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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CHRONOLOGICAL ARCHIVES
into our 3rd year of speaking out
20 Oct, 08 > 26 Oct, 08
7 Jan, 08 > 13 Jan, 08
29 Oct, 07 > 4 Nov, 07
10 Sep, 07 > 16 Sep, 07
16 Jul, 07 > 22 Jul, 07
2 Jul, 07 > 8 Jul, 07
4 Jun, 07 > 10 Jun, 07
28 May, 07 > 3 Jun, 07
14 May, 07 > 20 May, 07
7 May, 07 > 13 May, 07
30 Apr, 07 > 6 May, 07
23 Apr, 07 > 29 Apr, 07
16 Apr, 07 > 22 Apr, 07
9 Apr, 07 > 15 Apr, 07
2 Apr, 07 > 8 Apr, 07
26 Mar, 07 > 1 Apr, 07
19 Mar, 07 > 25 Mar, 07
12 Mar, 07 > 18 Mar, 07
5 Mar, 07 > 11 Mar, 07
26 Feb, 07 > 4 Mar, 07
19 Feb, 07 > 25 Feb, 07
12 Feb, 07 > 18 Feb, 07
5 Feb, 07 > 11 Feb, 07
29 Jan, 07 > 4 Feb, 07
22 Jan, 07 > 28 Jan, 07
15 Jan, 07 > 21 Jan, 07
8 Jan, 07 > 14 Jan, 07
1 Jan, 07 > 7 Jan, 07
25 Dec, 06 > 31 Dec, 06
20 Nov, 06 > 26 Nov, 06
13 Nov, 06 > 19 Nov, 06
6 Nov, 06 > 12 Nov, 06
23 Oct, 06 > 29 Oct, 06
16 Oct, 06 > 22 Oct, 06
25 Sep, 06 > 1 Oct, 06
4 Sep, 06 > 10 Sep, 06
28 Aug, 06 > 3 Sep, 06
21 Aug, 06 > 27 Aug, 06
14 Aug, 06 > 20 Aug, 06
31 Jul, 06 > 6 Aug, 06
24 Jul, 06 > 30 Jul, 06
17 Jul, 06 > 23 Jul, 06
10 Jul, 06 > 16 Jul, 06
3 Jul, 06 > 9 Jul, 06
26 Jun, 06 > 2 Jul, 06
19 Jun, 06 > 25 Jun, 06
12 Jun, 06 > 18 Jun, 06
5 Jun, 06 > 11 Jun, 06
29 May, 06 > 4 Jun, 06
22 May, 06 > 28 May, 06
8 May, 06 > 14 May, 06
1 May, 06 > 7 May, 06
24 Apr, 06 > 30 Apr, 06
3 Apr, 06 > 9 Apr, 06
27 Mar, 06 > 2 Apr, 06
20 Mar, 06 > 26 Mar, 06
13 Mar, 06 > 19 Mar, 06
6 Mar, 06 > 12 Mar, 06
27 Feb, 06 > 5 Mar, 06
20 Feb, 06 > 26 Feb, 06
13 Feb, 06 > 19 Feb, 06
30 Jan, 06 > 5 Feb, 06
23 Jan, 06 > 29 Jan, 06
16 Jan, 06 > 22 Jan, 06
9 Jan, 06 > 15 Jan, 06
14 Nov, 05 > 20 Nov, 05
24 Oct, 05 > 30 Oct, 05
26 Sep, 05 > 2 Oct, 05
15 Aug, 05 > 21 Aug, 05
8 Aug, 05 > 14 Aug, 05
25 Jul, 05 > 31 Jul, 05
11 Jul, 05 > 17 Jul, 05
4 Jul, 05 > 10 Jul, 05
30 May, 05 > 5 Jun, 05
4 Apr, 05 > 10 Apr, 05
7 Mar, 05 > 13 Mar, 05
28 Feb, 05 > 6 Mar, 05
24 Jan, 05 > 30 Jan, 05
1 Nov, 04 > 7 Nov, 04
18 Oct, 04 > 24 Oct, 04
11 Oct, 04 > 17 Oct, 04
4 Oct, 04 > 10 Oct, 04

Friday, 6 July 2007
'The Olympian' July 4 editorial titled 'Bring Home U.S. Troops'
Topic: Media Involvement
"A total of 134 service members assigned to Fort Lewis have died in Iraq. A total of 208 service members with ties to Washington state have died in the war."

