Mother of Fallen Soldier Protests at Bush Ranch

Associated Press
Sunday, August 7, 2005

CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 6 -- The angry mother of a fallen U.S. soldier staged a protest near President Bush's ranch Saturday, demanding an accounting from the president of how he has conducted the war in Iraq.

Supported by more than 50 shouting demonstrators, Cindy Sheehan, 48, told reporters, "I want to ask George Bush: Why did my son die?"

Sheehan arrived in Crawford aboard a bus painted red, white and blue and emblazoned with the words "Impeachment Tour."

Her son, Casey Sheehan, 24, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. He was an Army specialist, a Humvee mechanic. Sheehan, from Vacaville, Calif., had been attending a Veterans for Peace convention in Dallas. She vowed she would camp out as close as she could get to the president's ranch until Bush comes out and talks to her.

Local law enforcement officials were keeping Sheehan four to five miles from the ranch's entrance.

"If they won't cooperate, we won't," Capt. Kenneth Vanek of the McLennan County Sheriff's Department, said of the marchers. He said the group was stopped because some marchers ignored instructions to walk in the ditch beside the road, not on the road.

Sheehan said she decided to come to Crawford a few days ago after Bush said that fallen U.S. troops had died for a noble cause and that the mission must be completed.

"I don't want him to use my son's name or my family name to justify any more killing," she said. Bush administration officials "don't have a mission and they don't even ever plan on completing it." She said she fears that the United States plans to keep a military presence in Iraq indefinitely.

The White House responded by saying that the president wants to bring the troops home. "Many of the hundreds of families the president has met with know their loved one died for a noble cause and that the best way to honor their sacrifice is to complete the mission," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Saturday. "It is a message the president has heard time and again from those he has met with and comforted. Like all Americans, he wants the troops home as soon as soon as possible."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company