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On Mother's Day in a Time of War

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On this Mother's Day 2006, my thoughts go out to all the mothers who have children fighting in George W. Bush's illegal, immoral, and unprovoked war of aggression. Your children volunteered for duty because they believed that America is a beacon of democracy, freedom, and opportunity. They signed up for job training, college money, and honor. They did not sign up to kill innocent Iraqi women, children, and men. They did not sign up to torture people. They did not sign up to die in a war based on oily corporate lies. They did not sign up to promote this country's transformation from freedom to fascism. May they remain safe and come home to you soon.

On this Mother's Day, my thoughts go out to all the mothers who have lost their children in Bush's illegal war of choice. My thoughts go out Cindy Sheehan, who is still waiting for an answer to her very reasonable question to George W. Bush: For what noble cause did her son, Casey, die? And my thoughts go out to more than 2,400 other mothers who won't be getting a Mother's Day card or a phone call from their kids this year because those kids were sent into a no-win situation with inadequate body armor to fight against non-existent weapons of mass destruction. These mothers lost their beloved children because, as Donald Rumsfeld said, you "fight a war with the troops you have, not the troops you want."

On this Mother's Day, my thoughts go out to First Lady Laura Bush. In her privileged Stepford world, she will never know the pain of losing a child to a political agenda. She will likely spend this Mother's Day with her pretty and well-protected twin daughters, whose greatest tragedy might be a broken fingernail or a Sunday morning hangover. She will never feel the pain that so many Iraqi mothers feel when their babies are blown to bits for Bush's agenda. And she will never feel the pain of all those American mothers of dead soldiers. My thoughts go out to her because I believe that she works so hard to find a way to justify the emotional distance. For that, I feel very, very sad for her. Sleep must certainly be difficult.

On this Mother's Day, my thoughts go out to Barbara Bush, the presidential family matriarch, who summed up her moral values and her views on the war by asking the following on national TV: "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Why, indeed! She has always had the means to protect her brood from the ugly truths of the real world. But there are some things that money cannot buy. Like compassion. Like personal redemption. Like humanity.

On this Mother's Day, my thoughts go out to every other mother on this planet. You've got the most difficult job in the world, and you do it by choice (in most cases), for no pay and no glory. You dedicate your lives, 24/7, to something greater than yourself: Your child, and his or her future. And, in doing so, you're shaping our future as well. Happy Mother's Day. And thank you.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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