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.
Archive


Contact us


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
13 Oct, 08 > 19 Oct, 08
31 Dec, 07 > 6 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
21 May, 07 > 27 May, 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
13 Nov, 06 > 19 Nov, 06
6 Nov, 06 > 12 Nov, 06
30 Oct, 06 > 5 Nov, 06
16 Oct, 06 > 22 Oct, 06
9 Oct, 06 > 15 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
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
5 Jun, 06 > 11 Jun, 06
29 May, 06 > 4 Jun, 06
15 May, 06 > 21 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
20 Mar, 06 > 26 Mar, 06
13 Mar, 06 > 19 Mar, 06
27 Feb, 06 > 5 Mar, 06
20 Feb, 06 > 26 Feb, 06
13 Feb, 06 > 19 Feb, 06
6 Feb, 06 > 12 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
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17 Oct, 05 > 23 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
23 May, 05 > 29 May, 05
4 Apr, 05 > 10 Apr, 05
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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, 12 August 2005

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger & Camp Casey in Crawford Texas
Topic: Call to Action

NW mom enlists in the Texas peace corps 

By SUSAN PAYNTER
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST

Lietta Ruger of Bay Center in southwest Washington admits she didn't know what she was getting into when her feet hit the ground in Crawford, Texas, at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday. 

But soon, by cell phone, she was describing the scene around her. The way daylight sketched the emerging shapes of five tents. The early rising figure of the suddenly famous Cindy Sheehan. And the outlines of the growing numbers of her supporters.

Right away, the Washington woman told me, she knew she was getting into something amazing: a gathering of mothers and others galvanized by Sheehan's quiet but stubborn questioning.

"Why?" Sheehan wants to ask the vacationing President, "did her 24-year-old son Casey really die in Iraq?" And would Mr. Bush please stop using the loss of her son to justify why even more sons and daughters must die?

She's not leaving, she says, until he either answers her or cuts and runs.

Ruger had never met Sheehan until Wednesday when they shared a long, trembling hug on the stubbly public right of way near Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch. But they had exchanged a lot of e-mail, Ruger as a member of Northwest Military Families Speak Out and Sheehan as founder of Gold Star Families for Peace.

Ruger's son-in-law and nephew already have served 15-month stretches in Iraq and thankfully, so far, stayed alive. But both still face second "stop-loss" deployments.

Just before she caught a Texas-bound red-eye out of SeaTac, her 5-year-old grandchild said, "Grandma's going to talk to the president so my daddy doesn't have to go away again."

But Ruger will leave the talking and most of the waiting to Sheehan. She worries if she stays away too long, her own family members may be gone before she gets back.

For the trip, Ruger packed sunscreen, insect repellent, bandanas to wet against the heat, bottles of water, hats, visors and changes of socks. They're the same things moms across the country have tucked into the packs of their departing soldiers.

If the encampment is not shooed off or arrested as a supposed "national security risk" as they have been warned they will be, a Porta Potty will be delivered soon to the site. Meanwhile, Ruger says, she's willing to dig a hole. "Our troops are doing it," she said.

Through Monday, she will sleep in a tent at "Camp Casey," named for Sheehan's son. She'll do it, she says, to bring Sheehan some moral support. To recognize "the huge outpouring of support she is getting." And to help people hear the voice of military families like hers who want to express their support and care for the troops by keeping them from coming home the way Sheehan's son did.

Ruger has no desire to join Sheehan's Gold Star club. The dues -- the loss of a cherished child -- are simply too high.

But she's there for another reason, too. Ruger knows that Sheehan's integrity is already under attack by those trying to discredit her by saying she has changed her tune. She was still in shock just after Casey's death when Sheehan and other military families met Bush at Fort Lewis. But, even then, Ruger said, Sheehan was against the war.

Rain with a decidedly Seattle feel wet the encampment the morning Ruger arrived. But the gathering thunder isn't weather. It's the power and the anger of moms across the country. And Sheehan is their lightening rod.

So far, Ruger is the only known Washington state woman to report for duty. But Julie Decker of Carlsbad and San Marcos, Calif., respectively, have just arrived. Neither knew Sheehan or had been previously involved in the peace movement.

"People just need to do something hands-on to help," Ruger said. "I think it reflects how powerless they have felt, until now, about this war."

The formerly quiet Crawford Peace House nearby is now such a hive that incoming calls have jammed the phone line. "This was not an orchestrated thing, so people were really unprepared," Ruger said.

Still, she's grateful for the groundswell.

Cell phones warble constantly in camp. Sheehan gets 1,000 supportive e-mails a day.

Military Families Speak Out is organizing car caravans to Crawford leaving early Monday morning.

And, through the peace organization Code Pink, women are staging fasts in places like Red Hook, N.Y., Haysville, N.C., Gilbertsville, Ky., and Wilsonville, Ore.

