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be discharged immediately!
By Courage to Resist. April 17, 2010
In a joyous
victory for Specialist Marc A Hall and his supporters nationwide, this morning the US Army announced that the “Stop-loss”
objector will not be court martialed next week at Camp Liberty, Iraq as scheduled. Instead, Spc Hall will be discharged immediately.
In December, the Army jailed Spc Hall in retaliation for his formal complaint of inadequate mental health services
available to him at Fort Stewart. The Army used an angry song that Spc Hall, a combat veteran of the Iraq War suffering from
post traumatic stress, had produced criticizing the “Stoploss” policy as the pretext.
civilian attorney, David Gespass, explained, “I believe we would have won the case, even in Iraq. While I’m gratified
that the Army finally decided to discharge Marc, I’m appalled at the disregard it has shown for Marc’s wellbeing
and fundamental rights for nine months. Whatever lip service the Army gives to its concern for its soldiers, its only real
concern is insuring they risk their lives without questioning why. Marc's greatest transgression was asking that question.”
Mr. Gespass is the president of the National Lawyers Guild.
In a message to the supporters nationwide who organized
a grassroots campaign on his behalf, Spc Hall provided the following message by phone from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait: “I’m
out of the confinement facility! Thank you to everyone for all the efforts everyone made. Hopefully I’ll be home very,
very soon. I appreciate all of the love and support so many people gave me through my ordeal.” Spc Hall, a member of
Iraq Veterans Against the War, also enjoyed the support of the Veterans for Peace organization.
Jeff Paterson of Courage
to Resist, an organization dedicated to supporting military objectors, noted, “Spc Marc Hall pled guilty today to producing
a hip-hop song the Army didn’t like in exchange for his freedom. It’s utterly outrageous that Army spokespersons
continued to slander Marc today. Despite the Army having stacked everything against Marc—including moving the scheduled
trial from Ft. Stewart, Georgia to Iraq—supporters overcame each obstacle in order to provide Marc with a fighting chance
for justice. In the end, we won.”
The April 19th witness at the Boeing/Insitu military drone factory near Hood River will seek to remind us all that we were
raised on the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
U.S. Policy Violates Golden Rule
But the Golden Rule could use amending to read: Treat others as they would like to be treated. This shift opens up a nonviolent
dialogue and compels people to get to know others and be considerate of them, and may even lead to friendship. It could be
the basis for U.S. foreign policy.
But it’s not.
The U.S. war machine operates a teensy bit differently. Its Golden Rule says: Do like we say or we’ll blow you away.
This de facto U.S. foreign policy is brief and easy to understand. It gets attention. But it’s a self-damning rule
of conduct because it is unjust, creates enemies and guarantees retaliation. Some of those retaliators may deserve to be arrested
and put on trial, but no one deserves to be assassinated without trial, or tortured for profit and power. The U.S. is at the
forefront of manufacturing enemies. We’re now making a whole lot more with robotic warfare waged by “unmanned
aerial vehicles” (UAV’s) like the armed Predator drone or missile “systems” like the ones that use
Insitu’s drones. They are being flown by the hundreds in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan by the military and by the CIA.
Killing With Zero Accountability
They assassinate anyone their handlers are pleased to target, without benefit of independent investigation or trial, with
zero accountability. The fingers on the triggers that launch the Hellfire missiles can be 7,000 miles away in Las Vegas.
The civilian cost is high. David Kilcullen, a former top advisor to General David Petraeus, testified before Congress early
in 2009 that drones had terminated 14 “high-value” Islamic militants, while killing some 700 Pakistani civilians.
In June 2009, after missing its main target seven or eight times and killing scores of people in the process, the C.I.A. killed
as many as 86 more during a drone attack on a funeral gathering for the earlier victims.
Ten of the dead were children, and four were elderly tribal leaders. Body parts went flying everywhere. These were innocent
country people. The C.I.A. made no apology. Who was the terrorist in that attack?
It violates international law and any sense of morality or clear thinking to allow this violence in our name. These victims
had faces and dreams and loved ones. Acts like this by the C.I.A. are cowardly beyond words and will be paid back in kind
some way and some day. We can bet the farm on that — and we will pay in lives.
We love our cheap affordable oil, but the young men and women in uniform that help provide it look unacceptably pale and unheroic
when unpacked at Dover, Delaware after they step on an I.E.D. or are hit by U.S. friendly fire. The problem is that drones
and robots make war way more likely, and a fresh new dynamic is emerging: the illusion of war without risk. The term “clean
war” is even bandied about in Washington. No need for courage or heroics. Send in a machine. Let the robot take the
punch. They’re cheap, no pilot is onboard, and they make jobs, jobs, jobs. Since every war system from the slingshot
to the nuclear missile has been copied and pointed back at the inventor, do we really want to go down this road?
What are our choices, and where can they take us? The April conference in Hood River will explore these questions and choices
for organizers through panel discussions, speakers, and small-group sessions. Come join us. Rollean is a peace activist,
U.S. Army veteran, and board member of the Columbia River Fellowship for Peace. He lives in Lyle, Washington.
On Thursday, February 11, Army Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, a single mother of an infant son, was informed she would be granted
an administrative discharge from the Army.
Last fall, Hutchinson was ordered to prepare to deploy to Afghanistan. On November 5, 2009, after her childcare plans fell
through, Hutchinson was faced with the dilemma of having no one to take care of her son when she deployed to a war zone.
Dahr Jamail, Thursday, Feb 11, 2010
She chose not to show up for the plane to Afghanistan and missed her deployment. When she reported for duty the following
day the Army arrested her and took away her son, who was allegedly placed in an Army day care. His grandmother, Angelique
Hughes of Oakland, California, picked him up a few days later. Alexis was granted leave to go home for the holidays in December,
and returned to Georgia with her baby, Kamani, in early January.
After Hutchinson returned to Georgia in January, the Army filed court-martial charges against her and refused to discharge
her under the Army regulations that clearly allow for discharges for reasons of parenthood responsibility. Truthout broke
the story on January 14.
Both Hutchinson and her civilian attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, are happy with the results. In a press release from Sussman's
office, Hutchinson said that she is "excited to know what will happen to me, and that I am not facing jail. This means I can
still be with my son, which is the most important thing." Hutchinson will receive an "Other Than Honorable" discharge, but
will not be facing criminal charges at a court-martial, which would have subjected her to a bad-conduct discharge and up to
a year in jail if she lost, as well as a criminal record.
"Alexis is pleased because she now will have closure and knows what is going to happen to her," Sussman told Truthout.
"She is no longer waiting to possibly go to trial and jail, all the while trying to figure out what to do with her child.
She feels she was treated unfairly overall, but is relieved with this outcome."
