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Soldier's mother keeps vigil outside Bush ranch
The mother of a U.S. soldier slain in Iraq continued to stand vigil Friday outside U.S. President George W. Bush's ranch in Texas, waiting – with a growing number of anti-war protesters – for a face-to-face meeting to air her grievances.
Cindy Sheehan has been camped out on the road outside Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, since last Saturday.
Her son, Casey, was killed last year in Iraq just five days after arriving for duty there. He was 24 years old.
Sheehan, who's from California, wants the U.S. to pull out of Iraq.
"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," she told reporters.
"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."
Other parents join
Sheehan's protest has attracted at least three other parents whose children have died while on U.S. duty in Iraq. Dozens of other protesters are also taking part.
But, so far, Bush has declined to meet with her.
FROM AUG. 11, 2005: Spring withdrawal from Iraq just 'speculation,' Bush says
On Wednesday, Bush acknowledged the activists camped outside his ranch, saying he had thought about their "cries to pull out of Iraq. ... But I strongly disagree."
"I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan," Bush said. "I thought long and hard about her position. ... But it would be a mistake for this country."
The president said the U.S. army had surpassed its recruitment goals for July, the first time it had done so this year. Other services continued to be on track for their recruitment drives, he said.
Bush also said recent reports that American troops would begin withdrawing from Iraq next spring were simply "speculation."
At least 32 U.S. soldiers died in the first 10 days of August alone, U.S. defence officials say.
And on Friday, a roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier in Tikrit, in the central part of Iraq.