Saturday, March 29, 2008

To Get My Street Cred Back...

I promise, IVAW isn't always sappy.

Thanks, Kris, for helping me to prove it.

On the non-IVAW side of the house and related to Things That Are Angry, Calm Before the Sand has returned from Iraq and resumed blogging again, and his posts are real doozies, from talking about those who would glorify war in fiction to his post on the 4000th death in Iraq, which deserves not just a link but a quote:

It hasn't ended. It's not going to end. Don't talk to me about "honoring the sacrifice of our veterans." I sacrificed, without complaint, and you pissed on it. You threatened my life, threatened my career, told me I was a lesser human being for speaking out. No, I say: you don't get to say a word. YOU are no longer a part of this conversation. For five years, FIVE YEARS, we listened to you in your cries for more blood, more treasure. We bowed to your dreams of secular Arab utopia, and look what our passivity has wrought.

I'd also like to introduce a new active duty soldier with IVAW Fort Hood. Name is confidential, but I have high hopes for this self-starter, who also happens to be pretty damn funny.

This should be a wakeup call to the millions of Americans who don't even care enough to register to vote, let alone get off their asses and protest. This war will not end itself. Congress will not write itself and Washington, DC will not fill itself with people against this immoral, illegal war, and the "man" who started it. Don't throw your voice away! Don't wait for this November to come around. If our ancestors had this "wait it out" mentality, we'd all have a bunch of British soldiers sipping our tea living in our houses.

Winter Soldier: The Sappy Post

Thank you.
To every one of the hundreds of servicemembers and veterans of IVAW who were able to physically join us, thank you.
Thank you to those who took part in the photo, as well as to those who were still sleeping in, working on the media team, the testimonial team, the logistics team, or any other team I've forgotten that were too busy running around getting all the work done to take part in an attempted group picture.

Some of you are going to accuse me of being too sappy, but I'm going to say it: we are forever bonded. You will always be my family. No matter what position you happen to fill in that family (and yes, annoying little sister and obnoxious big brother are both already filled), or even if you become that alcoholic uncle no one likes to talk about, we will always be family. Any of you can always come knocking on my door at three in the morning. Come tired, and I'll give you a bed. Come hungry, and I will feed you. Come sober, and I'll give you a beer if you want one.

Remember that this is only the beginning. Remember that the St. Crispin's Day speech could as easily apply to this as to a battle. Remember that even if the music is corny, it is absolutely right: we have a sacred charge; we have a duty; our honor compels that we will change the world and make it better.

I love you all.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jason Mattera and Selective Reporting

It's come to my attention through Michelle Malkin and Jon Lilyea of This Aint Hell, that Mr. Mattera, whom I met at Winter Soldier wearing a media badge, had done a piece about Winter Soldier and asking various individuals whether they would sign affidavits.

An exciting story, some might say, especially those from the pro-war side. It's billed as IVAW on the whole being unwilling to sign affidavits. It would be an exciting story, and quite a scoop for Mr. Mattera....

...if it were true.

Those of you who have encountered me know many things about me. One of which is that I do not hesitate to call people out on both sides when I have personal knowledge of a situation. Another is that I don't call people out unless I'm sure they're in some way being deceptive. I invited and hosted conservative milbloggers, and while I might not be happy with all of their stories, it was not my place to make editorial comments.

One thing you may not know about me, and you certainly would never get a hint from the story that Jason Mattera ran, is that I, too, had the dubious pleasure of being interviewed by him.

Mr. Mattera didn't seem to enjoy the interview, though. After all, I said in the first few minutes that I had signed sworn statements, and while I couldn't produce them immediately, I was happy to do so again. In fact, anyone who ever wants me to swear to anything I say, break out the forms and witnesses, and I'm happy to get them done. I also talked about patriotism, and loving America, and pride in the Army. As this conversation went on, Mr. Mattera appeared to get a bit of a sour taste in his mouth. It's almost as though that weren't the story he wanted to hear. While he reluctantly agreed with me that America was in fact the greatest country in the world and it was our responsibility to keep it that way, I had a sense that he couldn't wait to put down the mike and the videocamera, and leave me for more tempting pastures.