Until this recent decision, the Army had opted to court-martial Hutchinson as her commander believed she was attempting
to get out of her Afghanistan deployment. Both Hutchinson and Sussman have consistently stated that Hutchinson always fully
intended to deploy until her childcare plans fell through.
Hutchinson's mother, Angelique Hughes, was thrilled with the recent news.
"I'm very happy," Hughes told Truthout via telephone from her home in Oakland. "I just found out myself. I'm glad it worked
However, Hughes was concerned about the fact that due to Hutchinson's "Other Than Honorable" discharge, she will not maintain
any of her benefits, like medical care for herself and her infant son.
"I don't know why they didn't give her an honorable discharge," Hughes added. "Other single parents they've discharged
got one. I'm glad they are letting her out, but now she lacks enough benefits … so it's going to be a hard situation
Jeff Paterson, the director of the soldier advocacy group Courage to Resist, which has assisted Hutchinson, felt that the
administrative discharge was a victory all around.
"From our perspective, since she didn't deploy to Afghanistan, she has no injuries; we see this as a big success," Paterson
told Truthout. "She didn't go to Afghanistan, she didn't go to jail, she won't be separated from her baby and she gets out
of the Army. That's what's important."
"I hoped she would have gotten a general discharge, but they seem to have had it out for her, so at least now she can move
on," Sussman explained. "I've never heard of a commander taking a child away from a person in this situation. But I think
it's a success, and we're very excited to hear that they decided not to go ahead with the criminal charges."
Base commanders at Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Ga., where Hutchinson was assigned, said in a statement Thursday,
according to the San Francisco Chronicle, that an “investigation revealed evidence, from both other soldiers and from
Pvt. Hutchinson herself, that she didn't intend to deploy to Afghanistan with her unit and deliberately sought ways out of
Hutchinson chose not to speak to the media about the Army's decision.
The Army has regulations regarding parents who miss deployment due to childcare plans falling through. The regulations
call for an extension of time to find alternate caregivers, and to discharge a parent honorably if no solution is found.
Of these regulations, Sussman wrote on Thursday: "Here, the Army did not act according to their own regulations, and did
not value the family responsibilities of this soldier. If they had, Spc. Hutchinson would not have been in this situation
and would be getting a better discharge."
Sussman told Truthout that she feels the way the Army handled Hutchinson's situation "shows that it takes a lot of work
to get the military to understand what single parents in the military are facing. Up until last week they wanted to court-martial
her for choosing her child over her job."
After Truthout reported that the Army had filed charges against Hutchinson, other media covered her situation, including
several national outlets.
Speaking to Truthout about the role played by media coverage in Hutchinson's situation, Sussman said. "I think that it
kept her from being sent to Afghanistan to face a court-martial back in November."
Brigadier General Jeffrey Phillips, Hutchinson's commander at the Hunter Army Airfield Military Reservation near Savannah,
Georgia, made the recent decision to allow an administrative discharge for Hutchinson.
While both Sussman and Hutchinson are pleased with the Army's decision, Sussman feels that Hutchinson's plight does not
send a positive message to parents - especially single parents - who plan on joining the US military today.
"Her situation shows the Army is not really friendly to families," Sussman told Truthout. "The lives of military families
are very difficult and they often face a command that isn't understanding or empathetic towards the situation of raising a
child in that environment."
Currently Hutchinson remains assigned to Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Georgia, where she has been posted since February
Hutchinson lives off post and places her son in day care when she goes to work.
Sussman told Truthout she believes Hutchinson should be discharged by the end of this month.
Courage to Resist Urgent Action Alert
Army sends infant to protective services, mom to Afghanistan this weekend 11.14.09
Army has mom, Alexis Hutchinson, arrested and 11-month old son put into county foster care system. Alexis has now been ordered
to deploy to Afghanistan on Sunday, November 15, where she will be court martialed.
Action Alert: Contact Congresswoman Barbara Lee to urge her to "Request that the Army not deploy Alexis Hutchinson
to Afghanistan so that she can care for her son." From the 9th District (Oakland-Berkeley, CA) phone: 510-763-0370
(fax: 510-763-6538). Nationwide: 202- 225-2661 (fax: 202-225-9817).
Alexis' attorney now available for media interviews.
By friends of Alexis and Courage to Resist. November 12, 2009
Specialist Alexis Hutchinson of Oakland, CA is the single mother of an 11-month old boy, Kamani. Currently she is confined
to Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Georgia, where she has been posted since February 2008, and threatened with a court
martial if she does not agree to be deployed to Afghanistan, even though she has not found anyone to take care of her child
while she is away.
In anticipation of going overseas Specialist Hutchinson flew to California and left her son with her mother Angelique Hughes
of Oakland, as per her Army family care plan. However, after a week of caring for the child Specialist Hutchinson’s
mother realized that she was unable to take care of Kamani on top of her other duties to her special-needs daughter, her ailing
mother, and her ailing sister. In late October Angelique Hughes informed Hutchinson and her commander, Captain Gassant, that
she was not able to care for her daughter's baby after all. The Army gave Specialist Hutchinson an extension of time to find
someone else to care for her son, and in the meantime her mother brought Kamani back to Georgia. However just a few days before
Specialist Hutchinson was scheduled to deploy she was told that she would not get the extended time after all and would have
to deploy, even though there was no one to care for her child.
Faced with that choice Specialist Hutchinson did not show up for her plane. The military had her arrested and they put
her child in the county foster care system. Currently, Specialist Hutchinson is scheduled to fly to Afghanistan for a special
court martial on Sunday and is facing up to one year in jail. Her mother flew to Georgia and retrieved the baby but is overwhelmed,
and does not feel able to provide long-term care for Kamani.
Specialist Hutchinson would like to have more time to find someone to care for her infant. However, she does not have a
lot of family or friends who could do so. She says: “It is outrageous that they would deploy a single mother without
a complete and current family care plan. I would like to find someone I trust who can take care of my son, but I cannot force
my family to do this. They are dealing with their own health issues.”
(photo above: Alexis Hutchinson and son Kamani / Facebook)
11.11.09 - Courage To Resist
On this Veterans Day, Iraq Veterans Against the War is asking you to stand in
solidarity with the thousands of veterans who experience the human cost of war every day of their lives. Last week's massacre
at Ft. Hood and the reverberations it has had throughout that military community reveals the impact of a war policy that demands
multiple deployments from troops who have already sacrificed all that they can.
Yesterday, during President Obama's
visit to Ft. Hood troops, IVAW chapter president and active duty soldier, Mike Kern, attempted to hand the President a letter
regarding the dire need of mental health services for troops. A member of the Secret Service took the letter from Mike, and
he is not sure whether President Obama ever got to read his message.
Click here to download the letter intended for President Obama.
Please help us get this message
to the President.
