  The strange attractor --strange mostly because the media never mention it--is Iraq's "first postwar draft hydrocarbon law," which would "set up a committee consisting of highly qualified experts to speed up the process of issuing tenders and signing contracts with international oil companies to develop Iraq's untapped oilfields."

This law, which is tantamount to privatization with an Anglo-American franchise in perpetuity, is the bottom line for the U.S., as evidenced by the fact that this is the one, absolute, bottom-line point of agreement between the Bush administration and the so-called Iraq Study Group.  

The rhetorical scuffle between these two entities is not the what, but the how.

...When the situation is looked at in this way, we can bypass all the chatter from government and media mystigogues about regional stability for the sake of the people, democracy, terrorism, et cetera.  These rhetorical smoke screens are concealing two inescapable facts:  (1) The U.S. has lost the Iraq war and (2) the best retrenchment position possible now is to salvage the draft hydrocarbon law.

Okay conspiracy buffs ... it is about the oil. So how desperately determined or determinedly desperate are Bush and Cheney?

Whose oil is it?

And what could B&C do with a new embassy complex  the size of Rhode Island and the 14 permanent bases in Iraq if Bush pretends that it's only a matter of more time befeore he goes along and withdraws our sons and daughters?


The Shiite leader who has most vehemently opposed this law, and the U.S. occupation, has been Muqtada al-Sadr.  The press has frequently portrayed Sadr as pro-Iranian, and nothing could be further from the truth.

... Sadr has called for Iraqi unification, left the door open to Sunnis for an anti-occupation alliance, denounced the hydrocarbon law, and modeled his political and military leadership on Hezbollah.

Here is where we come to the nub of The Surge, and why it is probably the political death knell of Nouri al-Maliki.  The principle aim of The Surge is to break the power of Muqtada al-Sadr.  

Sadr not only has the seats in the Potemkin parliament of Iraq that put Maliki (a leader in a relatively small Shiite party, the Dawa) into power against the SCIRI (the largest parliamentary faction); he commands the ferocious loyalty of two and a half million people and has an 80,000-strong militia concentrated a stone's throw from the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad.  

Baghdad has about 6 million people;
New York City has 8 million, just by way of comparison.  
The population of Sadr City, the "neighborhood" under the leadership of Sadr, is approximately that of Brooklyn.

My perception of Al Sadr - given me by media - is essentially that he is nothing more than a holy man subordinate to a holier man named Al Sistani;

that he's an overly zealous and loyal Shiite lieutenant who's run amok and needs to be restrained by somebody else now that his superior has washed his hands of the whole thing.

And if Al Sadr is such a small timer, why is there a Brooklyn-sized "neighborhood" named Sadr City?

I think we misunderstand and make assumptions based on information failure at the hands of media.

What's with Al Sadr and Maliki?


... the Maliki government--or any other government that relies on U.S. military protection to survive for a week -- commands the loyalty of only a fraction of the armed actors in Iraq, and it positions itself tactically against most other armed actors.  

The armed forces being trained for that "government" are themselves loyal to factions with agendas, and these forces are filled with opportunists and infiltrators.

... In light of those realities there is no possibility of one faction gaining the acquiescence of the whole Iraqi population and the various armed expressions of populations.

The Bush surge plan is designed to eliminate Maliki's Shiite opposition inside Baghdad, i.e., Sadr and his Mahdi Army.

What is magical about 21,500 soldiers and a surge of that specific size?


...While the U.S. gross troop numbers are about 130,000 (with around 25,000 mercenaries as an augmentative force), the actual number of combat troops is about 70,000.  Before we can begin to subdivide these forces for any possible operation to slaughter and raze Sadr City, we have to account for basic operations and force protection at nine major  permanent U.S. bases across Iraq, at least five large contingency bases, and an unknown number of smaller forward operating bases.  Camp Anaconda in Balad alone has at least 25,000 troops.

...The Surge would inject fewer troops than are required to maintain one "camp." If the entire surge figure of 21,400 troops is compared with the number of hostile residents in Sadr City, the ratio is about 112 hostiles for every American.

This can mean only one thing: airstrikes, followed by a ruthless house-to-house slaughter.  

Sadr City is targeted to be the next Fallujah.

For those who are susceptible to the personification of war, that is, the reduction of whole populations to a single leader--as in, "we are going to take out Saddam"

--I will remind readers that Sadr City is half men and half women, with 40 percent of the population under 14 years of age.  

A million children.  

Sadr City is approximately 33 million square feet.  That is a population density of one child per 33 square feet--less than a 6-foot-by-6-foot room.  

