On September 17, 2004, a mother of a soldier who died in Iraq appeared at a republican campaign rally at the Colonial Fire Department in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, where First Lady Laura Bush was speaking. When the woman spoke out to Laura Bush by saying "When are YOU going to serve?" "When are YOU going to fight?" she was drowned out by the entire Bush mob of 700 Republicans, who began chanting, "Four more years! Four more years!". So much for a mother's right to free speech. So much for Republicans being for the First Amendment, or our Constitution.
The mother, Ms. Sue Niederer, of Hopewell, N.J., was wearing a T-shirt with the words "President Bush, You Killed My Son!" on the front of the shirt, and on the back of the T-shirt was a picture of her dead son. Her son was Army 1st Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, who was killed in Iraq in February while trying to disarm a bomb. Republicans in the audience tried to cover-up Ms. Niederer's T-shirt with Bush campaign signs. While Laura Bush was talking about the war and the troops, Ms. Niederer yelled out to Laura Bush to get her attention. When Ms. Niederer continued yelling out to Laura Bush asking why her son was killed, the entire mob of seven hundred Republicans kept increasing the volume of their chant of "Four more years! Four more years!" So much for the Republican "compassionate conservatism" for this woman filled with grief over the loss of her son.
Laura Bush never acknowledged the plea from the despondent and grief-stricken mother. She just continued reading her speech. So much for Laura Bush expressing any compassion toward another human being who was feeling so much emotional pain. Being a Bush means never having to be accountable for your actions. Being a Bush means never having to say you're sorry. And being a Bush means never having to have any feelings for any other human being.
When Laura Bush mentioned the troops who were over in Iraq in her speech, Ms. Niederer shouted out "When are your children going to serve?" referring to Bush's 22-year-old twin daughters, who aren't even in the armed services. Laura Bush said nothing and continued with her speech. Why would Laura Bush answer a question like that? After all, dying in battle is for the poor and the middle classes, certainly not for anyone in the Bush clan of cowards.
As Ms. Niederer again tried to make her voice heard she was silenced by republican thugs who grabbed her and handed her over to the Secret Service and local police. The police handcuffed her and led her out of the event. Once outside, Ms. Niederer told the police that she had a ticket and asked, "Why am I being arrested?" She was told by the police that she had entered a private event and refused to leave, according to the Trenton Times. Ms. Niederer told the police she had a ticket to the event so she wasn't trespassing. That didn't matter to the GOP Gestapo working for the republican party. Their job was to silence her.
After handcuffing Ms. Niederer and reading her the Miranda rights, police locked Ms. Niederer in the back of a police van like a common criminal. She was charged with defiant trespass and later released. For speaking out for her dead son, who died in Bush's Iraq War, Ms. Niederer could have received a fine and as much as sixty days in jail. Can anyone say "Police State"? What if all of the protesters in the Boston Tea Party were arrested? The republicans are like the British who ruled the colonies and used force and other coercive tactics to stop the people from demonstrating or speaking out. Our founding fathers believed that "Free Speech" and "Right to Protest" were so important they put them in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Republicans believe that only the wealthy should have a right to free speech.
This republican event is an example of how much republicans have complete control over every one of their staged and scripted events. Only people who are right-wing republicans are allowed to enter one of their events. And only right-wing republicans are allowed to ask softball questions. And all questions are prescreened so GW Bush can rehearse the answers given to him by his circus-like trainers. Republicans don't want their events televised showing someone asking GW Bush a real question, or a question he hadn't had time to rehearse over and over again. That is why the republican mob of 700 silenced a lone grief-stricken woman. She was asking questions that Laura or George Bush don't feel they have to answer. It is a supreme act of cowardice when republicans feel they have to silence a grieving mother who lost her only son in Bush's Iraq War.
In a later makeshift interview following her arrest, Sue Niederer said "I was denied my freedom of speech.". Republican thugs always instruct their right-wing audiences to mindlessly chant the phrase "Four more years!" "Four more years!" over and over again if anyone tries to speak out against any of their speakers. Republicans started using this infantile, yet effective tactic during their convention a month earlier where they used the chant "Four more years" over and over again to drown out three people who managed to sneak into their four day political advertisement, otherwise known as a 'convention'.
