Saturday, March 15, 2008


Cost of War. It's the second panel I've had the chance to sit down and watch from start to finish.

Margaret Stevens is the chair of the panel. "Who pays for the war? We see it with education cuts, healthcare cuts, every aspect of federal funding. These are the people who are paying for the war. You see it in the mortgage crisis." As important is how you justify the cuts.

We need to think and beware of greeks bearing gifts. WHoever wins, we need to think about who doesn't win. Pennsylvania and nj THE guardsemen had a minirevolt because they had been stoplossed. THey were only supposd to be fighting for three years. they were fighting for five. It was put down, but they won their beneifts.

Adrienne Kinne

Carlos Arredondo, son Alex was killed Najaf August 25 2004. Member of MFSO.

Fernando Suarez de Sola.

Nancy Lessen and Charley Richardson-cofounders of MFSO. Charley's son served with USMC in spring 2003. They formed it Nov 2002 with one other family. MFSO now includes 3800 military families from every state. Largest organization of military families speaking out against the war in the history of the country.

Brooke Sunket.

Catherine lutz."An empire of bases.

Adrienne: i served in USA 1994-1998 arabic linguist in MI. 1998 transferred to us ARMY RESERVES activated shortly after 9/11, stationed stateside as voice intercepter. Serving in MI both before and after, saw distinct changes in how our military intelligence conducted itself. Before 9/11 in initial active duty tour. One of the costs to the war is the cost to our freedom and our constitution. In MI there are specific guidelines. one of those is USSID 18. It says that in an effort to uphold US constitutional rights, US cannot collect on americans. In 1997, I intercepted a radio transmission of a middle eastern entity which referenced the name of an american diplomat visiting the middle east. Because an american's name was referenced, we decided to delete every record.

(break computer died)

Red cross/red crescent, rather than block their phone number, we continued to collect. REasons we were given was that they were eyes on the ground, and as they were going through Iraq, they might happen upon WMD and give their location. We could collect in case they referenced WMDS. THe organization could potentially lose their phone, and it could be picked up by a terrorist and they could start using it, we had to maintain coverage on those phone numbers just in case. This kind of came to a head sometime 2002 when I was listening to a conversation between british aid worker and american aid worker. They weren't talkng about relevance, it was so irrelevant I can't remember it. I remember british said to american. you should be careful what you say because the americans are listening. The american thinking he was protected, said, no, they can't collect against mje because I'm an american citizen and I am protected by USSID 18. I thought that might be of some relevance. Either the person was prior military which is very likely or, we came to find out most aid workers know about ussid q18 because they know their rights are being iolated. I drew that cut to my officer, everyone was in a miniuproar because the american referenced ussid 18 to a nonamerican. They said the American had committed some form of treason by referencing ussid 18 to a british, an ally, person. After that there was all this hubbub about whether we should be doing this anymore. I don't know, I was a collector and wasn't allowed to ask questions. My job was to collect and pass the info on. Shortly after we were told we were given a waiver, that we could collect on americans in the middle east. This included people in the middle east calling their family members in the US. We could hear both sides of the conversation, but we were told that to protect the americans in the uS, we would just not add hteir half to the report. Why it matters as to where an american is as to whether their rights are protected, I do not know. Apparently I've been reviewing the changes that have been happening, all this is no longer a verbal waiver, it is now legal. Our government is using these occupations to destroy our constitutional rights as americans. It is personally I think impeachable. (applause) I could kind of go through different instances where information was collec`ted where we could have known it was misinformation we passed it on anyway, but more importantly I want to speak to that it is not only our (servicmemebers) fighting in iraq and afghanistan supporting these wars, it is every single member of the military, stateside or abroad, intercepting transmissions, by serving in the military we are all supporting hte occupations. I think it's incredibly important for us all to recognize. Put so much on the shoulders of our veterans who have witnessed in iraq and afghanistan and act like they are the only ones who have the burdens of ending these occupations. I having served many years before iraq afghanistan and iraq am so sorry that through my service i in any way shape or form supported these wars which put you all in such horrible horrible horrible positions. (chokes up) (standing o)AND i JUST wanted to say it's ironic, could be using it inapproprately, served for 10 years, and it's only since IVAW that I feel like I've done anything good.

