Cindy Sheehan and our leaders' poor performance

Cindy Sheehan. She reminds us what democracy is a lot about. Opposing ideas and open, passionate political discourse between those opposing ideas, especially between elected officials. Do you see any of this now on Capitol Hill? Do you see the Democrats or even moderate Republicans really opposing the neocon-Republicans or Dubya? No. What you see are a bunch of cowardly politicians willing to silently submit and surrender themselves, their ideals, and their voting-base to the Republicans and Dubya, without so much as a gripe. Like a bunch of whipped dogs. Where’s the opposition from them? It doesn’t exist. So it’s up to the citizens to be the real opposition party–to do the job our leaders are supposed to, but forget about them. Citizens such as Cindy Sheehan who obviously knew better than to wait around for a politician on the Hill to listen. She took the dusty streets, in Crawford, Texas, to voice her outrage. To express her opposition. Could she be more of a perfect example of how we need to rely more on ourselves to get our message out there–and not wait on some ready-to-cop-out politician from the Hill to even consider listening to us? Or better yet, elect better leaders who would truly represent us at all times, and not just when it was convenient for them. Democracy does not flourish when one side is silent and submissive. Remember, how are leaders are supposed to act in a democracy? Where do we find better leaders? (via Tennessee Guerilla Women and originally Huffington Post)

If democracy only works when there is open discussion of opposing ideas and policies, and if the opposition party, in this case the Democrats, has hand-cuffed, blind-folded, gagged, and hog-tied itself to a failed invasion and occupation in the Middle East, where will the expanding majority of Americans look for a representative, a spokesperson, a voice for their anger, frustration, and distrust at being misled?

The circumstances suggest it should be a Senate or House Democratic leader, a recognized authority on foreign policy constantly seen on the Sunday talk shows, certainly one of the many “leaders” lining up to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2008.

Meanwhile, the caskets keep coming home…with no public official to greet them or to respect them. They are the forgotten dead and they represent thousands more of the even more forgotten wounded.

But wait. There is someone to hold the emperor to account. There is someone willing to look ridiculous, to be mocked and made a fool of, to challenge the conventional wisdom of the court.

She, unfortunately, is not a Senator. She is not a party leader. She is not in the regular establishment Rolodex of the Sunday talk producers. Yet, she holds the highest office available in a republic, that of citizen.

And to the embarrassment of both Republican and Democratic establishments, she takes that office more seriously than they…the silent “leaders”…do theirs. When the last Marine leaves Iraq, dead or alive, she can claim more credit than them all. Because of the courage of one brave woman, she quite possible will have had more to do with finally bringing this great nation back to its senses… and to its principles.

Remember her name. It is Cindy Sheehan.

Kick the Dems out of Congress and replace them with individuals like Cindy Sheehan, who would take a stand, protest, and have a strong voice of opposition that would lead to the kind of open and spirited debate and even struggle between elected officials you would see in a democracy. Our leaders ultimately come from us–the citizenry. Who from among us would do a better job in representing us when they reached the Hill, is a question we must ask ourselves the next time we cast our ballots.

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60 Responses to Cindy Sheehan and our leaders' poor performance

  1. 1
    Joseph Hughes says:

    You’re so right, and I’m glad Cindy Sheehan is at the fore of this. She’s showing America the power of a mom.

  2. 2
    randomliberal says:

    Sheehan for president!

  3. 3
    Richard says:

    I’m all for “open and spirited debate”, I agree that it’s the cornerstone of democracy. But you have to admit that once the debate is held and the votes are counted there comes a time for the protesting to stop and the will of the people to be done.

    Most Americans are in a fairly ambiguous position about the Iraq War: we feel like the invasion wasn’t such a hot idea and we should be reluctant to go around invading countries willy-nilly, like Sudan, even though people are dying and we could do some good. But at the same time we feel that there’s much to be gained by sticking it out in Iraq as long as there’s a chance of a successful outcome.

    Mrs. Sheehan, as I understand it, wants to re-open the question of why we invaded in the first place, and she doesn’t seem to care about discussing how we get out successfully. I submit that her issues are not the issues that most Americans care about at this point, so her protest is not helpful to America or to the Iraqi people.

    Yes, she’s a mom, and yes, that makes her extra-special and very noble, but she’s not asking the right questions.

    And she’s already had one meeting with Bush, so how many does she want?

  4. 4
    alsis39 says:

    Richard, how could there possibly be a “successful outcome” when we had no business being there in the first place ? This war was always about exploiting another nation’s oil for our own uses, with “democracy,” “women’s rights” and “freedom from terrorism” as mere window dressing. Bush and his buddies were salivating to re-invade for years. Clinton and his buddies let the country starve and suffer for years.

    I submit that her issues are not the issues that most Americans care about at this point

    I think that’s a stretch, but if it were true, I’d have to say that it would point to “most Americans” as being clueless. The reasons for American soldiers’ presence overseas doesn’t wash with the relatives of a dead soldier. How could the question of what those reasons really are possibly not be worth caring about ? It’s not as if soldiers have stopped being killed and maimed since Sheehan first appeared on the scene, and it’s not as if that will stop anytime soon.

    Your attittude of “just let it go” certainly serves the careers of a bunch of craven opportunists in both parties who don’t want anybody peering too closely at their own motives for saying “yes” to the Iraq War, or their own splendid isolation from the real-world impact of the havoc being wreaked in Iraq. Your attitude of “focus only on the future” makes it all the easier for them to pull this same stunt again, elsewhere.

    The tendency to ignorantly wreak destruction and waste lives, only to wash one’s hands of it later and say, “I don’t care about why” is nothing but childishness on a national scale. It’s high time we grew up and started taking some responsibility for our history, so that perhaps we’ll have a prayer of not repeating it on an on into eternity. For whatever she can do along those lines, Sheehan should be commended.

  5. 5
    Glaivester says:

    Mrs. Sheehan, as I understand it, wants to re-open the question of why we invaded in the first place, and she doesn’t seem to care about discussing how we get out successfully. I submit that her issues are not the issues that most Americans care about at this point, so her protest is not helpful to America or to the Iraqi people.

    Why we invaded is crucial to determining how to get out. As long as the administration says that “all is well,” and won’t admit to mistakes, they are unlikely to successfully look for ways to get out.

    But you have to admit that once the debate is held and the votes are counted there comes a time for the protesting to stop and the will of the people to be done.

    Why should the protesting stop? It’s not as if the protesting is stopping the “will of the people.” As long as there is a chance of changing things, why not protest?

    What strikes me as strange here is that the Iraq War is not, as many issues are, a conservative-vs.-liberal issue. Rather, the more “paleo” segments of both the right and left are against the war while the more “neo” segments are for it.

  6. 6
    Richard says:

    The reasons why we invaded Iraq have been explained ad nauseum for the past three years, and anybody who was genuinely interested has heard them by now. I think Tony Blair put it best when he said that 9/11 forced a re-examination of the risks posed by Saddam’s regime, and in the new calculus it was no longer acceptable to allow him to remain in power, harboring terrorists like Abu Nidal, funding terrorists like the Hamas suicide bombers, openly violating and corrupting the UN-administered Oil for Food program, and refusing to conform to the requirements of the disarmament treaty he signed after his imperialist invasion of Kuwait was defeated. Leaving Saddam in power with the sanctions program coming undone meant that sooner or later we were going to face a massive attack on the US funded by Saddam and carried out by his terrorist allies.

    People who insist we invaded in order to steal Iraq’s oil hold a belief that’s inconsistent with the facts, so no fact or logic I or anyone else can offer is going to change their minds.

