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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Saturday, 25 February 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger
Topic: Local Lobbying

Progress!
 
02/25/2006
Last week Lietta received the following from the Senior Legislative Assistant for Senator Mark Doumit. Senator Doumit (coincidentally our state senator from our legislative district) is the co-chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee in the Washington State legislature..
Hello, I want to let you know that a budget proviso was included in the Senate's proposed budget for $150,000 for a Military Department to study the scope and adequacy of training on exposure to depleted uranium received by Washington state members of the National Guard serving during the first Gulf War or reccently in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is similar to the bill that you had contacted us about and I hope this comes as good news. Your message bringing it to our attention was very, very helpful.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Thursday, 16 February 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger
Topic: Local Lobbying

 

Depleted Uranium Bill (SENATE BILL SB 6732) Made it out of Committee!

Please contact members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee to tell them SB 6732 is on the way and why it needs to be passed.

Group and Friends,

Thank you for your attention and taking rapid action below...much appreciated.  Please send along a quick email reply once you've taken action.  Questions? please ask...

MFSO, Washington state chapter congratulations to the team that put this together and put it forth; thank you.

Respect, Peace, Solidarity

Lietta Ruger, member Military Families Speak Out
military family with 2 Iraq veterans,
PO Box 335
Bay Center, WA  98527
home phone:  360-875-6380
cell phone:  360-942-9169
email: rugerla@centurytel.net

website: Military Families Speak Out, Washington state

RAPID ACTION REQUEST

SENATE BILL SB 6732  (studying military uranium exposure) made it out of committee!  Senate Health, voted "majority, do pass, and refer to Ways and Means."  

View online progress and reports at  SB6732  

Also including text of the pdf adobe report of the State Senate hearings held on this bill in Olympia Feb 2, 2006.

Suggestion that you send e-mails or call those that you know or are in your districts on the Senate Ways and Means and alert them that the Senate Bill 6732 is coming.  

Use two or three sentences about what it will do and why it needs to be passed this year (troops are coming home).  

Suggestion not go into great detail about anything, just let them know we want their support.

These are the names and a comment or two about the Committee members of the Senate Ways and Means.  
Please act rapidly as this will be a very short turn around for them.

 

Margarita Prentice, D, 11, Chair, lives in Renton, is a nurse.

Karen Fraser, D, 22, Vice-Chair, Lives in Thurston, was part of Nuclear Waste Round Table.

Mark Doumit, D, 19, Vice-Chair, Grays Harbor area,

Joseph Zarelli, R, 18, Ranking Minority, Woodland area, 6 years active duty 82-89.

Dale Brandland, R, 42, Belllingham, Navy 68-69, Sheriff.

Darlene Fairlay, D, 32, Redmond/Edmonds, ex overseas volunteer.

Mike Hewitt, R, 16, Walla Walla, Tri-Cities.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D, 36, Seattle,  All around person.

Linda Evans Parlette, R, 12, Wenatchee, BS in Pharmacy, Health care is an interest.

Craig Pridemore, D, 49, Vancouver, current active duty vet.

Marilyn Rasmussen, D, 2, Pierce County, Fort Lewis, Tacoma.

Debbie Regala, D, 27, Tacoma, Pierce, Doing something with Habitat.

Pam Roach, R, 31, Auburn, Has done international teaching, volunteer?

Mark Schoesler, R, 9, Spokane, farmer.
Mrs. Pat Thibaudeau, D, 43, Seattle, interest in health.

SENATE BILL REPORT
SB 6732

As Reported By Senate Committee On:
Health & Long-Term Care, February 2, 2006

Title: An act relating to exposure to depleted uranium and other hazardous materials by members and veterans of the national guard.

Brief Description: Studying military uranium exposure.

Sponsors: Senators Franklin and Rasmussen.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Health & Long-Term Care: 2/2/06 [DP-WM].

SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH & LONG-TERM CARE

Majority Report: Do pass and be referred to Committee on Ways & Means.

Signed by Senators Keiser, Chair; Thibaudeau, Vice Chair; Franklin, Kastama, Kline and Poulsen.

Staff: Sharon Swanson (786-7447)

Background:

Depleted uranium is what is left over when most of the highly radioactive isotopes of uranium are removed for use as nuclear fuel or nuclear fuel weapons. The depleted uranium is used in armor-piercing munitions and in enhanced armor protection for some Abrams tanks.

