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More dead bring anguish, anger in Ohio


(But some people still believe the war on Iraq has something to do with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.)

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Some question Iraq war; others urge US to press on
By Kaitlin Bell and Susan Milligan, Globe Correspondent and Globe Staff | August 5, 2005

BROOK PARK, Ohio -- The chain fence surrounding the headquarters of the Third Battalion, 25th Marines, yesterday gave the people of northeastern Ohio something they desperately needed: a place to express their complicated feelings about a war that took the lives of 16 of the battalion's members in Iraq.

As wind twisted the stems of flowers and pulled the strings of balloons as taut as violins, people stood and grieved, and knelt and prayed. They expressed views ranging from deep anger at President Bush to a renewed conviction to rebuild Iraq so the Marines will not have died in vain.
But many in this Cleveland suburb, in nearby Akron, and in Columbus expressed hope that this week's deaths, and the shock waves they sent throughout the country, would prompt a deeper discussion of a very perplexing war.

''It's going to change something, I swear," predicted Jim Dawes, 57, who served two tours of duty as a Marine in Vietnam and whose nephew was among the battalion members killed in Iraq.

This week's events shook the Buckeye State to its core, as communities across the northern half of the state lost sons to Operation Iraqi Freedom, all members of the Brook Park-based H&S unit of the 25th Marines, which has had hundreds of reservists called up for duty. Nine of the dead were in one Columbus-based company.

While other states have suffered spates of casualties, Ohio's loss of 14 reservists in two days, after losing two others a week earlier, was one of the war's harshest blows to hit a civilian area -- and seemed to trigger a new benchmark in public grief and discontent with the war's casualties.

Ohioans describe their state as patriotic and supportive of the troops. The state last year gave a narrow, critical win to an incumbent president defending his decision to send soldiers to fight in Iraq. But the shock of the recent deaths -- combined with growing worries that the 2 1/2-year-old conflict remains unresolved -- has more residents wondering whether the sacrifice has been worth it.

''This group of young fellas got ambushed. You have to start to wonder what's going on over there," said Jerry Freeman, City Council president of Tallmadge, an Akron suburb that lost a serviceman this week. ''When this happens in New York or California or West Virginia, you read about it and you see it. But then it hits home, and then you sit back and say, 'OK, what are you doing this for?' "

Jack L. Sarver, a City Council member from Tallmadge, said he remembers the Saturday afternoon a month before last fall's election when Bush's campaign motorcade came through town. Even though residents did not get advance notice, they spotted the Secret Service helicopters overhead and spontaneously lined the streets, waving, clapping, and whistling in support of the president -- and a war that many believed was a necessary response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sarver recalled.

On Monday, a 2002 graduate of Tallmadge High School, Lance Corporal Daniel Nathan Deyarmin Jr., died in Iraq, two days after turning 22. And by yesterday, as city officials put small American flags on downtown telephone poles to honor Deyarmin, opinions on the war had come full circle, Sarver said.

''For the most part, this city has supported the war," he said. ''But this town is a very close-knit community. Everybody knows everybody. This is pretty much devastating. People are saying, 'Why are we here now? Let's get out -- it's enough.' When it hits close to home -- that's enough."
Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran who narrowly lost a special election for an Ohio seat in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, said Ohioans -- particularly those in military families -- remain a patriotic group. But they are beginning to question why the United States is still in Iraq, and what is being accomplished there, he added.

''The meaning of [the deaths] of these patriots who were just killed is further evidence of the failure of this administration to do anything over there worthwhile," said Hackett, a reserve US Marine major who was heading to Washington, D.C., yesterday for training. ''Why did they die? What did they die for? The search for weapons of mass destruction? No. To topple a dictator and make his people free? No. Free to do what?" Hackett said, referring to dangers on the streets of Iraq.

Hackett -- a Democrat who won a surprising 48 percent of the vote in Ohio's most heavily Republican congressional district -- noted that he prevailed in the district's rural areas, where he said more conservative, military families tend to be concentrated. He said he is considering volunteering for another tour in Iraq to support his fellow Marines, despite his misgivings about the war.

