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Introducing the new MFSO Media Team!

Introducing  the new MFSO Media Team!

Melissa Castaneda
Press Releases

Melissa Castaneda is a long-time MFSO member, community activist, campaign veteran, and outreach professional. While still in high school, she was a chosen as a Youth Columnist for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and wrote opinion columns about current events. As a Regional Partnership Specialist with the Census, she worked closely with and was trained by the Media Team. Melissa’s father and uncle served in the Vietnam War and her brother served in the Iraq War.

Tim Kahlor
Media Contact

Tim Kahlor, a member of MFSO since 2006, is the father of Sgt Ryan Kahlor, who was wounded after serving two deployments in Iraq.  Tim is nationally recognized for his work on calling members of the US Senate Armed Services Committee and numerous members of Congress. His family’s story has been featured on TV, radio, and in the national and international media.  Tim’s goal has been putting a face on the horrors of war and bringing the battlefield home by talking about his son’s struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).   A tireless advocate for veteran’s care, he contributed to the first “Caregivers Guide for Military Families dealing with Traumatic Brain Injuries”.

ATTENTION:  The MFSO Media Team needs your feedback on how the current events in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq are impacting your family members that have loved ones currently serving in the military or are veterans of post-911 wars.  Please send us statements, so we can include them in future press releases.   

Send an e-mail Tim Kahlor at with:

1.  Your Name, location, and relationship to the military

2.   Statement on a current event and how it has or will impact your family’s life and your loved one who is currently or has served in the military.   (Please do not include your military members name, unless they agree to it)

3.  You may also include statements on other military issues that are important to you.

* Remember that facts are what wins the argument, but emotion is what gets people to listen to the facts, so speak from the heart.

Media Contacts Needed! If you know someone in the media or have been interviewed by the media, please send us the story and their contact information.

If you are ever interviewed by any form of media, please remember to always tell them you are a member of Military Families Speak Out  (MFSO).   

Take Action Against Escalating War in Syria

Military Families Speak Out grieves for the Syrian families who lost loved ones or were injured in the recent Syrian chemical attack.  We know this pain.  We know war, violence and destruction are not the answer to the world’s problems.  We have grave concerns over our military’s deepening involvement in Syria as well as Iraq, and Yemen.  We continually rely on military intervention when we have been told multiple times, that there is no military solution to the problems in the Middle East, and the region.  We need determined diplomacy to reach a political solution in Syria and the region.  We must increase humanitarian aid.

MFSO is a member group of United for Peace & Justice and we support their message, below:

“Once again, the United States is sliding towards a wider war in the Middle East. Only two days after the first allegations of the use of chemical weapons against a village in Syria, the United States has attacked an air base in Syria with more than fifty sea launched cruise missiles. With both Russian and U.S. forces on the ground and in the air in Syria, the risk of a wider war is real.

Both the United Nations Charter and the Chemical Weapons Convention provide means for international investigation and sanction of the use of prohibited weapons.  Unilateral use of military force in these circumstances by the United States, which has not been attacked and is not in imminent danger of attack, is unlawful.”

Call the White House  202-456-1111 and your Senators and Congressional Representatives 202-224-3121 and tell them that military action only increases the dangers and intensifies the humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

Please Call Today – it takes just a few minutes.  Remember to identify yourself as someone who has a loved one in the military.

These calls are logged and counted by the White House and by members of Congress – MFSO voices matter and, if we are persistent, can affect votes.

Then let’s hit the streets and Say NO To U.S. Military Intervention in Syria!! YES to diplomacy!

Go to and to find a demonstration in your community or work with others to organize a demonstration and post. Send details to so we can post it on our website and Facebook page.

MLK’s Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

Relevance to U.S. Wars and Militarism Today

50 years ago, on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church, in NYC, Martin Luther King delivered his powerful and most controversial speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”. No longer willing to keep silent about the immorality of the Vietnam War, knowing the intense criticism he would receive for speaking out, he nevertheless was compelled to speak, “I am here tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice”.

King spoke against war and its crippling effects on social progress. He denounced the death and destruction in Vietnam and the waste of billions on an immoral war. All this at the expense of the poor and those serving in the military. The destruction done to the Vietnamese is the same destruction we are doing to the Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalis, Libyans, Pakistanis, and others today.

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

King connected the inherit racism of killing the Vietnamese people with the killing of black people in America through dehumanization and contempt for “other” people.

