"Winter Soldier Northwest": Veterans' testimonies in Portland Sat Oct 18

Chris Lowe

The original Winter Soldier hearings were held by Vietnam veterans opposed to that war in 1971, including a young John Kerry.

In March 2008 Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) organized new Winter Soldier hearings near Washington D.C., on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Since then regional hearings have been held around the country.

The name "Winter Soldier" comes from the beginning of Thomas Paine's pamphlet The Crisis, written in December 1776 as the Continental Army was trying to survive the first winter of the American Revolution at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania:

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Winter Soldier expresses the idea that opposition to unjust war by those who have experienced it first hand, despite the great costs to themselves of such opposition, reflects the highest service and most courageous patriotism they can offer their country and humanity.

This Saturday, October 18, there will be Winter Soldier testimonies at the First Unitarian Church (doors open at 11:30 a.m., panels 12:30-5 p.m.), followed in the evening by "Voices of Resistance," a cultural event from 7-9 p.m. These Winter Soldier events are being organized by the PDX Peace Coalition, with the endorsement and central participation of the Seattle chapter of IVAW, Military Families Speak Out Oregon, and Veterans for Peace chapters in Portland, Corvallis and Seattle.

Winter Soldier testimonies and reports will be heard from veterans from Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere, of members of military families, Iraqi civilians and refugees, and academic experts on Afghanistan and suicide among veterans. Among those participating will be Camilo Mejia, the first member of the U.S. military to refuse deployment to Iraq and be prosecuted, and Dahr Jamail, a journalist who has covered the occupation of Iraq from an independent standpoint not embedded within the U.S. military.

"Voices of Resistance" will feature poetry readings by veterans, a spoken-word performance Good Sista/Bad Sista, Walidah and Turiya, locally-based performance poets who have traveled throughout the country sharing their voice and vision, and music by David Rovics. Rovics has been called the "peace poet and troubadour of our time" by Cindy Sheehan and the "musical version of Democracy Now" by Amy Goodman.

Winter Soldier Northwest aims to provide information and education to the general public. More particularly it aims to offer resources and support to veterans of the conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan, to military families, and to members of the military who are considering or engaging in war resistance or want information about their rights in the face of phenomena like multiple deployments, "stop-loss" coerced service, violence within the military including sexual assault, and missing or inadequate support for physical or psychological injuries. One possible outcome of the hearings may be the formation of a Portland chapter of IVAW, with support from the Seattle chapter as well as local peace/anti-war groups, if there is interest.

Please come, and please spread the word to anyone who might be interested.


Winter Soldier Speakers

Panel 1: Voices of Veterans From Iraq & Afghanistan (12:30-2:15)

Chris Arendt, served in the Army National Guard and was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he witnessed the dehumanization and mistreatment of prisoners. He is a member of IVAW Chicago.
Jan Critchfield, a specialist with the Army National Guard who served as an army “journalist” while attached to the 1st Cavalry in Baghdad during 2004. His unspoken job in Iraq was to "counter the liberal media bias" about the occupation. He is a member of IVAW Seattle.
Joseph Holness, from Gresham, Oregon served eight years in the US Army in Iraq and nine years with the US Air Force Reserves supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Evan Knappenberger, served one year in Iraq with the Army 4th Infantry Division working as an intelligence analyst; held one week long “Tower Guard Vigils” in Bellingham, WA and Washington, DC to call attention to the STOP-LOSS policy.
David Mann, was an Army Specialist whose Army occupation was mainly working on the Army radios. He was deployed to Nasiriyah, Iraq in 2003 and stop lossed for a second deployment to Balad, Iraq in 2005. He is a member of IVAW Denver.
Seth Manzel, an Army sergeant who served as a vehicle commander and machine gunner in Iraq. Member of IVAW Seattle.
Camilo Mejia, a National Guard staff sergeant who after fighting for five months in Iraq, became the first combat soldier to refuse to go back to Iraq. He now serves as Chair of the Board of Iraq Veterans Against the War and is the author of Road from ar Ramadi.
Josh Simpson, spent six years in the US Army as a counterintelligence agent including a one year tour in Mosul, Iraq. He is now involved with the GI voice project, Port Militarization Resistance, and making Olympia a sanctuary city for war resisters and undocumented immigrants. He is a member of IVAW Olympia.
Chanan Suarezdiaz, a Navy hospital corpsman and purple heart recipient who served in Ramadi from September 2004 to February 2005 with a weapons company. He is now the Seattle Chapter president of IVAW.
• and more local veterans to be announced.

