Thursday, January 11, 2007

Call for unique knitting groups

From the folks of Knitty Gritty:

Screen Door Entertainment and "Knitty Gritty" are looking for unique knitting groups for a one-hour special. We are looking in the Los Angeles area AND NATIONWIDE!!!!

It may be a formal group or informal, but we're searching for groups with a "story" or extra-special quality. Maybe a sports team/league who knits together on the bus rides, a group of Harley bikers who knit together, a group who hit various pubs and knit while they visit, OR people who knit for a purpose/cause (whether a charity or simply to keep their community beautiful by decorating trees, stop signs, etc.)

If you are a member of such an intriguing group, know of a group (locally or in any city,) OR even if you know of other online knitting groups in other cities we can contact - send me an e-mail ASAP. We'd love to hear more!

Joy Wingard
"Knitty Gritty"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

In Dubious Battle

This is a rather long article, reprinted from the Philadelphia Weekly, but it's well worth the read.

Once idealistic and undaunted, young veterans of the Iraq war are coming home to broken promises and shattered lives.
by Cassidy Hartmann for the Philadelphia Weekly, February 1, 2006

Outside the red brick home of Jason Gunn, a suburban winter day begins quietly in ice. It's nearly Christmas in this sleepy Lansdowne neighborhood, and Gunn has been home from the military for five months. But inside his parents' house the 26-year-old sits wrapped in a blanket, eyes fixed on the ceiling, his mind still lingering on hot desert air. "We were crossing over this bridge in Baghdad we'd crossed hundreds of times." he says flatly, his hands clasped behind his stubbly head. "They set off an improvised explosive device just as the front of the truck had nosed across. The guy behind me took the majority of the blast, like point blank. Everything that didn't hit him, hit me."

Gunn's lanky body is covered with ink. His right arm bears a green graffitilike tattoo that reads "Misled Youth," the name of a favorite band but also a hint at one source of Gunn's burgeoning anger. His left arm and torso are dimpled with scars. "I can turn one way and it looks normal. I turn the other way and I'm full of holes," he says, tracing his left side from ankle to chin, and pointing out the places where shrapnel, glass and gravel are imbedded in his skin. Considering the unarmored Humvee Gunn was driving had no doors, he's lucky to have survived at all.
"I was conscious for the whole thing," he says of the blast that obliterated his close friend and left him barely able to walk. "I got a whole bunch of tattoos to try to cover up the scars."
For Jason Gunn and a growing number of Iraq veterans, the scars they bring home are less easily masked. Thanks largely to advanced technology, more soldiers are surviving with injuries that would've killed them in previous wars.

Helicopter evacuations allow injured soldiers to receive prompt surgical attention, often within an hour of being wounded. Casualties are transported to nearby medical staging areas and then to hospitals in Germany, frequently returning to the United States after only a few days.
While the increased survival rates are welcome news, the result is a huge pool of returning veterans with serious needs. According to U.S. Senate research, the amputation rate for injured soldiers has risen to 6 percent-nearly double the rate reported in previous wars. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spends $1 billion annually on prosthetic services for vets, a 30 percent increase since 2000. On top of the growing number of injured veterans, the VA saw a 10-fold increase in cases of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) last year. An Army study has found that one in six of the more than half-million veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom now report symptoms of PTSD. Because of the stigma surrounding mental healthcare in the military, many experts believe the actual number is considerably higher. PTSD-a disorder that produces symptoms ranging from nightmares to flashbacks to hallucinations, often triggered by reminders of a particularly traumatic or horrific event-didn't become an accepted medical diagnosis until 1980, long after Vietnam. The myriad symptoms include irritability, difficulty sleeping, detachment, hyper-vigilance, depression and intense anxiety or panic. The disorder is exacerbated by the unpredictability of the warfare that characterizes combat in Iraq.
In October the VA reported that more than 101,000 of the 430,000 U.S. soldiers who'd been discharged from the military after service in Iraq and Afghanistan have sought treatment through the VA. After coming up $1 billion short in 2005, the VA has predicted a $2.6 billion budget shortfall for 2006.