To: Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter members, supporters and friends

Re: Write or call in with your support for editorial in 'The Olympian' - July 4 - ' Bring Home U.S. troops'. Good time to press your points as military families speaking out;

Perhaps can be construed as 'good news' - the newspaper referenced in the article at Huffington Post is our own 'The Olympian' in Olympia, WA - the town next to Fort Lewis Army base and McChord AFB; the town of our state capitol where legislators make legislation happen. I read this morning in my usual morning local news reads about our military friendly newspaper writing the editorial on July 4th 'Bring Home U.S. Troops' and gave a shout of whoop - amen. Then as I was going about my national morning reads, I see the 'news' makes Huffington Post.

I can tell you candidly, that as I listen to our Seattle based nightly newscasts and the daily reports of another Stryker soldier killed in Iraq or more accurately, another several more Stryker soldiers killed in Iraq, that the newcasters voices and tones are taking on a more somber quality as night after night they have to report on more Stryker soldier deaths. Strykers, you may or may not know are at military base, Fort Lewis, Tacoma, WA. We have had a fair share of vigils and protests over the years and especially this past year on the freeway overpass at the gates of Fort Lewis. You may have heard in the news that Fort Lewis was thinking about having to shift to doing a monthly memorial for all the soldiers killed in Iraq in that month because there were too many to do them weekly. As of yet, that hasn't happened, and Fort Lewis still is doing the respectful individual memorials. Well, now in groups of three and four as week to week many more Stryker soldiers are killed in Iraq.

So, the newspaper 'The Olympian' is certainly not up there on a scale of New York Times, this bit of 'news' is perhaps an indicator of the shifting paradigm here in our state (Washington state with 14 military installations across the state). While it's true this is a more 'blue' or liberal state, it is also true that the two newspapers connected to the military communities in Tacoma and Olympia are 'military friendly' and reluctant to come across in what could be construed as non-supportive of the troops and families. I would hope this particular editorial call for troops pull out of Iraq is a hopeful sign.

Take heart, blessings in the struggle

Lietta Ruger, chapter coordinator

Military Families Speak Out - Washington state

 

headline today at Huffington Post
Paper With Strong Military Readership Calls for Iraq Pullout


By Greg Mitchell

Published: July 05, 2007 1:10 PM ET
NEW YORK Even though U.S. casualties in Iraq continue to mount -- and we have now been there longer than we were involved in World War II -- surprisingly few newspaper editorial pages have come out for any kind of withdrawal (even a very slow one) or timeline for a pullout. Polls show that about 2 in 3 Americans favor the start of a withdrawal, and even Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, a strong conservative, came out for it last week, but newspapers have remained largely silent.

But yesterday, on Indepedence Day, a McClatchy newspaper with a heavy military presence in its circulation area came out for withdrawal. The headline: "Bring Home U.S. Troops." It concludes that this war "isn't worth a single more American life."

The paper is The Olympian in Olympia, Wash. Nearby are Ft. Lewis (which has sent tens of thousands of troops to Iraq) and McCord Air Force Base. Daily circulation is about 32,000. The president and publisher is John Winn Miller. Vickie Kilgore is executive editor.

"The Fourth of July is a time when Americans celebrate the values that have made us a great nation," Miller tells E&P today. "So it seemed like an appropriate time to editorialize on what has become a national disgrace.

"It is a particularly important and local issue for us because we are a military community with Ft. Lewis and McChord Air Force Base in our area. We seen too many of them killed, so many that Ft. Lewis considered stopping individual memorials. Our men and women have done their duty with honor. It is time to honor their sacrifices by ending this ill-conceived mission.

"A total of 134 service members assigned to Fort Lewis have died in Iraq. A total of 208 service members with ties to Washington state have died in the war."

Today, Sen. Pete Domenici became the latest veteran Republican in Congress to break with the White House on Iraq policy.

Here is The Olympian editorial.

http://www.theolympian.com/editorials/story/153009.html
*

'Bring Home U.S. troops'
Hearts are heavy this Fourth of July as the United States continues to wage an unwinnable war in Iraq.

Public support for President Bush and his war has steadily declined as the number of war dead continues to climb.

