Support Our Troops!

From Holden:

Chimpy only supports the troops that he can use in his propaganda.

Army Spec. Jesse Buryj was in the gun turret of a Humvee that night, guarding a traffic circle in Karbala, Iraq. The soldiers were on edge — they had been warned about a car bomb — so when a dump truck came barreling into the intersection, they opened fire from all sides. But the truck kept coming and crashed into Buryj’s armored vehicle, sending the 21-year-old hurtling to the ground.

The next day, May 5, 2004, an Army officer notified Buryj’s wife and parents in Canton, Ohio, that he had been killed in a crash early that morning. Several days later, as the family pressed for more information, a casualty assistance officer said that Buryj also had been shot. A death certificate that arrived in July listed a gunshot wound as the cause of death, but provided no information about the circumstances.

Peggy Buryj asked everyone she could to help find out the details of her son’s last hours. She even asked President Bush when she and other grieving parents met with him during a campaign stop in hotly contested Ohio. He promised to look into it. Soon afterward, she said, his campaign called and asked her to appear in a commercial for him, but she declined.

Months went by with no clarification. “We had a lot of questions,” said Amber Buryj, 22, Jesse Buryj’s bride of seven months. “We were left in the dark.”

And in the dark they stayed. Family members say they were not told Jesse was killed by “friendly fire,” though the Army later said they were. They did not know that Polish soldiers with Jesse’s unit may have fired the fatal shot and that his death had the potential to cause a rift with a coalition partner right before the 2004 presidential election. They asked friends in Jesse’s platoon what had happened, but the soldiers had been told not to discuss the incident until the investigation was complete.

Even today, 20 months later, Peggy Buryj — a Bush supporter who believes strongly in the Iraq war — is left with swirling questions, a shattered faith in the Army, and the unsettling feeling that her son’s death has been sullied by partisan politics and international intrigue.