They Say: Sheri Glover of Military Families Speak Out
Living in pro-Bush Texas and surrounding herself with those actively involved in the military, Glover says she lives in fear of retaliation against her and her family: Glover's husband, a Vietnam vet, is a counselor at the VA in Houston who works with victims of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her daughter, who has a four-month-old baby, could be called into Iraq at anytime. And her son-in-law, an Army Specialist, tells her he's too scared to talk about what's going on around him. Still, Glover says her fears are nothing compared to what the soldiers are experiencing in Iraq, and drastic and immediate changes must be made.
CP: Was there a single incident that prompted you to become involved in the pro-peace movement?
At first I didn't have a problem with the war. The war had already started before my daughter enlisted. I thought we'd get out quickly. But I didn't have all the information about it. I had to dig and get it. The more I learned, the angrier I became. We made a left turn from Afghanistan and went into Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9-11.
CP: What specifically angered you the most?
The Downing Street memo, the depleted uranium weaponry, Gulf War Syndrome, it's all there. The Downing Street memo is in black and white, for anyone to see. I see people who are bullies in our government and they're getting away with it. We have worked for 200 years to get where we are, and we're going backwards. I'm very proud of this country, but we're going backwards.
CP: How did you feel when your daughter first enlisted?
The way the recruiters presented it to us, I thought it was a great deal. But then I started to feel deceived. This is my only daughter. I've already lost a 16-year-old son. I'm not about to lose her for something based on lies.
CP: Your group says we need to pull the troops out now. How do you respond to critics who say that doing so will only result in chaos? That it's a problem that we created and need to stay and clean up?
I'm not sure I believe it will result in chaos. Look what's happening now. It's just as strong a possibility that the Iraqi people will respond by taking care of themselves; I'm not that sure they're so dependent on us. I don't see how we can justify staying. I believe the troops we have over there are magnets for extremists who are coming in from other countries. So you could also say that if we pulled our troops out there would be fewer insurgents. Plus, the Iraqis themselves need to bid on their own contractors and the wages. Not American contractors. That's just obscene.
CP: How does your son-in-law feel about your involvment in the pro-peace movement?
He doesn't have a problem with it. For him, he has a real concern about getting in trouble with his higher-ups. They're afraid of being retaliated against. He's already showing signs of PTSD. There's so much uncertainty around him. Over there, their hands are sort of tied and there's tape across their mouth.
CP: What about your daughter? Is she afraid to speak out?
Her husband is in Iraq, and they have a new baby. He might not ever get to see my grandchild. And she has friends going over to Iraq. When she went to a good-bye ceremony, she saw 7,000 soldiers getting ready to go over there. She said to me, "My eyes got so big." And I knew how afraid she was of going over there. She's involved with the peace movement now. But we share the same feeling as other military families who have spoken a few times: I've been afraid for my daughter, my husband, myself.
CP: You've been threatened with violence?
Texas is not any easy place to be involved against this administration. I've seen two or three things that have been unsettling. A friend had a Cindy Sheehan bumper sticker on her car and a guy pulled up right next to her yelling and flipping her off; a counter protester tried to run my daughter's shuttle off the road; and when I was in Dallas, I went into the grocery story and when I came out, my friend's tire was slashed and her "Bring Them Home Now" bumper sticker had been sliced with something.
CP: What kind of reaction are you seeing on this tour so far?
I'm not preaching to the choir anymore. New people are coming forward. There are faces out there I don't recognize. We had 1,000 people come out in Houston last night. There are more opportunities to speak now. The president is taking a plunge in the polls; the numbers are there. Bush says he doesn't watch the news or listen to the polls: the family is not in touch with the real people. It's getting nastier over there. And it's getting nastier over here, too. But we're turning the corner here. Something's happening. I can feel it.