1) You can click here to sign a petition to President Obama asking him to take urgent action to meet the menal health needs of soldiers at Ft.
President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
3) Send a letter to the base command of Ft. Hood asking that they provide reasonable and professional mental health care
to veterans. IVAW's Ft. Hood chapter is asking for the following, and you may use this in your letter:
1. Each soldier pre and post deployment should be assigned a mental health provider who will reach out to them, rather
than requiring them to initiate the search for help.
2. Take steps to remove the stigma of seeking mental health care.
Ensure that if mental health care is not available from military facilities, soldiers can seek mental health care with civilian
providers of their choice.
4. Ensure that soldiers are prevented from deploying with mental health problems and issues.
Stop multiple re-deployments of the same troops.
6. Ensure full background checks for all mental health providers and
periodic check ups for them to decompress from the stresses they shoulder counseling soldiers and enduring heavy workloads.
Send your letter to:
Lieutenant General Rick Lynch Commanding General III Corps HQ 1001 761st
Tank Battalion Ave. Bldg. 1001, Room W105 Fort Hood, TX 76544-5005
3) Make a donation to IVAW to support our efforts at Ft. Hood in the coming days.
Courage to Resist was delighted to join the Lt. Ehren Watada victory press conference organized
by Asian Americans for Peace and Justice this morning in San Francisco Chinatown's Portsmouth Square park. Ehren was the first
military officer to publicly speak out against and refuse to deploy to Iraq back in June 2006. In February 2007, Ehren stood
before a general court martial and faced seven years in the stockade as over a 1,000 supporters rallied nearby at the gates
of Fort Lewis, WA.
To celebrate Ehren's long-awaiting discharge last week, artist Betty Kano encircled the speakers'
podium with a traditional drum-call and poets and members of the community spoke out.
Ehren never spent a day in the
stockade and never backed down from his assertion that the Iraq War was and remains an illegal occupation.
------------- Mark Jensen, United for Peace
of Pierce County, WA. October 3, 2009 Comments:
Some 1,213 days after he publicly declared his refusal to obey orders
to deploy with his unit to Iraq on the grounds that the war there is illegal under national and international law, Ehren Watada
was discharged from the U.S. Army on Friday morning, Oct. 2, 2009, at Fort Lewis, the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) reported Saturday.
Watada made no comment; his lawyer said that he wanted to "reclaim his privacy and anonymity," Scott Fontaine said. -- The
Army, too, invoked privacy, refusing to comment on the type of discharge Watada received. -- It was a curiously muted ending
to a three-and-one-half-year saga that began on Jun. 7, 2006, when Ehren Watada gave a press conference at Associated Ministries
in Tacoma in a room packed with press and supporters. -- But lawyer Ken Kagan said that Watada "doesn't fear retribution from
the Army and made no agreements to stay silent." -- Except for a few news service squibs, the press paid little attention
to the dénouement of the Watada story. -- Local antiwar activists who offered moral support during his long ordeal expressed
satisfaction that the Army has finally allowed Watada to resign, Fontaine reported in a separate News Tribune article. Rafu
Shimpo, a newspaper of the Los Angeles Japanese-American community, published a reporter's reminiscence of the 2007 court-martial.
------------- (quote) "I'm trying to send out to the American people of this country a message that the responsibility
of ending this illegal and immoral war lies with the people of this country and holding their leader accountable because if
they don't do anything nothing is going to happen." ~ Lt. Watada 10.7.07
By Benji Lewis, Courage to Resist for AlterNet. April 8, 2009
I am a veteran of Iraq who served two tours in the U.S. occupation of that country. I experienced firsthand the horrors
of that war, and like many others, came to see it as nothing more than a chance for a very few to make vast profits in a short
amount of time. Now, because of those selfish and irresponsible actions, the citizens of not only the U.S., but of the entire
world, are asked to pay for the fallout of war in blood, sacrifice and currency.
But this is old news.
Yet, even as we deplore the war in Iraq and the unconstitutional actions of the former administration, we are sucked back
into the propaganda of the ‘first war,’ the ‘good war,’ as if the Bush administration was so unpatriotic
that it had no interest in Afghanistan. Even as we acknowledge that Iraq is a war for oil and profit, we ignore the history
of Afghanistan and the oil resources of the Caspian Sea that would be opened up through this conquest. Even as we sit on the
brink of a depression we are willing to pour our money and resources into a so-called ‘ten year plan’ that will
cost unknown sums of money that we will not get back. Exactly as it is happening in the Iraq war, the fruits of our labor
will be siphoned off into the banks of contractors and industrialists, and for whose benefit? Certainly not ours, for we have
only some false hope of revenge to attain.
If it was not evident before, it should be apparent by now that Obama is not our savior. He does not bring us hope of no
war and he certainly is either not able or not willing to bring about real change. He is, above all, one thing: a politician,
and as such he is bound by the rules of his trade. That is his livelihood, so his career rests not on the energized citizens
who, inflated with the jingoism of his campaign, rushed to the phones and then to the ballot box in support of his campaign,
but by his financial backers, who are already reaping the benefit of ‘bailouts’ and a newly resurrected war. And
if anything is transparent it is that Obama’s administration plans to use the same bully tactics that the Bush administration
used in order to subvert the will of the electorate and secure the interests of a very few while the rest of us struggle in
Yet he was elected on a ‘no war’ ticket and in this, if we know our history, he is no different than Woodrow
Wilson who pulled America into World War I against the wishes of his constituency and later admitted that it was only for
the benefit of capitalists. Obama stood shamelessly behind podiums and promised an end to the Iraq War, all the while planning
to launch us into the good and just war against Afghanistan -- a nation that is really not one nation at all, but a heterogeneous
population of many languages, tribes and cultures.
Even several of the Obama supporters I know cringed at his recent announcement of his ten-year plan in Afghanistan, a horrific
declaration of war that boasts no objective other than training and arming a foreign military that supports the United States
to protect U.S. corporate interests in Asia. Here again we see the despicable logic of building large armies in the name of
peace. Perhaps more perturbing is the fact that our ‘new’ government is still insistent on abusing the rights
of young men and women by duping them into military service.
As a veteran facing and refusing recall orders back into the Marine Corps, I am appalled by the notion that many support
the war in Afghanistan, referring to it as the good war. As if any war is good. Still, even against their own interests, people
cannot seem to see past the obvious facade that is the endless "war on terror."
Afghanistan is one of the most unstable countries in the world. Its population is diverse, its mountainous territory virtually
impenetrable. The region has been sought after by outsiders for as long as there has been conquest, and not once has a force
succeeded in occupying the terrain. The people of the United States look at that country as a singular entity, but in truth
there are vast political differences in that region. To increase military force in Afghanistan will be as destabilizing in
the region as the U.S. support for Israel has been farther west. And, as we have seen in Iraq, our enemies there will only
Solutions to global problems do not reside in bombs, retribution and revenge. They grow from supporting the many peaceful
causes in the region and by uprooting instead of propagating war. For our brothers and sisters in that region are people just
like us. They ask for solidarity and we send in the Marines. They ask for aid and we give them conditions.
