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A Military Family Responds to President Bush's Speech
Military Families Speak out
Joyce and Kevin Lucey are members of Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families for Peace. Their son, Cpl. Jeffrey Lucey, served in the Marine Reserves in Iraq in 2003. He came home neither safe nor sound. He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and took his own life on June 22, 2004. His name is not in the Department of Defenses' roster of those who died in this war; yet Cpl. Lucey is a casualty of this war as much as any who has lost his or her life on the battlefield. This is their thoughts after watching President speak at Fort Bragg on June 28, 2005.
We have just watched the President's speech and we made notes as he spoke. This is a summary of our reflections some being very personal but very real.
When all this began, despite our doubts and suspicions ,we originally supported the efforts being made to make the world safer and the troops involved .. especially our son.
While the war waged on, we waited for anything from our son to assure us that he and his buddies were safe. We also waited for the for the Weapons of Mass Destruction to be found - after Jeff's death I prayed for them to be found; we waited for the network of terrorism to be found and destroyed and we waited for that link of Iraq to 9/11/01; we waited to find the imminent danger which we were facing.
Were these not the basic premises on which we rushed to war. Were these not the points that this administration went to the country and to the UN and stated that they had proof. Did they not say that they had to react immediately due to the imminent danger to our safety.
I know that this administration has changed the premises for the war like a chameleon - to meet whatever were the fears or concerns existing at that time.
The administration states that they are making the world safer for our children - but my 23 yo son is laying in Island Pond Cemetery despite his returning from the war physically unscathed but destroyed within his spirit. He no longer lives and it was due to this rush to war.
In the speech tonight, we heard nothing of the WMD; we heard nothing of Iraq's link to 911; we heard nothing of Iraq being the center of terrorism except for the illusion to Bin Laden's referral after our country invaded and had killed thousands of innocents.
We heard instead of elections and setting up "free" government in Iraq. Were any of these among the basic premises for the invasion?
Was it not also said that Iraq oil would pay for the reconstruction of the country which we bombed and attacked.
To complete the mission, we need to know what the mission was. None of the original premises for the war was ever realized. Why did our son die? Why did any of our loved ones die?
This administration seems so distant from the reality of both war and the loss. It is so easy for him to say the sacrifice is worth it when he has personally not suffered what 1700+ families have had to endure. What funerals has he attended among all these 1700+? Does he meet only with those families who support his policies?
Will no one ever address the deceptions or ignorance or combination of both which was used to wage this war and kill thousands of innocents and dramatically effect thousands or millions of survivors who probably are suffering from PTSD...and who only have learnt how "dangerous" we have become.
We did all this at the expense of 1700+ lives of our own sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and neighbors...and this is the smallest most conservative number of the numbers which may be true. Will our son be counted - NO.
The administration states that it will send more troops if requested but in reality how many more troops do we have to send.
They speak of the number of Iraqis who died under Saddam but how many innocents have died under our bombs and attacks.
People speak of constitutions. Our constitution - where in it does it enable us to be the caretakers of all other nations. What gives us the right to Impose our values and expectations on others.
We attacked Iraq to remove Saddam - that was one of the subsequent changes in the basic premises but we would ask you - why Saddam? Why Iraq? Why didn't the focus go directly to Al Queda in Afganistan - they were the ones who did 9/11. Isn't North Korea much more dangerous yet I don't see us responding to a very real danger.
The days of soundbytes and glorious words are over. This country must return to its basic once again.
We do support our troops - we want them to come back safely now from Iraq which was such a horrendous mistake. If they are to go in harms way then let us always be sure that war if waged is truly our last resort and is truly deserved.
It is too late for the Jeffrey or the Casey but it is not too late for those who still breathe.
We believe it is abhorrent that he uses the thousands of souls who lost their lives 9/11; we feel that it is horrible that he uses the souls of those that were killed in this war to justify more to die in the future and on a more personal - Jeff stated that this war should have never occurred in Iraq - maybe in Afghanistan but not in Iraq.
Then when this administration submitted their budget proposal for a 5% increase in the VA budget with the recommendation of cuts in services and increase of co-pays, we then realized that this administration truly did not support the troops ... only the war.
This administration created a situation of which they have lost control and now for the wrong reasons he wants to invest more of our people.
For us this "issue" is not a matter of spin or politics. When a family has lost a love one, you pray to find some reason but, given this situation, there was no reason. Both Jeff and his family loved the country and its people but speaking only for myself I have lost faith in my government.
I listened to Senator McCain speaking about if he had a child going to war and I can only say despite my respect for him, I have now lost faith in him also.
I would ask many of the commentators who gave their opinion on tonight's show, whether they themselves have loved ones over on the frontlines.
Joyce & Kevin Lucey