Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter


Bring Them Home Now!

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

Here are some statistics:

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

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

-- One million military children are under 11.

-- 40% are 5 or younger.

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

Source: Department of Defense and National Military Family Association.

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

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

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

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

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

Drink in those words.

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

It's not Ted Kennedy last week.

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

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

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

perhaps with bodies still floating in the harbor,

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

By Michael Tomasky,
The AMERICAN Prospect online

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

Bring Them Home Now postage stamps

For more information see Appeal for Redress website.

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

Some Past Campaigns - Washington state chapter MFSO members participation


(photo - Daniel Ellsberg, Lt. Ehren Watada)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 20-21- 2007, Tacoma, WA.

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

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


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

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

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

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

June 2006 ongoing through court martial Feb 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

photo - Nancy Lessin, MFSO Co-Founder

photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO - WA

photo - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO - WA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us

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

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

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

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

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

JOIN us by sending an e-mail to

MFSO - Become a Member

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

* The Reserves

* The National Guard

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

There is no membership fee. Donations are welcome.

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

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

We welcome your involvement, please contact us.

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

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into our 3rd year of speaking out
20 Oct, 08 > 26 Oct, 08
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29 Oct, 07 > 4 Nov, 07
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4 Oct, 04 > 10 Oct, 04

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Now Playing: Rich Moniak
Topic: Members Speak Out
Rich Moniak is an MFSO member who was invited to serve as a Citizen's Tribunal Panel Member this coming weekend. I've been trying for some time to get Rich to join Washblog and post some of his writings here. He has written some excellent stuff but has not been a blogger although he has written and spoken publicly as a member of Military Families Speak Out.

I'd like for Washblog to be the place he turns into a blogger.

Rich sent me the following article which asks a provocative question:

Why Can't Bush Find 21,000 Iraqi Troops?
As the debate about President Bush's new "surge" strategy intensifies, we might also try to engage in a critical assessment of one of the primary elements of his long standing "stay the course". Way back in June 2005 he told us "our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." And as recently as a week after the 2006 election, he seemed to be holding firm to the objective to train Iraqi troops.  



Two years ago during the presidential debates, Bush boasted there were 100,000 Iraqis already trained to "make Iraq safe and secure." Four weeks ago, Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey predicted that the "Iraqi security forces will reach their goal of 325,000 trained and equipped members this month."By these numbers we might imagine the coalition forces in Iraq have increased threefold. So why can't the administration find 21,000 reliable Iraqi troops for his "surge" to secure Baghdad and the western provinces?

Americans are thoroughly familiar with the debate about supporting our troops through adequate funding. It will be called to the forefront again as Congress debates Senator Kennedy's proposed legislation that will deny the President the authority to use the funds necessary to commit more troops to Iraq without specific approval of Congress.  The anti-war movement is being accused of not supporting the troops in their campaign to "de-fund" the war and bring them home now.  

From a funding perspective, who is supporting the Iraqi troops America needs to stand up so ours can come home? According to the Iraq Study Group report our "military priorities in Iraq must change" to make one of the highest priorities the training, equipping, advising of Iraqi security forces. The much celebrated bipartisan report that Bush has essentially ignored explains that the Iraqi security forces:

"cannot carry out their missions without adequate equipment. Congress has been generous in funding requests for U.S. troops, but it has resisted fully funding Iraqi forces. The entire appropriation for Iraqi defense forces for FY 2006 ($3 billion) is less than the United States currently spends in Iraq every two weeks. ... They [Iraqis] lack the ability to sustain their operations, the capability to transport supplies and troops, and the capacity to provide their own indirect fire support, close-air support, technical intelligence, and medical evacuation."  

Not fully funding the Iraqis with the equipment for the mission they are supposed to take over from us seems to be a major reason why our troops are still in Iraq. It undermines the progress Bush has been boasting about for almost two years. The failure to fund his own strategy seems to be a conscious decision by the Bush administration that has put forth every budget request that Congress has approved.  

Perhaps the administration and Congress don't trust what the Iraqis will do with the funds and equipment we provide. There's been plenty of evidence that give rise to question the loyalties of some Iraqi units. With more than half of the Iraqi people claiming to support attacks against U.S. troops, strong suspicions that weapons might be siphoned off and delivered to the militias and other resistance groups seems well justified.  

Yet how can we expect the Iraqi forces that supposedly now double the U.S. troops there to succeed on less than 4% of the budget for our troops? Shouldn't they expect the same quality of weapons and equipment to fight the same enemy? When the Iraqis see the shortcomings of their equipment next to the mighty American war machine, how could they trust U.S. intentions as sincerely aimed at helping them defend Iraq?  

Has the program failed because it was under funded or has the U.S. resisted funding it because we've been betrayed by the people our troops are fighting for? But the word failure implies the intentions were honest. Perhaps we should be asking how well has the administration succeeded in camouflaging its intent to fail. What would happen to Iraq if our tax dollars were adequate to support the military mission of training the Iraqis so we can leave their country?