Panel 2: The Human Costs of War (2:30-3:45)

Ahmed Abed, father of Mustafa Abed, an Iraqi child who was injured by an American air raid and is currently receiving medical care in Portland through the No More Victims project.
Dr. Baher Butti, formerly the chief psychiatrist at a mental health clinic Baghdad, now an Iraqi refugee and faculty member at the OHSU School of Medicine.
Mary Geddry, member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) Oregon and mother of a Marine son who served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist who spent a total of 8 months as an unembedded reporter in occupied Iraq. He has written for Mother Jones and The Nation, among other publications, and has provided radio reports on Democracy Now! and the BBC. Author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq.
Dr. Mark Kaplan, Professor in the Department of Community Health - Urban & Public Affairs at Portland State University who has conducted research on suicide rates among male veterans.
Adele Kubein, Military Families Speak Out Oregon chapter president, mother of an Iraq war veteran.
Sara Rich, M.S.W., anti-war activist and spokesperson for Courage to Resist; mother of Eugene Iraq war vet & war resister Suzanne Swift.
Dr. Zaher Wahab, Professor of Education at Lewis & Clark College; serves as a senior advisor to the Minister of Higher Education in Afghanistan, and has been spending about five months annually in that country since 2002.

Panel 3: Building Resistance to War (4:00-5:00)

Leah Bolger, Veterans for Peace Chapter 132 from Corvallis, on the statewide effort to keep Oregon's National Guard in Oregon.
Gerry Condon, refused orders to Vietnam and deserted from the Army in 1969. He lived in Sweden and Canada for six years before returning to the U.S. to organize for amnesty for all war resisters. For the last five years he has been working with Iraq War resisters in Canada. He directs Project Safe Haven and works with the War Resister Support Action Team of VFP Ch. 92 in Seattle.
Adriana Moyola, is a Mexican born woman who came to the United States in search of a better life. She joined the Army Reserve in 2000 right after high school. In 2006 she resisted deployment to Iraq. She will speak on her experience as a war resister and on building an Oregon IVAW Chapter.
Daniel Shea, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 on the PDX Peace campaign to make Portland a Sanctuary City for War Resisters.
Michael William, Army National Guardsmen who went AWOL, IVAW Northwest Regional Coordinator.
• and more discussion of local actions we can take to support veterans, refugees and end the war.


Time and Place

Winter Solider Northwest: Eyewitness Accounts of War
Where: First Unitarian Church 1011 SW 12th Street (at Main), Portland Oregon
When: Saturday, October 18 12:30-5:00 (doors open at 11:30)
Topics include: Veterans' Voices from Iraq and Afghanistan, Human Costs of War and Building Resistance to War.
Cost: $5-10 sliding scale, no one turned away.

Voices of Resistance
Where: First Unitarian Church 1011 SW 12th Street (at Main), Portland Oregon
When: Saturday, October 18. Doors open at 6:30
Cost: Free to Winter Soldier attendees. For others, sliding scale $10-15, no one turned away.

Sponsored by: PDX Peace Coalition, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) Seattle Chapter, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, Military Families Speak Out Oregon, American Friends Service Committee, American Iranian Friendship Council, Code Pink Portland, First Unitarian Church Peace Action Committee, International Socialist Organization (ISO) Portland Chapter, KBOO Community Radio 90.7 FM, MoveOn Portland, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Peace Memorial Park Foundation of Portland, People of Faith for Peace, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, Recruiter Watch PDX, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Vancouver for Peace, Veterans Bridge Fund, War Resisters League Portland and more.

