portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts oregon & cascadia

imperialism & war

Military family to speak out in Bend against the war

From an E-mail
Military Family Will Speak in Opposition to Iraqi War Saturday, March 26,
At 'What are the Costs of War?' conference at COCC in Bend

Lietta and Arthur Ruger are military through and through. Lietta was raised on a U.S. military base. Arthur is a Vietnam veteran. Their son-in-law and a nephew are soon to be redeployed to Iraq. The Rugers are proud of their family's military service, but opposed to the war. They've preached against the war in St. John's Episcopal Church in South Bend, WA, and spoken up about the war on Jim Lehrer's PBS show "The NewsHour," and at last Saturday's peace march in Seattle.

The Ruger's, representing Pacific Northwest Military Families Speak Out, will bring their antiwar message to Bend on Saturday, March 26, as featured speakers at an afternoon conference--"What is the Cost of War?"--at Central Oregon Community College.

The conference, sponsored by the Central Oregon Peace Network, will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 155 of the Boyle Education Center. It is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served midway through the program.

J. David Kinzie, M.D., director of the Torture Treatment Center of Oregon, will also be a featured speaker at the conference. Dr. Kinzie will speak on the psychological effects of massive trauma, such as war and torture, on refugees and Americans. Dr. Kinzie is a Professor of Psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and a psychiatrist with the Intercultural Psychiatric Program at OHSU.

Local speakers will include Nick Biddle on the historical comparison between the Vietnam and Iraqi wars; Ray Duray on the economic costs of war; and Unitarian Universalist Minister Jeanne Pupke and Quaker Cath Finney, who will address the spiritual costs of war.

The message of Military Families Speak Out is not always welcomed by other military families, Lietta Ruger acknowledges. But, she adds, "You should not let someone else define patriotism for you." She and Arthur have been lobbying Washington State lawmakers to bring the Washington National Guard home from Iraq.

Military Families Speak Out is also promoting a resolution calling on the Oregon legislature and Governor Ted Kulongoski to withdraw Oregon's National Guard troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recent media reports have warned of the growing wildfire dangers this year because of severe drought conditions and the lack of National Guard troops and equipment to fight them because so many troops and helicopters are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has urged the Pentagon to bring National Guard troops and equipment back to the West to fight fires this summer.

For more information on the conference and Central Oregon Peace Network, contact Diana Popp at  dlpopp@bendbroadband.com or leave a message at 541-385-3320.