Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
This post is dedicated to Dustin, Joel, and the many other soldiers
I know and don't know who have gone off to war.
And for all those in the countries we send them to.
Bless us all.
KPOJ did an interview today with Chris Hedges which has inspired me to do this post. What moved me in particular to give voice to Chris Hedges and his latest book was when the author spoke of his intimate interviews with our soldiers finding their way to front page headlines splashed across European newspapers - but here in America the same voices of our soldiers were met with rigid walls of resistance and deafening silence. Shame on the American media! And shame on our tolerance of today's largely shallow, superficial, limited, and misleading reporting that we call "news". There is a reason why so much of the rest of the world knows more about our foreign policies, for instance, than we do here in America. Ours is a media that all too often simply leaves out what we most need to know.Tragically, too, Chris Hedges spoke in this interview of his belief that Americans do not want to know the truth about our soldiers and the truth about the wars that they fight and the occupations that they uphold. Chris stated his opinion that maybe in twenty years we Americans will collectively be wanting to know the truth of what is happening today. This saddens me! It is not okay to wait twenty years - not when there is so much suffering happening in the hearts of our soldiers today. We need to stop the collusion of covertly promoting the unspoken rules of not talking, feeling, knowing, and seeing the greater truths of war and its impact on our children and on all children. We need to stop promoting the "glory" of war. Or its necessity.
There is such a high cost, whether consciously or unconsciously, in choosing to remain ignorant. I say this with great humility as someone who prior to 9/11 did not care enough to want to know any depth about America or the world. I did not really know why our country chose to attack Iraq the first time. I did not know why all those people were protesting or what they were protesting (the WTO) in Seattle in 1999. And I didn't care to know. I was a deeply uninformed and apathetic American. I say this with compassion today for where I was then. And I say this with the deep understanding that I can no longer justify maintaining that ignorance. 9/11 was the life-changing event for me that moved me to go deeper, ... that moved me to want to know...
Without looking, it is easy to turn a blind eye and take on the arrogance of a superficial patriotism that is anything but courageous. It is easy for so many of us as Americans to bite onto those media soundbites and take for truth and fact that patriotism can be measured by sporting bumper stickers of support, praying, wearing lapel pins, putting one's hand over one's heart during patriotic songs, hanging American flags, and just being damn sure that America is the best nation on Earth and the most worthy of God's blessing. We all too often also unquestioningly believe that our soldiers only do the right thing and only fight to protect and promote democracy. Our veterans know that these are our expectations of them. This is what we have all been taught. Too many of our children return from war and occupation and choose to end their lives rather than speak the truth. They believe we don't want to know. Or that we haven't the courage to know. And so they suffer their horrific truths in silence.
In one week millions of Americans will drink and set off fireworks for the 4th of July, not having a clue of the veterans in our midst whose PTSD is being triggered by all the sounds that mimic those of war. Yet how many of us even know that this great day of patriotic fervor may be experienced as adding to the trauma of our veterans rather than celebrating their service? What does supporting our troops really mean? What does it truly look like?
It takes incredible courage, as I see it, to be patriotic. It takes courage to listen to the stories of our soldiers. It takes courage to understand why 1 in 5 or 1 in 3 (depending on which study you read) soldiers are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It takes courage to know why there is a suicide epidemic among our veterans. (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/13/cbsnews_investigates/main3496471.shtml)
I have long held the highest respect Chris Hedges for his courage and truthtelling. I have seen Chris Hedges before, have read many of his articles and heard him interviewed on the radio and television, and I have one of his books and have also heard of his most recent one, Collateral Damage. A review of this latest book at http://www.tomdispatch.com/ states:
Pulitzer Prize-winning former war reporter Chris Hedges, along with Laila al-Arian, has produced a remarkable new book, Collateral Damage, America's War Against Iraqi Civilians. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with veterans of the Iraq war and occupation, it lays out graphically indeed and in their own words the American system of patrols, convoys, home raids, detentions, and military checkpoints that became a living nightmare for civilians in Iraq. Think of their book as a two-person version of the Vietnam-era Winter Soldier Investigation, this time for a war in which Americans have seemed especially uneager to know much about what their troops, many thousands of miles from home, are really doing to the "hajis." http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174939/chris_hedges_war_and_occupation_american_style
This is one review of Chris Hedge's latest book:
This book really shows how true evil masks itself behind such high sounding words as `honor,' `glory,' `dignity', `patriotism', `for god and country', 'victory', and so on; words that may have inspired a young man or woman to join the military (although many others may do so for other reasons such as economic necessity) only for many of them to later find that they have been duped and diabolically deceived by those so called `responsible' politicians who had sent them over there along with those other cowardly politicians who only pretend that they want them to come back home. It's only too late when these young soldiers realize that they are simply the tools of a greedy power elite who only seek profit from human butchery, slaughter and misery and these people could care less about the Iraqi people or for that matter, they could care less about the American soldiers who are used as sacrificial cannon fodder to serve some sick pathological agenda to `occupy' (read: conquer and rape) another culture. In fact, it's even beyond sick as to what goes on in Iraq. It's just plain evil. By reading the personal testimonial accounts of those soldiers who have been deeply traumatized from their experiences in Iraq, this book really gives the reader a feel for the reality of the horrors of war. The accounts given by the soldiers regarding their experiences traveling in the moving convoys is simply horrific and it's clearly a living nightmarish hell for not only the unfortunate innocent Iraqi's who are butchered from these convoys but for the American soldiers themselves who actually think that they are fighting for some greater `cause.' Any politician that can read about the things that go on over in Iraq and not be so deeply affected as to immediately put an end to this campaign of terror is simply not human. This is an excellent book and it does what it's supposed to do, which is to bring awareness to the reader; mentally, emotionally and physically, of the pathology of war.
