Archive for the ‘War’ Category

by jhwygirl

The Jeanette Rankin Peace Center is hosting Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Trent and her latest documentary Soldiers Speak Out at the Roxy Theater tomorrow.

A wine and cheese reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and a Q&A with the filmmaker follows the screening. Suggested donation is $10 ($5 for those living lightly). RSVP at543-3955, or via email at

A half-hour documentary, Soldiers Speak Out is told entirely from the mouths of American veterans who have been to the Iraqi war and are now opposing it. They discuss how they came to join the military, their experiences in training and in war, and what led them to the point where they decided they could no longer, in good conscience, participate in the war or keep silent.

The film provides a sobering view of the war in Iraq, and sheds light on the growing and anti-war and anti-occupation movement within the military and their families.

On Thursday, Ms. Trent will be at UM’s UC Theater for a presentation of her feature-length award-winning documentary COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair. Two screening are being held, one at 5:30, and another at 7:30 p.m. Both will be followed by a Q&A session. COVERUP is one of eleven films being brought to UM as part of the Montana Peace & Justice Film Series for Spring 2008.

COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair exposes several of the most disturbing chapters in the history of U.S. covert foreign policy, and presents a tale of politics, drugs, hostages, weapons, assassinations, covert operations and the ultimate plan to suspend the U.S. Constitution.

Trent’s film was the first to reveal the ‘October Surprise’ hostage deal (the Reagan/Bush campaign deal with Iran to delay the release of the 52 American hostages until after the 1980 election), and is the only film that presents a comprehensive overview of the most important stories suppressed during the Iran Contra hearings.

Ms. Trent’s visit to Missoula is sponsored by Students for Peace and Justice, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center, Associated Students of the University Montana, Film Studies, the History and English Departments, Environmental Studies Program, Women and Gender Studies Program, Davidson Honors College, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and the Empowerment Project, and provide locals and students alike with an excellent opportunity to see some power films and Q&A a seasoned activist who has publically exposed criminal activities in the White House, Pentagon and the CIA.

Barbara Trent has been the target of at least three FBI counter-intelligence operations. Appointed as an Expert Senior Training Specialist for the VISTA Program under Jimmy Carter, Ms. Trent has been decorated with the Gasper Octavio Hernandez Award by the Journalist’s Union in Panama, and is a recipient of the American Humanist Association’s Arts Award for her “courageous advocacy of progressive ideas.”

by jhwygirl

We all hear about it – many pooh-pooh it. There are plenty of reasons to hate it – the nasty ways it can promote a lie; the subtle ways it can influence an election; the self-promoting protections it affords its own corporate interests.

Here’s a local story.

G. George Ostrom was terminated by KOFI Radio on Monday after Ostrom “disagreed with management over editorial policy.”The dispute arose Monday morning after Ostrom read a report concerning Kent Etchison, a resident of Kalispell who was arraigned in federal court Feb. 28 on mail fraud charges. Etchison, who pleaded innocent, was a former office manager at KOFI Radio and is accused of ordering about $972,000 in supplies from 2001 to June 2006 for the station — far in excess of what it would ever need, according to court records. The bulk of those purchases — $925,000 — were made from March 2003 through June 2006, federal prosecutors maintain.

Editorial policy?

What happened?

According to Ostrom, he read an Associated Press story about Etchison on the air in the Monday (March 3) 6 a.m. news report.Then Dave Rae, KOFI co-owner and general manager came in later that morning and told Ostrom to not read the story, Ostrom said.

Ostrom said he told Rae he already had. Rae, in short, insisted that Ostrom squash the story, Ostrom claimed.

Ostrom refused and walked out.

He read an AP news story.

Ostrom, a longtime Flathead Valley newscaster had been associated with KOFI-AM for 53 years, who had bought KOFI back in the 1980’s with a group of investors and helped usher its expansion to FM. He’s written three books on Glacier Park, and was the recipient of the University of Montana’s 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award. Ostrom also won first place from the National Newspaper Association in 1996 for his column “Trailwatcher” and has been inducted into the Montana Broadcaster’s Association’s Hall of Fame. He served in the U.S. Army and was also a member of the Missoula Smokejumpers, one of the original USFS smokejumping crews.