I have refused to return to military ‘service’ because doing so would be a disservice to this country. For
all that money should belong to the people, and not to the military industrial complex and those it benefits. For all that
money could reduce hunger and poverty and thus subvert war. Though the events of 9/11 were horrific, do we justify them by
becoming terrorists ourselves? Or do we move forward, admit and amend the mistakes of our past, and set our sites on peace
and prosperity for all the world?
The early morning scene could be at any one of the
innumerable coffeehouses in the Pacific Northwest. Two baristas serve steaming mugs of espresso, while their co-worker produces graphics
on a computer. Another employee plays Rachmaninoff on the piano. Customers are sipping their coffee as they read the morning
Yet at second glance, both baristas are Iraq War veterans wearing t-shirts against the war. One served
in Iraq as an Army machine gunner, and
the other as Marine machine gunner. The guy on the computer was an Army counterintelligence agent in Mosul, and the guy playing the piano was a private first class in the Army National Guard.
Most of the customers are wearing khaki fatigues, and reading about their imminent deployment to Iraq
This is COFFEE
STRONG, a new G.I. coffeehouse just outside the gates of FortLewis, the largest Army base on the West Coast. It is located in Lakewood, Washington, between Olympia
and Tacoma. The coffeehousewhose capitalized name spoofs
the recruitment slogan "ARMY STRONG"was opened on Election Day 2008 by G.I. Voice, a local veteran-led nonprofit project.
It is only the second G.I. rights coffeehouse to open in the country since the Vietnam War; others have opened in New York, Texas, and Virginia.
COFFEE STRONG is modeled after the G.I. coffeehouse movement from the 1960s, as described in the book Soldiers in
Revolt, and the documentary Sir! No Sir!. But G.I. Voice is using 21st-century outreach tools to connect with soldiers and
their families, such as computers for soldiers to access the Internet without Army interference. The historic project also
started a website at http://www.GIVoice.org, and is planning a radio webstream to connect with military personnel using
music and culture.
The goal of the G.I. coffeehouse is to provide soldiers, their families and recent vets a place
away from the base where they can learn about resources available to them, meet with G.I. rights counselors, and access
alternative information. It holds weekly movie nights, and hosts speakers, hiphop, punk and folk concerts, and other events.
The response from soldiers visiting the coffeehouse has so far been overwhelmingly positive.
G.I. Voice is independent
of any other organizations or political parties, as an autonomous expression of the community of soldiers, veterans and their
families adversely affected by the Iraq
and Afghanistan Wars. Anti-war veterans often feel unrepresented both by mainstream veterans' groups that support the wars,
and peace groups that do not understand the experiences and grievances of soldiers. Through G.I. Voice, they are organizing
among themselves to speak for themselves, and to provide servicemembers and their families with a place to freely express
G.I. Voice addresses issues of concern to soldiers--such as repeated "Stop-Loss" deployments to war zones,
command abuse, repression of constitutional rights, sexual harassment and rape, health and safety conditions, and Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD). Yet the purpose of G.I. Voice is not to reform the military into a more effective fighting machine.
Instead, the group maintains that once servicemembers are actively struggling with their command around issues of working
conditions, they will start to see the connections between the occupation of other countries and their own oppression
in the United States.
Director Seth Manzel spent a year deployed in Iraq in 2004, assigned to
the 1st Stryker Brigade from FortLewis.
He wrote in the local newspaper Works in Progress, "For soldiers and their families to engage in resistance requires them
to stand up for soldiers' rights. The mere act of standing up for one's rights in the Army is enough to slow down a unit's
deployment times. The Army could not function if it delivered on all its promises to soldiers and their families. In this
way a moderate message (stand up for G.I. rights) could have a radical effect on the military. We don't need to indoctrinate
people in the military. If we inform them of their rights, they will come to anti-war conclusions on their own."
Joe Kubistek said the Army is aware of the coffeehouse, but acknowledges that since it is a legal business, the Army will
not restrict soldiers from going there. Kubistek added, "We don't have a position on the political views of an outside individual."
Manzel jokes that "if they blacklisted us, it would be the best publicity we could get." He asserts that G.I. Voice does not
want to push its political views on customers, saying "We're anti-war, but we're not 'in your face' about it."
nowhere else in the country is there such a stark juxtaposition between a large military base community and large progressive
anti-war communities, in nearby Olympia and Tacoma.
In this area, we see and hear the Iraq and Afghanistan wars almost every day. It is impossible to miss hearing the howitzer
fire booming on the FortLewis artillery
range, seeing the giant C-17 transport planes from Baghdad
or Bagram landing at McChord Air Force Base, or overlooking the PTSD exhibited in local car accidents, robberies, bar brawls,
domestic abuse, and sexual assaults.
The Iraq War has increased the polarization between the local communities, but
also increased opportunities to work together since both communities actually care that there's a war going on. Pro-war
and anti-war demonstrators have clashed on the Interstate-5 overpass at Exit 122, which the Lakewood City Council renamed
"Freedom Bridge" to honor the pro-war group's presence. The overpass and the gates of FortLewis (and of the Army National Guard's CampMurray) are only a few hundreds yards from the G.I. coffeehouse, on Union Avenue behind the Subway franchise.
Over the past
two years, large direct actions at the Ports of Olympia and Tacoma have protested the movement
of Stryker armored vehicles to and from Iraq.
Manzel's concern is that soldiers understand the reasons for these actions, and that anti-war protesters understand that G.I.s
are not their enemy. He says of the new G.I. coffeehouses, "I think this is going to be a real link between the peace
movement and soldiers on the bases that these are outside of." Port protesters have noticed some Stryker soldiers flashing
peace signs when their officers are not watching, even if a smaller number of soldiers have instead flashed "half a peace
has become a national center of G.I. dissent against the Iraq War, as it was during the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Ehren Watada
was tried in February 2007 for being the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Peace activists staged a "Citizens' Hearing" tribunal to present Watada's
case that the war is illegal. (His court martial ended in a mistrial, and has since won most of his legal case, but the Army
has still not allowed him to resign his commission.) Other Army refusers, such as Sgt. Kevin Benderman and Spc. Suzanne Swift,
have been jailed for a time in the harsh FortLewis stockade. G.I. Voice recently hosted a training of active-duty members of Iraq
Veterans Against the War (IVAW) who are organizing within the armed forces rather than seeking to leave the military.
G.I. Voice points to a new relationship between the growing G.I. movement and the larger civilian anti-war movement.