In Seattle, the already thin Gerri Haynes has vowed to stay on a liquid fast until the president comes out to answer Sheehan's questions. She will be the 2006 chair of the Veterans for Peace national convention.

The organizer of a trip to Iraq by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Haynes has visited that country five times. And she spoke on Wednesday at the rally outside Seattle's Federal Courthouse.

She's thankful that, due to the mobilizing effect of Sheehan, more moms like Ruger have started something that, while still small, is growing into something amazing.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman at Commondreams.org
Topic: Members Speak Out
 
 
Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Worlds Apart
by Stacy Bannerman
 

When you’re a Governor, making difficult decisions is part of the job description. Just ask the chief executives of 33 states who attended the 97th annual meeting of the National Governor's Association in Des Moines, Iowa on July 15-16, where they had to choose between boots, bats, or bucks. The 233 pairs of combat boots -- one for each National Guard soldier killed in Iraq – were the focal point of a Memorial service co-sponsored by American Friends Service Committee and Military Families Speak Out to honor the citizen soldiers. Batting practice at Principal Park included a lavish reception for governors and their families, and was followed by an Iowa Cubs baseball game. A couple of heavily barricaded blocks away, Republicans held a fundraising reception at the Des Moines Club. The events took place within a six-block radius, but they were worlds apart.

8-year-old Mary Sapp, of Billerica, Mass., her older sister Lydia, and her mother, Anne, were at Nollen Plaza for the commemorative service. Mary clutched a picture of her dad, Staff Sgt. Andrew Sapp, a National Guardsman deployed to Iraq in October 2004. Mary talked about how much she missed him, and how sad she was that he hadn’t been able to attend her first softball game.

Back at the ballpark, Anibal Acevedo-Vila, Governor-Puerto Rico, stood next to his son, chatting up the players before throwing the opening pitch. After the Cubs rallied to beat the Omaha Royals, the Gov’s and their families were treated to a fireworks display. The next morning, the Governors tackled the conference agenda, focused on health care and Medicaid costs and economic development.

The war in Iraq wasn’t highlighted on the docket because it’s not considered a pressing domestic concern. But with nearly 300,000 National Guard and Reserve soldiers deployed to Iraq so far, and 138,457 pairs of boots belonging to citizen soldiers currently on the ground, how can it not be?

Reserve and National Guard troops tend to have significantly higher rates of stress-related disorders than active duty military. A study of Persian Gulf War veterans found that upwards of 90% of Reservists had one or more symptoms of Post-traumatic stress six months after coming home, compared to approximately 20% of fulltime soldiers. (Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program, Department of Defense Report, June 1995)

Reservists returning from Iraq are reporting mental health problems at levels more than twice that of active duty personnel, and a Seattle Times article stated that “out of 76 members of [the Washington National Guard] Bravo company, 14th Engineer Battalion, just under half were referred for counseling.” (July 26, 2005) But Vet Centers are so desperately underfunded that they’ve turned away citizen soldiers seeking medical and dental services, making veterans care a state health care issue by default. Federal labor statistics revealed that the unemployment rate of young male veterans was nearly double that of comparable civilians in the first quarter of 2005, which is obviously relevant to local economies. When a military newspaper cites “ divorce rates as high as fifty to eighty percent in some [Guard & Reserve] units returning from yearlong deployments.” (Fort Lewis Ranger, March, 2005), clearly the war has come home. The unprecedented suicide rate of Iraq War Veterans makes the war a domestic problem, as does the number of women who are murdered by their returning husbands. One such case is Matthew Denni of Oregon’s Army Reserve 671st Engineer Company. Driven, in part, by the trauma he experienced in Iraq, Denni murdered his wife and packed her corpse into an Army regulation footlocker. He was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in a state penitentiary.

Celeste Zappala, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, received a different sort of sentence when her son, Sherwood Baker, was killed in Iraq. His was one of the names she read at the Memorial service. When a mother bears witness to the death of her child, this nations’ foreign policy becomes a domestic matter of the highest order.

Meanwhile, George Pataki (NY), Mike Huckabee (AK), and Mitt Romney (MA) socialized with donors. Their quips about being Republican Governors in predominantly Democratic states got some laughs, which isn’t surprising, because Republican leaders have proven that they can be a very funny group.

After all, President Bush did his own comedy routine at a party fundraiser in 2004. The Commander-in-Chief looked behind curtains and under tables, laughing with the audience, telling them that he was searching for hidden weapons of mass destruction. His joke has cost 233 of our Guard and Reserve troops their lives. But the Governors decided there was no time for mourning in Des Moines.