The very smallest lethality radius from so-called precision weapons delivered by aircraft is about 20 meters.  

Even the humble infantry grenade launcher fires an M406, characterized this way in the manual:

    The HE [high-explosive] round has an olive drab aluminum skirt with a steel projectile attached, gold markings, and a yellow tip. It arms between 14 and 27 meters, produces a ground burst that causes casualties within a 130-meter radius, and has a kill radius of 5 meters.

Do the math.

In Fallujah, a mass evacuation was organized before the general assault on the city.  The mandatory mass evacuation went through checkpoints in the American cordon sanitaire.

While women and children and very old people were allowed out, all "military-aged males" were turned back into the city, which, once the assault started, became a free-fire zone, and those men were dealt with like the Jews of Warsaw.  

Thousands of people refused to evacuate for a variety of reasons. They were subsequently caught up in the general slaughter.  This is the likely operational template for Sadr City.

Think about this if you will, as if your child, your spouse, your beloved family member or friend were someone like our good Lt. Watada up the road facing court martial for declaring the war illegal and refusing to lead men in a criminal enterprise.


The Other Math

There is another calculation associated with these kinds of "surge" operations: the aftermath.  

Muqtada al-Sadr has been effectively demonized in the U.S., but he is wildly popular and influential in Iraq, especially in southeastern Iraq, which has heretofore shown the least resistance to the Anglo-American occupation.

In an attack on Sadr City, according to powerful rumors, Kurdish peshmerga troops will be used to do some of the fighting, an insane political gambit.

If the Americans proceed with what appears to be a cruel and mindless plan (surely emanating from Dick Cheney's lair) there will be a possibility of igniting the Mother of All Tactical Nightmares for the U.S.: a general armed Shiite uprising in the southeast.

Maliki, of course, knows this, and has objected strenuously--only to be blown off like a gnat by the Bush administration and its fresh coterie of compliant generals.  

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, author of yet another U.S. military manual on counterinsurgency (none of which has ever worked--ever), is the designated paladin for this disgraceful enterprise; he's getting his fourth star for this, making him a real general.

"Petraeus is being given a losing hand," notes former Gen. Barry McCaffrey.

"I say that reluctantly. The war is unmistakably going in the wrong direction.  The only good news in all this is that Petraeus is so incredibly intelligent and creative....  I'm sure he'll say to himself,

`I'm not going to be the last soldier off the roof of the embassy in the Green Zone.' "

Stan Goff is a retired veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces. During an active-duty career that spanned 1970 to 1996, he served with the elite Delta Force and Rangers, and in Vietnam, Guatemala, Grenada, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Somalia and Haiti.

He is a veteran of the Jungle Operations Training Center in Panama and also taught military science at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Goff is the author of the books "Hideous Dream--A Soldier's Memoir of the U.S. Invasion of Haiti," "Full Spectrum Disorder--The Military in the New American Century" and "Sex & War."

It's a lengthy article at but it's my firm opinion that one cannot come to any reasonable estimacion of what is going on in Iraq and why Bushco is so obstinate about a surge without including Goff's article in the mix.

Meanwhile, Link to

Cross-posted to DailyKos


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 4:50 PM PDT
Thursday, 11 January 2007

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

Does increase of 92,000 troops equate to a "Temporary Surge" ?

92,000 troops   over next five years as is being recommended to the President by the new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates does not sound like a 'temporary surge' to me.

AP yahoo article here Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade will be going earlier than planned.  And likely WA state Natl Guard will be deploying again. Affected will be units based in Minnesota, Kansas, Georgia and Washington.  

Why did US troops have to "storm" an Iran Consulate  and arrest 6 staff members?  Iran? It isn't too difficult to conclude the President has his eye on Iran.  But where would the troops come from for that front?  The troops already have been recycled in repetitious deployments to the point of exhaustion and military recruitment isn't at an all time high. [ed note] correction -Iran Consulate

Senators and Representatives of Washington state will you represent us in Washington with the courage of the purse strings? And since this is not strictly a Washington state issue, but a national issue, you have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership among your peers.

The phone is ringing off the hook at the national office of Military Families Speak Out, with media requests to speak to military families. Media wants to know the reactions of military families to President Bush speech last night. After all, who is most directly affected by the President's plans for troop increase?  

Military families - those who actually have loved ones deployed, not once but twice, three times, and anticipating additional deployments - are in the best position to know how Bush's war is affecting  our troops.  

Military families - whose loved ones won't be returning because they already paid the ultimate price with their lives - know how Bush's war is affecting our troops.  

