Military Widow confronts Donald Rumsfeld at Tacoma Book Signing About Husband's Suicide
This was such a poignant story in the local news here in Western Washington I need to share this Military Widow's tragic story here. Ashley Joppa-Hagemann's husband Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann an Army Ranger, who as HIS NINTH DEPLOYMENT approached, committed suicide rather go back. Ashley with a companion confronted Donald Rumsfeld at a book signing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, just south of Tacoma.
Ashley Joppa-Hagemann said on Saturday that security officers for the former secretary of defense escorted her out by the arm.
She and the executive director of a Lakewood-based anti-war group confronted Rumsfeld as he promoted his memoir, "Known and Unknown."
She had introduced herself to Rumsfeld by handing a copy of her husband's funeral program to the former defense secretary.
She told him her husband had joined the military because he believed the lies told by Rumsfeld during his tenure with the Bush administration, then later killed himself because he didn't want to be deployed for the ninth time.
"My husband joined the military, and it was his (Rumsfeld's) lies that cost my husband his life," Joppa-Hagemann said in a later interview. "And as soon as I mentioned my husband, he said, 'Oh, I heard about that.'"
That a War Criminal like Rumsfeld is free to travel the country on a book tour peddling his self serving attempt to revise and sanitize his role in a dark chapter in our nation's recent history is obscene. Rumsfeld had heard about Ashley's story before the confrontation so he had to know that she had been through numerous wrenching separations before finally losing her husband so tragically. I only hope his blood ran cold when he heard Ashley's words and saw her husband's funeral program.
Joppa-Hagemann and Gonzales say the military doesn't do enough to help soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
This has been a long festering problem that continues to claim the lives of our service members who are being asked to endure repeated deployments to our interminable wars including one that is dragging on in its 10th year with no end in sight.
"It was just horrible. And he would just cry," says Ashley Hagemann.
Ashley says her husband Jared tried to come to grips with what he'd seen and done on his eight deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"And there's no way that any God would forgive him - that he was going to hell," says Ashley. "He couldn't live with that any more."
Ashley says her Army Ranger husband wanted out of the military.
"He just wanted to know what it felt like to be normal again," she says.
It's time to care for our all of our service members at risk.
It's time to bring all the troops home.