Mr. Mattera, unlike certain other gentlemen, greatly ignored the rules of the event. If you look at the video, you will see him interviewing Jason Hurd by what looks like Jason Hurd's POV. This would be in the makeshift parking lot. That means that he broke outside of the main hall and harassed people getting things from their cars to do interviews. Why might he do a thing like that, when there were literally hundreds of IVAW members in the main halls? Probably because he wasn't getting the answers he wanted. The answers he had to selectively cut and paste to even attempt to make a video, that doesn't really say what he wants it to say.

Mr. Mattera, one might ask why my voice and those others who stated they would be happy to sign statements on the spot weren't included? You accuse IVAW of selectively choosing what they present, yet you are guilty of the same thing yourself. Most of what you have to show is people saying "I can't speak for other people". Not them saying they wouldn't do anything, but them saying they can't advise anyone else on what to do. Because it's frankly not their business. They're speaking for self, something I was always taught to do in the military.

I've left some comments on this video, and I've also taken the step of calling the YAF and asking to speak to Mr. Mattera. He declined to take my call, but I have left my telephone number on his voicemail. We'll see if I get a call back-but somehow I doubt it, given the extreme lack of journalistic integrity Mr. Mattera has displayed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

After Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier. I really need to blog about it in depth. To blog about everything that happened, everything it meant, the ups and the downs, the wild whirlwind it was. (I can afford to get lyrical, now that I'm publicly out as being female. You can all live with it.)

But I can't just yet. It really was too intense. I know a lot of people elsewhere in the blogosphere are laughing at the thought that mental health folk might be needed. I know a lot of people are talking negatively about the VVAW providing security and in some cases mental health assistance.

But mentally strong as I would consider myself to be, the pace of Winter Soldier and the emotional, mental, and physical requirements inherent in it nearly broke me down. And a very kind VVAW gentleman, whose name I wish I could remember, helped me up. It really helped to have the older vets explaining that they had lived with these things for years, and some of them had found solutions to them.

When you put a whole bunch of people with PTSD together and throw them into a stressful situation that forces a lot of reliving things people would prefer to forget, it's pretty tough. Someone elsewhere commented on the fact that the audiences for the panels were not mainly OIF/OEF vets. This is true-primarily because the OIF/OEF vets had the majority of recent experience with combat and conflict and simply could not sit through the testimony about it comfortably . You take someone with PTSD and offer them a chance to sit through a two hour presentation guaranteed to trigger it, let alone many of them, many of them will say, "Thank you, but no thank you." It's simply self-survival. I don't know a single IVAW member who sat through every panel. This reason is and was a major factor. People were pretty hyped up just having to talk about things.

For me personally, it was also a very different experience: appearing publicly meant that you are, quite simply, public. There's no way to avoid it. All of us were interviewed six ways from Sunday, including by quite a persistent conservative gentleman, who seemed actually disappointed that I loved my country and was quite willing to swear to anything I said under oath, and had already filed sworn statements on some of my intended subject matter. Denis, I think you may have given him unrealistic expectations.

On the subject of interviews: I really can't speak many of the languages that I was apparently interviewed by and translated into. So I will have to rely on the Babelfish translation of one or two of the interviews, when I state the following corrections:

First, and most important, I do not "prefer" to speak English. I speak English. I prefer to speak English only in the sense that I prefer to speak rather than remain silent. This is much in the same sense that I prefer to eat food rather than starve, and wear clothing rather than run around naked. I do not have any other languages fluently. While I speak bits and pieces of Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Korean, Spanish, and German, if I am required to do anything rather than curse, ask for the bathroom, or talk like a three year old, I must use English, because it is the only language I have the ability to do it in.

Secondly, my family also did not 'flee the revolution in 1979'. In 1979, my father and mother, who are both native-born Americans, born in Brooklyn, New York, which I understand can occasionally seem like another country to those of you not fond of NYC, were probably eating pizza in their Brooklyn apartment. Their parents were in fact immigrants. However, it was over fifty years ago.

If any of this is inaccurate and I am maligning the paper which published this, I blame Babelfish. Or perhaps, my decision to speak in my 'preferred' English. Otherwise, there could be a great article on how I love Taco Bell, I feel so-so, I do not love the war, and it is very cold outside. Perhaps there would have even been time for a fascinating detour into the exciting world of where precisely the library is, and how my house would be their house.