    We’re going to leave Iraq under either of two conditions: a) a stable, democratic government is elected that can stabilize the country and bring the terrorist insurgency, largely made up of foreigners, under control; or b) the American people turn against the war and we cut and run, leaving the country in chaos and allowing it to split apart into satellites controlled by Iran and Syria.

    I don’t want to see b), so I have to push for a) and condemn the so-called Peace Movement which is pushing us toward b).

    Rather, the more “paleo” segments of both the right and left are against the war while the more “neo” segments are for it.

    Indeed this is the case, but I’d put it more starkly: the extremist elements on both sides oppose the war, and the moderate center reluctantly supports it because it’s better than the alternative. Extremes generally operate from a commitment to high principle which often ignores practical realities of the actual world in which we live.

  7. 7
    jessica from detroit says:

    Richard,

    I am a new reader of this blog, and am only commenting because I cannot remain silent when it comes to the absolute cruelty and criminality of the war on Iraq.

    What risks were posed to the US by Saddam’s regime? Exactly who outside of Iraq was in danger of him? The US certainly wasn’t. Iraq invaded Kuwait with a nod and a wink from the US. Only afterwards did the US change their minds. Have you ever seen the photos of the infamous Mile of Death when the US massacred a hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers who were returning from Kuwait to Iraq? Just wondering. Do a google search and you will see the might of the US military and the complete and abhorrent lack or regard for Iraqi lives.

    Due to the first Gulf War (our fist anyway) and the devastating sanctions, how can you imagine that Saddam would have been able to wage war against the strongest imperial power in the world? There is no evidence to support this. In fact, the now (in)famous Downing Street Memos support the fact that Iraq was in the crosshairs of the US and Britain long before 9/11 ever happened. Even the New York Times and the Washington Post are starting to admit that the reasons for war were outright lies. If the mainstream bourgeois press that promoted this war can admit this, why can’t you?

    If people believe in self-determination, which I do, then we must vacate Iraq immediately. We cannot determine the destiny of a nation other than our own. Most Iraqis want the US out. They want us out because we brought terror to their land, we devastated their infrastructure and killed their children, we made thousands of edicts for their land that are now law, we created the instability that now reigns, and we did it for oil and for geo-political reasons.

    I just cannot understand how, when all of the facts are on the table, people can still feel this war was justifiable. It was not. It was and is a crime against humanity and a crime against the Iraqi people. People say that we went to establish democracy. How would you have felt if Cuba decided to invade the US after the 2000 elections? It would have been justifiable under some warmongers’ logic as our elections were stolen. Would you have wanted a foreign army to come in and to establish their form of democracy in the US by the force of arms, using as the excuse that Bush was selected as opposed to elected?

    White man’s burden, the only reason I can think that people still support this war, is an outdated, racist and imperialist concept. Don’t buy into it. Buy into the fact that people deserve self-determination. They deserve to live their lives without interference from other nations. Iraq NEVER had the capability of harming the US and the Bush administration knows this, and again, even the bourgeois press now admits this (as well as top military officials in the US and top British officials). If Bush, et. al., truly wanted a free Iraq, they would have ended the sanctions so that regular Iraqis could have chosen their own method for dealing with Saddam. Instead of doing that, we starved and weakened a population into a position where they were easily subjugated (even though there were valiant freedom fighters who died fighting even under these circumstances).

    If you want the terror to stop, the US must leave Iraq immediately.

  8. 8
    Glaivester says:

    “We’re going to leave Iraq under either of two conditions: a) a stable, democratic government is elected that can stabilize the country and bring the terrorist insurgency, largely made up of foreigners, under control”

    Hmmm… First, I think that the foreign component of the insurgency is exagerrated. The insurgency is mainly Iraqi Sunni Arabs.

    Second, I doubt that there will be a stable, democratic government in Iraq, which is not even a real country (in the sense of existing from a common language, ethnicity, or idea) but rather a mishmash of different groups forced together by the UK.

    Iraq cannot remain united without a strongman forcing it together. It will split up no matter how hard we try to make it a single democratic society.

    What we are really facing is either a pullout or else eventual genocide against the Sunni Arabs.

  9. 9
    Richard says:

    Jessica, I find it hard to take your comment seriously as you seem to paint Saddam Hussein as a lovable teddy bear who never harmed a flea. Talking about “self-determination” in relation to country ruled by a vicious, murderous, rapacious tyrant with the blood of a million innocents on his hands is obscene, simply obscene. You should be ashamed of yourself for putting forth such an argument. “Self-determination” , at a minimum, means a people have a legitimate government.

    Saddam’s government wasn’t in a position to wage a conventional war against the US or any other country at the time that we deposed him, but he was in a position to aid terrorists, and his prospects were looking pretty good. The official policy of the US toward Iraq since the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 was that Saddam had to go in order for the Iraqis to have a legitimate government. That was long before the widely-misunderstood Downing St. minutes were recorded.

    Glaivester, you make an interesting point: can we think of any examples of democratic counties “lacking a common language, ethnicity, or idea… a mishmash of different groups forced together by the UK”?

    There is one that comes to mind, a country settled by immigrants from all over the world, members of different religions, language groups, generations, and social conditions (some of them slaves, even) who came together and formed a democracy when the very idea of democracy was little more than a vague abstraction, and all they had in common was a fuzzy aversion to foreign taxation?

    Do you know what country I’m talking about? Right, of course you do. Now isn’t it just a little insulting to suggest that Arabs and Kurds can’t do just as well at running a democracy as we’ve done? Some would say it’s downright racist to suggest as much, as if the portrayal of the bickering Arabs in Lawrence of Arabia is an accurate picture.

    Having lived in the Arab world as a child, and having lived in a Muslim democracy as an adult, and currently living in the US in one of the most poorly-governed cities on Earth, I have every confidence that the Iraqi people are fit to manage their own affairs, given half a chance.

  10. 10
    Robert says:

    Having lived in the Arab world as a child, and having lived in a Muslim democracy as an adult, and currently living in the US in one of the most poorly-governed cities on Earth, I have every confidence that the Iraqi people are fit to manage their own affairs, given half a chance.

    Where did you live, Richard?

    I spent a year in Iran as a young man (the Muslim, as distinguished from the Arabic, world) and I share your realistic optimism concerning the prospects for self-government in Iraq.

    Odd that the people with hands-on experience in a culture have such different viewpoints than others. Or perhaps not so odd.

  11. 11
    Ampersand says:

    Robert, are you really suggesting that no one with hands-on experience with Iraq would disagree with your and Richard’s view? If so, you really need to broaden your reading or perhaps your social circle.

    Or, for that matter, that having spent a year in Iran means that you’ve had “hands-on experience” with Iraqi “culture”?

  12. 12
    Robert says:

    Robert, are you really suggesting that no one with hands-on experience with Iraq would disagree with your and Richard’s view?

    No. I’m noting that two of the people here who have had some direct exposure are also the contrarians here, where most people have not had direct exposure. Ginmar has, and I haven’t heard from her on that question; she’s the only other semi-regular I know of off-hand. (I imagine there are silent lurkers with all manner of opinions and experiences, but of course, I don’t know who they are or what they think. )

    Or, for that matter, that having spent a year in Iran means that you’ve had “hands-on experience” with Iraqi “culture”?

    No. Having spent a year in Iran means that I spent a year in Iran. I’ve seen Persian life at close quarters – admittedly briefly, from an odd POV, and admittedly at a young age. What’s your point? Iran, like Iraq, is a country about whose residents there seems to be this odd sentiment alluding that they’re incapable of democracy.

  13. 13
    Ampersand says:

    I’m noting that two of the people here who have had some direct exposure are also the contrarians here, where most people have not had direct exposure.

