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AMERICAN MORNING

Nonstop Violence Against U.S. Troops in Iraq

Aired August 12, 2003 - 07:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Back to Iraq right now. We want to turn to the nonstop violence against U.S. troops in that country.
Stan Goff is a military father who formed a group with other military families called Bring Them Home Now. His son is on his way to Iraq. Stan joins us live today from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Rebecca Davis has three sons in the military, one right now serving in Iraq. She disagrees. She's live in Orrington, Maine.

And good morning to both of you and thanks for your time here on AMERICAN MORNING.

Stan, I want to begin with you, take you back to the 2nd of July. This is what the president said in response to the continuing violence against U.S. troops in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring 'em on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: Those last three words, "bring 'em on," offend you, Stan.

Tell us why.

STAN GOFF, MILITARY DAD: Well, this is a man that's sitting in a 72 degree press office in the White House inviting attacks on people who are now enduring 120 degree midday temperatures, daily attacks and family separation. That, I think, is just one of the most fundamentally offensive remarks that I've ever heard.

HEMMER: Your position is to pull out of Iraq, to leave that country, almost immediately, is my understanding. You're a former Army Ranger. Are you concerned about the message that would send to the rest of the world?

GOFF: I'm concerned about the message that we're sending to the rest of the world by being embroiled in this quagmire.

HEMMER: You think at this point it's already reached that, despite the fact that it's only been a hundred days since the end of combat? GOFF: Yes, it's been a hundred days, but since the publicity stunt on the USS Abraham Lincoln, you know, we've been hearing almost weekly reports that we're turning the corner and the war is over and so forth. And as a veteran of the Vietnam conflict myself, this sounds a lot like the light at the end of the tunnel. It really has an eerie familiarity.

HEMMER: Rebecca, when you hear people like Stan talk in those words, knowing that your son is in Iraq and two others are serving in the military, how does that hit you?

REBECCA DAVIS, THREE SONS IN THE MILITARY: It makes me wonder what type of political agenda that they have behind what they're saying. If we were to bring our kids home, we'd have lost a lot of kids for nothing. And why do they want the Baath Party back into power?

HEMMER: Yes, well, Stan is a former military man. Does that make a difference to you, knowing it comes from him?

DAVIS: No. I've met other people who have been former military who have a lot of political agendas that don't necessarily have to do with the best of what's going on in the world right now.

HEMMER: Yes, so here we have two very different opinions. And, Stan, there is no draft. Your son signed up voluntarily. No one told him to do what he did. How do you defend that, knowing that your son did this on his own?

GOFF: Just because, just because we've already lost lives in a very, executing a very bad idea, does not mean we should continue to risk lives to pursue that idea. It's not getting any better. It's not wine, it's not improving with age. And my political agenda on this has to do with bringing my son out of harm's way...

HEMMER: Yes, is he aware...

GOFF: ... and my son and many others.

HEMMER: I'm sorry for the interruption. Is he aware of your activism, Stan?

GOFF: Yes, he is.

HEMMER: He is. And what is his opinion on it?

GOFF: We differed about his joining the military, but he's still my son and we still love each other and, you know, we live with these differences of opinion.

HEMMER: And, Rebecca, we mentioned one of your sons is in Iraq. Where are the other two and have you spoken to them recently?

DAVIS: One has received orders to deploy, but I'm not really at liberty to say where. And one is stationed in the United States.

HEMMER: Yes, are your sons aware of comments that people like Stan are making to leave Iraq now and to get out?

DAVIS: Yes, they are. And so are a lot of troops that I greet coming home. I greet troops on a lay, that are on a lay over when they first come back from the Middle East and I've greeted thousands of them. And I've had a lot of discussions with hundreds of them.

HEMMER: We want to wish you the best of luck...

DAVIS: They all want to finish what they've started.

HEMMER: Rebecca Davis, thanks, in Maine. And Stan Goff, Raleigh, North Carolina.

It's a free country. Two different opinions...

DAVIS: Thank you for having me.

HEMMER: ... on two different sides, very different.

Thanks to both of you.

GOFF: Thank you.

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