You are herecontent / Bush Says He Sympathizes With Protester

Bush Says He Sympathizes With Protester


President Adds That Pulling Out of Iraq Now Would Hurt U.S. Security
By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 12, 2005; Page A12

CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 11 -- As a roadside antiwar vigil initiated by a California woman who lost a son in Iraq continued near his ranch Thursday, President Bush said that he sympathizes with her loss but that agreeing to her demand to immediately withdraw troops "would be a mistake for the security of this country."

Speaking to reporters after meeting with members of his national security team, Bush said he has heard the voices of Cindy Sheehan and grieving family members who say the United States should leave Iraq because of the mounting death toll.

Among those wading through mud to place crosses near the president's Texas ranch are, from left, Texan Marie Pugh and Californians Kathleen Hernandez and Woody Hastings. (By Tony Gutierrez -- Associated Press)

"I grieve for every death," Bush said. "It breaks my heart to think about a family weeping over the loss of a loved one. I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place."

Nonetheless, Bush said, withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq before that nation's security forces are able to cope with the ongoing insurgency "would send a terrible signal to the enemy" that the United States is weak and easily intimidated

While Bush met with Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss the war and other foreign policy concerns, a growing clutch of protesters gathered along the muddy shoulder of the narrow, winding road leading to Bush's 1,600-acre ranch.

Sheehan, who began her vigil Saturday, has been joined by several dozen protesters from across the country, including others who have had loved ones killed in Iraq.

"The president says he feels compassion for me, but the best way to show that compassion is by meeting with me and the other mothers and families who are here," Sheehan said. "Our sons made the ultimate sacrifice and we want answers. All we're asking is that he sacrifice an hour out of his five-week vacation to talk to us, before the next mother loses her son in Iraq."

Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia said her son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed in Baghdad while looking for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.

"This war is a disaster," Zappala said. "It is a betrayal of our military. It is a betrayal of our democracy."

The protesters have strung placards along the roadside saying things such as "Who would Jesus bomb?" and "Who lied? Who died? Who paid? Who profits?" They also drove dozens of small, white wooden crosses into the ground along the road, in honor of those killed in Iraq.

Sheehan's son, Casey Sheehan, 24, a former Eagle Scout and altar boy, was killed in Baghdad on April 4, 2004, within a week of arriving in Iraq. Sheehan met Bush two months later, as part of a group of grieving military family members. She has alleged that Bush treated her callously during their private conversation, and she has demanded a second meeting to air her grievances about the war and to tell Bush about the devastation she has felt since losing her son.

After her son's death, Sheehan, 48, co-founded Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization of people who have lost loved ones in Iraq or who oppose the war.

Although she met Saturday with two top Bush aides, Sheehan has vowed to maintain her vigil -- both here and, if necessary, outside the White House -- until she is granted another meeting with the president.

Sheehan's protest has created a delicate situation for the White House, which has resisted being drawn into a public battle with a woman who lost a son in Iraq. While officials would not publicly refute Sheehan's description of her meeting with Bush, they did point out that the president has met with about 900 family members of 272 fallen soldiers -- sessions they describe as often emotional and moving.

LINK TO ORIGINAL

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

The point Mr Bush has to concede is that this war was pre-emptive and highly contested at international level. After its execution, the US and UK went back to the United Nations searching for concensus and seeking to have the 'occupation' given legitimacy. They wanted to keep control of Iraq and did not feel the need to let the United Nations have more than an 'advisory role'. The Iraqi people have suffered enourmously from the litany of mistakes made in prosecuting the war and attempting to manage the 'occupation'.

Can the US and UK leave Iraq ? We are told not yet - I admit that I can't see how we can just walk away. Is the presence of our troops part of the problem ? Many argue that it clearly is fuelling the insurgency. Are we stuck at some violent impasse ? It seems to me that we have only one option left, we tried violence and there has certainly been a great deal of 'playing footsy' with the truth. Young servicemen and women are losing their lives, the population of Iraq is being decimated - time to try truth telling - calling on every member of the UN to help turn round the situation. Thinking outside the box - being guided by compassion not politics. Mr Bush must be open about what he wanted from the invasion - if he wants permanent bases, contracts benefiting US companies. Those same companies must equally stop putting profit before human lives, american lives, iraqi lives. The Arab nations must show us what the words of the Prophet can achieve, show us the Koran in action, the chilren of Iraq and Afghanistan need help, they need food, medical care - they are traumatised beyond the comprehension of many adults, they see we seem to have forgotten them. Time for a world to say to America we are knocking at your door, to the terrorists wherever they are, we will not lose one more child to you, we refuse, look at what the peacemakes of this world can do. Every faith, christian, jewish, hindu, sikh and muslim - time to say loudly and clearly - we warned you, violence, war and lies have won nothing. The UN envoy who lost his life in the Iraq he was trying to help, put forward the idea that Iraq could be run by its experienced civil service till a political structure could be built. He recognised that elections under 'occupation' smell of 'puppet government', fuel violence. Mr Bush has to be asked outright if US foreign policy on his watch can give up trying to shape outcomes and truly let a people shape their own destiny. Surely the world is tired of rhetoric, violence and a propaganda machine that takes telling lies to unsustainable levels - we all realise the risks, sooner or later we'll end up without a planet.

The point Mr Bush has to concede is that this war was pre-emptive and highly contested at international level. After its execution, the US and UK went back to the United Nations searching for concensus and seeking to have the 'occupation' given legitimacy. They wanted to keep control of Iraq and did not feel the need to let the United Nations have more than an 'advisory role'. The Iraqi people have suffered enourmously from the litany of mistakes made in prosecuting the war and attempting to manage the 'occupation'.

Can the US and UK leave Iraq ? We are told not yet - I admit that I can't see how we can just walk away. Is the presence of our troops part of the problem ? Many argue that it clearly is fuelling the insurgency. Are we stuck at some violent impasse ? It seems to me that we have only one option left, we tried violence and there has certainly been a great deal of 'playing footsy' with the truth. Young servicemen and women are losing their lives, the population of Iraq is being decimated - time to try truth telling - calling on every member of the UN to help turn round the situation. Thinking outside the box - being guided by compassion not politics. Mr Bush must be open about what he wanted from the invasion - if he wants permanent bases, contracts benefiting US companies. Those same companies must equally stop putting profit before human lives, american lives, iraqi lives. The Arab nations must show us what the words of the Prophet can achieve, show us the Koran in action, the chilren of Iraq and Afghanistan need help, they need food, medical care - they are traumatised beyond the comprehension of many adults, they see we seem to have forgotten them. Time for a world to say to America we are knocking at your door, to the terrorists wherever they are, we will not lose one more child to you, we refuse, look at what the peacemakes of this world can do. Every faith, christian, jewish, hindu, sikh and muslim - time to say loudly and clearly - we warned you, violence, war and lies have won nothing. The UN envoy who lost his life in the Iraq he was trying to help, put forward the idea that Iraq could be run by its experienced civil service till a political structure could be built. He recognised that elections under 'occupation' smell of 'puppet government', fuel violence. Mr Bush has to be asked outright if US foreign policy on his watch can give up trying to shape outcomes and truly let a people shape their own destiny. Surely the world is tired of rhetoric, violence and a propaganda machine that takes telling lies to unsustainable levels - we all realise the risks, sooner or later we'll end up without a planet.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.