In the 1960’s, Ostrom was a staffer for Senator Lee Metcalf, and helped write the groundbreaking wilderness legislation – the very legislation that eventually created the late Senator’s namesaked Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area.

What reason did Dave Rae and KOFI have to want the story quashed? I’m sure any of you could come up with a number of reasons, but ultimately they all lead to one reason: the serving of their own interests over that of their audience’s right to know the truth.

The was a day, once, long ago, where purveyors of news were self-tasked with the responsibility to inform the public of news based on facts and without bias to its best capabilities. Are those days’ gone?

Ostrom, commenting on his departure:

Ignoring that story, in my opinion, would be making me compromise my journalistic integrity, my credibility.

Amen, George Ostrom.

by jhwygirl

By a 3-2 vote, the Bozeman City Commission supported a resolution for a “orderly, rapidly and comprehensive” withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

More of Montana speaks.

by jhwygirl

Looks like Bozeman’s city council will consider a resolution calling for President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

The Bozeman Peace Seekers have been gathering signatures since November. The city council, in November before a packed meeting, voted 3-2 to consider the resolution.

Critics, like those in Missoula, say that city council has more pressing issues to attend to – like the new jail and fire station.

With today’s news of the Private Darren Smith’s death in Iraq, this former Bozeman resident believes nothing could be more appropriate.

by jhwygirl

Private Darren Smith, 19, of Helena, was killed in Iraq on Thursday of non-combat related injuries. The DoD has not released any additional information, but does say that his death is still under investigation.

Pvt. Smith is the 21st Montanan killed in Iraq (2 have also died in Afghanistan), and the 6th soldier from Helena.

Prayers and tears to Pvt. Darren Smith’s family and friends.

God Bless.

by jhwygirl

Seems like the Iraq War was the big loser in Montana.

Both Helena’s and Missoula’s anti-Iraq war referendums won decisively with majority numbers – Helena’s taking nearly 62% of support, and Missoula with almost 65%!

Reaffirming Helena’s anti-Iraq War referendum vote was the dismissal of the anti-anti Iraq War referendum – a call to give Bush a blank check, with no conditions, for funding of the Iraq war – by a slightly-less than the nearly 62% support the anti-Iraq war referendum received.

Only two cities, I know, but I’ll take the time to point out that both are over 60% threshold…..

7 U.S. forces were killed on Monday.

3857 U.S. forces have been killed in Iraq.

2007 has been the deadliest year.

853 U.S. forces have died this year.

118 U.S. forces have been killed since September 1st.

The worse previous year was 2004, with 849 U. S. forces killed.

24 Sons of Montana have died.How many more?

Email Rep. Dennis Rehberg and tell him “Not One More!”

Email Sen. Max Baucus and tell him “Not One More!”

Email Sen. Jon Tester and tell him “Not One More!”

Support our U.S. forces by bringing them home.

by Rebecca Schmitz

It’s election day here in Missoula, so if you haven’t returned your ballot yet be sure to head down to the Elections Office in the county courthouse by 5pm 8pm (thanks, Jason!) today. Ward Two candidate Pam Walzer helpfully provided this voting advice for everyone in a comment on this site last week:

If you’re not able to get your ballot in the mail in time, not to worry – you can drop it off at the Elections Office any time during normal business hours and until 8 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 6th. OR – only on “Election Day,” Nov. 6th (7am-8pm)- you can drop your ballot off at any of the following 5 schools: Cold Springs, Hellgate Elementary, Paxson, Rattlesnake, or Russell.

In other words, it’s not over yet people! You still have time to make your voice heard, no matter which City Council candidate you support. We have our favorites, as you know, and we have a definite opinion on the Iraq War referendum.

Speaking of that pesky little misadventure in Iraq, Dennis Kucinich says he’s introducing a resolution in the House of Representatives today to force the introduction of Articles of Impeachment against one of its architects, Vice President Dick Cheney. He was supposed to have a nationwide discussion about his resolution last night, but apparently there was a glitch in the phone lines:

The Kucinich campaign apologized for the snafu, explaining that staff had significantly underestimated the number of call-ins, and public interest in the issue exceeded technological capacity. The call will be re-scheduled within the next few days.