Peace groups can support and do outreach to GIs, working with Iraq War veterans who best understand best how to communicate
with the younger military generation. Peace activists could also educate themselves about issues of concern to soldiers, to
open respectful dialogue with G.I.s and their families, as a step to working together. The G.I. Rights Hotline (800-394-9544)
is a first stop for military personnel and families wanting to explore their options.
FortLewis is scheduled to deploy 10,000 more troops later this year, including three
Stryker Brigades to Iraq and Afghanistan,
making this a critical period for G.I. organizing in the area. The few other G.I. coffeehouses in the country have struggled
to open their doors or to keep them open. Although COFFEE STRONG has an advantageous location next to the region's busiest
fast-food joints, it has competition from the Starbucks on post.
Any kind of support would help the nonprofit G.I.
coffeehouse stay open as a "safe space" for soldiers and their families. For more information, contact G.I. Voice, P.O. Box 99404, LakewoodWA98496, or on-line at http://www.GIVoice.org or http://www.CoffeeStrong.com.
(Tax-deductible contributions can be made on-line, or with checks made out to "SeattleDraft & MilitaryCounselingCenter" or "SDMCC").
As the German poet-playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote:
your tank is a powerful vehicle. It smashes down forests and crushes men. But it has one defect: It needs a driver?.
General, man is very useful. He can fly and he can kill. But he has one defect: He can think." --
is a member of the faculty in geography at The Evergreen State College in Olympia,
Washington, and a longtime peace and justice organizer. He is a civilian board
member of G.I. Voice (givoice.org), and co-organized the Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq (wartribunal.net). He can be reached at email@example.com
or on his website at http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz
Mrs Rivera had wanted to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds
Canada has ordered the deportation of the first woman US soldier to have sought asylum
in the country to avoid being deployed to Iraq.
Kimberly Rivera, a mother of three, had requested permission to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds
but her appeal was rejected.
She could face up to five years in prison when she returns to the US.
Some 200 deserters from the US military are believed to have fled to Canada, some living incognito.
Mrs Rivera served in Iraq in 2006 but deserted a year later after refusing to be redeployed.
She said her experience in Iraq was "a huge awakening" which convinced her that the war was "immoral"
and that she could not participate in it. She is being backed by the War Resisters Support Campaign.
Mrs Rivera and her family have been told they must leave Canada by the end of January unless the court
order is reversed.
Last year, the Canadian parliament passed a non-binding motion granting asylum to deserters from the
But correspondents say the governing Conservatives opposed the motion, not willing to risk upsetting
Washington over the issue.
So far Canada has deported only one US deserter, Robin Long. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison
on his return.
Kimberly Rivera took an oath to "obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders
of the officers appointed over her." If she has moral qualms about serving she should not have joined. 1LT Michael
Butler, Chicago, USA
If all soldiers refused to fight in illegal and immoral wars waged on lies, there would be no more
such wars. She should be allowed to stay. Mark Wensley, Canada
Look - she joined the US armed Forces. She knew what it was all about. Why should we allow her to live
here? The US is our ally, why should we shelter people who break US Law? The US is an open society, with the rule of law.
There is no reason for people from the US to seek "asylum" here. US courts are fair, and will apply US law. Send her back. Robert
Orr, Toronto, Canada
Speaking as a Canadian citizen, wholly opposed to the United States occupation in Iraq, I am ashamed
that we would deny sanctuary to those in the American military who are equally opposed. The government of this nation shouldn't
care about "upsetting" Washington on issues of human rights. Historically, we're a nation of peace and peace-keeping. That
we should discard that legacy to please the government of the USA disgusts me. Joshua Peters, Vancouver, Canada
I don't think my country should except Iraq war deserters. They are not facing torture and life imprisonment
in the USA. They will get a year in prison and possibly less in this woman's case. John, Toronto,Canada
I agree with the ruling of Canadian government to deport all US deserters. They signed a contract to
serve in the military on a voluntary basis. This is not Vietnam where all enlisted military were drafted. The deserters want
all the benefits but not to serve their country during the war. They should not have enlisted if they were against the war. Ian,
The fact that she already served and then decided for herself to desert after seeing what was happening
there is interesting. It's really shameful that we can put someone into jail for refusing to go to a war, especially a war
of aggression such as this one. Chris, Shenzhen, China
Here in Germany there has just been an important
new development for the international peace movement. Iraq war veteran André Shepherd announced on Thanksgiving Day
that he will seek asylum via a court proceeding in Germany.
Over the past several
years, peace activists in Europe have been raising the issue of asylum rights for U.S. soldiers in accordance with European
law. For example, in March 2006, American Voices Abroad (AVA) Military Project (a U.S. peace group in Europe) initiated
a hearing in the European Parliament regarding asylum. Hart Viges of IVAW a witness at the hearing along with Germany and UK military resisters, and Cindy Sheehan sent a video with her testimony. The Military Law
Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild and the GI Rights Hotline have participated in seminars with German
attorneys to explore representation of resisting GIs, including those that might seek asylum here.
It is hoped that
Europe will soon be a viable alternative to Canada for U.S. soldiers seeking asylum.
Below are some of the articles
that have appeared in English regarding André Shepherd's request for asylum in Germany.
More info: Tod Ensign, Citizen Soldier (212) 679-2250 (O) or (917) 647-5676
Afghan War Vet to Appear at Ithaca Common Council's Mtg on Dec. 3d to Seek Its Support
December 3, 2008, 6:30 pm, public meeting, Ithaca Common Council, City Hall, Ithaca, N Y
Pvt. S. Trevor L. formerly of Ft Drum, NY will speak at this meeting requesting the Common Council's active support when he
returns to the base to potentially face criminal charges for being AWOL. On October 1st, the council
unanimously proclaimed Ithaca to be a "Community of Sanctuary"..."which respects the right of its residents to support lawfully
and proactively military personnel... who are organizing to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Trevor L., 22, of Austin, Texas served 15 months in combat in Afghanistan with a unit of the 10th Mountain Div. While
serving there he suffered serious mental and physical injuries. Upon returning to Drum, his efforts to obtain mental
health care were frustrated and eventually caused him to leave the base in pursuit of adequate health care.
will return to Drum with a psychological evaluation prepared by a Houston trauma specialist which concludes that he suffers
"from a severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Major Depression, Severe"
Tod Ensign, a lawyer and Dir., Citizen Soldier, a GI/veterans rights advocacy group based in NYC, will also formally request
that Ithaca's Common Council extend broad support to war resisters like Trevor consistent with its "Community of Sanctuary"
* Other Iraq War veterans and anti-war activists will also attend this meeting
to offer their support for soldiers who resist further service in these wars.
