Monday, June 28, 2004

This Summer I Hear The Drumming...

From the AP:

SACRAMENTO -- The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq summoned news outlets to photograph her son's flag-draped casket arriving at Sacramento International Airport to protest a Pentagon policy banning media coverage of America's war dead.


"I don't care what President Bush wants," his mother, Nadia McCaffrey, told the Los Angeles Times. Patrick "did not die for nothing ... The way he lived needs to be talked about. Patrick was not a fighter, he was a peacemaker."

Patrick McCaffrey was killed June 22 along with Lt. Andre Tyson, both members of the 579th Engineer Battalion, when the two were ambushed by insurgents near Balad, Iraq.

The debate over whether Americans should see the coffins of McCaffrey and other troops flared last April after The Seattle Times published a front-page photograph of caskets in a cargo plane in Kuwait and a First Amendment activist posted on his Web site dozens of like images from Dover, Del., home to the nation's largest military mortuary.

Sunday night's brief ceremony, however, did not violate the policy because it applies only to military facilities. The airport and the California National Guard worked Sunday to arrange the event.


McCaffrey was a manager with a collision repair company in the Silicon Valley when he enlisted in the National Guard in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But he had grown disillusioned with his mission in Iraq, his family said.

For her part, Nadia McCaffrey said she planned to continue speaking out against the war.

"This is enough," she said. "We have to react."