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Dec-03-2008 00:52printcomments

Oregon Officials Will Meet Group Protesting Guard Deployment

Demonstrators staging a 24-hour-a-day vigil and fast on the capitol steps in protest of sending Oregon Guard troops to Iraq, get a glimmer of hope as state officials agree to meet with them.

Vigil and fast on Oregon capitol steps protesting next year's deployment of Oregon Guard soldiers to Iraq.
Vigil and fast on Oregon capitol steps protesting next year's deployment of Oregon Guard soldiers to Iraq.
Photo by Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - A group protesting next year's deployment of Oregon Guard soldiers to the war in Iraq received news Tuesday that representatives of the state governor's office and leadership elements of the Oregon Guard, will sit down and meet with them on Friday.

Michele Darr of Camp Homebound

Michele Darr of "Camp Homebound", the anti-war group demonstrating and fasting on the capitol steps, has asked repeatedly for a meeting with Oregon's Governor Ted Kulongoski and while they still have a way to go to reach that point, they believe meeting with representatives of the governor is an indication things are headed in the right direction.

"The Governor 'won't be available' to meet personally, but it's a start and we are grateful and eager for the opportunity of furthering dialogue," Darr said.

The meeting, set to take place this coming Friday between Camp Homebound and legal council for the Governor including leadership of the Oregon National Guard, is an opportunity for Darr and others to explain their point of view.

They say they believe sending Oregon Guard soldiers to Iraq at this point in time makes no sense, as the soldiers have already deployed repeatedly, and suffered the stresses of combat.

In Darr's appeal to the Governor, she says, " is inconceivable to fathom forcing 3500 of our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, friends and neighbors to once again uproot their lives and go off to fight in a war that is not justified under the Constitution or the laws of the United States.

The terms of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq have expired, removing any vestiges of justification for the continued presence of the Oregon National Guard in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Multiple combat deployments to Iraq are increasing serious mental health problems among soldiers, triggering drug and alcohol abuse and contributing to record suicide levels, The high price of deployment being extracted from our brave Oregon National Guard has resulted in grievous harm to them and to their families including death, injury, loss of time together, and financial hardship including job loss."

I first met Michele Darr when she protested the Iraq war from Oregon's capitol steps several years ago. I see the same spirit in Michele Darr that I have seen in the eyes of the Oregon Guard soldiers I have spent time with in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. They are all people willing to do something difficult and even extraordinary with their lives. In the end, what's important to Darr and the soldiers I know, is keeping other soldiers alive.

November 2006: Tim King in Kabul, Afghanistan with Oregon
Governor Ted Kulongoski. Photo by: Janet Arencibia, U.S. Navy

I have known Governor Ted Kulongoski from almost the beginning of his time in office. The Governor and I have an interesting thing in common, in that we were both peacetime Marines, with roughly a twenty-year span between the times we served.

I had the pleasure of discussing our individual time in the Marine Corps many times with Gov. Kulongoski when I was based at the KATU News bureau at the capitol in Salem.

I have flown in Blackhawks with Kulongoski over Oregon wildfires, I've seen him at dozens of stories all over Oregon, and I spent an afternoon with him in Kabul, Afghanistan, when he came to visit Oregon Guard soldiers deployed there; the same group I was embedded with as a TV and Internet war correspondent.

These are the same soldiers that are set to be deployed to Iraq next year. They are the Guard's 41st Brigade Combat Team. They are great soldiers, and I am tentatively planning to go to Iraq with them if they go.

I reference my knowledge of the governor in order to make one simple point: Ted Kulongoski is a patriotic human being and I know in my heart that he really loves the men and women of the Oregon Guard. I think that if it is possible to not send them into harm's way again, that he has what it takes to consider it. If it is possible for him to keep those soldiers at home, I believe he would truly do that.

If Governor Ted Kulongoski were to take the concerns of Camp Homebound "to the top" and stand up to the federal government over the deployment to Iraq, it would make a statement about his ability to connect with Oregon's most critical and controversial issues, while maintaining his standing as a forceful representative for his state military forces.

