Tag Archives: military families

MFSO Statement on Strategic Partnership Agreement

Military Families Call for Immediate End to the War in Afghanistan

After more than ten years of war in Afghanistan, military families, along with the majority of the American public, want to see a real end to the war. The U.S. – Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by President Obama and President Karzai on May 1st, however, continues combat operations through 2014 and commits the U.S. to military and financial support for Afghanistan well beyond 2014.

At least 1,957 troops have died and 15,300 troops have been injured trying to create a stable Afghanistan. We have lost 381 service members since Osama bin Laden was assassinated. Yet after 11 years and over half a trillion dollars, the U.S. has not been able to stop the Taliban nor create an effective Afghan government.

“Why is it that neither the military nor our president can ever clearly explain how the U.S. benefits from another 2 years of combat? Our troops could easily be home by the end of 2012. How many more young lives will be sacrificed before 2014? How many more times will my son be sent into harm’s way in a war that’s wasting our country’s resources and not making us any safer?” asked Mary Hladky of Springfield, Ohio, whose son just returned from his first deployment to Afghanistan.

While many U.S. troops will come home by the end of 2014, others will remain in Afghanistan for training and counterterrorism operations with the Afghan National Army, a mission that still includes combat and other significant risks. Furthermore, there is a significant threat posed by the Afghan troops being trained, many of whom have turned their guns on their U.S. counterparts, resulting in 35 deaths last year and an unknown number of attempted attacks.

“When an Afghan in uniform wounds — or misses — his American target, it has not been reported. We don’t know how many of our service members have been attacked by ANA troops or Afghan police.  Since our loved ones will be working closely with the ANA in training for the next 12 years, this horror of war is unacceptable,” said Anna Berlinrut of Maplewood, New Jersey, whose son will deploy to Afghanistan in Fall 2012 for his 6th combat tour.

There is no military solution in Afghanistan. 2 more years or 12 more years is not going to change that fact.  The time for our troops to come home is now.

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Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) is a grassroots organization over over 3,000 military families whose loved ones have served in the military since September 11, 2001.  As the only organization of military families in the U.S. speaking out against the war in Afghanistan, we say: End the war now, bring the troops home, and take care of them when they get here.  For more information visit mfso.org

Military Families reflect on the end of the Iraq War

The nightmare continues…

From Pat Alviso and Jeff Merrick, Long Beach Ca. Parents of Marine who has been deployed 4 times

As a loving family, along with our son, who is a career Marine, we watched in horror when we invaded Afghanistan and the drumbeat for war lead into the senseless invasion and occupation of Iraq. Military families have paid dearly- over 4,000 of our loved ones are gone forever. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis dead. And it took all this time to finally get out of a war that should never have happened in the first place? People like us who are fighting for justice and against the misuse of our military are telling me they will believe it when they see it.

In our home, we take heart in the fact that our president has announced we will finally be out in December, even though this was a result of not being able to cut a deal with the Iraqi’s regarding troop accountability and that this was President Bush’s signed Status of Forces’ Agreement, not anything President Obama decided. Our son has been deployed twice to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. He is scheduled to be re-deployed again in January. For us- and so many others- the nightmare continues.

The War Has Come to an End – for Whom?

From Susan Handle Terbay

Over 30 years ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  I loved him from the moment I felt his movement inside my body and that love has never wavered.  I nurtured him, taught him right from wrong.  My life centered around him and his siblings.

That son went to war and returned a different son and I grieve.  The military taught him how to take a life but not how to live a life after fighting in a war.  The military taught him to disassociate his feelings – to become void of any feelings during a war but did not tell him how to allow feelings of love and joy to return.

The war I protested, the war that provided nothing to the world except destruction of humans from our soldiers to the innocents of the invaded country, has invaded the sanctity of my family and it never goes away.  No one outside the family realizes the depth of wounds within our hearts as we watch my son’s struggles to heal and be normal in a society that praises him in one moment and completely ignores and abandons him in the next.  We are his life-line and yet we are his enemy.  It is a reality of  so many military families of soldiers with PTSD.  While my son suffers from PTSD – so too, do we as his family.

When the President stated that our soldiers were coming home from Iraq by the end of the year, I hesitantly smiled, waiting for the other shoe to drop and the conditions to be laid out.  If it is true then what will our sons and daughters be coming home to in our country?  Praise, of course; heroes, of course and then when all the glitter is gone what is left but a soldier and his/her family struggling to heal the wounds that forever bleed and to find laughter again when overwhelming sadness prevails deep within a soul.  Society has a short memory and will turn on these young men and women if they fail to live up to our high standards of living.  We used them and now we are done with them attitude has to end in this country and it is time we start to respect life of all humans.

The war is coming to an end but is it really?

