Category Archives: Position Statements

MFSO Continues Work, Despite Uncertain Times

Military Families Speak Out members are concerned after the Presidential election. There is great uncertainty around a Trump presidency and what it will mean for military members, veterans, and their families.

Our nonpartisan group is concerned about the endless wars that the United States has involved our military.  President Obama and numerous military officials have repeatedly stated there is no military solution in the Middle East and surrounding area, yet war has been the government’s main response. Military statements by President-Elect Trump are often vague, contradictory or unknown. A review of the individuals being considered for cabinet positions indicate an increased militaristic approach.

MFSO continues to call for: No U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and now Yemen. MFSO and the whole peace movement must stand strong against policies that call for more violence and war.

We call for continued efforts for diplomacy and humanitarian aid. In addition, we know that xenophobic rhetoric & hate speech only exacerbates the situation and sends a false message that  we are at war with Islam, which in turn only leads to more hatred from civilians in the Middle East who are mostly Muslim. It also gives ISIS the propaganda they need to continue attracting more anti-American recruits.

We have so many concerns. We need to be bold. We are extending an invitation to all members to get re-involved in the work of MFSO and reach out to other like-minded military families. There are many ways to get involved. We need help from every member if we are to end these wars once and for all.  Please reach out to other military families who are currently in the military – they need support and have a story to tell!

MFSO continues to call for quality health and mental health care for veterans and military families within the Veterans Administration. No privatization of the VA. We continue to demand education, jobs, housing, and other services for veterans. As always, we support the troops, want them home now and work hard to take care of them while abroad and when they return home.  MFSO is a 501c3 non-profit and does not endorse any political candidate. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or gender. Please consider a tax deductible donation at this time.

More Troops Sent To Iraq

President Obama is sending an additional 600 U.S. troops to Iraq to assist in the upcoming battle to drive the Islamic State from the city of Mosul.  This brings the “official” number of U.S. troops to 5,000.  But the Pentagon has repeatedly admitted to having over 6,000 troops in Iraq before this announcement.   The Pentagon states that open-end deployments are not part of the official count.
The troops will be stationed close to the fight at Qayyarah West airfield.  They will train, advise and assist teams for Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.  Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of the task force, already has authority to place U.S. advisers with the attacking force at the battalion level, in other words, involved in direct combat.
The Pentagon also expects ISIS fighters to use chemical weapons to defend Mosul.  Once again our military men and women will be put in harm’s way for a war that has no military solution.   So why is military force our continued response?   Again, there is no plan on what happens after Mosul is reclaimed.  Who will govern and rebuild Mosul?  How will the real grievances of the Iraqi people be addressed?  Why do we keep repeating the same mistakes in Iraq?

We need to stop this endless cycle of military intervention.  All U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our government should commit its money, time and efforts in support of dedicated diplomacy creating a solid foundation for a more stable Middle East.

Please add your name to UFPJ’s appeal to the President and demand that he immediately withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and commit to regional diplomacy that begins to build a solid foundation for a nuclear and weapons-of-mass-destruction free Middle East.

References:
http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/09/28/us-sending-600-more-troops-to-iraq-to-bolster-drive-on-mosul.html
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/u-s-sends-troops-iraq-help-retake-mosul-militants/
http://news.antiwar.com/2016/08/05/more-us-troops-headed-to-iraq-will-deploy-near-mosul/

First American Killed in 4 Years in Ground Combat in Iraq

We are very sad to hear that that since the recent influx of troops and airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the first US soldier was killed today. This soldier’s is the first American to die in combat in Iraq in four years. And so another American has died in this administrations futile attempt to stabilize a country that we never should have attacked in the first place.

Before more troops and airstrikes were sent to Iraq last year, MFSO warned this administration that if more troops were killed in Iraq, it would likely cause us to slide down that “slippery slope” of deepening our involvement in Iraq. And although Press Secretary Peter Cook called the raid “unique” and said, “US forces are not in an active combat mission in Iraq”, they actually are in combat and we believe this could be the beginning of further involvement. This brings the total of US troops that have been killed in Iraq to 4,494.

Sadly, all this comes on the heels of President Obama’s recent announcement, one we had all been dreading, that he was extending American troops presence in Afghanistan- a decision that looks more and more like we will have our troops there beyond the Obama administration. Please take a moment to read MFSO member Larry Seyverson’s interview, which he conducted  the day after Pres. Obama’s announcement. Larry speaks for all of us when he describes how military families feel about keeping our troops  in Afghanistan and he expresses our despair of being dragged deeper and ever closer into “endless wars”.

