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Iraq vet, ``He should be tried like everyone else. If he was going to get any special treatment, it should have been before now, after he came home from Iraq. That's a problem the government has to face. They are sending people away and they come back disturbed. And they are hurting not only themselves but other innocent people.''

Cotnoir was a Marine Corps ordnance man who was pulled from that duty and put into mortuary affairs after his superiors learned he works in his family's funeral home, according to the Marine Corps Times. The paper named him 2005 Marine of the Year for his work gathering and preparing the remains of slain Marines, in some cases hunting for body parts after bombings.

``Because I do it in the civilian world, everyone says it's easy,'' Cotnoir had told the Times. ``It's not. It's hard. The stories I've gained from my deployment aren't the kind of stories you share. No one gets to die peacefully in their sleep over there.''
GRAPHIC: PROUD TO SERVE: Sgt. Daniel Cotnoir of Lawrence, right, greets Sgt. Major John L. Estrada during the top enlisted leader's visit to the 1st Force Service Support Groups Mortuary Affairs unit at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, on Aug. 19, 2004. Zuma Press
LOAD-DATE: August 15, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
August 15, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 208 words
HEADLINE: Horrors of war take mental toll
BYLINE: By Brian Ballou

The images from Iraq of the charred and mutilated remains of security contractors dangling from a bridge in Falluja stunned America last year. Daniel Cotnoir - now accused of opening fire on a crowd outside his apartment - was the man who had to cut down those corpses.

As a Marine reservist in a Mortuary Affairs unit, Cotnoir collected the body parts of fellow Marines after bombings, prepared as many as 100 bodies for burial and, he told the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, handled the Falluja bodies.

Cotnoir was tapped for the mortuary unit after his superiors learned he is a mortician in his family's funeral home in Lawrence. In addition to the stresses of dealing with war-damaged bodies, Iraq itself weighed on him. After his return, he saw a counselor at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Bedford.

``It's such a mindset over there. You don't know who the good guys are. When you're over there, you're on the edge all the time. It's a roller coaster ride,'' he told the newspaper. Those comments were included in a recent study on post traumatic stress disorder among returning Iraq vets, as many as one in six of whom may suffer from it.

The study was discussed at a conference in February organized by Norfolk District Attorney William Keating.
LOAD-DATE: August 15, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
August 15, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 224 words
HEADLINE: Teen victim `lucky' to survive
BYLINE: By Marie Szaniszlo

Perhaps Daniel B. Cotnoir caught more than a glimpse of hell in Iraq.

But to Lissette Cumba's family, as the 15-year-old lay in bed last night with bullets lodged in her neck and leg, that doesn't excuse his decision to open fire on a crowded lot early Saturday, injuring the Lowell High School junior and another bystander.

``She was just lucky,'' said her cousin, who asked not to be identified because he works for a government agency. ``If the bullet had hit an artery, we could have been the ones handling a corpse.''

Cumba and a group of relatives and friends, including fellow shooting victim Kelvin Castro, had just left Melinda's Restaurant on Broadway in Lawrence about 2:30 a.m. when they noticed a figure in the window above the Edgar J. Racicot Funeral Home.

As Cotnoir waited for police to respond to his noise complaint, someone in the crowd threw something at the building.

``The second time Kelvin's mother looked, she was like, `Oh my God, he has a gun.''

The person who threw the object against the building returned and lobbed a bottle at the house, shattering the window.

``That's when he put the bullets in and pointed the gun out the window,'' Cumba said.

Cotnoir opened fire, she said, and as she scrambled into the back seat of the car she felt something warm as the blood ran down on her neck, and she realized she had been shot.
GRAPHIC: FRIGHTENING: Shooting victim Lissette Cumba recovers in her Lowell home yesterday. Staff photo by Tim Correira
LOAD-DATE: August 15, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
August 14, 2005 Sunday

LENGTH: 237 words
HEADLINE: Hub protesters stand with dead vet's mom
BYLINE: By O'Ryan Johnson

We're here for Cindy.

