A Patriot Acts

His sons death leads Fernando Suarez del Solar to speak out against the war

"When this war came up, my son and I had different opinions. I told Jesus my opinion that this war is illegal; it is only for political, territorial control over there, and for the oil. But he told me, 'I think this way, Father. I don't know what Mr. Bush is looking for in this war, but I want this war because we need the destruction of Saddam Hussein's government, because he is a very bad person.' And I said, 'This is correct. Saddam is no good, and the Iraqi people don't have freedom or liberty. But this way is not the way, when there are other options.' Jesus told me, 'Yes, but the president says go, and I go.'"

Barely a week into the war, Jesus became one of the first U.S. casualties. Suarez says that the military told him his son had been shot in combat. Later he found instead that Jesus had been killed by an unexploded U.S. cluster bomblet, when his company was sent into an area without being warned that the bombs had been dropped there.

"When Jesus entered the service, I knew it was possible he might go to some war and pass away. I understand and accepted this. But I no accept that Jesus and the other boys pass away in an illegal war," Suarez told me. "Mr. Bush said there was a connection with al Qaeda, that there were massive destruction weapons, but they find none. I would ask Mr. Bush why he didn't let the United Nations do its work instead of the war. Mr. Bush, why aren't your family members in the military? Now, in May, Mr. Bush said the war is over, but still our children are dying, and people there are saying, 'Yankee, go home.' If it is freedom we want for the Iraqi people, it should be the United Nations there, not us."

Suarez has already lost one job because his employer couldn't spare him for all the anti-war work he is now undertaking. Money is the least of it. He rarely is able to speak of his son without crying, but he feels it is the only thing he can do to give his death meaning.

"It is very hard. Every day when I speak about this, I cry, because I remember my son. I see my wife cry every day, and it is very sad for me. But I think that my son's death, and all the boys who have died in this war, it needs to have a meaning. I think that meaning has to be peace. They were lied to, and cannot die heroes in an illegal war. They can only be heroes of peace, where their sacrifice reminds people that war is the last thing, not the first thing. This is the one important reason I have, when I speak out about the war, because I don't want other families to have to cry like my family cries for my son."

Suarez asks that you write to your representatives in Congress and ask them to bring our troops home now. You can check out the Military Families Speak Out website at mfso.org.

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