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Corvallis Woman Says She Will Fast to Death to Protest Iraq War DeploymentSalem-News.com
Michele Darr says she is determined to Keep National Guard in Oregon.
(SALEM, Ore.) - On January 22nd, 2009, Michele Darr, a Corvallis mother of 6, commenced a second hunger strike in addition to the 24-hour vigil that she and members of Camp Homebound have maintained on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol Building in Salem since November 1st, 2008.
In an all-out effort to pass legislation giving the Governor authority to block this spring's deployment of the Oregon National Guard, Darr has decided to "fast unto death" as a means of generating the support necessary to garner sponsors for a proposed bill in the State Legislature and to engage Oregonians in the struggle to protect the troops, and keep them in Oregon, where they belong.
Darr says the lives of 3,500 Oregon National Guard troops hang in the balance.
When this article was originally published, the statement was made that according to the Governor and General Mike Caldwell of the Oregon National Guard, this deployment can only be stopped if "tens of thousands" more people call and write their legislators and Governor.
Both Michele Darr and Operation Homecoming reported to Salem-News.com after a meeting with state officials December 6th, 2008, that they were told by a state official that a million signatures might be enough to stop the Iraq deployment.
We were contacted by Mike Braibish of the Oregon National Guard today, who was concerned that the statements from Mike Caldwell were not being presented accurately. We apologize for that error.
"These brave, stalwart soldiers are readying to once again go above and beyond the call of duty and deploy away from their homes, their families, and their communities -- many for the second and third time -- into wars that are not justifiable either legally or morally."
Darr contends that the war in Iraq is illegal. This war protestor says she sincerely cares about the future for these Oregon soldiers.
Darr said, "Should they deploy, they will once again be putting themselves into harm's way, and it is likely that some of them will not return. I feel it is my duty to put my life on the line for them, as they unquestionably do for all of us, and I ask concerned Oregonians to help by contacting their legislators at once. I intend to fast until this deployment is stopped," Darr said.
Darr says she is not alone in her anguish at the impending departure. At a January 5th ceremony bidding farewell to the first 20 deploying Guard troops, Senate President Peter Courtney stated: "I feel my state and my people become more vulnerable. Just last week, we needed you to go to Gresham when Mother Nature came our way. You take care of us."
Darr says Governor Kulongoski has also publicly expressed deep objections to what he considers to be a very dangerous mission, further stating that he is "very offended by it" according to Darr.
In addressing the human cost of this deployment, the governor reportedly said, "I think everybody is worried about the continual deployment of the Guard."
Darr said he added, "I think sometimes we're asking too much of these kids and their families."
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley's opinion Darr says, is "Our national Guard shouldn't be utilized in this way… So I'm really supporting the campaign to get them home." Darr, Camp Homebound and Oregon PeaceWorks say they couldn't agree more. They say they are committed to the struggle to protect Oregon's defenders in the National Guard, and ask Oregonians who care to step forward and make their voices heard.
"We are the last line of defense, my friends," Darr pleaded. "Please don't let our Guard down."
Previous Salem-News.com reports on Michele Darr and Operation Homebound:
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