THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – The mother of a Marine killed in Iraq in 2003 shared some strong opinions with CBS4 on whether Americans should get involved in the Iraqi fighting again.

Lance Cpl. Thomas Slocum, of Thornton, was hoping to rise through the ranks of the Marines. Instead, he was in a track vehicle in Nazareah when his parents say a rocket-propelled grenade killed him.

He was among the nearly 4,500 Americans who died in the fight to get rid of Saddam Hussein and create a peaceful Iraq.

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Now the U.S. presence is gone and Iraq is at war with itself. That has several people looking back on the American effort.

“Was your son’s death worth it?” CBS4’s Howard Nathan asked Theresa S. Cooper, Slocum’s mother.

“I think we needed to do what we had to do at the time,” she said.

News of her son’s death was certainly a nightmare, but as long as our troops are not there now Cooper no longer has the emotions she felt when Americans were in harm’s way.

Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Slocum (credit: CBS)

Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Slocum (credit: CBS)

Slocum was the first Coloradan to die in that war, and like many Americans she and her husband Stan, Slocum’s stepfather, felt that the U.S. stayed involved for too long.

“So was it a waste for Tommy to be there and the 4,000 that we lost? No,” Stan Cooper said. “I think we had a mission that was right to start with. It kind of fell apart, and, I think, for political reasons we got out.”

Meanwhile, as Iraqi religious factions fight the Coopers believe Americans have no business getting involved again.

“It’s religious. And it’s just not something I think we should be involved with at all. It’s not threatening us or our people,” Theresa said.

The Coopers said if you ask military families, most of them will say the same thing — that their son or daughter died doing what they believed was right and they did not die in vain.


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