News Release

Memorial Day

CELESTE ZAPPALA
ELAINE JOHNSON
NANCY LESSIN
“It serves no purpose to have more and more servicemen and women die in an unjust and unjustifiable war, and have more families experience the unbearable and unending pain that my family has experienced,” said Celeste Zappala, mother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, the first Pennsylvania National Guardsman to die in combat since World War II. Sgt. Baker was killed in action in Baghdad on April 26, 2004, while guarding the Iraq Survey Group as they searched for non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

Johnson, who met with President Bush following the death of her son Darius Jennings on November 2, 2003, in Iraq and challenged Bush on his war policy, stated: “The best way to honor the memory of Darius and all of our loved ones is to end this war, bring our troops home now and take care of them when they get here.”

Nancy Lessin is cofounder of Military Families Speak Out and can help arrange interviews with Zappala, Johnson and others from around the country whose loved ones have died as a result of the war in Iraq.
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YVONNE LATTY
Latty is author of the new book In Conflict: Iraq War Veterans Speak Out on Duty, Loss and the Fight to Stay Alive and the book We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans from World War II to the War in Iraq.
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PETER LAUFER
Author of the new book Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq, Laufer said today: “The soldiers I met researching this book know how to talk about this war: they make clear the brutality suffered by Iraqi civilians. No one can come away from their stories believing that the U.S. has a chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. It’s not WMD or al Qaida, it’s not exporting democracy or saving Iraq from a civil war. It’s not even the breeding ground for terrorists we’re creating. We need to talk about the hundreds of thousands of Americans — U.S. soldiers — who are permanently damaged by what they saw and did.”

A Vietnam War resister, Laufer is a former NBC News correspondent who has won numerous journalism awards, among them a George Polk for his reporting on Americans in prison overseas and an Edward R. Murrow for his study of Vietnam War veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167