Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More pics from camp Casey, whether Bush likes them or not...

Wearing his Marine fatigues, former Marine corporal Mike McNeil, of Ft. Worth, looks at a name on one of the crosses lining the side of the road leading to President Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas, Friday, Aug. 12, 2005. McNeil, who served in the first Gulf War, says he plans to read each name on the crosses for the soldiers killed in Iraq to show support for their families. (AP Photo/LM Otero)



Jane Prewitt, right, of Burmingham, Ala. and Dante Zappala, of Philadelphia, Pa., comfort each other after an emotional prayer at Camp Casey near Crawford, Texas, Friday, Aug. 12, 2005. Prewwit's son Kelly Prewitt and Zappala's brother Sheerwood Baker were both killed in Iraq. (AP Photo/LM Otero)



from Daily War News..." Every time the wound begins to heal at Ray and Diane Maida's house, something comes along to rub salt into it.
First came news that their son, Mark Maida, a 22-year-old Army sergeant, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb on May 26. Then, a week after his death, the Army gave only hours' notice that the body would be arriving at Gen. Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, forcing the grieving family into a frantic scramble to retrieve it for a funeral two days later.
Letters and packages to Mark from home arrived for a time almost daily, marked "Return to sender."


Then a slow trickle of possessions arrived from Iraq and his unit's base at Fort Irwin, Calif. To top it off, despite repeated efforts, Army officials failed to provide details of Mark's death. More than two months later, the Maidas finally got the details of his death, not from the Army, but from the Washington Post.

"It's just been one wound after another," Diane said. "And just about the time you think you're on the upswing, then you get shut down again with another incident."
For the Maidas, pain from the loss of their son has been compounded by countless snafus. Ray said an Army official even admitted, unofficially, that the Army lacked a proper protocol for dealing with the families of dead soldiers.

It's part and parcel of what Ray sees as a pervading ineptitude in conducting the war and the military's inability to protect its troops.
"They can take a $1 million missile and put it up some Iraqi's ass and they can't tell me what time my son's coming in?" Ray fumed. "This is why my son's dead, this total incompetence."

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