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Nameless Soldier wrote a couple of diaries 1, 2 about his recent call-up that have touched a lot of us. He's getting on the plane this afternoon and I know a lot of people here care about what happens to him. Soonergrunt has posted some very powerful diaries here and I know a lot of prayers and good wishes go out to him as well.  I wouldn't be surprised to find that there are more than a handful of soldiers here, looking for a community where they can safely express doubts about the way the war is being handled.  

BullitNutz and thecarriest and others suggested we organize some way of sending tangible support to the soldiers and sailors and Marines (have there been any airmen?) we have come to know on this blog.

So I am writing this diary to prod that idea along.  How can we set up a dKos operation to send practical support "over there" and demonstrate in the most constructive way possible that we support the troops even though we are opposed to Bush and his war.

Has anyone here ever belonged to one of those sponsor a child programs?  The money you send doesn't help just that one child, it helps the whole family--all the other people around the child.  sometimes it is combined with other people's gifts to help the entire village where the child lives--building or repairing infrastructure like schools and wells or buying a vehicle for food and mail and medicine delivery.

So.

Why can't dKos "sponsor" soonergrunt and nameless soldier and a couple of the other guys who post here?

Via email or some other off-blog method, our sponsored soldiers tell us how we can contact them, and what are the best things to send (baby wipes, candy, socks, t-shirts, DVDs, CDs, etc.).

Anyone here who wants to could send practical care packages at the level they could afford--one gift once, a big package every month, whatever.  Anyone here who has big bucks might want to make a serious donation like a Kevlar Interceptor vest. Yes, some guys are having them sent from home.    This war is officially insane.  And God bless Stephanie Kwolek, the creator of Kevlar, who never earned a penny in royalties because, like all employees, she had to sign all her royalty rights over to DuPont.

Anyway, we start sending our packages as we can when we can, to the handful of guys we know about.

Our guys will end up getting a lot more stuff than they personally need or can use.

Then they can freely (liberally!) share it with the guys serving with them, so that the people around them also benefit from the dKosKare packages.

It won't take long before someone asks--where is all this stuff coming from?  That creates a small window to speak the truth about liberals and Democrats who really do support the troops.

In one fell swoop three things are accomplished:

  • we will all know that the guys who post here, whom we have come to care so deeply about, are well taken care of.

  • we will help them provide for others in their units and take care of the people serving with them.

  • we will demonstrate our support for the troops in a tangible and undeniable way.

Hearts might be opened and minds might be changed to counteract some of the hatred of us (us liberals, us Democrats, us people opposed to the war) that is preached to the troops every day by bait and hate talk shows.

I assume everyone here knows that Rush Limbaugh is broadcast daily on AFRTS (formerly known as Armed Forces Radio).  We won't get equal time for Air America while the Rs control the appropriations bills, but care packages speak louder than Limbaugh.

Doing it this way lets us start small.  We don't need to create a whole big project.  It lets us give priority to the guys we know and care about who already have some connection to us.  And it gives those of us who don't otherwise know anyone over there a chance to give direct support to someone over there.

I wonder if Markos would be willing to put a button on the front page linking to more detailed info about this project.

Is anyone aware of a liberal group already doing something like this so that we don't have to reinvent the wheel?

Is this a crazy idea?  Will it "out" our friends as liberal sympathizers in a way that could hurt them more than help them?

Does anybody have an idea about how we could make this work?

Originally posted to TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:23 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  sponsor a soldier/share the wealth/spread the love (3.98)
    Is this a pipe dream or something we can actually get going?

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:20:32 AM PDT

    •  It is better if someone knows (4.00)
      a soldier. They move around quite a bit so it would be a good idea to have a contact.
    •  Hey TBM (4.00)
      Mikey brings up an interesting idea of helping family back home as well.  Many are left with a significant loss of income while having alot on their minds caring about loved ones.
      •  A lot of what the families need can be described (4.00)
        as TIME.  They need to get the lawn mowed, and get the oil changed on the car.  They need to get the whole family to a movie so mom can have a night off.  Gift certificates to movie theatres or restaurants, or oil-change places, and other such things can be very appreciated.
        Perhaps the best point of contact for this kind of thing would be installation chaplain's offices on active-duty bases, or State Chaplain's offices for the national guard, or Major Command chaplain's offices for the reserve forces.  The chaplains liase with the Family Support Groups.

        Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

        by soonergrunt on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:17:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is VERY doable (4.00)
      there are already mechanisms in place to smooth the logisitics.

      For example if we want to raise money and buy care packages, companies like Brigade Quartermasters already offer pre-packaged care oackages that they claim at least are specifically designed for the conditions in Iraq

      For example they have relief packs In sizes from individual to an entire squad

      They are a bit pricey though and I'd want a Real Vet like Soonergrunt to give it the once over to make sure its the kind of stuff they need (i'd also love to know why with two clicks on this site you can order the exact same Body armor that DOD swears they just can't get enough of for the troops.)

      Or we could model a site after the Adopt a Sniper  site and let the soliders ask for specific items they need and see what we can come up withas a community

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:54:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Send 'Em Here (none)
        There's already a system in place here:
        http://www.anysoldier.com/index.cfm

        The Kos-Posters who are soldiers could sign up here and we could send stuff to them as well as keep up with how they're doing.

        This is a reliable place. I've sent 3 packages myself & heard back from all of the soldiers thru real-mail.

        It's a GREAT idea and shows true support. Putting a yellow magnet on the back of your SUV does nothing...sending a package does.

        Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a congressman can. - Mark Twain

        by Ranting Roland on Thu May 26, 2005 at 03:36:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Can we get dKos logo on kevlar? (none)
      On the order form at the kos store, I'd be able to order a mug for myself and a vest for someone who needs one.

      Or maybe something more subtle, like tiny peace signs printed over the whole thing. I'd chip in money for a batch of those.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:26:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do some units need more than most? (none)
      Just guessing, but are the Reserve units worse off? Or is the equipment upgrade pretty random? Considering the neocons have had at least a decade to plan this war, it really should have gone a lot better.

      I'll donate, preferably to the guys we know. Best would be something to keep, plus about the same value in cash or gift card.

      For reservists, I'd like to be able to send something extra for their families back home, too.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:52:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (4.00)
        Some units are worse off than others, Reservists and National Guard don't get the same level of equipment as active Duty units... For instance I can't remember where I read this, but the active duties get first dibs on the vests that exist.

        Since everyone is facing the same kind of risk, this is really wrong.

    •  A dKos drive to sponsor soldiers (4.00)
      CategoryTroops

      Can we piggyback some of the logistics off on efforts like http://www.anysoldier.com/ ?

  •  This is a great idea (4.00)
    Packages with DailyKos.com in the FROM: line.  I like it.

    BTW, I am currently stateside.  If I stay in the Guard, I'll be deploying to Afghanistan in the spring or summer of 2006, but if I re-join the regular army as I have been seriously considering in September, well, anything goes, I guess.

    Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

    by soonergrunt on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:25:05 AM PDT

    •  A Question SoonerGrunt? (4.00)
      From a practical GI perspective, which would you rather have?

      1. The donations of Kossacks to fill-in the lack of "Support the Troops" by the DoD?

      2. The government actually spending those billions and billions of 'Defense' dollars on actual logistical "Support the Troops"?  

      I get sick at heart thinking that we Kossacks have to 'hold a bake sale' to "Support the Troops" while billions of dollars get 'shoveled into trucks' for the thugs who started this damn war.

      As a Navy vet of an earlier time, I wonder if we should not be putting LOTS MORE PRESSURE on the thugs to spend the money they are supposed to be spending to "Support the Troops" on actually making "Support the Troops" real.

      After all, "Support the Troops" should be more than a bumpersticker.  

      LL

      Lefty Limblog - It is time to WIN instead of "Appease and Cringe". Fight the Rethugs!

      by LeftyLimblog on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:56:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, isn't the classic liberal line... (4.00)
        it will be a great day when education has all the funding it wants and we'll have to hold a bake sale for the DoD?

        Looks like we're half-way there!

        Of course he's written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He's the Antagonist.

        by ultrageek on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:03:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bwahaha! (4.00)
          You have a black sense of humour -- my favourite kind!

          That observation belongs in Democratic speeches.  It pretty much sums up the shell game that is BushCo.  Nobody win but the dealer.  The game is rigged.

          You should email it to Boxer or Dean -- somebody not afraid to rattle the cage bars.

          It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

          by martianchronic on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:15:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That should be on a t-shirt (none)
          That's a hilarious twist on the old slogan.

          Somebody with artistic talent (which I completely lack) ought to put it with some graphics and make a printable poster, or a design for t-shirts or bumperstickers!

      •  I think you are 100% correct, (4.00)
        but we have to balance our rage with pragmatism.  Your view: that we need to be putting more pressure on our Dem leadership to call the GOP out on its hypocrisy rather than rubberstamping war spending in an effort to appear moderate, is not mutually exclusive with the view that in the meanwhile, we can actually do small things to make the military's lot a little easier.

        I might rail against the societal spending decisions which leave many kids bereft, but that doesn't stop me from volunteering to mentor and tutor kids...

        You ain't gotta be a scholar to know the next four years are gonna be ill. -KRS One, December, 2000

        by GN1927 on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:18:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  War is not supposed to be cheap (4.00)
        The Pentagon & administration cannot be allowed to commit troops without the money to support them decently.

        So, W, what kit would you get for your daughters if they were shipping out to the Syrian border? That's what all those other kids ought to get, too.

        Too expensive? Stay home.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:36:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Needless to say, I'd appreciate the government (4.00)
        giving us everything we need to do the job.  Of course, the kinds of aid that Kossacks can send are of the types that typically do not get met by the army, such as:
        Donating your frequent-flyer miles for soldiers on leave or family members is very useful.
        Sending care packages--batteries, CoolMax T-shirts, used home console games, used DVDs, CDs, COOKIES, fruit cups, shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine napkins (NOT tampons)--the issue health & hygeine items are crap--AA, 9-volt, B-, C-batteries for personal electronic items, Kool-Aid, Gatorade, COOKIES, beef jerky, magazines, online gift certificates, COOKIES, clocks and coffee-makers (230-volt for Iraq and 220-volt for Afghanistan), small propane/butane stoves and refills, voltage transformers and plug adaptors, dual-voltage beverage heaters, clocks, and coffee-makers, large or small thermos bottles, 24-volt DC to 12-volt DC step-down converters (enables use of civilian technologies on military vehicles), oh, and did I mention COOKIES?

