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2005-08-19

Mother Nadia McCaffrey Showed the World a Casualty of the Iraq War

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Nadia McCaffrey’s son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004. His death received national attention after Nadia invited the press to Sacramento International Airport to record images of his flag-draped coffin returning home, contravening U.S. military policy. [includes rush transcript]

The U.S. military prohibits news media from photographing the coffins of dead American soldiers returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Nadia McCaffrey refused to go along with that policy and invited the press to view her son Patrick’s coffin at the Sacramento International Airport in 2004. She said, "My son left for Iraq with a big smile on his face, and he was waving at us to cheer us up. Now, why should I hide him when he comes home? I’m proud of him. I love him, and I wanted the world to witness this."

Nadia McCaffrey told Democracy Now! that she joined Cindy Sheehan in Crawford to show her opposition to Bush’s policies. She said, "I had to be here. I had to support Cindy and I had to support the mothers. I came because what she started is very important. I think it’s going to make history. This is the first time when we have some attention."

  • Nadia McCaffrey, her son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We are joined now by a mother who lost her son. Her name is Nadia McCaffrey. We had her on Democracy Now! soon after she lost Patrick, in fact it was just a few months after Cindy Sheehan lost her son, Casey. And now, Nadia joins us again. It’s great to have you with us.

NADIA McCAFFREY: Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: When did you come here, Nadia?

NADIA McCAFFREY: I came here two days ago. It’s my third day.

AMY GOODMAN: And what made you decide to come?

NADIA McCAFFREY: I had to be here. I had to support Cindy. I had to support the mothers. I came because what she started is very important. I think it’s going to make history. This is the first time when we have some attention. I’m talking about the war, the Gold Star Families especially. And all the mothers must join, and we are doing it right now. So, while Cindy is away, we are going to be standing right here at this camp, or the new one, but we will be at least three or four Gold Star mothers at all times, and I’m not moving one inch. I may have to go for a day or so, but I will be back until Cindy comes back and until this is over.

AMY GOODMAN: You did something very unusual after Patrick died in Iraq. President Bush had invoked the executive order saying that videographers, film makers, photographers are not to photograph or film the flag-draped coffins of soldiers coming home, but you invited the press in?

NADIA McCAFFREY: Yes, I did. My son left for Iraq with a big smile on his face, and he was waving at us to cheer us up. Now, why should I hide him when he comes home? I’m proud of him. I love him. And I want the world to witness this. And it’s just what happened. So I’m speaking on his behalf now.

AMY GOODMAN: What are you planning to ask President Bush? I think most of the press is not covering the fact that there are a number of mothers who are asking to speak with President Bush, who have lost their children in Iraq right now. What are the questions that you are thinking about?

NADIA McCAFFREY: Well, we are almost — well, past 1800 mothers cross-country, and the questions are — each one of us has a question. We are working, and these questions will be released this morning. Now, Cindy needs to speak to President Bush, and that’s fine. We respect this, and we will keep this open, completely, for her. The rest of us will join and have those questions. Now, we were trying to talk this morning about not if it’s possible to have a meeting with all of us instead of one person. If it happens before Cindy gets back, for example, we would like to do it, as we are going to talk about it, but I think it sounds logical, and it might be a way to change the President’s mind.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for joining us. Nadia McCaffrey lost her son, Patrick, is here at Camp Casey, one of the mothers, the grieving military mothers who are waiting to speak with President Bush. Behind me are signs that say, "President Bush, Speak to Cindy."

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