Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter

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Bring Them Home Now!

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

Here are some statistics:

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

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

-- One million military children are under 11.

-- 40% are 5 or younger.

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

Source: Department of Defense and National Military Family Association.



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

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

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

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

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

Drink in those words.

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

It's not Ted Kennedy last week.

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

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

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

perhaps with bodies still floating in the harbor,

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

By Michael Tomasky,
The AMERICAN Prospect online


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

Bring Them Home Now postage stamps


For more information see Appeal for Redress website.


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


Some Past Campaigns - Washington state chapter MFSO members participation

2007

(photo - Daniel Ellsberg, Lt. Ehren Watada)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 20-21- 2007, Tacoma, WA.

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

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

2006


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

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

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

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

June 2006 ongoing through court martial Feb 2007

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


2005


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

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


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


2004

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

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

photo - Nancy Lessin, MFSO Co-Founder

photo - Lietta Ruger, MFSO - WA

photo - Stacy Bannerman, MFSO - WA


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

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

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

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

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


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




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

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

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

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

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

JOIN us by sending an e-mail to mfso@mfso.org.


MFSO - Become a Member

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

* The Reserves

* The National Guard

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

There is no membership fee. Donations are welcome.

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

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

We welcome your involvement, please contact us.


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


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

Friday, 2 March 2007

Now Playing: Arthu Ruger
Topic: Members Speak Out

Dang Fool Made Me Spill My Coffee

Lietta will have something to say about a friend of our, Joe Colgan, who wrote a great guest opinion The killing has got to stop published to the PI this morning.

But some guy named STEFF wrote the first comment to Joe's article and pissed me off. Now I've got to go to work mad.

Here's what I wrote in the PI:

 

I don't know who Steff is but the writing sure sounds like someone with a theory and not much real-time and real-place perspective.

Joe Colgan is a friend of mine and one who is writes from a place of knowing and feeling. He does not speak theoretically nor rant as Mr. Steff just did. Colgan is not alone.

What Joe Colgan has written has little to do with the Republican swagger, prance, and posture as the world-wide tough guy whom everyone owes obeisance and fear-driven respect. Such is not the American Core Value nor American Dream nor true American Patriotism.

Who has earned the right to speak about serious stuff with a veterans's wisdom? One group are those of my generation who've been there and done that. Twenty pages of rants from readers like Mr. Steff account for very little when contrasted with speaking from the knowing of experience and the wisdom of Veteran American heroes like Jack Murtha.

Our sons and daughters in the military serve honorably, deserve our highest respect and devotion. It should be recognized that the following are the conditions under which Americans expect their family blood to serve:

(1) The integrity and honor of the commander in chief of the military and that CIC's skill, wisdom and understanding of all reasons when and why military citizens are to be placed in harm's way.

Troops are at the mercy of that individual, his party and their combined priorities - with a strong expectation that those priorities extend beyond a desire to remain in the driver's seat.

(2)Our troops are also at the mercy of your own fellow citizens (including your own family) whom you trust to be willing and supportive in making sure the leadership does not waste your vital blood, devotion and patriotism in pipe dreams, self-interested agenda's and ideologies; That leaders are driven by a genuine desire to involve the country in on-going mutual participation and compromise regarding foreign policy before resorting to force as a last resort.

(3) Volunteering to become a soldier is volunteering to preserve and protect - with your own power and will - the country, its borders, its citizens and its institutions. It isn't volunteering to keep a political party in power. The only way to avoid that circumstance is for the citizens to assume their rightful role in the triangular relationship with the troops and the CIC.

The troops are expected to trust the CIC's wisdom as well as the patriotic participation of the Citizens who will keep the CIC honest.

The CIC is expected to trust the troops to follow orders and expects to sustain by honesty and integrity the support of the Citizens.

The Citizens expect the troops to do their duties and expect the CIC to sustain by honesty and integrity his political authority. The Citizens must be willing to hold the CIC accountable and willfully resist when the honesty and integrity of leadership is absent.

That is what is going on right now. The President has demonstrated his lack of what it means to serve or lead warriorsat a time when leadership is needed. The killing continues daily and folks like Steff talking like John Wayne in a junior high school locker room doesn't get it.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Thursday, 1 March 2007

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Online Activism

How about 1 Million Blogs for Peace to end the war in Iraq?

I came across it this morning, and think it's an interesting idea.  So many blogs, so many bloggers, and what can it hurt; maybe it can even help.

     One Million Blogs for Peace
           To End the Iraq War

Images they provide to place on your blog, after you sign up your blog at their site.  

or

or

(read more about the concept and pledge below the fold - assuming diaries have a fold)

 

 

The Concept
Between 20 March 2007 and 20 March 2008 (the fifth year of the war), we will attempt to sign up One Million Blogs for Peace. By signing up, a blogger is stating his or her agreement with The Pledge below. They will then be able to participate in various challenges launched by One Million Blogs for Peace. They will also be listed on this website with a link to their blog.

Bloggers may take The Pledge and sign up before the launch date of 30 March 2007 and will be declared an "Inblogural" (Inaugural Blog) of the movement.

The Pledge
I believe in the immediate withdrawal of all foreign combat troops from the nation of Iraq. I believe in using my blog, in whole or in part, as a tool toward this end.

