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Alfred Zappala, Peace Activist Who Lost Son in Iraq, Dies at 68


Alfred and Celeste Zappala, appearing on Democracy Now!, May 13, 2004.

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The peace activist Alfred Zappala has died at the age of sixty-eight after a battle with lung cancer. Zappala became a vocal critic of the war in Iraq in 2004 after his son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed in Baghdad. [includes rush transcript]


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

AMY GOODMAN: Before the break, we turn to some sad news from Philadelphia. The peace activist Alfred Zappala has died at the age of sixty-eight after a battle with lung cancer.

Al Zappala became a vocal critic of the war in Iraq in 2004 after his son, Sergeant Sherwood Baker, was killed in Baghdad. Baker was the first member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard to die in combat since 1945. In May 2004, Alfred Zappala and his ex-wife Celeste Zappala appeared on Democracy Now!


    My son was betrayed by the Bush administration. This whole — you know, people make analogies between Vietnam and Iraq, and I think the big difference is that it took years to find out the lies in Vietnam, and we have discovered these lies in less than a year.


    And knew it going in. And knew it going in.


    And, you know, we’re into this war for no reason at all. I mean, well, we’re in it for reasons that Bush wants us in for, but not for — not what he told the American people. Not about weapons of mass destruction, not about any of that stuff.


    Not al-Qaeda ties.


    Right. So, you know, it was a senseless death, just like all those other boys.


    And girls.


    And — yes. And the 10,000-plus Iraqi citizens that have been killed in Iraq. I mean, it’s just going on and on.


    I feel like we’ve opened the gates of Hell, and we don’t know how to close them, and we don’t know why we’ve done it now.

AMY GOODMAN: Celeste Zappala and Al Zappala, they were in our studio in 2004. Al died yesterday morning at the age of sixty-eight. He was a member of Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace. He campaigned against the war for the last four years, almost nonstop.

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