It's no secret that Bush's goals and the neocon agenda of installing a pro-American secular government in Iraq failed. Instead, the country's free elections gave them a government dominated by a Shiite coalition much more aligned with Iran's interests than ours. Iran remains part of Bush's axis of evil, and an Iran-Iraq alliance may shut him out of the oil bonanza.

The lack of mutual trust seems obvious. It's placed the administration and Congress in the impossible situation of needing the new Iraqi military to succeed so we can leave, while being hog tied to the fear that whatever weapons and equipment are provided might end up in the wrong hands. They don't want to arm and strengthen those they blame for the sectarian violence, and certainly not a potential future enemy. They have to prolong the failure of getting the Iraqis prepared to defend their own country because they're afraid that seeking success might more readily guarantee a long term failure.  

The word surge isn't a mask for escalation, but for stalling. The administration doesn't want an independent Iraq unless it comes with the government it deems as acceptable. It's not coming soon, and while we wait, Bush wants to send more of our men and women to fight a battle they can't win. By not fully funding training and equipment for the Iraqis to defend themselves, it's difficult to imagine how President Bush has been supporting American troops who need their new Iraqi allies to succeed so we can stand down and bring them all home.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Thursday, 11 January 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Sunday, 31 December 2006

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Members Speak Out

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


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

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

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

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

Arthur Ruger 



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

Now Playing: Rich Moniak
Topic: Members Speak Out

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Members Speak Out

Tacoma News Tribune wants to know ....

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Members Speak Out

Support the Troops? VFW cut and ran

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

No longer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is that one may ask?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now Playing: Jessie Archibald
Topic: Members Speak Out

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

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 19 July 2006

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

Relevant to Cantwell position Iraq security; 2nd Lt account of 'illusion' of efforts to train Iraqis

From a website called The American Conservative comes this article ; first hand account from 2nd Lt Joe W. Guthrie 'Nation Breaking - A soldier discovers that training the Iraqi army is not President Bush's priority.'   I can't vouch for the authenticity of 2nd Lt. Joe W. Guthrie detailed account, but I do find it interesting to have found it where I found it.  

Given Sen. Cantwell's assertion of her position on Iraq invasion/occupation as need for security of Iraqis (when Iraqis stand up, U.S. troops can stand down - Iraqi security needs to be in place), it might be useful for her to have access to this 2nd Lt's account of how the training is actually going in Iraq.  Might be useful to first authenticate the story, and if it is indeed an authentic first hand account from an Officer who was there and involved directly in the training of Iraqis, it is relevant to Sen. Cantwell's stated position on Iraq.

3,149 Iraqis die in June in undeclared civil war


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 9:16 AM PDT
Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Now Playing: Stacy Bannerman
Topic: Members Speak Out
A new book by MFSO - Washington State Chapter member Stacy Bannerman:

Where to buy the book and Stacy's Home Page

Stacy's Testimony 3/1/06 to the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 11:14 AM PDT
Saturday, 24 June 2006

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

and the Republicans want us to stay that course?

The party of CEO McGavick and RNC marionettes Reichert, McMorris, Hastings and their fellow robots truly consider us citizens the dumbest segment of society.

Led nationally this week by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), who trails his Democratic challenger in Pennsylvania by 18 points, the desparate national party of CEO McGavick and Rubber Stamp Reichert is all gaga over the discovery that there WERE weapons of mass destruction after all.

Republicans distorting this pretended newly discovered fact intend that we then conclude that  Bush's big  lie wasn't a lie after all ...

that 2500+ troop deaths and the murder of innocent Iraqi citizens is not the fault of Republican arm-chair warriors.

You can read Santorum's self-serving grandstand posture as a modern Paul Revere at his Senate Site and lose your breath in the heroic vindicating quality of his announcement.

Donald Rumsfeld, another armchair warrior under fire joins in with his own boy-am-I-relieved-now declaration: link to WAPO, Early Warning by William Arkin

The report says in part:

-- "Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.

-- Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

And Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld evidently agrees.  

Yesterday, he told reporters that he was concerned "if they got into the wrong hands" because "they are weapons of mass destruction."

Well, yes they ARE weapons of mass destruction the same way a kiwi and a watermelon are both considered fruit.


More importantly, these anxious-for-exoneration Republicans have again re-established that the original Republican lie about Weapons of Mass Destruction was the first reason for invading and occupying Iraq.

... even if among these newly-revealed 500 whatevers that were in existence prior to the first Gulf War there isn't anything that could have come close to that dreaded "mushroom cloud" - the anxiety image that prompted dumbed down Americans to not oppose the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Arkin continues:

But the current dust-up over an intelligence memo indicating that U.S. forces have recovered about 500 old chemical munitions does prove one thing: When it comes to weapons of mass destruction, we are unable to differentiate and unable to have a rational debate.  The term WMD has also become so expansive as to become meaningless.

...The problem is that Santorum, Rumsfeld, President Bush, Cheney, and most Washington wonks love to say "weapons of mass destruction" They don't differentiate between, say, Russian intercontinental missiles with multiple nuclear warheads and 20-year-old Iraqi chemical shells.