What I know about Chris Hedges is that he has been reporting about "what it really means when America goes to war" for decades. He is no embedded reporter - he is in bed with no political party and no moneyed corporate interests - but rather is a journalist whose integrity and commitment to presenting the facts is impeccable. The author's classic and best known work is War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Here is an article first printed in Amnesty International Now magazine that describes Chris' experience with war as outlined in this previous book: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/War_Peace/War_Gives_Meaning.html. Chris Hedges understands the truth about what is going on in past wars and occupations and what is happening today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
May we support one another in stepping up our own commitment as individuals and collectively as Americans and planetary beings to truly support our troops - and all those impacted by war. May we commit to increasingly growing in courage, increasingly opening our hearts, and increasingly caring enough to want to know what it means, truly means, when America goes to war. May we have the courage to clarify and redefine what it is to be patriotic in America.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
----- Original Message -----
From: W. M BJORNSON DAVID GONZALES
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 10:38 PM
Subject: Help us build a school!
Next Saturday, June 28th, we are holding our first 'Art From Our Hearts' art show and fundraiser. It will be at Awakenings Wellness Center, 1016 SE 12th Avenue from 10:00 - 4:00. We will be offering cards and card sets along with laser and giclee prints of art by Olivia Oso, Marsha Donner, and myself. You can preview our art at www.artfromourhearts.org. For this art show, our community has also contributed photography by Julie Doll, gourd art by Kat Cunningham, jewelry from the Manifesting Divas and Molly Strong, and more.
For those of you who don't know "Art From Our Hearts," it is a humanitarian project that uses art we have created together to communicate a deep vision of a more open-hearted world. All the proceeds from our art go to support humanitarian projects in developing countries. We especially want to support projects that help strengthen communities and help bring more hope and opportunity into their lives. In the face of daily news that tells us all that is wrong in the world, we want to help expand the 'global heart' and be part of what is right in the world.
This year, proceeds from our sales are going to the Central Asia Institute (www.ikat.org) to help build a school for girls in an impoverished mountain community in Afghanistan or Pakistan. The CAI was founded by Greg Mortensen - you can read his story in the best selling book 'Three Cups of Tea' - after encountering a tremendous need and desire in these remote communities for schools where none exist. The goal of the CAI is to empower local people in all of their projects to help educate their children and develop their communities. Described as the 'front line' of terrorism because desperate people are recruited from these impoverished villages, the schools become a crucial turning point for a more peaceful and stable development.
I know you all to be generous, open-hearted, and concerned about making a difference in the world. For only about $12,000, this is one way that our community can directly help another community that is struggling in the heart of this troubled part of the world.
Please come and help us build a school! If you can't come on the 28th but would like to help, you will be able to order Art From Our Hearts cards and prints online beginning June 25th or you can call or email me anytime (503-245-3485).
PLEASE ALSO HELP US SPREAD THE WORD. Please forward this email to your lists. I have attached two pdf files - one is a poster for the Art Show and the other is some information about the Central Asia Institute for you to distribute to those you think would be interested.
Thank you for your big hearts and all you do to make a difference. I hope to see you on the 28th!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Washington, DC — In one of the most important human rights cases of the decade, the Supreme Court of the United States held today, in a 5-4 decision, that the men imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay have the constitutional right to habeas corpus.
Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power.
Article I Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.
Article II Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.
Article III Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War.
Article IV Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States.
Article V Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression.
Article VI Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114.
Article VII Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
Article VIII Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter.
