By Larry C. Johnson

There are some things that George Bush should know about Casey Sheehan should he choose to sit down and talk with his mom. One thing he could discuss is the fact that a distant relative of his was wounded at Casey's side. That boy, Brian Emmett, also is my second cousin. But more about that later.

Perhaps the conversation ought to start about the other seven men who died on April 4, 2004 in Sadr City.
From the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas were:

Sgt. Yihjyh L. Chen, 31, of Saipan, Marianas Protectorate.

Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, 25, of San Antonio, Texas.

Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, 25, of Opelika, Ala.

Spc. Ahmed A. Cason, 24, of McCalla, Ala.

Spc. Israel Garza, 25, of Lubbock, Texas.

From the Army's 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Ray Barracks, Friedberg, Germany was Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell, 25, of Porterville, Calif.

And, from Casey's unit, the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas was Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, 22, of Albion, Ill.

Maybe George Bush could clarify why these men died. According to several press reports, they were attacked and killed by forces loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. And where is al-Sadr today? He's a player in the Shiite community in Iraq which is on the verge of installing Islam as the basis of government in Iraq. In effect, Casey and his comrades were killed by people whose leaders are on the verge of taking control in Iraq. It would be one thing if George Bush could tell Casey's mom and the moms of the other boys who died that their sons gave their lives to create a secular Iraq. But we now know that is not true. They gave their lives in a cause that is allowing some Islamic extremists loyal to Iran to play a major role in the "new" Iraq.

I don't know if Casey Sheehan's mom is specifically angry about that fact, but my cousin, Kathy Emmett-Meek, is furious. Her son, Brian, was in Alpha Company of the 2-5 Cavalry on April 4, 2004 when Charlie Company from the same Division were ambushed. Brian and his buddies were alerted and entered Sadr City to rescue their comrades. As they lept from their vehicle they were hit with a hurricane of bullets and RPGs. One bullet shattered Brian's left tibia. An RPG exploded nearby and peppered his right ankle with shrapnel. Brian fired several clips at the enemy and only stopped shooting when he passed out from loss of blood. My cousin and his buddies were and are warriors.

Brian survived. He received a purple heart from George Bush himself during his Easter 2004 visit with wounded troops at Fort Hood. But Brian has not fully recovered. Brian's mom ratted on him, telling me about Brian's current state. Then, only after I badgered him did Brian himself admit his difficulties to me. Brian is trying to handle things quietly and bravely, just as he did that day in Sadr City. Yet, he still faces more reconstructive surgery. What is really tragic is that he battles the demon of survivor's guilt. His mom tells me that, on bad days, he wonders why he was allowed to live and his buddies died. The good news is he still loves his country and is getting on with his life. What really sucks is that he is fighting the VA Bureaucracy to get his benefits. They still have not assigned him a disability status. He described his separation from the Army as a boot in the ass and good luck.

Brian and the other wounded vets deserve more than best wishes and good cheer. They have shed their blood in service to their country and deserve our full commitment.

The ultimate irony of this story is that Brian is a distant relative of George W. Bush (his mother tells me she learned of it while doing genealogical research). Well, at least there is some good news--George W. Bush can now claim he may have a relative who was wounded in combat in Iraq.

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"The ultimate irony of this story is that Brian is a distant relative of George W. Bush (his mother tells me she learned of it while doing genealogical research). Well, at least there is some good news--George W. Bush can now claim he may have a relative who was wounded in combat in Iraq."

I am a 12th cousin of George Bush so I guess he can claim he has a relative, my son, who is getting ready for his third tour of duty while HIS daughters sit at home and gobble up the proceeds from Daddy's Noble Cause. Tell Kathy Emmett-Meeks our genealogical connection doesn't help us out any. Her son shouldn't have to be waiting for disability status or anything at all and it is shameful how this administration says it supports the troops and yet our wounded often struggle financially as well as physically and emotionally. It is even more appalling when a President tells the American people we are going to "stay the course" when he wouldn't even set foot in Vietnam. How hypocritical is that? It is an embarrassment to tell people he is a distant relative.

until we can look at the soldiers in their coffins as MY son, MY daughter .......or until we can look on the faces of the dead and wounded Iraqi children and claim them as OURS, we will NEVER be able to personalize this war and hold GWB and Co. accountable ....we can never bring these people home amd stop the killing ....AND get this administration out of office.......