On a day when Americans are supposed to celebrate the freedom and liberty won by the blood of our forefathers, most Americans instead find themselves disgusted with the trillion dollar war being waged in their name with their tax dollars.

On a day when Americans are supposed to wave the flag with honor and respect, many Americans are disheartened and embarrassed. They are fed up with an arrogant president and an ineffective Congress and their inability to extract this nation from the ill-conceived war that has alienated U.S. allies and unnecessarily sullied the reputation of this great nation.

This year, our day of national pride feels more like a day of national shame.

Fed up

Americans have had it with the war. According to a CNN poll a week before today's holiday, only 30 percent of Americans support the war effort - a new low in public opinion. President Bush's popularity - the percentage of Americans who think he is doing a good job - has eroded to the same 30 percent level.

Sixty-nine percent of those responding to the CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll believe things are going badly in Iraq. Only 17 percent think the situation is improving. And President Bush is losing his base of support - fellow Republicans. The CNN poll found 42 percent of Republicans now believe the United States should be withdrawing troops from Iraq.

The tide is shifting in Congress, too.

Soft-spoken and well-respected Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., shook the capital community last week when he distanced himself from Bush and called the Iraq War strategy a failure. In a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, the mild-mannered Lugar said, "I speak to my fellow senators when I say that the president is not the only American leader who will have to make adjustments to his or her thinking. In my judgment, the costs and risk of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved."

Lugar's courageous - albeit late - condemnation of the war in Iraq sent shock waves through the halls of Congress. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, followed Lugar's lead the next day with a letter to the president that said, in part, "We must begin to develop a comprehensive plan for our country's gradual military disengagement from Iraq and a corresponding increase in responsibility to the Iraqi government and its regional neighbors."

Voinovich told CNN, "I think everybody knows that we fumbled the ball right from the beginning on this."

The two Republican lawmakers are right. We have to begin the withdrawal of troops. It needs to be an orderly exodus in order to protect our troops and to give some hope that the Iraqi army will fill the void over time.

It was a lie to say we invaded Iraq to protect the United States from terrorists just as it is a lie to say leaving will aid the terrorists. Let them wallow alone in the middle of this bitter, multi-front civil and sectarian war. It isn't worth a single more American life.

Cover for Republicans

As the top Republican and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar's criticism should give more Republicans the cover they need to challenge Bush on the war.

It's clear that the president's prescription for victory - the so-called surge - is well in place, yet the increase in troops has not diminished the violence. If anything, Baghdad is a bigger killing field today than it was prior to the troop buildup.

Bush continues to stall for time, saying no rational assessment of the surge's success or failure can be made until September.

How many more Americans will forfeit their lives on the battlefield between now and then? How many more tax dollars will be spent to stall America's inevitable departure?



Posted by SwanDeer Project at 9:54 AM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 9:44 AM PST
Thursday, 7 June 2007
Military Families Speak Out at weekly Seattle Federal Building Vigil
Topic: Members Speak Out

 

Photo shows memorial with multitude of orange poppies banners naming Washington state soldiers killed in Iraq.

 

Weekly vigil on Tuesdays in front of Seattle Federal Building.

Every Tuesday - 11:00 AM through 1:00 PM

On 2nd Avenue between Madison and Marion Streets, 
downtown Seattle, Washington

 

Military Families Speak Out members Joe Colgan, also Gold Star father of Lt. Benjamin Colgan who was killed in Baghdad,Iraq Nov 2003, invites you to join him in his weekly vigils on Tuesdays at Seattle Federal Building.  

Help convey message to our U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to exercise their power of the Congressional purse strings to De-Fund the war in Iraq, Bring the Troops Home Now, and take care of them when they get home. 

Fellow Military Families Speak Out members join Joe Colgan in the weekly Tuesday vigils, and we invite you to stop by and speak with them.

 

 

 Special thanks to David Kannas, member of Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter for the photos and reports. 

(posted by Lietta Ruger) 

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 11:48 AM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 9:51 AM PST
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
Speaking of Cindy Sheehan ... I have a few things to say
Now Playing: Imagine - John Lennon

Upon reflection, nine days after the news of Cindy Sheehan's announcement of her resignation as the face of the anti-war movement, Lietta, who went down to stand with Cindy that first week of Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas expresses her thoughts at her blog, Dying to Preserve the Lies.

