Gen. Martin Dempsey issued an apology to the grief-stricken mother of a fallen Navy SEAL after remarks he made about the Iraqi city where her son died not being “symbolic in any way.”
Marc Lee was the first SEAL to die in Iraq after being fatally wounded in the city of Ramadi. Debbie Lee, the mother of the 28-year-old Arizona native, was watching television on April 17 when she heard Dempsey remark on the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State group militants, saying the city was “not symbolic in any way.”
“The city itself is not symbolic in any way. It hasn’t been declared the caliphate or central to Iraq,” Dempsey said in response to a journalist’s question. “The issue isn’t brick and mortar. It is about defeating ISIS (Islamic State group). I would much rather that Ramadi not fall, but it will not be the end of a campaign.”
Lee, who founded the group America’s Mighty Warriors, was so stunned and angered by Dempsey’s dismissive remark that she penned an open letter to the general demanding an apology.
“'The city itself is not symbolic in any way?' Oh, really? 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?” she wrote. “You, sir, owe an apology to the families whose loved ones' blood was shed in Ramadi. 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!”
Dempsey sent an apology on April 21 after reading Lee’s letter.
“I've read your letter, and I do apologize if I've added to your grief,” he wrote. “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.
“We are in a different fight now, with a different enemy, and with a different relationship with the Government of Iraq,” Dempsey continued. “They must determine the path and pace of this fight. That's what I intended to convey.”
Lee told Fox News she accepted Dempsey’s “soft apology,” and said she was expecting to speak with the general via phone later that day.
“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.”
Photo Credit: Debbie Lee Via Daily Mail