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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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
20 Oct, 08 > 26 Oct, 08
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16 Jul, 07 > 22 Jul, 07
2 Jul, 07 > 8 Jul, 07
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Tuesday, 15 May 2007
Legislature does its civic duty
Now Playing: We need to see more of this kind of thing
Topic: Civic Duty

 via PNW Portal

State to waive tuition for fallen GIs' kin

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

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

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

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

The bill unanimously passed the House and Senate.

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

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 6:57 AM PDT
Thursday, 15 February 2007

Topic: Civic Duty
 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


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Monday, 22 January 2007

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Civic Duty

We Were There: Thoughts on getting away with talking mean about the government

Part I

Photo is mine

About half way through the Hearing, my brain suddenly connected the dots of concepts from the American Government class I took as a 12th grader in 1964. Here we sat assembled talking about our government and what's wrong with it,

- perhaps a  majority of us taking for granted how that document (whose name gets tossed around like mustard and ketchup at a barbecue) protects us with more force and authority than had a brigade of troops standing guard outside the doors been present (unless necessary which then would make a military brigade a right of every citizen.)

What better demonstration that what all this is about is to live in one of the very few places on the globe where we can get away with it; that in a democracy some things lead to even greater manifestations of citizen power.

 

Here's what we got away with this past weekend:

 

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Being married to an activist who can get things done has its positive perks which include sitting up front where I can hear and see stuff a lot more thoroughly. (And even for an old Veteran who thinks he's seen it all and knows everything, sitting up that close is no place to be caught falling asleep!)


Photo  of Lietta is mine

So I thought I'd get my notebook and write down what I expected would be a thought, concept or cool quote that might enter my ears once every ...  oh, say 45 minutes. I'd hear something I could use as a talking point or theme for long-winded articles or rants.

So ready to take notes, both feet on the floor and somewhat alert,  I started listening and then began to write.

When it was over the old callous on my writing finger was back, having regressed some 40 years ago.

I don't have a laptop, just a calloused writing finger and  36 pages of talking points.

I'll leaving the laptopping and live blogging to Noemi who ought to get some kind of blogging award from somebody who knows a good job when they read one.

So no, don't panic! I'm not going to write up 36 pages of talking points.

But I am going to start writing over the next few weeks about thoughts the came flying into  my awake old military-Veteran mind as I  sat protected by a document.

Thoughts:

What would a "Constitutional" model of citizenship look like?

Does a good citizen live in indifference to freedoms possessed by few and coveted by most who live on an entire planet?

Does a good citizen justifiably think that the pursuit of happiness includes mere patriotism of consuming American-made products, enjoying corporate sponsored shallow entertainment, going to work, giving up withheld taxes and living only for today?

Does a good citizen leave most of the important stuff to bigmouth politicians who talk down to an entire electorate that is far wiser that it itself realizes?

Does good citizenship stop at the door to a military recruiter's office?

Does a good citizen-soldier agree and commit to stop thinking and merely follow orders once a uniform is donned?

Hell yes!

 

  •  Hell yes, I will go!
  •  But don't tell me I can't think
  •  Don't tell me I can't discern
  •  and don't tell me I have to violate law and repudiate the Constitution to help some fool up my chain of command stay in the driver's seat.

     

Our assemby did not ask that question, but instead refused to wait for some sort of wise permission from any "higher authority" - elected or wannabe - that pretends to know more and understand more Civics than what we know and understand.

Our assembly waited for no one's endorsment.

 

  • We gathered

     

  • We deliberated

     

  • We will be heard

     

  • We will demand REAL American Constitutional justice for all!

     

We will ask, for example, of the Lieutenant's presiding Court Martial Judge,

if the illegality of the order to march out and kill is a concern included in the Consitution, why is it not relative to a thinking soldier's right?

By the way - to all fools who say "You signed on, you knew what you were doing, stop whining and get going!" - read an officer's oath.

That oath includes the primary and overarching vow to protect and obey the Constitution. Nowhere does an officer's oath -unlike an enlisted man's oath - include a vow to obey without question or assessment of orders from all superior officers.

So I'm already worked up but have to get going to work so I can earn more tax money to pay - among other things - other citizen soldiers to protect the rights of every other American citizen and their court marital presiders.

This then will start a series for me.

I'll close this morning with a quote from my distant relative, a much maligned (and deservedly so from my own reading of history) former president, but a highly admired, respected and effective military officer and commander of all American forces at the time. Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant's words in and of themselves, authorize any and all - past or present -  U.S. military  officers to think for themselves, even if they never run for president.

 

"one of the most unjust ever waged on a weaker country by a stronger." - On America's war against Mexico


Photo owner:thinkquest.org

More later ...

