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Published: Friday, 10/29/2004

'Fahrenheit' mom crusades for accountability over Iraq

BY STEVE EDER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Lila Lipscomb, whose son was killed in Iraq and who was featured in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, will not stop her fight for answers even after next week's presidential election. Lila Lipscomb, whose son was killed in Iraq and who was featured in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, will not stop her fight for answers even after next week's presidential election.
LISA DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

Even after Tuesday's election, Lila Lipscomb said she won't stop her crusade to hold the nation's leaders accountable for her son's death while fighting in Iraq.

Last night, Ms. Lipscomb shared the story of her son, Michael Pedersen, with about 20 people at the Happy Badger Trading Portal on Reynolds Road as she explained her support for Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry over President Bush.

"Nov. 3 is going to come and my son is still going to be dead," said Ms. Lipscomb, who was featured in Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11. "And I will still hold [the nation's leaders] accountable."

Since Ms. Lipscomb's son died in a helicopter crash in Iraq, she's been trying to make others understand the realities of the war. Her son, she said, "went with the faith that his commander in chief would not send him into harm's way over a lie."

But for Ms. Lipscomb, the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and prevailing threats elsewhere are evidence that the war wasn't justified.

"It is not about Democrat or Republican," she said. "It is about integrity."

Bush spokesman Kevin Madden said it was a difficult decision to send troops to Iraq. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, action was needed, he said.

"These are brave people putting themselves in harm's way to ensure that America is a safe place," he said.

After Ms. Lipscomb's remarks, Andrew Rice, whose brother was killed in the World Trade Center attack, spoke about his belief that President Bush misled the nation after the terrorist attacks.

"The people who have been involved and demanded answers do not want to support this man for president," Mr. Rice said.

Toledoan Janice Rogacki said she went to hear Ms. Lipscomb after attending a rally with Michael Moore earlier this week.

"The fact that she is on this crusade to find the truth is inspiring," she said.

Barry Nauts, a Navy veteran from Toledo, said Ms. Lipscomb's comments "brought home the story to a human level."

"She's experienced the pain only a mother can take," he said. "Losing a son must be the worst thing that can happen to a person. It takes tremendous courage to be willing to relive these memories to touch other people."



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