        Basically, think of anything you might have missed having the last time you had to stay overnight in a crappy hotel, and couldn't get to a store to buy it.

        Last, but not least, letters.

        Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

        by soonergrunt on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:58:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cookies (4.00)
          Just for clarification:  according to anysoldier.com, any homemade foods are likely to be tossed... correct?  Meaning that when you say "cookies" you're talking packaged stuff: oreos, chips ahoy, that kind of thing.

          # Things NOT to Send:

          ...

          # Home-cooked anything.
          Note: Due to concerns for the health and safety of the soldiers, and as much as we don't want to say this, please do not send home-cooked anything to soldiers other then to your relatives or people who know you. Factory packaged only. Sorry. The soldiers are told to throw away anything that is not in a factory package.

        •  Wasn't there a website? (none)
          That basicly had instructions on packing care packages (what to give what not to give what they can use etc,) and where to send them?

          Anyone know off the top of their heads what that site is?

          Sorry, I have nothing else to add to this conversation.

          by DawnG on Fri May 27, 2005 at 06:55:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I love it (4.00)
    Tell me where to send the $$$

    or tell me what to send where.

    I'd consider it a privilege to help.

    Visit www.theseguys.com - a blended double-tequila margarita of pop culture & LA nightlife.

    by KB on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:26:18 AM PDT

  •  I'm in (4.00)
    I have been sending via anysoldier.com but I think your idea is great.  You raise a valid question about being liberal sympathizers -  we could send to any member of our fellow serving Kossacks troops to show our support, regardless of political view.  
    •  anysoldier.com (4.00)
      I have been sending packages through anysoldier.com as well.  Whoever organizes Operation dKos should check out the packaging restrictions listed there - there's a list of stuff that you cannot send to Iraq  and Afghanistan, and our own postal service can be very picky about how you package things.

      I believe Michael Moore is still offering copies of his movies to any soldier who asks - maybe we could work with him?

      •  Re: Operation dKos (none)
        (or koswecare.com - I perfer that name but whatever):

        I think to do this right we should take a good long look at

        the anysoldier.com any soldier site and model ourselves after

        it. Let's help dailykos soldiers and every other soldier

        too.

        You know, this is such a great idea, I'd love to see a

        balls-out, massive effort on this, every kossack working

        ass-over-teakettle on the project. As an added benefit,

        desperation "bake sales" like these (even if they exceed all

        expectation) always draws attention to and shames

        the powers for not doing their job.

        I don't have the tech skills to take this and run with it, but

        if you do, (any of you), and you're feeling inspired, I

        think if you were to talk to Markos and (with his blessing)

        started conceiving of and building the site [modled on any soldier),

        I just KNOW 99% would leap at the chance to volunteer in

        every other capacity, admin support, resource research,

        content, writing, editing, making calls, etc., etc.

        I won't mince words: I'm in love with this idea because 1) I

        want to provide a tangible means for people (especially

        Democrats) to show their support for our troops (as I

        many of us have been doing, quietly, through

        anysoldier.com) and, as an added benefit, I want some

        good PR for us Dems on the "troops" issue. I am DOG SICK

        of Limbaugh etc. characterizing us as a bunch of commie

        ratfinks who don't give a damn about our service men and

        women. Excuse me, asshole, au contraire. Consider me motivated volunteer

        numero uno. And while we're at it, let me put my money

        where my mouth is: $50 right now to get it rolling, pay for

        webhosting or software or whatever.

        Who wants to match me?

        We can not drop this ball.

        Harper

        aitchdee@yahoo.com

        Is nothing secular?

        by aitchdee on Fri May 27, 2005 at 02:13:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'll donate too (4.00)
    We should also look at gift certificates at Brigade Quartermasters and Ranger Joe's.  Two big military outlets for needed equipment.  If we donate, let the troops decide what they need, every troop is in a different situation.  Sometimes chocolate bars are not what they need.  It would be great to set up a registery like for a wedding, to send funds for these guys and gals.  I would be willing to make contact with these businesses to set something up.

    "There must be some way out of here, said the Joker to the Thief" -Bob Dylan is my god

    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:33:55 AM PDT

    •  I love the registry idea (none)
      We need to pimp this diary in C&J and try to get it recommended so that other commenters are aware of this.

      You ain't gotta be a scholar to know the next four years are gonna be ill. -KRS One, December, 2000

      by GN1927 on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:41:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just pimped in C&J. (none)
        I'm way down the page though, around 200-something.  I don't know how much attention it will get.

        It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

        by martianchronic on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:58:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll pimp it too (none)
          Perhaps one of the front pagers similarly likes the idea and would promote this diary...

          You ain't gotta be a scholar to know the next four years are gonna be ill. -KRS One, December, 2000

          by GN1927 on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:05:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Soldier Registry (4.00)
        is essentially what they did at Adopt a Sniper and its apparently worked very well

        Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

        by Magorn on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:56:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Combine the gift registry with cash (4.00)
        I think the best would be some tangible items, like socks, candy, and kevlar vests, plus cash.

        That way, they have something to keep that reminds them that someone here cares. Plus, they get to choose what to do with the rest, like locally-bought gifts for the family back home.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:03:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Chocolate is a No No (4.00)
      It melts.  What is welcome is bags of hard candies that can be shared with other soldiers and given to Iraqi children.  Baby wipes is another useful item to send for cleaning self and gear.  Stationary for sending mail home is also welcome.

      I've also send quality gun oil (special for sandy environments)obtained from gun nut father to send to Marines during the first wave of combat because what was sent with them was jamming guns.  

      I can also recommend the anysoldier website, I've gotten thank you notes back so know the goods got there.

    •  My email to the businesses: (4.00)
      "Dear Brigade Quartermasters,

      I'm a vet from 7th SFG(A).  I wanted to contact you about our brothers & sisters OCONUS.  I am with a group (liberal but don't hold that against us) who had thought of the idea to have a "wedding registry" for troops.  That is, we can make donations and the troops can buy what they need.  Sometimes cupcakes and chocolate bars are not enough, we're talking about body armor.  We had this idea and were wondering if your business would support it.  After all, the boots on the ground know what they need and if American citizens are willing to donate for the needed equipment, why not?

      Let's work together and try to support these folks - they deserve it.

      Best regards,

      R. Gallant"

      Maybe this should be a call to action diary?????

      "There must be some way out of here, said the Joker to the Thief" -Bob Dylan is my god

      by Jeffersonian Democrat on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:59:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great idea- (none)
    I think gameboys would be a big hit.

    Can we get a list of stuff that is especially desired?  

    •  pencils (4.00)
      My husband sent a care package to a friend of his recently who was very appreciative of the goodies, but he said the one thing that he needs the most in Iraq are pens and pencils.

      Apparently he spends a significant part of his day handing out pencils to children - the schools have re-opened but the kids don't have supplies.  

      •  My husband (none)
        was with a group of teachers visiting schools in Zimbabwe. They were told to bring small gifts for the children. I ordered a gross of fancy pencils from a supply house and some stickers.

        The children in the loved the pencils. They were lucky to have a tiny stub to write with. Just to have a pencil with an eraser was a luxury.

        I can't explain myself...because I'm not myself, you see. - Alice

        by SisTwo on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:20:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would send anything I could to anyone, (none)
    I would like to have someone personal to attach myheart and caring to.....like always we do attach and care of those of our own, but we need to reach out and touch those who do not have someone or that need someone to help them.  ALL I WANT IS AN ADDRESS AND I WILL DO ALL THAT I CAN, AND BY THE WAY, I KNOW OTHERS WHO WILL DO THIS AS WELL.JUST LET US KNOW AN ADDRESS OR WHAT IT IS THAT IS NEEDED TO DO THIS THING.  I have sent to family members there but want to do more.  the family member I have is no longer there.  Just got to know who to contact.

    I think if they know that we here at the kos care and will do our shre to support them they will come across for us and that is what we want...them to stay safe and we want them to have what they need.  Some of them really need mail...snail mail is a good thing..never forget this....is it a tangable thing for them out in the field.  

  •  Recommended. (none)
    And count me in.

    Do we need some kind of unit level contact to get this going, or would it work to send the packages to an individual to be distributed?  That could end up being an overwhelming amount of work for the individual in addition to the possible unwanted political attention that you mentioned.

    Maybe we could frontpage a monthly package call with a wish list and a paypal link.  We'd need one person responsible for the assembly and sending, though, wouldn't we?

    It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

    by martianchronic on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:46:26 AM PDT

  •  Great idea! (4.00)
    But a sad day when private donations have to support a military that Congress won't give funds to.

    spin positive... inspire change

    by missliberties on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:50:51 AM PDT

  •  count me... (none)
    in too.
  •  Possibility Work Through the USO... (none)
    (United Serviceman's Organization).  They should already have dstribution channels for care packages and equipment.

    I can contact them this weekend and report back to whomever wants to spearhead this project (TrueBlueMajority ?)

  •  queer eye for the straight guy (4.00)
    I remember seeing an episode on the show queer eye for the straight guy, where they helped out a soldier being sent over to Iraq and his wife. They did two, amongst many other, pretty cool things:

    1. A year gift certificate for an online supermarkets that delievers in your area. for those loved ones at home that have so much to worry about in the first place.
    2. Computer equip. for both the soldier and his/her spouse or loved one so that they can keep in touch via email or take digital pictures etc.

    I personally would help out in anyway.  I know I can get many others to help as well via the International Studies program at my college.
    •  I have two perfectly good (4.00)
      laptops I'm not using I could donate. Also possibly contributing to Internet service if it's not available to our soldier's family.
    •  What a thoughtful idea (none)
      I have been sending care packages to troops for about six months (see above)  After about three months, many of the soldiers that I sent to requested senders to stop!!  They received an average of 50 boxes every mail gathering and had more supplies than they knew what to do with.  

      The QEFSG gang helping the family back home is excellent.  I wonder if such a program could include anything family members need as well?

      •  yeah, I want to do what's needed most (none)
        I sent some packages via anysoldier too, but started to wonder whether it was mostly a feel-good thing for me and if the folks on that list were getting flooded w/ packages. There is something nice though about making up a little box full of stuff instead of something less personal, but possibly more useful (freq flyer miles, phone cards).

        One thing I think would be great is sending things to soldiers that they in turn can pass on to Iraqi kids. School supplies, etc.

        Anyway, count me in, whatever the effort ends up being!