After eight years of the worst administration in American history, we have the opportunity to take
the energy of this historic election and channel it into positive actions. The problems facing us are great and the new President
has immense challenges ahead of him. The financial meltdown, heath care, energy, environmental degradation and of course the
occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan just to name a few. What will be our focus?
Our motto is "Oregon Veterans Working Together for Peace & Justice Through Non-violence".
Our mission statement has these five goals:
(a) Toward increasing public awareness of the
costs of war.
(b) To restrain our government from intervening,
overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations
(c) To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually
eliminate nuclear weapons
(d) To seek justice for veterans and victims
(e) To abolish war as an instrument of national
I believe that in order to start addressing the above-mentioned challenges, our focus should begin
with, "Toward increasing public awareness of the costs of war." The occupations and the continued inept prosecution
of the "Global war on terror" are draining the nation's resources away from solutions to the many internal struggles we face.
With the billions of dollars being sucked into the black hole of war, where can the funding come from for education? Without
a highly educated workforce, who is going to develop and build the alternative energy infrastructure and the new methods of
creating solar, biofuels, wind and other energy sources of the future? We have a crumbling transportation system. How can
the rebuilding of our roads, bridges, rail and waterways be accomplished if billions are being wasted on destruction? The
manpower needed to do this rebuilding is estimated to be in the millions of workers, all receiving living wage jobs. Those
wages would in turn be rolled back into the economy, creating more jobs, goods and services and revitalizing business.
The societal impacts are just as staggering as the economic ones. Our Reserve and National Guard units
continue to be overused, leaving cities and towns with a shortage of Firemen, EMTs, Police, and medical personnel who joined
to use their talents at the local level. None can be as devastating as the suffering of the families of the victims of these
wars and occupations, and of the veterans returning into a system struggling to provide the services it is mandated to provide
but that has been decimated by ineptitude, malfeasance and a lack of funding. It is estimated that over thirty percent of
the homeless are veterans. There is an epidemic of suicides among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. PTSD, mangles bodies,
failed marriages, and confusion over the role they were asked to perform in these conflicts, remove these veterans and their
families from a normal life. They have been sacrificed while the rest of America was encouraged to go shopping, on credit.
The services needed to bring about their healing cannot be instigated until those billions of dollars being wasted on a failed
policy are taken out of the hands of the "Masters of war", and returned to the people.
I am sure everyone can come up with more examples of how these military adventures have caused great
damage to America and the world. It is self evident that the past eight years have been a colossal failure.
As the nation breathes a collective sigh of relief realizing that on January 20th George
W. Bush will no longer be President, we must ask ourselves; What now? For the last seven years we have seen this malfeasance-ridden
administration reduce America to a shadow of its former self. Crushing us with debt, losing our standing in the world, destroying
our civil liberties, overseeing the biggest foreign policy disaster in our history, failing to respond to natural disasters
(Katrina et al), and generally swaggering around the world with the message; "You're either with us or against us".
It is my hope that the message from the new administration will be; "Let's talk". And that is what we must do; we must talk
to our elected representatives, our neighbors and friends, our school children. We must talk to any and all, and educate them
to the cost of war. We must also back up that talk with action. We know how to organize. We know how to demonstrate. We know
how to get our facts. We know how to network.
By words and actions we must take our message to an audience willing to listen now that the mood of
the country has shifted from apathy and despair to hope. It can be easy to retain the attitude of "there's no difference between
Republican and Democrats". I think the last 8 years have shown that while Corprotocracy does have a grip on both parties,
the Neocons and the Theocrats of the Republican Party have been driving the agenda. They has been discredited and repudiated
in this election. The people have said "Enough!" I am going to check my cynicism at the door for now and use this opportunity
to help revitalize the movement.
Here in Oregon we have two new elected officials, Senator elect Jeff Merkley and Kurt Schrader in District
5. I think we should introduce ourselves to these two ASAP. Let them know we are not going to accept business as usual, in
a nice way of course. We should also contact the rest of our National and State delegations as well to remind them we are
not going away. FDR said once: "I agree with you, now go out and make me do it."
A federal judge ruled that Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq with his Ft. Lewis combat
brigade, couldn't be retried on several of the charges against him. But the ruling still may allow the military to try him
on two court-martial counts. By Hal Bernton, Seattle Times
Citing the constitutional protections against being tried twice for the same crime, a federal judge
on Tuesday ruled that 1st Lt. Ehren Watada cannot face a second court martial on three of five counts resulting from his high-profile
2006 refusal to deploy to Iraq with a Fort Lewis brigade.
The ruling by Judge Benjamin Settle, however, leaves open the possibility of a second prosecution on
two other counts involving conduct unbecoming an officer.
In the ruling, Settle abstained from ruling on the constitutionality of those charges, and said it
was up to a military court to consider "if constitutional defects" would be present in a second court-martial on those counts."
The ruling keeps Watada, who has been assigned a desk job at Fort Lewis since his refusal to deploy
back to Iraq with his combat brigade, in a kind of legal limbo.
Settle barred the military from retrying Watada on charges of missing his redeployment to Iraq, taking
part in a news conference and participating in a Veterans for Peace national convention.
But the court did not rule out the possibility that the Army, after considering legal issues, could
retry Watada on two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer resulting from his media interviews.
Watada's first court martial, in February 2007, ended in a mistrial, and was halted over the objections
of the defendant.
Watada's attorneys then claimed that a retrial would amount to "double jeopardy," the constitutional
right to not be tried twice on the same charges. In his Tuesday ruling, Settle said that an Army judge "did not exercise sound
discretion" in ruling a mistrial.
As a result, the Army was barred by the constitution from retrying Watada on three of the five counts.
Watada's attorney, James Lobsenz, said that he was pleased with the federal court's unusual decision
to interfere in the Army court-martial process to protect his client's constitutional rights.
"It's very important and not often done," he said.
Lobsenz said he was hopeful that the Army would dismiss the remaining two charges. If that didn't happen,
Watada could return to federal court once again and try to get the charges blocked.
An Army spokesman said it was still reviewing the court's decision, and had yet to prepare a comment.
The Army had sought a second court-martial trial on the five counts against Watada, which could have
carried a sentence of up to six years in prison.
One hour before the final presidential debate of the 2008 campaign, fourteen members of IVAW marched in formation to Hofstra
University to present questions for the candidates concerning the occupation of Iraq and the treatment of returning veterans.
IVAW had requested permission from debate moderator Bob Schieffer to ask their questions during the debate but got no response.
The contingent of veterans in dress uniforms and combat uniforms attempted to enter the building where the debate was to
be held in order to ask their questions but were turned back by police. The ten IVAW members at the front
of the formation were immediately arrested, and others were pushed back into the crowd by police on horseback. Several members
were injured, including former Army Sergeant Nick Morgan who suffered a broken cheekbone when he was trampled by police horses
before being arrested.
