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An Open Letter to Barbara Bush

Dear Barbara,

On April 4, 2004, your oldest child killed my oldest child, Casey Austin Sheehan.

Unlike your oldest child, my son was a marvelous person who joined the military to serve his country and to try and make the world a better place. Casey didn’t want to go to Iraq, but he knew his duty. Your son went AWOL from a glamour unit. George couldn’t even handle the Alabama Air National Guard. Casey joined the Army before your son became commander in chief. We all know that your son was thinking of invading Iraq as early as 1999. Casey was a dead man before George even became president, and before he joined the Army in May 2000.

I raised Casey and my other children to use their words to solve problems and conflicts. I told my four children from the time that they were small that it is always wrong to kick, bite, hit, scratch, pull hair, etc. If the smaller children couldn’t find the words to solve their conflicts without violence, I always encouraged them to find a mediator like a parent, older sibling, or teacher to help them find the words.

Did you teach George to use his words and not violence to solve his problems? It doesn’t appear so. Did you teach him that killing other people for power and oil is always wrong? Obviously you did not. I also used to wash my children’s mouth out with soap on the rare occasion that they lied… did you do that to George? Can you do it now? He has lied and he is still lying. Saddam did not have WMDs or ties with al-Qaeda and the Downing Street Memoranda prove that your son knew this before he invaded Iraq.

On August 3rd, 2005, your son said that he killed my son and other brave and honorable Americans for a “noble cause.” Well, Barbara, mother to mother, that angered me. I don’t consider invading and occupying another country that was a proven non-threat to the USA is a noble cause. I don’t think invading a country, killing its innocent citizens, and ruining the infrastructure to make your family and other merchants of death even richer is a noble cause.

So I went down to Crawford in August to ask your son what noble cause he killed my son for. He wouldn’t speak with me. I think that showed bad manners. Do you think a president, even if it is your son, should be so inaccessible to his employers? Especially one of his bosses whose life George has devastated?

I have been to the White House several times since August to try and meet with George and I am going back to Crawford this week. Do you think you could call him and ask him to do the right thing and bring the troops home from this illegal and immoral war that he so carelessly started? I hear you are one of the few people he still talks to. He won’t speak to his father, who knew the difficulties and impossibilities of going into Iraq, and so didn’t go there in your family's first Gulf War. If you won’t tell him to bring the troops home, would you at least urge him to meet with me?

You said this in 2003, a little more than a year before my dear, sweet Casey was killed by your son’s actions:

“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” (Good Morning America, March 18, 2003)

Now I have something to tell you, Barbara. I didn’t want to hear about deaths or body bags either. On April 04, 2004, three Army officers came to my house to tell me that Casey had been killed in Iraq. I fell on the floor screaming, begging the cruel Angel of Death to take me too. But the Angel of Death that took my son is your son.

Casey came home in a flag-draped coffin on April 10th. I used to have a beautiful mind too. Now my mind is filled with images of his beautiful body in his casket and memories of burying my brave and honest boy before his life really began. Casey’s beautiful mind was ended by an insurgent’s bullet to his brain, but your son might as well have pulled the trigger.

Besides encouraging your son to have some honesty and courage and to finally do the right thing, don’t you think you owe me and every other Gold Star parent an apology for the cruel and careless remark you made?

Your son’s amazingly ignorant, arrogant, and reckless policies in Iraq are responsible for so much sorrow and trouble in this world.

Can you make him stop? Do it before more mothers’ lives are needlessly and cruelly ruined. There have been too many, American and Iraqi, worldwide already.

November 25, 2005

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