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« Irony | Main | Next Trillion Dollar Colonization »

Grieving Mother Demands Answers From President

March 12, 1944

WARM SPRINGS (Routers) A Minnesota woman whose son was killed in the recent Anzio offensive has demanded a private audience with President Roosevelt, and has taken up residence outside his Georgia retreat until she gets one.

Mrs. Etta Mae Hanberg, of Fergus Falls, had a son, Lawrence, who died after stepping on a land mine near the Italian village of Aprilia on January 25th. Overcome with grief, she now questions the war, and laments the apparent purposelessness of her son's sacrifice. She has set up camp outside the president's vacation retreat here, and refuses to leave until the president agrees to meet with her. Her plight has attracted many who are equally unhappy with the war, and they've established a tent city nearby.

Following a rousing speech to the assembled by Father Coughlin, in his first public appearance in many months, she was interviewed.

"I just want answers," she says, in her soft-spoken, upper Midwest manner. "Why are our helpless babies dying in Italy when it was Japan that attacked us? And I think that the president knew that the Japanese were going to attack, but let it happen so he could get rich off this war in Europe."

She is just warming up.

"The president says that Germany declared war on us, but I haven't seen any declaration of war, and I don't believe that there are any Germans in Italy. And even if there were any Germans there, who can blame them, with all of our support for Britain? If it weren't for that nasty little island, always interfering with the rights of German lebensraum and Vichy self determination, and their desire to get rid of all those Jews that are occupying their land and stealing all their money, there wouldn't be any trouble in Europe. And the way we treat our war prisoners is just a disgrace."

"I don't blame whoever planted that land mine. This president is the murderer of my son. With all due respect to the office, I think that this is all just an imperialist grab for olive oil to benefit him and the rest of his crooked business cronies. I think that Franklin Delanodamngood Roosevelt and everyone in his corrupt and bloodthirsty administration ought to be impeached, all the way down to his little dog Fala."

Sympathetic demonstrators who have gathered from all around to support her cheer at the words, with shouts of "Roosevelt lied, Larry died!" and "No blood for pesto!"

When it was pointed out that she was just one mother of many, and asked how the president could possibly meet with all of the mothers of the hundreds of thousands of American men killed in this war to date, she replied, "My child died. I'll never see him again. I have absolute moral authority here. And anyway, it's not hundreds of thousands. I think that there have been hundreds of millions of our children killed and that this lying administration is just covering it all up."

Roosevelt administration officials have pointed out that the president regrets the loss of Mrs. Hanberg's son, as he does the losses of all of the families of casualties of this war, but that he can't meet with just one mother without slighting the thousands of others who are in similar pain. But this, appropriately, doesn't assuage the grief-stricken woman.

"I have a right to see the president," she responded. "Are they trying to silence me? Are you? I have a right to be heard. I have a right to have my words broadcast across this nation, and printed in every newspaper. I have a right to this press attention. Why are you trying to deny me my rights?"

(Copyright 2005 by Rand Simberg)

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 19, 2005 01:10 PM
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Rand, I love it when you write these things.

Posted by Astrosmith at August 19, 2005 03:25 PM

Kinda puts things in perspective, huh?

Posted by kayawanee at August 20, 2005 07:30 AM

Good one Rand, though I wonder if the name Tokyo Rose might be a better one for this individual. ;)

Posted by B.Brewer at August 20, 2005 07:53 AM

The converse is even funnier:

"As Frau Mueller began her protest of her
son's death on the eastern front, an SS major gave a quick glance at a sergent's sidearm and said, "take her out back and give her 'lunch'.

[stolen from a short story that tells the alternate universe story where the germans conquer India and Gandi attempts non-violent protests with the germans. the commander tells a subordinate to take him out back and give him "lunch".]

Posted by joe at August 20, 2005 01:24 PM

How do you copyright stuff from Reuters? I don't see what you might hve written.

Posted by Bernard W. Joseph at August 21, 2005 01:19 PM

It's not from Reuters. Read it more carefully.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 21, 2005 01:20 PM

"No blood for pesto!"

Or alternatively, "No blood for olive oil!"

I agree with kayawanee: another brilliant piece that puts things in perspective.

Posted by Jim C. at August 21, 2005 10:24 PM

Anybody see the Sunday paper w/ Maureen Dowd's latest criticism of the war? She actually castigates the President for taking a vacation during a war.

I sometimes wonder what she smokes....

Posted by CJ at August 22, 2005 09:21 AM

Actually, it is fair to ask if the Italian campaign contributed much, if anything, to the defeat of Germany.

The whole thing seems to have mainly been driving by Churchill's geographic naivety and Stalin's lack of trust in the western Allies.

Posted by Duncan Young at August 22, 2005 11:35 AM

An interesting question. It certainly tied down German assets that could have been employed on the eastern front, or in buttressing the defenses in France against the upcoming invasion across the channel. Could we have won without taking Italy? Probably, but it probably would have taken longer. But instead of Italy, I could have done the piece about Tunisia, or the Phillipines, or Okinawa, or...

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 22, 2005 11:44 AM

I was thinking of doing something like this, except with a grieving Iraqi mom who lost her son in the mass of guerilla attacks that followed Bush's troop pullout.

No blood for appeasing!

Posted by Alan K. Henderson at August 23, 2005 04:10 AM

My just think.

Had the germans really achieved their goals in World War 2,
we would not be subject to pathetic whining from Mr Simberg.
No, certainly, the final solution would have ensured
that Mr Simberg would not be around to spout his
neo-con rhetoric.

Posted by anonymous at August 24, 2005 07:17 PM

Well, Mr. Anonymous, I can see why you wouldn't want to have your name attached to this vile comment. And once again you demonstrate that "neo-con" is simply the latest euphemism among the modern-day heirs of the Nazis for "Jew." (I'm not, by the way, but if I were I'd be proud of it).

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 24, 2005 07:22 PM

Well, Eric, I'll surprise you here. While roughly half of my ancestors are of Jewish descent


Mr Simberg
I believe you posted above that half your family are of jewish descent, so you should be glad the allies won over the scumbag
nazi's. Instead of lying about your ancestry, you should be
pleased the US won

Posted by anonymous at August 26, 2005 09:53 AM

I believe you posted above that half your family are of jewish descent, so you should be glad the allies won over the scumbag nazi's.

What mental deficiency would cause you to believe that I'm not glad the allies won?

Instead of lying about your ancestry, you should be pleased the US won.

I didn't lie about my ancestry. Having half Jewish ancestry doesn't make one Jewish. In order to be Jewish, one's mother must be Jewish, or one must convert to Judaism. Neither applies to me.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 26, 2005 10:11 AM

I'm sure you would have impressed Herr Eichmann with your
reasoning. They would have had no hesitation to
toss you in buchenwald.

Posted by anonymous at August 27, 2005 08:14 AM

I'm sure you would have impressed Herr Eichmann with your reasoning.

In other words, you have no coherent or rational explanation for your bizarre and unfounded comments.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 27, 2005 08:24 AM

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