In an article filed a few hours ago, David Pace of the Associated Press takes issue with the "slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts." Pace includes the objections of Robert and Nadia McCaffrey, who lost their son Patrick in combat in Iraq. Pace doesn't acknowledge, however, that Nadia McCaffreys has previously been in the news calling for the Bush administration to overturn a longstanding Pentagon policy forbidding the press from being present at casket arrivals at Dover Air Force Base.
Borrowing a page from the media's Cindy Sheehan playbook, Pace fails to mention the well-documented and easily Google-able anti-war activism of Nadia McCaffrey, although she has long been a self-professed pacifict and an active opponent of the Iraq war, as documented in January of this year by the Los Angeles Times.
TRACY, Calif. — On the day her son Patrick McCaffrey died on a blacktop farm road in northern Iraq, Nadia McCaffrey's war began.
Her first act was to invite the press to the Sacramento Airport when her 34-year-old son's flag draped-coffin was brought home at the end of June 2004.
"Patrick was not a private person. All his life he loved people," Nadia McCaffrey explained. "Why should I hide him when he comes home? He would not have wanted that."
At a time when the Pentagon was attempting to keep photographs of the returning coffins out of the American press, the Sacramento Airport scene attracted international attention.
From the first interviews with newspaper obituary writers, Nadia was outspoken about her own opposition to the war as well as her son's growing reservations at the time he was killed.
"Patrick was overwhelmed by the hatred there for Americans and Europeans," Nadia told a reporter for The Times. "He was so ashamed by the prisoner abuse scandal. He even sent me an e-mail to tell me that not all the soldiers were like that. He said we had no business in Iraq and should not be there. Even so, he wanted to be a good soldier."
Since her son's June death in an ambush outside the big American military base at Balad, Nadia McCaffrey has appeared at dozens of peace rallies, anti-war vigils and ceremonies for other soldiers killed in action. Along with a handful of other parents whose sons and daughters have died in Iraq, McCaffrey dedicated herself to the anti-war movement.
In late December, she went to the Middle East, traveling to Jordan with a humanitarian aid delegation sponsored by the San Francisco organization, Global Exchange.
The group distributed $600,000 in humanitarian aid for victims of American military actions in Fallouja. But plans to travel inside Iraq, where Nadia hoped to visit the site of her son's death, were scrapped because of security concerns, not just for the Americans but also for the Iraqis who had volunteered to take them inside.
In Jordan, Nadia met with five Iraqi mothers who had lost children in the fighting.
"My dream," she said, "was to be able to find at least one Iraqi mother, who like me suffered a loss, and be able to have an exchange without hatred or anger about the way we feel. Talk about what to do to start working for peace. And do it mother to mother, with no governments."
Before leaving Jordan, Nadia had already decided to return in 2005 to set up a non-profit safe house for women and children. And she still wants to see the farm road where her son fell.
Born in France just after World War II to a Serbian father and French mother, Nadia has long been a pacifist.
Hat tip: My liberal buddy Caroline.