Friday, January 16, 2009

An easy thing to do today for Iraq Moratorium

Today (Friday, Jan. 16) is the day: Iraq Moratorium, a day to interrupt our daily routines and do something, whatever it may be, to call for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq.

Here's one simple thing you can do that only takes a minute:

With the inauguration of Barack Obama just days away, ask Obama, through his website, to act at once to begin the process of withdrawing US troops. Tell him how strongly you feel about it.

Here's another simple, warm, indoor activity, while we in Wisconsin and elsewhere (like the people pictured in Rice Lake WI) endure sub-zero temperatures: Help keep the woefully underfunded Iraq Moratorium alive with a contribution, large or small, one-time or monthly. Just click here to donate. We'll put it to immediate and effective use in the cause of peace

Whatever you decide to do, please send a report (photos or videos, too, if you have them) by using this brand new, even simpler form.

Folks across the country would like to hear about what you do, even an individual action. You can inspire others to act.

Thanks for whatever you do in the cause of peace.

There's more: "An easy thing to do today for Iraq Moratorium" >>

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Politics vs. Justice: Spotlighting The Holder Confirmation Hearings

Politics vs. Justice: Spotlighting The Holder Confirmation Hearings
by buhdydharma at Docudharma, Wed Jan 14, 2009
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Docudharma Tag: petition for a special prosecutor for background

First let me say that we want Eric Holder confirmed as Attorney General. We want him confirmed because of statements like this...

Washington, D.C. -- Eric H. Holder Jr., Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton administration, asserted in a speech to the American Constitution Society (ACS) that the United States must reverse "the disastrous course" set by the Bush administration in the struggle against terrorism by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, declaring without qualification that the U.S. does not torture people, ending the practice of transferring individuals involuntarily to countries that engage in torture and ceasing warrantless domestic surveillance.

"Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the 'War on Terror' have diminished our standing in the world community and made us less, rather than more, safe," Holder told a packed room at the ACS 2008 Convention on Friday evening. "For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the next president must move immediately to reclaim America's standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights."

We want the man who said those words to be our next Attorney General. Because in truth and in a logical world the best way, perhaps the only way, to "reclaim America's standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights" to investigate and then prosecute those who have criminally destroyed that standing. They destroyed it by using torture.

For those of you still on the fence as to whether the Bush Administration engaged in actual torture as opposed to merely "Enhanced Interrogation," I offer this statement released today by a Bush appointee.

The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."

"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture."

One of the arguments made in defense of the Bush Administrations official policy of torture that first surfaced at Abu Ghraib is that it was "a few bad apples."


Bush: I Personally Authorized Torture Of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

In an interview with Brit Hume that aired today on Fox News Sunday, President Bush admitted that he personally authorized the torture of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He said he personally asked "what tools" were available to use on him, and sought legal approval for waterboarding him:

  BUSH: One such person who gave us information was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. ... And I'm in the Oval Office and I am told that we have captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the professionals believe he has information necessary to secure the country. So I ask what tools are available for us to find information from him and they gave me a list of tools, and I said are these tools deemed to be legal? And so we got legal opinions before any decision was made.

KARL: Did you authorize the tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

CHENEY: I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.

All of their false claims of legality come from one source, their own pet lawyers. Much of whose legal "work" has already been destroyed by the Supreme Court. Their only claim to legality comes from complicit lawyers in the White House and in the now famously corrupt and politicized Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice that Eric Holder has now been nominated to lead.  

A Department of Justice that should, unlike the DOJ under Bush, be independent of political concerns. As Obama himself acknowledges..

OBAMA: What I -- I think my general view when it comes to my attorney general is he is the people's lawyer. Eric Holder's been nominated. ...His job is to uphold the Constitution and look after the interests of the American people, not to be swayed by my day-to-day politics. So, ultimately, he's going to be making some calls....

The Attorney General does NOT, unlike the DOJ under Bush, work for the President. He works for The People of the United States. And he works for justice. Non-partisan, non-politicized justice, with no other agenda other than serving justice and representing the legal interests of the American people.