Military families - those who will live with the progressive effects of trauma in the family for years to come - know how Bush's war is affecting their marriages, children, family, the very fabric of their lives.

Bush's war - well maybe that is where it was initially, but now it's Congress' war. Parse it any way, it is an inheritance to the newly elected 110th Congres. Will they take action to interrupt funding the war with the newly won 'power' they say they didn't have before 2006 elections?   It would be unfathomable to me if our elected Democratic majority Congress were to use a political ploy to keep this as Bush's war and not own what has become their war for another two years in an effort to jockey for political position in some future election.  

I pray for strength and courage for our Congress over these immediate next hours and days as they contend with this critical decision of what to do about the President and Commander-in-Chief escalating the U.S. occupation in Iraq.  So far the non-binding resolution being suggested denotes non-action to me.  Would that they could persuade me that the cost of more lives in Iraq buys them time to carry out some grand master plan they might be keeping under wraps.  

I've heard it said among my political friend circles that first they had to get them elected, then could take action. Well they are elected, the people voted - not so much for a love of the Democratic party  - but for a change in Iraq  and the time for the newly elected Congress to take  action is now - yesterday , today, tomorrow - immediately and urgently.  

You are welcome to download and use the postcard to send to your Congressional Representative and Senators. Try clicking on the postcard. For use and download instructions visit this page at Military Families Speak Out.

With the ball now in their court,  here are reasons why we must insist Congress act with integrity and responsibility;    


* Administration officials have been calling the Bush proposal a troop surge, when it may, in fact be, an escalation of war in Middle East.  I well remember a President Bush speech that spoke of 'the long war' and I took those words to heart because I believe he meant and believed them.  Which is not to say that I believe in him, but I've learned that this President who is Commander-in-Chief and controls the lives and destiny of the Iraq veterans in my family is deadly serious about his war.

    * The Bush administration has always said that they would listen to the commanders on the ground. Yet when the commanders oppose the idea of increasing troop strength in Iraq, they are replaced.  It would seem the administration only listens to the commanders when they say what the administration wants them to.

    * More and more members of Congress (Republican  and Democrat) this week have been pointing out that increasing troop levels by 10 or 20,000 is not going to make things better in Iraq - it will make things worse. Adding more troops adds fuel to the fire raging in Iraq, it won't calm things down. More U.S. troops in Iraq will not "fix" a war that should never have started.  

    * Increasing troops on the ground in Iraq will result in the deaths of more U.S. troops and more Iraqi children, women and men. It will increase the number of wounded and the number of U.S. troops returning with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  

    * If thousands of troops are "added" to the ground in Iraq, they won't be "new" troops. Units currently in Iraq and currently scheduled to come home will be extended; other units that were not supposed to deploy for months, will be sent to Iraq earlier, often without full training or equipment.

    * By moving to escalate the war in Iraq, President Bush is doing the unconscionable: he is paying for his mistakes with the lives of our loved ones and the loved ones of others. If Congress allows this war to continue and escalate, they will also be doing the unconscionable.

    * It is now up to Congress to use their power of the purse to end funding for the war in Iraq. Congress cannot simultaneously oppose and fund this war.

    * It is not enough for Senators and Members of Congress to be talking about using their power of the purse to block the funds needed for escalating the war in Iraq. They must address the fact that there are currently 140,000 troops in Iraq right now who need to be brought home and taken care of when they get here. Each day that Congress fails to act to end the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, on average 3 more U.S. troops and countless Iraqi children, women and men die.

    * Some Senators and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are suggesting that cutting off funds for the war in Iraq will leave our loved ones and all of our troops in Iraq without equipment, supplies, armor, vehicles, and ammunition. They say that cutting funds would be `abandoning' our troops. De-funding the war is not de-funding the troops. In fact, de-funding this war is the most supportive thing that Congress can do for our troops.

    * per Congressman Kucinich - there are currently enough monies in the supplemental appropriation passed by Congress in fall, 2006 to bring our troops home quickly and safely, with all the equipment and supplies needed for this redeployment. If more monies are needed to bring our troops home quickly and safely, monies in the Department of Defense budget could be re-programmed for that purpose. Congress, using their power of the purse to de-fund this war, will NOT be abandoning our troops - leaving them in Iraq is abandoning them.

