Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Thank you Lt. Ehren Watada

On June 22, U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the unlawful Iraq War and occupation.

Supporters nationwide are mounting a national day of action today, Tuesday, June 27. Larger mobilizations will be staged leading up to Lt. Watada's court martial.

Even before Lt. Watada refused to deploy, the military had already launched an investigation into his many speeches in opposition to the war.

Your support, including donations to Lt. Watada’s defense fund, are urgently needed today.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

army of fun

i've never wanted to be a clown before but now i'm rethinking it...

check out circa and read about their latest recruitment efforts in oakland here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Immigration Debate

Thursday, June 22, 2006


i lifted this from a friend i met at camp casey. the next time i see him, i'll have to tell him how when we met with senator feinstein to tell her why she needs to bring the troops home NOW she didn't even know what ptsd stood for...

This is an excerpt from the documentary film, "Hearts and Minds." Although some of you may not agree with me on this, I do believe that one of the root causes of "PTSD," is simply from being a part of an injustice. Here is how this Marine put it:

-What hurts the most, and this is a purely personal thing, you know? Right, wrong or indifferent, that's how I feel. When I was in the Marine Corps... I remember I was in the Marine Corps barracks in Washington. They called it "A," "F," and "I." And they had the Marine Corps drill team there... And I was standing at attention in my uniform, and they were playing the Marine Corps hymn... And they played the Star-Spangled Banner... And I actually started to cry... I cried because i was so proud to be an American, you know? And I was so proud to be a Marine, and in uniform, standing there at attention... That represented so much to me in the way of life and... That's gone, you know? And that hurt... That hurts... That's what I'm bitter about. -Robert Muller. Paralyzed Vietnam Veteran

Resistance in the US military to the Iraq War

by Ann Wright US Army reserve Colonel (Ret) and former US Diplomat

As a 29-year Army and Army Reserves veteran, I am horrified to see the politicization of the U.S. military under the Bush administration. The "ethics and professionalism" of the U.S. military have been targeted for destruction by the civilian appointees of this administration. They want "yes" men and women who do not question the legality of the policies of the administration. Tragically, from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on down, Rumsfeld and crew have been successful in stifling professional discussion within the military, with the exception of former Army Chief of Staff Shinseki and now six retired generals. Under the Bush administration, there is no accountability or responsibility for criminal actions; privates and sergeants are court-martialed, while senior civilian and military leaders responsible for the criminal policies are free.

Despite the "yes, sir" attitude of senior military officers toward the Bush administration’s illegal policies, there is resistance within the U.S. military to the war on Iraq. Military personnel know they have the right and duty to refuse illegal orders, including the order to deploy to an illegal war. They know the United States executed German and Japanese military officers and civilians for their participation in wars of aggression in World War II. They know that the Nuremberg principles adopted by the international community after World War II require civilians and military personnel to stop their government from committing illegal acts. Those in the military who dissent and resist to what they know are illegal actions of the Bush administration are persons of the highest courage and conscience.

Resistance to the war on Iraq within the U.S. military community is growing. Over eight thousand American soldiers are absent without leave (AWOL), most living underground in the United States. Many now refer to AWOL as "Against War of Lies" instead of Absent Without Leave. Individual non-public resistance in the military generally results in an administrative discharge without publicity. Thousands have turned themselves into military authorities and have been administratively discharged from the military. U.S. military bases discharge dozens of war resisters each week.

Public resistance by military personnel to the war on Iraq results in courts-martial to make an example of the resister. Some military personnel have applied for conscientious objector (CO) status. Most have been denied CO status and ten have been court-martialed and imprisoned for publicly refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq to commit criminal acts in Iraq, including murder by bombing innocent civilians, shooting innocent civilians and torture. Those who refuse to deploy to Iraq and kill for the Bush administration generally receive more punishment than those who commit criminal acts of murder and torture.

Four women who had served in the military were honored last week at the annual War Resisters meeting in New York City. Three had applied for conscience objector status and had been refused by the military. One is now imprisoned at Fort Lewis, WA for refusing weapons training and deployment. One completed her assignment in Iraq and returned to become a cofounder of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

Hundreds of U.S. military have chosen to resist the war by living in Canada, most under the radar of the now-conservative Canadian government. Twenty-four U.S. military have publicly moved to Canada and are seeking political refugee status. They are supported by an incredible network of Canadians citizens and American war resisters from the Vietnam era who are now Canadian citizens, who assist the next generation of U.S. military who resist illegal wars of aggression.

This weekend Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Gold Star Families for Peace, including Cindy Sheehan and myself, participated in Buffalo, NY fund raisers for U.S. war resisters living in Canada. We met seven of the twenty-four brave men and their families who have said the Bush administration’s war on Iraq is a war crime and their participation in the war would mean that they too are war criminals. While they are volunteers for the defense of our country, they are not "yes" men to the administration; they are "yes" men to the Constitution of the United States. They are persons of conscience who see the war for what it really is and are resisting the pressures to dutifully comply with military orders to conduct illegal actions.

Their decisions to live in Canada underscore the right of military personnel to challenge an illegal order and to live with the consequences of that challenge. They have chosen live in Canada with their families rather than being imprisoned for saying no to killing for the Bush administration’s goals. Should the security of the United States truly be threatened, they would defend it.