 Cindy Sheehan, the mother of Casey Sheehan, a soldier killed in Iraq April 04, 2004, went to the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas in August 2005, while President Bush was on vacation, to ask him the question                   'What is the Noble Cause'  

   

                       Peace Cindy - and Imagine

 

Video of Camp Casey, August 9 - 15, 2005

by Peter Dudar and Sally Marr of Arlingtonwestfilm.com

(the first week of Aug 9 thru Aug 15 at Camp Casey, when I was there, I met Peter and Sally as they filmed this and I regret that I declined his offer to be included in an interview for this film, although Sally did get some footage of my swollen feet and legs = fireants allergic reaction. This film still brings me to tears, in memory of the early nugget of hope that sprang forth and flowered)

 

 

(posted by Lietta Ruger)


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 2:12 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 9:47 AM PST
Saturday, 2 June 2007
NPR Interview; Anti-War Moms Press on Without Cindy Sheehan
Topic: Members Speak Out

Doris Kent, of Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter among three Gold Star Mothers interviewed on NPR at the news of Cindy Sheehan's departure. Email received from Doris Kent;

Hi all,
I, along with two other mothers whose sons were killed in Iraq, were interviewed on NPR on Thursday.  Here is a link for you to listen to the interview.  (Our interview was actually an hour long but they cut it down to 20 minutes.  That is unfortunate because a lot more was said but I am grateful they aired our message.)  The interview was part of the "Tell Me More" program with Michel Martin.
sending you all lots of love,
Doris

 

 

NPR Interview; Anti-War Moms Press on Without Cindy Sheehan

NPR Program - Tell Me More, May 31, 2007

 Cindy Sheehan — one of the country's most prominent anti-war activists — is withdrawing. She announced this week that she is stepping away from the limelight and her role as the "face" of the anti-war movement. It is a role she assumed after her son, Casey Sheehan, died while serving in Iraq in 2004.

In an online statement, Sheehan says she has come to the "devastating" conclusion that her son did, indeed, die for nothing. Her post-activist plans are to reclaim her health and take care of her surviving children.

Other mothers who have lost children in Iraq are still speaking out against the war; listen to

 Doris Kent,  Bellingham, WA, whose son, Cpl. Jonathan Santos, was killed in October 2004;

Celeste Zapalla, Philadelphia, PA, whose son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed in combat in 2004; and

Elaine Johnson, South Carolina resident whose son, Army Spc. Darius Jennings, was one of 17 U.S. troops killed when a helicopter was shot down by Iraqi insurgents Nov. 2, 2004.  

Hear more from Elaine, Doris and Celeste - click on the link to the NPR interview, then click on Listen at NPR website. 

 

(posted by Lietta Ruger)


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 9:15 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007 3:01 PM PDT
Friday, 1 June 2007
Evan Knappenberger, Iraq Veteran Begins Weeklong Tower Guard Vigil in Bellingham, Washington
Topic: Soldiers Speak Out

Iraq Vet Evan Knappenberger introduces himself.



Evan Kappenberger sends a message to his friends still serving in Iraq.



Gold Star Mother, Doris Kent, of Bellingham speaks in support of Evan Knappenberger



Capt Benjamin Marx, a two tour returning Iraq veteran from Federal Way, WA speaks in support of Evan Knappenberger


More from Evan Knappenberger

To see more up to the minute videos of Evan's tower guard vigil, visit Bellingham blogger's blog = Washington Outsiders.

 



Iraq Veteran Begins Weeklong Tower Guard Vigil in Bellingham, Washington  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2007 

 CONTACT: Iraq Veteran Evan Knappenberger: (434) 249-5956 www.TowerGuard.org

 Marie Marchand, Executive Director Whatcom Peace & Justice Center (360) 734-0217 (office); (360) 920-4817 (cell) www.WhatcomPJC.org; WhatcomPJC@fidalgo.net

WHERE: Federal Building 104 E. Magnolia Street, Bellingham, WA WHEN: 24-hrs. a day, June 1-7

 Standing Tower Guard on a 6' scaffold at the Federal Building in downtown Bellingham, Iraq Veteran Evan Knappenberger, 1st BDE, 4th Infantry Division, started a weeklong vigil on June 1st to draw attention to the US military STOP-LOSS and INACTIVE RESERVE policies, which he submits are being used as a substitute for conscription in a political war.