I expect the resolution to fail miserably, not because it’s the wrong thing to do, but because Kucinich’s fellow Democrats can barely take a stand against torture, let alone remove one of the worst public officials in American history from office.

You could dismiss Representative Kucinich’s resolution as merely an election season publicity stunt, but at least he’s not trying to keep anyone off the ballot, like some Democratic party officials in South Carolina. In case you hadn’t heard, comedian Stephen Colbert wanted to run for President–in his home state alone. However, his bid was thwarted last week.

The South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council voted last week 13-3 to block Colbert’s bid for the Democratic primary.

According to the Seattle Times this morning, his campaign is over. That’s a shame. If the Republicans can let that theocrat-in-Libertarian-clothing Ron Paul play in their sandbox, why won’t we do the same for one of the best and smartest entertainers in America today?

by Rebecca Schmitz

Before George W. Bush moves on to his next war, his countrymen should have a chance to send a message about the direction of the the current one. Missoula has that opportunity this election with the Iraq War referendum. Opponents of the referendum dismiss it as a waste of the city’s time, and tell us that foreign policy issues are best handled by our Congressional delegation. I disagree. Change needs to start somewhere. Why shouldn’t it begin at the local level? If we don’t stand up and say “NO” to our President how can we honestly expect the same of anyone else at any level of government? Free speech is never a waste of time, especially when lives are on the line.

Mark Tokarski at Piece of Mind wrote an insightful post last week about our government’s plans for Iraq:

The U.S., Halliburton and KBR have been busy these past four years constructing fourteen bases, five of which are superbases that can house as many as 100,000 permanent troops…Congress, of course, passed a resolution forbidding permanent bases in Iraq, and in true Orwellian fashion, mere statement of noble intent covers up a whole lot of ignoble plundering. Of course the bases are temporary. They are only meant to last thirty or forty years – long enough to extract the oil wealth out of the country.

These bunker-cities are big business. War profiteering has become rampant in Iraq. Among the worst offenders is the former Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (now known officially as KBR). The November issue of Vanity Fair magazine has an expose of KBR’s activities:

KBR’s current military-support contract is known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or logcap. This is the contract’s third incarnation, and, like its predecessors, logcap 3 is a “cost-plus” contract: whatever KBR spends, the government agrees to reimburse, with the addition of a fee of about 3 percent. The more the company spends, the more it makes, so it pays to be profligate. All the former employees I spoke to told of KBR’s over-ordering equipment such as computers, generators, and vehicles on an epic scale. Millions of dollars’ worth of equipment was left to rot in yards in the desert.

Frankly, it’s disheartening to read such things. It’s hard to believe one small city in a largely rural state unblessed by the fruits of the Electoral College can make a difference. Who cares what Montana thinks? That’s what the opponents of the Iraq War referendum would have you believe. Maybe I’m a hopeless idealist, but I think Missoula’s opinion does matter. Small towns and cities across the nation are taking a stand against George W. Bush’s bleak vision of America’s future: a series of metropolis-bunkers spanning the globe providing endless profit for the well-connected few. Unfortunately, few elected representatives can find the courage to stand up to the war profiteers and their supporters in the Bush Administration and Congress. Therefore, it’s time we did. Maybe only then will they finally listen to us.

Vote YES on Missoula’s Iraq War Referendum.

by jhwygirl

This is a repost, originally posted January 28, 2007 at MontanaNetroots. It refers to an event held in Helena, Montana on January 27th.

Representative Art Noonan of Butte stood in front of the State Capitol, in the brisk 15 degree Montana blue sky day before a crowd of peace supporters that included WWII and Vietnam veterans, Knitters for Peace, a Woman in Black and dozens of others, and posed that question.

A free-form rally was held on Saturday to coincide with’s march in Washington DC – which our own Cece is in attendance by the grace of a scholarship.

Noonan was joined by Senator Steve Gallus of Butte and Representative Julie French of Scoby, all of whom spoke passionately in support of our military and in protest of the war in Iraq – of the lies and falsehoods that got us there, and of the enormous cost in human lives as a result.

