We speak with Patricia Roberts, her son Jamaal Addison was killed in Iraq in 2003. He was the first soldier from Georgia killed in Iraq. She says, “[Bush] goes about choosing which parents he talks to because I don’t know why I haven’t gotten the opportunity to talk to him.” [includes rush transcript]
On Saturday, Democracy Now! producer Yoruba Richen spoke with Patricia Roberts. Her son Jamaal Addison was killed in Iraq in 2003. She began by talking about why she came to Camp Casey.
- Patricia Roberts, her son, Jamaal Addison, was the first soldier from Georgia killed in Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: On Saturday, Democracy Now! producer, Yoruba Richen, spoke with Patricia Roberts, who had just come in. Her son Jamaal Addison was killed in Iraq in 2003. She began by talking about why she came to Camp Casey.
PATRICIA ROBERTS: Being that I was the first mother of Georgia, my son being the first soldier to die for Georgia, I felt that it would be my duty to come here and to speak out and to have the opportunity, if Bush did show up, to be able to talk to him and hear what he had to say.
YORUBA RICHEN: What would you like to say to the President?
PATRICIA ROBERTS: I would like to say to the President at this point now, whatever his reasons that he feels it was for my son to die and all the rest of the troops to die and to be out there, that’s not the point anymore. Although I’m against that, all he can do is redeem himself by bringing the troops home. That’s what I’m here to say to him. Regardless of what — I don’t want to argue back and forth what was right, what was wrong. We know what was right. We know what was wrong. He knows what he did was wrong, but that’s not the principle right now. The principle is that there are still soldiers out there dying on a daily basis, and they need to come home.
YORUBA RICHEN: How did your son die?
PATRICIA ROBERTS: My son was with the 507 Maintenance Company. He died with Jessica Lynch and the P.O.W.s. He was the unit that took the wrong turn. He was one of the 11 that got killed, the first Sunday, which they call that day the “Bloody Sunday.”
YORUBA RICHEN: And how long was he there before he was killed?
PATRICIA ROBERTS: He arrived in Kuwait in February, Valentine’s Day, actually, and after the 48-hour stay that the President had given, then they headed out for Baghdad in Iraq.
YORUBA RICHEN: And how did you feel about him going to this war, going to fight this war?
PATRICIA ROBERTS: I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t feel comfortable from the beginning, because I didn’t feel that what he was saying was true. I felt that he was rushing this war. He was pushing the issue. And it had to be for alternative motives. We found out later that it was alternative motives, and now my son is dead because of these things.
YORUBA RICHEN: Last night, Reverend Johnson talked about the importance of having African American mothers here, and what do you think about that?
PATRICIA ROBERTS: I think that it’s very important for the African Americans and the minorities to support what’s going on here and all over, statewide, worldwide. I think they should support it, because I believe that this is a poor man’s war. They have solicited the minorities to go in, and if you look at all of the rates and you look at all the statistics, you have more minorities die in this war than you have had anything else, and between the ages of 18 and 25, you have wiped out generations of minorities. So, I think that, because it’s us that’s dying, we need to be the ones speaking out and standing up more than anyone else.
YORUBA RICHEN: How do you feel being here amongst other families and vets who have come here from all over the country to speak out against what’s going on in Iraq?
PATRICIA ROBERTS: I feel that this is a wonderful thing. I feel that here, on top of the situation being what it is, I feel that it’s healing here, because you have other mothers, other fathers, other siblings that’s here, that’s giving you support and giving you their love and giving you their attention, you know, something to help you start the healing process, because all of us — all of us, no one has been healed from this war. Of course, because the war is still going on, and this is a war that’s going on that was supposedly ended in 41 days. This war started on March 19, and on May 1 it was supposed to be over. The President announced that. Why are we still there? Why have they not come home?
YORUBA RICHEN: You haven’t been able to meet with President Bush. Do you want to, and what would you say to him?
PATRICIA ROBERTS: Yes. I do want to meet with President Bush. I feel that President Bush owes me a personal condolence, being again that my son was the first soldier to die for Georgia, and when I watched him go to church and do other things with the soldiers that were alive and the other people that he was commending for what they had done, I felt that he owes myself and every other parent the personal respect of saying to them face-to-face, knowing who their soldier is, knowing the parents and saying, “My condolences for what your son did for me and our country.” How he goes about choosing which parents he talked to, because I don’t know why I haven’t gotten the opportunity to talk to him. So I would like to know how he goes about it. Is it the ones that support the war? And that’s the ones that he’s talking to, those soldiers that survived? Are he talking to the families that once their child is gone, that they still support him? Are those the families he’s talking to? I don’t know who he is talking to. All I know is that he is not talking to me.
AMY GOODMAN: Patricia Roberts, her son, Jamaal Addison was the first soldier from Georgia to be killed in Iraq.