Who's Eligible
For the official count (toward 1,000,000), a blog must be based in the home country of a nation currently engaged in the Iraq War. As of now, those nations are: Albania, Australia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Additional blogs from other nations may list themselves as "Support Blogs". While not counting toward the 1,000,000 count, these blogs will be eligible to participate in some of the challenges and will be listed in their own section.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Now Playing: Bob Woodruff
Topic: Media Involvement

Bob Woodruff's 'To Iraq and Back' on ABC

Do you remember Bob Woodruff, an ABC journalist, who while covering the war in Iraq last year (he was literally in Iraq in Jan 2006) was severely injured by IED explosion, along with the other soldiers in the humvee?  If you didn't see the 'must see'airing of Bob Woodruff 'To Iraq and Back' last night, you can still see it online at ABC website.  

Traumatic Brain Injury - TBI - heard of it? Of the over 200,000 (that's right 200 thousand - much more than the figure cited by DOD) injured troops in Iraq, a quarter of those suffer with traumatic brain injury.

That is a quite high percentage but what is more astonishing is that the smaller VA hospital/centers don't have the knowledge, equipment, people power, staff or professionals to deal with it. I don't suppose it would surprise anyone to realize that TBI is another one of those 'issues' being sanitized and swept out of public view.

(Senators Murray and Cantwell - all our Congress Representatives - are you aware and are our VA hospitals in Washington equipped to treat follow up care for TBI soldiers? Wouldn't you want not one more soldier to have to face this kind of a homecoming? )

Thanks to the courage of ABC journalist/reporter, Bob Woodruff, and ABC's willingness to air it, special tv production 'To Iraq and Back' finds a middle ground arena (not slung with partisan politics) to try to educate the public on the plight of many of these injured, returning soldiers. If you didn't get chance to see it last night on tv, you can watch the online video here at ABC website.

Bob Woodruff was injured while reporting in Iraq, and he has made a recovery from his own traumatic brain injury (TBI) many in the medical profession view as remarkable. Which isn't to say he has completely recovered, rather that he has learned to compensate and inspires hope for other soldiers trying to adjust to life with TBI. He has made this tv special, 'To Iraq and Back' which aired on ABC, Tuesday night, Feb 27, 2007.

It chronicles his life starting from the IED explosion he experienced in the humvee in Iraq, the evac and medical journey, and his efforts at recovery. You will see some graphic reality. You will see Bob (and other soldiers) with half his head blown off, in recovery, with what is becoming the traditional 'helmet' TBI survivors wear and you will see glimpses of his efforts to retrain his memory.

As Bob goes back to the medical and hospital staff to thank them, he interviews them along the way and the viewer gets some firsthand information from those who have an up close and personal view of the enormity of injuries sustained by our troops. He then visits some of the soldiers on the humvee with him when the IED exploded.

He visits with other soldiers who have TBI and talks with the soldiers and their families about the resources or lack of resources after being released from the primary hospitals - Walter Reed and Bethesda. As those soldiers return to their homes in communities across the nation, the VA resources are not up to speed in treating them for TBI. (Most of you who know much about VA resources, already know the shortages of hospitals, centers, staff and services) .

Bob talks also with new VA Secretary, Jim Nicholson, or perhaps interviews him, because it looks very much to me like Jim Nicholson, is very uncomfortable with the questions Bob Woodruff puts to him. And they are not challenging or difficult questions, more straightforward kinds of questions, deserving of factual and straightforward answers. Something Jim Nicholson does not provide. His responses seem to me like efforts to minimize the severity and seriousness and strike me as the kind of defensive answers one gives when one knows what one is being asked reveals a truth being cloaked.

Mentioned in the tv show is Wounded Warriors Project - please see their website and help in whatever ways you can.

Excerpt from Wounded Warriors Project on Bob Woodruff's 'To Iraq and Back'

   

On Tuesday, February 27th at 10pm (EST), ABC will air the much anticipated special featuring ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff's injury and rehabilitation after suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) while covering the war in Iraq.

    This September, the Wounded Warrior Project had the distinct pleasure of meeting Bob in Washington DC at a TBI Caregiver Summit. The goal of the summit was to bring together family caregivers of service members who have incurred serious traumatic brain injuries during the war against terror and facilitate a dialogue between these family caregivers and key policy and legislative decision makers in Washington.

    Part of this summit and a roundtable discussion between Bob and the family caregivers (and some patients themselves) will be included in the piece.

Another excerpt:

   

At a hearing held last June by the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Jonathan Perlin testified that, "Traumatic Brain Injury accounts for almost 25 percent of combat casualties suffered in OIF/OEF by US Forces." With over 20,000 combat injuries to date during the ongoing global war on terror, this means that there are almost 5,000 service members suffering from traumatic brain injuries. While advances in body armor and battlefield medicine save the lives of many soldiers, they do not protect against impacts that cause brain injury.

An excerpt from Discover Magazine, article Dead Men Walking; What sort of future do brain-injured Iraq veterans face.

   

While the Pentagon has yet to release hard numbers on brain-injured troops, citing security issues, brain-injury professionals express concern about the range of numbers reported from other military-related sources like the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). One expert from the VA estimates the number of undiagnosed TBIs at over 7,500. Nearly 2,000 brain-injured soldiers have already received some level of care, but the TBIs--human beings reduced to an abbreviation--keep coming.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Friday, 23 February 2007

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Remembrances

Congress didn't act then, doesn't act now; History Lesson - Bonus Army - 1932

Bonus Army March on Washington DC in 1932 provides us with a model that has seemingly gone unchanged in how Congress responds to our military veterans, and the intensity by which veterans and civilians have to 'demonstrate' to get the attention of Congress - no not just get the attention, but enough attention that causes Congress to finally take action.    

