Brave Sir Chimpy and the "Families of the Fallen".
Tears rolled down George W. Bush's cheeks. Twice, Hildi Halley handed him a tissue. Otherwise, she didn't let up on the president.
``I hold you responsible for my husband's death,'' she says she told him as they sat facing one another, alone in a teacher's lounge, their knees almost touching. ``You made a mistake, and it's your responsibility as a Christian man to end this war.''
``I'm really not here to discuss public policy with you,'' she says Bush told her at the meeting in August 2006, two months after her husband, Army National Guard Captain Patrick Damon, died in Afghanistan.
As the president rose to leave after 20 minutes, he said he hoped the visit would help the Falmouth, Maine, woman heal. Halley, 42, replied, ``What would really help my healing is if you'd start finding a way to bring our troops home.''
``Now he's dead,'' Halley, an artist, says she told Bush, no longer able to contain her anger. ``For what? I've lost my soul mate.''
``I am so sorry for your loss,'' Bush said more than once.
Their conversation ended shortly after Halley began urging Bush to end the war. ``We see things differently,'' he told her.
Halley says the encounter wasn't ``sharp,'' even with her strong words and emotions. As they parted, they shook hands, he kissed her on the cheek and gave her a souvenir presidential coin.
Another person who criticized Bush to his face was Elaine Johnson of Orangeburg, South Carolina. Her son, Army specialist Darius Jennings, died with 15 others when their Chinook helicopter was shot down near Fallujah, Iraq, on Nov. 2, 2003.
In her meeting later that month, she says, she repeatedly pressed Bush for a rationale for the war. She says he failed to deliver a satisfactory answer.
``Miss Jones, you sound a little hostile,'' Bush said, according to Jones, who was an industrial quality inspector.
``Of course I feel hostile. My only son was killed and I can't get an answer,'' Jones, 44, says she replied.
Bush moved on to a different cluster of family members in the large meeting room at Fort Carson in Colorado. As Bush departed, Jones says, she tried again.
``Could you tell me what is the mission?'' she called out. Bush didn't respond.