A week before she was arrested, in an interview with CBS NNS Correspondent David Martin, Ms. Niederer said she viewed her son's death in Iraq as a "total waste" and "my son died for absolutely nothing." She called the war in Iraq a "personal vendetta" of President George W. Bush. Ms Niederer said just before her son's death what he felt about Iraq. First Lt. Seth Dvorin said "When I leave here I never want to come back! He said he thought it (the Iraq War) was useless. We weren't going to win a war on terrorism or war on religion. It was just a guerilla war." You never hear statements like this from our troops because there is a mandatory oath of silence placed on troops who served in Iraq and are still in Iraq fighting. A recent poll revealed that more than eighty percent of our troops in Iraq are against President Bush. The same amount believe that Bush is not doing his job. Military records even cite that more than 25 percent of all soldiers returning home are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The line "The first casualty of war is the truth" is unfortunately very accurate. It allows predatory politicians, like GW Bush, to use war to their advantage because no dissenting views are allowed. Even President Bush told the nation, "If you are not with us, you are against us." These are the words of a dictator in a totalitarian regime. They certainly should not be uttered by a president of the United States. Thomas Jefferson said "Dissent is healthy for a representative democracy." President Bush does not believe there should be any dissent. And republicans who support president Bush also are opposed to anyone who disagrees with Bush. Military law dictates to who are active in the military are not allowed to criticize the president. Since Ms. Niederer's son is dead, the military can't hurt him anymore for words he shared with his mother.
In an interview with Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg in CounterPunch, Ms. Niederer said "All returning caskets from Iraq should absolutely be shown. This is the cost of war. This is reality. You hear a number. Numbers don't mean anything but when you see a coffin you know there's a family behind this coffin. That's impact." When Ms. Niederer was asked what her response was to the recent evidence that this war was waged on the basis of "misinformation" she said "I wanted to rip the president's head off. Curse him, yell at him, call him a self-righteous bastard and a lot of other words. I think if I had him in front of me I would shoot him in the groined area. Let him suffer. And just continue shooting him there. Put him through misery, like he's doing to everyone else. He doesn't deserve any better."
When asked, Are you worried that Bush could win in November? Ms. Niederer replied, "Extremely concerned. If this country allows him (GW Bush), we are the fools. We deserve everything we get or do not get from him. We are allowing him to get away with anything he wants to do. He flat out lied to us, killing our troops. He doesn't face the fallen family. If this is what we reelect, we deserve everything we get." If you could speak to Bush or members of Congress who support this war, what would you tell them? Ms. Niederer replied, "Trade places with the troops over there now. You go over there. You send your children, husbands, wives. Let them come back in a coffin. Let me know what you think. You aren't worth being called president. You're not even worth being called Mr.. Face me, talk to me the victim of your war. But you don't have the guts to do that."
Isn't there one republican who believes that losing your son or daughter during war earns you a right to speak out in protest? GW Bush is obviously ashamed of our troops who are brought back to the United States in coffins. President Bush ordered all dead troops to be brought back home in the dead of night to prevent the media from recording the event and to prevent military honor guards to properly acknowledge the deceased soldiers. Bush's order is also depriving the families of our fallen soldiers from being able to pay their respects to their loved ones immediately upon their return. Bush is terrified of the signal that 1045 flag-draped coffins would send to the American people if they were allowed to be brought back during the day. Bush is only concerned about his own political future. He couldn't care less about our dead soldiers or their grieving families. Bush and the GOP undoubtedly used focus groups to tell them that allowing the televising of the return of flag-draped coffins would hurt their chances for reelection this November. It is a supreme act of cowardice when republicans have so much fear from even one grieving mother who lost her only son in Bush's Iraq War. They sure do not want to face 1045 mothers of dead troops returning from Bush's Iraq War. So they continue to hide the returning dead.