"Neither of the candidates has shown real support for service members and veterans. We came
here to try and have serious questions answered, questions that we as veterans of the Iraq war have a right to ask, but instead
we were arrested. We will continue to ask these questions no matter who is elected. We believe that the time has come to end
this war and bring our troops home" said Jason Lemieux, a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who served three tours in
Iraq, and member of IVAW.
The questions that are important to Iraq Veterans Against the War
The invasion and occupation of Iraq is illegal based on criteria in our own Constitution, as well as international law
and the Geneva Conventions. Sen. Obama, is it not the right of service members to refuse deployment and participation
in the occupation of Iraq? As President, will you support the rights of service men and women who refuse participation
in this criminal war?
Sen. McCain, we currently have thousands of veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them with
severe injuries. The rate of suicide attempts among veterans is at the shocking rate of up to 1,000 per month.
Sen. McCain, you have consistently voted against an increase in VA funding and other legislation that would take care of veterans.
As President, will you be prepared to fully fund and staff the VA system and how will you address your poor voting record
on veteran’s issues?
IVAW needs your support today
The ten IVAW members who were arrested will be arraigned on November 10, and we will be building support for them in the
coming weeks. Former Army sergeant Nick Morgan is currently seeking additional medical help and recovering from his
head injury. Please consider making a donation today to IVAW’s legal defense fund, or specifically for Nick Morgan’s
Hear eyewitness accounts of the realities of war from soldiers, their families, Iraqi refugees, and Afghan-Americans. Panelists
will discuss the true costs of war, and what we can do here at home to support our veterans, work in solidarity with the Iraqi
and Afghan people and endthe war.
Where: First Unitarian Church 1011 SW 12th Street (at Main), Portland Oregon When: Saturday, October 18 12:00-5:00 Topics include: Veterans' Voices from Iraq and Afghanistan,
Human Costs of War and Building Resistance to War.
Cost: $5-10 sliding scale, no one turned away.
Sponsored by: PDX Peace Coalition, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) Seattle Chapter, Veterans for
Peace Chapter 72, MilitaryFamilies Speak Out Oregon, American Friends Service Committee, American Iranian Friendship Council,
Code Pink Portland, International Socialist Organization (ISO) Portland Chapter, KBOO Community Radio 90.7 FM, MoveOn Portland,
Peace Memorial Park Foundation of Portland, People of Faith for Peace, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, Recruiter WatchPDX,
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Vancouver for Peace, Veterans Bridge Fund, War Resisters League Portland and more.
Panel 1: Voices of Veterans From Iraq & Afghanistan
Camilo Mejia, a National Guard staff sergeant who after fighting for five months in Iraq, became the
first combat soldier to refuse to go back to Iraq. He now serves as Chair of the Board of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)
and is the author of Road from ar Ramadi.
Jan Critchfield, a specialist with the Army National Guard who served as an army “journalist”
while attached to the 1st Cavalry in Baghdad during 2004. His unspoken job in Iraq was to "counter the liberal media
bias" about the occupation. Member of IVAW Seattle.
Joseph Holness, served in the US Army in Iraq and with the US Air Force Reserves supporting Operation
Enduring Freedom, from Gresham, Oregon.
Evan Knappenberger, served one year in Iraq with the Army 4th Infantry Division working as an intelligence
analyst; held one week long “Tower Guard Vigils” in Bellingham, WA and Washington, DC to call attention to the
Seth Manzel, an Army sergeant who served as a vehicle commander and machine gunner in Iraq. Member
of IVAW Seattle.
Adriana Moyola, US Army war resister from Portland and IVAW member.
Chanan Suarezdiaz, a Navy hospital corpsman and purple heart recipient who served in Ramadi from September
2004 to February 2005 with a weapons company. He is now the Seattle Chapter president of IVAW.
Michael William, Army National Guardsmen who went AWOL, IVAW Northwest Regional Coordinator.
and more local veterans to be announced.
Panel 2: The Human Costs of War
Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist who spent a total of 8 months as an unembedded reporter in occupied
Iraq. He has written for Mother Jones and The Nation, among other publications, and has provided radio
reports on Democracy Now! and the BBC. Author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied
Ahmed Abed, father of Mustafa Abed, an Iraqi child who was injured by an American air raid and is currently
receiving medical care in Portland through the No More Victims project.
Dr. Baher Butti, formerly the chief psychiatrist at a mental health clinic Baghdad, now an Iraqi refugee
and faculty member at the OHSU School of Medicine.
Mary Geddry, member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) Oregon and mother of a Marine son who served
two tours of duty in Iraq.
Adele Kubein, Military Families Speak Out Oregon chapter president, mother of an Iraq war veteran.
Sara Rich, M.S.W., anti-war activist and spokesperson for Courage to Resist; mother of Eugene Iraq war
vet & war resister Suzanne Swift.
Dr. Zaher Wahab, Professor of Education at Lewis & Clark College; serves as a senior advisor to the
Minister of Higher Education in Afghanistan, and has been spending about five months annually in that country since 2002.
Panel 3: Building Resistance to War
Iraq War Veterans on building an Oregon IVAW Chapter.
Leah Bolger, Veterans for Peace Chapter 132 from Corvallis, on the statewide effort to keep Oregon's
National Guard in Oregon.
Gerry Condon on linking with the Canadian War Resisters Campaign.
Daniel Shea, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 on the PDX Peace campaign to make Portland a Sanctuary City
for War Resisters.
and more discussion of local actions we can take to support veterans, refugees and end the war.
Please donate to help build Winter Soldier. We are bringing in speakers from around the
Northwest and around the country, and that costs money.
Please donate now to PDX Peace and make this event possible.
Tony Anderson fights uphill conscientious objector battle
"As more troops refuse to deploy, getting conscientious objector status is an uphill battle" By Sarah
Lazare, Courage to Resist for Alternet. October 8, 2008
"I don't feel that it's right to take someone else's life," said 19 year-old Tony Anderson, Private in the U.S. Army, in
a quiet voice on the phone. "I felt that if it came down to it, I couldn't kill someone, in Iraq or anywhere."
Anderson was speaking while under the line-of-sight supervision of his commanding officer at Ft. Carson, Colorado where
he is stationed. The young soldier, who refused to deploy to Iraq in July of this year, is under close restriction by the
military and has been threatened with a prison sentence for refusing to fight. Despite these dire consequences, Anderson has
decided to join the growing ranks of troops who are openly resisting service in the Iraq War.
