Sgt. Jason Dene, the nephew of actress and activist Mia Farrow, died in Iraq last week and his uncle blames the "war criminal" George W. Bush for the loss. Mia Farrow has written a sad tribute on her site but Dene's uncle, Patrick V. Farrow, took his anger to the Letters section of the Rutland (Vt.) Herald two days ago.
Dene, in his mid-30s and married with children, is yet another in the growing list of "noncombat" fatalities in Iraq. I have studied these tragedies for almost five years (and written about them often here). In this case, medical complications appear to be at issue. Patrick Farrow, of Castleton, Vt., writes, "To date all the family has heard from the Army is that Jason variously died 'in his sleep' and 'in his bunk' and 'in his quarters' and my favorite 'sleep apnea complicated by smoking cigarettes,' in other words, natural causes."
Whatever the cause, Patrick Farrow knows what really killed his nephew: "Because of the arrogant, corrupt lies of George W. Bush and his neo-con handlers my nephew is dead, and I am mad as hell...Jason Dene was not killed by enemy fire nor friendly fire but by Bush's brutal and cynical stop-loss program."
Because of Bush's abusive stop-loss policy, Jason had been sent into an unwanted third tour of duty. He was a father of three and could not afford to lose his pension. Some "volunteer Army."
During his three 15-month tours in Iraq, exposure to roadside bombs and other job-related injuries caused Jason to be hospitalized several times for concussion and internal bleeding and other injuries. Recently, Jason's condition was such that the Department of Defense flew him from Iraq to Dover Air Force Base for surgery. He was released from the hospital into the loving arms of the government who sent him directly back into Iraq. He was put on active duty while he was still on a liquid diet, unable to eat solid food because of a throat hemorrhage due to a botched surgery at a military hospital.
After his second tour Jason returned home with severe mental and physical issues. He was certainly in no condition to be pressed into a third tour. He wanted out of the army. But Jason was a victim of the liar's back-door draft...
Because of George Bush, the arrogant, the corrupt, the liar, the war criminal, my nephew is dead and my sister and the rest of my family are devastated.
Mia Farrow had written: "I don't know what Jason died for....This war is as incomprehensible as it is unacceptable. In a cloud of confusion, politicians, generals and ordinary people have come to see that it is a disaster. Exit plans are being discussed while Iraqi citizens and young Americans like our Jason are being killed.
" My sister is a nurse. For long years has lived in fear of the day when the two uniformed men came to her door to deliver the most terrible news a mother could hear. I hope I never see George W Bush.
I could not shake his hand. He and his cabal have killed my beautiful nephew. . May God, if there is one, forgive them. I cannot....How many more must die before this atrocity is ended?"
Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. It features a preface by Bruce Springsteen and a foreword by Joe Galloway. He is editor of Editor & Publisher.