    Why are you noting it? What should readers infer from this observation, in your opinion?

  14. 14
    Richard says:

    Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that those who’ve lived among Arabs and Muslims might have more insight into such people’s potentials and capacties than those who haven’t, all other things being equal.

    You have to admit that the suggestion that Arabs aren’t capable of democracy smacks of neo-colonialism, if not outright racism.

  15. 15
    Nick Kiddle says:

    I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that Arabs aren’t capable of democracy, are they? What I’ve heard suggested more, and find more plausible, is that democracy can’t be imposed from without and that Arabs aren’t particularly receptive to Westerners trying to impose it.

  16. 16
    alsis39 says:

    Jessica, I find it hard to take your comment seriously as you seem to paint Saddam Hussein as a lovable teddy bear who never harmed a flea.

    Oh, bull. She said no such thing. Though Rummy certainly tried to pitch him as such, once upon a time.

    And with that, I’m done reading your drivel, Richard. Obviously there’s not going to be an original thought anywhere in it. Might as well save myself some time.

    “Direct exposure.” [snort] Whatever. I wonder how many Senators and Congresspeople that voted for this attrocity ever set foot in Iran or Iraq. It’s just as possible that “direct exposure” might have made them more reluctant to wage war, not less.

  17. 17
    Ampersand says:

    There is one that comes to mind, a country settled by immigrants from all over the world, members of different religions, language groups, generations, and social conditions (some of them slaves, even) who came together and formed a democracy when the very idea of democracy was little more than a vague abstraction, and all they had in common was a fuzzy aversion to foreign taxation?

    1) It’s ridiculous to describe the initial USA as a country which included either slaves or American Indians as part of democracy.

    2) The people who were included in the democracy actually had a lot in common.

    3) Just for the record, the Boston Tea Party was a demand for higher import taxes.

    Now isn’t it just a little insulting to suggest that Arabs and Kurds can’t do just as well at running a democracy as we’ve done?

    4) Richard, are you seriously suggesting that there are no important political differences at all between the USA in 1776 and current-day Iraq?

    Besides, it was almost 200 years between 1776 and the voting rights act, and before that time we didn’t even have real universal suffrage – so whether or not the US founders were “capable” of real democracy, they didn’t in fact create one. It’s not that I don’t think that Arabs and Kurds can do as well as we did in 1776; it’s that I’m afraid that they’ll do as badly as we did.

  18. 18
    ginmar says:

    It took us about two months on the ground to realize that there were no WMDs in the country and hadn’t been for at least a decade. If there were any doubt about that, we should not have gone to war; it’s that simple. Beyond that, the attitude in different parts on the country is amazingly different. Some parts of the country adore us; some hate us. The only way to be absolutely certain is to learn Arabic and pay attention.

    The insurgents might mostly be Sunni Iraqis but there are some shocking differences. We rolled up eighty or so guys one day. 7/8ths of the them were foreign nationals. Chillingly, two of them were Iranians in ING uniforms.

    Waht people don’t get about the situation in Iraq is that the Iraqis are facing off against their own. We’re forcing them into this position by the way we conducted the war. We have to fix what we did.

    Saddam Hussein’s casualties have been exaggerated in the press. The mass grave in Hilla contained approximately 400 bodies. The bomb that went off in Hilla this year killed one hundred and twenty five. Our warplan, by not factoring in the necessity of protecting civilians, must take some blame for those deaths. Effectively, the civilian casualty rate is double that of the soldiers, at best. Bombs kill people far more effectively than do bullets.

    Meanwhile, every day a US soldier or two dies and at least as many Iraqi civilians or police. IF we kill as many people as Saddam did for good intentions, is that somehow better?

  19. 19
    Robert says:

    It’s not that I don’t think that Arabs and Kurds can do as well as we did in 1776; it’s that I’m afraid that they’ll do as badly as we did.

    So we should leave them in 1325 instead.

  20. 20
    jessica from detroit says:

    Jessica, I find it hard to take your comment seriously as you seem to paint Saddam Hussein as a lovable teddy bear who never harmed a flea. Talking about “self-determination” in relation to country ruled by a vicious, murderous, rapacious tyrant with the blood of a million innocents on his hands is obscene, simply obscene. You should be ashamed of yourself for putting forth such an argument. “Self-determination” , at a minimum, means a people have a legitimate government.

    Why is it that anyone who did not support this war is a Saddam lover? I don’t recall callling him a big teddy bear. Saying this is an absloute failure on your part to recognize the nuances in this, and in any, political situation.

    Self-determination is of the people. I do not mean self-determination of Saddam Hussein. I mean self-determination of the Iraqi people. That is, the Iraqi people get to decide how to live their lives. Not you, not me, not our government, not Paul Bremmer. Nope. The people get to decide. As in, the masses. I do not know how to be any more clear on this point.

    You say it yourself – the Iraqis and the Kurds are perfectly capable of running their own country. That is my point. The US does not need to run their country. The US needs to get the hell out so that the Iraqi people can run their own country and put it back together. They do not need a new puppet regime. They need to run their country by and for themselves. The US props up countries only for our own political gain. Can’t you see that Iran is now in the crosshairs? How far do you think we would have let Bolivia go? How long before we take another stab at Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution?

    When we say self-determination, it is for the people to decide. Not for the US to go in and impose Western and neo-liberal politics and economics. Who are you to decide what constitutes a “legitimate government” for the Iraqi people? You are not to decide. Get out and leave them alone. If you want to provide resources, then provide the resources with no strings attached. Anyone who says I should be ashamed for promoting self-determintaion of a people does not understand the concept. I undertsand that the US cannot and should not try to spread it hegemony around the world. You want self-determination I imagine. Well, so do the Iraqi people.

  21. 21
    Richard says:

    The United States in 1789 was the most progressive nation on Earth, Ampersand, even if it wasn’t perfect in every way.

    It would be a big step forward for any nation ruled by the likes of Saddam to adopt such a government.

  22. 22
    ginmar says:

    I think Robert has in mind the same self determination that he has for women and that Henry Ford had for color choices. As long as we or they do what someone else thinks is appropriate, it’s okay.

  23. 23
    Richard says:

    As long as we or they do what someone else thinks is appropriate, it’s okay.

    That’s a pretty fair description of Iraqi self-determination under Saddam.

    OK, I think we’ve beaten self-determination to death, and we mainly agree that the Iraqi people didn’t have it under Saddam, which leads me back to my original point: rather than talking about the reasons for the war which Cindy Sheehan never supported (even though her late son Casey obviously did), what are the goals for a US exit from Iraq?

    Are we to simply withdraw immediately with no thought to Iraq’s future, or do we have to accomplish certain things or help the Iraqis accomplish certain things before leaving? And what things are those?

    (Incidentally, anybody who’s unclear about the reasons for the war would do well to read the Iraq War Resolution.)

  24. 24
    Chairm says:

    What if the Iraqi people (not the armed few) *wan*t the Coalition to stay the course?

    You know, llend all manner of assistance to the establishment of a stable government, improvements in living conditions and in liberty, protection of the rule of law and civil society, as well as asserting national borders that are secured against the hostile and aggressive regimes in Iran and Syria?

    The elections in Iraq — national but also local elections — have been greater expressions of self-determination than any that the people of that country have enjoyed since the one-party state of the Baathists was imposed upon them. The Coaliton has changed reality for the better inside Iraq and this has rippled across its borders into neighboring countries.

    What makes any critics here believe that the Iraqi people are on the side of the armed few who terrorize the Iraqi people? The are much worst things that occupation by a Coalition that is ready to lend a helping hand to people who want to stand on their own.