Noonan’s speech welled tears in my eyes – man, can that man speak! – and I dare say that there were several others also wiping away tears. In a moving speech, Noonan detailed how our nation got to this point, with lies of weapons of mass destruction, with lies of connecting 9/11 to Iraq and with the truth that we all know now. He spoke of the tremendous sacrifice that is being asked of our nation’s sons and daughters and posed this:

Ask yourself – What is the value of a life?……….And then ask yourself – What is the value of a life given for yours?

This is the question our nation needs to ask. This is the question our nation needs to answer. How many lives are worth what our president seeks in Iraq? And can what our president seeks in Iraq ever be found? Blindness to this very essence of what the war in Iraq has brought us – thousands of American lives lost at a cost that is undefinable and with lives which are priceless in value – is what must be considered, and what must never be forgotten.

Representative Julie French told the crowd of her son who had served in the service, and a younger son who has told her that if he is asked to go, he will do so without question. She spoke of her unwaivering support of men and women in service and HB 179, which she sponsored, that will create a Montana monetary relief fund for families and soldiers called up for federal service. She noted that while the monetary amount may seem insignificant in relation to what is actually being asked of the service men and women and their families, it is important for Montana’s sons and daughters to know that we, the people of this state, support them 100%.

Senator Steve Gallus began the event, speaking of his lack of approval for the war, and told the crowd of his pride in helping to carry forward, in the State Legislature, Representative Michele Reinhardt’s resolution to protest the Iraqi war.

As Shane noted below, the exhibit of excellence in leadership by Gallus, Noonan and French was heartening. The people of Butte and Scoby are fortunate to have such fine people representing them in Helena.

Vote YES to Missoula’s Iraq War Referendum.

How Much More?

by jhwygirl

3837 U.S. soldiers dead.

98 U.S. soldiers killed since September 1st, 2007.

24 Sons of Montana.

Spc. Donald M. Young, 19 – Helena
Staff Sgt. Travis W. Atkins, 31 – Bozeman
Cpl. Chris Dana, 23 – Helena
Staff Sgt. Shane Becker, 35 – Helena
Army Spc. Scott Dykman, 27 – Helena
Army Pfc. Shawn Murphy, 24 – Butte
Marine Lance Cpl. Nick Palmer, 19 – Great Falls
Sgt. Travis M. Arndt, 23 – Bozeman
Pfc. Andrew D. Bedard, 19 – Missoula
Staff Sgt. Aaron N. Holleyman, 26 – Glasgow
Capt. Michael J. MacKinnon, 30 – Helena
Cp. Dean P. Pratt, 22 – Stevensville
Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Sandvick Monroe, 20 – Chinook
Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, 28 – Wolf Creek
Lance Cpl. Nicholas William B. Bloem, 20 – Belgrade
Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles V. Komppa, 35 – Belgrade
Sgt. 1st Class Robbie D. McNary, 42 – Lewistown
1st Lt. Edward M. Saltz, 27 – Bigfork
Cpl. Raleigh C. Smith, 21 – Troy
Pfc. Owen D. Witt, 20 – Sand Springs
Private Matthew T. Zeimer, 19 – Glendive
Army Spc. Michael Frank, 36 – Great Falls
Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, 26 – Ismay
Pvt. 1st Class Kyle G. Bohrnsen, 22 – Philipsburg

4 U.S. Soldiers missing or captured

135 Journalists killed

655,000 Iraqis killed

Vote YES to Missoula’s Iraq War Referendum.

by jhwygirl

Via Left in the West, Papa 4&20 Jay Stevens highlights the fact that our Senator Max doesn’t quite seem to be assessing the situation in Iraq with eyes wide open:

“I and others repeatedly made it clear to the leadership that they’ve got to do a lot more than they are doing now,” said Baucus, who is on his first visit to Iraq. “They need a bigger nudge. They could stand a greater dose of reality to move them.”

A bigger nudge? A greater dose of reality to move them?

The death toll of American troops is 3788 (September 18th 7:57 p.m., MST.) Montana has lost 22 sons, with 2 in the past month.

49 American troops since September 1st.

Nearly THREE U.S. soldiers have died every day since September 1st.

$453,000,000,000 total.

$200,000,000 per day

How many more Max? How much more?


