Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Extraordinary piece sent by Ken. It sucks the breath out of me to know that a band of malevolent GOP hit men could actually go after a grief stricken mother who lost her 24 year old son in Iraq. But, then, that is what they do, don't they? Everything that moves or breathes is open game for character assault and assassination where the Bush wing of GOP is concerned. Take issue with Bush and you are dead. Sounds rather like Saddam H., don't you think? LS

From Ken:

This afternoon I was in a situation where I was forced to listen to right-wing radio. If there is a hell, the damned have to listen to it there, too.

Cindy Sheehan, the mother of the soldier killed in Iraq who is demanding to talk to Bush must really be having a serious effect, because this particular radio show pre-empted another right-wing show - it was a national call in to discuss the marvelous Ms. Sheehan. Magically, every single caller was the parent of a soldier who had been killed in Iraq. They all, amazingly, disagreed with her using all the polished talk points the right is now using to defend the war - the blather about this is what it costs to spread democracy is the central idea.

If the callers really were parents of dead soldiers one's heart goes out to them. It must be devastating to have to admit to oneself that their child was murdered by the delusions of an impossibly shallow fool. One can hardly blame them for not being able to do see the ugly truth. In the end, these deaths are as full-blown stupid as the one's caused by the acts of 9/11.

That's why Ms. Sheehan's outright statements of the total waste of her son's life are incredibly heroic - even more than her act of demanding an audience with Bush. Whether she gets to see Bush or not, whether she is dragged off to the slammer, that part will be over in the blink of an eye. But for the rest of her life she will live with the horrific pain of losing her son, made infinitely worse by her ability to admit to herself that her son died for a stupid, delusional man's vanity.

Of course the right-wing smear machine is up and running, trying to say that she didn't say these things 14 months ago when her son died and therefore is not to be trusted. I hope this woman's courage is opening the eyes of a few of the zombies who voted as their preachers told them to - I hope a few more people suddenly see republicans for who they really are now. Here's a good blog piece about the story. -K

Cindy, Crawford, and the Bush Smear Machine


It's truly amazing what the human spirit can accomplish. From Gandhi's Salt March to Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail, a single person can fight a corrupt establishment and win -- when truth and justice is on his or her side.

Now, in 2005, along comes Cindy Sheehan, the California woman whose altar-boy son Casey was killed in Iraq last year. As you may have heard, Sheehan and some supporters have been camping out outside the Bush ranch in Crawford, Tex., refusing to leave until she gets a meeting with the president. Already, her plight has drawn media attention and could mark a turning point in public resistance to the war in Iraq.

That's when the right-wing smear machine jumped into its swift boats and tried to pull a "Joe Wilson" on Sheehan before her plight captivates more folks out in TV Land. Today on the Drudge Report, an item appeared describing how Sheehan already did meet with Bush 14 months ago, shortly after her son died, and -- based on a forgotten article (not even online, although now it is) in a small paper in the Sheehan's hometown of Vacaville -- she had said some seemingly glowing things about George W. Bush.

"'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.

"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."

The point, we guess, is that Cindy Sheehan is just like Kerry and Wilson and the rest of them, "a flip-flopper," and so nothing the woman says can be trusted. Frankly, other than the honor of spending a few nights in a county jail, we don't see what exactly is so expedient about Sheehan going from a conventional posture to her current, confrontational one.

But the truth is, when you look at the whole record, that Cindy Sheehan has been completely consistent on the war from Day One. Follow the timeline of statements from her and her supporters (information gathered through Nexis). To paraphase John Kerry himself, she was against the war before she was against it.

April 4, 2004: Casey Sheehan, 24, and six comrades are killed in action south of Baghdad.

April 7, 2004: The San Francisco Chronicle interviews the Sheehan family and Casey's former scoutmaster, Bob Vollmer:

Now, family and friends are left to wonder about the war that took Sheehan's life -- but not about his commitment or their support, Vollmer said.

"This can hit home -- this is stupid, what's going on," he said. "(But) there's no way we're not supporting our troops."

April 19, 2004: Story in Contra Costa Times about Sheehan and two other soldiers killed in Iraq:

But the Sheehans also hope the soldiers who have come home to be buried here also raise more questions with the public about the conflict in Iraq. They watch the news and wonder why more young soldiers must die. Like Crowley, the couple said they support the military, but not the war in Iraq.

June 24, 2004: Travel to Seattle area for visit with Bush.

July 12, 2004 (just 18 days later): Cindy Sheehan and her daughter are listed on a news release from Military Families Speak Out as willing to speak with reporters about their opposition to the war. The release states:

Through their grief, military families who have suffered unbearable loss say: "not one more family should suffer what we have suffered, for a war that should never have happened, for a war based on lies. Military Families Speak Out asks the United States Senate: How can you ask a soldier to be the last to die for a lie?"

So what happened on June 24 of last year? Well, the Sheehans have been described as deeply religious, salt-of-the-earth Americans, and when they met the president of the United States, they decided to take the high road -- a road that's apparently unrecognizable to Matt Drudge and the oppo research types who dug up the off-line article.

Read carefully their strained compliments -- that Bush wants "freedom" for Iraqis (don't most Americans?), that he feels "some pain" for a dead 24-year-old, and that he's a religious guy. "The gift of happiness" clearly has nothing to do with George W. Bush, but that the family had a chance to spend some time together outside of Vacaville, where the weight of their son's loss was surely an unbearable load.

No doubt the Sheehans grew up the same way that we and probably you did as well, taught to respect the presidency even when we bitterly disagree with the president. Some 15 1/2 months and nearly 1,000 more American deaths later, even that veneer of civility has been wiped away.

Cindy Sheehan is winning down in Texas. And this time, finally, there's nothing that the guys in the black hats can do to stop her.

Posted on August 8, 2005 06:32 PM

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