  25. 25
    Glaivester says:

    Glaivester, you make an interesting point: can we think of any examples of democratic counties “lacking a common language, ethnicity, or idea… a mishmash of different groups forced together by the UK”?

    There is one that comes to mind, a country settled by immigrants from all over the world, members of different religions, language groups, generations, and social conditions (some of them slaves, even) who came together and formed a democracy when the very idea of democracy was little more than a vague abstraction, and all they had in common was a fuzzy aversion to foreign taxation?

    There was a common language, English. The vast majority of people in the US spoke it.
    Other than the slaves, it is ridiculous to say that the US was “forced together by the UK.” The United States chose to unite as a single nation, and achieved self-determination by driving out the British. Iraq was deliberately unified by the British so as to keep it politically weak, and “independent” Iraq was essentially set up by the Britih in the early 20th century.
    Moreover, the colonists who set up the US were mostly in the New World by choice and chose to be part of the US; in contrast, Iraq consists of a large number of different indigenous peoples who were all forced together by a foreign power (Britain) into being a single country.

    Do you know what country I’m talking about? Right, of course you do. Now isn’t it just a little insulting to suggest that Arabs and Kurds can’t do just as well at running a democracy as we’ve done? Some would say it’s downright racist to suggest as much, as if the portrayal of the bickering Arabs in Lawrence of Arabia is an accurate picture.

    I don’t care if it’s “racist.” I don’t hold the idea that every different racial and ethnic group is exactly the same other than their looks.

  26. 26
    Lee says:

    Ginmar, as always, I appreciate it when you share your experiences when you were serving “over there”. (Sorry, couldn’t resist WWII reference, but am still sincere.)

    I may be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that Ms. Sheehan wants another meeting with Bush because in her first meeting she felt he was trying to make a joke out of everything instead of being sincerely sympathetic. I don’t doubt she wants a good explanation for the war, but I think it’s interesting that it’s also about respect.

  27. 27
    Richard says:

    Here’s what she said about her meeting with the President at the time:

    http://www.thereporter.com/republished/ci_2923921

    “I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,” Cindy said after their meeting. “I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he’s a man of faith.”

    The meeting didn’t last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son’s sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.

    While meeting with Bush, as well as Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, was an honor, it was almost a tangent benefit of the trip. The Sheehans said they enjoyed meeting the other families of fallen soldiers, sharing stories, contact information, grief and support.

    For some, grief was still visceral and raw, while for others it had melted into the background of their lives, the pain as common as breathing. Cindy said she saw her reflection in the troubled eyes of each.

    “It’s hard to lose a son,” she said. “But we (all) lost a son in the Iraqi war.”

    The trip had one benefit that none of the Sheehans expected.

    For a moment, life returned to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.

    For the first time in 11 weeks, they felt whole again.

    “That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together,” Cindy said.

    She’s clearly changed her tune.

  28. 28
    Ampersand says:

    So a private citizen, after meeting with accomplished politicians, isn’t allowed to think back on the meeting and decide that their initial reaction was mistaken or starstruck?

    I don’t think Ms. Sheehan should be held to the same standards as a professional politician or newscaster or pundit. It’s plausible that she was overawed after meeting with the President (he is, after all, The! President!! I imagine I’d be pretty awestruck, too), but with more time and reflection decided that she had been mistaken, and he wasn’t being sincere or serious when he spoke with her.

  29. 29
    Richard says:

    Glaivester wrote: I don’t care if it’s “racist.”

    I do.

    Glaivester, I’ll leave you with this: India is the world’s largest
    democracy, but it was cobbled-together by the Brits out of a very
    diverse set of states. India has 14 major languages, six religions
    (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Parsi), three racial groups,
    and no history of nationhood prior to independence. If the Muslims in
    India were a country, it would be the most populous Muslim country on
    Earth.

    India has no tradition of “strong-man” rule whatsoever, so it can be done.

  30. 30
    Richard says:

    I don’t think Ms. Sheehan should be held to the same standards as a professional politician or newscaster or pundit

    I have to confess that this question never occurred to me, but there is an element of wanting it both ways. On the one hand, we’re supposed to cut Cindy Sheehan a lot of slack because she’s a grieving mother who’s understandably emotionally upset by her sacrifice (really her son’s sacrifice, but she’s a proxy for it); and on the other, we’re supposed to react to her complaints about the war as if she’s a cool-headed foreign policy expert and seasoned military strategist with vast knowledge of the Middle East, petroleum consumption, and geo-politics.

    And if we throw in the fact that she’s not a political pro, we have to do that in such a way that it doesn’t undercut her claim on the President’s time. (Although I have to say that few lobbyists haven’t thought of things they wished they’d said after their face-time was up; that’s human nature.)

    Whew, that’s a lot of different standards and I’m not sure I can embrace all of them, so I’ll just point you at this piece of Chris Nolan’s comparing the Cindy Circus to the recent Terri Schiavo spectacle; the parallels are certainly there.

  31. 31
    Ampersand says:

    Actually, what you said had nothing to do with her critique of policy; you said that she changed her mind on what she thinks of Bush. To which I say, who cares? I’m sure you could find a less important issue if you looked hard, but whatever.

    To me, the main significance of Cindy Sheehan is that she’s gotten the attention of the media, which is not something mot people who are against the war can do. (The pro-war folks, although they whine constantly that the media is agianst them, in practice seem to have far more access to the media than anyone who disagrees with them).

    I think her general message – which is that it’s not too late to rethink why we got into Iraq, if this war was justified, if it was sold to the American people in an honest fashion, and on what terms we should continue – is worth listening to. And clearly her message is resonating with at least some portion of the American people, as well.

    I don’t have to agree with every particular she says to find her general message valuable.

    I’m interested in what “cool-headed foreign policy experts and seasoned military strategists with vast knowledge of the Middle East, petroleum consumption, and geo-politics.” Of course, people like that generally arent’ the parents of the ones doing the fighting and dying. They’re worth hearing from, but so is someone like Cindy Sheehan.

  32. 32
    Richard says:

    The pro-war folks, although they whine constantly that the media is agianst them, in practice seem to have far more access to the media than anyone who disagrees with them

    Can you name a single pro-Iraq Liberation mom who’s had the kind of media access Sheehan has enjoyed this month? I’m sure there are many of them out there, but they have to pay for commercial time to be heard. And there are a million moms in Iraq and Iran who lost children to Saddam, and nary a one on Hardball.

    As much as you admire Sheehan for her motherhood and her sacrifice, I think you’ll admit you’ve learned nothing from her, that everyting she’s said that you agree with is something you already knew.

    But let’s be clear about one thing: I am totally opposed to any effort to shut Sheehan up or to “put her in her place”, wherever that may be. I favor completing our task in Iraq, but America is a place founded on free speech and every point of view deserves an airing in every forum. Plus, I kinda think she’s helping my side, and the first rule politics is that when your opponent is shooting herself in the foot you don’t take the gun away.

  33. 33
    Chairm says:

    >> “Of course, people like that generally arent’ the parents of the ones doing the fighting and dying.”

    You would concede extra value for the views of parents whose sons and daughters are on the Iraq front, and elsewhere, in this war. I applaude that sentiment.

    Ms Sheehan has squandered whatever value one might assign her proxy voice. Maybe you, or others here, can reconcile her demands with the various assertions she has made. Charitably, in my opinion, she appears to be wantonly grieving her son by besmirching his service.

  34. 34
    Ampersand says:

    Can you name a single pro-Iraq Liberation mom who’s had the kind of media access Sheehan has enjoyed this month?