Add to these numbers the psychological ramifications of fighting what 52 percent of Americans now believe is an unjustified war, and the result is a huge percentage of Iraq war veterans who are coming home only to find themselves facing a whole new nightmare. "I believed that if I did get out, every door, every opportunity was mine," says Gunn. "I just had to want it and take it. But when I got back nothing was falling into place. I got into this big funk about how my life was turning out."

Gunn has stopped taking the PTSD medication he was prescribed while recuperating in Heidelberg Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. "That's some horrible stuff. It turns you into a zombie," he says. "You basically have no emotions whatsoever." Gunn was in Germany for two and a half weeks and home for 45 days before the Army sent him back to base camp and then to Iraq, with the rationale that facing his fears would help him work through whatever was bothering him. "The doctors said I shouldn't go back because I had to go through a whole bunch of treatment. I couldn't carry any weight. I was still using a cane to get around. I was still wrapping my own bandages and stuff like that." Despite his doctors' objections, Gunn redeployed in February 2004. He says he signed the deployment form "to stop all the bullshit."
"Once they got me over there, it was such a big fiasco. I was like, 'I don't care where you put me, where you send me. Just get me there and stop making me tap dance for you.'" At that point Gunn had already given up most of his hope of making it home for good. He said goodbye to his family and friends for what he told them would be the last time.

But Gunn did make it home. And since then he's become something of a media spokesperson for the antiwar movement, a poster child for the tragedies of war. Gunn has been quoted in numerous publications and TV programs, and was featured in Maxim magazine last November. He also appeared in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Despite the media interest, Gunn has been unable to hold a job for more than a few weeks since he returned from Iraq. He quit his last job driving a delivery truck when his boss blamed him for missed deliveries he says weren't his fault.

"It all goes back to Iraq," he says. "The insecurity, not knowing if you're going to see tomorrow. So any chance you get to get into a safe zone, to get the hell out of a place you feel is going to be bad, you just bounce. I find myself doing a lot of running." Gunn also finds the transition into a world outside regimented Army life a crippling challenge. "When you get out, you're like, 'What do I do now?' It's real hard for guys to adjust when you're coming from a structured environment where people are telling you where to go, when to be there, how to be there, who's in charge and who's under you. You come out here to work. Nothing is structured."
Gunn refuses to name his current job-which pays poorly and has him working graveyard shifts-because he finds it too embarrassing. "It's something to do until I get myself back into school," he says.

The difficulties Gunn describes aren't uncommon among young veterans. Last May U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson put the unemployment rate for male veterans between ages 20 and 24 at 20.4 percent, nearly twice the rate of their civilian peers.
Most of Gunn's high school friends are employed, having long since finished college and moved on with their lives. He says joining the Army wasn't a popular choice at Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne, from which he graduated in 1997. But Gunn is one of a set of triplets in a military family, and money for school was tight. Which is why in 1996, at 17, all three brothers enlisted.
But unlike his brother Jerome, who left the Army during basic training, and Justin, who served one year in Korea, Gunn was sent to Iraq. And unlike Jerome, who now works at a tattoo parlor in West Philadelphia, or Justin, who works two jobs and is in training to be a computer specialist, school is further from his reach than he'd originally planned.

He'd hoped to go to school on the GI bill, but the Army isn't making it easy for him. "They aren't paying for anything," he says. "They sent something back saying they had no record of me ever processing out of the service. So now I got to go through all these other channels to figure out what the hell is going on. It's just another obstacle in the way of what I want to do."
What Gunn wants to do is study medical science and become a paramedic. He was inspired by the medics he observed in combat in Iraq, like those who airlifted him from the smoky remains of his Humvee on that bridge in Baghdad. But even with a specific goal in mind and the money he deserves for community college, Gunn remains ambivalent about his future: "The military prepares you for only one thing-to fight. That's it. There are days when I think the only thing I can really do well is be a soldier."

Patrick Resta, a 27-year-old New Jersey native who served in Iraq with the North Carolina National Guard, now lives with his wife in a small South Philadelphia apartment.
Resta, who served eight and a half months as a medic 75 miles northeast of Baghdad, has been waiting 14 weeks for an MRI of his right knee, which has bothered him since his return home in late 2004. Resta's back also causes him serious pain, but for that he's on a different waiting list to see a specialist.

