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Mother Takes Protest to Bush's Ranch

Published: August 7, 2005

CRAWFORD, Texas, Aug. 6 - The mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq led a protest march on President Bush's ranch here on Saturday, prompting the White House to send two senior officials to meet her after she was blocked by the authorities from approaching Mr. Bush's home.

The mother, Cindy Sheehan, who has made regular public appearances in opposition to the war, was accompanied by several dozen chanting antiwar activists, including other parents who had lost children to the war, as she walked down a country road toward Mr. Bush's ranch. About five miles from the ranch, they were met by the local police, who barred them from getting any closer. Ms. Sheehan said she would remain as close as possible until Mr. Bush agreed to see her.

Later on Saturday afternoon, the two senior officials - Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and Joe Hagin, a deputy White House chief of staff - went out to meet with Ms. Sheehan and several other protesters, said Trent D. Duffy, a spokesman for the White House.

They met for about 45 minutes, and Ms. Sheehan told the two men she appreciated their seeing her.

Her son, Specialist Casey A. Sheehan of the Army, a Humvee mechanic, was killed April 24, 2004, in Sadr City, Iraq. He was 24. As she walked through Crawford on Saturday, Ms. Sheehan carried pictures of him as a toddler and in his Army fatigues.

Before meeting with the officials, she told reporters, "I want to ask George Bush: Why did my son die?"

She said she was particularly upset by Mr. Bush's characterization, in a speech on Wednesday in Grapevine, Texas, of the war and the sacrifice of the families of fallen troops.

"Our men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and in this war on terror have died in a noble cause, in a selfless cause," Mr. Bush said in the speech.

The confrontation came at the end of a particularly deadly week in Iraq for American troops, and at a time when polls have shown that public approval of Mr. Bush's handling of the war has reached new lows.

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