A protest is going on this afternoon in downtown Des Moines, organized by Quaker peace activists on the fourth anniversary of the start of U.S. military involvement in Iraq. Brenda Hervey came from Sioux City to tell about her son, a soldier wounded in combat.
The vehicle he was in rolled over an I-E-D and the explosion blew the turret-gun door into his right side. His leg had severe muscle and nerve damage and he lost a piece of his right elbow. Two Marines died in that attack, and Michael Hervey had four surgeries. Four months later he’s doing well, physically. He was lucky, his mother says. "He was not forced to pay the price of this war with his life, as more than 32-hundred soldiers already have."
Four years after the start of the war, Hervey says it’s time to end it. The soldiers have been in-country for four years, many having served two or three deployments, Hervey says. "They’re tired. They’re getting hurt. We’re losing an average of three soldiers a day." She says her son, a gunner in the regular Army, wouldn’t have been wounded if his term had ended when it was first scheduled to.
"Michael was a victim of stop-loss," Brenda Hervey says. "He should have been out of the Army in October. That was the end of his initial active-duty commitment but he was extended, and…four weeks after he should have been out of the Army he was injured."
The American Friends Service Committee "Peace Witness" continues till 6:30 this evening at the federal building, at Second and Walnut in downtown Des Moines. Organizers say it’ll include music and the reading of a list of names of U.S. service people killed in Iraq.