'You lied, they died,' US parents tell Bush
Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles
Saturday September 27, 2003
The father of a soldier killed in Iraq accused President George Bush yesterday of being responsible for his son's death.
Fernando Suarez, whose 20-year-old son, Jesus, was one of the first fatalities, said: "My son died because Bush lied."
Mr Suarez, from Escondido, California, speaking at a press conference to publicise tomorrow's anti-war demonstrations in eight US cities, said that about 1,300 parents of troops stationed in Iraq were involved in a movement against the oc cupation. "It is time for these troops to come home," said Mr Suarez. "Neither my wife nor my family want more children to die in this illegal war. We are no less patriotic for wanting peace. Bush wants $87bn [£52m] for this war, but what does he give us for our schools?" he asked.
In another sign of the growing protest movement, the father of two soldiers serving in Iraq used a full page advertisement in yesterday's New York Times to demand the sacking of the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.
The ad accused President Bush and his administration of misleading the public about weapons of mass destruction.
"Donald Rumsfeld Betrayed My Sons and Our Nation. It's Time For Him to Go," said the headline of the ad, which was signed by Larry Syverson from Richmond, Virginia.
The ad was paid for by MoveOn.org, an internet-based organisation in San Francisco, and the Win Without War coalition. It is not known how much they paid for the ad, but the market rate is $139,000 (£83,700).
Mr Syverson wrote that one son, Branden, is a master gun ner near Tikrit and another son, Bryce, is a gunner based in Baghdad.
"I'm in awe at the courage of my sons and the honourable service that they give," he wrote. "But the leaders they serve have not acted honourably. They have failed my sons. They have failed all of us. At the very least, secretary Donald Rumsfeld must go."
The ad coincides with a fall in President Bush's approval ratings, which have slipped below 50% for the first time since September 11 2001.
Clark takes lead, page 18