        Ass hat, no cattle.

        by d to the f on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:29:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  safeway.com (none)
      delievers to
      San Fran, CA
      Sacramento, CA
      Seattle and Portland
      and
      Phoenix
      I'll start doing some research on other stores and what they have available in terms of donations for soldiers families and options for dkos to use for donations
      •  Peapod is an online grocery. (none)
        Maybe that's an option.  It covers a chunk of the east coast as well as Chicago, Milwaukee, and some other parts of Wisconsin.  Peapod.

        It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

        by martianchronic on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:25:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  saw that show! (none)
      I was crying all through it!!  That guy sure was a great representative for our armed forces.
      •  ray steele? (none)
        Maybe, maybe not.  Depends on who you believe, I guess.

        New York Post, 1/13/2005

        Perhaps "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" should be renamed "Queer Eye for the Scorned Gal."

        Dawn Steele, a New Jerseyan whose ex-husband was featured on this season's premiere episode, says the furniture the Fab Five unceremoniously dumped belonged to her -- a gift from her late grandparents.

        On top of that, she claims the renewal of marriage vows -- which the style mavens arranged for Army Spec. Ray Steele and his new wife Maria -- sidestepped the fact that the original wedding happened before Ray divorced her, making him a bigamist. And the show made Ray, 38, look like a hero about to be sent off to war, when he really is a womanizer who left behind out-of-wedlock children, his ex-wife claims. "They glorified him more than they should've," Dawn Steele, 28, of Maywood, N.J., told The Post yesterday. "Not him, not this person, an adulterer, a bigamist and not a good father."

        ...Dawn still maintains that Ray cheated on her and had two children with other women while they were married, and does little now to help take care of their 6-year-old daughter.

        While the show stated that Ray Steele was supposed to be sent to Iraq late last year, he has yet to ship out, said Carolee Nesbit, a spokeswoman for Fort Dix, where he is stationed.

        Ray Steele did not return messages seeking comment.

        •  depending on who you believe..... (none)
          Sure could be true. I wouldn't know, I refuse give 25 cents to murdoch and his glorified equirer ny post. Personally I enjoyed the ideas the show used beyond that it is television which nowadays one must take with a grain of salt.
  •  I want to do this. Glad you moved on it. (none)
    It is meaningful to me and would bring great joy because my care would be going directly to those I know. While I can't bring myself to volunteer for other causes like caring for the elderly and premie babies because of the emotional distress, such a program as this would make me feel like I am serving my countrymen in some small way.
  •  Care packages... (4.00)
    If you google soldier car packages, you'll find sites like anysoldier.com and treatsfortroops.com. You'll also find lists of what troops can and cannot use. It's important to find out what they want, rather than just sending anything (obviously). Also, food should be packaged, not home-made, etc. I can't see those companies with sites already set up refusing Kos money. What's politics gtot to do with support? But I've long felt we need to be more visible in our support. After all, all those ribbons do is make the ribbon maker rich.
    I've often thought that the proceeds from the ribbons should go to buying armor and such for the troops. While I don't care for the ribbons as they currently are (empty support), perhaps a Kos ribbon would be the ticket. Anyone who saw it would know that the ribbon really did go to support. And we'd all be able to ID each other when we're driving around. Don't like ribbons? Then how about bumpersticker, whatever. Maybe do it through Cafe Press - charge $5 a sticker and let folks know where the moeny goes. And spread the word.
    Just a thought!
    :)
    •  home made items (none)
      Home made cookies are quite welcome over there, as long as you're sending stuff to someone you know and who knows you.

      I even know some people who started out as strangers to their guy/girl, only to get to know them well enough that sending home made treats was just fine.  It'd have to be something that our contacts on the ground would have to let us know one way or the other.

    •  Make dKos-Orange ribbon decals... (none)
      Use the dKos orange for the color (vs. yellow). Proceeds go to a liberal-based troop or troop-family support group.

      "in the United States, a program that deals only with the poor will end up being a poor program. ... " - Wilbur Cohen

      by decitect on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:22:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  dKos ribbon (none)
        Yeah, I was thinking orange with a black border and text. Get the dKos logo on there. Also, it doesn't necessarily have to be a ribbon. Could be a magnetic sticker of another shape.
        dKos...because!
        •  Text: (none)
          <DKos logo> Supporting the troops

          "Too many policemen, no liberty; Too many soldiers, no peace; Too many lawyers, no justice." Lin Yutang (1895-1976)

          by ogre on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:32:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Be careful in the marketing... (none)
            Be careful not to sound like you're gloating.  It may come off as "we're doing this just to piss on republicans".

            I think the logo with "supporting our troops" (no emphasis) is enough.  You want the benefit to come by word of mouth, not by in your face "we're doing it and they're not so we're better than them" kinda marketing.

            You want the word to get out because of the success and not because of any contraversy.

        •  Text: (none)
               (dKos logo)
                 REALLY
          support the troops

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Thu May 26, 2005 at 03:58:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  playing cards w. the Dailykos pic on the back (none)
        how can we get decks of cards made with the Dailykos logo on the back instead of the Bicycle pattern? Think of it, a good game of hearts or poker passes the time in a community-bonding way and the backs of the cards would be this constant, quiet little reminder.

        "There are no shortcuts to accomplishing constructive social change ... struggle is called 'struggle' for a reason." Ward Churchill

        by CAuniongirl on Thu May 26, 2005 at 05:57:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When my cousin was in Iraq (none)
    we sent him comfort food (from Trader Joes <g>).  He shared his stuff with buddies and said that troops would pool things they got from home and then have a big "feast" sharing out all the goodies.

    I think the idea of sending care packages to our dKos guys is great, and I'm sure the wealth would get shared around.

    Also, my cousin said that mail was eagerly anticipated.  Perhaps we could also get contact info to send mail to guys who weren't getting much from home.

    Just an idea.

  •  good idea (4.00)
    I'd been thinking about our guys on dKos who are deployed or about to be deployed, too.

    I send care packages through OperationMilitaryPride.org and also to a friend's son who is deployed in Iraq right now.  I prefer sending stuff to someone who knows me, as I think sometimes those guys wonder how the heck they wound up with a stranger sending them stuff.  They're not always the ones who sign themselves up, sometimes it's a buddy that sends in their address.

    There are a lot of different ways we can do this.  If nameless soldier and/or soonergrunt are comfortable with giving out their mailing address when deployed, we can send packages that way.  Or a couple of dKos members could agree to be collection points where we can send them the care package stuff, and they put them together and mail them out -- understanding of course that these boxes can get heavy and expensive to mail, so we'd also need a postage drive if we go that route.

    I'm sure we have parents of deployed service men and women on this site, too.  If they'd allow us, we should include their kids in this thing, too.

    My friend's son has a fiance in the Philipines, so the one thing I sent him that he was just overjoyed about were stamps!  Soldiers can send mail to the US for free, but anywhere else they need postage.  I sent him a roll of stamps in the care package, and it's been all I heard about from his dad.  LOL  You would've thought I'd sent a pot of gold.

  •  The people who really need help (3.00)
    are the Iraqis.  Sorry fellas, but that's where my $$ are going.  you can donate through a variety of organizations.  
    •  Agreed (4.00)
      My unit asks all of our friends and family to send things for Iraqi orphanages instead of for us. We deliver the stuff to the orphanages.

      But it's still nice to get small things from home from people you care about.

      •  Of course it is (2.53)
        but there are more Iraqi children suffering from malnutrition now than when there were sanctions on Iraq.  Medicines are hard to come by in certain areas, and many people have to stay home to protect themselves and their families, rather than go out to work.  Electricity is sporadic, and in the summer, older people with heart problems suffer or die much more quickly than they would if they had air conditioning or even a fan.

        And, Americans are worrying about whether their "boys" have smooth or chunky peanut butter or the right type of M&M's.

        Sorry, but since you guys are doing the shooting, I can't have much sympathy.

        •  Not asking for sympathy. (4.00)
          We recognize all of the problems you list, and that's why we do the orphanage thing. But if you have friends or family in Iraq, I think it helps to remind them of their humanity. For everyone's sake.
          •  No, my friends or family would never go to Iraq (1.73)
            you see, most of my family was decimated in WWII in Europe, so we've learned the hard way that war is bad.

            And, the people who make war, i.e. the soldiers, are not to be encouraged.  What they are doing is not  a valiant and honourable thing if their country is not under direct attack.  It's the most expedient and self-aggrandizing thing imaginable in an all-volunteer army, and at innocent people's expense.

            So, as far as I am concerned, let the US soldiers in Iraq face the same circumstances as the Iraqis, and then, they will really not want to go.  No M&M's or toilet paper, or air conditioning, or newspapers or cold beer.  

            •  Hmm.... (4.00)
              withholding TP. Interesting foreign policy.
              •  Like withholding electricity from Baghdad? (2.30)
                When the US first invaded, they changed the long-standing policy of giving Baghdad most of the Iraqi electricity and diverted a good part of it to the oil refineries.  Some of the lack of electricity in Baghdad is still due to this cause.
                •  dude stfu (3.00)
                  write a letter to bush, don't harass the soldiers.

                  What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War? George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.

                  by hazydan on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:43:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  As far as I know (1.33)
                    but couldn't invade any countries if there were no soldiers doing the shooting.
                    •  Isn't that kind of hypocritical too on your part? (1.00)
                      killing Iraqis is bad, you probably say, but you won't condemn the people who are killing them.

                      Well, it's time to ask yourself what you believe in - War or peace?

                      And, I guess in your case, if  it means you have to be rude to a soldier, you're on war's side.  

                      •  Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney (4.00)
                        Those are the people killing them. The sooner you wrap your head around that fact, rather then beating a convient scap goat, the better off you'll be.

                        No, you won't do that. You'll go on self-agrandizing tagents about all the good you're doing to clean up the world, and what horrible people soldiers are, and how in Canada, you all think anyone who joins the military is mentally ill. Oh, and down rate people who politely disagree with you, persumbely because they're soliders.

                        Stop me if I'm getting it wrong...

                        Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

                        by Goldfish on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:33:13 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  My father was in the Army too (none)
                        but in WWII. He was Army Intelligence. Among other things he was an interrogator, and yes, he did beat the crap of those who had a responsablility of decimating your family in Europe. He also did pose as a captured german soldier to be able to find those officers who were trying to hide their rank.

                         It is not a matter of the soldiers per se. The problem is this useless war, and this republican administration.

