'My Gordon died for oil'
Socialist Worker, 28 August 2004

THE FAMILY of Gordon Gentle, a 19 year old British soldier from Pollok in Glasgow who was killed in Iraq on 28 June, launched a campaign last week demanding that all British troops leave Iraq.

Their visit to 10 Downing Street received massive publicity and shook the New Labour government, in particular John Prescott.

Rose Gentle, and her 14 year old daughter Maxine, travelled to London on Thursday of last week to hand in Maxine's letter to Tony Blair.

Maxine wrote, "My feelings are that I think you are rubbish at your job. You don't care about the British public, armed forces or anyone.

"My big brother died at the age of 18, and what for? A war over oil and money. I think that you should withdraw all of our soldiers from Iraq. After all, it's not our war, it's America's.

"We are all hurting badly, but I don't just blame Gordon's death on the Iraqis that made the roadside bomb. I blame YOU as well, because it is your fault that our soldiers are over there in the first place.

"You would not know how we all feel, because you're at home with your wife and son watching them grow up, but we will never know what Gordon would have been like in years to come.

"It is OK for you sitting there with all your money and power, ruining people's lives by the decisions you make. I cry myself to sleep most of the time because Gordon has gone and is never coming back."

The Gentles only received a letter from Blair last week, after the announcement of their plans to visit Downing Street, and seven week's after Gordon's death.

Rose Gentle said, "My son died needlessly seven weeks ago. Since that day we have not received a single message form Tony Blair.

"Then I decide to come to London, and out of the blue I get this handwritten letter from him. This is an insult to Gordon, and an insult to me and all the members of my family.

"If Blair's such a compassionate man, then why did it take him seven weeks to acknowledge that my son died fighting his dirty war?"

Deputy prime minister John Prescott-covering for Blair during his holidays-invited the Gentles in to 10 Downing Street in an attempt to pacify them. He got more than he bargained for.

Rose and Maxine handed back Blair's letter and walked out of the meeting. Rose Gentle said, "I hope they are taking me seriously because I am not finished. I walked out because Prescott was talking a lot of rubbish.

"It shouldn't even be him I was talking to. It should have been the other one. I want Tony Blair to explain to me why he's sending young boys over there to Iraq."

Maxine e-mailed Socialist Worker after our "Bring All The Troops Home!" front page last week: "I just want to say that it is time all the boys were home to their families because life is too short."

refusing to kill