When in college I had the opportunity to meet Senator John Heinz III – one wonderful Republican. By the time I had met him, he had been elected 3 times. He was, needless to say, well-admired. There were many who felt (as I recall) that he was well on his way to the Whitehouse.

That meeting is still with me. The Senator seemed to genuinely want to meet me and hear what I had to say. Me? I was too star-struck, and besides that, there simply wasn’t anything I had to say other than the fact that I was “extremely honored” to meet him. Plus, he was pretty darn good-looking. I did ask him one question though – I wanted to know how much he was influenced by people who wrote him.

In a very sincere way he told me that calls and letters he got from citizens were very important to him and that he looked at each letter as representing the viewpoint of about 2,000 people. I don’t know how he came up with that number – but I took him at his word.

Now that was back in the 80’s – in a state that obviously has a much larger population than our own Montana – but that one statement has influenced me to write my representatives since that day.

Email Max tonight – here.

Call Max tomorrow – 202-224-2651.

And then write him a letter. A letter speaks a 1000 words. I know it’s true – John told me so.

The Honorable Max Baucus
511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2602

by jhwygirl

Specialist Donald M. Young was killed Wednesday in Baghdad, from wounds sustained when his vehicle was struck with an IED. Young was the 2nd graduate of Capital High School killed in Iraq.

Donald Young was the 5th Helena native killed in the Iraq war, and the 20th Montanan.

Tears and prayers for the family and friends of Donald Young.

Godspeed Donald Young, Godspeed.

May no soldier go unforgotten.

Killed in Iraq:

Spc. Donald M. Young, 19 – Helena
Staff Sgt. Travis W. Atkins, 31 – Bozeman
Cpl. Chris Dana, 23 – Helena
Staff Sgt. Shane Becker, 35 – Helena
Army Spc. Scott Dykman, 27 – Helena
Army Pfc. Shawn Murphy, 24 – Butte
Marine Lance Cpl. Nick Palmer, 19 – Great Falls
Sgt. Travis M. Arndt, 23 – Bozeman
Pfc. Andrew D. Bedard, 19 – Missoula
Staff Sgt. Aaron N. Holleyman, 26 – Glasgow
Capt. Michael J. MacKinnon, 30 – Helena
Cp. Dean P. Pratt, 22 – Stevensville
Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Sandvick Monroe, 20 – Chinook
Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, 28 – Wolf Creek
Lance Cpl. Nicholas William B. Bloem, 20 – Belgrade
Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles V. Komppa, 35 – Belgrade
Sgt. 1st Class Robbie D. McNary, 42 – Lewistown
1st Lt. Edward M. Saltz, 27 – Bigfork
Cpl. Raleigh C. Smith, 21 – Troy
Pfc. Owen D. Witt, 20 – Sand Springs

Killed in Afghanistan:

Pfc. Kristofor T. Stonesifer, 28 – Missoula
Joshua Michael Hyland, 31 – Missoula

3684 American forces have been killed in the Iraqi war.

Tonight, of those 3684 deaths, there are 5 families that have yet to hear that their son or daughter has been taken from them.

God Bless.

by jhwygirl

This is cross-posted at MontanaNetroots.

Governor Brian Schweitzer announced yesterday that he will be directing that the flag be lowered to half-mast when a Montana member of the Armed Forces is killed in the line of duty.

On June 29th, Congress signed into law the Army Specialist Joseph P. Micks Federal Flag Code Amendment Act of 2007, which authorizes the Governor of any state, territory or possession of the U.S. to order that the flag be flown at half-mast when a soldier from that state, territory or possession is killed.

Schweitzer has ordered that flags be flown at half-mast two days prior and until dusk on the day of service for any Montana Armed Forces member. “Our soldiers deserve no less than one of our nation’s highest honors, flying the flag at half-mast.”

I know many of us in the Montana blogosphere have pondered why the flag isn’t flown at half-mast when a soldier is killed. I know that it has been done in the hometown of the deceased soldier.

While I am glad the our Governor has acted so quickly to act on the Congressional act – it will be a sad day when it has to be implemented.

Discuss the war – end the war. Now.

Support the City of Missoula War Referendum.

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