                        If you want me to go back to the place I was born , tell your corporations to leave my country (Leon Gieco)

                        by cruz del sur on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:28:57 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Now stop it. (none)
                  I understand completely your frustration with they way this war is going. I understand how angry you are when you make blanket statements against our soldiers. I have called for Bush to stop this war over and over in both my blog and here. But you ignore one thing: Soldiers are people too. They have wants, needs, emotions, feelings, and problems just like the rest of us.

                  Maybe the world would be better if nobody wanted to be a soldier, but every single person is wired differently. That's a fact of life that you're totally ignoring.

                  Maybe you're better off starting your own blog. Kos is a veteran, so naturally, a ton of people who are in the military or who have friends and relatives in the military are drawn to this site. That's a fact of life in this community, and nothing you say will change it. If you want to persuade people to leave the military or not follow orders they consider immoral, you should leave this place and start your own community. Or at least avoid falling into the trap of making blanket condemnations of soldiers.

            •  With all do respect (4.00)
              Bush started this war, not the soldiers.  

              Also, do you understand that most of these people volunteered because it was the only way for them to get an education and at the time they signed up they didn't think they'd ever really have to go to war, especially one like this?  These kids were deceived by this administration and really don't have much of an option, but to follow orders. What would you have them do, walk away?  That's not going to happen.  If they did, they'd be arrested, tried and put in prison.  Their lives would be ruined.  

              Do you think they enjoy killing innocent people?  You make it sound like the soldiers on the ground, in any conflict, are just waiting for the next civilian to walk into the scope on their rifles so they can shoot them down, as if they are playing some kind of video game.  

              I agree with you that war is bad.  No doubt about it.  Wouldn't it be great if the entire world understood this and that there would never be another war again?  But, that's just not how the world works.  Humans are not yet that evolved.  

        •  you think they had a whole lot of choice? (4.00)
          and do ya ythink that just maybe the folks who keep driving bombs into crowed buildings to destroy civic infrastructire had anything to do with the current craptacular situation on the ground there?  
          Look I thought this war was a huge mistake from Day 1 but I don't blame the soldiers and I think your comments are WAY off base.

          Where do you work?  Do the policies of your company contribute in any way to the growing disparity between the rich and the poor in the world?  Does the product they make contribute in any way to global warming or pollution?  Should we hold you personally responsible for that?

          And what about that thing you drive,  you think the Gas to fill it up came fromanywhere nearby?  Has your hunger for Oil created the profit motive that spurred the Neo-con to start this war?  IS that your fault?

          Judge not lest ye be....

          Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

          by Magorn on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:03:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I spend a lot of time trying to clean up the world (2.18)
            I run a recycling company, hire handicapped people and others that no one wants to hire, and donate my time, my money and encourage others to help many charities, NGO's and political campaigns that I and my employees find worthwhile.
            •  It is nice to know that you are so pure and (4.00)
              virtuous that you can cast the first stone.

              The military is a tool and it is being misused.  Don't blame the tool, blame the person misusing it.

              I am deeply offended by your self-riteous statements, but I am only giving you a 2.

              There are bagels in the fridge

              by Sychotic1 on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:28:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  "Take heed (none)
              that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the street, that they may have glory of men.  Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
              (Matthew 6:1-4)
        •  Reading this thread (4.00)
          I probably will be spat on for this, but mishimishi does bring up an excellent point.

          I think we all need to recognize that in a situation like we have now in this country - where the US is waging an illegal and immoral war, we have to look at the larger picture - unthinking support of militarism.

          I dont know the answer. but there is a dilemma.

          I think that unfortunately, it is necessary for our country to have a military. But the US by far has the largest military in the world. How do we stop a system which we are all part of - what actions do we take.

          I am not saying that people shouldnt send cookies to  soldiers in Iraq. All I am saying is that before reacting violently to what he/she says, take a day and read the posts. Think about it.

          •  unthinking support of militarism... (4.00)
            and sending care packages to the troops are two very different things.

            The distinction is quite clear---militarism is a governmental policy, the troops are human beings.

            We aren't sending care packages to Wolfowitz and Perle et al, with a message "keep doing the good work, boys!! we want more war!!"

            We don't need to diminish the humanity of our soldiers in order to criticize and attack the militaristic policies of the Bush Administration.

            When Americans think of a scary person in a black robe, they should be thinking of Darth Vader, not Republican choices for judges...Sen. Harry Reid

            by pacific city on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:13:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  wasn't the original point (none)
              of this diary to find ways to outflank the conservative dogma that criticizing the war or army or anything about it makes us liberals evil and unworthy of governing? And wasn't another point of this all to make contacts with soldiers and convince them that liberals are not wackjobs, that we have good points and good policy and should be listened to (and even voted for) as well?

              So the tactic may be "support the troops" but the real plan here is "support the troops to educate and persuade them," not so that they don't run out of precious peanut butter and batteries. And this is actually meant to respond to both you and the post you're responding to.

              "There are no shortcuts to accomplishing constructive social change ... struggle is called 'struggle' for a reason." Ward Churchill

              by CAuniongirl on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:10:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  militarism is something we all end up (none)
              being part of, (more or less) because of being americans  it is very difficult to avoid being part of it.

              example - I pay federal income tax. - say that $2000 of my taxes goes to the iraq war a year. - in a way, I am helping to support the iraq war. I have thought about not paying those taxes, being a conscientous tax objector, putting them somewhere else.

              But the IRS would probably come after me - would this create a problem for my job? for my family?  The way I see it, all of our little actions contribute. its not just Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle, etc though those who lied to create this war bear the largest part of responsibility. I am responsible too, in some part.

          •  no, i won't spit on you for it (4.00)
            Even though I'm not in total areement with you about this, you do raise a valid point. I don't object to the suggestion that we ought to discourage people from joining the military in the first place.

            What I do object to is Mishimishi's constant and overwraught ranting in this particular thread. He/she has made the point clearly, and I would suggest starting a new diary to discuss that particular point of view instead of spitting on this diary.

          •  Bleeding-heart liberals (none)

            You know, last I checked we were bleeding-heart liberals.  Why not give things to American soldiers?
            •  I have donated to booksforsoldiers and (none)
              to another organization which makes their lives easier. I was not talking about that.

              I said "I am not saying dont send cookies to soldiers"  

              I just thought that the poster was getting troll rated, and though he/she said controversial things, I thought that there were nuggets of truth to think about as well.

              I had a fantasticly impractical thought last night - what if there were a fund to support soldiers who decided for concious-objector reasons to leave the military service because they do not support the war. - that is a fund which would pay them back for all salary, benefits etc they would lose - and pay for them to retrain.

              I think that morally I would feel compelled to donate as much as I could to that fund...

        •  Since this thread (none)
          Is no longer hidden, I feel the need to warn casual readers what's in store if they scroll through the rest of this tree. Hence...

          All-American Pork Baby Back Ribs

          INGREDIENTS:

              * 4 pounds pork back ribs
              * Your favorite barbecue sauce (purchased or homemade)

          DIRECTIONS:

             1. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Place ribs on a medium-hot grill over indirect heat; close grill hood and grill until ribs are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Add more charcoal briquettes to fire, if necessary, to maintain grill temperature of about 325-350 degrees F.)
             2. Finish by turning and basting ribs with barbecue sauce for the last 15 minutes. Serve ribs directly from the grill or, for extra tender ribs remove from grill, wrap in heavy aluminum foil. Place foil-wrapped ribs in brown paper bags, close bags and let ribs rest for up to an hour. Unwrap ribs, cut into serving pieces and serve with extra barbecue sauce.

          Serves four

          Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

          by Goldfish on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:27:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Can you buy things locally? (none)
        It's much more efficient to send cash, and have you guys (or the orphanage) buy things there.

        It's alright to send food & medicine via air freight, but that doesn't put local supply lines back together. It's also a really expensive way to ship things. Send some money, and the bread and medicine will find their own way there.

        Are local hospitals & schools able to get supplies if they have money? Save the air freight space for personalized stuff like hometown souvenirs and home-baked cookies.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:18:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We could, but that would be tough. (4.00)
          We don't have a lot of spare time, and we're not that good at shopping. It would be a big safety risk, too--if our CO found out that we were running around town shopping for soccer balls we would be in trouble.

          Generally speaking, we are required to try to purchase everything we can locally, as far as our own food and supplies.

          Yes, hospitals and schools can get stuff that they need if they have the funds. But for donating money directly you should probably look for a more established charity organization. The care packages for the orphans are just a way for our folks back home to show some people over here that they care about them, and we like delivering them and playing with the kids too.

    •  Good point (none)
      We used to give our excess candy to the children. However, that is now discouraged as it causes too many problems.

      Our chaplain does work with in the local villages, where poverty is unbelievable. Soldiers donate old clothing items, even old worn out stuff is value to these people.

      If you want to go this route, I would recommend sending items for children. They are everywhere and they don't have much of anything that kids are supposed to have. Certainly, they never had all the stuff we had growing up.

      "I am not a crook" - The Honourable Richard M. Nixon

      by tricky dick on Thu May 26, 2005 at 07:14:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can act right now (4.00)
    I regularly go to anysoldier.com. It's a great site. Everything you need to know to help the troops. As a matter of fact, it posts hundreds of e-mails from the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines seeking the small comforts of life. Here is one letter:

    26 May 2005:
    My name is SPC Ada Hutson I am stationed in Mosul Iraq. Many of the soliders myself included are from Washington and Oregon states so we all have many interst in what is going on in our part of the country and local news seams to be hard to find.

    We are asking that we receve any kind of local info that ne one wants to send news paper,community events information, highschool events, just things to let us know what is going on in the outside.

    As for our living conditions many of my fellow soliders would just be happy to recieve a care box. With just the basic things that can be sent snacks, food, reading materal nothing fancy we know hov much everyone is doing for our deployed soliders all over the world.

    I do have A request as you all know the summer season is comeing and it is comeing fast many of our soliders are still in need of something to keep our food and drinks cool.

    My unit is lucky enuf that we are sleeping in hard bldings and have electricity and AC so if so if some one can help us with that it woud be wonderful!

    To let you know I am also part of a very small MOS in the Army called Mortuary Affairs It is one of the hardest jobs to have and we do it without the thought of our selfs but only the other soliders "Every one comes home".

    I plan on handing over many of the boxes to my counter parts who are only a few number here in Mosul who are here supporting us from the Porta Rico reserv mortuary affairs unit.Their is only one active duty unit in the Army who's mission is MA so I would like to let these guys know that they are serving with us and it is everyone who is over here that you all are helping not just the Americans from America.