The reverberations from Ohio reached Bush yesterday, as he remarked from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, that ''the community outside of Cleveland, Brook Park, Ohio, suffered mightily over the last couple of days" and that ''I hope they can take comfort in the fact that millions of their fellow citizens pray for them."

The president added that ''we will stay the course, we will finish the job in Iraq." The job, Bush explained, is to ''help the Iraqis develop a democracy."

For many Ohioans, especially those who supported the Iraq war as a means to fight terrorism, the lengthening mission to promote democracy is a less passionate cause.

Dawes, the Vietnam veteran from Brook Park whose nephew was among those killed, questioned what the United States was gaining in Iraq, beyond military contracts for large corporations.

''The rich man has got richer, and the poor man has lost his kids," Dawes said. ''That's the way it was [in Vietnam], and that's the way it is now."

In Columbus, news of the nine deaths hit just as Marine families were planning a late August meeting to learn how to help their loved ones cope with returning from Iraq this fall. Instead of looking ahead, many families -- having heard that victims were from their city but not knowing their names -- sat anxiously in their living rooms, dreading a telltale walk up the driveway by a US Marine.

Julie Bell, whose 23-year-old brother, Jonathan, serves in the battalion, said she and her mother stayed inside all day, but finally ventured out to place red roses, tied with a yellow ribbon, by the gates of the local Marine office. She and her mother were planning to go to a service, scheduled for today, for a friend of hers who was killed in Iraq last week.

''We're doing the best we can," Bell said.

For friends and family of reservists in the Cleveland area, yesterday was a second day of mourning: Five Marines from surrounding towns were killed Monday. Scores of mourners gathered in windy weather outside the battalion headquarters. Along the fence, they placed flowers, balloons, and crosses. Someone had hung a white football jersey with the name ''Boskovitch" in orange letters, a memorial to 25-year-old Jeff Boskovitch.

Chris Clark, who served in the Army for more than a decade, brought a white teddy bear she had wrapped in a plastic bag so it would not get wet from rain expected later in the day and wrote a note saying, ''Please give to a child. Chris Clark, US Army."

She walked up and down the fence, trying to shield the mementos from the elements.

''All these cards, everything is falling over," she said sadly.

Rick Klein of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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I venture a guess that just about anyone who believes there is a connection between 9/11 and Iraq get their news from Fox and sadly feel they are informed.

Sadly, I know peope that STILL believe there is a connection. They blame it on the press. The press is not telling the truth, Dubya wouldn't lie.

They really won't recognize the speech where Dubya said there was no connection.

Talk about your head in the sand...............

I think we are witnessing a new gold rush, substitute the American West with the Middle East and gold with oil and it all seems pretty cut and dry. The oil traders, attorneys, and corporate heads in BushCo. are going to drag this one out to the very end. Considering the fact that other reliable forms of energy already exist and are currently in use around the globe, it's obvious that they want to continue down the road of oil until we run out; look at Europe, they have been supplementing their oil use and electrical generation for quite some time. Our government and our citizens need to get on the ball. Bush will not pull out of Iraq until they have built high walls topped with razor wire around the oilfields over there. Why the heck is oil so important? Is it because oil is the only economy base that the administration understands anymore? Are they not at all prepared for a change? Do they think that the rest of the world is going to sit idly by and continue to use the oil they capture while waiting until America is ready to convert? They can make money from new energy technologies and the industries that those technologies will bring about just as easily (and seamlessly, if conversion starts before the supply of oil really begins it's decline), not to mention the fact that there are a multitude of new energy patents which are currently owned by the big oil companies (which they hide away from the rest of us, every corporation has got to have it's trade secrets).

