Tue, Aug 09, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Mother of fallen soldier holding ranch vigil

DeterminedCindy Sheehan says she will follow President George W. Bush to Washington if necessary until he is willing to talk to a person whose life he's 'ruined'

AP , CRAWFORD, TEXAS

Cindy Sheehan of Gold Star Families for Peace, speaks on a mobile phone near her makeshift camp on the side of a road leading to the ranch of US President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, on Sunday. Her son Casey Sheehan was killed in Iraq.

PHOTO: AFP

The mother of a fallen US soldier who is holding a roadside peace vigil near President George W. Bush's ranch shares the same grief as relatives mourning the deaths of Ohio Marines, yet their views about the war differ.

"I'm angry. I want the troops home," Cindy Sheehan, 48, of California, who staged a protest that she vowed on Sunday to continue until she can personally ask Bush: "Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?"

Jim Boskovitch, father of slain Corporal Jeffery Boskovitch, 25, of Ohio, is supporting the US military action in Iraq.

"I firmly believe, and I would echo my son's feeling on this, it is very, very important for our country to remain steadfast and complete the mission that they set out to accomplish," Boskovitch told ABC on Sunday.

Boskovitch is among several families mourning Ohio Marines who suffered heavy losses in three attacks starting July 28, when two were killed in a gun battle.

Rosemary Palmer, the mother of Lance Corporal Edward Schroeder, 23, another Ohio Marine killed in Iraq, sided more with Sheehan. If the US continues its current course in Iraq, the death toll of US troops, now at more than 1,820, will only grow, she told ABC.

"We either have to have more people there to do the job and better equipment, or we have to leave -- one or the other," she said.

Sheehan was among grieving military families who met with Bush in June last year at Fort Lewis, near Seattle, Washington. That was just two months after her son, Casey, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4.

Since then, she said, various government and independent commission reports have disputed the Bush administration's claims that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had mass-killing chemical and biological weapons -- a main justification for the 2003 invasion.

"I was still in shock then," she said in a telephone interview.

"All of those reports prove my son died needlessly," Sheehan said. "This proved that every reason George Bush gave us for going to war was wrong."

Sheehan, who formed a group called Gold Star Families For Peace and has spoken out against the war, talked for about 45 minutes on Saturday with Steve Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, and Joe Hagin, deputy White House chief of staff, who went out to talk to her.

Sheehan said she planned to continue her protest along the road during Bush's stay through the end of the month.

"If he doesn't come out and talk to me in Crawford, I'll follow him to DC," she said. "I'll camp on his lawn in DC until he has the courtesy and the integrity and the compassion to talk to somebody whose life he has ruined."

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