They live free of guilt of killing innocent Iraqis. But the decision to live in Canada comes with its own penalties. These brave soldiers and marines leave the support network of friends and buddies in the military. These persons of courage endure family divisions when family members do not agree with their decision to leave the military and go to Canada. These honorable men undertake the daily struggles of suddenly caring for one’s family in a new country. These honorable soldiers are unable to return to the United States until an amnesty is offered by a future President. But the consequences of the act of conscience mean these soldiers and marines will not have the lifelong guilt of the murder innocent civilians, nor the nightmares of seeing their friends blown up in a war whose purpose they believe is illegal and a war crime.

This week Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada will become the first officer to refuse to deploy with his unit to Iraq. He will be the first officer of this war who refuses to participate in military actions guaranteed to destroy his future emotional, if not physical, life—and impact his family for decades to come. This week also marks the first time in this war that a church is offering sanctuary to war resisters. The membership of First United Methodist Church of Tacoma, Washington, just outside Fort Lewis, where Lieutenant Watada is stationed, has said that they will resist the Bush administration’s illegal war by sheltering any who refuse to participate in the war.

Another aspect of resistance within the military community comes from retired generals who are now publicly questioning the military operational plans that have put U.S. troops in jeopardy in Iraq and the impact of the war on Iraq on the military and its ability to respond to genuine threats to U.S. national security.

For the twenty-nine years I was in the military either on active duty or in the Reserves, my worst nightmare was that an administration would get the United States into a military conflict that I knew was illegal. Today, if I were recalled from the U.S. Army’s Retired Ready Reserves, I would have to say, "I will not serve the Bush Administration’s war on Iraq. I will not agree to be recalled. You will have to court-martial me as I will not participate in this illegal war of aggression, this war crime."

Acts of resistance, big and small, recognized nationally or never heard by most, by military and civilians are all-important elements of ending the illegal war, the war crime, committed by the Bush administration. People of conscience all over the country are refusing to be silent and are taking courageous steps to end the illegal war on Iraq.

What will you do to stop this illegal war?

Ann Wright

Ann Wright is a retired Colonel with 29 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and as a U.S. diplomat for 16 years, and resisted the war on Iraq by resigning in March 2003 from her position as Deputy Chief of Mission, or Deputy Ambassador from the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia. Ann served in the diplomatic corps in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia and helped reopen the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001. As a U.S. military officer, she participated in post-conflict reconstruction in Grenada, Panama and Somalia. She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism as the acting U.S. Ambassador during the evacuation of the international community during the brutal rebel takeover of Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1997. With her service in both the U.S. military and the U.S. State Department in areas of conflict all over the world, she felt the U.S. invasion and occupation of an oil-rich, Moslem country that had done nothing to the United States and was no threat to U.S. national security would make the world more dangerous and place the United States in greater jeopardy. She believed the act of invading Iraq would be an act of aggression, a war crime. Two others from the U.S. diplomat corps also believed the Bush administration’s war on Iraq was illegal and resisted by resigning from the U.S. government. As civilian U.S. government employees, there was no penalty to their resistance to the war except giving up their careers.

GI Hotline
Peace Has No Borders

War Resisters Support Campaign-Canada
War Resisters League
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Veterans for Peace
Gold Star Families for Peace
Military Families Speak Out
The Real War Heroes

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Saturday, June 10, 2006

yearly kos begs bloggers to get off their butts

"It's very hard, actually, to move people from online activism to offline activism. That's the next step. That's what liberals and democrats are going to have to do." -- Paul Begala from NPR's On The Media's coverage of Yearly Kos

so far it sounds like the ongoing theme of yearly kos is that blogging is not enough. as one of the lunchtime candidates said, if he sees that next year the kossaks are not only blogging but also serving on their democratic central parties and ptas he will know we are winning.

last summer i was a volunteer coordinator at cindy sheehan's camp casey in crawford texas. this was a true grassroots movement, a tipping point that was run completely by volunteers. near the end of august we had thousands of people showing up during the days to see what was happening and hundreds camping 24/7. this meant we needed folks to volunteer to do things like direct traffic, stand guard at night, help out in the kitchen, gather up trash and recycling - you name it, there was a lot of work to be done.

every morning and every evening the camp commander, former diplomat ann wright, would call for volunteers to take a shift. since the bloggers wouldn't leave their tables to join the morning and evening volunteer meetings, we started physically moving the meetings closer to them. they still wouldn't volunteer. when asked directly, a number said that their contribution to camp was their blogging.

as someone who would have loved to take time to add to my personal blog for my family and friends, i resented them. there was too much work to be done. manual labor, heavy frigging burdens that these able-bodied folks could have easily lightened.

camp casey was a true community and a microcosm of our movement. i risk airing our dirty laundry to say that i support the pleas of the organizers who ask you to get off your asses. one common lament of the netroots is the lack of backbone in the democratic party. howsabout setting an example by first using yours to do some heavy lifting?

the truth is, after much shaming, a few bloggers did start taking their turns at security and such. and they honestly looked happier for it. it's much more satisifying to be a part of a movement than to simply report on it.

bloggers do serve a purpose. i thank all of you for your contributions and damn all of you for my addiction. but nothing absolves any of us of our duty to get out and volunteer to do the actual dirty work as well...

thank zeus i don't have children

saw a billboard for jill greenberg's new exhibit, end times that's opening soon. it perfectly depicts the reasons i am so grateful i don't have kids.

how can we create this world for our children?

do people give birth to new, frail humans just to let them witness destruction?

what kind of sadists are we?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

did you?