    So many soliders are from so many diffrent places tht is is nice to let then know we support them too.I also hope that everyone rembers the troops deployed on this upcomeing Fourth of July and rember what the price we are paying for not just our countries freedom but for Iraq's also.Thank You for all of your support

    There are many other letters like this on the site along with a lot of picturs.

    It's run by the families of soldiers for soldiers. What you send to a soldier is spread around the unit. The site tells you how to make your own CARE package or they have companies who will send the good for you.

    I send packages and slip in copies of The Nation, Mother Jones, American Prospect. When you send a package, you can tell them you are a member of the Daily Kos and invite them to join our blog. They have computer access, it seems.

    This is not a progressive group, it's just a group that cares about helping the troops only. It may not be what we want, but I think it's a great place to start.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

    by makemefree on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:13:00 AM PDT

  •  Yes,... (none)
    ...please count me in.

    Be the creature. (But not a Republican.)

    by boran2 on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:15:12 AM PDT

  •  Supporting Our Troops Liberally (4.00)
    Count me in, but can we go go further?

    Could we link up with the other liberal blogs? Could we set it up as a 401.c.3 so that it would be tax-deductible (and, perhaps, qualify for Public Service Announcements, and could we get Air America to run them)?

    •  fyi (none)
      If you set up as non-profit to make your gifts tax deductible you can't specify the indiviudal your gift goes to. (i.e. Kos participants couldn't say they were only going to help other Kossites)

      Practice absurdus interruptus - Support ePluribus Media.

      by Catte Nappe on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:33:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fine with me. (none)
        We could just allow people to register themselves, and their loved ones, friends...

        We can register our own.  Those who feel like taking what we offer... I'm cool with that.

        "Too many policemen, no liberty; Too many soldiers, no peace; Too many lawyers, no justice." Lin Yutang (1895-1976)

        by ogre on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:35:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Better answer (none)
          may be the "adopt the group" concept. It would be easier to manage in the sense that you wouldn't have registered recipients all over Iraq, -anything you sent would be going to the same place and all would get the same sort of stuff and noone would be "left out".
          It's also more personal. Your are helping your Kos buddy and another 100 (or whatever) of his closest buds.

          Practice absurdus interruptus - Support ePluribus Media.

          by Catte Nappe on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:00:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Could we select a unit (none)
        or somehow designate the folks around our Kossite and still maintain 501c3 status? Or would it have to be completely random?

        Do not be intimidated by those who know the value of everything, but the cost of nothing.

        by duckyindc on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:39:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lawyer, not (none)
          but I have worked in non-profit for years. Tax deductibility is at risk for anything that looks like "I'm gonna help my brother Fred, but I'm going to pass my help through this non-profit to do it"  If you enlarge it to cover a wider group this becomes less questionable (ie. adopt the 6th grade class, or adopt the whole school, or in this case adopt the platoon or whatever.)

          Practice absurdus interruptus - Support ePluribus Media.

          by Catte Nappe on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:56:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Right! (none)
    We do this all the time, too. I put together a little how-to here.

    Me and my friends keep it non-political - at most, my political content amounts to Green Day or Eminem CDs. In my letters, I simply say everyone supports the troops.

    The thing is, to paraphrase the late David Hackworth, troops don't fight for their Division, President Nixon, or the country - they fight for each other. And that is something we can all respect.

    You can brand this with dKos, but I'd keep controversy out of it.

  •  Tell us where.... (none)
    and sign me up...

    Thanks for doing this...we need to support all the troops - and particularly our own Kossacks.

    C&J - "highly entertaining spankers, wankers and perverts." - Cosmic Debris

    by SallyCat on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:28:13 AM PDT

  •  I don't know how to set it up (none)
    but I would love to participate!

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:34:02 AM PDT

  •  Vest info? (none)
    Does anybody have info on where to get one of these vests referenced in the article?  What does it cost?
  •  BooksforSoldiers.com (4.00)
    is a huge well-organized no-longer-sectarian site. From what I saw last night, they have vast accumulated wisdom about shipping packages, at least, to troops overseas. I just got clearance to be a volunteer (you have to send in an application nowadays, due to inappropriate things that were sent when the website was all public).  I will ask there tonight about the possibilities.  (This is my first DailyKos post.  Perhaps I'm finally on my way from stasis to activism!)
    •  my friend did a drive for paperback books (none)
      in our department a few months ago when her brother shipped out. It was great and seemed to go over really well, and we had lots of fun picking out and packing up books. I wasn't always sure about what to send (lots of the lit. stuff I have is very lefty-political or very depressing, or both) but I hoped it helped, and made people think without pushing their buttons too much. I like the idea up above of sending a copy of the Nation or something in a care package, too.

      "There are no shortcuts to accomplishing constructive social change ... struggle is called 'struggle' for a reason." Ward Churchill

      by CAuniongirl on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:18:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great idea (none)
    I love the idea of organizing something through DKos for "our" soldiers or, in any event, as a group.

    Meanwhile, for Memorial Day before I go off on my nice weekend trip to Vermont, I'm going to stop off at anysoldier.com and make some kind of contribution.

  •  anysoldier.com (none)
    Any of the DKos soldier diarists can sign up with anysoldier.com and we can use the handy search function there to find them.

    It's a great website - even if you don't know the soldiers there personally. We've sent about 10 boxes of stuff so far. (WE = me and my coworkers.)

    (An aside: None of us display yellow ribbons on our cars.)

    Link: http://www.anysoldier.com/WhereToSend/

    Please read all of the cautions before you send anything. And - oh - by the way - postage ain't cheap. Just so you know.

  •  Anysoldier.com (4.00)
    My husband & I have vhemently disagreed with the war from the start.  

    This past Christmas, I suggested to his family and to mine that instead of exchanging presents, we should send care packages to the soldiers who had to spend their Christmas away from home.  

    We hooked up with four different soldiers through Any Soldier.com.  We went to Costco & went crazy.  We included a letter from the whole family thanking them but also letting them know that like the county, our family was divided about the war in Iraq.  

    So that website might be helpful.  

    Peace,

    ag

    The truth is found when men are free to pursue it. FDR, 1936 Go fuck yourself. Dick Cheney, 2004

    by aimeeinkc on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:46:13 AM PDT

    •  anysoldier (none)
      sounds good.  I also adopted a soldier through soldiers angels.   The FAQs here and at anysoldier might be helpful.

      My soldier is home now! :)

      (Even though Soldiers Angels says soldier, it is for Marines, Navy, everyone.  They didn't know better when they named the place, I believe.)

  •  Last Time... (4.00)
    I wrote to a soldier and sent care packages... I ended up marrying him when he returned.

    15 years now. Go Navy. :)

    The booksforsoldiers site did NOT work for me at all.

    I would LOVE to send goods to a soldier. Maybe we Kossacks could adopt a squad or something?

    Send them so much good stuff the others troops get jealous :) Just kidding.

    But I'm in.

    All men are created equal - some just stick out more.

    by Damnit Janet on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:52:35 AM PDT

  •  Avoiding Reinventing the Wheel (4.00)
    You might try getting in touch with the Vetrans groups that have joined the ACLU lawsuit against Runsfeld as a start to finding out who already has a pipeline into Iraq that goes to the soldiers.  

    As I recall there was a piece about the soldiers I saw at Christmas that said something about their being limited in the amount of mail and care packages to them - they have to come via family - broke my heart that some kids without family support might not get much over there.  

    In any case, the Red Cross used to deliver stuff too.  I would start with the Vets because they know whats going on and how to deliver through the red tape of the military.  This initiative like so much in the military is all about moving the items to the location: logistics.

  •  YES! (none)
    Please let me help. I want to do whatever I can. I know when my Son was over there the only pkgs. he got were the ones we sent. I hear there were care pkgs. sent but he never saw one or anyone in his unit get one,so I would feel better to send them over thru KOS or someone I trusted to be sure the troops really do get what we send.
     I will do all I can to help just let me know!

    Protect Life Bring Home The Troops!

    by arkdem on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:55:54 AM PDT

    •  Heard the same thing (4.00)
      Friends son is a Marine and he only gets the packages she sends him.

      Hmmm are the other CARE packages being rerouted to Halliburton? I wouldn't be surprised at all.

      Remember the Stars and STripes (military paper) reporting that the only soldiers who got the Thanksgiving meal with the President were the ones who signed an oath?

      All men are created equal - some just stick out more.

      by Damnit Janet on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:03:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Guess (none)
        the oath the soldiers took when they enlisted wasn't good enough for dumbya. After all I think it puts defend and protect country before it says preznit.

        Protect Life Bring Home The Troops!

        by arkdem on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:59:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great sentiment (4.00)
    I think your heart is in the right place, but I don't think this is such a good idea.

    There are already groups that send care packages to soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan. Just do a google search and you will come up with a bunch of them.  Setting up a new organziation to do the same thing is a waste of resources.

    Re: How can we set up a dKos operation to send practical support "over there" and demonstrate in the most constructive way possible that we support the troops even though we are opposed to Bush and his war.

    We don't have to prove to anybody that we support the troops.  Anyone who wants to tell me I don't support the troops because I think the Commander in Chief is an idiot can go fuck themselves.

    Also, I don't think we should try to make political hay out of doing something like this.  

    That's where I saw the Leprchaun. He tells me to burn things! -R. Wiggum

    by Blue Neponset on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:12:55 AM PDT

    •  hmmm (none)
      you know what, you have a very good point.

      On second thought maybe we should all just keep doing the stuff we're doing and not worry about trying to "brand" it somehow as dKos - which is, in a way, pretty cynical.

      A 4 for making me rethink this with your lone comment.