Carlos Arredondo: look at the screens. This is my family, this is my dream (pictures of families) born in costa rica, trieed to do the best I can to take care of my family (pictures show child, children, clown face, bab) my sons are my american dreams, they are my greatest teachers. (graduation photo) this is alexander. Many o you go through this moment recruiters seduced him with 20 thousand cash to sign up so many thousands of dollars for him to go in the military at the age of 17 they only require one parent to sign for him to join up. They didn't have the respect to ask me if it is okay for him to do. Send sons with fake promises my son never had the opportunity for cash, for school, you go to a community college, they didn't tell him, my son , one more victim illegal immoral war, (photo of alex) (alex with other soldiers) testimony, alex wrote many poems. (letter excerpts) "tomight we were in a caer cash we picked up a guy with a grenande clipped on his waistband one of the police got shot in the heart. "a friend of mine was killed" (pictures) an najaf) carried in truck (heavy pack, open to street) "It looks like I'm to be stuck in Iraq forever" (letter) (photo of him in platoon) His letters start changing from proud, to honor, to miserable. "I'm sick of all the bullshit these civilians are pulling. It's going to get one of them shot. It's not just shomalie it's all of hillah and it's even wors up north this morning." (photo of alex aiming weapon) alexander was struck by bullet in left temple opened his head inch and half. alex was that day 20 years 20 days. He was hoping not (photo of alex with platoon) many come back with broken hearts and broken minds. Many come to VA system, if my son were alive, but now he is resting in peace (picture of marines carrying coffins) going to fifth anniversary 4000 casualties, only in iraq, no mention of people in other wars. (casket photo of son) this picture teaches me a lot, this is the cost of the war at home. My son lance corporal arredondo is lying in open casket, I am so lucky, many families do not have the opportunity for open casket. My heart goes to every single one. (photo of bburning van) this is what happened when they came to notify of death of son THat day was my birthday. I saw them coming, they delivered the news, the ptsd they also affect families, they never did anything they intent to leave, I ended up inside that van, 2 and 3 degrees, a week later I buried my son in boston, many families go through the notification moments, come to tell you, this is only one, this is what happened to my family. (photo of camp ale) week in hospital, 43,000, didn't have the money, they liened my house. This is how I grieve my son, this is my loss.

(photo of coffin) families are going through as we speak, may of us working very hard. (standing ovation) (something is shouted in spanish. I don't speak spanish)

video being played of man speaking, sounds like he's talking through water. Video needs to be restarted. Technical difficulties. "it's okay, continue video. When I visited Iraq" I need to see the place my son died. I need to show that the ordinary people do not support the war. Iraqi people lost a member of their family, american people lost a member of the war. Opportunity to meet with family.

IT made me crazy. Carlos entered the fire, I have the other reaction, the baby did not understand. Grandson to the park, play with him, he is mine. I don't have an opportunity to cry for my son. Government told me he died shot to the head. It is impossible for you to see the body because his face is destroyed. But my son did not die from a shot in the head. He stepped on an illegal American cluster bomb, waited two hours. I miss my son. I cry every single day for jesus. August 27 it is five years my son died in iraq. I come here with IVAW, I see Camilo, I see Juan, I see Jethro, I see Jesus. This is my new family. My sons my daughers, Iraq veterans against the war. I have some problems with his mother, when I began to speak out, I divorce. I am cashier, I am newspaper deliver, I have a job. But when he died, it is necessary to have more school. No more bombs. THe family (does not) understand me. It is destroying me. I have opportunity today I have a new wife, it is only one story, carlos is the other story. We have almost 4000 stories today. FIve years. How many more stories you need? how many more blood need the american people to stand up with IVAW with the families, how many more years- (half-standing-o) tired, five years, every single day, rallies, people continue die, children continue die because my government destroyed my grandson and rachel. My government destroyed your life. Please. Join together for peace and love. Thanks so much. (standing o)

Nancy Lessen, on behalf of MFSO wants to say to IVAW what an honor it is to be witness to profound and historic event, honor to work with you in bringing this horrific era to an end. We are your families, and you are our hearts. MFSO drumbeats for war deafening, all..(AGH SHE IS GIVING A SPEECH AND I CANNOT KEEP UP TYPING A SPEECH! ARGH!) loved ones volutneered, we told them about contracts, day jobs in lbor movements, (she is talking very fast) contracts have two sides, implied vow is that you will never be sent into harm's way for no good reason, side broken, brought a lawsuit against Bush and Rumsfeld, sought restraining order to prohibit invasion of Iraq went two rounds in first circuit court. failed march 18 bombs dropped march 19. racism plus dehumanization equals horror. Early on in the invasion got emails like this "son will be leaving for iraq within the month. said he'd be willing to kill any muslim woman and children, anyone whose skin is brown. ironically he is asian, his skin is very brown. ..don't understand who this person is becoming. troops putting laxatives. Heard cadences about kiling grandmothers and children, bitch in a box, iraqis are put in trunks and driven around in 120 degree heat. Asked one of our members to write something for our loved ones about not losing our humanity. Standoff had written an open letter to gIs hold onto your humanity. Never under any obligation to hate, never under any obligation to let them drive out hte last vestiges of you to see and tell the truth. you do not owe them your souls. come back safe and come back sane. we want you to come back and look them in the face, do not lose your souls in the dust, they are like a nother corpse, hold onto your humanity. No wisdom to offer. Not to let his guard down. Do what he needed to do and maintain his moral compass I asked my nineteen year old son..Next to last hug of eric, I left his tears on my right shoulder, he left his on my left shoulder.

I have to step out. Scratch what I said about covering an entire panel, I guess.


Just A Decurion said...

OK, so war is hell. LTG Sherman made that point years ago.

What's the point, though?

Earl said...

The people talking have opinions and are voicing them, and I get a clearer picture of their feelings than waiting for the evening news to cover it, or the Democrats for ditching the whole thing...


Thus Spake Ortner said...

OK, so now do you feel my pain? My hands were killing me after typing non-stop on Friday.

You people talk REALLY fast.

streetsweeper95B said...


Excellent! Well done! Owe you more than one....*tip of my hat*

Army Sergeant said...

I think the point is that war is hell, and is only justifiable if it is a just and righteous cause. If not, war is never worth the cost.

Also, yes, yes, TSO, I accept the typing pain.