Tags: Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | Martin Dempsey | slain | SEAL | Ramadi | mother

Gen. Martin Dempsey Apologizes to Slain Navy SEAL's Mother

Image: Gen. Martin Dempsey Apologizes to Slain Navy SEAL's Mother
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 Apr 2015 10:54 AM

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has written a letter of apology to the mother of a Navy SEAL who accused him of dismissing the sacrifice of her son's life when he suggested that the recent capture of the city of Ramadi, Iraq, by the Islamic State (ISIS) was not of symbolic significance.

"I've read your letter, and I do apologize if I've added to your grief. Marc and so many others died fighting to provide a better future for Iraq. He and those with whom he served did all that their nation asked. They won their fight, and nothing will ever diminish their accomplishments nor the honor in which we hold their service," Dempsey wrote.

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"We are in a different fight now, with a different enemy, and with a different relationship with the Government of Iraq. They must determine the path and pace of this fight. That's what I intended to convey."

Debbie Lee, whose son was killed in Ramadi in 2006, told "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that she was "pleasantly surprised" to receive the letter from Dempsey.

"This general did the right thing, stepped up to the plate," she said. "I am supposed to be having a phone call with him today."

Click for larger viewShe did, however, take issue with Dempsey's assertion that the conflict and the nature of the threat had shifted.

"I do disagree with that and we're still fighting the same enemy that we were fighting when Marc sacrificed his life and Ramadi is the capital of the largest province in Iraq, primarily the Sunni province over there and that's where it's going to make the difference."

Lee said that during her expected call with the general that she planned to "reiterate the importance of honoring our troops and the sacrifices they make in whatever combat they're in. Supporting, honoring, remembering and accepting those who gave their final breath for the freedoms we have."

Last week during a joint press conference with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Dempsey appeared to dismiss the capture of the city.

"The city itself is not symbolic in any way. It's not been declared part of the [ISIS] caliphate or central to the future of Iraq, but we want to get it back," Dempsey said. "The issue here is not brick and mortar, it's about defeating [ISIS]. I would much rather that Ramadi not fall, but it won't be the end of the campaign should it fall — we've got to get it back, and that's tragic for the people."

Following the comments, Lee penned an open letter to Dempsey saying, "My son Marc Lee was the first Navy SEAL who sacrificed his life in Ramadi Iraq Aug 2, 2006. His blood is still in that soil and forever will be."

She also appeared on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV demanding an apology.

"I was outraged, I was ticked, I was deeply hurt by that ridiculous comment," Lee said Monday.

"How insensitive and the pain that was inflicted on not only me but every mother, every father, every husband, every wife, every teammate who had a fallen brother who gave his life in Ramadi.

"It was just unconscionable and uncalled for and I'm demanding an apology. That was just over the top."

Arizona Sen. John McCain waded into the controversy, saying that Dempsey's comments sent a message to the terrorist group, "We don't care."

"He never fails to surprise me with his insensitivity and sort of willingness to knee-jerk whatever way he can to support the moral bankruptcy of this failed foreign policy of [President] Barack Obama," McCain said in an appearance on Fox News on Monday.

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Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has written a letter of apology to the mother of a Navy SEAL who accused him of dismissing the sacrifice of her son's life when he suggested that the recent capture of the city of Ramadi, Iraq, by the Islamic State.
Martin Dempsey, slain, SEAL, Ramadi, mother
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2015-54-21
Tuesday, 21 Apr 2015 10:54 AM
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