      Ass hat, no cattle.

      by d to the f on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:48:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Organization (none)
    I, too, am all over this. It seems as if we need to have someone designated as treasurer to collect everyone's donations. Or perhaps we can pick a city (to two) and meet up there. A bunch of us can put together the packages and mail them out. This is all after we can figure out how we are going to reach the soldiers.
  •  Sponsor a Soldier - I like that! (none)
    Maybe we can "sponsor a soldier" by zip code.  Wait, maybe by Congressional districts -- get the pols to take notice.
  •  It costs between (4.00)
    $25.00 and $50.00 to send a package. We have a group here http://www.caringfortroops.com  We raise money for the postage and people volunteer supplies...wet wipes, candy and all that stuff.
    Albertson's has been our big package donor. If you put jerkee in the package label it snacks. If they think it is pork they open the box and it never gets to the soldier.  
    My experience in Vietnam was that these packages are really welcome. People used to send us cans of all those exotic things...oysters, clams etc. It made for great parties.  One of the biggest problems though is some kids never get any mail. No letters no cards. They are the ones hurting.
    I'm just not sure how this group could do this except by raising money and donating to the organizations who are equipped for this mission.
    •  Subvert high shipping costs (none)
      I adopted a soldier through Soldier's Angels who has come home and now have sort of adopted those remaining in her former unit.  Cost of shipping to military addresses can be HUGE.  Secret is to use flat rate boxes which ship for $7.70 each, the boxes are free from the US Post Office and you can also obtain the customs declarations free.
      flat rate boxes =
      •  thanks (none)
        I wonder why the people in charge of caringfortroops...haven't found this out? When we were in  Vietnam we had SAM (space available mail) and PAL (partial airlift) and they were really cheap...apparently this administration doesn't give a rip.
  •  Well, well well (4.00)
    Well, well, well.  Looks like Christmas is coming early for ArmyGirl.  Should I post my wish list right here or email you all separately?

    But seriously - it looks like that anysoldier website is pretty cool.  I thought of signing up but I am afraid I will get inundated with too much stuff for my relatively small team of soldiers.

    •  You all alone over there? :) (none)
      I'm sure you could trade extras away for stuff you could use, or as giveaways to Iraqis.  Or make clear in your msg that it's for a small group (the number of people involved is actually part of every posting anyway.)
  •  Count me in! (none)
    Unfortunately my circle of family, friends, etc.. that are winding up over there (Iraq, Afghanistan) is ever-growing. Because I am so vocally against this war, so demonstrably against this administration - I also want my support for the troops to be as obvious as my other political actions.
  •  Wait a minute! (4.00)
    You mean you can't support the troops by attaching more magnetic yellow ribbons on your gas-guzzling SUV?

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

    by makemefree on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:12:19 PM PDT

  •  Let us know (none)
    Great idea.  Keep us posted as to how to follow up and put our money where our concerns for the troops are!! Thanks.
  •  last summer (none)
    I put together a drive in my county of 14,450 people,  mailed out 1500 pounds..it cost around .90cents a pound.  Had the names of 12 soldiers, sent 20 packages to each one to share.  Some people got carried away and gave me big stuff like shampoo and etc. which I sent but it would have been alot easier for everyone with personal sizes.
  •  Support Your Local Public Servants (4.00)
    Many police officers and firemen are reservists, so there is a good chance that someone from your local police or fire station has been deployed or knows someone who has been deployed.

    If the idea is to insure that packages are NOT sent anonymously, but are instead known to be coming from liberals, why not contact your local police or fire house and send care packages to the people connected with your community.  You may have a chance to change hearts and minds at home as well as abroad.

  •  Ideas from Ray Kimball at Operation Truth (4.00)
    "We as Americans have become so ensconced in our high-living lifestyles that we believe the answer to any problem is money, gifts, or some other material means.....

    You want to show that you support the troops? Here's three ways:

    1. Take the time to truly get informed on the issues.....
    2. Engage your elected representatives on the issues.....
    3. Finally, if you're one of these folks who's always talking about "we have to be over there so they're not over here" and "I support the president because it's wartime", then maybe it's time for you and/or members of your family to get a little more personally involved in the fight...."

    Read the whole thing here:
    http://makeashorterlink.com/?Z40D2162B
  •  I'll donate (none)
    whatever i can afford (which aint much)...

    I love this idea.  And not because of the opportunity to show some soldiers the light of progressivism.  Those guys and gals really need our help.  

    Fuck this war and the fascists who foisted it upon us!  The least we could do, as the true Americans that we are, is send those brave soldiers some candy and DVDs and CDs and magazines and whatever the hell else they need.  

    How about dKos starting a fund for buying body armor for the troops?  Kossacks donate $$ to somewhere that is only used for buying body armor?    

    "Whensoever the general Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    by Billy Shears on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:10:38 PM PDT

  •  help soldiers (none)
    A good idea.  I have written to an online newspaper (1) about donating to the USO. There is an organization that collects money for phone cards for the soldiers.  Also about donating frequent flyer miles to the Fisher House, which provides places for wounded soldier's families to stay and written to congress about the stop loss policies.There is also the operationtruth.org  website which sells stuff and takes donations, so everyone can at least do these things  in a little way.  But you are right, we need to do counteract Rush and Co. in their hot air.  Watch what they do, not what they say.
  •  wow (4.00)
    I went out for a couple of hours and it was great to see this kind of excitement when I got back!

    There are so many good ideas here.

    it seems the consensus is that people like anysoldier.com.  If some of our guys are willing to give up their anonymity we could search for their real names on anysoldier.  That seems like the easiest answer.

    Soonergrunt has a good list of the things soldiers like to get.  I believe he mentioned COOKIES once or twice.  If you're stateside, soonergrunt, can we send stuff to your friend Richard from the Star Wars line?

    As for the Kevlar vests, I was not able to find a firm dollar amount for them.  If anyone has links with the cost please post them.  Anecdotally I understand that they cost about $500.  Also, if anyone has access to police stations or someplace where they might have used vests (Kevlar or not) I understand that troops are stuffing used vests into the floorboards of their Humvees in an attempt to reinforce them against IEDs.  I know.  This war is officially insane.

    I also like the idea of helping out families at home with internet access and Peapod gift certificates.

    Looks like the first step is to put together a list of familiar names on the site who are currently serving or who have family/friends over there.

    Now.  Someone said we shouldn't make political hay out of this.

    Tell that to the VRWC.

    They are the ones who keep demonizing Democrats and lying to the soldiers and telling them that liberals hate America and don't support the troops.

    The public perception is that the only people who send support are ribbon-displaying W-loving conservatives.  If I send any more packages, I want to send them in a way that corrects that misperception.

    Someone upthread said he puts in a copy of the Nation with his care packages, and that is certainly creative, if not provocative.

    But as I think more about this idea, it might be just as effective to send a package to a stranger, who might be a ribbon- displaying W-loving conservative himself, and [gently!] include a message that these goodies are from an anti-war liberal who wants to support the troops.  Cognitive dissonance is the first step in introducing the truth to people who have believed GOPropaganda up til now.  Just our small attempt at "right wing reasoning chip-busting", as advisorjim might say.

    Maybe for now, as a beginning, we could all agree that anyone sending care packages who is involved with dKos would include FROM: WWW.DAILYKOS.COM in the return address, or Operation dKosKare.  Naming it makes it real.

    I'll get started on that list of dKos-related military names, but can't do this by myself (mom is sick again).

    I haven't checked my TBM email account in quite a while so I will go there and see if there are any offers there from people who are willing to collaborate on this project.

    Thanks for the attention to this idea.  I think we have planted a lot of wonderful seeds today!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:19:31 PM PDT

  •  Make it a contest (none)
    I know that some folks here have said not to put anything on there that says this is from dKos or Kos We Kare, but I'm wondering, way down here at the end of this really great page, is "why not throw down"?  I see where people don't want to thumb our nose at conservatives, and I get that.  But if Team Kos and Team Fox compete, the soldiers win.  I don't care if we get our collective ass handed to us.  One more soldier, even an arrogant, conservative, liberal-hating, future-Fox-anchorperson soldier coming home alive is one more American coming home alive.

    A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

    by Webster on Thu May 26, 2005 at 02:46:30 PM PDT

  •  Can we set up a pay pal account for now........ (none)
    to allow for kossacks to make donations while we agree on the most effective way to distribute the donations? I dont know if this is been done before or what is needed to do this but Im sure someone here can help.
  •  We send stuff (none)
    to our school librarian's son. I'll be back tomorrow with his name and address.
  •  I' m down. (none)
    Can we send cold beer? I hear it's really hot over there.

    But no, seriously, sign me up.

  •  I would love to help (none)
    in whatever way possible.  I had a friend in Iraq that I sent some packages to, but (thank god) he has returned safely.  

    Another good idea, that could be tied into this one: a lot of reservists' families are struggling with one (or both) of their breadwinners in Iraq.  Is there some way we could help them too?

    The less a politician amounts to, the more he loves the flag.

    by tryptamine on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:13:20 PM PDT

    •  Oh, and if all you can afford is a 37 cent stamp, (none)
      (and those who can afford more, also) my friend told me many times that just getting letters from home (especially the lengthy and detailed ones I would often write) telling him about normal, day-to-day stuff meant much more to him than all the beef jerky and bars of soap I could send him.

      The less a politician amounts to, the more he loves the flag.

      by tryptamine on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:21:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mishimishi (4.00)
    step away from your keyboard right now & go sort some recycling or something.

    I too am a non-American who finds the acceptance and promotion of militarism in the USA extremely disturbing.

    I also find myself not entirely comfortable with people sending care packages to US troops - until you read some of the excellent comments here, not least Winter Patriot's, who points out that sending care packages to US troops could help them keep their sanity & humanity, which in turn might stop them getting trigger happy under terrible stress and making a terrible mistake.

    It will help them remember their humanity & the humanity of the Iraqis, and hopefully help them resist the peer-pressure of taking out their terrible assignment on innocent Iraqis.

    I see nothing on this thread that contravenes many Kossians open disgust at some actions of US troops. And perhaps if these planned care packages do direct soldiers to dailykos, their own attitudes will change.

    But your comments are at best marginal, and at worst, downright trollish, and I submit to you that this is not the thread for the discussion you are trying (poorly) to provoke. I think some of your comments deserved to be seen, so I've rated them up, but my main message to you as someone who at least can walk part-way down the same path as you is : wrong thread, wrong approach.

    If you really want to provoke a good discussion on the militarism in the USA, start another thread, and don't start by branding all US soldiers killers.

     - And to stop you coming back with just one of your nonsense hypothetical questions, no, I wouldn't outright condemn every Nazi soldier of Hitler's army, because of the conditions & situations they found themselves in at the time. We all condemn those who carried out atrocities, just as we should condemn those allied soldiers and commanders who did the same.

    no thinking human being condemns every rank & file soldier in an army, because to do so is to ignore all the factors that led them to be there, many outside their control.

    "This can't possibly get more disturbing!" - Willow

    by myriad on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:17:21 PM PDT

    •  I don't know you. (4.00)
      I've read your diaries to try to get a handle on your take before I responded to this.  I know that you're an Australian.  I gather that you've never been to America, and that your primary sources of information about events here are Australian, backed up by US websites.  I re-read your post to make sure that I wasn't missing anything.  I chose to engage you on this because you seem to have a fair disposition and a well functioning mind.