Stacy Bannerman is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) and on the Advisory Board of Military Families Speak Out (www.mfso.org). Her book “When the War Came Home: The Inside Story of Citizen Soldiers and the Families Left Behind,” will be released by Continuum Publishing in 2006. Her husband deployed to Iraq with the Army National Guard 81st Brigade in March 2004, and returned home on March 11, 2005.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT

Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Worlds Apart 
by Stacy Bannerman
 
When you’re a Governor, making difficult decisions is part of the job description. Just ask the chief executives of 33 states who attended the 97th annual meeting of the National Governor's Association in Des Moines, Iowa on July 15-16, where they had to choose between boots, bats, or bucks. The 233 pairs of combat boots -- one for each National Guard soldier killed in Iraq – were the focal point of a Memorial service co-sponsored by American Friends Service Committee and Military Families Speak Out to honor the citizen soldiers. Batting practice at Principal Park included a lavish reception for governors and their families, and was followed by an Iowa Cubs baseball game. A couple of heavily barricaded blocks away, Republicans held a fundraising reception at the Des Moines Club. The events took place within a six-block radius, but they were worlds apart.

8-year-old Mary Sapp, of Billerica, Mass., her older sister Lydia, and her mother, Anne, were at Nollen Plaza for the commemorative service. Mary clutched a picture of her dad, Staff Sgt. Andrew Sapp, a National Guardsman deployed to Iraq in October 2004. Mary talked about how much she missed him, and how sad she was that he hadn’t been able to attend her first softball game.

Back at the ballpark, Anibal Acevedo-Vila, Governor-Puerto Rico, stood next to his son, chatting up the players before throwing the opening pitch. After the Cubs rallied to beat the Omaha Royals, the Gov’s and their families were treated to a fireworks display. The next morning, the Governors tackled the conference agenda, focused on health care and Medicaid costs and economic development.

The war in Iraq wasn’t highlighted on the docket because it’s not considered a pressing domestic concern. But with nearly 300,000 National Guard and Reserve soldiers deployed to Iraq so far, and 138,457 pairs of boots belonging to citizen soldiers currently on the ground, how can it not be?

Reserve and National Guard troops tend to have significantly higher rates of stress-related disorders than active duty military. A study of Persian Gulf War veterans found that upwards of 90% of Reservists had one or more symptoms of Post-traumatic stress six months after coming home, compared to approximately 20% of fulltime soldiers. (Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program, Department of Defense Report, June 1995)

Reservists returning from Iraq are reporting mental health problems at levels more than twice that of active duty personnel, and a Seattle Times article stated that “out of 76 members of [the Washington National Guard] Bravo company, 14th Engineer Battalion, just under half were referred for counseling.” (July 26, 2005) But Vet Centers are so desperately underfunded that they’ve turned away citizen soldiers seeking medical and dental services, making veterans care a state health care issue by default. Federal labor statistics revealed that the unemployment rate of young male veterans was nearly double that of comparable civilians in the first quarter of 2005, which is obviously relevant to local economies. When a military newspaper cites “ divorce rates as high as fifty to eighty percent in some [Guard & Reserve] units returning from yearlong deployments.” (Fort Lewis Ranger, March, 2005), clearly the war has come home. The unprecedented suicide rate of Iraq War Veterans makes the war a domestic problem, as does the number of women who are murdered by their returning husbands. One such case is Matthew Denni of Oregon’s Army Reserve 671st Engineer Company. Driven, in part, by the trauma he experienced in Iraq, Denni murdered his wife and packed her corpse into an Army regulation footlocker. He was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in a state penitentiary.

Celeste Zappala, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, received a different sort of sentence when her son, Sherwood Baker, was killed in Iraq. His was one of the names she read at the Memorial service. When a mother bears witness to the death of her child, this nations’ foreign policy becomes a domestic matter of the highest order.

Meanwhile, George Pataki (NY), Mike Huckabee (AK), and Mitt Romney (MA) socialized with donors. Their quips about being Republican Governors in predominantly Democratic states got some laughs, which isn’t surprising, because Republican leaders have proven that they can be a very funny group.

After all, President Bush did his own comedy routine at a party fundraiser in 2004. The Commander-in-Chief looked behind curtains and under tables, laughing with the audience, telling them that he was searching for hidden weapons of mass destruction. His joke has cost 233 of our Guard and Reserve troops their lives. But the Governors decided there was no time for mourning in Des Moines.

Stacy Bannerman is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) and on the Advisory Board of Military Families Speak Out (www.mfso.org). Her book “When the War Came Home: The Inside Story of Citizen Soldiers and the Families Left Behind,” will be released by Continuum Publishing in 2006. Her husband deployed to Iraq with the Army National Guard 81st Brigade in March 2004, and returned home on March 11, 2005.

FAIR USE NOTICE     This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 13 July 2005

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman at Common Dreams.org
Topic: Members Speak Out
Published on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 by MinutemanMedia.org
Let Mr. Bush Explain the War to Highschoolers
by Stacy Bannerman
 
I’d like to see President George W. Bush go on live television before a tough crowd. Like a high school class in my hometown that includes Iraqi students and boys who are preparing for boot camp. These Seattle kids are still able to exercise their Constitutional right to freedom of speech. My guess is that they’d have some questions.