When will we ever learn? Now is the time.  Now let’s bring them home from Afghanistan.   Now let us learn to live in peace and not have knee-jerk reactions that lead us to war and worse the loss of our young men and women – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Now is the time to be the country who leads the world in life and living in peace and not the country who leads the world in its destruction.

War destroys so much and it never, ever ends for those it consumes!

Weird Math: 1 Percent versus 1 Percent

MFSO Member Paula Rogovin reflects on Occupy Wall St.

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, members of Military Families Speak Out stood alongside members of Veterans For Peace and thousands of other people at Occupy Wall Street. We were so happy to see so many people from so many walks of life. Here was a place where the messages like the ones we carried: Support our troops, bring them home NOW! were part of the outcry from the many thousands at OWS. Our presence as veterans and military families was very well received. Yes, we are part of that 99%.

Being part of that 99% has been a life-long experience for me. I’ve been a New York City public school teacher for 38 years. We, members of the United Federation of Teachers, have marched and demanded over the years that the City stop the cuts and offer fair wages – only to see mayor after mayor do everything possible to keep our wages down while the Chancellor makes over $250,000 and non-union employees get huge raises. Testing companies, the book publishers, and the tech industry profits are going up.

Two weeks ago, we saw the layoff of over 700 workers – workers who are desperately needed at our schools.

Strangely, however, members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) are part of the 99%, but we are also part of the 1%. How could that be? MFSO is a national organization with over 4000 members whose loved ones are active duty in the military.

“Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has been on active military duty at any given time during the past decade.” (Washington Post. 10/5/11)

Military families have seen our loved ones serve multiple deployments, often with little dwell time between the deployments. We have seen over 6282 of our loved ones killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of us have seen our loved ones wounded. We have seen our loves ones suffer amputations, traumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and poisoning from Depleted Uranium and other toxins from US weapons. We have seen families torn apart by the traumas of these wars.

Our 1% is suffering directly from the wars imposed by the other 1% – the military industrial complex, the oil companies, big business – in collusion with many members of Congress who take multi-millions from industry lobbyists in exchange for keeping these wars going and going.

Our 1% wants to tell that other 1%, including many members of Congress:  End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bring the troops and contractors home NOW. Take care of the troops when they get here. Bring the war dollars home for our communities – for jobs, education, health care, housing, and other services we need so badly. Meet the demands of the 99%.

— Paula Rogovin, of Teaneck, is with Military Families Speak Out, Bergen County chapter

 

Join us at the VFP & IVAW Convention Aug 3-7

update: VFP has set up a special registration page for MFSO members and is offering a special discount for any spouses interested in attending! Click here to register

Join us in Portland, Oregon August 3rd through 7th for the 2011 National Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War Convention.  The staff of MFSO will be attending along with our many members who are also members of Veterans for Peace.  If you are in the region, we encourage you to attend this weekend to connect with MFSO and our sister organizations, attend workshops, and participate in discussions about what our movement should be doing to bring these wars to an end and take care of returning service members.

We will be hosting a Military Family Meet-Up from 11:30am-1:30pm on Saturday, August 6th at PSU, Lincoln Hall, Room 121

Questions? Email samantha@mfso.org

MFSO Schedule @ the VFP Convention

Wednesday August 3rd

5-7pm Opening Reception – Poolside @ University Place Hotel

8pm Poetry Reading/Open Mic – University Place Hotel

Thursday August 4th

10:30am-12:30pm Opening Ceremony & Plenary – Lincoln Hall Auditorium

12:30-1:45pm Lunch on Your Own

1:45-3:15pm Workshop Block 1

3:45-5:15pm Workshop Block 2

5:15-7:30pm Dinner on Your Own

7:30-10pm The Moral Revolution (public event) – First Congregational Church

Friday August 5th

9-10:15am Plenary on PTSD, MST, TBI and other Veterans’ Health Issues with featured guests: Ed Tick, David Philipps, Darcela Craven, Barry Jones and Jessica Goodell

10:30am-12pm Workshop Block 3

12-1pm Pick up boxed lunch

12:15-2pm Lunch Caucus Meetings

2:15-3:45pm Workshop Block 4

4-6pm Plenary: “Resilience & Resistance” and Discussion: “Future of the Veterans Peace Movement, or, How DO we end war?”

7-10pm Buffet Dinner & Speak Out – open mic starts at 8pm

Saturday August 6th

11:30am-1:30pm Military Family Meet-Up hosted by MFSO – Lincoln Hall Room 121

1:30-2:45pm Lunch at Iranian Summer Festival on Park Blocks, PSU

3-5pm Plenary: “The Silent Truth”

6:30-10pm Banquet

Sunday August 7th

12:30pm Hiroshima Nagasaki Anniversary – No More Nukes Rally and March with VFP – Peace Memorial Park