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 5:20 PM PDT
Saturday, 18 March 2006

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger
Topic: Civic Duty

Military Families Speak Out on tragic 3rd Anniversary Iraq/Afghanistan war

Weekend of tragically marking the third anniversary Iraq/Afghanistan war.  Some of the scheduled events of Military Families Speak Out - Washington state Chapter

We welcome friends and supporters of our message:

Support Our Troops
Bring Them Home Now
Take Care of them when they get home.

We've been busy this month - more below fold.

MFSO participation in events in Washington

Bellingham
WHAT: March and Rally
DATE: Friday, March 17
TIME: 3pm
PLACE: Bellingham Herald building, Chestnut and State Sts.
WHO: MFSO members will participate, including Anna Lawson whose son serves in the North Dakota National Guard and who has been deployed to Iraq.
CONTACT: mfsowa@swandeer.com

Port Angeles
WHAT: Rally and March
DATE: Saturday, March 18
TIME: noon
PLACE: Liberty Bell Veterans Park, 4th and Lincoln
WHO: MFSO member Jenny Keesey will be speaking, whose son is in the Army.
CONTACT: mfsowa@swandeer.com

Tacoma
WHAT: Cost of War Hits Home rally & march
DATE: Sunday, March 19
TIME: 1:30pm
PLACE: People's Park Tacoma, Martin Luther King Way & S. 9th St.
WHO: Lietta Ruger of Bay Center, WA, will speak.  Lietta's son-in-law and nephew are both in the Army and served extended tours in Iraq; they now face the prospect of multiple tours in Iraq.  Lietta brings her history as a military family spanning her childhood and early adult years, and as a young military wife during Vietnam.
CONTACT: mfsowa@swandeer.com

Louisiana

WHAT: March of Veterans, Military Families, and Survivors of Hurricane Katrina from Mobile AL to New Orleans, LA http://www.vetgulfmarch.org
DATE: 3/14 - 3/19
TIME: Rally in New Orleans, 3/19/06 10 AM
PLACE: Enter Armstrong Park (Congo Square) and begin the Rally Against War and
Injustice.
WHO: Members of Military Families Speak Out, including:
* Stacy Bannerman of Kent, Washington whose husband serves in the Washington Army National Guard, SFC Mortar Platoon, and served a year's tour of duty in Iraq. Upon return to the US, his Brigade were cut loose after a week of outprocessing, and they have gotten no post-deployment mental health counseling.

Seattle
WHAT:Sat March 18, silent vigil  9:20am Senator Cantwell fundraiser: the Palace Ballroom, 2100 5th Ave, Seattle.  
WHO:  Joe Colgan, veteran, military family and father of Benjamin Colgan, killed in Iraq in 2003. Military families, veterans, and citizen voters will gather behind one or two 3 ft. by 9 ft. banners (in front of the entrance to the fund raiser) with the following excerpt from Joe's Seattle PI op-ed piece:

"I write as a veteran who has a special love for our troops and their families, and as the father of Lt. Benjami! n Colgan, who was killed in action in Baghdad on Nov. 1, 2003... How many more Americans and Iraqis must perish or be maimed until the "stay-the-course" approach is discredited?
...It is time for Cantwell to help move the debate beyond pointless rhetoric by taking a clear position and holding public forums to promote a better understanding of the costs of this war and how to end it."

(See the full op-ed   http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0202-30.htm  )
This will be a solemn presence that conveys a clear message to both those attending the fund raiser and to the press.

Previous Military Families Speak Out events in March 2006 events noting this tragic 3rd year anniversary;

Seattle
WHAT:  Meeting with KOMO 4 TV news representatives to discuss discuss with KOMO 4 their past and future news/media coverage of terrorism and war in Iraq these past 3 yrs = adequate or inadequate and why?    
DATE:  Friday, March 17, 2006
WHO:  Backbone Campaign, Amy Lacenski of Military Families Speak Out

Tacoma
WHAT:  Forum Speak Out for Military Community
DATE:  Wednesday, March 1, 2006
PLACE:  Tacoma Unitarian Church
WHO:  Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace. Purpose was to reach out to military families of Fort Lewis.

Lietta Ruger, the state chapter coordinator
for Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), says that
"the aim of the forum is to engage with other military families in Washington in discussion of the war, the mission, and support for the deployed troops.
We hope to reach across division and splits and
find some common ground for both sides of the
discussion. We share in common the support of the
troops deployed and have reason to be proud of them."

Media coverage included invitation and interviews in Fort Lewis Ranger and Tacoma News Tribune.  http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/military/story/5557760p-5002219c.html
Also TNT reporter was at the event; article in TNT
 reporting on the event
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/5561030p-5004695c.html

 


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