In a logical sane and rational world....a non-politicized world....AG Holder's task would be clear cut. A "slam dunk" if you will.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has just released a 487 page report (NOTE: pdf file) whose table of contents clearly spells out what must be on AG Holders agenda in both reforming the DOJ and to effectively "reclaim America's standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights.":

Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys and other Department Personnel
Selective Prosecution
Politicization of the Prosecution Function
Politicization of the Civil Rights Division and Voting Rights Enforcement
Enhanced Interrogation
Ghosting and Black Sites
Extraordinary Rendition
Warrantless Domestic Surveillance
National Security Letters (NSLs) and Exigent Letters
Use of Signing Statements
Midnight Rulemaking
The Leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's Covert CIA Identity
Improper Use of State Secrets and Other Authorities
Manipulation and Misuse of Intelligence

All of these charges have been well documented and backed up with evidence. In addition to the admissions by Bush and Cheney of authorizing an entire network of torture and torture facilities. There is no question that crimes have been committed. The only questions left are what to do about it....and if we can overcome the politics that surround and protect the Bush Administration's crimes.

We The People want Eric Holder confirmed as the next Attorney General of the United States.

IF Attorney General Holder will uphold his statements of principle. Especially as to his objections to "Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the 'War on Terror'"

However, thanks to the efforts of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, Yoo and Bybee....we do NOT live in a logical sane and rational world, a non-politicized world. They have succeeded, so far, in muddying what should be crystal clear water. The evidence is there. Will we as a people and a country under the Rule of Law ignore it?

Due to politics and separate from any question of law, AG Designate Holder may not be able to directly come out at the confirmation hearings and state that he will even investigate these crimes, but he must be asked the question. In the muddied waters of our current political environment it would be political suicide to directly state that he will pursue justice. How low we as a nation have sunk into those muddy waters when the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America must not, for purely political reasons, openly state that he will pursue criminals.

He cannot state his intentions openly, yet he has to be asked the question posed by Bob Fertik of on Obama's website, over seventy thousand people have voted for it to be asked:

"Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor -- ideally Patrick Fitzgerald -- to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping,"

There is an internet campaign by The Center for Constitutional Rights and by The Pen urging us to call (800-828-0498 or 800-473-6711 ) the following Senators and urge them to ask that question:

1) Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

2) Senator Dick Durbin (IL)

3) Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)

4) Senator Russ Feingold (WI)

Over 15,000 people have signed The Citizens Petition: Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes. Obama was asked the question by George Stephanopoulos. It has been covered by the New York Times. As the inauguration approaches and the muddy waters start to clear, momentum is building for accountability.

We have in Eric Holders confirmation hearing a chance to make our voices heard even more in this quest for accountability. Please take this opportunity to add your voice.

We do NOT want to torpedo Eric Holders chances of becoming Attorney General. But we DO want to make sure he lives up to his statements and principles. Please take this opportunity to let the Senators on the Judiciary Committee and AG designate Holder know that you support the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the crimes of the Bush Administration.

Sign the petition, call the above Senators and your own representatives, and make your voice, and the voices of your fellow citizens, heard.

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Docudharma Tag: petition for a special prosecutor for background

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Moving Forward? Here Are The Rules.

Moving Forward? Here Are The Rules.
by Edger at Docudharma, Tue Jan 13, 2009
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Docudharma Tag: petition for a special prosecutor for background on the petition

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said I, you do not know

Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence
Here are the rules.

The other day George Will, of all people, was comparing Obama refusing to prosecute Bush and Cheney to Ford pardoning Nixon.

If a far right crazed wingnut can get it right, why can’t the rest of us?

This comparison is one that we can use to good effect, but only if we do it continuously and loudly.

A friend of mine a couple of days ago, a nearly unquestioning Obama supporter, said to me, and I quote:
No argument from me. Ford should have been stood against the wall and shot for that pardon. Nixon cooling his heels in the clink for a few years would have prevented this mess, no doubt.
Ford's pardon of Nixon was the beginning of the end of any hope Ford had of being politically effective, and absolutely killed his future chances for reelection.

So let's see... if Obama doesn't want a political blood bath that might define his first term as him being a bush enabler and a torture excuser and might drown him, then he'll tell Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor, and answer Fertik's question directly himself, instead of hiding behind excuses and Joe Biden, since according to Biden it is not the job of the president or the vice president, but of the Justice department.