I often wonder what it's like to be addicted to money the way that this administration is. Money is their drug, they are so addicted to the current economy and the money they grab from it that they have gone to war with the Middle East to ensure that they are controlling the global oil economy until the last drop goes through the pipelines. The desire to be in control of the final decline of oil, if done from a humanitarian angle (saving our economy and people from possible end-of era regression) could be looked at from the perspective that the end justifies the means, but when done in the manner that BushCo. has, (lying, covering up or otherwise changing facts, ignoring questions asked of it's citizens and press) it seems more along the lines of deceitful corporate money-grabbing and self interest. If they don't act soon the aforementioned patents the energy corporations hold wont mean squat. It's going to take a good amount of the remaining oil to fabricate the opening salvo of new industrial machinery and the equipment necessary to convert, being that it currently takes the usage of oil to allow today's industry to function. Considering the track record of the administration, it's unlikely that they have any such plan in mind. They are far too unwilling to listen to reason, and why should they? They are here for the quick money, the easy money that they are accustomed to and so enamored by.

If our country could either get off the current electricity grids and create one hundred percent of the power our homes consume or enact a law requiring our utility companies to make the switch then it seems to me that would cut our dependence on oil by nearly half which would allow for more time to develop new resources for transportation. It would be optimal to convert both utilities and transportation on a concurrent time frame, however there would be less shake up within the global economy if one commitment was executed prior to the other. Some companies, like Toyota have their own time frame, they have announced an additional 10 hybrid vehicles to their lineup over the next decade, seen here: http://biz.yahoo.com/usat/050803/13023716.html?.v=2. Maybe we'll all be able to buy John Deere wind generators from Home Depot in the near future! Not really soon enough, but Deere is doing something nonetheless. Here's a bit from Renewable Energy Access: http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=34959.

-Ben
bentpatriot@yahoo.com

I am a veteran from a past era so i feel im withn the limits of decency to ask the following hard question.
A year ago it certainly appeared the majority of you Ohioian's were in full support of George Bush, his administration and especially in the Iraqi conflict. Am i wrong about this? You are one of the RED STATES. Well alright. You support the war? Well alright then. You refuse(d) to listen to any opposing views about the objective's of this conflict and essentially you all thought those of us opposing the conflict for legal and moral reasons, you thought we were all a bunch of left wing pinko's. Am i wrong? If your going to fully support a war, and invest your own son's and daughter's into the conflict, you have to expect you'll suffer loss's, and now you've suffered a particular haed loss and suddenly, now some of you are questioning the morality, and the objective's of this conflict as a result of your loss's, to which i greive with you, for these loss's.
My question is, why did it take the loss of your son's to finally get some of you to see the lite? it truly appears now that some of you do in fact see the lite. Now! you see! If you would have been more willing to listen to what us left wing pinkos were proclaiming, you might have elected to do what ever it took to keep your sons home somehow. why does it always have to take soldier's and marine's being killed in order to finally get the die hard supporters of a given conflict to consider opposing views against that conflict? I want to know, because, these marines are dead because they came from a particular part of the country that was in unquestionably full support of the Iraqi conflict (and this had to be a factor in their signing up with this marine reserve unit) claiming that Iraq was directly tied to 9/11 when there is solid evidence to demonstrate fully otherwise!
It always has to be soldiers and marines die'ing first , to get the hawks to reconsider. It seems only then, are you war supporters willing to look at the other side of the issue. Im very sorry for your personal loss's. There'll certainly be many many more.**HUMPHREY**

I understand your frustration. I simply could not understand the continued support for Bush, however I was reading alot of material, not relying on T.V. I have said often...now that the numbers are turning against Bush...why didn't you folks do this 6 months ago? The red warning flags were big and flying high. I had some people tell me Iraq was not even an issue for them when voting.

If anything I would hope it shows us as Americans, and as voters that we cannot listen to the negative campaigning. We have to show the people like Rove dishing it out that it is not going to work anymore. They always say it works, that is why they do it.

I would hope people will speak out and not get comfortable with their own life. D.C. depends on the ignorance of the public for votes.

I say, the next time in an election process if there are any adds comparable to the Swift Boat crap that we scream loud and clear and often that we are on to them and to STOP IT. In fact the right has already started on Hillary.

My heart aches for anyone who lost family. I cannot imagine the heartache they must be feeling as they start to come to terms with the dishonesty behind our young people being sent to Iraq.

I am outraged and have been since before the start of this mess.

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