Campaign to Bring Oregon's Troops Home; Salem Photos and Public Access Appearance
On Tuesday, March 1, 2005, military families whose loved ones are serving overseas or who have died in the conflict in Iraq, veterans, peace activists and other concerned Oregonians gathered on the Capitol Steps in Salem as part of an ongoing campaign to bring Oregon's troops home.
This issue and Rally will be the subject of this weeks the A Growing Concern Public Access program, which airs live on channel 11 from 7-8:00 pm, Friday evening, March 4, 2005. Erik Blickenstaff of Gold Star Families For Peace and Military Families Speak Out will be there to speak to this issue. Video clips from some of Tuesdays speakers will also be featured. Live phone calls will be taken sometime during the second half of the program.|
A Growing Concern replays on Sunday evening at 10:00 on channel 23 and again on Thursday on channel 22 at 10:00 pm.
(The following text is taken from Portland Peace and Justice Works flyer.)
(During the event,) the crowd heard from invited speakers on reasons that Governor Ted Kulongoski should exercise his power as commander-in-chief of the Oregon National Guard to bring the troops home. One of the main purposes of the day was to encourage House and Senate members to sign on to a resolution calling on the Governor to do so. (So far no member of the House or Senate has stepped forward to champion this resolution.)
Prayer flags representing over 1300 of the nearly 1500 Americans killed so far in the Iraq invasion and occupation hung all day. Flags representing the thousands of Iraqis killed are part of the same display.
For a one muinute video of the flags from an earlier exhibition:
Hundreds of Oregonians have sent messages to the Governor asking that he bring Oregon's National Guard troops home from Iraq. Members of Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, Gold Star Families for Peace, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Oregon PeaceWorks, Corvallis Alternatives to War, Women's Action for New Directions, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and others involved in the campaign will be present at the rally.
For more information contact Eric Blickenstaff of Gold Star Families for Peace Phone number 503-708-6190.
Other information on the campaign and the organizations involved are at the websites of:
Military Families Speak Out Northwest Military Families Speak Out
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 72
Peace and Justice Works
Resolution Calling for the Withdrawal of Oregon's National Guard Troops from Iraq and Afghanistan:
Whereas, all conditions underlying PL 107-243 (10/16/02) authorizing military action against Iraq either have been proven false and all U.S. troops who are serving or have served in Iraq were sent to war for reasons that have been proven false;
Whereas, the Governor and State Legislature of Oregon have a particular responsibility to the members of the Oregon National Guard, their families and to the community that they serve;
Whereas, the Oregon National Guard was created for the protection of the citizens of Oregon from natural disasters or threats of violence within the state boundaries, as well as to protect the sovereignty of US borders;
Whereas, Oregon's National Guard troops have been called up in unprecedented numbers, at the highest per capita level of any state, to serve on active duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan;
Whereas, absent the deployment of U.S. forces to Iraq, there would be no need for the use of National Guard troops in Afghanistan;
Whereas, Oregon National Guard troops have been poorly equipped and have received only rudimentary training for service in these wars, and are therefore suffering casualties at rates considerably higher than those of regular Army troops;
Whereas, Oregon's National Guard troops are being subjected to unfair and involuntary extensions of duty well beyond the terms of their enlistment contracts, and their families, employers and communities have had to bear the hardship of accommodating the prolonged absence of the Guard members;
Whereas, the National Guard at home in Oregon has been decimated by the mobilization of our troops for these foreign wars, and whereas, a disproportionate number of National Guard members, in civilian life, serve as police officers, firefighters, EMT personnel, prison guards, etc., their absence has left our own communities vulnerable and ill-prepared for any natural disaster or terrorist attack within our own state borders;
Whereas, fewer and fewer Oregonians are willing to enlist in the National Guard because of the inappropriate use and unfair treatment of Guard troops by the US Defense Department and Army, leaving the likelihood that Oregon could be left unprotected for years to come;
Therefore be it Resolved: That the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon calls upon the Governor to exercise his power as Commander of the Oregon National Guard to immediately bring, or cause to be brought home, all Oregon National Guard troops presently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, or in training for those wars.
add a comment on this article
add a comment on this article