Bush and the GOP are so terrified of the truth, and the American people, that they only agreed to three debates with Senator John Kerry if direct questions from Senator Kerry would NOT be allowed. All questions would come from moderators. And I am sure that those questions will be given to Bush and his handlers before the debates. What is Bush afraid of? What is the GOP afraid of? Why are they so terrified of John Kerry's direct questions to Bush? It must be because they want to protect GW Bush from himself. Bush has a long record of making gaffes and mutilating the English language. Bush and the GOP are too cowardly to be a part of an open debate, with no restrictions or limits. The GOP has agreed to having one debate in the form of a Town Hall style. But there are four pages of limitations mandated by the GOP for that debate format. Four pages!!! One example of the restrictions on the debate is this debate agreement: "If any audience member poses a question or makes a statement that is in any material way different than the question that the audience member earlier submitted to the moderator for review, the moderator will cut off the questioner and advise the audience that such non-reviewed questions are not permitted". Talk about being cowardly. Talk about not wanting to be responsive to the American people. Talk about not wanting to be accountable to the American people. Why should you fall for Bush's attempt to avoid the citizens of our country? Speak out. Demand that Bush agree to open and unrestricted debates. If Bush rejects your demands then he will have proven himself to be a coward.
In another related incident which occurred on Thursday, August 26, 2004, Mr. Carlos Arredondo, 44, who lives in Hollywood, Florida, felt so much grief after learning his only son was killed in Iraq that he torched a military van that was parked outside of his house. Mr. Arredondo had just been informed by three Marines that his 20 year old son, Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, was killed in Iraq. Mr. Arredondo suffered second degree burns over fifty percent of his body. Mr. Arredondo's wife, Melida, said her husband "went crazy" when he learned that Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, who was serving with the Marines in Iraq, had been killed fighting in Najaf. This father of the killed marine could face charges for arson, destruction of military property, and for public endangerment.
In both cases above, a parent acted out in grief after learning of their child's death in Bush's Iraq Corporate War. But their pleas fell on deaf ears from the entire republican party. Republicans are all pro-war and they couldn't care less about our soldiers who are being mutilated or killed. When you question a republican about the death of a soldier they always reply with "They knew when they signed up that they could be killed. They knew. They knew." No, they did NOT know. They signed up believing they would fight for our country. They signed up believing they would protect our country from all enemies, but Iraq never posed any threat to the United States. They signed up believing that they would fight to defend our freedoms, but Iraq never posed any threat to any of our freedoms. Our soldiers never believed that they would be sent to war to die for corrupt republican corporations, who all received multibillion dollar no-bid contracts from the Bush Regime. Lastly, they never believed that they would be sold out by their commander-in-chief to become mere cannon fodder for America's richest people. Even though Halliburton has been caught three times defrauding the American taxpayer out of millions of dollars they are suffering no penalties. President Bush, and Halliburton's ex-CEO, Dick Cheney, certainly would never speak out against Halliburton for stealing money from the taxpayers. After all, Dick Cheney is still receiving millions of dollars in retirement money from Halliburton. Cheney only worked for Halliburton for five years. And in that five years he was paid a whopping 55 million dollars. And now he is receiving millions a year in retirement. How many of you could work at a company and get an obscene amount of money in retirement? How would you like to be a CEO of a company when you had zero experience or ability to be their CEO? The only experience that Dick Cheney had with oil was having his driver pull his limousine into a full-service pump and having the attendant fill up the car with gas. And Dick Cheney had zero experience as a CEO. But, Dick Cheney had something more than experience in the oil industry. He had government contacts and boy did Dick ever cash in on them. He used his government contacts to funnel billions of dollars in contracts to the Halliburton corporation.
When will people wake up and begin to denounce the cowardly republican party, and the corrupt Bush Regime? They are bankrupting our country, they are killing thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghans, they have killed 1045 of our troops (so far), they have mutilated more than 10,000 of our troops (so far), and they are causing our country to be the most hated country on earth.
When will YOU speak out? When will YOU start to fulfill your responsibilities as a citizen of the United States and stand up to the corrupt forces which are eating away at the fabric which makes our country great? When will you start fulfilling your duties as an American?
Larry S. Rolirad lives in Texas and has been working with third parties there to help "break down the very restrictive ballot access laws that the Democrats and Republicans have passed to squash the opposition." He has written many articles, and has produced, written and edited numerous videos and films. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Articles by Larry S. Rolirad