    Moms only, and only within the last month, is not the relevant basis of comparison. I will readily admit that Ms. Sheehan is the predominant “identified primarily as a mom” speaker in the media over the last 3 years, and particularly in the last month. However, that doesn’t make up for what seems to me to be an overwhelming pro-war bias over the last three years in general, and especially in the period leading up to the war (which was, as you pointed out earlier, the most important decision-making period).

  35. 35
    Richard says:

    I would submit that no parent, mom or dad, in the entire history of warfare has enjoyed the media access Sheehan has.

    And I think you would agree that it would have been hard to find parents of fallen soldiers prior to the liberation, so that’s academic.

    We see much the same thing with the 9/11 widows, where Kristin Breitweiser, an avowed enemy of President Bush, enjoys more media access than the widows on the other side (the ones that Ted Rall attacked.)

    Since Vietnam, the American media has been isolationist and pacifist, to a fault. But so what, that’s an old story and everybody knows it by now.

    But now that Sheehan has enabled the anti-war side to get the microphone, what’s to be done with it?

    Do we just immediately drop everything and race out of Iraq as soon as we can arrange transportation, or is there some vital task that needs to be completed? Like I said, this is the debate that’s currently on the table, the question of how and when.

  36. 36
    Chairm says:

    She Does Not Speak for Me: “My son died in Iraq–and it was not in vain. ”

    >> “I think her general message – which is that it’s not too late to rethink why we got into Iraq, if this war was justified, if it was sold to the American people in an honest fashion, and on what terms we should continue – is worth listening to.”

    If that was her message, it was given a great deal of attention already — particularly during the 2004 election. But her message is not as you described it.

    Rather than re-write her “message, perhaps someone who values her words can reconcile Ms Sheehan’s demands with the content and tone of her August 8th speech and her letter to ABC. What is valuable and what is being applauded?

  37. 37
    Q Grrl says:

    Those nasty, noisy peaceniks take all the joy outta war, don’t they?

  38. 38
    alsis39 says:

    I would submit that no parent, mom or dad, in the entire history of warfare has enjoyed the media access Sheehan has.

    I would submit that you need to get out more, and perhaps to stop mainlining so much FOX.

    Qgrrl, the worst of it all is the imminent danger of rapport between peaceniks and those who have relatives in the rank-and-file military. Yesterday, I was at a pro-Sheehan vigil talking to a Mom whose son is in Afghanistan, and we actually had an interesting discussion–If “interesting” does justice to stories about sending hundreds of dollars to your kid so he can buy required protection for the field;Only to find out that the best you’re going to get from your Senator is an unrelated form letter (Republican) or tips on how to write off the expense on your own tax forms next year (Democrat).

    Surely such rapport, however temporary, bodes badly for the future of the Republic, no ?

  39. 39
    Q Grrl says:

    Yeah, Sheehan wonders why our troops are dying and Ginmar tells tales of a shortage of bullets for said troops.

    Yet we all be damned if we complain… or question.

    And meanwhile Chairm and Richard sit easy in their armchairs of hyperbole.

  40. 40
    Q Grrl says:

    Oh, and I bet you that Chairm and Richard celebrate Mother’s Day without batting a single eyelash of irony.

  41. 41
    Q Grrl says:

    From Julia Ward Howe’s original Mother’s Day proclamation (1870)

    “Arise then…women of this day!
    Arise, all women who have hearts!
    Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
    Say firmly:
    “We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
    Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
    For caresses and applause.
    Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
    All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
    We, the women of one country,
    Will be too tender of those of another country
    To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

    From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
    Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
    The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
    Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
    Nor violence indicate possession.
    As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
    Let women now leave all that may be left of home
    For a great and earnest day of counsel.
    Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
    Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
    Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
    Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
    But of God -
    In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
    That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
    May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
    And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
    To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
    The amicable settlement of international questions,
    The great and general interests of peace.”

  42. 42
    Q Grrl says:

    That Sheehan. She’s such a *spoiled* modern mother with nothing but concern for herself and elevating her own grief above others. Yeah. Right.

    I especially like Howe’s line: “We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies”

  43. 43
    Chairm says:

    Re Ms Sheehan’s demands and words: What is valuable and what is being applauded here?

  44. 44
    Ampersand says:

    I wrote:

    I think her general message – which is that it’s not too late to rethink why we got into Iraq, if this war was justified, if it was sold to the American people in an honest fashion, and on what terms we should continue – is worth listening to. And clearly her message is resonating with at least some portion of the American people, as well.

    As Richard pointed out, this was not strictly accurate. But whether or not this is what she’s said, it’s true that these questions are being discussed a lot more as a result of Ms. Sheehan’s activism, and I’m happy for that.

  45. 45
    ginmar says:

    The so-called liberal media took that battle I talked about and turned it into a vaguely approving story of mercenaries. The New York Times, no less.

    That’s why Cindy Sheehan’s son died.

    Do the wingnuts all have the same playbook? The wingnuts are all saying she’s dishonoring the dead soldiers. There’s more than a whiff there of, “But you said all men are rapists!”

  46. 46
    Chairm says:

    So Ms Sheehan is not valued for the substance of what she has to say, nor even for her beliefs, but for her status as a greiving mother having brought yet more attention to matters that have already been well attended.

    She has brought a flashlight to daylight.

    The armchair of paternalistic understatement must be very comfy for those who applaude her as an empty symbol and, with a shrug and a “whatever”, dismiss the repeated assertions and the central demands that she has brought to the attention of the public.

    Democratic openness flourishes in this country. The question is what standards for public dicourse are embraced and by whom. Some point to Ms Sheehan as the example to follow.

  47. 47
    Ampersand says:

    The armchair of paternalistic understatement must be very comfy for those who applaude her as an empty symbol and, with a shrug and a “whatever”, dismiss the repeated assertions and the central demands that she has brought to the attention of the public.

    Typical Chairm – how you adore ad hom attacks. How fortunate we who disagree with you are, to have you to repeatedly tell us what lousy people we are. Please, by all means, tut-tut us some more – it’s such a persuasive approach.

    Your attack is as illogical as it is petty. I’m glad of the questions that Ms. Sheehan’s protest has made the media pay attention to, questions that in my opinion have not been given proper consideration. Because I am glad of that, however, it does not logically follow that I think her own opinions are dismissable.

    Sue me for being practical. The anti-war movement has, by and large, been correct far more than you folks, without gaining any traction for it in the media. War advocates, in contrast, have been disastrously wrong again and again. With the stakes so high, it would be ridiculous and ivory-towerish for anti-war folks to say “well, we condemn all this media coverage of criticism of the status quo, because it doesn’t perfectly reflect every word Ms. Sheehan says!”

    Finally, your eagerness to engage in personal attacks on Ms. Sheehan and myself is telling. Anything to avoid discussing the actual issues – such as the failure of the war advocates to get anything right in the past three years.

    War advocates implied, over and over, that Saddam was somehow responsible for 9/11.

    War advocates said that Saddam had WMDs and represented a threat to the USA.

    War advocates predicted that we’d be welcomed with flowers and song.

    Then, when we faced an insurgency, war advocates predicted it would be over shortly. And then they said the death of Saddam’s sons would end it. And that the capture of Saddam would end it. And again, and again…

    As thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis die for the arrogance and sheer incompetence of the war advocates, it’s fair to ask, why should the war advocates be trusted to do anything right in the future, when all the evidence suggests that they’ve been so totally incompetant in the past?

    I think Ms. Shehan’s views, even where I disagree with them in minor shadings and details, are pretty closely in alignment with my own. They certainly have a much closer relationship to reality than most of what I hear from war advocates. Ms. Sheehan, after all, doesn’t have a record of abysmal failure, dishonesty and incompetence dragging from her every statement – unlike the Bush administration.

