Cindy Sheehan, the California mother of a young man killed in Iraq, has now been camped out for ten days in a ditch down the road from George Bush’s ranch in Crawford, TX, demanding the president meet with her to explain why her son Casey had to die. She pledges she will not leave until she gets a face-to-face meeting, and will follow him back to Washington when his vacation ends if need be. Her encampment has swelled into a tent city as supporters from around the nation have converged on Crawford. On Friday Aug. 12, Bush passed right by in his motorcade on the way to a GOP fundraiser. The NY Daily News reported that Sheehan’s sign read: “Why do you make time for donors and not for me?” Bush’s black Chevrolet SUV has tinted windows, so it was not clear if he looked at her, or the growing ranks of demonstrators, or the hundreds of plain white crosses, painted with the names of the dead, they have planted.
Editor & Publisher reported Aug. 14 on a live on-the-scene phone-in report by the Lone Star Iconoclast that an unknown assailant entered the ecampment and fired a shotgun over the heads of the protesters. The Iconoclast reported that the perpetrator turned out to be an irate local landowner, and the situation de-escalated when the sheriff’s department arrived. No arrests were reported. The gunman reportedly said “We’re going to start doing our war and it’s going to be underneath the law. We’re going to do whatever it takes.” Sheehan said it was OK if the man fired his gun on his own property, so long as the bullets remained on his property as well. (We have no reason to believe the gunman was related to any organized group, but activists should be aware of the right-wing organization Protest Warrior, which boasts on its website of traveling around the country to harass anti-war demonstrations.)
Cindy Sheehan has finally brought the anti-movement to the mainstream and broken through the media blackout with genuine heroism and unassailable moral credentials. The whole nation is watching to see how this will end, and Bush’s arrogance is increasingly transparent. Sheehan was part of a group of military families who met with Bush in June 2004 in Washington state, just two months after her son was killed—but says she was hurt that Bush would not mention her son’s name or otherwise acknowledge his individual humanity. Sheehan has succeeded in giving the Iraq carnage a human face.
However, just because we are WW4 REPORT, we have to air some criticisms. Sheehan has, alas, echoed some of the anti-war movement’s unfortunate xenophobic, conspiranoid rhetoric that portrays our leaders as dupes of wily foreigners:
Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full-well that my son, my family, this nation, and this world were betrayed by George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agenda after 9/11. (OfficialWire, Aug. 11)
On other occessions she has shown a greater understanding of what is fundamentally driving the Iraq adventure. At a Dallas rally, she challenged Bush:
You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don’t tell me my son died for freedom and democracy. Cuz, we’re not freer. You’re taking away our freedoms. The Iraqi people aren’t freer, they’re much worse off than before you meddled in their country. You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine. (Online at RefusingToKill.net)
That’s more like it, thank you.
It is also our sad duty to report that the Aug. 15 rally in support of Sheehan at New York City’s Union Square was overwhelmingly dominated by the noxious International Action Center.
See our last post on Cindy Sheehan.