"You have to go through the VA for everything," he explains. "That's the mess I'm in now."
Resta says the military's healthcare problems surface even before vets start the waiting game with the underfinanced VA. The first concern, he says, is the army's postdeployment health assessment survey, which is the primary way the mental and physical health of soldiers is evaluated before they return home.

"It's this medical checklist, and you basically fill in ovals that say yes, no, maybe for questions like: 'While you were over there, did you ever have diarrhea? Did you ever vomit? Did you ever cough?' And then farther down the list, something like, 'Do you now or have you ever thought of harming yourself, your family members or people in your community?'" he explains. "And you're told before you fill this thing out, if you answer this the wrong way you're going to be stuck here while they sort it out. I don't know anyone that would put, 'Yes, I'm thinking about killing myself' unless you're totally whacked out. Especially after being told you're going to be there for months."

Patrick Resta and Abbie Pickett are struggling with readjustment to civilian life.During out-processing in 2004, which Resta calls "really disorganized," he told the Army doctor about the pain in his back and his knee: "The doctor told me, 'Oh, just give that a month and it'll go away.' I looked at him and said, 'Excuse me?'" Resta says the doctor then took a look at his chart. "'It looks like you've been away from home about a year now,' he said. 'Well, you've got a choice here. You can either go home and try to fight it out with the Veterans Administration, or you can sit here for six months waiting to see an orthopedist. What do you want to do?'
"That's not a choice. I grabbed my stuff and walked out of there," says Resta, who is now a nursing/premed major at Community College of Philadelphia. "The goal is to get you off the payroll as soon as they can. That's what they're trying to do."

"I was like, 'Oh my God, what the hell was this? What did I just do?'" says Dave Adams, 25, remembering the time when he almost smashed his mother's car window and nearly threw a punch at his dad. It was the incident that sent him to the Chicago VA hospital and back home with a diagnosis of PTSD. "I was put on some medication, but I didn't like it. It didn't seem to help. And that's when I became involved with IVAW and discovered there were other veterans having the same issues I was having," he says.

Adams tells his story surrounded by several other Iraq vets, all of whom are in Philadelphia for an Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) training weekend. "That's been much more therapeutic for me than taking any kind of medication." Adams says he asked about group therapy options when he visited the VA in his Chicago hometown. "The doctor I had didn't really make it seem like that was an option," he says. He just wrote prescriptions.

Mixed signals: Patrick Resta says the military discourages departing soldiers from reporting medical and psychological problems.Adams served in Iraq for five months, between February and July 2003. When he returned home on the Fourth of July, he bought $700 worth of fireworks, and pretended the loud cracks and flashes of light in the sky didn't make his heart pound and his body tense. He began drinking about a case of beer a day. Just before starting school at Southern Illinois University, Adams was drinking a couple bottles of Southern Comfort a week. The drinking took its toll on his relationship with his fiancee, the woman he'd been dating since before he was deployed. "I told her I needed some time to decompress," he says. "To me, that just kind of meant drinking my ass off every day. She wanted me to go get help, and I thought I was under control with drinking. She broke off the engagement."
Before starting school, Adams took a job at Abercrombie & Fitch.

"You know, with everything that a lot of us have been through, you'd think a job like that would be as easy as it could be," he says. "But I'd get panic attacks there. It happened probably at least once a day if I wasn't in 100 percent control of what was happening. My heart would start pounding, and I would start sweating profusely. I haven't been working since."
Adams is now getting a bachelor's degree in administrative justice with money he received from the GI bill. He's squeaking by, but says he knows he'd be getting better grades if he could keep his demons in check. "If I see something on the news, it makes me think about my friends, and I make a trip to the bar I probably shouldn't make. And I have a few drinks, and a few more I probably shouldn't be having," he says. "So it kind of prohibits me from going to class the next day."

Abbie Pickett celebrated her 21st birthday in Kuwait, chasing a convoy that would take her to Iraq the following year (2003). A bubbly blond from a tiny town in rural Wisconsin, Pickett joined the National Guard at 17 because it seemed like a good way to give back to her community. About 20 percent of her graduating class did the same thing.
At 19, while working on a humanitarian mission in Nicaragua, Pickett was sexually assaulted by a U.S. military officer. She never reported the incident, and later switched to a new unit-one that was deployed to Iraq in May 2004.