  48. 48
    Richard says:

    Yes, it’s true that things haven’t been nearly as easy in Iraq as our war planners expected. While we were greeted with flowers and candy in Kurdistan, the reception was much more cool in the South, and decidedly hostile in the Sunni triangle. And yes, the planners didn’t anticipate the degree of foreign involvement we’ve seen, both from the governments of Syria and Iran, or from free-lance foreign terrorists. They expected the Iraqi government and military to remain intact, as fine an example of hopeless optimism as one can imagine. They also didn’t appreciate the difficulty of getting a constitution written and and host of other things. There’s no doubt that this all could have been done a lot better than it has been.

    However…we can’t change history, and Ms. Sheehan is now demanding an immediate withdrawal of all American and Coalition forces from Iraq.

    I don’t see how any decent and compassionate person can honestly wish that on the Iraqi people. It would certainly lead to an escalation of violence and the loss of many, many Iraqi lives, way out of proportion to the number of Casey Sheehans it would save.

    Apparently others disagree, so I’d like to hear from them what they see happening if the President takes Cindy Sheehan’s advice.

  49. 49
    Jake Squid says:

    They expected the Iraqi government and military to remain intact, as fine an example of hopeless optimism as one can imagine.

    Yes. That is particularly true given that we were the ones who disbanded it.

  50. 50
    Chairm says:

    Very well, let’s strip Ms Sheehan of her own words. But in a non-paternalistic way, of course.

    Maybe there is a certain logic that dictates she be patted on the hand, led to a megaphone, and applauded for merely showing up.

    The inescapable conclusion is that the wise among us must redirect attention away from what Ms Sheehan says she stands for (and against). Instead, bring more consideration, yet again, to matters of greater importance than the utterances of a figurehead. Blot out what Ms Sheehan has said and let her betters fill-in the blanks.

    That reveals a major disagreement with the post at the top of this thread. It is, dare say, paternalistic as per the thrust of Qgrrl’s reactionary comments.

    But tactics aside, to what should the public give more consideration? The very things discussed in the largest newspapers, on broadcasts across the land, in family gatherings and in meeting places all over, and in the assemblies of the elected representatives.

    Not just in Iraq and Afghanistan. But here, too.

    Ms Sheehan has a voice and has been using it for quite some time to gain attention. Agree or disagree, but why run from what she has to say?

  51. 51
    Ampersand says:

    Maybe there is a certain logic that dictates she be patted on the hand, led to a megaphone, and applauded for merely showing up.

    I wish you had the courtesy it takes to have a political discussion with someone you disagree with, without insinuating insults you lack the guts to say straight-out.

    Your thesis is that it’s impossible for me to disagree with any detail of what Ms. Shehan says without being paternalistic to her. Your thesis is so obviously ridiculous that I can’t imagine you sincerely believe it; it seems likely you’re only saying it to be insulting.

    My life is too short to spend it arguing with the sort of person who doesn’t understand how to have a civil disagreement. If you want to continue having a discussion with me, then stop with the smears and insinuations. Otherwise, go away and don’t post on my threads again.

  52. 52
    Ampersand says:

    Richard wrote:

    However…we can’t change history, and Ms. Sheehan is now demanding an immediate withdrawal of all American and Coalition forces from Iraq.

    I don’t see how any decent and compassionate person can honestly wish that on the Iraqi people. It would certainly lead to an escalation of violence and the loss of many, many Iraqi lives, way out of proportion to the number of Casey Sheehans it would save.

    Apparently others disagree, so I’d like to hear from them what they see happening if the President takes Cindy Sheehan’s advice.

    First of all, considering how often war advocates have been wrong – and badly wrong – in the past, shouldn’t you be more careful about making “it would certainly lead to” type predictions? The war advocates, as a whole, have a track record that should lead to a little humility.

    Second, it’s obvious that decent and compassionate people can honestly hope for immediate withdrawal. For example, if they believe that the American presence in Iraq is catalyzing as much or more violence than it prevents. Or if they believe 1) that American withdrawal is inevitable eventually, and 2) that there is no serious prospect for an improved situation in Iraq while the US is there keeping an unstable status quo in place by force. How many thousands of American lives is it worth to change the date of the unavoidable Iraqi collapse from 2005 to 2007?

    If the situation is never going to improve, does that mean that US forces are required to stay in Iraq forever, Richard? And how do we avoid crossing the line from “just keeping violence down” to “propping up an oppressive Islamic fundamentalist government”?

    There’s also the matter of self-determination. It seems plausible, from what polls I’ve seen, that a majority of Iraqis want the US forces to leave Iraq as soon as possible. If that’s true, I’m not sure what right we have to continue to occupy Iraq “for their own good.”

    To tell you the truth, I’m not certain what we should do. The future, to me, seems murky; it seems possible that the US is preventing violence, but it’s also possible that our presence is catalyzing violence.

    I don’t see any light at the end of this tunnel that war advocates have stuffed the US into. I don’t see how continued occupation is going to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflicts between the various parties in Iraq, nor do I buy the conservative claim that the problems are being caused entirely by outside insurgents.

    In my view, we should only use tools like invasion and occupation when we have no alternative; and failing that, we should only occupy when we can be certain that the occupation is vastly better than all possible alternatives. Neither of those conditions seem to apply to the current situation.

    Given all the uncertainties, I think the best thing to do would be to negotiate a conditional withdrawal (i.e., “if you use the army or police to crush the Iraqi Kurds, we’ll come back in and crush you,” etc), to take place in nine months or so (so that the Iraqi government would have time to prepare). Then we should put the question to a referendum of the Iraqi people. If most Iraqis want us to stay, then we should stay a year and then hold another vote. But if most Iraqis want us to leave, we should put the negotiated withdrawal plan into effect.

  53. 53
    ginmar says:

    Yes, it’s true that things haven’t been nearly as easy in Iraq as our war planners expected. While we were greeted with flowers and candy in Kurdistan, the reception was much more cool in the South, and decidedly hostile in the Sunni triangle.

    Are you out of your feckin’ mind? Seriously, are you? Nearly as easy?!

    It’s hostile in the Sunni Central. In the south, often times it’s a lovefest, but Sadr’s men still terrorize the people. They want Sharia law, so similar to Falwell law—women getting punished, men getting ignored. Let’s wait and see how long men complain about how the patriachy is so unfair there, okay?

    We didn’t send enough troops. We opened the flood gates on these people. We must protect them till they can protect themselves.

  54. 54
    Chairm says:

    [Ampersand, I have no thesis about your disagreement with Ms Sheehan. You have dodged discussion of her own words and ideas. I've adhered to that topic while others have attempted to change the topic. While I've mildly mocked the attempt to make such a change in topic, there is no ad hom attack in my comments.]

    Ms Sheehan has made assertions and propositions, and she has made her circumstances and her use of ad hom attacks and conspiracy theories central to the presentation and content of her demands. As have her supporters.

    The topic of this thread was described in the post at the top of this thread. Cindy Sheehan is the shining example that other citizens should follow and that elected representatives should emulate.

    “[Cindy Sheehan] reminds us what democracy is a lot about. Opposing ideas and open, passionate political discourse between those opposing ideas [...] Could she be more of a perfect example of how we need to rely more on ourselves to get our message out there [...] Democracy does not flourish when one side is silent and submissive. [...] Kick the Dems out of Congress and replace them with individuals like Cindy Sheehan, who would take a stand, protest, and have a strong voice of opposition that would lead to the kind of open and spirited debate and even struggle between elected officials you would see in a democracy.”