The president has already proven he’s got the time to sit in a classroom. After all, that’s what he did after being informed that this nation was under attack on 9-11, something he mentioned repeatedly in his speech, even though he’s acknowledged that there’s nothing whatsoever linking Iraq to that day.

If ever there was a president who needed flashcards to keep his facts straight, it's Mr. Bush.

Maybe the president can discuss his statement that “terrorists respect no laws of warfare or morality.” Did not this administration violate international law and it’s own policy against pre-emptive strikes when it invaded Iraq on false pretenses? Perhaps he can clarify for the kids why he clings to the dream that the U.S. invasion is supported by a sizable coalition of the willing despite ample proof to the contrary. As the President inadvertently pointed out, the only real coalition of the willing is the one that has developed amongst terrorist cells converging in Iraq as the result of the American presence.

Since the president thanked the soldiers and military families for their service and sacrifice, I’m sure the students would be interested in learning more about just how grateful the administration is. Is it grateful enough to provide all of the troops with tetranike vests and up-armored tanks? Is it grateful enough to help the thousands of military families who’ve had to apply for food stamps to feed their children?

Is it grateful enough to deal with the fact that Tri-Care, the military’s medical coverage for soldiers and their families, is rapidly becoming obsolete, as fewer and fewer providers accept it? And does the administration’s gratitude mean that they will take care of the Reserve and National Guard troops who are already exhibiting much higher rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder than active-duty military?

Possibly the president would like to explain why this country enforces truth in advertising laws, and considers bait-and-switch sales tactics poor business practice, but plays shell games with the mission in Iraq. And whether he would like to tell the children they’re more valuable as consumers than as citizens?

Speaking of citizenry, perhaps he’d like to discuss the Iraqi citizens that have died during this war; many more than were killed during any comparable time frame of Saddam Hussein’s reign. The tens of thousands of dead Iraqis dispel any pretense whatsoever that this war can ever be called "moral.” Yet, it was President Bush’s moral values that got him elected to a second term. I’m sure the Seattle high schoolers would like to hear an explanation of how a moral person justifies it when he creates, rather than alleviate, suffering.

Since high schools have strict policies against fighting, I’m sure they’d like to hear the president, a ‘compassionate conservative,’ reconcile the New Testament's command to "turn the other cheek" with his decision to respond to violence with violence. Then the president could talk about democracy, explaining how, counterintuitive though it may be, it actually can be imposed. The president could tell the kids that when he said a totalitarian regime is one that “despises dissent,” he wasn’t referring to his administration.

After reviewing the national polls showing that at least half the U.S. population wants troops withdrawn and 60% believe the war in Iraq wasn’t worth fighting, the president could specify which country he was talking about when he referred to a “Constitution that upholds the will of the majority.” Because the children should be forgiven if they want to know how we can presume to do that in Iraq when we seem unable to do it here.

The president made it to Fayetteville and talked to the troops at Ft. Bragg in June. Now, he should take his act to Seattle. And don’t forget to bring the cameras. The world will be watching.

Stacy Bannerman is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) and on the Advisory Board of Military Families Speak Out www.mfso.org. Her book “When the War Came Home: The Inside Story of Citizen Soldiers and the Families Left Behind,” will be released by Continuum Publishing in 2006. Her husband deployed to Iraq in March 2004, and returned home in March 2005. She wrote this for the Institute for Policy Studies. The Institute for Policy Studies is the only multi-issue progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. Through books, articles, films, conferences, and activist education, IPS offers resources for progressive social change locally, nationally, and globally. www.ips-dc.org.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Monday, 4 July 2005

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger July 4, 2005
Topic: Members Speak Out

Mr President, I'll fly my flag at half staff on July 4 

06/29/05
 
I was struck by the demeanor of the 700 soldiers in dress uniform attending the President's speech last night at Ft Bragg. They were polite. The singular time there was applause came at the prompting of a White House Advance team person.

The soldiers were the dignity and nobility in that room last night. Their Commander in Chief, our President seems to have a way with exploiting the dignity of our military and our loved ones deployed who are doing the grist of the 'hard work' . The litany of disrespect shown to our troops by this President and this administration is a wearisome and growing list.

There will be much said about the President's speech and I took my own notes. I will do as the President asked and fly my flag on July 4th. I will fly it at half staff in respect for the fallen soldiers, for the fallen ideals of what the United States of America has come to represent, and as an effort to represent with dignity the soldiers who fight under the auspices of our flag and do so in honor, integrity and good faith. They are doing their job and their Commander, the President, needs to do them justice by doing his job.

I will fly my flag for them, Mr President, in respect for them. I will fly it at half staff. Would that you would so order, in the deepest respect, that Americans fly their flags on the Fourth of July at half staff to honor the troops who are doing the job with their very lives.