That was the message yesterday as about 150 protesters gathered on the Boston Common in a show of solidarity with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a dead Marine.

Sheehan is camped outside of President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, waiting for the commander-in-chief to explain to her in person why her son was killed.

``Mr. Bush can't hide forever,'' said Rose Gonzalez, whose own mother is serving with a National Guard unit north of Baghdad.

Protesters wore stickers that featured a picture of Sheehan over the words, ``I support Cindy.''

``Why did you make this war?'' asked Paul Brailsford, 89, of Ipswich, a World War II veteran of the Merchant Marines. ``Did you make it for oil? Let's get one big cheer for Cindy.''

Former Navy officer Bruce Macdonald, 58, of Billerica, a member of Veterans for Peace, just returned from Texas where he joined Sheehan.

Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., set up camp last weekend on the dusty road a few miles from Bush's ranch, and the group with her has now grown to more than 100.

Macdonald described her as ``one courageous mother, one committed woman.''

The sign he held called on the Massachusetts congressional delegation to also meet with Sheehan.

``I think if she is entitled to get answers from President Bush, she is entitled to get answers from the legislators as to why they voted in favor of a war that sent her son off to Iraq to be killed,'' Macdonald said.
GRAPHIC: HEAR US: Paul Brailsford, founding member of the Veterans for Peace, speaks during a rally at Park Street Station. The group supports Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a dead Marine who has camped outside President Bush's ranch in Texas. Staff photo by Douglas McFadd
LOAD-DATE: August 14, 2005

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The Boston Herald
August 14, 2005 Sunday

LENGTH: 374 words
HEADLINE: Change might not be good for Iraqi women
BYLINE: By Marie Szaniszlo

In a chilling irony, women may actually have fewer rights under Iraq's new, ``democratic'' constitution than they did under Saddam Hussein.

``The United States government has poured millions of dollars into democracy training for Iraqi women, and more than 1,800 Americans have died for Iraqi freedom. But it may turn out to be for Iraqi male freedom,'' said Katheryn Coughlin, program administrator for the American Islamic Congress, a nonprofit doing democracy training in Iraq.

``That's a sad return on such an enormous investment.''

On the eve of the deadline for the final draft of Iraq's new constitution, Hub Iraqis blasted attempts to replace the country's secular civil code with Islamic Shariah law, which restricts women's rights to an education, to careers and marriage partners of their choice, to divorce and to inheritance.

``It appears Islam will be a major source in the constitution,'' said Ahmed Al-Rahim of Boston, whose parents were born in Iraq and who served as adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority.

``And under Islamic law, it appears women won't necessarily be equal.''

Iraq has been governed by civil law since 1959. And that law guaranteed women most of the same freedoms their Western counterparts enjoy.

But during the past year, Shiites have applied mounting pressure to replace the civil code with Shariah, under which questions of education, work and marriage are decided by male guardians, said Coughlin.

Although many Iraqi women's groups had lobbied for a female quota of at least 40 percent of Parliamentary seats, by the time Al-Rahim left Iraq, where he worked with the constitutional committee, there was some debate whether the quota would even be 25 percent.

``The majority of women in the Assembly are just silent,'' he said. ``They really haven't spoken up.''

Their silence is troubling. Under some interpretations of Islamic law, Al-Rahim said, girls can be married off when they are as young as 9, men who divorce automatically receive custody of their children and a woman whose father dies inherits only half the amount her brothers do.

``Under many interpretations of Shariah, women have no legal identity,'' Coughlin said. ``The question is: Are they going to be treated as property or as equals?''
LOAD-DATE: August 14, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
August 13, 2005 Saturday

LENGTH: 396 words
HEADLINE: Lynch: No end in sight for U.S. troops in Iraq

American troops in Iraq face an insurgency whose limitless supply of weapons is forcing an unremitting bloodbath with no end in sight, U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch warned yesterday as he wrapped up a five-day visit to Iraq.

``Saddam (Hussein) has spent the last forty years stockpiling weapons here,'' Lynch (D-South Boston) said in a phone interview from Ramstein Air Base in Germany. ``The volume of Muslim fighters who are being urged to wage war against American troops that are on the ground in Iraq is basically inexhaustible.''

