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Dead Soldier's Father Goes to Iraq

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    A Father Speaks Out Against the Iraq War By Paul Rockwell In Motion Magazine Saturday 17 June 2006 http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/061806Z.shtml In December
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 7, 2006
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      A Father Speaks Out Against the Iraq War
      By Paul Rockwell
      In Motion Magazine
      Saturday 17 June 2006
      http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/061806Z.shtml


      "In December 2003, Fernando Suarez traveled to Iraq. He visited the
      site where his son died, and he brought back thousands of letters of
      peace from Iraqi children." Photo by Medea Benjamin.


      His buddies in the Marines called him the "Aztec warrior." Jesus
      Suarez del Solar was one of the first Americans killed during the
      invasion of Iraq. On March 27, 2003 Jesus stepped on an undetonated
      U.S. cluster bomb and bled to death in a remote desert near Diwaniya.
      Jesus left behind his wife and 1-year-old son, his mother, three
      sisters, and a father who now speaks out against the occupation of
      Iraq. As a representative of Military Families Speak Out, a burgeoning
      organization of 1,500 families who call for an end to the U.S.
      occupation of Iraq, Fernando Suarez tells high school and college
      students: Stay in school; don't be deceived by false promises from
      recruiters for Bush.

      Fernando Suarez del Solar is a Mexican-born American citizen. With his
      wife and children, he immigrated from Tijuana, Mexico, to Escondido,
      California, where he delivered newspapers and worked at a Seven-Eleven
      store.

      Paul Rockwell: How did your son lose his life in Iraq?

      Fernando Suarez: On March 26th the army dropped cluster bombs
      outside a city. The next day my son's unit received orders to advance
      into the area. That's when he stepped on a cluster bomb.

      Rockwell: Cluster bomb are anti-personnel weapons, with a failure
      rate of 15 to 20 percent. When they lie unexploded on the ground, like
      mines, they look like beer cans and are easy to step on. Did his
      commanders inform Jesus about cluster bomb drops in the area?

      Suarez: He never received any information about the drop.

      Rockwell: Was that a mistake, an exception to overall policy? Does
      the military put out fliers or warnings about cluster bombs in the area?

      Suarez: No. What happened was, after my son was killed, the
      military in the area began to pay more attention. They publicized the
      accident.

      Rockwell: I guess the Iraqi civilians, like kids playing in the
      fields, didn't get any warnings about left-over clusters?

      Suarez: That's right.

      Rockwell: How did your son get involved in the military?

      Suarez: My son was in Mexico. Along the border there are military
      recruiters. My son told the recruiter he hoped to join the police in
      Tijuana. The recruiter said: "Don't join the Mexican police. It's
      dangerous for you in the police department in Tijuana. It's safer for
      you to join the Marine Corps."

      In 1997 we moved from Tijuana to San Diego, where Jesus wanted to
      finish high school. That's where he joined the military.

      Rockwell: Did the recruiters deceive Jesus?

      Suarez: The military promised Jesus to provide money for school.
      They said Jesus would get $1,000 a month for school, but the recruiter
      never explained where the money comes from. When Jesus finished boot
      camp, he became very upset. He told me: "The recruiter said I am going
      to receive $1,000 every month. I only get $620."

      So I talked with the recruiter. He explained, "Yes, you receive
      $1,000 a month, minus money for the scholarship, minus $100 for the
      uniform -- minus, minus, minus."

      Rockwell: I understand that the military is recruiting youth from
      the Philippines, from Mexico, people of color in the Third World. Was
      your son living in Mexico when he was contacted?

      Suarez: Yes. When he came to San Diego he had a green card.

      Rockwell: Where do recruiters contact young people?

      Suarez: On the border there are lots of recruiting offices. Last
      year, around October, this one recruiter crossed the border into
      Mexico and recruited young boys from a school in Mexico.

      Rockwell: He went into a Mexican school to get sign-ups for the
      U.S. military?

      Suarez: Yes.

      Rockwell: What kind of promises did he make?

      Suarez: According to what I heard, the recruiters say, "You can go
      to the U.S.A. and enter high school and enter a military program in
      high school." They say to the kids, "I can help you with the papers."

      Rockwell: What do you think about recruiting kids from Mexico for
      U.S. wars?

      Suarez: If they can use Hispanic people, Anglo-Americans don't
      have to be used. They want to use Hispanic boys in the war.

      Rockwell: You mean they are trying to substitute Hispanic kids so
      that Anglo-Americans do not have to risk their lives?

      Suarez: Exactly. They offer education and a formal offer of
      citizenship. That's not all. Here in the U.S. they recruit kids in the
      barrios. They contact them when they are 14, 15 years old. And they
      say to our kids, "It's not a problem you do not have papers. You can
      enter the program and we will help you with the papers and
      immigration. You just need to do well in school and our program."

      This in my opinion is very immoral. There are a lot of high
      schools in the Mexican barrio where recruiters are recruiting. The
      recruiter has an open door. It's a big problem.

      Rockwell: Do you feel betrayed by the Bush Administration?

      Suarez: The Bush Administration lied about the war. They lied to
      my son. They lied about weapons of mass destruction. They lied about
      Iraq and September 11th. And they lie about other things.

      Bush said, "I put in a lot of time to support families who lost
      members in the war." This is another lie. Mr. Bush never contacted me,
      never supported me, never supported my family. This is a lie.

      We have a lot of contact with parents, parents who have boys in
      Iraq. They are very upset with this war and Mr. Bush. My feeling is
      Mr. Bush uses the boys for personal reasons, to get family revenge on
      Saddam. Bush has no idea about what is happening in Iraq. He never
      went to Vietnam. He has no good plan for what is to happen. He never
      provides humanitarian help for the civilian people. Thousands and
      thousands of civilians died. The children now have no help in the
      hospital. The ordinary Iraqi people say stop. You don't give me
      freedom. And it's not terrorist groups who are attacking Americans.
      It's the regular, ordinary civilian people.

      In December 2003, Fernando Suarez traveled to Iraq. He visited the
      site where his son died, and he brought back thousands of letters of
      peace from Iraqi children. "My heart goes out to the soldiers, many of
      whom come from poor communities and joined the military as a way to
      get an education," he says. "Then they find themselves sent off to a
      faraway land where they are exposed to death every day, with their
      families suffering back home -- all for the whims and lies of
      President Bush. I support the troops, but I don't support the
      Commander-in-Chief."


      Paul Rockwell is a writer in the Bay Area. He can be reached at
      rockyspad @ hotmail.com.

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