      I'll start by saying that I think that the intent of your post is admirable--to get someone you see going in the wrong direction to change course.  I also see that you are trying to be fair-minded.  For those things, I thank you.  I truely do.

      I'll note however that you don't know a lot, or even much about America if you think ours is a militaristic society.  True, the right wing is in power now, but the base of that power has little to do with the military, and a lot to do with religious issues.
      I'm in the military, and the main scope of what I see is more to deflect attention by the ruling party from the disasters that their domestic and economic policies have created.
      I'll admit that a majority of our country was bamboozeled about Iraq in the beginning.  It was heartbreaking to watch, actually, because I knew where it would all end.
      For whatever it's worth, I'm sorry that Australia got caught up in Bush's little re-election insurance scheme.
      Americans have only once failed to support their army when involved in a war.  Vietnam, particularly the latter half of that sorry specatcle, still casts a shadow over quite a bit.
      But I'll say this--this isn't a militaristic society.  Not by a long shot.  There's just too much going on, and for the most part, the American treatment of her military--like the rich man who feeds his dog scraps and shoves him out to the back yard when respectable company comes over, only to loose the chain if he thinks a thief is in the neighborhood--is far less laudatory than you seem to believe.

      Most married military personnel in this country make barely enough to survive unless they're in combat, and then they make a little bit more.  I am a senior NCO, with 17 years in the service, but when I get called up, my family qualifies for poverty relief, called Temporary Aid to Needy Families here.  I know people still in the active forces who qualify for it.  I don't know what you call it in Australia.  The quarters my family lived in when I was still on active duty were nice, but I was lucky.  I actually got into quarters.  Most families in the service have to live off post.  Many junior and mid grade enlisted personnel have second jobs with their spouses working to make ends meet.  Purchasing and maintaining a decent used car is difficult at best, and a new car, even a small one, just isn't happening for most without help from their extended families.
      My reserve unit went into Iraq with outdated, obsolete equipment and 30-year-old machineguns.
      US soldiers routinely get pulled aside at airports and subjected to extra security screenings if their bags or clothing mark them as military.  I don't know why.  But I do know that if I use my military ID when they ask for a picture ID, I get extra screenings and if I use my driver's license, I go right on through.  The defining characteristic of any town near a military base is dozens if not hundreds of businesses that engage in predatory lending practices.  "We finance E-1 and up!" say the signs, without mentioning the 25% interest rate.

      This president likes to be thought of as a "war president," but his administration does not provide its soldiers with the basic necessities of life, let alone the tools to fight and win the war they ordered us to fight.
      I don't know what this militarism is, of which you write.  I don't think a $500 cash incentive to buy a $30,000 car on which he can't afford the payments if he wants to feed his family cuts it for the average troop.  I don't think that housing payments too high for him to pay without a second job and his wife working too works very well for that either.  For that matter, I don't think that an enlisted man should have to take his family to a food bank for free handouts so that his kids can eat.  This isn't giving him a warm fuzzy feeling about his county's support of the military.  When a veteran of the armed forces has to wait two years for a primary appointment from a government hospital and he can't go anywhere else because he has no health insurance, I don't see a real veneration of the military in american society.  When I have to purchase my own body armor inserts to stay alive on the battlefield and my own batteries to run my issued equipment, I don't see this militarism of which so many non-americans speak.

      If the US using its forces in a way that doesn't sit well with people outside our borders bothers some, you should know that it bothers quite a few people here, too, including many American soldiers.

      Regardless of how we got into this war, which a majority of Americans now think was a mistake, there is a belief among my fellow americans that having committed troops to combat, they ought to be properly equipped and supplied.  That's not militarism.  That's common sense.  Too bad it's not actually happening that way.  That Americans know their sons and daughters and husbands and wives and brothers and sisters are being killed and maimed in a shithole, and so they want to send them some cookies and a CD every now and then is an impulse to be encouraged, but it isn't militarism.  I hope that caring about your soldiers, regardless of what you think of the war isn't a uniquely American thing.

      I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most non-Americans, including those in english-speaking countries, do not understand anything at all about the US.  Sure as hell they do not understand the profound damage that 9/11 did to the American psyche.  Nothing we've done anywhere in the world deserved 9/11.  The fact that we have a criminally stupid egomaniac as president is why 9/11 became an excuse to attack Iraq.  For the first time since the war of 1812, the continental US was attacked, and US civilians were killed on our own soil.  That security that the barriers of the oceans provided us for almost 200 years had been breached.  That this was done by a group of people that, by their own admission, have little respect for their own lives, let alone the lives of our children gave great urgency to the need to fight them over there rather than over here.  I don't buy this argument for Iraq, and a millions of americans don't, but enough did, having seen it over here, and having heard the proclamations from over there that our children were to be killed whenever possible, that they bought off on it.  Responding to this threat to our sovereignity and security is not militarism as the word is coloquially used.  It is defending one's homeland from a group of people who have proven their ability to kill thousands of your population in your own homeland.
      The fact that Iraq was stupid and wrongheaded is important.  The fact that Bush wanted to attack Iraq from day one, and that he lied about it to do so is important.  But we are justified under any moral, legal, or whatever kind of code you want to think about to use reasonable means to ensure that 9/11 never happens again.  That's the thing that the rest of the world needs to understand.  That Bush tied his Iraq fantasy into 9/11, and the American people, wanting to believe the man they had entrusted with their safety went along with it is something the rest of the world needs to understand, and something we need to understand and deal with ourselves.
      Just as you say that you wouldn't outright condemn every Nazi soldier of Hitler's army, because of the conditions & situations they found themselves in at the time. We all condemn those who carried out atrocities, just as we should condemn those allied soldiers and commanders who did the same.
      no thinking human being condemns every rank & file soldier in an army, because to do so is to ignore all the factors that led them to be there, many outside their control.
       I, and the vast majority of my fellow soldiers do not hold individual Arabs responsible for the crimes of a few.  But like our 'friends' acquittal, and mishimishi, so ready to condemn all American soldiers for the actions of a few, there are those within our ranks who do the same thing to the Arabs.

      Please understand that I am not attacking you.  I am trying to get at this 'militarism' claim that so many, particularly non-Americans, like to use.  What is the source of it?  Why do most non-americans with whom I've interacted, particularly on Kos, seem to despise me and everyone I know even though I've never met them?  Why has this been going on since before Bush became president?  There's something there.  Even as Clinton was widely respected, to the point of adulation in many places around the world, the country itself came under tremendous amounts of criticism and hatred during my travels in that post cold-war period.
      Finally--how would Australia have responded, had the Sydney Opera House been destroyed in such an attack?  How about the CN Tower, or Westminster Palace?

      Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

      by soonergrunt on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:50:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you soonergrunt (none)
        I have written such a long reply, I turned it into a diary. Please click on my name and have a read - sorry, I always forget how to link.

        Please also note my being asleep / out of action for the next 12 hours or so, and don't think I've posted and run on you if you take the time to reply on the diary.

        thanks

        "This can't possibly get more disturbing!" - Willow

        by myriad on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:20:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great idea! (none)
    I'm not sure if anyone's already proposed this, but what about someone on dKos setting up some kind of donation fund where members with small amounts to donate can contribute to a larger pool of money going towards big, excellent care packages?  I'm down for sending a care package myself, but I'd imagine it would be easier with money all flowing to one place and a few people taking it upon themselves to gather supplies for big care packages and sending them over there.

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; it's the only thing that ever has.

    by KevinL75 on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:38:18 PM PDT

  •  Wish list. (none)
    At my base, we gets lots of care packages from the states.

    Certain items are left out of these packages that we could use more of.

    Gold Bond Powder

     - this stuff keeps your balls from rotting off. It is, as we say, "A Golden Breathmint for your Balls".

    Mouthwash

     - Green, Coolmint Listerine... Lots of small bottles would be best. Generally, it's good to send lots of small, individual size things. So everyone can get some.

    Cereal

     - The great thing about this is, we get these boxes of milk from Kuwait. You don't have to refrigerate it and it never goes bad. It tastes like shit, but you can leave it in the sun all day and it still won't make you sick. But cereal is hard to get. Again, several individual little boxes would be preferable to one or two large boxes.

    DVDs

     - These are fairly cheap, I know you can get them cheap at Walmart (unethical corporate whores that they are, they do have cheap DVDs) and these are always great. Almost every guy has a laptop and we share our DVDs. Six months into this deployment, we have seen every DVD that anyone has a minimum of ten times. So new ones are always great. Porn is not allowed in Iraq :( but you probably guessed that. Any war movie made within the last twenty years is already owned by half the guys in my company, so you'll need to be creative.

    Wet wipes

     - Keep 'em coming people. We get lots of them, but I cannot overstate the importance of mantaining an interupted flow of wet wipes in country. They have more applications than you could imagine, as well as some which are very obvious. Toilet paper just doesn't cut it in Iraq. I prefer Huggies, but that's just me.

    Things we already have in abudance...

    Candy

     - don't bother, this we got more than we know what to do with.

    Chocolate

     - this is nice to get, but we can buy good stuff at the Haji-mart. Its better to send us stuff we can't easily get from the locals.

    Soap, shaving cream, shampoo, insect repellent

     - the Army takes care of this stuff, for the most part. A little extra toothpaste wouldn't hurt.

    OK, that's all I got. This list is specific to the area in which I am stationed. It will differ in other areas (Like Anaconda, those motherfuckers don't need shit. They got it made) but I believe you will find it to be more or less the same in most places.

    I appreciate this stuff immensly. These random, packages from people I will never meet make my life a little bit easier. When you score a stash of something you've run out of (like I did with some Gold Bond a couple weeks ago) it makes your whole day. One less thing you have to worry about.

    "I am not a crook" - The Honourable Richard M. Nixon

    by tricky dick on Thu May 26, 2005 at 07:01:09 PM PDT

  •  Care speaks louder than Limbaugh (4.00)
    I don't quite know how to write this. I have written the same thing over and over and it always reads like I am raining on the parade of others, or it reads like I am trying to be self-righteous, or preach to what are otherwise well meaning folks. This is not my intention, and because in writing the same thing now multiple times, I will just put it out there and let it be interpreted by you as you will.

    Folks, if you live in a big city, and for those of you who live in not so big cities, you don't need to reach out 7000 miles to help a soldier. All you need to do is drive down to the poorest part of wherever you live, or visit the nearest VA hospital.