Heavy metals such as uranium, tungsten, and lead have chemical toxicity properties that, in high doses, can cause adverse health effects.

Depleted uranium was used extensively in place of tungsten for ammunition by the United States and United Kingdom in the first Gulf War. A report issued by the Hague Peace Conference, dated May, 1999, states that at least 320 tons of depleted uranium was "lost" during the first Gulf War and that much of that was converted at high temperature into an aerosol, creating a mist or fog.

Once inhaled, very small particles of depleted uranium can reside in the lungs for years, slowly passing through the lung tissue into the blood. Uranium can be stored in bone, lymph, liver, kidney, or other tissues. Eventually, all uranium that gets into the bloodstream ends up in the kidneys prior to expulsion through urine.

Summary of Bill: Effective October 1, 2006, the Adjutant General of the Washington State National Guard is required to assist any eligible member or veteran in obtaining federal treatment services, who:

 

l) Has been assigned a risk level I, II, or III for depleted uranium exposure by his or
her branch of service;

  2) Is referred by a military physician; or
Senate Bill Report - 1 - SB 6732

  3) Has reason to believe that he or she was exposed to depleted uranium during service.

Eligible member is defined as a member of the Washington National Guard who served in the Persian Gulf War, or in an area designated as a combat zone during Operation EnduringFreedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The bill directs the Adjutant General to submit a report on the scope and adequacy of training received by members of the National Guard on exposure to depleted uranium.

Additionally, the report must include an assessment of the feasibility and cost of adding pre-deployment training concerning potential exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic chemical substances and the precautions recommended under combat and non-combat conditions.

The report is due by October 1, 2006.

A task force which includes the Secretary of the Department of Health, or designee, the Adjutant General, the Director of Veterans Affairs, six legislative members, and additional members totaling fifteen is created. The task force is directed to complete several tasks by January 31, 2007, specifically:

 

1) initiate a health registry;

  2) develop a plan for outreach to affected military personnel; and

  3) prepare a report on potential exposure to depleted uranium
and recommendations for precautions to be taken.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: Yes.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.

Testimony For:

The United States government and military has a history of lying to its veterans.

In Vietnam, it was agent orange. Many veterans returned home to a life of cancer, children with birth defects, and eventually death. The military claimed to not know about agent orange.

Our new veterans returning home from Iraq face similar challenges. We need to force the military to perform the proper tests to determine uranium poisoning.

The current test only looks for uranium in urine. That test is only good for thirty days. The conclusive testing must look at blood results, tissue testing, and must be able to detect microscopic particles.

Depleted uranium becomes microscopic. Troops breath it in and it settles in the lungs.

In Mississippi, returning Persian Gulf male veterans are 1.7 times more likely to father children with birth defects. Female Persian Gulf veterans are 2.4 times more likely to give birth to a child with birth defects.

This is only the beginning.

England and Germany are conducting the proper tests. The United States needs to do the same for their veterans.

Testimony Against: None.

Who Testified:

PRO:
Terrence Zander, Veterans for Peace

Jerry Muchmore, Veteran

George Hill, M.D.

Peter Von Christierson, Depleted Uranium Study Team

Col. Ron Weaver, Washington Military Department

Harvey Brooks, National Association of Black Veterans

Note:  Written testimony by MFSO was provided and entered into the testimony record.  While time was allotted to MFSO representative (Lietta Ruger) to give oral testimony, due to the time limitations allowing for approximately 2 minutes to each testimony, choice made for MFSO representation to provide written testimony and yield more time to others presenting oral testimony. 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger
Topic: Local Lobbying

Depleted uranium study WA Natl Guard IS funded! Tx Sen Doumit

From email I received from my State Senator Doumit's office;

  Hello, I want to let you know that a budget proviso was included in the Senate's proposed budget for $150,000 for a Military Department to study the scope and adequacy of training on exposure to depleted uranium received by Washington state members of the National Guard serving during the first Gulf War or reccently in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This is similar to the bill that you had contacted us about and I hope this comes as good news. Your message bringing it to our attention was very, very helpful.

Sincerely,

Vickie Winters
Sr. Legislative Assistant for Senator Doumit
...snipped


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
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
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