Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fort Lewis soldier's family urges Gregoire to oppose deployment Legislature - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Fort Lewis soldier's family urges Gregoire to oppose deployment



Three military-family activists hoping to pull U.S. troops back from Iraq have met with an aide to Gov. Christine Gregoire, urging her to question President Bush's authority to keep Washington National Guard troops deployed in the occupied country.
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"This group was very serious ... very direct. The governor will hear about it, and we'll see where she goes with it," said Antonio Ginatta, Gregoire's policy adviser on general government issues, including the military.

Ginatta met with Susan Livingston, sister of Fort Lewis-based Stryker Brigade member Joe Blickenstaff, who died in Iraq, as well as widow Angela Blickenstaff and Lietta Ruger. Ruger said she has a nephew and son-in-law who served in Iraq.

"He said there will be continued dialogue," Livingston said of Ginatta after the meeting. Blickenstaff was among the first Fort Lewis-based Stryker soldiers to die in Iraq, and Livingston said "the governor has a duty to do everything in her power to bring our National Guard troops home as soon as possible, and to make certain they stay here, where we need them."

In a move the activists said was repeated in Oregon with Gov. Ted Kulongoski, they pointed out to Ginatta that the state's drought conditions make it more likely Washington will need Guard troops to deal with wildfire.

The three women are affiliated with military family groups such as the Washington Chapter of Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Against the War.

They noted that Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Friday asked the Pentagon to return some of that state's Guardsmen in order to fight wildfires. CNN quoted Schweitzer as saying: "Somebody's going to have a blowup. Is it Northern Idaho, is it Eastern Washington, or is it Montana?"

"I know our governor has expressed a particular concern for our veterans returning home from Iraq," Ginatta said. "So I know she will be interested in hearing about the meeting. ... This will get raised to her in the next couple of days."

Legislature - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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