    I met a guy 'on the skids' just yesterday. His name was Elmer. He related to me his story about how his motor home had been stolen, along with what little in the world that he owned. Because we both served in the Army, we began to trade stories. Elmer, quite soon in our conversation, got around to the image that I think sticks with many of us who served at a time in our history that many would like to forget. While times, places, and particular memories are different, the effect was I think, for most of us who experienced it, the same. 'God damn hippies spittin' on us when we got off the plane'.

    At this point I stopped Elmer, you see I have grey hair now. It has been said that with age comes either dementia or wisdom. I reminded Elmer that these kids were following their conscience and their convictions, and we were kids following orders, and doing what we thought was our job.

    Which leads me, the long way around, to two points that I want to make with this comment.

    * My first point is partly made by myriad.

    If you really want to provoke a good discussion on the militarism in the USA, start another thread, and don't start by branding all US soldiers killers.

    Agreed here myriad. mishimishi, while I admire your conviction, I have to say that your words and thoughts are very familiar. May I suggest that you redirect some of your conviction and your zeal.

    * My second point is this.

    Elmer did two tours of VietNam. There are those who live in L.A., or New York, or Chicago, any big city in the states, when seeing guys like Elmer every day on the street, at most point out 'the bum', and just drive by in their car with the 'Support Our Troops' sticker on the tailgate.

    Elmer didn't want hard candy. Elmer didn't want DVD's, or baby wipes, or gun oil.

    You see Elmer hadn't eaten in two days, and because we met at the self-serve car wash, Elmer wanted to wash my car in exchange for a cheeseburger from the fast food place next door.

    If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

    by superscalar on Thu May 26, 2005 at 07:09:28 PM PDT

  •  I did something like this (none)
    I sent a car package to someone in Iraq through some Army website.
  •  Gold Bond Powder (none)
    is a very good thing to send people.  Also mouthwash and baby wipes.  This is what I hear.

    Why not plan a beautiful summer vacation in the New York State Finger Lakes region? Wines, lakes, cheeses, vistas...

    by Percheronwoman on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:44:26 PM PDT

  •  Here is my unit.............. (4.00)
    My guys are over there right now. I am heading out in two weeks, 9 June. They would love to get some stuff. There are 64 of them working in the hot sun to keep our helos flying. Put DKos somewhere on the return address so we know the source. I promise, my guys will send you a response back. Additionally I will be updating my diary here.

    Send stuff to;

    Major Jason Sprigman or Flightline Shop
    HMLA-775
    UIC 42075
    FPOAP 96426-2075

    •  Stuff to send,,,,,,,,,,,,, (none)
      Magazines
      Gold Bond
      Moisturizer
      Tea Tree Oil for Feet
      Trail Mix
      Tooth brushes
      Tooth Paste
      Floss
      Mouthwash
      Baby Wipes
      Shampoo
      Gum
      Powdered Gatorade
      Non Melting cookies
      Hard Candy
      Books
    •  About the address... (none)
      That's it, precisely?  I've heard there's no room for error, and it's making me a little paranoid.

      Also, I've read that unauthorized political materials are forbidden.  Any idea what that includes -- things like copies of Mother Jones or Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut's novels?  Maybe it doesn't even matter since it's going to you and the rule is mostly to protect people from unwanted preaching.

      I'll call the post office to get the customs forms and boxes today.

      It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

      by martianchronic on Fri May 27, 2005 at 06:09:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great idea (none)
    set up a web page and i will donate
  •  Count on me (none)
    I'm in for some home-made, home-canned jam. I make extraordinary jam (including chocolate jam).

    I don't have big bucks, but this is something I can do.

    They should all be judged soaking wet.

    by Kitsap River on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:40:18 PM PDT

  •  Another idea: (none)
    A few members act as staging points for little things that Kossacks would like to send to our (as in dKos members) soldiers. Imagine Nameless Soldier getting a bigass box filled with stuff we sent, I don't know exactly what would be really good for our soldiers (besides a full withdrawal from Iraq, effective immediately) in a care package, but I imagine it would have to be non-perishable, or not-very-perishable. Maybe some home-baked cookies, cornbread, portable gaming devices (gameboy, PSP, DS, etc) and some letters of encouragement from us.

    It wouldn't be too hard for a few Kossacks to act as remailers for the community, we could set up paypal accounts for them to cover postage and packing supplies, and then we could send our own little mini care packages to those kossacks, and then they could organize them into larger boxes (say, put an "ATTN: For Nameless Soldier" on the packing slip for organization) and send it out to the soldiers.

    Religious conservatives are motivated by the suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun. - Badtux @ K5

    by BullitNutz on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:37:53 PM PDT

  •  How about a branded packing slip? (4.00)
    How about a branded packing slip? This could be kept on kos and printed off the website, include the website address and a little text from all of us, then personalized by the kos community sender. It would be easy, consistent and recognizable.

    (If this has been mentioned already, sorry I must have missed it)

    •  That's a really terrific idea. (none)
      Quick and efficient.  I haven't seen it anywhere else on the thread, either.  

      We wouldn't need to have any complicated infrastructure set up to get that going.  Those of us sending packages using already established sites like AnySoldier.com could add the dKos-branded packing slip in.

      It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

      by martianchronic on Fri May 27, 2005 at 06:19:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  phone cards (none)
    My brother is over there, luckily in Kuwait for now and not directly in the line of fire.  He always asks for movies on DVD and video games to keep his unit entertained.

    For him personally, the most important thing is a phone card.  My father got him one and adds more minutes whenever it runs low.  (This can be quite often since my brother promised his wife when they got married that he would call her every single day if he had to be away from her)  This is also a blessing for my sister-in-law and nephews back home.  I imagine it's a wonderful comfort to be able to talk to each other regularly.

    You can't send just regular phone cards, they have to be special international ones.  You can buy some here.  In that link are also ways to donate cards to soldiers who need them.

    •  Regular phone cards can be useful too (none)
      If the soldier has an MWR phone center on his basecamp, that center uses the military's world-wide phone network.
      The soldier calls the military base nearest his home, and gets the base operator to extend him to an outside line, from which he calls home.  This is OK for guys like me, for whom a call home is a local call from the nearest base, but for a lot of guys, they get a five-minute limit on long-distance unless they can pay for it themselves with a phone card.  For these guys, a regular AT&T pre-paid card is usefull.

      Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

      by soonergrunt on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:29:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Throw down the gauntlet (none)
    Let's challenge the freepers to a duel -- who can donate more (useful stuff) to the troups over a meaningful period of time.  We get good press.  They are forced to respond.  The troups (the people actually needing help) get help.

    Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Fri May 27, 2005 at 07:58:38 AM PDT

    •  This is a good idea... (none)
      it'll get a lot of stuff sent over there... maybe who can donate more money would be more useful, that way they can buy equipment they need... and then the care packages will still keep going from the other organizations but this becomes a blog effort...

      we could get high profile people to donate... (the only thing is, repugs tend to have more money, don't they?? - altho we have ALL OF HOLLYWOOD ... and they have a lot of money... )
      Hmmm...

  •  amazed this is still on the rec list (none)
    if nothing else this proves that a lot of Blue people are willing to put their time and energy behind this.  great!

    this has developed so many facets now and is a much bigger project than I could hope to take on alone.  still I am willing to follow up on:

    (1)  compiling a list of actual addresses of dKossians who are serving or relatives/friends of dKossians who are serving who would like to get our packages.   Please post addresses here or send to my dkos email (don't worry about spamblocker--I will still be able to read your messages in the blocked mail file)

    (2)  creating a dKos return label (let's wait for the new logo!) and maybe a short "statement of Blue patriotism and support" we could include with our care packages.  We don't have to reinvent the wheel--we can use anysoldier.com, treats for troops, operation military pride, caring for troops, wounded warrior project, and other existing sites, identifying the source of our gifts with the special dKos label.  blue neponset objected to the idea of branding, but I don't hear anyone objecting to the incessant Red branding of troop support all around us.

    (3) combining all the lists of preferred items into one list so that we will know we are sending the stuff the soldiers need and want most.  I saw an ad for a memorial day sale of portable DVD players for $30 so this might be a good weekend to stock up on some stuff like that as well as CDs and DVDs.

    All these other ideas are beautiful but just overwhelming--much more than I would know how to do.  i'm middle-aged and technologically challenged.  I am a klutz with paypal.  I wouldn't begin to how to set up a parallel site (I do like the name "kos we care"!) and maybe we don;t need one.  Maybe we can just update ourselves here somehow... that part of it will have to wait.

    but I am so excited about all the stuff people are already doing and the new ideas here.  special thanks to the person who suggested helping physically and emotionally wounded vets thru the VA.  it is also a great bridge building idea to spread goodwill by finding out who the reservists are in our neighborhoods.

    no one has mentioned one of my favorite sites: Operation Truth.  Operation Truth has lots of links to "how to help soldiers" websites, and moving first person stories like this one about a medic describing outdated equipment in her unit  and this one from a marine who was wounded in an unarmored humvee.  There are some positive stories too but it is one of the rare places for soldiers to vent honestly about the conditions they have to endure.

    I have to work all weekend (it's not a holiday for everyone) so this project isn't going to move forward in blog time, but I'll go through all the mail as quickly as I can and be in touch with people about next steps soon.

    In the meantime, please keep the ideas coming!

    And please don't give too much more attention to mishimishi and acquittal.  Trusted users, zero them out if you want; everyone can respond to their posts with recipes, tasty (with andouille sausage!) or nasty (tripe and oyster parfait); but I hope we stop directing so much mental energy toward them.

    Many of you know my theory about this: Trolls are the most likely to show up to distract us when we are on the verge of saying or doing something important.  That is when the stakes are highest and they have the greatest need to get us off track.  Their very presence usually signals we are hitting a nerve in some way.  The more attention we give them the less energy we have to do the serious work we are about on this blog.

    As the diary title implies: just think of how we at dKos could disrupt the propaganda machine and change attitudes at the grassroots level if our support for the troops were no longer hidden, if we were as openly identified with our Blue patriotism as the Red team has already done with their support.  caringfortroops has a disclaimer on their website that they are neutral on the war--it  would be amazing if the kos we care site could say that we are opposed to the war, but supporting the troops anyway.

    that's my goal.  I think it is honorable.  I'm glad to have so many partners in this.

    and I look forward to seeing details about mishimishi's work with Red Cross/Red Crescent or other groups that are working with Iraqi civilians, preferably in a separate diary...

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:28:33 AM PDT

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