A history lesson. Last night, on PBS station, was airing of a show about the 20,000 Bonus Army veterans of World War 1,along with their families, and other affiliated groups in their march on Washington DC, their encampment in Washington DC during the spring and summer of 1932, and the resulting riot that ensued to break up the encampment.  Congress continued to vote no to keeping a promise they had already made and given to these WW 1 veterans. Perseverance and persistence, on the part of the veterans, families and supporters and finally Congress said Yes to keeping their promise. What happened in between with Congress saying No to Congress saying Yes is not a pretty American tale, but indeed, part of American history.  

1932 - World War 1 and all the wars that followed up to the present in 2007 - why do our veterans have to fight Congress as well as fight in the battlefields?  It seems this is the 'norm', not the exception.  

In 1924 promise was made via Adjusted Service Certificate Law giving to WW1 veterans "bonus" certificates the following year that would be redeemable for cash after a maturation period of 20 years - payable in 1945.

June 17, 1932 and Congress was to vote on the Patman Bonus Bill, which would have moved forward the date when World War I veterans received a cash bonus. The 'Bonus Army' massed on DC, in hopes of convincing Congress to grant payments immediately, providing relief for the marchers/protestors who were unemployed. It was the era of the Great Depression, and veterans who already served found themselves in the food lines, without means to provide for their families, and were reduced from proud returning warriors to street beggars and bums (note; use of those words street beggars and bums reflects the social thinking of that era, not my definitions for how I think of the veterans of that era).  Not a pretty sight then for veterans, and doesn't it bring up recent history of Vietnam-era veterans who are homeless, living in the streets in reduced life circumstances?

Why is it no surprise that Congress defeated the bill July 28, and offered the pittance of paying the veteran demonstrators way home?  Some accepted and went home; others did not and remained. The Washington Police moved in to disperse the encampment, and two veterans were fatally shot in the process. The veterans hit back with blunt instruments, and the Washington Police backed off telling then President Hoover that they could not maintain the peace.

President Hoover ordered in federal troops to remove the veteran protesters.   Noted Generals, General Douglas MacArthur with Dwight D. Eisenhower as part of his staff,  and General George S. Patton were in command of the removal.  Troops carrying rifles, unsheathed bayonets and tear gas were sent in.    Hundreds of veterans were injured, several killed.  It's not hard to imagine the impact on the public of a visual of  U.S. armed soldiers confronting poverty-stricken veterans from what was then in American history the recent Great War.  (note; jumping forward in hisotry, we've seen this image again in Vietnam war protests).  It did set the stage and we do have these protesting WW 1 veterans to thank for what would become Veteran relief and eventually the Veterans Administration, making benefits of medical, home loans, and college tuition available to the next generation of veterans.

(Side note) And these benefits, I'm afraid, are on the serious decline as this Administration cites budget constraints while asking for budget supplemental appropriation to feed troop increases and keeping the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

In the battle against it's own veterans to clear the encampments, burning down the tents and shacks, by the end a list of casualties looked like this:


    - Two veterans were shot and killed.
    - An 11 week old baby was in critical condition resulting from shock from gas exposure.
    - Two infants died from gas asphyxiation.
    - An 11 year old boy was partially blinded by tear gas.
    - One bystander was shot in the shoulder.
    - One veteran's ear was severed by a Cavalry saber.
    - One veteran was stabbed in the hip with a bayonet.
    - At least twelve police were injured by the veterans.
    - Over 1,000 men, women, and children were exposed to the tear gas, including police, reporters, residents of Washington D.C., and ambulance drivers.

 President Hoover was not re-elected, and a new President in Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected. After his 1933 Inauguration, some of the veterans regrouped to make their case to the new President.  He did not want to pay the bonus either, and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt engaged the veterans encouraging many of them to sign up for jobs making roadways at the Florida Keys.

In the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 in Florida, 259 of these veterans were killed at their worksites on the highway.  Public sentiment in reaction to seeing  newsreels of veterans giving their lives for a government that had taken them for granted, is what persuaded Congress they could no longer afford to ignore it in an election year (1936). Roosevelt's veto was overridden, and the veterans received their bonus.

 NPR Soldier Against Soldier; The Story of the Bonus Army with vintage newsreel.

I will mention 'Vietnam' without getting into another history lesson - a decade of sending our young into combat in an un-necessary war, 58,000 names of the dead on Vietnam Wall in Washington DC; millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians killed - oh yes, if you didn't know it to be true, U.S. troops were ordered by the Nixon Administration into Cambodia and Laos - it wasn't limited to Vietnam. The Nixon Administration also ordered the military use of weapons of mass destruction in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos without much regard to the troops or non-combatant civilians.  What did it take to get Congress to act in this history lesson?  

Today, then, in 2007, in the matter of four years of U.S. military deployed in occupation of Iraq, despite four years of mounted protests by hundreds of thousands in cities across the United States, in Washington DC - what is it going to take to affect Congress to action instead of using just empty words as they jocky for political position?  Despite the efforts of veterans - over 1,300 Iraq veterans signed the Appeal for Redress that was delivered to Congress in January 2007 - Lt. Ehren Watada's efforts by his refusal to deploy to put the Iraq war on trial in accord with U.S. compliance with Geneva Conventions - the poll which indicated that 70% of deployed troops polled believe they should come home -----   what is going to take to get Congress to listen and act?  