At 21, Pickett narrowly survived a mortar attack on an Army recreation site in Ba'qubah, Iraq. She spent the following few hours drenched in dying soldiers' blood.
"When I got home I knew I was screwed up," Pickett says, somehow still sounding like an average, if not particularly gregarious, 23-year-old. "Already the nightmares had started." Her roommate at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisc., soon began leaving booklets about PTSD on her bed. Consumed by nightmares and often startled by even the slamming of a door, Pickett went to the VA for help, but received little. "They gave me a bottle of sleeping pills and an antidepressant, and sent me on my way," she says. "They gave me an 800 number to call, but when I called it I got two disconnected numbers in Wisconsin. "When you actively try to get help and it's not there ... I was like suicidal," she says. "They kept on giving me those same numbers, and they don't work."

Smoking Gunn: Jason hasn't been able to hold down a job since returning from Iraq. He says being a soldier is the only thing he knows well and does well.Since March 2003 40 U.S. soldiers and nine Marines have committed suicide in Iraq, according to the National Veterans Foundation. A documented 20 soldiers and 23 Marines have killed themselves since returning home.

Pickett eventually got involved with a group called Vets for Vets, which provides services to and facilitates communication between veterans in need. "Transitional services are better for someone coming out of prison than they are for someone coming out of the military," Pickett says, which is why she now works to spread the word about the independent nonprofit organizations available to vets. She's visiting Philadelphia to meet with members of IVAW and, she hopes, connect the two organizations. "I don't need the yellow ribbon on the back of your car. I need money for VA funding," she explains. "We need money for those kids that are coming home and have to revamp their whole house because they've had limbs blown off, or aren't going to be able to do the occupation they once were able to.

"So instead of putting a ribbon on your car, do the next step. Talk to somebody who just came back to your community and they're struggling and they need somebody to reach out to them. Help somebody whose husband or wife is deployed and they need help taking their kids to school or whatever it may be. It's a great sentiment, but it means nothing unless you're doing something behind it."

Pickett is particularly interested in helping female veterans with everything from sexual harassment (which she calls "rampant" in the military) to health concerns. "Our bodies aren't built like a male's, and we react differently, and that really hasn't been in the newspapers," she says. "No one's really dealt with how the female body is going to react to depleted uranium or a lot of things that are going on with the male soldiers in a high number. So that's where I've taken a stance and have found some feeling of finding a place." Though she's found solace in her interactions with other vets, Pickett is still engaged in a constant fight for normalcy. "I want to relate to everyone else my own age. I want to have the life I had before I left, because it was really great," she says. "I liked drinking and going out, having a fun time, and now I'm that girl who starts drinking and cries for several hours. I tell my friends, and they don't know how to react."

For Pickett, dating has also been tough. A three-month relationship was ended by night spasms and tears. "He wasn't a vet. He had no idea what I was going through," she remembers. "But how do you explain something that has so much hatred behind it, the worst part of humanity, when you want somebody to love you?"

Pickett is majoring in political science and psychology, but knows that because of the trauma she witnessed, she could no longer be a physician's assistant as she'd planned. "It's hard to readjust my dreams, my aspirations. When I started back at school I went from being on honor roll to, in fall of last year, dropping down to four credit hours. I dropped everything." Almost a year after receiving medication from the VA, Pickett discovered she'd been given an incorrect prescription that had actually been making her symptoms worse. She's improved slightly since changing meds and joining Vets for Vets, but she knows she'll never be that carefree college kid again.
"Since I've been home, I don't have any long-term goals anymore. It's just day-by-day, get through this week. I don't know what I'm going to do with my life, but I know I want to help vets."

Still slumped on the couch but now exuding anger, Jason Gunn is counting the friends he's lost in Iraq. "I lost a friend named Spanky-he was shot by a sniper. Another one was killed by an IED," he says. "He died the worst. It hit him so bad that it blew him in the back of the Humvee, and the Humvee caught fire. They couldn't get his body out of the truck, so he just burned. Another guy was killed from an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] attack on top of a tank. It took four guys getting killed like that to learn you should shut the hatches." This is what lives inside Jason Gunn's head. Dead friends, frustration with the military, hatred for his government and a war, he says, "that's never going to end." "I've been through so much, and I deserve so much better. I can do so much better than this, but for some reason I don't get myself out of this funk," he says. "I have no idea why I don't do it."

