Inside American Royalty’s Security Bubble


Washington, DC

The First Family Security Bubble was nearly pried open for a moment last Friday; but in the end Disneyland remained blessedly undisturbed.

On a particularly warm spring evening, Laura and Jenna Bush alighted from a squadron of black SUVs at the Borders book store in downtown Washington, D.C., right on schedule at 7:00 pm.  Flanked by Secret Service agents, they went inside to an area set up for authors to sign books – yes, sign books.  The two Bush women have co-authored a 32-page children’s book, “Read All About It,” the story of Tyrone, a youngster who is good at everything in school but reading.

In line to have her copy signed, and more importantly, to get a moment to deliver a letter to the authors, waited Gilda Carbonaro, the mother of a U.S. Marine Sergeant who died a quite terrible death in Iraq.

After nearly an hour wait, Gilda approached the table to proffer her book for a signature. 
“So that they wouldn’t see me as threatening, I made sure to introduce myself as a grade school teacher, like Jenna,” she said. 

The moment she got her signed book back, she took her letter out from within the pages of the book and extended it to Laura and Jenna.  Not 500 words long, it was laminated so it would clearly not be in something as suspicious-looking as an envelope. 

“At that moment, swooping down out of absolutely nowhere, a Secret Service agent grabbed it out of my hand,” Gilda explained.  But before she was hustled away, she extracted a promise from the younger Bush to read it.

After her brief encounter with American royalty, the member of Gold Star Families Speak Out said, “If I had the chance, I would’ve liked to ask Laura Bush, ‘What would you consider enough of a real emergency to urge your kids to enlist?  If New Jersey was invaded?  Your husband constantly tells us that all hangs in the balance in this war.  Just what would it take for your family to really risk something?”    

You may be interested to read what Gilda Carbonaro wrote to Laura and Jenna Bush.  Heaven knows they’re not likely to, inside the bubble.

Laura and Jenna Bush
c/o Borders Books
14th and F Streets NW
Washington, D.C.

April 25, 2008

Dear Laura and Jenna Bush,

As you promote your new children’s book, “Read All About It,” and advocate for literacy tonight I hope you will take but a few moments to read these heartfelt lines.

I write to you as one of thousands of parents and family members whose loved ones have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan; whose child, parent or spouse has returned blinded or deaf, armless or legless, or unable to ever move their limbs again; or perhaps have returned apparently unharmed, but with nightmares and a ticking timebomb in their minds. 

You may think this a grim postscript to an evening’s chat about a book for children, but when someone you love has been taken from you forever, or returned so terribly damaged you barely know them, it becomes foremost in your thoughts every waking moment.  You then begin to understand what is truly grim.  And, I must add, there are those among us who still carry such unspeakable pain and anger they’ve become all but exhausted.    

But many of us have felt exhaustion be replaced by an energy and a clarity of purpose we have never experienced before.  One thing that has become clear to us is an answer to the question, “How could anyone send the youth of its nation to invade Iraq?”  We see now how differently someone would answer that question if they suffered the anguish of a family member being killed as the result.   

Your children, Mrs. Bush, are safe and I am glad for you.  But I wonder, have you ever urged them to enlist in this heroic adventure?  Your husband has told us many times how important this cause is.  Your children appear well qualified, and as part of the First Family you’ve no doubt taught them the value of demonstrating leadership for the nation. 

Why, then, has the price for this war been paid only by people like my son, Marine Corps Sgt. Alessandro Carbonaro, who died May 10, 2006, eight days after being horrifically burned in an IED blast in Al Anbar Province, Iraq?   

Can you not see the simple, basic unfairness of asking others to do what you yourself are unwilling to do?  Have you drifted so far from an understanding of fundamental justice that you cannot see the contradictions apparent to so many of us? 

These are not rhetorical questions.  They are as real as the knot in our stomachs and the ache in our hearts.  It is time – and past time – that you face these questions without blinking or dodging and give us a satisfactory answer.

Most Sincerely,

Gilda Carbonaro
Bethesda, Maryland

MIKE FERNER is a member of Veterans For Peace and works part time for DemocracyRising.US



Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Jason Cone
Even Wars Have Rules: a Fact Sheet on the Bombing of Kunduz Hospital
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Marc Norton
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
David Rosen
If Donald Dump Was President
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Ronald Bleier
Am I Drinking Enough Water? Sneezing’s A Clue
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
David Yearsley
Papal Pop and Circumstance
October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?