No, that is not a rant or a hopeless question.  The history dating back to the Bonus Army, and the wars in which the U.S. military has been deployed since clearly show a more than casual disregard for the military and veterans over a 65 year period.  That is more than happenstance - that is a pattern of behavior on the part of Congress.  And I only went back to 1932, choosing the Bonus Army as a starting place.  

Is it any wonder that there is almost now by rote an action = U.S. military deployed into questionable wars with reaction = U.S. public must battle Congress to see the error it it's ways via repeated and accelerated protest demonstrations before Congress will act?  Is this the norm in our country - this land of freedom?  Freedom of what, I ask myself sometimes - freedom to send our young off in repeated historical wars to be killed and maimed and scarred for life and with just a thank you Sir and then are as quickly as one clicks the remote to change the tv channel the 'new veterans' are forgotten? Freedom to maintain freedom by sending our young repeatedly generation after generation to war?  I have to wonder when freedom isn't freedom but an act of an extreme kind of  selfishness.  Why is it that only our country deserves the largess?

No, I don't want to move to another country and I'm sure many would be happy to invite that opportunity if I am so dis-satisfied with my own country.  And no, I don't want to live under a dictatorship or other forms of government that are oppressive in nature.  Besides, I've had a husband and now a son-in-law and nephew pay my price of freedom and freedom to speak since they have been in combat over two wars - Vietnam and Iraq. Oh, and my nephew was also in Bosnia - you remember Bosnia?  Clinton years?

But, just because we, in this country, have some mythical definitions of what it is to be a democracy and those definitions are bathed and perfumed in nostalgic and patriotic dressing, doesn't mean we should accept that as the satisfactory bar or standard of what it means to be a democracy.  We should strive for better, yes, and we should re-examine our definitions and we should, perhaps improve on those definitions, and we should stop sending our young generations to be killed in the name of democracy and freedom, or at the very least get a clearer sense of what constitutes a 'threat' and imminent danger to our country. .

Quoting President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who witnessed and participated in routing out the Bonus Army - U.S. troops against U.S. veterans:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

 

  Don't think for a moment, that our Congress today, our Administration today does not well know the lessons of history.  Which is exactly why Congress refusing to act against an Administration who refuses to listen to the advice and warnings of his war experts is beyond deplorable as static energy - moving neither forward or backward,  perpetuating more of the same by doing nothing different. When did 'stay the course' become a patriotic nomenclature?  How is that bravery or wisdom in the face of foolishness?  

I truly do not wish to see the two in our family go back to Iraq this year - they returned alive, not necessarily well, but alive from their first 15 month deployment in 2003-2004.  Believe me, none in our family will consider it a noble sacrifice for them to go back, and their deaths will not honor them or us, rather it will be remembered that this Administration and Congress in concert did, in fact, exploit and dishonor our brave young service men and women.    


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
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
Tuesday, 6 February 2007

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

Seven (7) WA based soldiers killed in Iraq so far Jan 2007 - how many more?

I wanted to call attention to
diary by Leftshue
, and urge comments and recommends.  It is a diary honoring the increasing number of Washington based soldiers who have paid the ultimate price with their lives in Iraq this month. Seven, so far, in Jan 2007 and we are only at Feb 6, 2007 as of today.  

Please visit his diary, add your respect, if nothing more than a comment to honor the loss to Washington military families.


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Sunday, 4 February 2007

Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada

patriotically unacceptable because of a possible "harm" to troop discipline and morale

The Watada court martial opens this week. Concerned citizen activists are gathering in and around Fort Lewis discussing and/or planning what they are going to do about this court martial.

The primary priority for some is an ultimate acquittal for the Lt. - meaning minimal or no time served in incarceration.

For others, the Watada case represents a potential talk-of-the-nation discussion of the war, the lies and the future.

Without worrying about whether or not the Lt. "loses" his case and has to serve time for it - and I sincerely hope that does not happen - I'm worried about much more. I both worry about and hope is that this nation with a majority of families who DON'T have skin in the game will address the absence of moral responsibility for what leaders have done in our name.

 

I've written previously about the antics of civilian leadership when it deliberately ignores or downplays the horrific consequences of war, bombing campaigns and torture, justifying an evil  by something other than literal defense of the homeland. This is a reflection of legitimate moral blindness that puts military families at a disproportionate amount of risk in this country.

We have let them get away with it.

In the face of our obsession with Super Bowls, car races, idols, survivors and celebrity dancers we see revealed a tragic flaw in our civilian society.

This in a nation established and sustained by military will, strength and courage.

The history of our revolution, our Civil War and the World Wars does not reflect a nation primarily ignorant of this nation's foreign and domestic affairs. Back then the country was not dominated by consumers sitting around playing games, pursuing entertainment and dabbling in pursuits of fame and fortune all the while waiting for a president to tell them what to do and why.

They were not dependent solely on the president to tell them that it was time to start paying attention and what they should focus on.

They were more aware back then of the real global situation. They were willing to join up or send their sons and daughters, trusting that their President was both honest and wise in commanding as chief.

Not this time in this age of America.

The recent Citizen's Tribunal in Tacoma - among other things - was a public effort at showcasing many of the legitimate arguments supporting the illegality of the war.

