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Ranger’s widow ejected from Rumsfeld book signing

Post by Matt Misterek / The News Tribune on Aug. 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm with 20 Comments »
August 27, 2011 8:08 pm

Reporter Jordan Schrader, working on The News Tribune’s local news desk Saturday, reports:

Two people were removed from Friday’s Donald Rumsfeld book signing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, including the Yelm widow of an Army Ranger who blames the military for her husband’s suicide.

Security officers for the former secretary of defense escorted Ashley Joppa-Hagemann out by the arm, she said this evening. She and Jorge Gonzalez, the executive director of Coffee Strong, a Lakewood-based anti-war group that links soldiers with benefits and counseling, confronted Rumsfeld as he promoted his memoir, “Known and Unknown.”

According to an account posted today on Coffee Strong’s web site:

Mrs. Joppa-Hagemann introduced herself by handing a copy of her husband’s funeral program to Rumsfeld, and telling him that her husband had joined the military because he believed the lies told by Rumsfeld during his tenure with the Bush Administration.

Joppa-Hagemann complained about Rumsfeld’s response to her account of Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann’s multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and his death at age 25. He belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

The web site said Rumsfeld’s

only response was to callously quip, ‘Oh yeah, I heard about that.’ Despite the reply, Mrs. Joppa-Hagemann continued to lay the blame directly at the feet of Rumsfeld and the military for not providing enough care for soldiers and veterans returning from deployments in combat zones. However, within moments Ashley and Jorge were dragged from the Post Exchange by a group of 5-6 security agents and military police officers, and told not to return.

A base spokesman said the pair were causing a minor disturbance.

“Two people were quietly and peacefully escorted out of the PX after they caused a disturbance at the book signing,” public affairs officer Bud McKay said.

Joppa-Hagemann said the pair spoke calmly and weren’t trying to make a scene. She should have been allowed to finish talking to Rumsfeld, she said.

The pair did take a picture with Rumsfeld, after Gonzalez unbuttoned his shirt to reveal an “Iraq veterans against the war” T-shirt.

Joppa-Hagemann says her husband took his own life to avoid another tour in Afghanistan after Rangers pressured him to drop his plans to leave the military. As reported in a News Tribune story, she has been pushing for a ceremony honoring him.

She said Jared Hagemann believed when he enlisted he would be fighting in Iraq for “justice for 9/11” and to find weapons of mass destruction.

“All I could do was just really be happy at that moment that I got to tell Donald to his face that he was a liar,” she said in an interview this evening, “and put a face to a soldier that because of him is no longer alive.”

Leave a comment Comments → 20
  1. jimkingjr says:

    Another self-centered attention-seeker who doesn’t understand picking the right time, the right place…

  2. Thank you Ashley Joppa Hagemann, you speak for your husband and you awaken the hearts of many people. Your story tuesday pierced my heart. So many millions of people’s lives have been ruined and scalded by war, unnecessary wars, since WW2. None of these wars since at least WW2 have been self defense. The U.S. has killed millions of innocent people in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq. Those people never attacked the U.S. So why did we kill them? These were horrific deaths– burned to death, buried under buildings, shot with automatic weapons, artillery, blasted by explosives, often dying lingering deaths from infection or disease, or starvation. Most of them all weren’t even combatants, and even the soldiers never attacked america at all. This is really really screwed up, folks. End the war thing.

  3. Rumsfeld belongs in prison for lying to the American people & using the lies to kill young Americans. Bush Jr, Chaney, & Ashcroft also belong in prison for crimes against both the American people & humanity in general.

  4. Here is Ashley’s story told last Tuesday. I hope the Trib. will allow me to post this here, and I think after all she has been through, that people ought to see what we have done to all these poor folks. Her little kid was running after her, after she spoke and left the stage.

  5. bobcat1a says:

    Rummy should be locked up at Abu Ghraib.

  6. pungentsound says:

    Another self centered attention seeker? Like those Vietnam widows? This was another BS garden path for Patriots only to be duped by corporate gain. Sorry Americans.

  7. Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann – Forgive us for failing you in your hour of deepest need. May we always live worthy of your great, great sacrifice.

    Secretary Rumseld – Thank you for your service to this great nation.

  8. GoldStarMom says:

    Kudos to Mrs Joppa- Hageman for her courage in speaking out to the war criminal Donald Rumsfeld.

    As a Gold Star mother who received a condolence letter from Rumsfeld, not personally signed by him, but by an auto pen, I am thrilled that he was confronted with the truth.

    I wish the members of the former administration had to sit down with each and everyone of us gold star family members to hear our truth and to listen to how their lies changed our lives forever.

    R.I.P. Jared Hageman.