I have checked the protocols regarding the flag and checked with my Governor's office and there is no penalty or wrongdoing if I choose to fly my flag at half staff and when I indicated my reasons for wanting to do so I was given a welcome to do so....

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Sunday, 29 May 2005

Now Playing: Judy Linehan
Topic: Members Speak Out

A plea from Military Families Against the War in Britain to friends in America

AfterDowningStreet.org  

A plea from Military Families Against the War in Britain to friends in America:

My name is Judy Linehan. I am a member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) in the US, and mother of an Iraq War veteran. While studying in London I am working with our twin group here in the UK, Military Families Against the War (MFAW).

Just as the Downing St Memo is serving as a lightening rod for the Peace community in our country, it has ignited an important campaign in England led by MFAW. I write to tell you about the action MFAW has undertaken to bring accountability to the British government, and to request your assistance in adding international momentum to this historic endeavor.

Families of fallen soldiers presented a demand for a "public inquiry into the decision to go to war in Iraq" to Tony Blair earlier this month. He has now responded to them with an insulting letter containing such preposterous statements as, "The decision to take military action in Iraq was in no sense the immediate and direct operative cause of the deaths of the claimants� relatives." The Prime Minister's stance of not answering the question continues without shame, & indeed a full reading of the text at http://www.mfaw.org.uk/ implies there is actually no question at all.

Seventeen families stand firm in their resolve to pursue a full and open investigation into the execution of the Iraq war, to seek truth against all resistance; MFSO solidly supports them. The families are taking their Prime Minister to the High Court in London. Legal action is always expensive and this case will be no exception. MFAW is determined that the families will be spared the court costs and have therefore undertaken to raise $75,000 over the next six months. Please help us help the families. Contributions can be made via mastercard/visa and paypal. http://www.mfaw.org.uk/

By bringing Tony Blair to account, � of the unholy alliance of Bush and Blair, justice and accountability will also surely come around to knock at the door of the White House. These men have flaunted international law with impunity, and according to activist Jo Wilding we are impeded by not having a system in place to uphold these laws. A massive international public appeal has an enhanced potential to help spawn such a system.

The chronicles of the families� endeavors can be read at http://www.mfaw.org.uk/ along with all documents mentioned above. And we earnestly ask that you sign the public petition found online or download to collect signatures.

The families' plea for an independent public inquiry follows this letter. We thank you most heartily for the serious deliberation you give to this cause and your contribution to it. Please add this plea to you website so that others may forward the message to all Peace & Justice lovers.

In Peace and Solidarity,

Judy Linehan, MFSO

Open Letter to the People of Britain:

Our loved ones gave their lives in the service of this country. They all died in the Iraq war. When they went to that war they believed they were being sent to defend our country. They were told it was their duty to disarm the Saddam regime of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD). When enlisting, servicemen and women sign an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty's government. All they ask in return is that their government acts in an honourable, truthful and responsible manner, and only deploys troops into the theatre of war to risk their lives when absolutely necessary. We now believe that our Prime Minister, Tony Blair, misled the people of this country as to the true reasons for the war in Iraq. We believe that there was no serious evidence for WMD. We also believe that the assurances given by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, as to the legality of the war are highly questionable. This is why we are calling for a full, independent and effective public inquiry into the decision to go to war in Iraq. We ask you to support our call. We must restore accountability to public life. Our loved ones deserve justice, and the people of this country deserve the truth.

Reg and Sally Keys, Parents of Lance Corporal Thomas Keys

Rose and George Gentle, Parents of Fusilier Gordon Gentle

John and Marilyn Miller, Parents of Corporal Simon Miller

Tony Hamilton-Jewell, Brother of Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell

Peter Brierley, Father of Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley

Anna Aston, Wife of Corporal Russell Aston

George and Ann Lawrence, Parents of Lieutenant Marc Lawrence

Tracey Pritchard, Wife of Corporal Dewi Pritchard

Patricia Long, Mother of Corporal Paul Long

Sharon Hehir, Wife of Sergeant Les Hehir

Lianne Seymour, Wife of Operator Mechanic 2nd Class Ian Seymour

Debbie Allbutt, Wife of Corporal Stephen Allbutt

Theresa Evans, Mother of Lance Bombardier Llywelyn Karl Evans

Roy and Eileen Shearer, Parents of Lance Corporal Karl Shearer

Richard and Karen Green, Parents of Lieutenant Philip Green

Beverley Clarke, Mother of Trooper David Clarke

James and Rae Craw, Parents of Corporal Andrew Craw

http://www.mfaw.org.uk/


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Thursday, 7 April 2005

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman
Topic: Media Involvement

Footing the bill of war

Seattle Times staff columnist

[Article excerpts. Click here to read the entire article.

Dance in them, drink from them, wear them to bed.

