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Writings from a new kind of base: an update from Camp Casey


August 12, 2005
By Tim Goodrich
U.S. Tour of Duty

The heat and humidity are not letting up outside Bush¹s ranch at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas. Although it¹s not as hot as, say, Iraq, the heat can still take a toll on those not used to it. Luckily, through the generous outpouring of others from across the country, we have managed to stay well supplied with fluids and food.

This is day seven since the establishment of Camp Casey and still no meeting with Bush. Today, I was kept from arriving at camp due to an extended secret service blockade on the only road into the ranch. Apparently, Bush had fundraising activities to attend and drove by the camp for the first time, ignoring all who stood ready to receive him. My question is this: Why is it that those who can afford to donate thousands of dollars to Bush get to meet him?

Meanwhile, Cindy, veterans, and other Gold Star and military families, all of whom have sacrificed tremendously, brave the heat and fire ants waiting for the chance to meet with Bush.

The tensions escalated a bit today when rumors circulated that there may be a group of counter-protestors showing up in the late afternoon. True to their word, a group of counter-protestors arrived in the late afternoon on a chartered bus, allegedly paid for by an extreme right-wing Dallas radio DJ. The bus pulled up, unloaded, and the counter-protestors, each armed with a miniature flag, aligned on the side of the road. The local authorities and secret service placed themselves in the middle of the two groups in order to prevent any aggressive acts from the pro-war crowd. To everybody¹s surprise, after 15 minutes and callous chants of "I don¹t care" directed at Cindy, the bus began to load again. A short time later, the fully loaded bus was headed down the road back to Dallas.

Now, in these 15 minutes, the media was swarming over the newly arrived. Time will tell if they were provided an equal amount of coverage. It would hardly seem fair if this was the case, seeing as the people at Camp Casey are camped out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and not merely making a "media appearance." It seems to me that if these people felt so strongly about the war, they would have stayed longer than 15 minutes and done more than only talk to the media.

The good news is that Camp Casey continues to grow and our message is resonating around the world. On another positive note, we continue to see other Iraq war veterans come to investigate and meet the people who have traveled from around the country to make their voice heard. In one particular case, a mother and her two sons who had both been to Iraq, came to voice their support for the cause. Amazingly, one of the sons had just returned from Iraq the day before.

So far, all the Iraq war veterans have been very receptive about joining Iraq Veterans Against the War. As the war rages on, we will see more returning disgruntled vets and military families who have suffered the ultimate loss. With continued momentum, we can end the occupation of Iraq before the costs become greater.

__________________________

Tim Goodrich is an Air Force combat veteran who helped with the intensified bombing leading up to the occupation of Iraq. After being honorable discharged, he traveled to Iraq as a civilian to see the human cost of war. Upon returning, he co-founded Iraq Veterans Against the War and continues working to bring the troops home.

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