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Parents Of Fallen Marine Make Plea To Bush
CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cleveland family of Marine killed in Iraq says President Bush needs to create a plan that will bring the troops home.
The day after burying their son, parents of a fallen Marine stood on their front lawn and urged President Bush to either properly support the troops in Iraq or withdraw them.
"We feel you either have to fight this war right or get out," Rosemary Palmer, mother of Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder II, said Tuesday.
Schroeder was buried Monday.
Schroeder died two weeks ago in a roadside explosion, one of 16 Ohio-based Marines killed recently in Iraq, including five Tri-state soldiers.
Palmer says the war is not going well and that changes have to be made.
She says the troops either need more support or they need to be pulled out of Iraq.
At a news conference at their home on Tuesday, Palmer and her husband applauded Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier who has posted herself outside Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, for bringing the war to the public's attention.
"We consider her the Rosa Parks of the new movement opposing the Iraq war," Palmer said.
Paul Schroeder said his son and other Marines were being misused as a stabilizing force in Iraq.
"Our comments are not just those of grieving parents," Schroeder said. "They are based on anger, Mr. President, not grief. Anger is an honest emotion when someone's family has been violated."
Palmer accused the president of digging himself into a foxhole in a war gone bad and refusing to make changes.
"Whether he leads them out by putting more troops on the ground or pulling them out -- he can't just let it continue," she said.
White House spokesman Allen Abney declined comment other than to refer to Bush's remarks at a news conference Thursday in which Bush said, "Pulling troops out prematurely will betray the Iraqis. Our mission in Iraq, as I said earlier, is to fight the terrorists, is to train the Iraqis."
The Ohio couple have long opposed the war and tried to dissuade their son from joining the Marines, but have made their views public only since his death.
On Tuesday they urged Americans to voice their opposition to the war.
"We want to point out that 30 people have died since our son. Are people listening?" said Palmer, noting the military casualties since Schroeder was killed August 3.
More than 1,800 servicemen and women have been killed in the war.
Dozens of people, including several holding large American flags, lined the streets leading to the funeral for Schroeder, 23-years-old, known to friends and family as "Augie" based on his middle name of August.
"Yesterday, it was Augie's day and we didn't want to intrude upon his day with politics," Palmer said. "We have to move on and keep his spirit alive by helping to protect his buddies who are still out there."
The couple spoke firmly and emotionally but without tears to the cameras assembled at their modest two-story home.
The sounds of a neighbor boy riding a Big Wheel filled the silent pauses as they spoke.
One motorist stopped in front of the house -- a red and yellow Marine Corps flag mounted on it -- to stare.
A number of candlelight vigils are planned Wednesday night to support Sheehan.
Palmer said she didn't know if she would attend one.
Schroeder displayed photos of his son on posterboards -- being cradled the day he was born; a blond boy eating corn on the cob; the last photo the couple received of him -- smiling in uniform holding a Pepsi can and a rifle.
Their son went to Iraq filled with optimism about the mission but gradually became disillusioned with the war's progress, his parents said.
"He said the longer it went on the less and less worth it it seemed," Palmer said. "They're not doing the job right now. It's not the fault of the troops. It's the fault of the plan."