Because Iraq's borders cannot be secured, any resolution to the conflict has to be a ``political, not military'' solution, said Lynch, who will meet with reporters to discuss his trip at his South Boston home tonight.

Lynch met with more than 30 Massachusetts residents serving in Iraq, visited wounded soldiers, met with military commanders in Baghdad and visited two U.S. Marine bases - at Al Qiam along the Syrian border and Balad in northern Iraq.

Asked what he would tell the parents of Massachusetts soldiers waiting anxiously at home, Lynch said: ``I would tell the parents of those young men and women that, in my opinion, they are the very best Americans and how tremendously proud I am of their willingness to stand up for their country and to try to liberate that country.''

A wounded soldier from Fall River, thrown from his vehicle and wounded after riding over a double-stacked anti-tank mine, was just one of many soldiers who were anxious to get back to fighting, Lynch said.

``The morale here, I think, ranged from between very, very good to excellent,'' Lynch said. ``I found one of our Marines who had part of his left foot amputated who requested we assist him in getting back to his unit.''

Lynch, who serves on the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, International Relations and Emerging Threats, also said he would push Congress to expedite two new forms of technology that could help save soldiers' lives - high powered jammers that can prevent Iraqi insurgents' triggering devices for roadside bombs and a device that can detect when a mortar is shot.``It gives a warning signal to our troops inside the base, and they will have anywhere from 13 to 26 seconds to take cover,'' Lynch said.

Lynch was joined on the trip - his third to the region - by U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Tim Holden (D-Pa.).
GRAPHIC: AT THE FRONT: U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch stands with Marines at an American military base in Iraq during his recent visit to the war-torn country.
LOAD-DATE: August 13, 2005

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The Boston Herald
August 12, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 372 words
HEADLINE: Bush pressed to meet protester mom

Pressure continued to mount for President Bush to meet with the distraught mom of a soldier killed in Iraq as both Bay State senators backed the woman and scores of families joined her outside Bush's Texas home, including two from Massachusetts.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday each threw their support behind Cindy Sheehan, who has been camped outside Bush's Crawford, Texas, home since Saturday, vowing not to leave until the president meets with her about the war. Sheehan's 24-year-old Marine son, Casey, was killed five days after he arrived in Iraq.

``The president has not leveled with our troops and the American people,'' Kennedy said. ``I admire Cindy Sheehan for her courage and determination to make the president answer to her.''

Kerry spokeswoman April Boyd said: ``Senator Kerry understands the demands on Bush's schedule but hopes he will take time to meet with Mrs. Sheehan.''

Speaking with reporters at his ranch yesterday, Bush expressed sympathy but made no concessions. White House aides met with Sheehan, which she described as ``pointless.''

``She feels strongly about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes,'' Bush said. But, he said, pulling out of Iraq now would be a ``mistake.''

``One way to honor the fallen is to lay the foundation for peace,'' he said.

Sheehan was joined by soldiers' families who oppose the war, including a Hyannis mom whose son is being deployed next week and the wife and daughters of a Massachusetts National Guard sergeant from Billerica who is in Iraq.

Rose Gonzalez, whose mother is serving north of Baghdad with the National Guard, called Sheehan ``inspiring.''

``It's not too much to ask a president sending all these people into harm's way, to ask for time to speak with him,'' said Gonzalez, who will speak at a vigil on Boston Common tomorrow night to honor Sheehan. ``She lost a 24-year-old son. He was just a baby.''

Boston Mobilization organized the vigil to raise awareness and help military families who want to join Sheehan. Spokeswoman Eve Lyman said Bush should give her the courtesy of a meeting.

``I can't believe Bush has been so stupid to not come out and talk to her yet and diffuse the whole thing,'' Lyman said.
GRAPHIC: CROSS TO BEAR: Cindy Sheehan looks at a cross bearing her dead son's name at her campsite in Crawford, Texas. AP PHOTO
LOAD-DATE: August 12, 2005

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