 I spent a year in Iraq. I pulled 97 nights on tower guard, explained Knappenberger. Many of the friends I served with have completed their contractual obligations to Active Duty. Now, they're being sent back to Iraq for their third or fourth tours. Some soldiers are getting called up after living years of civilian life. Stop-loss is an unethical policy.

The Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, a non-profit organization in Bellingham, is supporting Knappenberger's week-long action. "This is a powerful, highly-visible action," said Executive Director Marie Marchand. "It's a nonviolent, creative way of educating the public about this widespread exploitation and abuse of our soldiers.

 Evan has seen this injustice perpetrated against his friends and comrades. We will do everything we can to help him get his message out." Community members have shown an outpouring of support for Knappenberger, including help with night security, media outreach, meals, and solidarity. A new website has been set up: www.TowerGuard.org.

"People come out of the woodwork to support courageous leadership like this," stated Marchand. "This is huge; and the news is spreading across the nation like wild fire." Western WA University students are also hyped-up by this action.

Student group, Western Against War, has made a statement of support for Knappenberger. "For those who take notice, this sobering demonstration will bring the hardships our solders have been forced to endure a little closer to home," stated Michael Biesheuvel, WAW president. "Western Against War wholeheartedly supports Evan." Knappenberger invites the public to talk with him while he is on Tower Guard, and to learn more about the unethical stop-loss policy.

###

Marie Marchand, Executive Director Whatcom Peace & Justice Center 100 E. Maple Street/PO Box 2444 Bellingham, WA 98227 (360) 734-0217 www.whatcompjc.org

 

 (Posted by Lietta Ruger)


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 1:59 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 2 June 2007 12:07 PM PDT
Sunday, 27 May 2007
Creating a 21st Century System of Care for Our Wounded Warriors
Now Playing: Donna E. Shalala
Topic: Take Care of Them

 For decades, local communities have gathered on Memorial Day to march down their "Main Street" to salute our troops and celebrate our freedom. This year, as we gather at local and national events around the country to remember our fallen heroes, let's take a moment to salute those who have also sacrificed dearly -- our injured and wounded warriors.

Perhaps this is on my mind more this year than ever before because I have spent the last two months as co-chair of the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors talking with our service men and women, their families, health care professionals and countless experts. Our Commission is tasked with the enormous, yet critical responsibility of providing recommendations to the president on how to ensure that our wounded warriors have a seamless system of care. It's a problem that many before us have tried to tackle with varying degrees of success. But my co-chair, Bob Dole, and I are not people who take no for an answer. We would not have taken this assignment on if we did not think that solutions could be found and implemented.

 
U.S. soldiers carry a wounded soldier, following a blast on a road between Fallujah and Baghdad, at a military base in Abu Ghraib May 19, 2007. A U.S. soldier died following the roadside bomb attack south of Baghdad. Five other soldiers including two Iraqis were also wounded.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Our one frustration is that, given that we need to get our recommendations to the president by the end of July, we cannot get to every place we want to see or talk to as many wounded warriors and their families as we should. That's where our website comes in. We have set up a "share your story" feature on the Commission website and we encourage wounded warriors, their families and all concerned citizens to email us. The emails and correspondence we receive are very helpful to us as we get down to the hard task of drafting the recommendations. So, take a moment, and log on -- see what we've been up to and if you have a story to share, send us an email.

We live in a twenty first century world with technology and the means to communicate that I never thought possible. Now, our task is to create a twenty first century system of care for our twenty first century wounded warriors and those injured in the line of duty. It may mean knocking down some barriers, but we've got the will to do it. Stay tuned...

 

Donna E. Shalala became Professor of Political Science and President of the University of Miami on June 1, 2001. President Shalala has more than 25 years of experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher, and administrator.

In 1993 President Clinton appointed her U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years, becoming the longest serving HHS Secretary in U.S. history. At the beginning of her tenure, HHS had a budget of nearly $600 billion, which included a wide variety of programs including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Child Care and Head Start, Welfare, the Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One of the country’s first Peace Corp volunteers, she served in Iran from 1962 to 1964.