Article IX Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor.
Article X Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes.
Article XI Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq.
Article XII Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation's Natural Resources.
Article XIIII Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries.
Article XIV Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Article XV Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq.
Article XVI Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors.
Article XVII Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives.
Article XVIII Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy.
Article XIX Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to "Black Sites" Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture.
Article XX Imprisoning Children.
Article XXI Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government.
Article XXII Creating Secret Laws.
Article XXIII Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Article XXIV Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment.
Article XXV Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens.
Article XXVI Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements.
Article XXVII Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply.
Article XXVIII Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice.
Article XXIX Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Article XXX Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare.
Article XXXI Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency.
Article XXXII Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change.
Article XXXIII Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.
Article XXXIV Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001.
Article XXXV Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The Environmental Defense Fund states that: "Studies show that global warming will increase the frequency or intensity of many kinds of extreme weather. While we can't attribute a particular heat wave or hurricane to global warming, the trends are clear: Global warming loads the atmospheric dice to roll 'heat wave' or 'intense storm' more often." Please go here for the complete article and related resources: http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagid=1405&source=ggad&gclid=CPeOpq-y-pMCFQahiQodEQurWA
Democracy Now! reports: "The words 'extreme weather' are rarely associated in the mainstream media with another two words: "global warming." But scientists argue that these extreme weather events are consistent with changes they have long predicted would accompany global warming. Amy Goodman speaks to Joseph Romm of http://www.climateprogress.org/ and Perry Beeman of the Des Moines Register." Please go here to join Amy Goodman and Listen/Watch/Read: http://www.democracynow.org/2008/6/16/extreme_weather_global_warming
It has been amazing to me that there are still those who debate the existence of global warming. It is like debating that the Earth is flat. Gratefully, most recognize that it is greed which mobilizes behind this debate rather than fact. And there is, in my perspective, both a frightening and a hopeful side of this enormous issue we call global warming -- and that is exactly that global warming does threaten us all. No matter where we live and who we are - no matter what our nationality or religion, our gender or age, our race or ethnicity, our politics or sexual orientation or socio-economic class - all of humankind is threatened. Global warming knows no red states or blue states, no national borders, no Us or Them.
While presenting profound danger to life on Earth, there is also indeed this great potential opportunity and blessing to recognize that we are all in this together. The illusion of separateness disintegrates as this awareness and knowledge is experienced ... in our hearts. My vision is that generations to come will look back upon This Time as the Great Turning in which the crises of our day pushed humanity to a tipping point, a place in our evolution as a species in which we united behind the knowing that we all matter, we are all sacred, we are all connected, and we are capable of joining together to act on the behalf of all our brothers and sisters on Earth.
And once this tipping point is achieved, and indeed it is - I believe - right now Today, all things will be possible.
Peace and blessing,
Saturday, June 14, 2008
~ Jane Goodall Ph.D., DBE, Founder - the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I am very excited to announce the first Art From Our Hearts Art Show and Fundraiser:
* When: Saturday, June 28th from 10am to 4pm
* Where: Awakenings Wellness Center, 1016 SE 12th Ave. (between Belmont & Hawthorne)
* Website: www.artfromourhearts.org
* Contact: Wendy Bjornson -- (503) 245-3485 or email@example.com
There will be original art for sale along with a large assortment of cards, enlargements and giclee prints. Please visit the new website at www.artfromourhearts.org for a preview of the art itself and more about the fundraising. If you are interested in obtaining a flyer(s) for this event to post, please contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org or myself at email@example.com.
There are many who are inspired to step forward to offer their art for this occasion and to help make this event a success; it is my intention to contribute some of my jewelry and photography. But it is my sisters Wendy Bjornson, Olivia Oso, and Marsha Donner who are the ones who have given birth to this idea and who are gathering their beautiful art and bountiful hearts to make this important first time event a great success. Wendy, Olivia, and Marsha share that "Art From Our Hearts emerged from our desire to create art together and to share what we create to help change the world." For more about my friends and "Art From Our Hearts", please go here: http://www.artfromourhearts.org/about.html.
This year the funds raised will go to the building of a school for girls in Afghanistan or Pakistan through the Central Asia Institute. Please go here for more information on the Central Asia Institute and their work that is connected to the work of Greg Mortensen and his book Three Cups of Tea: www.ikat.org. It is very exciting to me that the proceeds from the art sales of this local fundraiser on June 28th "will to go to help young girls in these remote, impoverished villages become educated and help build their communities."
To learn more about the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin, please go here: http://www.threecupsoftea.com/. For Greg Mortensen's website, please go here: http://www.gregmortenson.com/.