The military, which of itself doesn't make the decision to invade and occupy, nor initiate shock and awe without being ordered to do so, must build a case against Watada that establishes or justifies the "harm" of his words and actions.

It's in the Army's best interest to portray Watada's actions not only as violations of the UCMJ, but patriotically unacceptable because of a possible "harm" to troop discipline and morale; supposedly impacting the effectiveness of troops already serving in harm's way.

When the Watada Court Martial commences, are we likely to see prosecution attempt to justify its position by calling on families, wives and children of active duty personnel in Iraq to testify about Ehren`s negative impact on troop morale as well as the morale of military families?

You bet we are and there`s nothing unfair about that as a legal tactic.

The recent Tribunal either attempted and failed or more likely chose not to bring in rebuttal testimony and I'm not faulting them for that. The Panel Chairperson announced early on that the Tribunal made no claims to impartiality, only to truth. The panel then proceeded toward truth with a view unrestricted by procedural concerns, equal time or rebuttals.

But at the Court Martial, if we see families testifying as to how harmful the Lt's actions are, what do we do with that point of view?

It's one thing to be part of an activist group, crowd or mob where the choir dominates, speeches run to redundancy and spontaneity of action usually results in mighty roars of approval.

It's another to speak amidst a crowd or to an audience wherein mixed perspectives and priorities are present. Roars of approval then compete with disapproving shouts. For activists seeking chain reactions and stampedes the thrill is not the same.

My point with this is to examine ultimately what Lt. Watada and those bearing the grandest scale perspectives think they are after with Ehren.

Based on his own statements, I'm assuming that Lt. Watada hopes to start a cascade of feelings that generate thoughts that lead to words and finally actions that stop the war, end the killing and bring the crimes to a halt.

That's a reasonable message to send to military families, not some sort of "free Watada from the brig" civil disobedience that elevates one individual beyond that which he himself desires or to an undue level of importance at the expense of something greater.

Lietta and I, as members of Military Families Speak Out, do not desire divisiveness with any other military families over a  Watada-deserves-punishment versus Watada-deserves-freedom issue.

Watada himself is not the point.  

Although I make no comparison between Watada and Jesus, I see in some activists an insistance that support for Watada is more important that what Watada is talking about.

And that attitude is not unlike contemporary Evangelical Christianity and its excessive focus on Jesus himself rather than the philosophy and God Jesus pointed to as a means of making humanity more humane, less cruel, less judgmental, less self-interested and less violent.

In my opinion, citizens in this country must take ownership and responsibility for the actions carried out in our names. We do not let anyone irresponsibly and without accountablility send our children out to fight. We do not expect our children to serve this country with no sense of ethics simply because the ethical and moral sense has been assigned to higher authorities.

What we want of all military families is a projection - into the lives of their loved ones who serve - the safety AND moral issues connected with the purpose of service right now in Iraq.

We don't want a military wife to tell us what's right or wrong about Watada.

We do ask that a military wife focus on her husband and the situational and moral quagmire he is in; that he's stuck in his current venue because no one to date has challenged the legality of the orders given him nor the ultimate unwise and unethical civilian source.

We don't excuse our soldiers for ethical and moral lapses because authorities placed in positions of appointed power have - with self-preserving hypocrisy - labeled offenders as some few "bad apples," who deserve no further close scrutiny and need to be locked up, the key thrown away.

We should not tolerate civilian administrators pleading innocence because of the vast gap between the highest echelons of authority and the lowest front line chain of command;

 

a front line where sergeants can be punished because a corporal suffered from the same moral blindness as those self-serving civilians on Mount The invasion that became a military occupation has deteriorated to an on-going action carried on in the name of staying on a course that has been revealed as illegal, immoral and destructive of the innocent.

 

  • staying a false course that deliberately destroys more innocent victims than it does terrorists

     

  • because we were lied to by a dishonest leadership  that now declares that ending the illegal aggression would be "cutting and running."

     

This lack of moral responsibility pervades the current administration which is now seated at the steering wheel;

- villainous fools who are passing judgment on the moral fiber of anyone who disagrees, thereby labeling dissent as treason.

Our soldiers absolutely must emerge from basic and combat training with moral competence intact.

I hope that stories of institutionalized programming of racial hatred, bigotry, stereotyping and name-calling are not predominantly a part of teaching warriors a moral and ethical code. If the testimony and stories reflect what is happeneing across the board, I again declare here and now that the military training organizations are not doing it in my name nor on behalf of my family.

I repudiate these training tactics based on moral recklessness.

We hopefully raise our children with the expectation that they will become independent and self-reliant adults.



If my son or daughter joins the military and enters into its initiations, I am not being unreasonable in expecting that this current  military establishment reclaims its own sense of ethical and moral responsibility from the immorality of a corrupt president and his party.

I expect that sense to coincide with that which we as parents have endeavored to plant in our children's hearts.

I expect that all military families are not unreasonable in such an expectation before they decide to say who is patriotic and who isn't.

Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Saturday, 3 February 2007

Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Politicians in Action

Congressman Capuano to Vote No Supplemental Appropriations Iraq war. Will WA Congressionals vote No?

"I fully expect to vote no on the upcoming supplemental appropriations bill to continue funding the war in Iraq and I will do everything in my power to prevent an escalation of troops. We have lost far too many lives already." Congressman Michael E. Capuano (D) Massachusetts.