As HHS Secretary, she directed the welfare reform process, made health insurance available to an estimated 3.3 million children through the approval of all State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), raised child immunization rates to the highest levels in history, led major reforms of the FDA’s drug approval process and food safety system, revitalized the National Institutes of Health, and directed a major management and policy reform of Medicare. At the end of her tenure as HHS Secretary, The Washington Post described her as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.” Read her complete blogger biography at Huffington Post.com

 

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 7:55 AM PDT
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
Military Families Respond to Reports of Inadequate Care For PTSD
Topic: Take Care of Them
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 14, 2007
5:13 PM

 

CONTACT: Military Families Speak Out
Ateqah Khaki, Riptide Communications,
509-301-5282, ateqah@riptideonline.com
Nancy Lessin, Military Families Speak Out,
617-320-5301, mfso@mfso.org

    
Military Families Respond to Reports of Inadequate Care For PTSD
Troops Deployed to and Kept in Iraq despite PTSD Diagnosis, Not Receiving Care They Need When They Return, says Military Families Speak Out
    

WASHINGTON - May 14 - Servicemen and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related to their combat experiences are routinely re-deployed to combat, and/or kept in combat, according the Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), a nationwide organization of 3,500 military families who have been speaking out in opposition to the war in Iraq. Recent reports, including a story in the New York Times regarding lack of mental health care at Ft. Carson in Colorado, have highlighted the issue of inadequate diagnosis, treatment and care for troops suffering from PTSD and related mental health ailments.

 

“Senators now reviewing the situation of care for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at Ft. Carson should expand the scope of their investigation to include all military bases in the United States, Germany and in Iraq,” stated Nancy Lessin, a co-founder of Military Families Speak Out. “We hear regularly from military families about loved ones diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who are given enough medication to last them their deployment and sent back to Iraq; or those who are given medication in Iraq and sent back out on combat missions.”

 

“There are a growing number of families like ours who have suffered the ultimate tragedy of this war, because our loved ones did not get the care they needed,” said Military Families Speak Out member Kevin Lucey of Belchertown, Massachusetts, whose son, Cpl. Jeffrey Michael Lucey took his own life on June 22, 2004 after being released from a Veterans Administration hospital in western Massachusetts without receiving proper care. Cpl. Lucey served with the Marine Reserves in Iraq in spring and summer, 2003.

 

AVAILABILITY OF FAMILIES FOR INTERVIEW

 

Members of Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families Speak Out whose loved ones have experienced inadequate care for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and related mental health ailments are available for interview. Contact Ateqah Khaki, Riptide Communications, 509-301-5282, ateqah@riptideonline.com; Nancy Lessin, Military Families Speak Out, 617-320-5301, mfso@mfso.org

 

Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) is a national organization of 3,500 families who are opposed to the war in Iraq and have loved ones in the military. Gold Star Families Speak Out (GSFSO) is a chapter of Military Families Speak Out, made up of families whose loved ones died as a result of the war in Iraq.

 

For more information about Military Families Speak Out, please visit: http://www.mfso.org

 

For more information about Gold Star Families Speak Out visit http://www.gsfso.org

 

(posted by Lietta Ruger)


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 11:47 AM PDT
Legislature does its civic duty
Now Playing: We need to see more of this kind of thing
Topic: Civic Duty

 via PNW Portal

State to waive tuition for fallen GIs' kin

OLYMPIA — The state's public universities and colleges will waive tuition and fees for spouses and children of fallen soldiers, under a measure signed into law Monday.

"Helping these children and spouses succeed in education is the least we could do," Gov. Christine Gregoire said before signing the bill.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, takes effect in July. It will cover spouses and children of active-duty and National Guard members killed, disabled, captured or missing in action.

After losing so much, "this will ensure they can move forward and get an education," Hewitt said.

The bill unanimously passed the House and Senate.

Washington's colleges and universities already had the option of waiving all or part of tuition and fees for the survivors of eligible veterans or National Guard members.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 6:57 AM PDT
Monday, 14 May 2007
Officers Honoring Duty to Troops & Country, not a political party.
Now Playing: Retired Generals Batiste and Eaton
Topic: Soldiers Speak Out
Major General John Batiste

Major General Paul D. Eaton, Retired and living on Fox Island, Washington.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 9:42 AM PDT
Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007 9:44 AM PDT
Sunday, 13 May 2007
Memorial Day Holiday; Days of Self-Examination
Topic: Remembrances

Link:  Veteran says Memorial Day not a day of celebration, rather a day of self examination

excerpts:
“On Memorial Day, and all these holidays where we take a few seconds out and pause, I don’t think they’re days of celebration. I think they’re days of self-examination,” Mr. Paul Bucha said.