However, you don't need to have read the book or know the story to come to the art show and contribute to an important cause. So, please come and bring your friends. Please also circulate this information to your networks to help more people find out about the art show. And, if you have some art you would like to show and contribute the proceeds to the school building fund, please let Wendy know.
In addition, for those not in this area or unable to attend this event, some of the original art will be coming available for purchase on-line. Please continue to check out the website as it develops.
It is said that as the girls and women of the world become empowered, unimaginable healing and positive planetary change will become possible. And as the related Penny's For Peace Program (which seeks to provide increased education for American children - http://www.penniesforpeace.org/home.html) states: "Our best hope for a peaceful and prosperous world lies in the education of all the world’s children. Through cross-cultural understanding and a solution-oriented approach, Pennies for Peace encourages American children, ultimately our future leaders, to be active participants in the creation of global peace." Education for all the children is key. Thank you for considering how you might help in this cause.
There are now available countless and powerful websites, articles, speeches, books, documentaries, and more which promote peace. This is one that has just recently come to my attention:
Address by Professor Lowitja O'Donoghue to the National Council of Churches in Australia
This has been a more difficult post to put together. In doing so, I am aware that most of you will already be very aware and knowledgeable about the propaganda, costs, and impact of war, occupation, and empire building. That said, several things moved me to do this post. As soon as I was home from work several days ago, my son Matt pulled me over to the computer to watch a Frontline episode that he had found in doing research for a paper for one of his college courses on the impact of war. (See the below Frontline: "The Soldiers Heart".) This also coincided with Matt's friend Dustin's return to Iraq following being home on an 18 day leave. My son has several friends who are in Iraq as I write this. Another experience that I had which motivated me to do this piece occurred at work as I met a man who works for a different agency who proudly shared with another co-worker and myself a framed photograph of his 19 year old son in Marine's uniform standing in front of an American flag; this man went on to share with pride that this son would soon be leaving for Iraq. And my heart sank as I stood there thinking that I would rather die than have any of my children participate in the war and occupation of Iraq. Quietly, in my heart, I wept for this man and his son.
Even though a vast majority of Americans now believe that we were misled into war and that the on-going occupation of Iraq needs to end, there still continues to remain millions of Americans who are uninformed about even basic information regarding these issues. This is not, from my perspective, at all related to any polarity of left/right, conservative/progressive, Republican/Democrat, etc. For these are human issues which affect us all, both here in America and around the world: the treason committed by a president who knowingly misled us into war, the American and Iraqi deaths and injuries, the destruction of a country and the profound refugee crisis created in its wake, the destabilization of the Middle East, the fueling of terrorism worldwide, the profound loss of positive regard created worldwide toward the American government, the destruction of the Earth, the depletion of resources, the costs to the American and global economies, the distraction from the true threats to our country and the planet, and on and on. The total costs of the war and occupation of Iraq is inconceivable to me. And tragic beyond description.
It is my experience that it takes both knowledge and courage to look at these things. It is my belief that part of the solution to these issues of profound importance is being able to name the problem, to clearly outline facts and present the faces of war, occupation, empire building -- AND describe the propaganda that has propelled us all to this national and planetary crisis. Of course, the below links are but a tiny glimpse into a much larger picture that I do not pretend to describe in detail here. But some of these facts and faces can be empowering to the shift toward peace that is at the heart of this message I share with you today. It is important to spread the word that approximately 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer PTSD or major depression. That's one of every five military men and women who have served over there. It is important to know that suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans who are seen in medical facilities. Author storyteller Michael Meade (http://www.mosaicvoices.org/) recently told me that he is seeing an even more traumatic impact than the Vietnam War with the Iraq War vets he is working with due to the high civilian deaths caused by our soldiers in missions that require them to do things such as kick down doors and invade people's homes. As the word continues to spread about the profound costs of war, occupation, and empire building, it is my belief that fewer parents will support their children going off to war and fewer messages promoting war and occupation will continue to circulate. It is my belief that, in the larger picture, we will increasingly be empowered to recognize propaganda as it chronically fed to us here in America and demand a government and a media who tells us the truth and supports the ideals we profess to live by.
Here are a few of the links which you may want to check out, if you already haven't, or pass on to others:
The National Priorities Project
Includes on-going war clock and gives more information on the cost of the war/occupation of Iraq: $4,681 per household, $1,721 per person, $341.4 million per day.