    If Ms Sheehan exemplifies the strong voice of opposition that would lead to open debate, please demonstrate how she has used that voice in forging her own message. And what is the content of that message? And the vehicle for getting it out there?

    She has not been passively awaiting others to fill-in the gaps on her behalf. For example, she gave a speech to a sympathetic audience on August 8th. She wrote, and distributed, a letter to ABC regarding news coverage of her campaign. She spoke on Hardball and on 360 about her protest and her demands. But perhaps some here believe that her friends are putting these words into her mouth and she has plausible deniability of some form.

    In this discussion, it is fair to expect that the focus would remain on her own words and her espoused ideas rather than shift to the thoughts and wishes that others might wish to substitute. Her assertions should stand or fall on their own merit.

    Perhaps, instead, it is to be conceded that she serves merely as a token, a useful tool for getting attention, and that her amplified voice has not brought credible substance to the war issues. Minus substance, her voice is less worthy of attention, unless, of course, muting her voice and diverting attention to other voices is the real value to be gained from Ms Sheehan’s spectacle. Exploiting the opportunity is merely a practical necessity in a partisan struggle for publicity and counterfeit praise.

    If that is the case, disown the overall point of the post that started this discussion. Perhaps the tokenism of Ms Sheehan is an example of the very thing that strong voices in open debate should avoid emulating as a practical solution to the cynical struggle for publicity.

    You seem to have made that concession earlier. Your charge of incivility is false by any fair measure of what I’ve said here.

  55. 55
    Pete says:

    “Why we invaded is crucial to determining how to get out.”

    True enough.

    But every informed and honest person knows why we went into Iraq, and it was obvious long before the war started. GWB wanted to plant a seed of pluralist federalist democracy right in the heart of the middle east. The theory was, and still is, that once Arabs and Muslims see that it can be done, that groups as diverse as Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds can build a democracy that respects the rights and self-government of all of those groups, that they won’t tolerate their dictators and ayatollatarians anymore.

    Losing a whole busload of sons wouldn’t give Ms. S. the right to force us to pretend like her stupid questions haven’t already been answered.

    Look, maybe Bush’s plan for the middle east is a pipe dream. Maybe it’s not worth the lives it’s cost. Maybe it was carried out badly. But he’s articulated the purpose over and over, and so have his advisors. It’s bleeding obvious to anyone who looks at a map and reads the news.

    I don’t think that Ms. S. is stupid enough to not know the answers to her questions. That means she’s asking them in bad faith. The press knows the answers too, and they show bad faith by giving her so much attention, pretending that they don’t all know the answers to her bleeding obvious questions.

    How can you make a meaningful opposition to a war, when you don’t even pay attention to the policy reasons behind the war?

    Does Ms. S. think she can bore the administration or the American people into submission, by repeating why, why, why like a three year old?

    When someone acts like a three year old, it’s simply idiotic for lecturing people for “talking down to her.” How the hell is an adult supposed to talk to another adult that for some reasoning is imitating a 3 year old?

    If Ms. S doesn’t like the Administration’s answers, then she should make that argument. Stop this bad faith, dishonest, insulting garbage about wanting “answers” from the administration. She hasn’t asked anything that the administration hasn’t answered.

  56. 56
    William Leatherwood says:

    I see a great contrast between Cindy Sheehan’s first comments about her meeting with Bush in her interview on June 24, 2004, that was just several months after her son was killed, and the latest comments she is making about that same meeting with Bush. Cindy Sheehan first said after her meeting with Bush, that she “ now knows that Bush is sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqi’s.” Then she went on to say and I quote, “ I know he’s sorry and feels pain for our loss.” She used two descriptions to describe her impressions of Bush after Bush’s meeting with her, “Sincere” and “ He’s sorry and feels pain for our loss.” Now its quite the opposite description of Bush, if you were to listen to her new interpretation of that same meeting with Bush, you would think it was two seperate meetings. Cindy Sheehan now says about that meeting with Bush that “ Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject,and he acted like it was a party.” That statement indicates just the opposite of what she originally said about Bush, in that she even used the word “sincere” in describing Bush’s demeanor in her earlier interview. The question that now remains concerning her two completely different versions of that meeting with Bush, is, which one is the true story and which one is the lie? Cindy Sheehan’s versions of that meeting with President Bush just don’t match, they are not remotely similar.

  57. 57
    RE Ausetkmt says:

    Alas, Thanks for putting this up,
    folks really need to make this a point for
    folks to understand. we know we sure do.

    BadGals Radio and the RawRootsPodcast give you our salute to
    the mother of a US Soldier Killed in Iraq – Casey, who sits
    on Prarie Chapel Road in Crawford Texas – waiting for a conversation
    with the one man, who can tell her – why her son died..

    God Bless Cindy Sheehan, as she fights her battle
    with the Man on the Mountain of Government BS.
    http://badgals-radio.com/cindy-pod.mp3

    We offer Cindy and Her Supporters this Podcast in Support
    of her Cause – and also as further inducement to
    President Bush, to Speak to Cindy.

    we figure if he has the secret service scan podcasts like
    the internet, he’ll hear our internet based vocal appeal and
    be forced to listen to hear what needs to be said -
    “Mr President, Talk to Ms. Cindy – NOW”

    the fact remains clear, he refuses to stand up to the
    reality of his words, and the facts that stand against the lies.

    Good Morning Ms. Cindy – We Love You,,
    http://badgals-radio.com/cindy-pod.mp3

    God Bless You and Guide You Cindy,
    You Will Be Victorious.

    Much Respect Alas Blog for your Contribution,

    ~RE Ausetkmt
    Mama ASID – BadGals-Radio.com

  58. 58
    G. C. Chrisite says:

    I am offering the use of this excerpt to any organization working toward peace at no charge to use as a fundraiser. It’s a one-page print and ask for a dollar donation piece. And a very easy and quick way to raise money – especially now. So if you want to pass it on, feel free. I only ask two things 1. 100% of the money go to a peace organization/effort and 2. the complete page is copied, meaning no edits or cuts except for font and spacing. Everythings fits on one page if you go 9 pt Ariel and 4 spaces.

    G. C. Christie

    Chicken Hawk & The Three-hour War
    [Excerpt from “If I Was President” ““Satire by G. C. Christie,
    copyright, 2005. cougarfreelance@sbcglobal.net]

    He knew them well, his crew. Rummy, Rove, Dick and Condi, the formidable four. Heck, they had gotten smashed together, slept on 600 thread count sheets together, had that crazy time in Vegas. But the moment was going down, the one they had trained for their whole lives. Beneath their hard-ass act were hard asses. It is a sweltering day reaching 117 in the shade. The relentless wind blows sand against the window where they sit easily on ammo cans at the Crawford ranch wearing desert camouflage and Kevlar vests – all breathing the same acrid, hallitoxic air. They welcome this fate. They are predators – in The Zone. They’ve rehearsed this war strategy countless times. Soberly all rise and repeat together, “May the force be with you,” Before fading one by one into the desolate landscape, clutching their CB’s to their pounding hearts (with the exception of Dick, who has no heart) this living torture machine heads out for a fast daylight raid.

    As the hard sun beats down on charbroiled scrubland, the exhausted President, his face dust and sweat-smeared, brings the mike to his mouth. Breaker. Breaker. This is Jester Aught Two. Day 10. I don’t know how much longer we can hold out. I get sand in my eyes every time I peek out the window. But the target’s still out there. I’m a prisoner in my own home. It’s not my fault. You know I’d love my neighbor as myself, but she just can’t afford the house next door. Don’t she know I only talk to rich people, like Billionaires 4 Bush? Don’t she know she ain’t rich? Condi, send the new servant, uh chef out to give her a hug while I hunker down here.