(Full Disclosure: I serve on the Coordinating Committee of the PDX Peace Coalition and am part of the task force that has organized these events.)

Comments

  • Ray Duray (unverified)
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    Chris,

    Thank you so very much for your efforts to end imperialist criminality! I've been working at the same in Bend for a long time. Here's a report on one of my efforts.

    Today in my email inbox I got a very interesting communication. It follows:

    [COPY] How would your mind perceive the following sequence of events if you were watching this unfold in another country?

    Supreme Court judges betray their oath and prevent votes from being counted in a national election to install an unelected president. (Coordinated nationwide election fraud provides him a second term.)

    Nine months later a spectacular mass murder takes place in a major city that involves three skyscrapers imploding into their own footprints within ten seconds each, pulverizing all of the non-metallic constituents into a fine powder that covers the city. Evidence from the crime scene is immediately removed and the unelected regime obstructs investigation into the crime for over one year. Without evidence or trial, foreign patsies are blamed for the crime by a Commission appointed by the unelected president. The unelected president and his regime relentlessly invoke the memory of this shocking event to justify:

    The most radical reconstruction of the Government in fifty years

    • Systematic destruction of civil liberties and constitutional protections
    • Systematic transfer of government services and functions to private corporations
    • Ongoing seizure and privatization of public assets by corporate and foreign entities
    • Dictatorial seizure of unconstitutional Executive authority with presidential signing statements
    • Government surveillance of citizens: phone, Internet, banking, medical records, library records
    • Government infiltration, harassment and arrest of peace groups
    • Arrest and murder of journalists; seizure of their equipment and film
    • Government kidnapping, detention and torture of thousands of harmless citizens
    • Wars of aggression perpetrated under false pretenses
    • Nationwide detention camps constructed for future purposes
    • Blackwater mercenary bases within the country’s borders
    • Regional Fusion Centers used by police to collect information on every citizen
    • Secret Government databases mark one million citizens as “terrorists”
    • Military units deployed to control the civilian population
    • Unconstitutional Presidential control of State National Guards and local police
    • Dissolution of national sovereignty through secret agreements with transnational conspirators
    • Relentless propaganda that misinforms the public through controlled media outlets

    • The regime is filled with ideological extremists and political appointees who hold duel citizenship: The duel citizen Attorney General refuses to denounce torture or enforce Congressional subpoenas. The duel citizen Secretary of DHS is granted authority to waive all laws without judicial oversight. The duel citizen who leased the demolished skyscrapers is awarded billions of dollars in insurance claims by the duel citizen Judge who concurrently forbad victims to file claims against the government. The duel citizen White House Chief of Staff recruits Goldman Sachs colleague as Treasury Secretary ** Trillions of dollars disappear from Pentagon accounts under the duel citizen Comptroller of the Currency.

    • Congress systematically destroys financial sector regulations that protect the public

    • The unelected president declares authority to suspend the Constitution and take over financial institutions
    • The Federal Reserve Chairman and Treasury Secretary encourage and protect Wall Street fraud
    • Trillions of dollars in fictitious Wall Street derivatives fracture the country’s financial system
    • Middle class savings, pensions and retirement accounts are eviscerated
    • Middle class property is devalued and confiscated nationwide through mortgage and foreclosure fraud
    • Perpetrators of the fraud are rewarded with billions of taxpayer dollars
    • The Federal Reserve Chairman expands his authority in defiance of constitutional mandates
    • The Treasury Secretary eliminates Goldman Sachs competition and consolidates its monopoly
    • The Fed Chairman and Treasury Secretary use taxpayer loans to buy stock in private financial institutions
    • The national debt escalates to trillions of dollars as the currency collapses.

