On Tuesday, President Bush brought the controversy of Camp Casey, Texas to Donnelly, Idaho when he told reporters that war protesters like Cindy Sheehan, who call for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, are "advocating a policy that would weaken the United States." Just hours later, more mothers and wives of soldiers met in front of the Idaho Statehouse to disagree.
The event, organized by the Idaho Peace Coalition, featured speakers cast against a backdrop of over 1,800 miniature memorials for dead soldiers, coalition members and Iraqi civilians. Ironically stating her purpose to be "welcoming" Bush to Idaho, Laura McCarthy, an Eagle resident and mother of a soldier in the Army National Guard's 116th Calvalry Brigade, told the absent president that he can't escape the voices of those jilted by the war on terror. "No matter where he goes, he's going to find a Cindy Sheehan in every community across the United States," she said. "The names are going to be different but the message is the same: We want answers, we want the truth, we want accountability and we want our troops brought home now."
"I feel like President Bush hasn't given us a solid reason why we're there in the first place, and he has continued to lie to us," added featured speaker Melanie House of Simi Valley, California, a Gold Star wife whose husband John died in a helicopter crash in Iraq this January. "Why are we there? Why did my husband have to die? I don't have an answer. My husband didn't have an answer when he was there. He didn't know why he had friends die in his arms; he was a medic. I just want some answers," she told BW.
President Bush will search for those answers on the mountain bike trails at Tamarack Resort today, before speaking in Nampa at the Idaho Center on Wednesday.