But there is one thing Gunn does know: Iraq veterans already need more help. "War is going to happen regardless, so why not deal with something that's within our grasp? Helping the soldiers that are returning," he says. "They've dedicated the majority of their lives to the service, and now they're getting out with nothing."

It's nearing lunchtime, and outside the window a bitter wind jostles spindly trees wrapped in strings of lights. For Jason Gunn, it's time to head off to bed. He was up all night working, and needs rest for his next shift-or perhaps a night of drinking with his brothers at the bars.
"I don't know anything around here. All my friends are gone," Gunn says glumly. "When I get feeling like that, I think about going back in. I'd get my rank right back, go back to hanging out with my friends again. Yeah, I probably would end up going back to Iraq, because they're back there now, but at least I'd end up doing something I know and can really do well. It's the only thing that ever made any real sense to me."

Cassidy Hartmann ( writes frequently about anti-Iraq

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Vet's Opinion

Statement for Feb 15, 2005 Peace Is Patriotic Rally
by Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.
President, Institute for Space and Security Studies
National Advisor, Veterans For Peace
Presiding Archbishop, United Catholic Church

I'm here representing Veterans For Peace, an organization of thousands of combat veterans. All of us have put our life on the line for this country. And all of us are opposed to a war with Iraq.
Saddam Hussein is a bad guy. I don't know anyone who disagrees with that. He's a bad guy now. He was a bad guy in 1990 when April Glaspie of the State Department gave him the green light to invade Kuwait. He was a bad guy in the 1980s when Donald Rumsfeld sat down with him for a chat while he was gassing the Kurds. He was a bad guy in 1977 when Zbigniew Brzezinski met with him and proposed the invasion of Iran. And he was a bad guy in the 1960s when the CIA hired him to assassinate Iraqi leader Abdel Karim Qassim and then helped him take over Iraq. He's always been a bad guy. But he was always our bad guy. Right up to 1990, official DoD documents praised Saddam for vastly improving the education, medical care, and standard of living of his people. His regime was called one of the most enlightened, progressive governments in the region … and it was.

But there was a problem. The Berlin wall had come down and the Soviet Union had collapsed. The first Bush White House had to find another bad guy -- fast. And they did -- Saddam Hussein. They suckered him into attacking Kuwait, and the first Gulf War was on.

This was the war the first Bush administration wanted, the war they planned for, the war they instigated, the war they salivated over, the war that Saddam's unconditional withdrawal wasn't going to deny them, the war that would show off our smart bombs better than a hundred trade shows, the war that would prove George wasn't a wimp, the war that would make billions for the future president George W. Bush, who had exclusive rights to offshore oil in the Gulf, the war that would kill the "loser" image from Vietnam once and for all.

Now the second President Bush wants his Gulf War too. Planning for it started long before 9/11, even before he became president. In September 1990, his advisers set "regime change" in Iraq as a primary objective of US foreign policy should Bush become president. They made it clear that the purpose of moving against Saddam is to set the stage for occupying the entire Middle East (and therefore controlling its oil, no matter who's in power, especially in Saudi Arabia).
The problems with starting a preemptive war against Iraq are several: (1) It would be immoral and would probably be judged illegal by the World Court. (2) It would be costly, in terms of American lives and in dollars. (3) It would require us to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely. (4) It would fracture NATO, split the United Nations, and come between us and our allies. (5) It would incense the Arab world, probably causing the downfall of friendly governments who cooperate with us (like Saudi Arabia and Turkey). (6) It would provide Osama bin Laden with thousands of new recruits ready to die in a Holy War against Americans. (7) It would therefore cause an enormous increase in the terrorist threat to Americans at home and abroad. It might even cause World War III. It would destroy our national security and further endanger the American people.

As a combat veteran, I will not stand idly by and watch our security destroyed by a president who went AWOL rather than fight in Vietnam. I say, "NO" to war against Iraq.
As one who has devoted his life to the security of this country, I will not stand by and watch an appointed president send our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so the oil companies can sell the oil under their sand, making us the target of terrorists. I say, "NO" to war against Iraq.