    Taken as a whole does this look like random incompetence or a fascist coup d’etat?

    Coup d’etat: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics, especially: the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group.

    [END COPY]

    Food for thought, eh?

  • RW (unverified)
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    Friends of mine are involved in this, and it feels like something to start tapping into. A Pima medicine man will be there to sing a very old song that was sung when the men went off to war. When the boys left for Vietnam, the People gathered as they loaded and sang.

    He will sing this for those men who have come home from the different wars and now work with Michael Mead to begin to finally tell what they know and have kept buried within them.

    See below. Hope this is appropriate.

    <hr/>

    Voices of Veterans: A Welcome Home Ceremony

    For veterans from Iraq , Afghanistan , and other wars Veterans Day in Portland , OR

    November 11th, 2008 ~ 6 PM First Unitarian Church 1011 SW 12th Ave Portland , OR

    for the best seating, make your reservations for A Welcome Home Ceremony online at www.mosaicvoices.org or contact the Mosaic office at 800-233-6984.

    Mosaic is pleased to announce: Voices of Veterans - A Welcome Home Ceremony to be held on Veterans Day, November 11th in Portland , Oregon . This unique and healing event involves veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan , members of their families, and veterans of other wars. This Veterans Day ceremony brings together veterans of recent wars and the local community. It involves a community conversation that moves beyond politics and goes deeper than the rhetoric of war. Such an event requires care and courage and is too-often avoided. It begins with tragedy and loss- the aftermath of any war- and requires the language of poetry and story, as well as the dignity of ceremony.

    Healing only happens when the burdens of war can be shared by the greater community. A Welcome Home Ceremony intends to help heal the distance between the warriors and those they protect and bridge the gaps between war and peace, trauma and renewal, pain and understanding. A public gathering allows citizens to be compassionate witnesses to the stories of war and the need for conscious and genuine acts of welcoming. As one veteran writes in a poem: "Can we create a village as strong as a war?"

    Join author Michael Meade, veterans, and their families for an evening of poetry, stories, and cogent commentary on the realities of being in war and the difficulties found upon return.

    Participating veterans say:

    “I didn’t know it was possible to find such healing and even include my family.”

    “This experience needs to continue. Our message speaks to the human soul and the time to speak is now.”

    Audience members say:

    “I am completely awed by the courage of the veterans and their family members for sharing with us their deepest emotions and extraordinary experiences.”

    "From the first moment I was weeping, and didn't stop the whole night… a healing experience for everyone there, including the audience."

    “What wrenching and beautiful stories, I will never be the same. I am so grateful to have been given a chance to be part of a welcome home for these extraordinary people.”

    “What a great template for healing the wounds of war, something rarely talked about much less acted upon. Bravo!”

    "The suffering and sacrifice of veterans must be acknowledged at a genuine human level. A genuine rite of return for veterans involves an open and compassionate community that fully acknowledges the courage and the wounds of those who return from battle as well as fully grieves those whose lives ended in the unforgiving fields of war."

    ~ from Michael Meade's introduction to the new book of poems by veterans and their families: Voices of Vets, A Bridge Back to the World.

    For further information, reservations, or to order the Voices of Vets poetry book visit Mosaic online at www.mosaicvoices.org.

    Mosaic Multicultural Foundation 4218 1/2 SW Alaska , Suite H Seattle, WA 98116 (206) 935-3665 (voice) (206) 935-3612 (fax)

    [email protected]

    www.mosaicvoices.org

  • (Show?)

    Absolutely appropriate, Rebecca, I'm pretty sure there's going to be information about the Homecoming event at Winter Soldier, and I know some of our PDX Peace activists are involved and that we will be spreading the word in our networks.

  • Ray Duray (unverified)
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    Chris, Rebecca,

    Re: "Absolutely appropriate, Rebecca,"

    Both of you are lost souls and fools, IMHO. Get a clue, we are living in revolutionary times.

