View Full Version : The daughters should serve

06-29-05, 01:22 PM
The daughters should serve
Jimmy Breslin
Newsday Inc.
June 29, 2005

If George W. Bush wants young people to get into this war so much, why doesn't he send his two daughters over to Iraq and fight for their country?

Read today what Bush has to say about fighting in Iraq. Read it on a day when we still have three women killed in Iraq, one from the Bronx.

The Bush daughters are 23, and at the Republican National Convention in New York last summer, they were a whirlwind at night. They looked as fit to fight for their country as any high school dropout.

This is an eminently fair thought. We have today the dead body of a young Latina woman from the Bronx. She comes home when it is clear that it is time for Bush to put up his own.

"Exactly! That's what I want to know," says Fiorela Valdez, sister of the dead young woman Marine, Ramona Valdez. "He doesn't have any family over there so he don't care. None of them do. I don't know of one daughter of one of them who's over in Iraq fighting the war."

And yesterday, on a day that caused the minds to reel, I started out in the lobby of my building by saying, "How are you?" to the building manager.

"Fine," he says.

"The kids?"


He and his wife have two very young grandchildren in his apartment.

"And how are the parents?" I ask.

"They are all right, thank you."

One of the parents is his daughter. She is a soldier in Iraq. I don't know which city, but it doesn't matter, there seems to be a bomb at every stop sign. His son-in-law, the father, is in the Army in Iraq, in Fallujah. In the blackest of World War II, they often didn't take people with families. Now if a mother wants to join the Reserves and then gets called up, off she goes to Iraq, even if she has as many as four kids, and that's precisely what you saw one morning in Fort Totten, in Bayside, when this mother on her way to Baghdad stood in the bus and her four children were looking up at her in tears. Absolutely marvelous!

And now here are these Marines in dress uniforms going through Sheridan Avenue's heat up there in the Bronx and they wanted to find Elida Nunez to tell her that her daughter, Marine Cpl. Ramona Valdez, 20, had just been killed in Fallujah, in Iraq. That is the same Fallujah where we won a smashing victory that emptied that evil town forever of the other side, except they came back.

It turned out that the mother had packed up and moved to Reading, Pa., because Cpl. Ramona Valdez wanted something quiet when she came back from war.

Although she loved the young people on the sidewalk in front of her house at 1100 Sheridan Ave.

"She used to help me with homework every night," Mamady Kaba, 12, was saying yesterday. "My parents didn't have time. Ramona came every night. Two, three hours. She didn't tell me about being a Marine. I didn't know she was going to join. I'm going into St. Ray's high school because of her. I won't be laughing so much. She was always telling me jokes."

"What were a couple of the jokes?"

He started to talk, but his mother called him from the doorway to the building. She had groceries that had to be carried.

"I have to go," Mamady said.

When the Marines left Sheridan Avenue and got to Reading, the mother was upstairs, asleep in her new house. She had worked all night in a chicken factory and slept much of the day. When they woke her up, she came downstairs, saw the Marines and of course collapsed. That is what women always have done in time of a war. Collapsed, cried, shrieked and put on a black dress.

Not this time. This time it is not a husband or a boyfriend or son and women weep. Now the body coming back is one of the mother's gender and at the grave they fold up the American flag and give it to the mother and you don't need a black dress for this one; you have your daughter's personal American flag. Forget Betsy Ross. My girlfriend got a marksmanship medal.

Bush spoke last night in the tone of a loser. He said that we are fighting against "men" with blind hatred. He means a gang, and bin Laden. But in this fight you count by countries against us. Among other things, Bush clearly is color blind. He and the pack of liars around him don't understand that the white skin, which they believe is truly great, gets into endless difficulty when we put it out against a world of other shades. Iraq doesn't enter the ring pale.

No one person or even a country can send out all those people that we cannot fight or fathom, the ones willing to commit suicide to kill Americans.

And so Bush calls for more fighting and more people to do it, and that means he's supposed to send his daughters out there to fight for their country.