Ford's pardon of Nixon killed Ford politically, and not prosecuting Bush and Cheney has to kill Obama politically.

There has to be a political price to pay for not doing it, or he will not do it. Why would he, if there is no price to pay for not doing it and the price for doing it is high?

With things like the petition, Fertik's insistent embarrasing questioning, people like Ari Melber doing their best to force the issue into the media, people need to force the price for not doing it so high that Obama and Holder cannot ignore it.

People did it to Ford. If people are willing to let Obama slide on this, then there is no reason Obama will not let Bush and Cheney slide on torture and war crimes.

It's not up to Obama. It's up to us. It's up to me. It's up to you.

Maybe, Going Forward, We Should Just Let Bernie Madoff Off?
Jane Hamsher at Huffington Post, January 12, 2008
If Obama were to announce right now that he was going to prosecute those who engaged in torture and war crimes, I understand it could trigger a rash of unwanted pardons before Bush left office and therefore it's smart for him to hold his cards close.

But the reason that's being given for not pursuing prosecutions makes little sense:

"My orientation's going to be to move forward," Obama said. The attorney general has to stay above politics and "uphold the Constitution," Obama added, but his administration will focus on "getting things right in the future as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past."
Any decision to not pursue those who broke the law is in no way "above politics" -- and if we were going to apply this principle across the board, it would have as Ari Melber notes rather strange implications:
No one argues against prosecuting Bernie Madoff so that the Justice Department can focus on fixing the economy, going forward. In fact, faithfully and uniformly enforcing the law is crucial to "getting things right in the future." Any deterrence produced via criminal sanction is undermined when future, potential offenders see that a law is not actually enforced. People are more likely to follow the law when they see that breaking it carries consequences. This is such a basic foundation of our criminal system, justified by the elemental rationales of deterrence and retribution, it is quite hard to imagine that so many seasoned attorneys and Washington journalists honestly believe that the best way "forward" is to undermine deterrence and the rule of law.
Obama decision to appoint Eric Holder and Leon Panetta, who have made strong statements against torture, does indeed imply that he intends to "get it right" going forward.

But it is disconcerting that, as Glenn Greenwald observes, Obama indicated yesterday he is looking for a way to set up a system outside the courts where evidence obtained by torture can be used against Guantanamo detainees.

Glenn discusses Obama's interview with George Stephanopolous:

What he's saying is quite clear. There are detainees who the U.S. may not be able to convict in a court of law. Why not? Because the evidence that we believe establishes their guilt was obtained by torture, and it is therefore likely inadmissible in our courts (torture-obtained evidence is inadmissible in all courts in the civilized world; one might say it's a defining attribute of being civilized). But Obama wants to detain them anyway -- even though we can't convict them of anything in our courts of law. So before he can close Guantanamo, he wants a new, special court to be created -- presumably by an act of Congress -- where evidence obtained by torture (confessions and the like) can be used to justify someone's detention and where, presumably, other safeguards are abolished. That's what he means when he refers to "creating a process."
The synergy between right-wing fans of 24 who think torture is cool, members of the Bush administration who carried it out and the DC chattering class who mainstreamed it has created a climate where the political threat of directly dealing with the legacy of torture looms large.

But 70,000 people demanding a Special Prosecutor on argues that the political price to be paid for sweeping everything under the carpet might be even bigger.

Jane Hamsher blogs at

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Don't expect me to or even ask me to tell you why you should sign the petition.

You already know why you should sign the petition. You don't need me or anyone else to tell you why you should sign the petition.

There is no more debate on these matters. The only people who want to continue debating these matters are war criminals who want to be let off the hook and supporters of letting war criminals off the hook.

Obama's Duty To Prosecute Bush For War Crimes, Patriot Daily, December 29, 2008

Signing the petition drafted by budhydharma and Docudharma is not in defiance of our President-Elect Obama, but rather a sign of support for the difficult times that he and Holder will face when performing their clear constitutional duties.

As President, Obama will have the constitutional duty to faithfully execute our laws.

