1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard's Death in Iraq More Than a Year Ago Was an Accident...
His Mom, Karen Meredith, Was Just Informed Last Friday...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2005, 3:35pm PT  

This item came across the AP wires as we were on our final leg back to Los Angeles yesterday. I happened to catch the original headline as "Soldier Not Killed in Action in Iraq; Kin Not Told". I was surprised and saddened, upon clicking to read the full story, to learn that the "soldier" in question just happens to have been 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard, the only child of Karen Meredith, a Gold Star Mom who we interviewed on The BRAD SHOW [MP3] and got to know a bit while in Crawford, TX.

He was killed in Iraq on Memorial Day 2004...His mother was told it was an accident only last Friday...

The Army said Saturday it knew for more than a year after 1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard's death in Iraq in May 2004 that he was not killed in action, as it initially reported. The family was not told the truth until Friday.

Ballard's mother, Karen Meredith, of Mountain View, Calif., said in a telephone interview that she is angry and will press for a full explanation.
...
"This news is stunning to me," she said. "People in the Army knew this news for 15 months, and why they couldn't be bothered to tell me the truth when this first happened and to have me go through this pain 15 months later is unconscionable on the part of the Army. It's a betrayal to my son's service," she said.
...
The 1st Armored Division, which also investigated the death, said in a written statement from its post in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Friday night that investigations had "revealed additional information of the cause" of Ballard's death. It did not mention that the investigations were conducted more than a year ago.

The full article also recalls the Army's failure to give the real story to the parents of the NFL's Pat Tillman after he had been used as a poster-boy by the Army and the Bush Administration for his sacrifice. It was more than a year after being killed in Afghanistan before Tillman's parents were given the real skinny on how their son died. One wonders, had not Meredith made a bit of a media figure of herself through her public support of Cindy Sheehan in Crawford and beyond, whether the story of the bungling of her son's death would have made a headline anywhere. Which makes one wonder just how many other families --- who have not become known to the media --- likely have similar stories of incompetencies from "the army we have."

I have been honored to wear a duplicate dog tag of 1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard --- in memory of both him and the thousands of others pointlessly killed in this ridiculous war --- since her mother gave one to us in Crawford. I was sorry to learn that there was even more reason to be troubled by his death yesterday.

Hopefully Karen's burden is made slightly easier knowing that there are thousands of us out here who do give a damn about both her, and the sacrifice that she and her son have made for this country. I think of both of them now every day...

(NOTE TO BUSH APOLOGISTS, DEAD-ENDERS AND OPPORTUNISTS: The above article is critical of the Army's bureaucratic power structure, not those who are putting their life on the line every day for your "President's" war. You can save your cynical, appalling and divisive "Support the Troops!" sloganeering and propagandizing for those who are too stupid to tell the difference between a Chinese-made car magnet on the back of your SUV and true support for the men and women of our armed forces who put their lives on the line on behalf of this country. We support them no end. We wish you'd become one of them --- if you still support this idiotic war --- instead of acting like you actually support them. If you actually did support those folks, you'd be calling for the same accountability from the same abusive and incompetent officials that The BRAD BLOG has been calling for for months on end. And may God bless America.)