I joined the Air Force to protect our borders and our people, not the financial interests of Folgers, Chiquita Banana, and Exxon. I say, "NO" to war against Iraq.
As a pilot who flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam, I can tell you that the best thing our government can do for its combat veterans is to quit making more of them. I say "NO" to war against Iraq.

Peace is patriotic; a preemptive war is immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and a war crime. I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies -- foreign and domestic. That includes a renegade president. If this war happens, I will call for the impeachment of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the whole oil mafia. I say "NO" to war against Iraq.

We are the people. We are sovereign. The whole world is with us. And we say, "NO!" "NO" to war! "NO" to preemptive war. "NO" to wars of aggression. "NO" to war against Iraq. "NO!" "NO!" "NO!"This war would be treason! PEACE is patriotic. God bless America! And God save us from George W. Bush! Thank you!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

From the flame file

I thought I'd share an email I got, regarding this website. I always welcome healthy discourse on any stance I take. Perhaps someone will bring an argument I hadn't thought of before. Even if neither of us changes our mind, it can be a rewarding experinece to have had the conversation. So without further ado, here is a letter from Mark


Just wanted to pass along a quick note. I saw your

'peace is patrioc' knitting. Don't delude yourself.

It is NOT ok to not support the war and that's not a

form of support for the troops. You can't tell

someone 'I despise what you do but I really support

you'. It demoralizes our troops and undermines the

entire nation.

I hate knitters, but I really like you,

Marnie...whoops not very supportive is it?

Well, that's an interesting argument but I don't think it quite applies. Firstly, your implication is that I've stated that I hate soldiers as a whole but care for certain individuals. Nothing is further from the truth. I have the utmost respect for our soldiers and my wish is for their safe and healthy return. Is that unpatriotic? Is it delusional to think that wishing they'd be able to return their their families and their civilian life is anti soldier? But let's take your analogy a bit further. Can I hate McDonalds food and how it effects our society? Can I lament more and more children are becoming obese because of the food served there? Can I hate all of this and still respect and support the people who work there to pay their rent? Of course I can. I don't spend my money at McDonalds and I hope that Americans begin to move away from fast food and eat healthier, but most of the kids in my home town worked at one fast food restaurant or another and I supported their efforts fully.

Our soldiers are fighting for freedom for the Iraqis

and for our own security, while liberal whiners deride

their efforts and the war.

Perhaps now the soldiers are being told they are fighting for freedom, but that is not why they were sent to Iraq. They were sent to Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction and to avenge the attacks on September 11th. There are two huge problems with these goals. For one, the Iraqis and their government had nothing to do with 911. Osama Bin Laden was at fault and we have yet to bring him to justice. Furthermore, there were no WMDs. Evidence suggests that further investigations, had investigators been allowed to proceed, would have shown as much. In my mind, the loss of over 2000 of our soldiers and countless civilians in Iraq, is a sure sign that the ends do not justify the means. But let us say they do, why Iraq? Why have we chosen to send our troops to Iraq and not bring freedom to other countries? Why aren't we fighting the genocide in Darfur? Why aren't we properly dealing with the WMD in North Korea? What is our responsibility in the US to the world? How do we decide in which countries we should overthrow the oppressive government and which we should largely ignore? And further, why aren't we using the billions of dollars spent on the war to better help our own country. I think the recent hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, have shown we haven't properly invested in protecting our own citizens. What if even a tenth of the money spent on the war were used to better protect our citizens from hunger, natural disaster and lack of healthcare? If our government had been able to gather a compelling argument for war and enlist the help of other countries, we would all share the burden, our soldiers could have better armor, we wouldn't be tapping our reservists for the war and could, instead, have used those resources for our own plight back here on our own soil. I really think this argument could go on and on, but I'm not entirely sure you'll even take the time to read this far through my reply, so I'll move on.

Both of my sons have fought to free Iraq, and one was

seriously wounded. My younger boy told me before he

that hundreds of Iraqis have personally thanked him.

He did get spit on though, just once - by a Berkeley

student at SFO.