Imploring U.S. Representatives - WA state to vote likewise and support your colleague, U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano, in voting No on upcoming supplemental appropriations bill to continue funding the war in Iraq.
Representatives
Click on names to get to Web mail form
Senators
U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, please vote in solidarity - vote no to supplemental appropriations bill to continue funding the war in Iraq.
Cantwell, Maria- (D - WA)
(202) 224-3441
Murray, Patty- (D - WA)
(202) 224-2621

Our Military Family Speak Out (MFSO - www.mfso.org) families continue to engage U.S. Congress one on one showing the 'reasoning' as to why it is imperative to vote no on the supplemental appropriations to continue to fund the war.  Military families would not willingly  ask for legislation that would further endanger their deployed loved ones lives, and are assured there is adequate funding at this time to undertake the redeployment process to bring the troops home now.  

This is not a banner slogan or chant, but a most serious imploring Congress to act within the power imbued by the voters upon each of our U.S. Senators and Representatives to act using the power of the purse.

Understanding the serious nature of the job of Congress, we ask for a humane end to the unmitigable circumstances for our troops of what is now identified by latest Intelligence report issued this week as a   Civil War of the factions in Iraq. U.S. troops presence there can neither help nor hinder the deteriorated circumstances of Iraq.  Prospects in Iraq, based on this latest intellignece, are described equally as horrible consequences whether our troops remain or come home.  

An email I received late this week (text below) includes a letter received by one of our MFSO staff from Congressman Michael E. Capuano.  We applaud his courage and ask it of those representing Washington state in Congress.

Please help us by asking each of our U.S. Representatives and Senators to exercise the courage to say no more and vote no on supplemental appropriations.  

text of Congressman Capuano's letter to MFSO staffer:

   


  January 9, 2007

    Dear Friends,

    Thank you for your concern over what is clearly one of the most critical issues facing our nation today. As some of you may know, I have been opposed to the war in Iraq from the beginning. I opposed the October 2002 Congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to use force in Iraq and I continue to speak out against the war at all opportunities.

    I am deeply opposed to the President's proposal to increase troop levels in Iraq and I will not support any efforts to move in this direction. I believe that this is exactly the wrong way to go and I have discussed my adamant opposition with many of my colleagues, including Speaker Pelosi, who is also gravely concerned about any escalation in troops. In fact, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, recently sent a letter to the President, opposing a surge in troops.

    I fully expect to vote no on the upcoming supplemental appropriations bill to continue funding the war in Iraq and I will do everything in my power to prevent an escalation of troops. We have lost far too many lives already.

    I thank you for your activism and I hope that we can work together to end this war.

    Sincerely,

    Michael E. Capuano
    Member of Congress

.....While there are several recently-filed pieces of legislation that have provisions for cutting the funding for the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home, these measures if passed would be vetoed by President Bush, and there is no veto-proof margin. If the Supplemental Appropriations bill, on the other hand, is not passed by EITHER the House or the Senate, it will never land on the President's desk and can not be subject to a veto. If in the next several weeks Congress can be convinced to vote against further funding for the war in Iraq, this war can be brought to an end......

An anecdotal report of a military mother at U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Jan 30, 2007 imploring that her Marine son, broken by two deployments in Iraq, not be sent back for third deployment in Iraq.

* McMorris, Cathy(R) - 5th District
      Republican representative from Washington.
      www.mcmorris.house.gov
    * McDermott, Jim (D) - 7th District
      Democratic representative from Washington.
      www.house.gov/mcdermott
    * Smith, Adam (D) - 9th District
      Democratic representative from Washington.
      www.house.gov/adamsmith
    * Inslee, Jay (D) - 1st District
      Democratic representative from Washington.
      www.house.gov/inslee
    * Dicks, Norm (D) - 6th District
      Democratic representative from Washington.
      www.house.gov/dicks
    * Larsen, Rick (D) - 2nd District
      Democratic representative from Washington.
      www.house.gov/larsen
    * Baird, Brian (D) - 3rd District, Washington
      Democratic representative from Washington.
      www.house.gov/baird
    * Hastings, Doc (R) - 4th District
      Republican representative from Washington.
      www.house.gov/hastings
    * Reichert, Dave (R) - 8th District
      Republican representative from Washington.
      www.house.gov/reichert

U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, please vote in solidarity - vote no to supplemental appropriations bill to continue funding the war in in Iraq.

Cantwell, Maria- (D - WA)   
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3441
Web Form: cantwell.senate.gov/contact/index.html

Murray, Patty- (D - WA)    Class III
173 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2621
Web Form: murray.senate.gov/email/index.cfm


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST
Saturday, 27 January 2007

Now Playing: WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 -- Tens of thousands of protesters converged on the National Mall
Topic: Events

"When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home NOW"

By Arthur Ruger
Sat Jan 27, 2007 at 08:23:12 PM PST

Section: Stories In Progress Topic: Military
 

...said the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.

Today was a big day for the good guys in this country. We would like to have been there with them.

Commondreams.org has published the New York Times article about today's demonstrations.

 

Protest Focuses on Troop Increase for Iraq
by Ian Urbina

 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27  --  Tens of thousands of protesters converged on the National Mall on Saturday to oppose President Bush's plan for a troop increase in Iraq in what organizers hoped would be one of the largest shows of antiwar sentiment in the nation's capital since the war began.


Nice beginning.

When Lietta was on the Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour that culminated with the mass demonstration in Washington D.C. in September, 2005, media and official estimates put the crowd at 200,000 - 300,000 people. In reality, the number was closer to 600,000.