As long as the military boots came home to Kent with her husband in them, Stacy Bannerman doesn't care what he does with them. Because hundreds of pairs of boots have come home empty, their owners lost to the bomb blasts and gunfire of the war in Iraq.

... But it is another thing entirely to stand before 1,500 pairs of war-worn boots, as the region will do when "Eyes Wide Open" comes to Fisher Pavilion this weekend.

The exhibit, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, represents the American soldiers who have lost their lives; and 1,000 pairs of civilian shoes, representing Iraqi civilian casualties.

 ... And while she has never seen "Eyes Wide Open" in person (the exhibit has been traveling around the country since January 2004), Bannerman is urging people to go.

It may be the only way for those who have not watched a loved one leave for war to get a sense of "the human cost."

And there's this: The war in Iraq is the first long-term military engagement where the burden has not been more shared by those at home. No rationing. No war bonds. No appeals to make cutbacks.

Even the Vietnam War was more closely felt here, Bannerman said, "because the draft was operative."

While her husband was in Iraq, Bannerman couldn't open her blinds for fear of seeing a government vehicle pull up, bearing bad news.

"I was absolutely powerless," she said.

She wants others to see the war beyond deployment and homecoming ceremonies.

"We are so geared to the 'Johnny comes marching home,' that we don't want to see the millions of people left behind," she said. Or the ones who never came home.

Bannerman imagines "Eyes" will be something like standing at Arlington National Cemetery's Section 60, an area set aside for soldiers killed in Iraq.

Can she put that experience in words?

There was a long pause. The start of tears. And then:

"I don't know that I will ever be able to. There is something unspeakably sad about a plot of land being set aside by our government, waiting for the dead bodies of our children and husbands and wives."

Bannerman knows she is one of the lucky ones.

"He came back whole, and he came back alive."

And his boots?

"They're in the closet," she said. Seems Sgt. Bannerman has re-upped.

"He's using them still."

Nicole Brodeur's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman, Lietta Ruger, Susan Livingston
Topic: Local Lobbying

Families want Guard excused from Iraq

 

MICHAEL GILBERT; The News Tribune
Published: March 8th, 2005 12:01 AM

Family members of soldiers serving in Iraq urged Gov. Christine Gregoire on Monday to call on President Bush to release Washington National Guard troops from service in Iraq.

The family members, who oppose the war, said the heavy use of guardsmen in Iraq is diminishing the state’s response to natural disasters and creating long-term hardships for the part-time soldiers and their families.

Their meeting with an aide to Gregoire follows similar efforts in at least two other states.

Members of the same groups – Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace and Veterans for Peace, among others – rallied in Salem, Ore., last week to press a similar resolution to Oregon’s governor and lawmakers.

In Vermont, the majority of residents participating in the state’s annual March 1 town meetings endorsed a call for their governor to ask for the return of the state’s deployed guardsmen.

And in Montana, Gov. Brian Schweitzer asked the Pentagon last week to send home 1,500 of his state’s guardsmen and their helicopters, so they’ll be available for what is expected to be a difficult fire season.

The families who met in Olympia on Monday with Antonio Ginatta, an executive policy adviser for Gregoire, presented a mix of political and practical considerations. They contend the president’s primary reasons for war in Iraq “have been proven false or declared invalid.”

Long deployments are straining police and fire departments and other public safety agencies, many of whose members are part-time soldiers, they argue.

And there is a social cost.

“We need to be looking at the devastating effect these deployments, the unprecedented use of the Guard and Reserve, has had on families,” said Stacy Bannerman of Kent, whose husband is a Washington guardsman in Iraq.

Others who met Monday with Ginatta included Susan Livingston, whose brother, Spc. Joseph Blickenstaff, died in Iraq in 2003 while deployed with the first Fort Lewis Stryker brigade. His family is also active in the anti-war effort in Oregon, his home state.

Ginatta said he will present the group’s concerns to Gregoire and told the families they could expect to talk more with the governor’s office.

“The reintegration of our troops, getting them back into our state with as seamless a transition from combat to kitchen, is very important to the governor,” Ginatta said. But he added the groups’ demands “raise some very heavy federal questions that we have to look at.”

The National Guard generally works at the direction of governors unless the president calls units to active-duty service.

About 3,200 Washington guardsmen are in the process of returning home after a year in Iraq with the 81st Brigade Combat Team. It was the largest deployment of the Washington Guard since World War II.

But members of the groups that met in Olympia on Monday say their message is still relevant because U.S. troops are likely to be in Iraq for several years and Washington’s part-time soldiers might be sent back.

Michael Gilbert: 253-597-8921

mike.gilbert@thenewstribune.com


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 2 March 2005

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman on Hardball with Chris Matthews
Topic: Media Involvement

'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for March 2 

Transcript of that portion of the MSNBC show that included Stacy's participation.

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL

As American troops continue to be shipped off to Iraq and to Afghanistan, the wives of soldiers are left behind to take care of business at home. 