    Pay attention.

    Comrades, come rally and the last fight you must face, the Internionale unites the Human Race.

    Don't let the Fascists (like Paulson/Bush) stamp on our faces like they did at Hofstra U. last night.

    Revolution. It's your duty.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Chris: not sure what GOldilocks is on about NOW, but anyway, this is the second one I've been told of in the past three or four months -- a good friend of mine who works with women in prison who are Red Road, I believe. These soldiers have been working with Mead for a while, and the cathartic and awakening heart power of engaging ArtSpirit is catching these vets and the listeners by surprise.

    Hope it continues. ArtSpirit is a tap into the Source...

  • Ray Duray (unverified)
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    Re: "“What wrenching and beautiful stories, I will never be the same. I am so grateful to have been given a chance to be part of a welcome home for these extraordinary people.”

    What rubbish. We are the only people opposing ridiculous fascism and we are honoring the people who got caught up in the crossfire?

    How silly.

    Look, chilren. There is no reason for "spirituality" about the abject superficiality of Crusading morons deposited half a planet away getting their heads blown off. What the hell would you expect, ferchissakes (an old Mohammedan expression, endored by Saladin).

    Let's not be sentimental about this nonsense. Stupid jerks from Pendleton and Paducah are travelling halfway across the planet to fight for causes that they don't have even half a friggin' clue about and when they come home in a box some botoxed granmas are upset. What is wrong with this picture? America! U.S.A.! That's what wrong with this idiocy.

    Before any of you discount communism and left wing socialism and Europe and South America as being wrong, I'd love if you would look at your silly, sorry bony asses in the mirror and watch a film called Idiocracy which anticipated Sarah Palin by about 18 months: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy_(film)

    If America isn't an idiocray, I'd bet my future on this nation. As it is, I'm rather skeptical about the possibilities that something so absurd can survive.

  • edison (unverified)
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    Umm, Ray? "Look chidren ... ? WTF?

  • (Show?)

    Ray, you know the phrase "politics is who you know"? It has two senses. The original refers to patronage, I think. But there's one that more anthropological, about how who you interact with shapes your outlook.

    In the part of the anti-war movement where I work, there are a few kinds of people who do the heavy lifting, though they overlap. One kind is people who see themselves as peace activists (as opposed to just anti-war) motivated by strong ethical and moral commitments. Some of them are secular, but a lot draw on (highly diverse) spiritual resources that sustain their commitment. Another kind is the peace/anti-war vets and the military families. If I were to adopt the kind of fantastical, delusional and arrogant attitude toward the largely working class people in the service that you do above, it would drive those people out (or better, I hope, lead others to make me unwelcome out of solidarity with them). A third are members of left-wing socialist organizations, as you put it, some of whom do a lot, others not so much (partly depending on the degree of sectarian inward focus in their organizations). The ones who do a lot tend to hold a view that the growth of resistance in and around the military will be key to ending the wars.

    The vets and military family folks in turn take a very different view from you. The thing that impresses me most about them is that they work against war and for peace, much better than I do, and at the same time work in other settings defined by common experiences with other veterans and members of military families who look at those experiences differently than they do.

    Most of them have had to go through processes of grieving and healing or grappling with fears for their loved ones before they became or could become active. There's an important continuum of solidarity there. The relationship between Winter Soldier and the Welcoming event Rebecca mentions reflects that continuum (the Welcoming event also speaks in important ways to overcoming racial and cultural divisions of the kind often manipulated to promote war and exploitation, IMO).

    As for the rest:

    You ever heard of the economic draft? Have any awareness of recruiting abuses aimed at kids? (There are other values involved in the choices of many like duty and loyalty and service to the common good that I'd say are worthy of respect even if I don't agree with particular application, that IMO are as important on the left as anywhere else, without which there is no real solidarity, but since you've determined these folks are all useless and I'm a child, I won't go into that.)