Cost of War and Nation Building
The Center For Public Integrity: The War Card - Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War
False Pretenses: Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Bush misused Iraq intelligence: Senate report
"The president and his advisors undertook a relentless public campaign in the aftermath of the (9/11) attacks to use the war against al-Qaeda as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein ... Representing to the American people that the two had an operational partnership and posed a single, indistinguishable threat was fundamentally misleading and led the nation to war on false premises." - Jay Rockefeller
McClellan and His Media Collaborators
Critical Voices on Scott McClellan
"In taking us to war in Iraq, not only were George Bush's allegation that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this country and his unmistakable allegation by implication that Hussein was involved in 9/11, false, but also and much more importantly, Bush knew that both allegations were untrue."
Frontline: "The Soldier's Heart"
Profiles veterans in a four areas - Homecoming, The Psychological Impact of Combat, Needing Help, A Need for Change.
"Invisible Wounds of War Study"
Since October 2001, approximately 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) in Afghanistan and Iraq. Early evidence suggests that the psychological toll of these deployments — many involving prolonged exposure to combat-related stress over multiple rotations — may be disproportionately high compared with the physical injuries of combat. Concerns have been most recently centered on two combat-related injuries in particular: post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. With the increasing concern about the incidence of suicide and suicide attempts among returning veterans, concern about depression is also on the rise.
"Wartime PTSD cases jumped nearly 50 pct. in 2007"
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of troops diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder jumped by roughly 50 percent in 2007, the most violent year so far in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon records show.
FOCUS Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: Memorial Day
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, writing for Truthout, say: "We honor our war dead this Memorial Day weekend. The greatest respect we could pay them would be to pledge no more wars for erroneous and misleading reasons; no more killing and wounding except for the defense of our country and our freedoms."
FOCUS Camillo "Mac" Bica: On This Memorial Day
Camillo "Mac" Bica, writing for Truthout, says: "For many of us who have known war, it has been years since we faced the insanity of man's inhumanity to man. Yet, it haunts us still. Not a day goes by, I think, that we do not recall the devastating screams of a comrade who died in our arms while taking and then giving back a useless and desolate hill top in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, or wake up screaming as we relive the horror of the bloodstained streets of Fallujah."
John Cory No Room on the Wall
John Cory, writing for Truthout, says: "Memorial Day is here, and with it the cheap carnival sales pitch of patriotism and sacrifice and paying the price for freedom. The sideshow of this holiday weekend will be the primary campaign pre-election blather and speeches about honoring the men and women who serve our nation. Nickel-and-dime phrase and praise, sleight of hand and tongue, to divert our eyes from the real issue of supporting our troops and veterans."
Memories of Iraq Haunted Soldier Until Suicide
Halimah Abdullah, reporting for McClatchy Newspapers, writes: "According to family members and police reports, on February 20, 2007, just a few months after being discharged from his second tour of duty in Iraq, Sgt. Brian Rand smoked half of a cigarette as he wrote a suicide note, grabbed a gun and went to the Cumberland River Center Pavilion in Clarksville, Tennessee. As the predawn dark pressed in, he breathed in the wintry air and stared out at the park where he and his wife, Dena, had married."
From IAVA - Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America -
"RAND Releases Ground-Breaking Study on Veterans' Health" : http://www.iava.org/component/option,com_/Itemid,105/option,content/task,view/id,2729/
VA Watchdog: http://www.vawatchdog.org/
IVAW - Iraq Veterans Against the War: http://ivaw.org/
West Point Graduates Against the War: http://www.westpointgradsagainstthewar.org/ (I believe that my grandfather - who graduated from West Point in 1911, was a Brigadier General who fought in both World Wars, and who we buried at West Point on his 99th birthday - would be proud of these graduates and their commitment to honor and truth.)
No More Victims: http://www.nomorevictims.org/
No More Victims works to obtain medical sponsorships for war-injured Iraqi children and to forge ties between the children, their families and communities in the United States. - "We believe one of the most effective means of combating militarism is to focus on direct relief to its victims. "
Revealed: Secret Plan to Keep Iraq Under US Control
Patrick Cockburn, of The Independent UK: "A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November. The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country."
Dahr Jamail: Winter Soldiers Hit the Streets
SEATTLE - In a clear change of strategy to energise public anti-war sentiment, Iraq veterans led a determined demonstration of hundreds through the streets of downtown Seattle last Saturday, following regional Winter Soldier hearings at the Seattle Town Hall.
Chris Hedges: Collateral Damage -- What It Really Means When America Goes to War
Troops, when they battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are placed in "atrocity producing situations." Being surrounded by a hostile population makes simple acts, such as going to a store to buy a can of Coke, dangerous. The fear and stress push troops to view everyone around them as the enemy. The hostility is compounded when the enemy, as in Iraq, is elusive, shadowy and hard to find. The rage soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed, over time, to innocent civilians who are seen to support the insurgents.