The threshold for labeling something WMD in this world is low, if it exists at all. Many of the "chemical munitions" found in Iraq were even "unfilled" shells. That is, they had never been filled with chemical agent, according to the summary.  But, as Rumsfeld says, "they are weapons of mass destruction."

Such antics of course are part of the national and state Republican pretended wisdom of why we are occupying Iraq,

why our sons and daughters are fighting the Bush-labeled "noble cause" around which Bush and Republicans cannot or are too afraid to wrap a clearly stated definition ...

why no Republican is willing nor has the courage to say what the course we must stay on looks like so as to help American citizens understand why we must ...

Strictly limited RNC-dictated talking points in both the House and Senate last week where Reichert, Hastings and McMorris all joined in the blind-obedience chorus - and where CEO McGavick wants to sing in the same choir - included the coward's way of avoiding responsibility.

Karl Rove attempted to put on a soldier's uniform when he made his cowardly declaration about courageous soldiers who fight as opposed to cowardly non-soldiers who "cut and run" (see footnote at end of article).

This from someone who avoided service; who himself cut and ran during Viet Nam. These antics from prominent Republicans hang around the party's candidates necks like gaudy ties and we fail if we don't ask them if they agree with and support these chicken hawk declarations from the likes of Rove and Cheney.

All Republicans should be challenged to clarify publicly whether or not they agree with and support the self-serving cowardice of Rove, Cheney and Bush who have no credibility as warriors and embarrass every American solider and veteran when they put on the tough-talk uniform.

In our own state, the Republican Party has no firm Iraq strategy nor agenda that reflects the common good of our country and its citizens.

Particularly damaging for Republicans is the party's total lack of sensitivity regarding the actual soldiers and their families who reside here.

Led now by CEO McGavick and the Congressional Republican marionettes, Washington Republicans  have repeatedly - with a blind insistence and insensitivity - offered soldiers and their families the empty slogan, "Stay the Course"

... a phrase totally devoid of substance, meaning and relevance in a meaningful way

... a phrase the use of which fails to address positively the day-to-day struggle of coping with life that includes loved ones in harms way.

Why have Republicans done this and failed us?

Because the directive comes from the Republican National Committee and its dominant strategists who also hold the  Presidential hands attempting to hang on to the government steering wheel.

What the lock-step robot-like and narrowly restricted speeches in the recent House and Senate "debates" on the occupation of Iraq reflect is an assumption that American voters are limited in their attention spans ...

that cheap and shabby sound-bite phrases like "cut and run" are all we need to hear .... worse, all we need to know.

So in Washington we find ourselves having to deal with a party and candidates that dissemintate half-truths, falsehoods and disingenuous cherry-picked facts to Washingtonians.


Because we are presumed to be stupid, ignorant, naive and gullible.

Don't believe me?

What state party distorted information about sex offenders and then sent pictoral flyers to a limited number of specifically selected legislative districts rather than statewide - which one would think a party concerned about the whole state would do as part of civic responsibility?

Which party went out of its way to disenfranchise voters and belittle voting rights in the interest of limiting the size of the vote as a tactic for election victory?

What party created the moniker "Death Tax" as a framing phrase for the Estate Tax and then pretended that the Estate Tax harms and victimizes a majority of citizens when only the richest are impacted?

What party demeans and ridicules the idea of working toward peace - including an advocacy for a Department of Peace?

What party refers to peace as an alternative having no credibility in the real world where wars are started by lies and liars and sustained by willful refusal to accept responsibility and make no effort to define missions, courses, jobs and exit strategies?

Go to the state Republican website and read the public announcements that reek with the arrogance of assumed electoral stupidity.

The issue here is that even as I write this, the  overwhelming majority opinion in this country is that America is off-track;

America is tragically moving in wrong directions.

Polls continually reflect this concern and a national pessimism even more powerful than the considerable unpopularity of the occupation of Iraq.

Most Americans believe we are off track and tragically moving in the wrong direction to our own national and local detriment

... and the Republicans want us to stay that course?


*Based on Republican usage and definition, the following are logical conclusions of what it means to cut and run:

Failure to support the troops and the willful act of cutting funds to the VA is a case of cut and run.

Hiding caskets returning home from the occupation of Iraq and sneaking them into the country in the middle of the night is a case of cut and run.

Refusal to meet with a grieving mother last summer was case of cut and run.

Refusal to find and fire leakers is a case of cut and run.

Refusal to take responsibility for failure in the wake of Katrina is a case of cut and run.

Refusal to effect a thorough rebuilding of Louisiana and Mississippi is a case of cut and run.

The Medicare D program with it's betrayal of citizens to cater to corporations is a case of cut and run.

Millions of children who have been left behind is a case of cut and run.

Cowering before Right Wing Christian blowhards and making public declarations in support of legislation against gay marriage and gay rights is a case of cut and run.

Cowering before Right Wing Christian blowhards in appointing judges too far of the course they ought to stay on is a case of cut and run.

Shall I continue?

Better yet, how many more examples can we find? Comments are welcome.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PDT

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Criticism of the President is Patriotic

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else.

But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

Theodore Roosevelt, 1918, Lincoln and Free Speech