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.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Official Statement and Apology: Updated

The previous actions were in fact a temporary measure until our internal process of handling disciplinary actions could complete. That process has resolved, and the final decision is as follows:

Jonathan De Wald's membership has been terminated, and he is no longer a member of IVAW.

Evan Knappenberger's membership has been indefinitely suspended.

We are currently working on getting these people the peer support and assistance that they need to preclude future incidents from occuring. Peer support and assistance will also be available at Winter Soldier, for any members or veterans who may be suffering from PTSD or anger-related issues which are surfacing or worsening through this intense process.


While this blog is not primarily an official blog, and often veers into the personal, I would like to put my official hat on and make the following statement on behalf of Iraq Veterans Against the War. The sentiments and official position are IVAW's, the wording is mine. I am currently travelling with little internet access, and will be unable to respond to posted comments. If you would like a personal response or have questions or concerns about this post, please email armysergeant (at) ivaw (dot) org, and I will be able to email you a response promptly.

Iraq Veterans Against the War does not condone threats of violence or violence against idealogical opponents, for Winter Soldier or for any other event.

Iraq Veterans Against the War and I personally have invited a number of military and veteran bloggers to attend Winter Soldier, because it is an event for military and veterans. Some of those bloggers support the war in Iraq. Some do not. All of these bloggers will be safe and welcomed at Winter Soldier as fellow servicemembers and veterans. They will be blogging from an enclosed space with controlled access, and security personnel will be there for their safety and to help alleviate any concerns. I will also give my personal word of honor as a non-commissioned officer as a guarantor for the safety of any bloggers under my charge.

It is unfortunate that certain individual members of IVAW have chosen to make threatening statements on the internet. These statements were made by individuals and are not representative of IVAW. While many were in fact likely spurred by anger at an assortment of threats made by Gathering of Eagles members, among other pro-war individuals (though I do not currently have time to list them, I am aware of the request made by a pro-war blogger and will in fact update this post with specifics by COB tomorrow), that only explains but does not excuse the conduct. We still hold all of our members to a high standard, and all attendees for Winter Soldier must read and follow the Code of Conduct.

Two members have been identified as making personal threats recently. One has been requested not to attend Winter Soldier, and the other situation is currently being handled internally.

Those of you who have served in the military know that you accept responsibility for all under your command, even actions specifically against your wishes or orders. As such, though the situations are far less exact than I would like, I would like to apologize both personally and professionally to Michelle Malkin, Robin, Nicki, Thus Spake Ortner, and Jonn Lilyea and others for the actions of these members, and assure the public that steps are being taken to ensure this does not occur again.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bloggers: Attention

I'm on leave starting today and extending through Winter Soldier. While you would ordinarily think that this would give me a good deal of time to handle everything, you would be greatly mistaken: I'll be driving through several states, meeting and helping members, assisting chapters with GI outreach, etc. As such, while I will still be taking care of my bloggers, I probably won't be responding to everyone's posts, links, etc. If something really needs a look, please email it to me. I can access email from my cellphone.

Absolutely crucial: what I need from you:

If you are an already coordinated blogger (yes, this includes you, Jonn, if you can abide by the CoC), I need you to go to the Winter Soldier Media Registration form and enter your information. Be sure to state that you have already coordinated through me, so that you can be matched against my list. If you are active duty military or an OIF/OEF veteran, you can STILL REGISTER. Other vets, sorry, you guys had lots of time and some of you have already contacted me. I can only make this exception for current military or recent vets. Email me at armysergeant (at) and scan me in your information, and we can work something out. Media registration closes Monday, though, so there's not too much time for you to make up your mind. Limited seats are still available for active duty and OIF/OEF veterans who are not blogging as well. Email me.

Remember that there is a code of conduct in place. If you attend, you will be expected to abide by it. What this means for some of my more conservative bloggers? For one, you cannot be disruptive at the proceedings, and you cannot engage with those who are. If you come with a friend, and that friend subsequently starts causing a ruckus, you will need to immediately back off and encourage your friend to cooperate with security to avoid being tarred with the same brush. If someone at the event begins using abusive language to you, do not get involved in it: simply contact security and let them know about the problem.