    Rummy, our target is them glowing fires in that makeshift campsite. Right smack dab in the middle of them sunburned cars. Word is that woman’s spoiling for a fight. And I’d give her one, too, if Rove didn’t say I couldn’t. I’m pretty sure I could take her. Pretty sure. I still might do it tonight when Karl’s on a pork rind run. Wait a minute! I could send in the Calvary. Dick, get Mom down to their stronghold! She could probably take that woman out in less than a minute without even using her hands. You don’t want to make Barbara Bush mad. No sir. When Mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy. Rummy, you said we’re using the subversive. But what if it gets stuck like that Russian subversive…Jeez! The neighbor’s bullets are whizzing by. I better battle out a plane of action now! What kind of plane should we have? Anybody? We gotta have a plane of strategy. What? Oh. Dick, I want you to confuscate a little plan and fly it over over the enemy and spray all them with some crop insecticide, maybe use PCP. Shock and awe them terrorists but good. And remind me to ask Mom if she’s allergic to insecticide. What? I can’t? Why not? Oh. But it would be so much fun………(long silence)

    Beaker, Beaker. I’m back! Whew! That was close! I tried to make a run for it. Dang she’s good. I disguised myself, but she saw right through that Giant’s cap when I snuck down a gully. And I thought for sure riding a cow would throw that woman off. What? It was too a cow, Laura. Condi, I want you to use the sports vehicle convoy as a decoy then make a run for the back 40 until you hit a highway. Pick up a Royals cap. Rove, you saddle up the goat…and see if that was a cow, would you? Condi’ll be back soon. Lord that girl can run. Things are getting desperate here, men on the ground, and we’re pinned down. Rations running low on peanut butter and jelly. And Dick just ate the last pork rind! To keep my mind off of the hunger, I started working, cutting trees for the “Leave No Tree Behind Initiative”. What? Shrubs do too count, Laura!

    Dick, you know I’m a daredevil. But the awful reality is hard. Really hard. If only we could come up with another run away bride to take the pressure off. Maybe Jenna? Barbara? Nah, they said they wouldn’t come to this godforsaken dust bowl unless I gave them each a soldier boy. I already asked, but Rummy said he don’t have any extras. War’s hell. Make a note: When Condi gets back, ask how she feels about short engagements. Backup plan – divorce Laura. What? No, Laura, I don’t promise.

    The taste of failure is bitter in my mouth. The neighbor’s bullets have killed the dog and…Holy….. Everyone! Be advised! We’re coming under heavy fire! We’re taking fire! (Crash! Screaming like a little girl) I’m hit! I’m hit! The pain! Oh God I’m dying! What? Sweat? (silence) Ok, cancel that. Karl, you know, we could herd them down the road out of sight, like we did with them wheelchair people… don’t look at me like that, Laura. A wheelchair can be a lethal weapon. Or arrest and transport them all to Sudan. Hey! Better yet! We could say they were loitering, slap a fine on them. Raise a little campaign money.

    Dick send in the Marines. Let’s kick some…oh and check that air conditioning. Rove, I’m not sure I’m gonna make it. Things gone completely to hell. But I’m hangin’ tough. Got the Sheriff to put the scare on her, say he can’t guarantee her safety after dark. But I gotta get on with my life. My quest for physical supremacy. Why? Duh, so I can be pretty. Rummy, them wus Secret Service guys keep complaining. They’re tired. They keep dropping like flies out here. They can’t even keep up running along beside me, protect me from falls. Babies. Make a note: Have Condi see if the bike’s training wheels are repaired yet. Then tell Scooter to kill the fix-it guy. Like I always say, “A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it.” Make a note, Karl, tweak the Constitution. Okay? Well, folks, that’s about it. I gotta get a nap in now. I think we can call it a win. Man! That was fun! Ya’ll, let’s do this again. Soon!

    _______

    .Respect our troops. Make armored tanks and equipment happen. Now. Not in two months! If I Was President [excerpt] by G. C. Christie, copyright 2005. Feel free to copy distribute for donatation of $1 as a quick fundraiser (my gift)cougarfreelance@sbcglobal.net

  59. 59
    Lee says:

    Is it just me, or has the public discussion about the war become like a wave tank? All these differing swells of opinion, meeting and crashing together over the airwaves, and the media just picks whichever peak has the highest amplitude to focus on. They’re still covering Natalie’s disappearance from Aruba, for Pete’s sake, with about as much air time as Cindy Sheehan. I would love to hear some coherent analysis on the interrelationships between the different anti-war and pro-war groups – I think right now there are about 5 main groups of thought – because more and more people are just tuning out from the cacophony. IMO, this growing apathy is writing those wonderfully trustworthy types on Capitol Hill a blank check to do whatever the winner of the political infighting wants, and we all know what terrific results we get when we do that.

  60. 60
    Chairm says:

    In a public display of civil discourse, three empathetic writers offer authentic letters to Ms Sheehan (and to those whose views are in alignment with hers):

    An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan

    This is a guess – an educated guess from one mother of a dead child to another – but I think things began to unravel as time went on and the reality of Casey’s complete and total and life-long and irrevocable absence hit your consciousness like a fist sinks into a gut. And the bunched knuckles kept coming back to deliver blow after unending blow.

    A message to Cindy Sheehan

    I realize how tragic your loss is and I know how much pain there is crushing your heart and I know the darkness that suddenly came to wrap your life and wipe away your dreams and I do feel the heat of your tears that won’t dry until you find the answers to your question; why you lost your loved one?

    Your face doesn’t look strange to me at all; I see it everyday on endless numbers of Iraqi women who were struck by losses like yours.

    Dear Cindy; An Open Letter to the Mother of a Fallen Hero

    Come visit with me. Our meeting probably won’t get much publicity but I can promise you an interesting discussion. I’ll invite to join us some of the many Iraqi freedom fighters with whom I’ve been working for the past several years – many of them women — as well as democracy and human rights activists from Syria, Iran, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon and other countries.

    You say you want to know, “What is the noble cause that my son died for?” They would answer…

    —-

    And a broader response to the assertions and demands of Ms Sheehan:

    A War to Be Proud Of

    At once, one sees that all the alternatives would have been infinitely worse, and would most likely have led to an implosion–as well as opportunistic invasions from Iran and Turkey and Saudi Arabia, on behalf of their respective interests or confessional clienteles. This would in turn have necessitated a more costly and bloody intervention by some kind of coalition, much too late and on even worse terms and conditions.

    One more thing

    One more thing: Your slogan has been “America out of Iraq!” and also “Israel out of Palestine!” I wonder if you understand that you are calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from their ancient homeland. I wonder if you understand that more than half of all Israelis fled from places like Tehran, Cairo and Tripoli – and they are not welcome to return. I wonder if you understand that there is no way for Israelis to get “out of Palestine” that does not include genocide.

    —–

    Meanwhile Ms Sheehan has answered:

    The mothers with whom Ms Sheehan disagrees “would be honored if their sons were killed in George Bush’s war for greed and power”, do not think for themselves (they are brainwashed); in Ms Sheehan’s opinion these mothers are “ignorant citizens” who desire the shedding of innocent blood; and they want other mothers to loose their sons and daughters; and they wish pain and heartache on others; and they want to “continue the murder and mayhem”; these mothers with whom Ms Sheehan disagrees plan to come to Crawford “to stir up trouble and provoke us into violence.”

    Ms Sheehan concludes with unknowing irony: “At this point the smears are amusing me, rather than hurting me.”