At least today they are admitting to 400,000 for starters.




'BRING MY HUSBAND HOME NOW!'

The unidentified wife of an Army Ranger serving in Iraq holds a sign near the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the war in Iraq Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007 in Washington.(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)


The event drew demonstrators from across the country, and many said that in addition to taking their discontent to the streets they planned to press members of Congress to oppose the war.

"When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home now," said the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.

So how many of those Americans described as supportive by the Bush/McCain/Lieberman propaganda team went to D.C. to counteract the effect of 400,000 rejections of a sitting president, his war-toady heir apparent and whistle-past-the-graveyard Holy Joe?

The article answers that question with its final paragraphs.

"Many intend to stay and press members of Congress to oppose the war."

Maybe they'll go after some of those Republican Senators hanging around waiting to drop more amendments on to the minimum wage bill

 




 

SURGING ON THE CAPITOL

Marchers parade down Independence Ave. near the U.S. capitol during a protest against the war in Iraq Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007 in Washington.Organizers said that over 400,000 marched.(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

"I grew up during the Vietnam War, but I never protested it and never had my lottery number called to go fight," said David Quinly, a 54-year-old carpenter from Prairie Village, Kan., who arrived here Friday night with about 50 others after a 23-hour bus ride.

"In my view, this one is a war of choice and a war for profit against a culture and people we don't understand," Mr. Quinly said. "I knew I had to speak up this time."

"I've got a son who just got out of the military and another still in," said Jackie Smith, 65, from Sunapee, N.H., whose sign read "Bush Bin Lyin." "And I'm here because this is all I can do to try to help them."


And there's a lot more of us baby-boomers - many of whom sat out the domestic fight in this country last time who flat out aren't going to make the same mistake twice ...not this time. Our kids deserve a hell of a lot more than tha!

 

Tassi McKee, from Bastrop, La., who said she was a staff sergeant in the Air Force, was among a small contingent of about 20 active-duty service members who turned out. "I believe this has become a civil war, and we are being hurt and making matters worse by staying in the middle of it," Sergeant McKee said.

She said that it was not illegal for active-duty members to attend protests but that it was strongly discouraged.

I suspect there are more Watada's out there just needing encouragement

 

Veterans were more numerous among the crowd.

Dressed in the olive green, military-issued flight jacket that he said he wore during the invasion of Iraq while serving as a Marine sergeant, Jack Teller, 26, said he joined a caravan from Greenville, N.C., because he felt that it was his duty.

"I don't like wearing the jacket because it reminds me that I participated in an immoral and illegal war," said Mr. Teller, who had "Iraq Veterans Against the War" stenciled on the back of his jacket. "But it's important to make a political statement."

Fernando Braga, a 24-year-old Bronx native who is a member of the Army National Guard, said that he was skeptical of the war before it started. Mr. Braga said his views hardened into opposition while he served in Iraq from March 2004 through January 2005.

"My own commander told us when we arrived that if we thought we were there for any reason other than oil then we had another think coming," he said. "I realized even commanding officers were against it but following orders."

How about some active duty opinions from the Ocupation in Iraq?

 

President Bush, who often spends weekends at Camp David, was in Washington on Saturday but had no public events scheduled. He spent part of the morning on his weekly bicycle ride at a Secret Service training facility in Beltsville, Md.

With nothing to say ... and only a White House spokesman to recognize the right of assembly, free speech and an appeal for redress ... all of which Mr. Bush pedallingly ignored. I'm betting he pedaled nowhere near anyone willing to carry out a citizen's arrest, eh?

 

Counterprotesters also converged on the mall in smaller numbers, but the antiwar demonstration was largely peaceful.

There were a few tense moments, however, including an encounter involving Joshua Sparling, 25, who was on crutches and who said he was a corporal with the 82nd Airborne Division and lost his right leg below the knee in Ramadi, Iraq. Mr. Sparling spoke at a smaller rally held earlier in the day at the United States Navy Memorial, and voiced his support for the administration's policies in Iraq.

Later, as antiwar protesters passed where he and his group were standing, words were exchanged and one of the antiwar protestors spit at the ground near Mr. Sparling; he spit back.

Capitol police made the antiwar protestors walk farther away from the counterprotesters.

"These are not Americans as far as I'm concerned," Mr. Sparling said.

Another counterprotester, Larry Stark, 71, a retired Navy officer who fought in Vietnam for five years and was a prisoner of war, said, "We never lost a battle in Vietnam but we lost the war, and the same is going to be true in Iraq if these protesters have their way."

The protesters on Saturday were undermining troop morale, Mr. Stark said, and increasing the likelihood of a premature withdrawal.

"It's like we never learn from the past," he said.

Another commentary on what happens when feelings run high enough to get people off their bottoms and into the streets to rally for both sides of an issue.

... and isn't that what freedom of speech and assembly is all about?



War opponents preparing for today's protest on the National Mall.
The shoes and names written on the box represent civilians killed in Iraq.
Stefan Zaklin/European Pressphoto Agency

 


Posted by SwanDeer Project at 12:01 AM PST

Now Playing: WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 -- Tens of thousands of protesters converged on the National Mall
Topic: Events

"When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home NOW"

By Arthur Ruger
Sat Jan 27, 2007 at 08:23:12 PM PST

Section: Stories In Progress Topic: Military
 

...said the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.

Today was a big day for the good guys in this country. We would like to have been there with them.

