CNN THE SITUATION ROOM 3:00 PM EST
Friday, August 12, 2005
CINDY SHEEHAN, SON DIED IN IRAQ: I want to ask the president, why did he kill my son? What did my son die for?
BLITZER: War mothers on both sides of the issue speaking out.
And a CNN exclusive. We'll go live inside North Korea where our Mike Chinoy is the only western correspondent in a tightly closed country. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back. We've been hearing a lot about Cindy Sheehan, she's protesting the president and his war policy. She lost a son in Iraq. We're going to be speaking with her shortly. But first, let's go to Chicago. Georgette Frank is joining us live. Georgette Frank lost a son in Iraq, as well. Georgette, thanks very much for joining us. Tell us a little bit about your son, Phil, first of all.
GEORGETTE FRANK, SON DIED IN IRAQ: It's nice to be here with you, Wolf. Thank you for having me. Lance Corporal Phillip Frank, our loving son, was always a protector. He always championed the underdog, stepped in to help when someone was being picked on. Didn't like bullies and wanted to be a soldier from when he was a very little boy.
BLITZER: He eventually wound up in Iraq and tragically, unfortunately, he was killed. Do you -- you support the president in contrast to Cindy Sheehan and other mothers who have lost sons. Tell our viewers why.
FRANK: To do less would diminish my son's sacrifice. He was a staunch supporter of President Bush, as we all were -- are. We believe that we need to be where we are. We are losing men, but they are there because they're doing their job. Freedom isn't free, Wolf. It costs. We wouldn't have the country that we had today if people did not sacrifice their lives so many years ago.
BLITZER: But you understand the pain and suffering that other mothers like Cindy Sheehan, who oppose this war, are going through right now?
FRANK: Absolutely. There is a grief and a pain that you carry with you every day. It's not out of my life. I just choose not to let it dominate my life. My husband and my family, my daughter, we've found another way to deal with it. And we choose to go on positively.
We support our president. We're supporting our son's brothers and sisters in the military through the Heart of a Marine Foundation, which we're in the process of setting up. And it will be there to help them, whether they're recruits or veterans or deployed. If they need a family, we will be there. We believe in what they're doing and we honor what they're doing.
BLITZER: Do you believe your son died for a noble cause?
FRANK: Absolutely. And he went over there for that cause. He told his father and I, the last time that we saw him, that he wanted to be part of bringing freedom to that part of the country -- part of the world. He wanted to be part of freeing the people out from under the likes of Saddam Hussein.
He said, "Where can a guy like me be part of something that great?" He believed in it. And Wolf, the day the Iraqis voted, my husband and I held each other and we said, "Well done, Phil. Well done." That's what he went over there for.
BLITZER: Georgette Frank, our heart goes out to you. Thanks so much for joining us here on CNN. We appreciate it very much.
FRANK: Thank you very much, Wolf. And I just would like to add that it's through places like Marineparents.com where we find so much support for one another. And through doing positive things like the foundation, the Heart of a Marine Foundation. That's where you move forward and you move out of your pain and into a life that gives back. Thank you very much.
BLITZER: Thank you very much. Georgette Frank joining us in Chicago. Let's get a different perspective now, another mother who has lost a son in Iraq, and that's Cindy Sheehan. She's been protesting the president's policies outside his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Cindy Sheehan, we spoke last Sunday on "LATE EDITION," we're speaking again now. Our heart goes out to you, as well.
The president declined your request to meet with him now, for a second time. What goes through your mind as his motorcade, we saw it earlier, passed by where you and others are protesting on that road outside his ranch?
SHEEHAN: Well, first of all, I'd like to extend my condolences to Georgette and her family on the loss of their child, but our kids came home the same way in flag-draped coffins. And obviously, we have two differing opinions.
I think the positive thing I'm doing to get over the pain of my son -- which I'll never get over the pain. It's a lesson that is to save other lives and to bring them home. You know, when George Bush asked for the War Powers Act, he didn't say about bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq. He said weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.
And both of those things have been proven to be false. Freedom and democracy is a little bit harder to prove, and it could take decades to prove that. So, you know, I just want to get out of the way. My positive thing is, I don't want any more children to die. I'm a broken-hearted mom, Georgette is a broken-hearted mom. Why would I want one more mother to go through what I'm going through just because Casey is dead?
And when George Bush came by today twice, once past us and once going back, what he saw was a couple of hundred people out here that have opposing viewpoints to him. And he rarely sees that, because he is so insulated from real America. We usually have to stand out in freedom of speech zones, which are about a mile away from the president, and he never lets people who disagree with him into the same room as he does. So when he drove by, he saw, here we are. And we do not agree with your policies. And we're standing here with the Gold Star Moms, because we want them to change.
BLITZER: I want you to listen, Cindy, to what the president said, referring directly to you yesterday in Crawford. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I thought long and hard about her position. I've heard her position from others, which is get out of Iraq now. And it would be a mistake for the security of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You want to respond directly to that point?
SHEEHAN: Well, he -- that's not what I'm asking him. I'm asking him to tell me what is a noble cause my son died for, and to stop using my son's sacrifice to continue the killing. I didn't say, pull the troops out of Iraq. Even though, you know, that would be my goal. He didn't even address the questions that I asked him.
BLITZER: Are you going to be coming to Washington, assuming he doesn't meet with you while he's on vacation in Crawford, Texas, will you be following him to the White House?
SHEEHAN: We are going to take this vigil and put it on as close as we can get to the White House. And it's going to be a 24-hour perpetual vigil for peace until our troops are brought home. I won't be there 24 hours of course, but we're going to rotate.
BLITZER: A lot of our viewers are e-mailing us with this question -- and I'd like to give you a chance to respond, Cindy. More than a year ago, the president did meet with you, and at that time you emerged from that meeting and you were quoted by your hometown newspaper as saying this -- you said: "I know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis. I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith." Do you still believe all that?
SHEEHAN: I -- I think he might -- he might believe about freedom and democracy, but I know -- I know he knew he lied to the American public when he was talking about weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, because the Downing Street memo proved that. He's probably a man of faith. And I still agree with that, but you know, June of 2004 and August of 2005 are two different times. I have studied. I've informed myself. And I have seen the reports come out that prove that his positions are wrong. And the more that -- the more the proof comes out that he lied, or the policies were not true to get us into this invasion, occupation of Iraq, the more I become more focused to bring the rest of our kids home, because my son should still be alive. You know, tens of thousands of other innocent people should be alive. And our -- he's using our troops, who are brave and honorable and good, in a dishonorable cause, and that's the occupation of a country that was no threat to the United States of America.
BLITZER: All right. Cindy Sheehan, our heart goes out to you. Our heart, as I said earlier, goes out to Georgette Frank as well, and all the parents of all the troops who have died in Iraq.
SHEEHAN: Thank you.