Patsy Brumfield 3/5/09
Mike Tonos 3/6/09
HED: Gold Star moms question Obama’s Iraq plan
READ-IN: They say their sons’ sacrifices would be in vain, if the country reverts to dictatorship or anarchy.
By Errol Castens
Daily Journal Oxford Bureau
Several Northeast Mississippi women with unique perspectives on war question the wisdom of President Barack Obama’s plan to draw down troops in Iraq.
Called “Gold Star Mothers” because they lost children to service-related death, they expressed concerns that it’s too speedy a change to keep only 35,000 to 50,000 Americans in the country after August 2010, as Obama announced Feb. 27.
“I’m not completely sure that Iraq is ready,” said Donna Bagwell of Pontotoc, whose son, Marine Lance Cpl. Lucas Tucker, died in a non-hostile wreck in Iraq in 2005. “I know there will still be troops there, but I’m not completely sure Iraq is ready to police their own country. If they are, I’m all for bringing our boys home.”
Pam Cousar of New Albany wants to leave more troops there.
Her son, Marine Cpl. Brandon Presley, died in Germany in 2005 from wounds he suffered in a car bombing in Iraq.
“I’m concerned the terrorists will come back there after we leave,” she said. “All of our sons’ sacrifices, I want all of them to know it was worth something. I don’t want them to pull out of it before they’re finished.”
New Site resident Becky Lambert’s son, Marine Sgt. Jonathan Lambert, also died in Germany from injuries in a non-combat wreck on his way from Iraq to Kuwait for his trip home in 2003.
“If everything that has been accomplished that was intended to be completed when we started the Iraqi War in 2003, then yes, I would agree with all our troops’ being brought home safely,” she said. “My son believed completely in what he was doing for our country, and I believe 100 percent in him.”
A couple of the Gold Star Mothers also offered perspectives on the military’s recent decision to allow photos of the caskets of fallen servicemen to be photographed only with their survivors’ permission.
“If they can do it in a way that honors the servicemen and isn’t just, ‘Oh, look – another flag-draped casket,’ then OK,” Bagwell said. “The media here treated our fallen heroes with honor and respect, but I don’t think we can count on that from the national media.”
“I feel like the national media will use this for a political agenda,” she said.
“I would be in agreement with pictures to be taken by local media with approval from the families, if they are used with respect for the sacrifice that they have made for our freedom and our country.”
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.