King was greatly concerned that the war in Vietnam was destroying the soul of America. He called for an end to the war, detailing how a foreign policy based on violence and domination abroad, relates to the violence and problems we are afflicted with at home. He asked us to reassess our values to avoid future mistakes that could destroy our nation.

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

King’s message was not heeded, and our problems have multiplied.

Since 1991 the U.S. has been at war in the Middle East, destabilizing the whole region. In 2016 the U.S. dropped bombs in seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan & Somalia.

The U.S. is the world’s #1 exporter of arms. We have more than 800 bases in over 70 countries. U.S. Special Forces have been deployed in over 105 countries.   We have launched thousands of drone strikes.

Our Congressional representatives are cowards. They are willing to send ground troops into the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria, while refusing to debate and vote on the use of military force. Instead they shamefully forego their constitutional duty, to avoid being held accountable to their constituents.

Congress has voted to spend our taxpayers’ dollars on endless wars at the expense of everything else. Total defense spending costs our country approximately $900 billion (that’s almost $1 trillion) each year. This $900 billion pays for cost of war, 800 bases, nuclear weapons, intelligence agencies, homeland security, and veterans benefits. Economist Jeffrey Sachs stated “The U.S. is incurring massive public debt and cutting back on urgent public investments at home in order to sustain a dysfunctional, militarized, and costly foreign policy.”

The Cost of War project at Brown University reports that war costs since 2001 will run to nearly $5 trillion. “Yet the cost seems invisible to politicians and the public alike. The reason is that almost all of the spending has been financed through borrowing – selling US Treasury Bonds around the world – leaving our children to pick up the tab. Consequently, the wars have had little impact on our pocketbooks.” “As long as the cost of the war remains hidden from public view, there is no pressure to reexamine our military strategy.” (Linda Bilmes)

And now we have Trump’s budget proposal. He is asking for an additional $54 billion to the budget busting $596 million the Pentagon is already allocated. The Pentagon’s budget is larger than the budgets of the next 7 countries combined. That proposed increase alone is almost as large as Russia’s entire military budget. Trump proposes to finance his expanded war budget by making drastic cuts to the EPA, Dept. of Education, State Dept., the UN and its humanitarian aid, and social services.

These cuts will have devastating effects on the environment, our children’s education, the ability to prevent war through diplomacy with cruel cuts to social services for the poor, sick and elderly.  

We have a choice about how this country spends our taxpayer dollars. We can remain silent allowing billions to be spent funding endless, futile wars or we can speak out, demanding our tax dollars fund healthcare for all Americans, support climate change initiatives, invest in solar and renewable energy, improve our educational system providing free college, rebuild our infrastructure and end extreme poverty in this country.

We can no longer remain silent. We must challenge American militarism.

MLK’s Challenge to Us

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”

“We still have a choice today, nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must find new ways to speak for peace and justice throughout the developing world a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

“Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter – but beautiful – struggle for a new world. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.”

MFSO Responds to President Trump’s Comments

MFSO is horrified by President Trump’s comments about “taking the oil” in Iraq.

President Trump, January 2017, at the CIA: “The old expression, to the victor belong the spoils…we should’ve kept the oil…But, okay, maybe we’ll have another chance.”

This careless statement, which has not been retracted, endangers the lives of our troops in Iraq and the region.   ISIS has been losing ground in Iraq but this statement greatly assists ISIS’s ability to recruit, directly hurting the progress our troops have made in Iraq.
“There is nothing Trump could have said that would be more corrosive to our interests in the Middle East,” says Ryan Crocker, the distinguished former U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. And nothing that so displays the president’s ignorance of Middle East history and dynamics.

This talk of seizing oil is a clarion call to anti-U.S. forces,” Crocker told me, “because it plays to the myth that we were in Iraq to take their oil. Oil is the sacred touchstone of Iraqi sovereignty and independence. From 2003 all the way to Donald Trump we made clear that we understood that.
“Now Iraqis will believe that seizing oil is U.S. policy. Trump has made the myth come true.”

We strongly object to President Trump’s comments.  Taking the oil is against international law and a war crime. These unthinking words also damage our standing in the world.  We suggest that MFSO members write a letter to the editor or contact their Congressional members to demand that President Trump retract these comments which endanger our troops in Iraq as well as our troops stationed in the region.