Commondreams.org has published the New York Times article about today's demonstrations.

Protest Focuses on Troop Increase for Iraq
by Ian Urbina

 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27  --  Tens of thousands of protesters converged on the National Mall on Saturday to oppose President Bush's plan for a troop increase in Iraq in what organizers hoped would be one of the largest shows of antiwar sentiment in the nation's capital since the war began.


Nice beginning.

When Lietta was on the Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour that culminated with the mass demonstration in Washington D.C. in September, 2005, media and official estimates put the crowd at 200,000 - 300,000 people. In reality, the number was closer to 600,000.

At least today they are admitting to 400,000 for starters.




'BRING MY HUSBAND HOME NOW!'

The unidentified wife of an Army Ranger serving in Iraq holds a sign near the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the war in Iraq Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007 in Washington.(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)


The event drew demonstrators from across the country, and many said that in addition to taking their discontent to the streets they planned to press members of Congress to oppose the war.

"When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home now," said the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.

So how many of those Americans described as supportive by the Bush/McCain/Lieberman propaganda team went to D.C. to counteract the effect of 400,000 rejections of a sitting president, his war-toady heir apparent and whistle-past-the-graveyard Holy Joe?

The article answers that question with its final paragraphs.

"Many intend to stay and press members of Congress to oppose the war."

Maybe they'll go after some of those Republican Senators hanging around waiting to drop more amendments on to the minimum wage bill

 




 

SURGING ON THE CAPITOL

Marchers parade down Independence Ave. near the U.S. capitol during a protest against the war in Iraq Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007 in Washington.Organizers said that over 400,000 marched.(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

"I grew up during the Vietnam War, but I never protested it and never had my lottery number called to go fight," said David Quinly, a 54-year-old carpenter from Prairie Village, Kan., who arrived here Friday night with about 50 others after a 23-hour bus ride.

"In my view, this one is a war of choice and a war for profit against a culture and people we don't understand," Mr. Quinly said. "I knew I had to speak up this time."

"I've got a son who just got out of the military and another still in," said Jackie Smith, 65, from Sunapee, N.H., whose sign read "Bush Bin Lyin." "And I'm here because this is all I can do to try to help them."


And there's a lot more of us baby-boomers - many of whom sat out the domestic fight in this country last time who flat out aren't going to make the same mistake twice ...not this time. Our kids deserve a hell of a lot more than tha!

 

Tassi McKee, from Bastrop, La., who said she was a staff sergeant in the Air Force, was among a small contingent of about 20 active-duty service members who turned out. "I believe this has become a civil war, and we are being hurt and making matters worse by staying in the middle of it," Sergeant McKee said.

She said that it was not illegal for active-duty members to attend protests but that it was strongly discouraged.

I suspect there are more Watada's out there just needing encouragement

 

Veterans were more numerous among the crowd.

Dressed in the olive green, military-issued flight jacket that he said he wore during the invasion of Iraq while serving as a Marine sergeant, Jack Teller, 26, said he joined a caravan from Greenville, N.C., because he felt that it was his duty.

"I don't like wearing the jacket because it reminds me that I participated in an immoral and illegal war," said Mr. Teller, who had "Iraq Veterans Against the War" stenciled on the back of his jacket. "But it's important to make a political statement."

Fernando Braga, a 24-year-old Bronx native who is a member of the Army National Guard, said that he was skeptical of the war before it started. Mr. Braga said his views hardened into opposition while he served in Iraq from March 2004 through January 2005.

"My own commander told us when we arrived that if we thought we were there for any reason other than oil then we had another think coming," he said. "I realized even commanding officers were against it but following orders."

How about some active duty opinions from the Ocupation in Iraq?

 

President Bush, who often spends weekends at Camp David, was in Washington on Saturday but had no public events scheduled. He spent part of the morning on his weekly bicycle ride at a Secret Service training facility in Beltsville, Md.

With nothing to say ... and only a White House spokesman to recognize the right of assembly, free speech and an appeal for redress ... all of which Mr. Bush pedallingly ignored. I'm betting he pedaled nowhere near anyone willing to carry out a citizen's arrest, eh?

 

Counterprotesters also converged on the mall in smaller numbers, but the antiwar demonstration was largely peaceful.

There were a few tense moments, however, including an encounter involving Joshua Sparling, 25, who was on crutches and who said he was a corporal with the 82nd Airborne Division and lost his right leg below the knee in Ramadi, Iraq. Mr. Sparling spoke at a smaller rally held earlier in the day at the United States Navy Memorial, and voiced his support for the administration's policies in Iraq.

Later, as antiwar protesters passed where he and his group were standing, words were exchanged and one of the antiwar protestors spit at the ground near Mr. Sparling; he spit back.

Capitol police made the antiwar protestors walk farther away from the counterprotesters.

"These are not Americans as far as I'm concerned," Mr. Sparling said.

Another counterprotester, Larry Stark, 71, a retired Navy officer who fought in Vietnam for five years and was a prisoner of war, said, "We never lost a battle in Vietnam but we lost the war, and the same is going to be true in Iraq if these protesters have their way."

The protesters on Saturday were undermining troop morale, Mr. Stark said, and increasing the likelihood of a premature withdrawal.

"It's like we never learn from the past," he said.

Another commentary on what happens when feelings run high enough to get people off their bottoms and into the streets to rally for both sides of an issue.

... and isn't that what freedom of speech and assembly is all about?


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