The constitutional oath of office will require President Obama to faithfully execute the office of President and preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. Our constitution also requires that our presidents "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed." The principle of the rule of law is partially based on this Faithfully Execute clause which requires our President to comply with laws, our Constitution and treaties because our Constitution established a government of laws, not of men and women.

The Geneva Convention is one of the laws which must be faithfully executed.

Our constitution mandates that treaties are one of the laws that the President must faithfully execute. Moreover, treaties are recognized as one of our supreme laws of the land alongside our Constitution and federal laws. For over 200 years, the federal courts have reaffirmed that our President is bound by the laws of war, which include conventions. In fact, both Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)addressed issues of whether the US government was violating the terms of the 1949 Geneva Convention. Yet, some will whine that it is partisan to not exempt Bush from 200 years of precedent that governed presidents from both parties.

The Geneva Convention imposes a duty to prosecute former presidents who committed war crimes.

You already have your own reasons why you should sign the petition.

All the reasons that built up, piled one on top of the other for that past eight years as these criminals hijacked the country, dismantled the constitution and the rule of law, made their criminal friends fabulously wealthy, were directly responsible for the deaths of more than a million Iraqis in an illegal and immoral invasion and occupation, destroyed the global economy, wrecked America's reputation around the world, and called you a traitor when you cried foul and set up schemes to spy on you and intimidate you into silence.

And tortured people in your name. Tortured people. In your name. Tortured people with the blackest, most heinous and most evil torture methods known to humanity. Tortured people with methods that America has pressed war criminal charges against other countries citizens for using. Tortured people with the most sadistic and evil methods the Spanish Inquisition and more recently the Khmer Rouge made a regular habit of using as an oppression tool. Tortured people with methods that have been universally condemned and outlawed by virtually every country and society on earth.

You already know. You already know all of your own reasons why you should sign the petition.

Sign The Goddamn War Crimes Petition Already!

Thanks for your help.


There's more: "Moving Forward? Here Are The Rules." >>


Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher. She is the author of four books of poems, The Venus Hottentot, Body of Life, Antebellum Dream Book, and American Sublime, which was one of three finalists for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. She is also a scholar of African-American literature and culture and recently published a collection of essays, The Black Interior. She has read her work across the U.S. and in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America, and her poetry, short stories, and critical prose have been published in dozens of periodicals and anthologies. She has received many grants and honors, most recently the Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship for work that “contributes to improving race relations in American society and furthers the broad social goals of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954,” and the 2007 Jackson Prize for Poetry, awarded by Poets and Writers. She is a professor at Yale University, and for the academic year 2007-2008 she is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
...when I think of the soldiers packing gear,
Their guns silent, tanks still, standing at the ready,
Eyes moist with liberation and grief, hands wrung their last,
I think of them gleaming, striding away from the savagery,
The dying, the defeated, the triumphant... colorless stench.

When I see them marching out, freed of the difficult sand,
I imagine that black soldiers are most anxious for home,
Calling for the stretch of time to witness their history,
Onlooker to human hope instead of war’s gangling limbs
Stacked like firewood on streets smothered in suffering.

When I think of all of the soldiers coming home
Shipped in those god-awful frowning boxes,
I try to imagine their loved and beautiful faces,
But their smiles float away from who they were.
What a sad and ghastly testament of their use.

Dear Poet,
May your use, your words paint upon this,
Grant us reprieve from an unfavorable history.
Free our hearts and our minds of horrid combat
For war is the chain that has enslaved us all.
© 2008 mrp/tpm

There's more: "DEAR POET" >>

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stop Enabling The War Frame - We Need to Think in Terms of Occupation and Beyond Just a Military Solution

Our nation is not at war with the nation of Iraq. Referring to the Iraq War is absurd!

Our nation is not at war with the nation of Afghanistan.

We need to refer to our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as an occupation. Using the occupation frame eliminates the fear of losing, enables our departure, reduces the chances of bankrupting our nation, and supports our troops by bring them home.

Terror is a state of mind. We can't win a "War on Terror." We will never defeat terrorism with just military action. We are only creating more terrorists. Worse yet, we elevate these criminals to warrior status in a jihad. We give them far more credit than they are due and enable recruitment for more terrorists. We must treat them as lowly "common criminals."

