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A letter to Bush from the mother of a dead soldier:
"Our sorrow, your gain"

March 5, 2004 | Page 8

"GEORGE BUSH killed my son." That was the message that ROSEMARIE DIETZ SLAVENAS had for the media in November, as she laid her son Brian to rest. Brian was killed along with 15 other soldiers on November 2, when the Chinook helicopter he was piloting was shot down near the Iraqi town of Falluja. Last month, Rosemarie wrote the following letter to Bush and sent a copy to Socialist Worker.

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Dear Mr. Bush,
In response to head weapons inspector David Kay's statement that he believes there are and were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, you are quoted as saying, "There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a grave and gathering threat to America...and the world is better off without him."

My beloved son Brian died for your red herring in the sand. He was an honorable, restrained, talented, caring man, and the world would be better off with him alive and well.

He resigned his commission in the Illinois National Guard when assigned to duty in Iraq as a matter of conscience. He served nonetheless, and he bled for one-half hour in the desert sand before any help arrived, though the helicopter he was flying was only five minutes off the ground when it crashed, according to witnesses.

After his death, I received two letters from him telling me he hoped to be home April 2004. On Christmas Day, I visited his grave. He did not give his life. It was cruelly taken from him by your rush to war--against the United Nations, old allies like France and Germany, western religions' "Just War Doctrine," the entire Arab world and most civilized nations.

You inherited peace and prosperity and created murder, mayhem and massive debt. According to the ongoing investigation of the helicopter crash that took Brian's and 15 other American lives, the Illinois National Guard aircraft were sent into the field without basic survivability equipment, to accommodate your "shoot and bomb first, think and investigate later" brand of foreign policy.

We don't need a trigger-happy president. Finders keepers, losers weepers. While we who have lost our loved ones have only tears to fill the empty space where love and laughter lived, you and your Halliburton cronies have found the oil wells and will undoubtedly keep your bloodstained gains.

Our sorrow, your gain. Brian was conscientious; someone wasn't. Brian was faithful; someone wasn't. Brian was thoughtful; someone wasn't. Brian was considerate; someone wasn't. Brian was truthful; someone isn't. Brian wasn't sloppy; someone is.

Rosemarie Dietz Slavenas, Rockford, Ill.

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