News Release

Interviews Available: Families of Military and 9/11 Victims

JARI SHEESE
Sheese owns a small business in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her husband is stationed in Iraq. She said this afternoon: “He had just dropped me a line telling me that he’d be getting around by helicopter and that made me feel better — then a helicopter gets downed killing 16. We find some way to communicate almost daily, either email, instant messaging, whatever we can do. He doesn’t want to be there any more. There was a time he felt they were doing some good, but that has gone. He helped set up the Iraqi Media Network. He enjoyed working with the Iraqis, helping them set up six television stations and three radio stations, but since the 82nd Airborne took over, they’ve been making the Iraqis broadcast things like statements from generals over and over and over again. The Iraqis now say that it’s eerily like under Saddam’s regime, even calling one of the commanders ‘little Saddam.’ The commanders are threatening to take the Iraqis’ equipment or funding away if they don’t do what they say, but they advertise this ‘new, free Iraq.’ The military is not a democracy and this doesn’t really seem like the way to help build democratic institutions there. My husband tells me that everything is so orchestrated; like when politicians go to Iraq, they meet with soldiers who just got there, so they don’t get a real assessment of how demoralized many soldiers are. The dignitaries virtually never meet with reservists, like my husband. He’s been in and out of the military for 29 years and just wanted to get another year in as a reservist for his pension. It’s incredible how badly the reservists are treated. He just got a new flak jacket about a week ago, but it doesn’t have the ceramic plate, so I don’t know how much good it does. He says it’s better than nothing. The media used to go to bases, but many have been kicked out now, so information is getting harder and harder to come by. Bush says that we have to stay to stop the attacks, but it’s clear that our staying is causing attacks.”

FERNANDO SUAREZ DEL SOLAR
Fernando Suarez del Solar (who is fluent in Spanish) is father of Jesus Alberto Suarez del Solar Navarro, who died in Iraq on March 27. He said today: “These attacks are the tragic result of the illegal occupation of Iraq by the U.S. military. Our young people are exposed to death every day. They are wounded in faraway lands for the whims and lies of President Bush…. The military does all kinds of things to recruit Hispanics, African American and poor Anglos — how many children of congressmen or CEOs are in Iraq?”
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TERRY ROCKEFELLER
DAVID POTORTI
Rockefeller traveled to Iraq in January 2003 as part of a person-to-person delegation sponsored by September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. She lost her sister in the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Today she said: “While in Iraq, civilians told us over and over again that our planned military action would increase terrorism, and that the U.S. occupation would be unpopular with the people of Iraq. I am deeply concerned about the failure of the United States to provide security during the occupation, leading to the loss of life among American service people as well as Iraqi citizens. I believe it is time for the United States to make a genuine commitment to international security by transferring power to the UN, rather than using the UN as a cover for our occupation. Our concerns should focus on rebuilding Iraq, rather than asking our military to serve … in jobs for which they are not suited.” Potorti, who lost his brother on 9/11, is the primary author of the book September 11th Families For Peaceful Tomorrows.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167