As Colin Powell said on September 13, 2001 in an interview with Jim Lehrer, "We are asking all the nations to join together to use political action, diplomatic action, economic action, legal action, law enforcement action, and if necessary, join with us as appropriate and if necessary in military action when we have identified the perpetrators and decided what military action might be appropriate. And so there is a lot that we can do. And the point I also want to make is that no country is safe from this kind of attack. It crosses every geographic boundary, social boundary, religious boundary, cultural boundary. And we must see it in those terms and respond in a unified way."

We have many tools to use against these criminal terrorists. Using only the military, we will never never succeed!

(If you agree with the above statement, go to The Citizen's Briefing Book at, create an account and log in, enter "Stop Enabling The War Frame" in the search field and click on the VOTE UP button.)

There's more: "Stop Enabling The War Frame - We Need to Think in Terms of Occupation and Beyond Just a Military Solution" >>

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Incremental Change: Fighting For PTSD War Casualties

Two items in the media caught my attention this week that I believe are worth noting. First, Army Times republished an article by Gregg Zoroya in USA TODAY under the headline "Army may stop notifying COs of counseling". In the article, Zoroya reports:

Army leaders are proposing to end a longtime policy that requires a commanding officer be notified when a soldier voluntarily seeks counseling in hopes of encouraging more GIs to seek aid, according to Army Secretary Pete Geren...

The proposal being worked out between Army personnel and medical commanders is “an important part of a comprehensive effort to reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health care and to encourage more soldiers to seek treatment,” Geren says in a statement to USA TODAY on Friday.

Possibly spurring Secretary Geren and the Army along may have been Senator Claire McCaskill:
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told Geren in a November letter that current Army policies, such as notifying commanders about soldiers seeking help, “seem oriented to disciplinary concerns,” rather than treatment. Geren told McCaskill on Dec. 22 that he is ordering “an immediate and complete review” of ASAP. Suspending the notification rule, he said, could “assure soldiers the program is not punitive.”

It is heartening to learn that Senator McCaskill (the first woman freely elected a senator in Missouri, thus a "ground-breaker"), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee is taking up this issue. It is also encouraging that Secretary Geren has been receptive. But these are just small, incremental steps in the overal process that needs to be pursued in terms of changing the perceptions of and treatment of our PTSD and TBI war casualties. Evidence the fact that in the same article, the Army's surgeon general, Lt. General Eric Schoomaker has witheld comment:
Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general who urged an end to the policy in October, would not comment. But he is working with Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, deputy chief of staff for Army personnel, to change the policy.

Absent a strong endorsement from General Schoomaker, and absent any evidence of a strong endorsement by other principals in the Army's command staff, common sense and logic will tell us that without a strong message being driven from the top command level down through the chain of command, little will change. If General Schoomaker is serious about this, he needs to act sooner, rather than later, and decisively.

The second media item that caught my attention this week was the New York Times editorial on January 12, titled "PTSD and the Purple Heart". In their editorial the Times took the position of supporting the recent decision by the Pentagon to withhold awarding of the Purple Heart to PTSD war casualties. In terms of their position backing the decision by the Pentagon to not recognize PTSD war casualties with the Purple Heart, it seems to me that it is a decision that may be debated and possibly modified as time passes, but not the most urgent issue. The most urgent issue, and which was the most significant point of their editorial was to shed light on the plight of our country's PTSD war casualties. This is one of the issues with the greatest impact facing military families today, gaining acceptance and recognition, and then appropriate care for our military PTSD war casualties.

Service members who have displayed the symptoms of PTSD are true war casualties, and in other wars and other eras this condition was also present, albeit labeled "battle fatigue" or "shell shock." Only relatively recently have health care professionals, law makers, and the general public begun to recognize that PTSD is a "real" combat injury, many times catastropic, in both civilian and military life. Unfortunately, it seems that the military services, as institutions, have not yet fully understood this.

Despite growing recognition in the media over the past few years, grass roots efforts lobbying our law makers and military command, PTSD injuries continue to go untreated. Instead, advocates are witnessing careers in which service members have made a lifetime commitment being nullified and families devastated because military commanders frequently choose to kick out PTSD sufferers (for post-deployment misconduct--the very behavior that the Department of Defense's Mental Health Task Force has identified as being evidence of PTSD is the evidence that commanders use to administratively discharge service members), without benefits of any sort including mental health care, VA administered health care or retirement benefits or any rehabilitative care. In some cases requiring the return of enlistment bonuses.