My brother got the boot and the kick in the ass 30 years ago...he got discharged without the disability but would always have his VA benefits...after 20 years and a class action suit, he receives 30% disability...or $800 per month. It takes the VA time to make their determinations about disability. Don't know how they figured 30%...he hasn't been able to hold a job and has been supported by his family. His whole life is about taking care of himself...he can't work too. Don't complain to will be dismissed with it is your patriotic those with no skin in the game.... the warmongers know that at any given time it is too hard for the injured to form a body large enough to protest. As my brother always says...most soldiers have no politics at 18-25 years old....they are just proud to serve their country... and the enemy has no politics just a pride in their country,,, What are we fighting for...useless politicians who cannot find a way to prevent hurting their own citizens.

Message from Davis Mirza
This latest petro-war has all the markings of capitalist privitization...American forces at the beckon call of the Saudi's (who contract-out everything...from the chauffuers that drive Saudi women-banned-from-the-roadways to the 15 Saudi foot soldiers who slammed planes into New York & Washington) with a little help from corporate lackey's like the Carlyle Group who have big stakes in Saudi Arabia (of which Can. ambassador to the US Frank McKenna is a member) Asked to resign his position as a Carlyle Group board member in the wake of Saudi involvement in 9-11, McKenna just scoffed and got that much more cozier to the BUSH/BIN LADEN petro-cabal.

Not surprising that it's still business as usual...America still buys more gas guzzling SUV's (now 55% of all car sales in the US) and American sons and daughters are 'contracted out' to maintain the Saudi's as the world's only superpower.America is so dependent on foreign oil that the Alberta tar sands in Canada are now deemed a vital US interest as part of its latest energy strategy.(So much for a Can. independent foreign/economic policy & impementation of its Kyoto standards... nevermind the hypocrisy of US protectionism concerning the US/CAN. free trade agreement...can you say globalization is dead?)

Yet Bush relax's in his Crawford,Texas ranch with solar heating & cooling and the latest in energy efficiency. What gives George?...the rest of the world is dying (literally) for alternative forms of it solar/wind/hydrogen/bio-gas/ethanol...maybe the guilt of supporting such petro-tyranny while you utilize one of the most energy efficient forms of transportation (Bicycling) prevents you from talking to a dead soldier's mother and answering ?'s about how to end our toxic addiction to petroleum and save teenage-soldiers and civilians alike from the bombs and guns purchased from petro-profits.

I myself am into conservation (less is more), bicycling to work and organic gardens. As a Canadian, I am doing my part to keep US sons & daughters from being pimped out to the petro-czars to be mere target practice while guarding Haliburton oil tankers and pipelines. Let's stop all petro-wars from Alaska to Afghanistan, from Columbia to Karachi, from Iraq to Indonesia...

Immediately increase the emission standards on all SUV's/create a North American subsidy fund for reparations to victims of this illegal occupation as well as establish a clean & sustainable energy fund by taxing the trillions of dollars corporate welfare cheats make on daily currency speculation ...imagine all the trees we could plant and the organic gardens that could feed us without petroleum and pesticides/and finally, demobilize the armies of mass destruction and redeploy them as environmental peacekeepers ...enforcing Kyoto standards and cleaning up the toxic legacy that is in our lakes , streams and forests.

We must change the structures of inequity if we are to bring the troops home for good...this may not be in the best interests of the Carlyle Group or the ruling families of the Middle East but our sons and daughters should not be used as sarcificial lambs led to another Vietnam-esque slaughter so that our leader's lies continue to justify bloody greed.

In solidarity with all war resistors,
toronto, Canada.

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