Other articles on Michele Darr and the capitol fast and vigil against deploying Oregon Guard soldiers to the Iraq War:

Oregon Guard Soldier Joins Capitol War Protest (VIDEO)

Peaceful Protestor to be Arrested at Oregon Capitol

Vigil Urges Legislature to Steer Oregon Guard Away From Deployment


More articles related to the war in Iraq:

IVAW members arrested while attempting to present questions to Obama and McCain

U.S. Troops Will Stay in Iraq Three More Years

Casualty Numbers in Iraq War Escalate

Bush Continues to Make All The Wrong Moves in Iraq

Iraqis Who Worked With Americans Killed by Masked Gunmen

UN Says Iraqis Head the List of People Seeking Asylum

An Iraq War Veterans' Welcome Home to Remember (SLIDESHOW)

The Oregonian Reveals Treatment of PTSD Disabled Veterans A Shameful Reality

Iraqi Village Recovers From Deadly Car Bomb Attack (VIDEO)

Unusual Observations From the War in Iraq

Marine Security Mission in the Anbar Province (VIDEO)

Veteran Suicide Epidemic: The Shame of America

California National Guard To Conduct Largest Unit Deployment Since Korean War

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 in Afghanistan with Oregon troops. Tim recently returned from Iraq where he covered the war there while embedded with an Oregon Guard aviation unit. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address:

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PS December 8, 2008 11:07 am (Pacific time)

HR how would you compare the behavior of Packwood with active senators like Ted Kennedy? Chris Dodd and his mortgage lender? Barney Frank and his summertime statements that Fannie and Freddie were solvent (causing millons of investors to have huge losses)? I did not know Packwood, but remember the news on him during the time. The above listed people make Packwood look pretty normal in comparison. I don't expect your response and understand why you won't.

Henry Ruark December 6, 2008 11:44 am (Pacific time)

Sarah: Appreciate your query re ancestry of claimed "native Oregonians" tribesman --but you don't really want to know. We doing all we can here to let 'em die off and assist where possible.(Politically, that is... !!) If you have additional "Indian experience" measures from your area, please advise. That line re Packwood tells the story: last "tribesman" encountered here boasted of debate-win over honorable Sen. Morse, noted for NDEA and his fine services to nation. Packwood, you may recall, was forced from Senate by resignation after multiple sexual affronts, known here for a long time, were finally surfaced and nailed on. Msm media failed to act on multiple tips over some years. SO judgment of "tribesmen" has been in deep question ever since Packwood support which is never, ever, mentioned now.

Sarah December 6, 2008 7:49 am (Pacific time)

yo Anon,

From what Indigeneous "native Oregonians" tribe do you hail?


Henry Ruark December 3, 2008 3:47 pm (Pacific time)

"Anon": Your usual vituperative personal attack style easy to recognize, sir. We've not missed your rant and rolled-youknowwhat at all. That was the same club where you met and promoted Packwood, I'll bet...which should show clearly what your judgment level has always been. The word for that starts with h,has a p and then a c...ending in an e. Sign here if you do not recognize it. Fact of anonymity mirrors your own realization of expected respect for your "opinion" on anything...

Anonymous December 3, 2008 2:40 pm (Pacific time)

I had the pleasure of kicking Kulongoski's boss, Neil Goldscmidt (admitted violent child rapist) out of a private club (extreme pleasure was attained) before that clown became mayor of Portland. I imagine two peacetime marines have much in common with each other, but nothing in common with combat marines. This governor is and always has been Goldschmidt's lap dog. Had the msm in this state done their job long ago this peacenik would have been appropriately ignored. This is a dark time for "native Oregonians", especially with all the interlopers like Kulongoski and others that have moved here despoiling our beautiful state.

Henry Ruark December 3, 2008 9:52 am (Pacific time)

To all: Strong, honest statement, Tim. Your open summary re relation with/to Gov.K needed for full understanding of your reliable insights into his ethical bind on this one. We need to remember the Iraq occupation was preemptive action by Bush sold by deeply dishonest means to bring it on at huge costs to all,now fully known. That surely alters the older concept re "U.S. can do no wrong", just as surely complicating total situation for both Governor and Guard. Facts are facts; we now know facts forcing shape of this situation. Again, open, honest democratic dialog has its place for full application as priority act.

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