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A Soldier's Mother Waits in Crawford - 5 Letters to the Editors of the New York Times


From today's New York Times

August 17, 2005
A Soldier's Mother Waits in Crawford (5 Letters)

To the Editor:

I found President Bush's comments last Saturday callous when he defended his decision not to meet with Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother of a soldier killed in Iraq.

"I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say," he said.

But then this president, under whose orders more than 1,840 of our troops will never be able to go on with their lives, had the temerity to add, "But I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life."

In "Lives Blown Apart" (column, Aug. 15), Bob Herbert recounts the heroic story of a soldier, Cpl. Bobby Rosendahl, who has been wounded and maimed in Iraq - one of more than 10,000 similar casualties.

His brave mother says that she will stay with her son until he "is ready to go on with his life."

There are various ways a person "can go on with his life." The way the true heroes of this unfortunate war, and their loved ones, are - or are not - going on with their lives should be honored with compassion.

Dorian de Wind
Austin, Tex., Aug. 15, 2005

To the Editor:

Re "Mother's Grief-Fueled Vigil Becomes Nexus for Antiwar Protesters" (news article, Aug. 13):

I have long believed that that no real progress will be made in shaking President Bush's illusionary rationalizations for his war in Iraq until the families of military personnel speak out publicly against this tragic enterprise.

I hope that Cindy Sheehan will become the Rosa Parks of the Iraq antiwar movement.

William Stableford
Madison, Conn., Aug. 14, 2005

To the Editor:

President Bush says he has "thought long and hard" about the position of Cindy Sheehan, noting, "I've heard her position from others." Why doesn't he walk outside his ranch and hear it directly from her?

Leonard Boasberg
Wayne, Pa., Aug. 12, 2005

To the Editor:

Cindy Sheehan and other parents of soldiers slain in Iraq are camped outside President Bush's ranch to ask Mr. Bush a question we all deserve to have answered: What exactly is the "noble cause" their children died for in Iraq?

Refusing to meet with the grieving parents camped outside his ranch betrays a lack of conviction. If Mr. Bush's war in Iraq is truly "noble," why is he afraid to defend it to a mother who gave her son to the cause?

Leonard Sklar
Albany, Calif., Aug. 13, 2005

To the Editor:

The loss of a son or daughter in combat is a hard and forever sorrow. Yet it is the mother of such a serviceman who is, however unintentionally, adding to that suffering by implying that those who have died in the Iraq war died as victims.

In Vietnam, where I served as a Red Cross hospital worker in the early 1970's, I saw teenage soldiers suffer and die. It was not the war itself, but their love for their country and one another that made their deaths sacred.

Surely, the families of those who died in all the nation's wars deserve our respect and gratitude, not our pity.

Joan M. Maiman
Chicago, Aug. 15, 2005

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The soldier described in Bob Herbert's column wanted so much to just be able to play a round of golf. That for him was going on with his life. It was a goal to achieve. I think he will but in the process he will have to climb mountains. Going on with one's life is vastly different for him than President Bush. Going on with life for Cindy Sheehan means doing it without one of her children. There is no goal she can set to bring him back. There is no mountain she can climb to see him again. That chapter is over. An unnecessary war claimed his life. All she wants to know is why. I think she has something to say. It's just one simple question. Why?

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