Families of dead soldiers demand truth from Bush
By Beth Quinn
The one reservation I had last week when I wrote about the Downing Street Memo was this: How will the loved ones of the soldiers who've died in Iraq feel when they read this?
How much more pain will it cause them to know we now have strong evidence that George Bush knew all along there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? That he made the "facts" fit his personal plan for war?
How does your mind accept what surely breaks your heart? And how much harder to know that your child, your spouse, your parent died in a war that a growing number of Americans are questioning?
Since that column ran, the loved ones of two soldiers, dead in Iraq, have told me.
Their words are far more meaningful than anything I could say, so I will turn this column over to them.
From Lauren Bowker of Middletown:
"As a loved one of Joseph Tremblay of New Windsor, who died April 27 in Iraq doing what he considered his duty for his country and fellow Marines, I have feelings of such loss and sadness – and also extreme anger.
"The article (on the Downing Street Memo) has helped me understand my anger towards the President and his underhanded, dishonest and dangerous policies in Iraq.
"I urge every American to demand that President Bush be made to answer these allegations regarding what has become known as the Downing Street Memo. I sent in the petition (demanding a hearing) and called all my family and friends, urging them to do the same.
"I am very proud of Joey and the ultimate price he paid for our country, but if President Bush had not lied and been so determined to invade Iraq, Joey would be here with his loved ones, planning his wedding and looking forward to what a young man with such promise could have contributed to the world.
"My question to President Bush is – how do you look yourself in the mirror every morning with a clear conscience knowing that 1,700 young Americans are dead based on a lie?"
From Karen Meredith of Mountain View, Calif.:
"My only child, Lt. Ken Ballard, was 26 years old when he was killed in Najaf, Iraq, on 5-30-04. My son saved the lives of 60 men that horrible night – they all got to go home to their families. He was one of three soldiers in his battalion killed after they were extended with the First Armored Division.
"After I read the notes from the meeting at Downing Street, I knew that his fate was decided and he was a dead man in July 2002, when that meeting took place.
"How sad that I didn't know then – just two months after he was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army, just two months after he took an oath to obey the orders of the President of the United States – that his fate was already determined by a corrupt administration. Members of the Bush Administration lied repeatedly to this country when they told us time and again that no decision to go to war had been made.
"And how devastating to know that if the administration had planned for more ground strength, my son might be alive today.
"I belong to a group called Gold Star Families for Peace. The most difficult thing we encounter when we speak out against the war is that most of us are not anti-military and would never malign the soldiers or their service to this country. My son was a fourth-generation Army officer.
"But our members provide witness to the lies that resulted in our children being killed. We are all trying to put some sanity in this world gone mad. "
Our soldiers in Iraq are dying on average of two per day.
How can the rest of us do nothing to protest this travesty when our silence means that, today, two more families will know such pain?
Beth Quinn's column appears on Monday. Talk to her at 346-3147 or at email@example.com.