Monday, October 31, 2005

Don't Stand Behind Me...with a knife in my back...

Forum: Stand up, politicians, and end the war in Iraq
My son is gone, says Diane Davis Santoriello, but don't go hiding behind my skirt

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I am a 56-year-old schoolteacher going out to buy my first micro-miniskirt. Why? Because I refuse to let any more politicians hide behind my skirts.

Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette
Diane Davis Santoriello and husband, Neil, hold the flag presented to them at their son's funeral last year. Anthony Santoriello, 24, of Penn Hills, died August 13, 2004, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his mounted reconnaissance patrol vehicle near Khalidiyah in Al Anbar province in western Iraq.
Click photo for larger image.

Too many politicians are letting military families and Gold Star families -- those who have lost a son or daughter in war -- take the front line against this mess in Iraq. In their hearts they know this war is a mess and that lives are being lost at an ever-accelerating rate for nothing. They are afraid to take a moral stand because they don't want to look soft in future elections. They await our turning the tide for them.

Last year I was an ABB -- Anybody But Bush. I worked for John Kerry because I thought he might possess the cachet to get the rest of the world to help us out of Iraq. Well, you can be sure I will not vote for anyone in '06 who does not take a stand against this war now! For the first time in my life I may sit out an election if any of these spineless members of Congress don't start speaking out now.

I don't care how many of them meet with families of the fallen. I care about how many come out publicly against this war and put effort into pulling out.

In June, I met with U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, along with a small group of other parents who had lost sons in the war. I went into the meeting expecting to meet another insincere politician speaking against the war and blaming anyone but himself.

Diane Davis Santoriello lives in Penn Hills (dianesantoriello@ She is a member of Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families for Peace.

Instead, Rep. Jones, a conservative Republican from North Carolina, apologized for his part in allowing this war to start and to continue. Here is a Republican who is putting what he believes ahead of re-election.

We need more politicians to examine their conscience to admit their complicity in this travesty. My beloved son Neil Anthony Santoriello Jr. was a 1st lieutenant in the Army's 1st Division 34th Armored A company.

When he was killed in action near Fallujah, on Aug. 13, 2004, he was the 930th American to die in the war. Today 1,070 more families have experienced the knock on the door -- the knock that tells them the life they knew, the happiness they had, the dreams they dreamed are over forever.

We go on, but we never get over the knock on the door. Politicians read force depletion reports, casualty rates, war tempo, they do not comprehend the effect of the knock on the door.

It was an incredible mistake to go into this misbegotten war without an exit strategy. The American public is realizing the effect of a war based on a lie that was ill-conceived and poorly managed.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle must be aware of this, but they are looking for their own exit strategy.

How do they get out of the position they bought into when they accepted the false premise of the war? They are not looking out for what would best help the poor Iraqi people or our dedicated men and women in uniform, but they are looking for an exit strategy that promotes their own political future. They were not elected to serve themselves. They were elected to do what is best for this country.

I am not going to continue to stand on the front line of this battle and let them hide behind people like me. They will be held accountable for the stand they take now. If they do not get on the "Bring Them Home Now Bus" immediately, they will snot have many of us behind them in 2006.

So I am off to the mall to buy myself that micro-mini and a pair of short shorts for my 60-year-old husband, who marches beside me in this fight. Congress and potential presidential candidates beware: You will have to duck and cover somewhere else. My skirt will not be long enough nor wide enough for you to hide behind.


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