I have the greatest respect for your sons. They chose to enlist in the military, they have been brave and one was wounded in the process. He deserves every award he is offered and I think it's wonderful that he is home with his family. I want nothing but the safe return of every soldier and a peaceful resolution to the current conflict. I consider that very patriotic. You may judge that as you see fit. But I'm not some blind "liberal whiner" as you have dubbed me. My boyfriend served during the first gulf war and he opposes this war, and I count among my friends, quite a few people who have family serving abroad. The people I know concur with my feelings that it would be nice to have our soldiers back. It is disgusting that someone spit on your son. There are horrible people in this world. Don't lump every liberal in with that person, and I won't lump every soldier in with the few bad ones caught abusing Iraqis in Abu Ghraib.

This lack of support disgusts me, but spineless

Americans are nothing new. You opposed WW1, WW2, and

other conflicts that freed millions of people and

saved millions of lives. If it was up to you,

Saddam's torture, slaver, murder and genocide would

continue to this day.

That's interesting I hadn't realized that I opposed WW1 and WW2. It's a good thing I have you to read my mind. I guess since you are a republican, you opposed the Civil war and freeing the slaves. Shame on you. And hey, didn't we go to WW2 under a liberal president? Didn't he start that evil program, social security? It seems to me that you'd be more likely to oppose the second World War than I.

I think I've been clear about where I stand. I believe that Saddam did some horrible things. I believe there is a lot of horrible behavior in this world. My wish would be that there were never a need for war. I realize that is not always possible. What I do believe is that we'd have been able to do more, with less death if we had been able to get the support of the rest of the world. We burned our ties with almost all first and second world countries and we attacked Iraq unilaterally under false pretenses. Our soldiers and Iraqis have suffered for this, and we, at home have bared a huge burden. More and more of our soldiers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and have or will come home to families in huge financial turmoil from the lack of a second income. Our national deficit continues to rise and still there is no end to the war. It's not that I don't support the idea of bringing freedom to Iraq, it's that I feel we've done it all wrong. This has nothing to do with the soldiers, who follow orders, bravely and well. This has everything to do with how the government has approached the task.

Like most Americans, I support the war AND our troops.

And from all of us, here's a big fuck you.


It is clear from this closing that you are probably not looking to have a conversation on this, but I support your first amendment right to tell me what you think. Just as you have every right to support the war, I have every right not to. One of the beautiful things about our democracy is that we can agree to disagree. I really do appreciate the chance to discuss topics of some controversy. I learn a lot from it and I think people should be challenged on their stance. I do wish you had offered some more meaningful arguments and less ignorant hatred. Since you commented on the site, Peace is Patriotic, and it's a group blog, I'm going to post your comments and ask people to reply. Any civil discourse that arises will be enlightening. I hope you'll give your thoughts there. I won't speak for any of the other people on that blog, since they come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are liberal, some are more conservative, some have family serving in Iraq right now, this is just my reply to your email.

I'll sign off with a more civil closing than you've afforded me and wish you and your sons the best. I thank them sincerely for their service and hope they recover well.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Once more on Katrina Relief

Beginning Monday, September 12 and through Wednesday September 15, Purl and will be donating 10% of all sales to the Habitat for Humanity Disaster Response Effort. Habitat for Humanity is an outstanding charitable organization which will be building homes for the homeless evacuees of Katrina.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005



I've been asked by a couple of knitters if the shipment can wait until they are done with their sweaters before I send the box to San Diego and the answer is YES!

The box will leave here on September 21, 2005 and will arrive September 23, 2005.

If you feel you have time to knit a sweater and get it to me by September 21, we will gladly accept your contribution.

I've got all the current contributions tagged and ready to go, and there is still room in the box. I think I can do another, in addition to the things that I'm doing for the Katrina evacuees.

Let me know if you have intentions of sending a sweater, booties, hats, etc., so that we wait for you too.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina Relief - more

Here are some other initiatives:



Full Thread Ahead

And please, if you can, donate blood, it's free and save lives!

Katrina Relief

Di, thanks for the great post.
There's a wonderful charity in place for folks interested in helping in Katrina relief.
Please take a moment to read through this post.
There is information about giving money or donating knitting items to be offered as prizes for folks who donate.
I want to thank Julia for blogging about this and bringing it to my attention.

There is also a charity for animals who have survived Katrina. For those of you interested in contributing to that charity, the information can be found by clicking this button.

Humane Society