Minnesota State Senator Becky Lourey lost her son Matt in Iraq earlier this year. She has been one of the foremost voices working against the war in Minnesota. [includes rush transcript]
Becky Lourey is a Minnesota State Senator. Her son, Matt, was killed in Iraq in May 2005. Lourey was a leading opponent in her state of the invasion of Iraq. In March 2003, she authored an antiwar resolution signed by eighteen other state senators. She said she spoke out against the Iraq war because "this war is alienating us from the rest of the world, and I believe that this occupation in Iraq is making Americans less safe."
- State Senator Becky Lourey, D-MN. Her son Matt was killed in Iraq in May 2005.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by another mother who just recently lost her son. In fact, I was driving through Minnesota just a little while ago when I read the papers, and I learned about a state representative named Becky Lourey. That weekend she had lost her son, and we spoke to you on Democracy Now! It’s a pleasure to see you in person.
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: I’m so glad to be here at Camp Casey. I came to support Cindy Sheehan’s efforts to have a dialogue with the President, and I really did think when I was coming that I was just coming to support her, and I am getting so much support and comfort myself that again, I realize, together we can really make a difference.
AMY GOODMAN: Tell me about your son.
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: Matthew Scott Lourey would have been 42 this last July 28th. He was a true American hero. He did not have to go back the second time, as we talked about last time I spoke with you. But he knew that he was needed to protect his troops. And he did save many lives. Since I spoke to you, I have received many emails from people whose lives were saved because of him. And that’s why our efforts are so important, because the army, our armed forces, are so necessary to our country. And they’re wonderful organizations, and we must have an honorable, honest commander-in-chief who directs the work that our armed forces do. There is a serious distinction between the irresponsibility of bad decisions by a commander-in-chief and the responsibilities that the army folks hold among themselves for protecting each other in conflicts like this.
AMY GOODMAN: As a Minnesota State Senator, you got a chance to actually question Donald Rumsfeld, is that right?
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: I did. I did.
AMY GOODMAN: This was before your son died.
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: This is before my son died, and the point I had wanted to make was that when my son went to Bosnia, he had wonderful tents, you know. The Army was in charge, subcontracting with contractors. When my son went to Iraq, he was sleeping in the sand, being bitten by sand fleas, you know, and that was because Halliburton had a no-bid contract, Halliburton, a company that has headquarters offshore in the Cayman Islands and is avoiding paying taxes in the United States, a no-bid contract without the experience to get the equipment to the troops that they need, and I had wanted to talk to Rumsfeld about that, and I think that he should in fact retire, excuse himself, because of the ineptness of his job.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to State Senator, Becky Lourey, lost her son in Iraq. So, you are engaged politically in the legislature. The response of those on both sides of the aisle to your anti-war activism and the loss of your son, particularly those who have supported the war, how have they talked to you since then?
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: I have really gotten a lot of support. One of the things, if you’re always honest, whether people agree with you or not agree with you, they say, I don’t agree with you, but I understand your position. And this is a pretty consistent position. And I need to tell you that I did not oppose the efforts in Afghanistan, shortly after 9/11, when the whole world was with us and we were together, because then, the rest of the world was saying, "Oh, finally, America understands terrorism on its own shores, something we have been experiencing for forever. And now we can work together." I actually thought that we were going to be working together as one world, and this is very different. We went to this war for very different reasons, against the other countries, against the general’s advice. This war is alienating us from the rest of the world, and I believe that this occupation in Iraq is making Americans less safe.
AMY GOODMAN: If you get a chance to speak to President Bush with the other mothers who have lost their children in Iraq, what will you say?
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: I’m hoping that it’s Cindy President Bush will talk to, and that the other mothers can stand behind her. It is Cindy that has made this so visible. And we will stand behind — we’ll stand behind Cindy. And I do believe that the dialogue can move this issue forward, because it seems to me that it’s very, very wrong when a leader who makes life and death decisions is insulated from the people who suffer the consequences of those decisions.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much for joining us. Becky Lourey lost her son in Iraq. She is a Minnesota State Senator, as we stand here at Camp Casey, many grieving mothers.