    I probably shouldn't indulge your romanticizing of Leninism, but fwiw, if you're going to invoke the Russian Revolution, have a look at the role of mutiny within the Tsarist army sometime. But also give a thought to the fate of the original Bolsheviks by the 1930s (among others). Not for me, thanks.

    The fact that you can find revolutionary music on the internet does not a revolutionary situation make.

    Your remarks bring something else to mind: The last time I lived in Boston you could find copies of a micro-party sectarian rag called MIM Notes (Maoist International Movement) in dusty piles here and there, and even read it if you had time to waste. Maybe they're on the web, if they haven't imploded, or gotten divorced.

    MIM was (is?) a split of a split of a split of one of the "Maoist" factions in SDS. As you may know, as we are reminded by the red-baiting of Barack Obama over his crossing paths with the establishment rehabilitated ex-revolutionary son of the former chairman of the big electric utility in Chicago, many of those factions had exaggerated ideas of the role of students as a potential revolutionary force.

    MIM seems to have taken this to an involuted extreme. Their central thesis was that the U.S. working class was a force for reaction, in a way its bulwark, and more broadly thus that the whole of U.S. society was irredeemably corrupt -- except themselves of course, because they had the right ideology that allowed them to be pure allies of third world workers and peasants. Your disdain for people, mostly working class, who have gotten involved with the military in myriad ways takes you pretty far down a similar path, IMO.

    Well Ray, keep in touch. Let me know how that revolution works out, especially the part where you recruit comrades by disdaining and berating them, and lead the workers by looking down on them.

  • madmal (unverified)
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    Ray is partly right, the problem IS America- the psychosis goes from top to bottom. He's wrong though that we should not lament the waste and crime of war, it needs to be seen for what it is- a glaring symptom of a sick society that needs a radical shift in ethical perspective. If we fail to take into account the damage to our brother and sister no matter how benighted, we are inviting ourselves off the path already.

    It is not the system itself that is the problem it is the purpose to which it is employed; names and modes are immaterial if the spirit that informs it is not dedicated to the best possible outcomes for each and for all.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    Chris, Thanks for spreading the word. Videos of the Voices of Vets (Part of the Welcome Home Project) can be found here: Part one and here: Part two

    Part three is still being edited.

    BOHICA President Emeritus VFP Chapter 72

  • RW (unverified)
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    There is cultural business around this too. How many of you sentimentalized native "braves" as little kids?

    Ray, I'd like to make one brief notice here -- just as you objectify these folks into a single,lumpish mass of something-to-despise, at least some good portion of "they", too, those who believe in this business, have their own elitist inculcations.

    From their viewpoint position, it is such as you who "refuse to do what must be done", and they harbor a sense of entitlement within themselves for having gone to do what you will not. I practiced my guerilla skills and did not RUN MY MOUTH when I began to hear this line of Belief from some conservatives. I listened. I tasted the fear in my body. I checked out all systems to receive this information so I might somehow process an understanding of where in the HELL they got that? I did NOT bluster at them or go on defense or attack. I left it on the level of a conversation.

    I HATE that inculcation, for I see that our military is headed, naturally, towards no longer being the hat that serves the head. But that's the history of the world.

    Back to my point: could you tell me just how much peace and quiet we will receive if you maintain a stance of busily and moronically objectifying these people and they you? And how much understanding? AND: how much information about what's really being done in these wars?

    I"m no math whizz, but I kinda thought you might even be honest enough to come up with an answer that hovers somewhere around zero?

    At any rate, there are different events being mentioned in this thread, so you can pick and choose according to your comfort levels. The event I am talking about does not glorify war. It glorifies [if I were to take your rant as my basis] healing. And the bloody hard work it is.

    It is dealing with men and woman who have come back so seriously scarified by reality [or irreality, as it may be] that in order to heal the humanity within them, they find their way to Michael Mead and work with him. These sharing of art are the outgrowth of that.