Untreated PTSD has a societal ripple effect by putting the service member at an increased risk for substance abuse, unemployment, homelessness, criminal activity, partner violence, incarceration, and physical violence--against themselves or others. Appropriate, adequate treatment and rehabilitation for our service members who have suffered PTSD war injuries must be a priority of our military services, the Veterans Administration, our government, our country men and women.

Much more work needs to be done in terms of educating the public at large, our military establishment and our government officials about this issue, and it falls upon all of us, military families, cognizant military and government officials, and cognizant members of the general American public to do this work. No one who is aware of this issue and who wants to see the status quo changed should expect someone else to take up the issue on their behalf. We all have skin in this game as our military family is our last and strongest line of defense to our freedom, and our existence as a sovreign nation.

What members of the active duty military family can do is to spread the word. Educate and advocate with your extended family members, friends, and business associates, ask them to take up this advocacy. Active duty military and their family members also have the right to contact their members of Congress, to raise the Congress' awareness of this issue, and to put pressure on our elected officials to respond adequately.

The same can be said for the general public, as beneficiaries of the service of our active duty military personnel and their families, it is our moral duty to educate and advocate on their behalf with our own family members, our friends and associates. It is our duty to lobby our members of Congress hard for this issue. It is also only our (members of the American public who are not active duty military personnel and do not have members of our nuclear family serving on active duty) to lobby directly with our military command structure. This is something that military personnel cannot do, for obvious reasons, so this is where we, who may have served in the past, we who are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, can speak for our country men and women who are serving us.

All of this represents incremental efforts, which will all lead to incremental change, which as a strategy, I believe has a better chance of being effective than undertaking any effort to demand immediate change. Like water dripping upon a rock, our individual efforts, over time, will break down the current structure, through incremental change.

To find out who your representatives in Congress are (your member of the House of Representatives and your two Senators) visit where you can plug in your address and get the contact information, including telephone numbers and addresses for your Congress persons. You can also write and send emails or letters directly from to your Congress persons. You can also find the names and addresses of all of the top Pentagon officials at the Defense Department web site.

To learn more about how lives have been impacted by PTSD war casualties please visit Military Spouse Press to read in their own words what military family members have faced. Military Spouses for Change (MSC) is an advocacy organization and that are providing pro bono case management services to active duty military personnel and veterans who are PTSD war casualties and they are fighting for their rightful benefits and appropriate care. To learn more about MSC or to give them a heping hand, please visit their website.

There's more: "Incremental Change: Fighting For PTSD War Casualties" >>

Frostbite victims for peace?

How many cases of frostbite will it take to end the war and occupation of Iraq?

Iraq Moratorium activists in Wisconsin ponder that, with the weather forecast for Friday, Jan. 16, this month's Iraq Moratorium day, for subzero temperatures and even worse wind-chill readings. There are warnings about frostbite and hypothermia.

Iraq Moratorium-Wisconsin noted, in an email to organizers:

While standing at a vigil in sub-zero temperatures may be an expression of our commitment, frostbite and hypothermia will not end the war and occupation of Iraq.

This is not to suggest canceling planned events for Friday; our experience in Milwaukee is that it is almost impossible to get the word out to everyone even when a decision is made to cancel. Some people will come anyway.

However, if it is really as cold as the forecast indicates, it might make sense to think about shortening up the vigil and moving indoors after 15-30 minutes to a nearby coffee shop, restaurant or other location. Use the time to discuss the war, plan a February Moratorium event, write a letter, circulate a petition to bring the National Guard home, or take some other action to help get US troops out of Iraq.
Here's a list of scheduled Wisconsin events on Friday: Iraq Moratorium-Wisconsin.

It may fall on peace-loving people in warmer climes to pick up the slack this week. You'll find a list of events in your area, ideas for individual action, and more on the national website.

We're hardy in Wisconsin, but even we have our limits.

There's more: "Frostbite victims for peace?" >>