October 1, 2008, Ithaca, N.Y... Common Council votes to designate Ithaca a 'Community of Sanctuary', thus respecting
the rights of its residents to support lawfully and proactively military personnel and veterans who are organizing to stop
the wars in and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan
— A Common Council committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to declare Ithaca a “‘Community of Sanctuary'
thus respecting the rights of its residents to support lawfully and proactively military personnel and veterans who are organizing
to stop the wars in and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
committee also heard a brief report on the purpose and goals of the Commons 2010 re-design project from Acting Planning Director
JoAnn Cornish. No one on the committee, which is made up of all 10 members of Common Council, asked any questions about the
reported that a committee is reviewing applications from national firms for an estimated $5 million Commons re-design. Common
Council appropriated $250,000 last year for design for the Commons project.
Carolyn Peterson also circulated a revised statement signed by herself, Cornish, and Superintendent of Public Works Bill Gray.
is no controversy regarding the driving forces behind this project,” the statement reads. “Instead, this is an
essential project to the City and City staff has been determined to work cooperatively to see that this project progresses
smoothly to have the least amount of impact on those that use the Commons on a regular basis.”
Journal has reported different opinions among city staff about the need to replace water main joints that run underneath the
Commons. Cornish has said that replacing the joints is the reason for the project.
Gray and Assistant Superintendent for Water and Sewer Erik Whitney have said that the joints are only being replaced because
the Commons will be torn up anyway for re-design and repair.
to the water main joints, the statement references a need to fix uneven and broken concrete and to upgrade fire protection
systems on The Commons.
Community of Sanctuary
sanctuary resolution was written and submitted by Peace Now Ithaca, which staged a march to FortDrum
in May with members of the FortDrum
chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
who participated in the march “lamented about the suppression and intimidation they experienced” in protesting
the wars, said Alexis Alexander, a member of Peace Now Ithaca.
J.R. Clairborne, D-2nd, and chairman of the Community and Organizational Issues committee, said he is a Navy veteran and said
he understands the need to tell members of the military that they can protest.
said when he was in boot camp, sailors were told to stay away from protests, especially if they were in uniform. “It
(the resolution) is telling active military in the area that you are welcome to attend and let your voice be heard,”
Clairborne said. Alderman Eric Rosario, I-2nd, asked whether the resolution should also confirm the city's support for all
protestors, including those who may favor the wars. “As I read this, it's explicitly stating who we'll protect,”
Rosario said. “However wrong we think they are, they
need to know that they'll have the same rights and protections as long as they're lawfully protesting.”
other members of Common Council disagreed.
Maria Coles, D-1st, responded that “what Eric has suggested might sound even-handed and fair. But what is the reality?”
Everyone has the right to protest under the First Amendment, but enlisted military personnel take great risk in speaking in
opposition to military operations, she said.
sense is that by including people who might stage a counter-demonstration might take away some of the impetus for what is
being done here,” Coles said. “I really believe that will water it down and take away its moral power.”
I am a nurse in the military and I recently went on an Aerovac from Germany to the states that had
60-plus wounded soldiers on it -- many of them critically injured.
I used to be a frequent contributor to my home paper, which happens to be the Vacaville Reporter, where
Cindy Sheehan is from. I wrote a letter about the soldiers and ended it with how the wounded are putting a human face to the
war and this is the reason that people are protesting: to end the suffering, not because they hate America or are unpatriotic.
The editor from the paper knows me and put my rank and military affiliation on the letter. I was immediately called in to
see the Commander. They sent my letter to numerous lawyers to see if they could punish me, but in the end I did nothing wrong.
I just did not say what the military wants us to say. WE are not at liberty to speak out against the war -- we can be punished
severely. We took an oath to support the orders of the Commander in Chief and we have to do our duty.
I do not regret my letter or what I said. Those in the military can not speak for themselves, we depend
on the American people and the government to do the right thing. I respect those that are brave enough to stand up for what
they believe and are willing to sit in front of a ranch in Texas or stand in front of Congress and question what is going
on. There is no Democracy without dissent. I thank Congressman Murtha and Senator Kennedy and Senator Boxer for fighting for
the military and trying to save lives. I am also grateful to Senator Kerry.
Following his presentation at the Courage to Resist workshop at the 2007 Veterans for Peace National
Convention in St. Louis, Mark sat down with journalist Aaron Glantz for a live interview. They are joined by David Cortright,
author of "Soldiers in Revolt".
Mark was a Army military police officer in Iraq. He talks about joining the military, the reality of
the Iraq occupation, his five months in the Fort Sill brig, and how people can better support today's GI resisters. At the
time of this interview, Mark had just been released from the brig only days earlier.
November 8, 2007 -- Army faces massive
AWOLs publication date: Nov 8, 2007
WMR's Pentagon sources report that
the Army is facing so many absent without leave (AWOL) cases, Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) lawyers are being forced to
revise standing regulations on dealing with AWOL personnel.
The numbers of Army personnel refusing Iraq duty are staggering
and unprecedented in modern times. Pentagon sources put the numbers at 5000 enlisted personnel and 600 officers. The AWOL
personnel are mostly in National Guard and Army Reserve units but also include some active Army personnel.
and other senior Army officials are reluctant to discuss the AWOL numbers and fear that a raft of courts-martial will focus
the public eye on the absentee problems in the Army. Hence, the procedures for dealing with AWOLs within the Army are being
Sources in Iraq have previously informed WMR that some U.S. military personnel in Iraq have gone
AWOL by simply leaving the country through a virtual "underground railroad" established through countries bordering Iraq,
including Turkey, Jordan, Iran, and Syria, into Europe.
“The rule of law does not do away with the unequal distribution
of wealth and power, but reinforces that inequality with the authority of law. It allocates wealth and poverty in such calculated
and indirect ways as to leave the victim bewildered.”
Howard Zinn was born in Brooklyn, New York, into a working-class
family and, though he had few formal educational opportunities, he developed a strong social consciousness while working as
a shipfitter and avidly reading the novels of Charles Dickens. Flying bombing missions in World War II shaped his opposition
to war. After military service he earned a doctorate in history at Columbia University and taught at Spelman College in Georgia
where he was active in the Civil Rights movement. In 1963 he moved to Boston University and became a prominent, outspoken
critic of the Vietnam War.
Best known for his A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present (1980, revised
1995), a history of America through the perspective of “those outside of the political and economic establishment,”
Zinn remains an active advocate for the underclass, a proponent of world peace and an articulate critic of corporate power
and greed supported by governmental collusion.
“We need new ways of thinking,” says Zinn. “We need
to rethink our position in the world. We need to stop sending weapons to countries that oppress other people. We need to decide
that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always
indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children. War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.”
can not be secure by limiting our liberties, as some of our political leaders are demanding, but only by expanding them…We
should take our example not from the military and political leaders shouting ‘retaliate’ and ‘war’
but from the doctors and nurses and … firemen and policemen who have been saving lives in the midst of mayhem, whose
first thoughts are not violence, but healing, and not vengeance, but compassion.”