    In some of my relations' cultures there is a women's society, a War Society. They work wtih the families and the "warriors" after they have come back. It is documented that men, even those who believed [or most especially those who believed, eh?] hold inside themselves the truths of war, and the pain of that truth. They do not share it. Some from shame, others from fear, and even others from a variant on that twisted inculcation of specialness that they receive in basic.

    You are a smart man, Ray. I'm sure you can work it out for yourself what happens to intimacy, relationships, psyches because of this.

    So that Society works those interstices to bring out the story, drain the pus, so to speak, and to also get understanding flowing from the other "side" too.

    Ray - do you think it's worthwhile to get the truth out? I sense in you a man who sometimes lashes out in rage and frustration for having been lied to; who believes that "to know" is his entitlement. Most of us up here are the same within ourselves as you. It is a matter of degrees and mode of expression.

    I encourage you to think about leaving your comfort zone. You sit up here believing you face challenge. THis is your prime comfort zone. This place here, is your fantasy world of created dramas, and no observable effect.

    I believe you, as a man of high intelligence and beating heart, could have something important to offer those who were MOST supremely lied to and manipulated - on the other side of their return from that journey. You in your passion could validate these people crossing back over from an unimaginable level of betrayal on Another Side.

    SO, now, I have to say something you might find ugly. BUt I do have to say this -- if ranting like this, if hatefulness and lack of listening is all you could manage at the event I'm talking about, I believe you should stay away. A lot of these people were so incredibly injured in mind, spirit, and body - they are doing hard work to find what wholeness consists of. They take grave chances to say what they've seen, who they were, who they are.

    And I don't think I would ever want someone practicing their hate speech and critical [of the wrong kind] thinking skills on a chest laid open trying to make sense of atrocities.

    I abhor everything about what this despicable administration has done to my country in regards to terror foisted into their hearts. That includes the war. I HAVE A SON. ONLY ONE SON. I fear there will be a draft. For then, his fine young mind will not be offered the option of choosing.

    My son is not afraid to fight for what he knows to be right. But thus far, he absolutely cannot see anything right in all of this wrong, this administrative wrong.

    Aho.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Ray Duray,

    Don't be so damn monomaniacal. As you dismiss people for attending to the spiritual, others may dismiss you as being a nut. Try respect and understanding. Everyone is not just where you are just when you are.

  • Joe Anybody (unverified)
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    I am posting the 5 video series i filmed from the "NW WINTER SOLDIER" on my website link below

    As of this post here, on Tuesday 2/21 I have only added tape #1 so far... four more to go

    http://www.joe-anybody.com/id122.html

  • Kochava Yerushalmit (unverified)
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    The US HAS to reinstate the draft to protect these individuals. As long as you have a volunteer military, only poor/stupid/disadvantaged individuals will join. Only when Senators' sons and daughters are under live fire will we have sane strategy, appropriate deployments and sensitivity for the emotional aftereffects.

    It's time for the US and Israel to have a joint military. Israelis train from youth and are always at the ready. The US needs to do this as well, and we need to cross-deploy. US soldiers should be shooting terrorists in Tel Aviv and the Mossad should be able to gather intelligence on subversives in Portland!

    There are only two kinds of people. There are terrorists that God almighty commands you to smite and there are the loyal members of the service. There is no issue that should be considered apart from this. Education, economics, all must work to fight terrorism.

    Get real. The environment? There's going to be some wars and wars are hell on the environment. Who cares? They're killing our children, just like the Nazis. What else matters? It is all related. I work with an astronomy site that was conceived watching the Twin Towers come down. Throw away all this excess baggage! All our lives are about is the struggle against everyone that wants to kill us. That has been the case for 5000 years and it will the case for the next 5000 years.

  • RW (unverified)
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    As a coda to your post Chris:

    http://www.democracynow.org/features/winter_solider

    Democracy Now does a fine job of it related to the Winter Soldier testimonies before the public to raise awareness of what is going on in our current wars.

    These are not apologists.

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