(CNSNews.com) - The mother of a soldier who was killed in combat in Iraq told an anti-war rally near the White House on Thursday that President George Bush "doesn't deserve our allegiance."
Cindy Sheehan, whose son, Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed in an ambush in Baghdad on April 4, 2004, made the remark before a gathering of about 200 people after speaking at a Democratic-sponsored, Bush-bashing hearing at the U.S. Capitol earlier in the day.
Sheehan, co-founder of the anti-war organization Gold Star Families for Peace, told participants at the rally that her appearance at the hearing was intended to remind congressmen "what their constitutional responsibilities are.
"They swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. They don't pledge allegiance to the president. He doesn't deserve our allegiance," she said to applause from the crowd.
"And he doesn't deserve to go back to Crawford, Texas," Sheehan continued. See Video"He deserves to go to prison for what he did."
Joining Sheehan onstage at the rally were other members of her organization, each of whom had lost a family member in the fighting in Iraq. "This is the happiest day I've had since my son died," Sheehan said.
During her earlier comments before more than 40 Democratic members of Congress, Sheehan said she believed before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq -- and is "even more convinced now -- that this aggression on Iraq was based on a lie of historic proportions and was blatantly unnecessary."
She added that the so-called Downing Street Memo "only confirms what I already suspected: The leadership of this country rushed us into an illegal invasion of another sovereign country on pre-fabricated and cherry-picked intelligence."
The invasion of Iraq "cost my family a price too dear to pay and almost too much to bear:" the death of her son, "who was killed to line the pockets of already wealthy people and to feed the insatiable war machine that has always devoured our young."
Sheehan then told the Democratic officials that an investigation into the Downing Street Minutes "is completely warranted and the necessary first step into righting the wrong that is Iraq and holding someone accountable for the needless, senseless and avoidable deaths of many thousands."
The meeting was hosted by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), who later delivered a letter to the White House signed by more than 560,000 people online and at least 104 members of Congress seeking "answers to questions raised by the Downing Street Minutes."
Conyers also joined the rally and told the other participants they were part of a "great, historic day." He called for "more hearings, more questions, more witnesses, more protests and more letters to the president" until the "sad, terrible war in Iraq" was ended.
Another speaker at the event was Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) who had "something to say to the mothers and fathers of America: Your job is not done. See Video
"You need to tell the Republicans who control the Congress with an iron fist: Stop the cover-up. Let's get to the truth," she said. "Congress is owned by the American people, not the special interests and the fat cats."
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), told the crowd that the afternoon forum had been "the most significant hearing perhaps in the history of the nation" because it exposed "the big lie" about the war in Iraq and encouraged her fellow Democrats "to take on the president in a real way."
As part of that effort, Waters announced the formation of the "Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus. "Some of us ran for office and were elected on a platform of peace, justice and equality," she said. "The American people are unhappy with this war, and they are expecting us to provide leadership to end this war and bring our troops home."
The final speaker at the rally was Ann Wright, a former U.S. State Department official who resigned in March 2003 to protest the invasion of Iraq.
Wright had a practical recommendation for those in attendance: See Video "We need to have an anti-war vigil, 24 hours a day, until this war ends," she said before asking others to either join her in front of the White House or support her efforts to "bring this president down."
(Cybercast News Service Correspondent Jered Ede contributed to this report.)
See Earlier Story:
Dems 'Demand the Truth' on Downing Street 'Memo' (June 16, 2005)
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