Events on one day will be applied to other days. For example, you cannot be out on Friday yelling obscenities at members outside the gates, and then Saturday expect to waltz inside, because it is a different day and you didn't insult anyone's mother that day. That is pushing forbearance more than just a little, and will not be permitted.

Also, if you have not brought or previously submitted your bona fides, you will not be permitted in. It doesn't matter how far you've traveled.

There will be wi-fi available. Anyone needing special accomodations, please let me know via email.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Some Useful Army and DoD Regulations: A Reference

Many servicemembers, veterans, and civilians alike remain confused on what precisely is permissable if one wants to uphold "the law" (i.e. regulations). This confusion intimidates many servicemembers, who falsely believe they are not allowed a lot of things, simply because someone, somewhere, told them they signed away their constitutional rights by joining the Army.

I hope to set that straight with this: a reference guide to a few useful Army regulations.

Since the first thing everybody loves to hit IVAW on is wearing the uniforms at IVAW events:

30–1. Occasions of ceremony

a. As used in this regulation, the phrase “occasions of ceremony” means occasions essentially of a military character, at which the uniform is more appropriate than civilian clothing. These functions include, but are not limited to: military balls, military parades, weddings, and military funerals; memorial services, meetings and conferences; or functions of associations formed for military purposes, of which the membership is composed largely or entirely of current or honorably discharged veterans of the Armed Forces or reserve components. Authority to wear the uniform includes wear while traveling to and from the ceremony or function, provided the travel in uniform can be completed on the day of the ceremony or function.

Was this written for IVAW? In all honesty, I must confess no! This was probably written for organizations like the Audie Murphy society, or the VFW, or associations of certain units. But whether they intended it for us or not, the fact is that it still applies, and they cannot deny it to us without denying it to all. IVAW is an organization largely made up of active duty or honorably discharged veterans of the Armed Forces of active components. It holds many events at which the uniform is more appropriate than civilian clothing: such as ruck marches, military training simulations such as Operation First Casualty, etc. So long as the uniform is being worn correctly, this is entirely legal.

You will see this exhibited often for things like runs, as well, where without specific permission from the commander, Army soldiers will run in their PTs, simply because they can't imagine anything more appropriate for running than PTs. Or, for example, the Bataan Memorial Death March, which does not require you to receive permission from your commander, but allows active duty and veterans to attend in uniform-because it is an event essentially of a military character.

While your commander might no doubt sputter over this, the fact is that even though they are entirely different in his mind, they are not entirely different in the actual rules set down.

Then there's DoDI 1334.1(2005): Wearing of the Uniform

3.1. The wearing of the uniform by members of the Armed Forces (including retired members and members of Reserve components) is prohibited under any of the following circumstances:

3.1.1. At any meeting or demonstration that is a function of, or sponsored by an organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons that the Attorney General of the United States has designated, under Executive Order 10450 as amended (reference (c)), as (long list exerpted)

IVAW has not been designated by the Attorney General as a group which is to be avoided. IVAW seeks to enable others to their rights under the Constitution, and is a patriotic organization.

3.1.2. During or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn.

If it is quite clear that there is no inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest, then this does not apply. I'm not sure who might think that the Army does sponsor IVAW members, as the Army's official policy is pretty pro-Iraq-war at the moment, but just in case, members are usually pretty clear to make the differentiation.

3.1.3. Except when authorized by the approval authorities in subparagraph 4.1.1., when participating in activities such as unofficial public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or any public demonstration, which may imply Service sanction of the cause for which the demonstration or activity is conducted.

Once again, I repeat my commentary. The key words there, I believe are "Which may imply Service sanction of the cause". If the servicemember has taken actions to ensure that it cannot be mistaken for service sanction of the cause, they should be in the clear. The problem isn't servicemembers being political: it's them being perceived as an official movement. Of course, no one tries to do this to pro-war supporters. I don't notice that guy who spoke at a Bush rally getting prosecuted (and that falls under some other regs on partisan political activity, too!)

Now, I'm beat, I'm going to let all of you legal eagles try to pick this apart at your leisure. I need to sack out for a bit before work. I've got more to talk about, but it'll have to be later.