- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gen. Martin Dempsey issued an apology Monday to a Gold Star mother who accused him of trivializing the fall of the Iraqi town where her son became the first Navy SEAL to die in the war.

Debbie Lee, founder of the group America’s Mighty Warriors, penned an open letter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after hearing him tell reporters last week that the imminent fall of Ramadi to Islamic State militants was “not symbolic in any way,” Fox News reported.

“The city itself is not symbolic in any way? Oh, really?” Ms. Lee wrote in her letter to Gen. Dempsey. “Are you willing to meet with me and with the families who have lost a son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, aunt, uncle, grandson or teammate?” 

“You, sir, owe an apology to the families whose loved ones’ blood was shed in Ramadi,” she wrote. “You and this administration have minimized that Ramadi could fall, now you are minimizing that it is falling, but you Sir WILL NOT minimize the sacrifice my son Marc Lee made or any of our brave warriors!”

Gen. Dempsey apologized in the form of a letter on Monday, Fox News reported.

“I’ve read your letter, and I do apologize if I’ve added to your grief,” he wrote to Ms. Lee. “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.”

But, Gen. Dempsey noted, “We are in a different fight now, with a different enemy, and with a different relationship with the Government of Iraq,” Fox News reported.

“They must determine the path and pace of this fight. That’s what I intended to convey,” he wrote.

Ms. Lee, who said the general is expected to call her by phone later Tuesday, told Fox News that she accepts the apology, with skepticism.

“I accept it,” she said. “Though I’m going to be watching, and I won’t hesitate to call him out again if I hear something that’s not right.”

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