Karen Houppert is a freelance journalist who spent two years profiling military wives and is the author of the new book “Home Fires Burning:

Married to the Military for Better or Worse.”  Also with us is Stacy Bannerman, whose husband, Lorin, is a reservist serving now in Iraq. 

Thank you, ladies, both for joining us. 

I want to start with Karen. 

What surprised you about the military wife experience in these wars? 

KAREN HOUPPERT, AUTHOR, “HOME FIRES BURNING”:  I think the most surprising thing I learned in the course of reporting for this book was how many wives actually were opposed to the U.S. presence in Iraq, the U.S.  invasion there.  That actually came as quite a surprise to me. 

But, also, I was surprised to discover that, while the military on paper has a lot of support programs out there for wives, when it comes to the actual execution, they don‘t do so well.  And...

Let me go right now to Stacy Bannerman, because I think we‘ve got exhibit A here. 

Stacy, where do you stand on whether the United States should have gone into Iraq? 

STACY BANNERMAN, WIFE OF U.S. SOLDIER SERVING IN IRAQ:  Well, I believe that we shouldn‘t have.  Clearly, we shouldn‘t have, because we didn‘t have the facts right and the rationale presented to go to war was based on lies. 

MATTHEWS:  What did you make of the elections over there a couple weeks back? 

BANNERMAN:  Well, they conducted them and now they‘re over.  That was the third reason given for the troop presence being in Iraq.  But yet we haven‘t brought an exit strategy together to bring them home. 

MATTHEWS:  Among the other wives in your situation whose husbands or friends who are males whose wives are serving over there, to keep it equal here, is there a lot of dissidence—dissent on this policy of going into Iraq, even though you have spouses over there? 

BANNERMAN:  Well, I think that there‘s an increasing number of military wives, whether they be married to men in the regular Army enlisted or in the Army National Guard and Reserves, such as I am, that have really begun to question why it is the troops are over there and certainly why they‘re there after all of this time. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you anti-war? 

BANNERMAN:  I believe that we‘ve got other options available to us, and we certainly did in Iraq.  We didn‘t need to launch an attack on this country. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

BANNERMAN:  There were other things that could have been pursued, and that wasn‘t done.  I think that was a real mistake. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s a common argument, but are you anti-war?  Are you a pacifist? 

BANNERMAN:  Oh, yes, I am. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, why did you marry a guy in uniform? 

BANNERMAN:  My husband is in the Army National Guard.  The Army National Guard is not intended as being primarily overseas combat troops.  That‘s not what they were about.

MATTHEWS:  But they do wear uniforms and they carry weapons.  And the purpose for their existence is fighting wars when the democratic government that we all have to live under chooses to fight those wars.  Didn‘t you see all that coming? 

BANNERMAN:  Chris, the primary purpose of the National Guard is actually as a state-based force to provide assistance to their state and local communities.  That‘s what they‘re recruiting the National Guard for and that is what those ads still say, even though those troops are now being sent overseas and are 42 percent of the boots on the ground. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go to Karen.

HOUPPERT:  Oh, sorry.  I was just going to...

MATTHEWS:  Karen Houppert, your thoughts on this.  Is this a common view, that spouses of people who serve in the guard don‘t think of themselves as G.I. wives or spouses; they think of themselves as having a husband who is involved with the home guard, more or less? 

HOUPPERT:  Yes, I think that‘s true.  And I also think it‘s interesting to note that about 40 percent of the soldiers that are stationed over—or that have served in Iraq or Afghanistan also think it‘s a mistake for the U.S. to be over there.  And about 42 percent of them think that we are at greater risk of terrorist attack now than we were before this.  That‘s...

MATTHEWS:  How can they express that view?  Is there any way they can legitimately express that view while their husbands or wife is in uniform? 

HOUPPERT:  It‘s very difficult, I think.  There‘s a lot of overt and covert pressure to not speak out against the administration‘s views. 

And, for soldiers, that‘s particularly difficult.  For wives, it shouldn‘t be so difficult, but it is.  And many of them fear that it jeopardizes their husband‘s job if they speak out. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, we‘ve been to Pendleton and we‘ve met the young Marines and their wives, in some cases, who were totally supportive of the effort they have to pursue as military active members. 

They are a different category than National Guardsmen.  They want to fight the war because they are trained to fight it, and they believe this cause is justified, in most cases.  But in either case, whether you‘re a Guardsman or Reservist or a regular Army or Marine, you come home with a couple of legs or limbs missing, a couple of arms missing, you come home with brain damage, losing your sight, all kinds of damage, but you survive. 

What did you learn about that experience for the spouse, Karen? 

HOUPPERT:  I think it‘s a very, very difficult recovery process when the soldiers come home wounded, obviously.  But also even if there aren‘t physical wounds, there‘s post-traumatic stress syndrome that a lot of them struggle with. 

