Last week, my son left the United States for Iraq. I yelled at him, I cried, and did everything I swore I would not do on our last visit. I can hardly mention the subject without floods of tears and a sense of overwhelming insanity.

This deployment of my son terrifies me. For the past week, if I even mention the subject, I start crying. But I am getting calmer and more resolved. I finally swore to my son that I would spend every single day he was gone demonstrating, calling and writing e-mails and letters against this war — which is based on lies and the evil of using our sons for cannon fodder.

For months I have had such fear and nerves that I have lost a lot of weight and have no appetite. Every time I mentioned that my son was leaving shortly, people would say, “I am so sorry.” Not one said, “Great, he is defending our country.”

My son joined the military shortly out of college. His father had died and I became suddenly ill. He took over the father/parent role. My family was very anti-military. I still remember learning that he was a “good shot” from the summer camp he attended. I warned him that now his body belonged to them — the military.

I always answered my relatives that he would never do something against his conscience.

I fear his being killed. His wife is pregnant with their first baby, my grandchild. But even more, I am afraid he might be forced to do or see something so terrible that my beautiful imaginative, creative, loving, strong son would come home like some of my friends from Vietnam, with crazy, disturbed minds.

For sure, Bush and his friends are terrified of a draft. But how else will they keep up these two wars and keep threatening wars in Iran, etc.? How can Rumsfeld dare to talk of a 10- or 12-year war! This government believes in pre-emptive war, not in diplomacy.

I know we must not give up. We must fight to stop this dangerous policy. Our children’s lives depend on it.

My job as a mom is to protect my children, and I plan to do that. I won’t give up. I start conversations at the market, school, everywhere. My son knows and understands this. He also knows that I do not measure his bravery or patriotism by his military performance. He does not realize it, but he is a perfect example of the back-door draft. He wants me to be proud of him, but I am not. And I cannot tell him that.

The author asked that her name be withheld because she fears retribution against her son. This article is a transcription of her recent conversation with PWW contributing writer Jim Lane.