  9. Moijea: Yeah, but what about the purpose of the war? None of these countries attacked america and it was not self defense. All that killing and massive suffering and sadness, like Ashleys– all for nothing.

  10. @ jimkingjr: Where did you, or your child serve? Until you can answer that question with only the pride of a soldier, do the rest of us a favor. Shut your ignorant pie hole. Your comments are a disgrace to those that served our Nation. Thank you, Mrs. Joppa-Hageman and Mr. Gonzalez for standing up and reminding him that his behavior and his actions, had dire repercussions. You are a brave woman and a citizen to emulate.

  11. Regfool2 says:

    Easiest way I’ve found for folks to avoid being killed in unjust wars is to not join the military.

  12. There is no bigger self-centered attention seeker in that picture than Donald Rumsfeld himself. He certainly didn’t write his piece of revisionist trash for the money. He had already long since made his millions hawking cancer causing Aspartame for his friends at G.D. Searle (do some googling), and of course by being one of the key architects of the multiple illegal wars for profit that are all going on the taxpayers’ tab. Not to mention being the torture ringleader. The man is unquestionably a war criminal who should be spending the rest of his miserable existence on this earth behind bars. He has the blood of millions on his hands.

    Ashley and Jorge deserve major kudos for having the courage to stand up and speak the truth to that soulless phony. Ashley especially, doing it while also having to endure the loss of her husband.

  13. peacevoice says:

    From Another Gold Star Mom

    thank you to these brave young folks for standing up to the Liar who betrayed our soldiers and this country. There is no getting around Rumsfeld’s arrogance, in a CIVIL country he and his cronies would be on trial, not reaping money writing books about their successful hoodwinking of the US.

    My son died protecting the Iraq Survey Group as they searched for the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in April 2004- long after everyone knew they did not exist. He was in the National Guard. My son never gets to write a book, make money off it, or see his grandchildren. My family is ever saddened and changed. We and the other thousands of military families carry the burden of Rumsfeld’s betrayal.

    And he, so brave he could not speak to the widow and the vet? Where is Justice?

  14. I can’t remember anybody who moved me this much, since maybe at the Veterans for Peace convention in Dallas when Cindy Sheehan showed up and gave a speech and said she’s goin down to George Bush’s ranch and ask him “WHAT ABOUT MY DEAD SON? FOR WHAT NOBLE CAUSE did you kill my son?” And about a hundred guys went down there with her, and they all camped in a ditch there in front of Bush’s house but of course thay lyin’ scumbag never came out.

    You know why half the VFP convention left to go with Cindy? Because she loved Casey so much and it was so raw, they could not possibly misunderstand. No matter how tough they were. And I think that love shows the same way, through Ashley and I just cannot understand, where are all the other wives, all the relatives with their grief? I guess they haven’t figured out who’s to blame for their dead sons and husbands.

  15. bobbysangelwife says:

    Gotta love how everyone blames someone else for something that happened to them.
    Mr Rumsfeld is NOT responsible for this woman’s husband killing himself any more than I am responsible. This soldier took his OWN life. HE made that decision.
    HE made the decision to enlist.
    HE made the decision to NOT ETS when he had the opportunity.
    HE made the decision to NOT change his MOS to something more ‘safe’.

    I know, I know…it’s 2011 and it’s no longer cool to accept responsibility for your own actions.
    I know, I know….it’s WAY easier to place the blame on someone that didn’t know your soldier.

  16. Why was he allowed to pitch his book on federal property? I don’t know of any other FICTION writer allowed to sell books on base whenever they want. Why did the taxpayers have to subsidise his lies.

  17. bobbysangelwife says:

    Gen…you don’t pay attention much to things going on here on post do you….or perhaps you’re civilian. We have ALL kinds of people here on post that come for books signings, concerts, etc.
    Should Hulk Hogan no longer come because wrestling isn’t ‘real’?
    Should cast members from Twilight no longer come because their characters aren’t real?
    Should the other authors that come on post to sell and sign books not come because they’re fiction writers too?

    Ah, that’s right…it’s because it was Mr Rumsfeld that you’re objecting to. Somehow he was personally responsible for the direct actions of another person.

  18. slasmith says:

    Was Ashley so outraged that she refused to cash the SGLI check? If not this is just another person who refuses to walk their talk.

  19. Gen: They have book signings at the PX all the time. It is fairly common. It comes out of non-appropriated funds generated by the sale of goods.

    Why is it when someone in the military dies, we mourn them, but when someone voices their opinions about how horrible it is, we ridicule them? Shame on all of you.

  20. buzywil says:

    I guess that he is trying to do what Bush Jr., Cheney, and Rove are doing, Revising History. They are pretty good at doing that. Let’s not forget that they were at the helm when the worst terrorist happened, on their watch.

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