Mr. Bucha, a Ridgefielder today, received the Medal of Honor “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of this life above and beyond the call of duty” in Vietnam in 1968, when the company he commanded was helicoptered into the midst of an enemy stronghold and spent the night fending off a battalion-sized force.

“I believe, systematically, the soldiers and their families have been ignored in the worst case, and poorly managed and administrated in the most charitable case, since this war began,” Mr. Bucha said recently.

“I’ve attended funerals to see public officials fall asleep in the middle of eulogies. I’ve been to Brooke Army Medical Center, where I saw literally hundreds of young men and women without arms and legs, and some without faces, who were kept out of sight and out of mind.”



Link: 
My Patriotism Has Been Used and Exploited

Army Sgt. John Bruhns will talk about his tour in Iraq and his opinion of the war.
He concludes: "My patriotism has been used and exploited. I am very proud of my military service, but I'm very disappointed in the civilian leadership and administration for sending us needlessly into combat."




Link: 
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés sends Open Letter to Laura Bush

Words That Fall Short of the Soul’s Bar “No one suffers more than their president and I do…”



Link: Treating Trauma

      O
ne in three veterans of the war in Iraq, and one in nine of the military operation in Afghanistan, face mental health problems, including depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.




Link: 
Author  Deanna Mills blogs; another Military Family speaking out

 

Deanie Francis Mills is the author of 10 suspense thrillers, including ORDEAL and TIGHTROPE, and one true-crime, FACES OF EVIL, (which she co-authored with Houston PD forensic sketch artist Lois Gibson.) Her work has also appeared in numerous national magazines, and she is an experienced public speaker.

In 2004, when her son, Dustin, deployed to Iraq with the United States Marine Corps, Mills found she could no longer sit on the sidelines and watch a war she opposed, not when three close family members deployed, between them, six times to Iraq with the Marine Corps and the army.

In 2006, when her son deployed to Iraq a second time, Deanie started the political blog, "Deanie's Blue Inkblots" (formerly "Blue Inkblots").

 


Link:  Debra Morgan Pardee blogs; Another Military Family speaking out on 6 killed in her son's unit; her own son injured by IED

excerpts:
Six members of my son's company died yesterday in Diyala Province, Iraq, killed in a massive explosion that entirely destroyed a Stryker vehicle. Only one person survived. My daughter-in-law spent the whole day with her best friend and was with her when she received word that her fiancé had been killed.
Mothers Day is a very sad day for many, many military families, and six more mothers will be grieving this Sunday.
However, the beat goes on. Just when my daughter-in-law and I and all the families who lost loved ones on Sunday were preparing ourselves to attend the memorial service next Tuesday, our near miss became a direct hit this morning. I received a phone call from the Army informing me my son was injured in an IED blast that destroyed his Stryker vehicle.




Link; John Fenton, Another Military Family speaking out on one year anniversary of his son's death in Iraq

excerpt

On the first anniversary of his son's death in Iraq, John Fenton spoke out against the war Wednesday during a rally in front of the National Guard Armory.

"I just find it frightening," Fenton said. "We're going nowhere and we're going nowhere fast. And it's mostly young kids dying, I just don't understand it."

Matthew Fenton, a 24-year-old Marine Corps sergeant from Little Ferry, was wounded by shrapnel while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province on April 26, 2006. He died at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., less than two weeks later, a day after receiving a Purple Heart.





Link: Military Families Speak Out - NANCY LESSIN -  April Exceedingly Violent month with 104 U.S. Troops killed

Lessin is co-founder of Military Families Speak Out. She said today: "April has been an exceedingly violent month with at least 104 U.S. troops killed and we don't know how many Iraqis. This is almost as high as during the offensives against Fallujah. Contrary to the White House line that we need to give their latest escalation more time, it's clear that the occupation is not calming down the violence, it's helping to cause the violence." Lessin is in contact with numerous families of U.S. troops who are in Iraq.


posted by Lietta Ruger

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 1:34 PM 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