MFSO Response on Additional Advisers Sent to Iraq

Military Families Speak Out is alarmed and angered over the recent announcement made by President Obama that he plans to send 450 more “advisers” to Iraq and is considering the building of more bases.

These additional advisors will not be used at Army HQ but will be attached to the lower level units actually advising during battles with ISIS.  This is particularly disturbing to all of us because we know that this plan will bring our loved ones potentially closer to the battlefield. More unsettling is the recent comment made by Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter that the “administration would ‘revisit’ whether to send more US troops, or to broaden their role once  ‘adequate’  Iraqi units are in combat.” (LA Times 6-18-15). This is a clear indication that President Obama is considering sending ground troops when the time is right. We should all be vigilant, speak out and oppose what appears to be a preparation for sending more troops. We can’t afford to wait until this announcement is made and must do all we can to let the administration know how senseless and frightening this possibility is to military families and to the people in Iraq as well.

“I realize there’s no guarantee my son won’t see combat and that scares me. I fear for my son’s life” – Rossana Cambron, Army Mom

Just last year, President Obama stated, “There is no military solution to a larger crisis in Iraq…” so why is it that the only response from the US involves the military? 3,100 troops have already been deployed to Iraq; US airstrikes and drone warfare continues in Iraq and Syria every day. $3.42 million is spent every hour for military actions against the Islamic State.  After thousands of lives have been lost and billions of dollars spent, things have only worsened. ISIS has grown and gained more territory. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned the public last month that Iraqi troops lack the “will to fight”.  The recent news that the Iraq military lost many Humvees, US tanks, machine guns to the Islamic State was disturbing and another example of how our military intervention has resulted in US weapons potentially being used against us. It seems obvious to all of us that sending 450 more advisors, a move the Pentagon opposes, will make little difference and will just be getting our military more deeply involved and  can only result in creating that “slippery slope” situation we all fear, which will make it harder to extricate ourselves from, as history has proven.

Let’s not lose sight that this most recent plan is a dangerous move and a real threat not only to the men and women of our military, but to Iraq civilians who have suffered greatly as well.

“We oppose sending our loved ones back to Iraq, a place that we never should have occupied in the first place”, said one military mom from Massachusetts. “Military families have already sustained too many deaths, suicides, injuries, amputations and mental health issues. Sending additional troops back to Iraq will only result in more deaths and injuries for not only our families but also for thousands of innocent civilians. The people responsible for starting this unnecessary war have accepted no responsibility for the carnage and chaos it has created. How dare they continue to put the lives and limbs of our loved ones at risk again?

Call the White House 202-456-1111 or email and voice your concern now. Make sure to identify yourself as MFSO

Solutions to the situation in Iraq are not simple, but there are ways to address this challenge that do not include U.S. military action. Join MFSO and Veterans for Peace is demanding these actions:

  1. Stop the airstrikes.  The Sunni leaders and militia, who President Obama acknowledges must be persuaded to break with ISIL, see the U.S. as acting as the air force for the Kurds and Shia against Sunnis. The driving force for the Sunni-ISIL alliance is the alienation of Sunnis from Baghdad by the recent U.S.-backed Iraqi governments. Bombing Sunnis will not help to mend this relationship.
  2. Stop sending troops to Iraq and stop sending more weapons that fuel the conflict killing more civilians and ignoring human rights violations committed by “allies.”
  3. Make diplomacy the number one priority.  Since it is clear there is no military solution, the U.S. must seriously engage with everyone in the region, including Iran, who is needed to force the Iraqi government to be more inclusive with Sunni leaders. Without an inclusive government in Iraq there is no way to effectively confront ISIL.
  4. Initiate new diplomatic efforts in the United Nations.  Use diplomatic and financial pressure to stop countries from financing and arming ISIL and other fighters in Syria. An arms embargo on all sides should be on the long-term agenda.
  5. Restart UN negotiations to end the civil war in Syria.  Set aside preconceived demands and work to end the violence. Once that is achieved the people of Syria can begin to chart their destiny.
  6. Massively increase humanitarian efforts through the UN and any other means. Real and effective efforts to relieve the suffering of hundreds of thousands of refugees from war will go a long way in convincing people to break with ISIL. More U.S. bombings and killings will only confirm that the U.S. is the enemy of Islam.

Join Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace in demanding real solutions for the crisis in Iraq and Syria.  The entire proposal and concrete analysis can be found atwww.veteransforpeace.org