Your Tax Money at Work: PBS Pushes for Iraq Withdrawal

Monday’s NewsHour on PBS continued to drive home the grim reality that 3,000 American troops are now dead in the Iraq war. They featured two family members of fallen soldiers who are grieving through non-political means and one that's political. Of course, the politically activist family on this partially taxpayer funded show is anti-war and favors a swift withdrawal. Curiously, the did not find time to feature a Gold Star family that favors the mission in Iraq.

Reporter Spencer Michels mixed emotional stories of a mother on a walkathon for wounded soldiers, and a Colombian immigrant soldier posthumously awarded U.S. citizenship, with the anti-war family. Michels even offered a statement implying recent Democratic victories as a victory for peace. Then he raised concern that they may not be liberal enough.

SPENCER MICHELS: "As they continue to grieve, they take a bit of comfort in the fact that political activism like theirs may have played a small part in the Democratic wins in Congress this fall. But they say their work is far from done, and they worry the Democrats in Congress may not act quickly enough to end the war."

The entire transcript is below:

SPENCER MICHELS: "Thirteen hundred miles away in Cleveland, Ohio, Rosemary Palmer and Paul Schroeder have also been spurred to take action following the death of their son. Twenty-three-year-old Augie Schroeder died, along with a number of other Marines, when their amphibious vehicle hit a roadside bomb near Haditha in August 2005. His parents, who had never been very politically active, decided they had to do something to channel their grief, so they began Families of the Fallen for Change, an organization to lobby Congress to pull out of Iraq. Both Schroeder and Palmer have quit their jobs to devote all of their time to the organization, because they don't want the public to forget about the men and women who are coming home from the war in caskets."

PAUL SCHROEDER: "It's so easy for people who lose someone like this to close the door. You want it to go away. And we decided that, you know, all of these guys come back from Iraq who are dead, in the dark of night at Dover Air Force Base, and we we're not going to let that happen to our son. So we opened the door; we turned the lights on; we opened the window shades; we let the sunshine on what has happened. And basically it's that message. We took his face and put his face on this floor."

MICHELS: "As they continue to grieve, they take a bit of comfort in the fact that political activism like theirs may have played a small part in the Democratic wins in Congress this fall. But they say their work is far from done, and they worry the Democrats in Congress may not act quickly enough to end the war."

ROSEMARY PALMER: "I think they're going to say, 'Well, we're working on it.' And they can make a lot of activity and a big show of, 'We're working. We're making these plans,' but not much is going to happen. And that's what I'm worried about. I plan to keep working, you know, for the exit, by continuing to keep on the congressmen and saying, you know, 'I didn't, I didn't, you know, push to have you elected to sit there and talk about it. I want to see some action.'"

MICHELS: "On a personal level, they say they are making some slow progress in their healing, as well. This year, they were able to put up a Christmas tree, something they couldn't bear to do last year."

PALMER: "Christmas was always a big season. You know, like we always had lots of things planned. And now we have almost nothing planned. It's..."

SCHROEDER: "You have to find a new routine for the holidays. I met a woman, older woman, who lost a son in Vietnam. She was listening to me speak at some occasion, and she came up to me and put her arms around me. And I asked her -- she told me about her situation. And I asked, 'Does it get any easier?' She said, 'No, you just get used to it.' And I think that helped me turn a corner, because, 'OK, I'm used to this.'"