    * It is past time for Congress to end the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, bring our troops home now, and take care of them when they get here.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Thursday, 4 January 2007

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

Army Subpoenas WA activists To Testify Against Lt. Watada

First it was reporters being subpoenaed (Dahr Jamail, Sara Olson, and Gregg Kakesako) and now it expands to local activists in Washington state. The Army has issued subpoenas to local WA state activists to testify in the upcoming court martial of Lt. Watada.  Veterans for Peace, Washington based organizer Gerry Haynes; Veterans for Peace organizer organizer Tom Burkhart; Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace member Phan Nguyen - received subpoena's to testify.


Military subpoenas reporters and activists to help prosecute Lt. Watada.

Pre-trial hearing underway today, however judge delays testimony of those subpoenaed until full court martial February 5. Journalists say free press threatened. Activists say Army demands they "name names" in effort to chill anti-war organizing.

At a Tacoma, Washington press conference yesterday, January 3, Olympia-based anti-war activist Phan Nguyen described his objections to having been subpoenaed last week by the Army to testify against Lt. Watada. Nguyen, a member of the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, was the moderator of a number of press conferences in June 2006 regarding Lt. Watada and his objections to serving in an illegal and immoral war in Iraq.

When contacted directly by Army prosecutor Captain Daniel Kuecker last week, Nguyen refused to answer any questions without first speaking with a lawyer. However, Nguyen described the Kuecker's line of questions as focusing on the behind the scenes workings of the anti-war movement in the Pacific Northwest. "Kuecker basically demanded that I name the names of any key organizers that had anything to do with the public support campaign created to support Lt. Watada," explained Nguyen. "They are clearly on a political fishing expedition. Unless we fight back, this could have a chilling effect on anti-war organizing at a time when we have to step up to end the war."

Seattle chapter Veterans for Peace (VFP) organizer Gerri Haynes has also been subpoenaed by the Army. Apparently, Haynes landed on the Army's radar because she played a public role in organizing the Veterans for Peace National Convention in Seattle last August. Like Jamail, the Army is looking for information regarding Lt. Watada's speech to the convention. Like Nguyen, Haynes confirmed that Kuecker "wanted the names of convention attendees and organizers." Another VFP organizer Tom Burkhart has been placed on the Army's witness list.

above was quoted from Courage to Resist

Planned Support Actions

The campaign to support Lt. Watada plans a protest and press conference at the gates of Fort Lewis this morning from 8 AM to 11 AM as the pre-trial hearing begins.

Supporters can also express their support writing to Fort Lewis Commanding General;

 Lt. General James Dubik,
 Commanding General Fort Lewis,
 1 Corps Building 2025 Stop 1,
 Fort Lewis WA 98433.

 The Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq: The Case of Lt. Ehren Watada

will be held on January 20-21 in Tacoma, two weeks before the court martial of Lt. Watada at Fort Lewis. The national event will put the Iraq War on trial, in response to the Army's trial of Lt. Watada.  

Iraq War veterans, experts in international law and war crimes, and human rights advocates will offer testimony, in a format that will resemble that of a congressional committee. We are inviting testimony by Iraq War veterans and experts to inform military personnel and other citizens to reflect deeply on their roles and responsibilities in an illegal war." Testifiers will include:

Denis Halliday   Former UN Assistant Secretary General, coordinated Iraq humanitarian aid;

Daniel Ellsberg   Military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War;

Richard Falk   Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University;

Ann Wright   Retired Army Colonel and State Department official;

Nadia McCaffrey Gold Star Families Speak Out; Brussels Tribunal advisory board;

Darrell Anderson  Army 1st Armored Division in Baghdad & Najaf; awarded Purple Heart;

Harvey Tharp   Former U.S. Navy Lieutenant and JAG stationed in Iraq;

Antonia Juhasz  Policy-analyst and author on U.S. economic policies in Iraq;

John Burroughs  Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy Executive Director;

Benjamin G. Davis  Assoc. Prof. of Law, University of Toledo; expert on law of war;

Geoffrey Millard  8 years in Army National Guard; now in Iraq Veterans Against the War;

Francis Boyle   Professor of international law at Univ. of Chicago (via video);

Eman Khammas  Iraqi human rights advocate (via video).

The hearing will present the case that Lt. Watada would, if allowed, make at his court martial. He maintains that the war on Iraq is illegal under international treaties and under Article Six of the U.S. Constitution. Further, Lt. Watada argues that the Nuremberg Principles and U.S. military regulations require soldiers to follow only "lawful orders." In Lt. Watada's view, deployment to Iraq would have made him party to the crimes that permeate the structure and conduct of military operations there.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
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


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 -

About the Movie -

About the Education Project-

Contact Us -
Email -
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 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

     "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 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

 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

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

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