And it‘s very hard for families.  Also, another issue that comes up quite often is that the wife has been independent on her own, making decisions on her own for a year.  And it‘s sometimes difficult for the husband to squeeze back into family life that has gone on without him.  And those are the issues that the Army is really not so good at helping families address. 

MATTHEWS:  Karen, what are your views about the general—or, Stacy, your views about the general situation of the military and how it treats spouses and family life? 

BANNERMAN:  Well, I believe that, again, especially with the Army National Guard spouses, we have not been provided really with any kind of preparation for deployment.  We do not have access to the same level of support and resources that regular military wives do. 

For example, the gentleman who was sent to kind of work with a—the group of military wives, National Guard wives, was ex-Marine.  Now, that‘s not really conducive to developing good, strong bonds, that emotional support that these women need when their husbands are called to serve and sometimes given less than 30 days notice, pulling them out of homes and out of jobs and out of families that they weren‘t prepared for. 

I think the military has really fallen short in meeting the needs of the wives.  And that‘s one of the reasons, honestly, that we‘re seeing the diminished return rate, reenlistment rate of National Guard and Reserves. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you angry, Stacy, about this whole situation, this war? 

BANNERMAN:  I am—I am greatly concerned about it.  I do have some anger about it, because I think a gross violation of the national trust has happened with this. 

MATTHEWS:  So, you believe it‘s been misused by the president? 

BANNERMAN:  Unquestionably. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  It‘s great having you on. 

BANNERMAN:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  We don‘t hear many voices like yours.  And I‘m glad you came on. 

BANNERMAN:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Stacy Bannerman, whose husband is serving in the Guard in Iraq right now.

And, of course, Karen Houppert, who has written this new book “Home

Fires Burning,” which contains a lot of stories like this, “Married to the

Military For Better or Worse.‘

Thank you, ladies, for coming on. 

HOUPPERT:  Thank you for having us.

BANNERMAN:  Thank you. 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Sunday, 23 January 2005

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman, Judy Linehand & Sherrie Tilstra
Topic: Local Lobbying
Subject: Letter to Congressman Adam Smith

 

Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 11:30:18 -0800

 

Dear Congressman Smith:

 

On behalf of Military Families Speak Out members Judy Linehan, Sherrie Tillstra, and myself, I would like to thank you for meeting with us in your Tacoma offices on the 20th.  I understand you've got your work cut out for you with the current administration, and the Republican majorities in both Houses.   We're hoping you will utilize your seat on the Armed Services Committee to call for a Hearing and subsequent vote of confidence/no confidence on Donald Rumsfeld.  The Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal is just one example of his failure of leadership, as you're well aware.

 

I would also like to remind you of our request that you contact Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell and join her in calling for hearings regarding the plan to extend call-ups for Reservists.  This administration's poor planning, refusal to listen to military advisors, and lack of consideration for the citizen soldiers has resulted in a gross abuse of power and a contractual breach of the terms under which these weekend warriors were recruited and signed up for e.g. the Stop-loss policy.  Furthermore, these soldiers (and their families) are not provided with the same training, treatment, and benefits of regular enlisted, although they are now being deployed at almost the same rates, and often for longer tours-of-duty.  In addition to adding your name to the Letter to the President from 16 members of Congress that I shared with you, please consider calling for Washington State's Democratic Governor, Christine Gregoire, to bring the Washington State National Guard home.  Now.

 

I appreciate your concern about creating more bureaucracy, but clearly the State Department is not doing its job, and one of the costs of the invasion of Iraq is the significant damage to this country's reputation and international relations. Furthermore, the Bush administration has demonstrated that it's got no plan whatsoever for 'securing the peace', and it certainly didn't consider non-violent options prior to invading the country and initiating a war that's killed over 1,300 U.S. soldiers and at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians.  Now, more than ever, it's critical for the future of this nation, and the world, to support the bill to establish a Department of Peace, which will be reintroduced by Dennis Kucinich in the upcoming months.

 

As discussed, the one-time death 'benefit' of $12,000 is ludicrous, and I will look for you to address that.  For bereaved military families and spouses to find themselves homeless, and forced to go to food shelves and welfare offices after their loved one died serving this country is reprehensible and morally abhorrent.  Perhaps the gross tax cuts for corporations and the very wealthy could be revoked as a way to pay for this and some of the other costs of this war.  I am grateful for your efforts to support the troops, but was disappointed by your hesitancy to call for an immediate exit strategy.   I will state what you diplomatically skirted around:  The situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate; the window of opportunity for the occupation to even vaguely resemble a 'success' hasn't just closed, it's shattered; and the American presence has exponentially increased terrorist activity in that country and elsewhere.

 

The best way to support our troops is to bring them home from this reckless, ill-conceived war based on lies.  Help President Bush to honor his pledge to end world tyranny: get the United States out of Iraq.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Stacy Bannerman, M.S.

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST

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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