Military Families send letter to Obama opposing Afghanistan

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Below is a letter to President Obama that Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) co-founders Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson sent earlier this week regarding the President’s upcoming decision on Afghanistan.

We are sending it around to MFSO’s friends and supporters in hopes that you have and will make your voices heard in this very critical time, and call for an end to the military occupation of Afghanistan.     

We encourage everyone to do what you can – write letters to the President, to Congress, to the editor of local newspapers; attend community meetings, forums, dialogs; initiate or participate in vigils, rallies, demonstrations.

Thank you for your continued support and activism.

Deborah Forter
National Director
Military Families Speak Out
www.mfso.org
617-983-0710 

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:





      As you prepare to announce a new strategy for Afghanistan that could mean deploying tens of thousands more of our loved ones to fight a war with no foreseeable end, we call on you to terminate the military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, bring our troops home now, and ensure they get the care they need when they return.

      We urge you to stop billions more from being misspent overseas to misuse young men and women and instead utilize those funds to help overcome the pressing domestic issues of our time; a growing population of veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a fractured health care system, and a woeful economic climate all desperately demand your attention and action.

      Our family is intimately connected to these issues. My husband, Charley Richardson, is slowly but surely dying of an aggressive, metastatic cancer, and dealing regularly with the fractured and overstressed medical system. He also lost his job of twenty years at a state university last April as a result of recession-related budget cuts. And our son served one deployment in Iraq as a Marine and was sent to Afghanistan twice after he joined the private army of contractors that is so central to the war efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We are acutely aware of how political will has been so wrongly misdirected toward military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of achieving economic recovery and sorely needed healthcare reform at home.

      We were fortunate. Our son returned to us in good physical health and we were able to hold him in our arms and not just keep him in our hearts. So many of our friends within the organization we co-founded, Military Families Speak Out, have not shared this outcome, for their loved ones returned in flag-draped coffins; or with life-altering physical wounds; or with the hidden, often deadly, psychological injuries of war.

      We hope you will think again about the faces of the families that you saw when you were at Dover, and the faces that won’t be seen again, hidden in caskets and arriving under the cloak of darkness. We know you are concerned about the unfair burden that this war is placing on a relatively small portion of our population, and the burden that will continue for decades to come.

      Suicides in the Army have hit a record high. Our returned troops should be re-building their lives rather than seeing depression, violence, divorce and suicide tear those lives apart. The bombs of these wars are indeed exploding at home.

      The people of the United States don’t want these wars. Even without a draft, even as we deficit fund the wars, they don’t want them. Public opposition continues to grow, with 57 percent opposing the war in Afghanistan, according to a recent Associated Press poll. The latest CNN poll found that 49 percent of Americans favored reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan — with 28 percent saying they should all be withdrawn immediately — compared to less than 40 percent who want to send more. Imagine what the polls would tell us if the burden of the wars, financial and service, were actually shouldered and shared throughout our nation.

[Note of Caution as pro-Peace groups debate implementing the draft: Imagine what the polls would tell us if the burden of the wars, financial and service, were actually shouldered and shared throughout our nation. VT.Ed]

     The American people want safety and security, as do the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. But we don’t believe these wars are helping to achieve these goals. The more we bring bombs and guns into Afghanistan, the more civilian casualties there are and the more our troops are seen as occupiers rather than liberators.

      We put the same challenge before you now that we put in front of President Bush and in front of Senators and Members of Congress.

Consider the options available to you as if the lives of your loved ones hang in the balance. Consider if it were your daughters being deployed, would you be so quick to stay, or escalate, the course?

      Please do not be the one to dash our hope for an end to these wars; for the swift and safe return of our troops; and for a new foreign policy that truly respects the lives of our service members who volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way, as well as the lives of children, women and men of other countries who are caught in the crossfire.

      Please continue to build hope in the world. Send no more troops. Bring our troops home now.

In Peace,

Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessin
Co-Founders, Military Families Speak Out
[email protected]
[email protected]


Military Families Speak Out (www.mfso.org) is an organization of over 4,000 families with loved ones who serve or served in the military over the last eight years, and who are speaking out to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. MFSO was founded in November, 2002 and is the largest organization of military families speaking out against wars in the history of this country.

Posted by:

ROBERT L. HANAFIN
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired
GS-14, U.S. Civil Service-Retired
Editorial Board
Veterans Today News Network &
Our Troops News Ladder
Military Families Speak Out – Ohio Chapter

Author Details
Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I’ve posted on Veterans Today, I’ve had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner. My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me. Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000. I’ve been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I’m now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house. I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.
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