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UPDATED: 10:58, August 08, 2005
Soldier's mother keeps protest vigil at Bush ranch
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The mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq, Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., is camping near US president's ranch in Crawford, Texas. She's set up on a narrow strip of land between the hardtop of Prairie Chapel Road and a drainage ditch.

"I plan on staying here the entire month of August or until he comes out to talk to me," she says. Bush is spending five weeks at his ranch.

Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24, was killed in Baghdad on April 4, 2004, five days after he arrived in Iraq. An Eagle Scout who trained as a Humvee mechanic, he volunteered to help bring in soldiers wounded in an ambush. He died after his convoy came under attack.

Bush met with the Sheehan family and other families of fallen troops in June 2004 at Fort Lewis near Seattle. Cindy Sheehan has said she didn't get across to Bush how misguided she believes his policies are, so she decided to act against him.

Sheehan has been involved in protests against Bush since last year. She founded Gold Star Families for Peace, described on its Web site as made up of "families of soldiers who have died as a result of war." She helped form a political group that ran TV ads in the fall of 2004 asking people to vote against Bush. The ads were picked up by, an anti-Bush group, and were broadcast in several states.

She tried to crash a Bush fundraiser in St. Petersburg, Fla., in October. And she spoke around the country against the war, including at a protest in Washington before the election in which anti-war activists carried cardboard coffins to Arlington National Cemetery.

After Bush was re-elected, she joined protesters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington who turned their backs on his motorcade during his inaugural parade.

She said she decided to seek another audience with Bush when she heard his comments about the war last week, after a spike in American deaths. The fallen men and women "died in a noble cause," Bush said Wednesday. "Their families can know that we will honor their loved ones' sacrifice by completing the mission."

Sheehan said she wants to tell Bush not to use her son's death as a reason to continue the war, and to ask "why (Bush's twin daughters) Jenna and Barbara and the other children of the architects of this disastrous war are not in harm's way, if the cause is so noble."

She is being supported by the Crawford Peace House, which has facilitated about two dozen protests in the town since 2002.

Bush's deputy chief of staff, Joe Hagin, and national security adviser Stephen Hadley met with Sheehan about 45 minutes at her campsite Saturday afternoon, but Sheehan remained dissatisfied.

She said Hadley told her the president "really cares" about men and women in uniform. "And I said, 'You can't tell me that because I've met with him and I know that he doesn't care,' " she told CNN.

"I think they thought I'd be very impressed and intimidated that these two high-level officials came to talk to this little grieving mother and that I'd leave," she said

Source: Agencies

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