Cindy Sheehan: America’s conscience?

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

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.

  1. a dissent
    I applaud you for being on the case as always about the xenophobia, but my god, does this not diminish her “unassailable moral credentials”? Even the quote you approvingly cite sounds all but ghost-written by Ramsey C.

    The “cancer”? Rhetoric like that is of a piece with the veiled Jew stuff. Even in the most generous interpretation, it’s remarkably crude.

    1. Crude but accurate
      I don’t like the word “cancer” either, but at least she’s talking about oil, Pax Americana and imperialism here, not the Jews. She isn’t a professional writer or politico. She’s a mom who’s kid got blown away in Iraq. I’m willing to cut some slack.

  2. When she takes to the pen…
    …she sounds a lot better:

    Why I’m camping out in Crawford, Texas
    It’s too late for our family, but why should another life be lost?


    Iwill never, ever forget the night of April 4, 2004, when I found out that my son Casey had been killed in Iraq.

    I will also never forget the day when we buried my sweet boy, my oldest son. If I live to be a very old lady and forget everything else, I will never forget when the general handed me the folded flag that had lain on Casey’s coffin, as his brother and sisters, standing behind me, sobbed.

    I think of Casey every day as I wait outside President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, determined to meet with him.

    I want to let the president know that I feel he recklessly endangered the life of my son by sending our troops to attack and occupy a country that was no imminent threat to the United States.

    And I want to let him know that millions of Americans believe that the best thing we can do – for our own security, for our soldiers and for the Iraqi people – is to bring the U.S. troops home from Iraq now.

    Just because it’s too late for Casey and the Sheehan family, why would we want another innocent life taken in the name of this ever-changing and unwinnable mission in Iraq?

    I did get to meet with Bush two and a half months after my son was killed, but I never got to say any of these things to him. I was in deep shock and grief at the time, and all I wanted to do was to show him pictures of Casey and tell him what a wonderful man our son was.

    But today, things are very different. My shock has worn off, and now I’ve got a lot of anger along with my grief.

    I’m angry because every reason the Bush administration gave for the invasion of Iraq has been shown to be false.

    The 9-11 commission’s report concluded there was no link between Iraq and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    The weapons inspectors gave up searching for weapons of mass destruction and wrote in the Duelfer report that there were none to be found.

    From the Downing Street memo, we learned that the Bush administration “fixed” intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion.

    And after every supposed milestone in Iraq – the capture of Saddam Hussein, the transition to Iraqi rule and most recently the Iraq election – things just don’t get better. U.S. soldiers and Iraqis continue to be killed in greater and greater numbers, the cost of the war skyrockets and there’s no end in sight.

    After 30 U.S. troops were killed in one week recently, the president reiterated his pledge to complete the mission of our fallen soldiers. But that mission originally was to protect the U.S. from a lethal attack by Hussein – with weapons it turns out he did not have.

    Anyway, I don’t want the president to use Casey’s memory to justify continuing this war, which will end up only needlessly killing more wonderful young men like him.

    Many people have been streaming in to Crawford to support my vigil and
    convince the president to listen to the people who want an end to this
    war. We are camping out in a drainage ditch, in 100-degree weather, but it’s worth it.

    If and when I do meet with the president this time, it will be for all of the Gold Star Families for Peace who lost children in this war, for all of the mothers and fathers and husbands and wives who are grieving and who want to tell the president to end this devastating war.

    No one else, not one more mom, should have to lose her son in Iraq.

    Cindy Sheehan is the mother of a fallen Iraq war soldier and the co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace. This was written for Progressive Media Project in Madison.

    This was carried by Knight-Ridder and Tribune papers Aug. 13

      1. A degree of slack.
        I said cutting some slack. I called her out, didn’t I? I thank you for posting the David Duke link. Yes, we anti-war types have got to take responsibility for implications of our positions, and the “flies” or “trolls” we seem to attract. As I have been arguing elsewhere on this blog.

        1. sweet geez
          I hadn’t seen this. And I just love how Gabriel Ash jumps on YOU and not the Nazi. What a pal.

          For what it’s worth, I’d urge you to stop the open comments policy.

          1. In Ash’s defense…
            one implication is that I am worth arguing with, and the Nazi isn’t.

            That’s the central dilemma of the open comments policy. When vile shit like that raises its head, do you let it go unopposed, or stoop to argue with it–and thereby paradoxically legitimize it as worth arguing with?

            1. Re Ash, I suppose. I can’t he
              Re Ash, I suppose. I can’t help but highlight his remark: “I see no Jew-baiting.” This is the man’s political credo, it seems to me. His version of “I see dead people.”

              Re countering Nazi posts, I think beyond a certain point, “stooping” is precisely what it involves. Very tough question, although ultimately “censorship” becomes a red herring. Is one supposed to allow pro-lynching comments in a discussion of the Old South? Wouldn’t that debase everyone involved?

  3. Cindy Sheehan
    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

  4. sheehan most definately be the best yea conscience of america
    Cindy Sheehan be a a smart lady.
    She’s as a saint.
    This war be so ridiculous since they (union of evil such as Bush party followers) want to turn Iraq in another America with fast food joints and be where the gas be and rule again with the corporations nearer to where the money and ruler ability be (gas and oil quicker has power over wounded, poor and where the speed and fun go accumulation of wealth be easier – we don’t actually need dinosaur oil there are over a hundred alternative fuels actually cow or pig shit methane and corn or soybeans anything burns clean fuel either whole in a furnace or as oils with right titration added up).

    They (established political aristocracy, not all, but many of them are evil greedy greeders who form alliance with bush parties walmart and activities related to) don’t want the Americans they’ve got, since were becoming too smart to want to be fight in their wars and so treat all the men in USA as expendable.

    The minds are awakening =

    The smart know theres no honor in war
    such as this.
    Theres no honor anyone unless you defend your own home as a castle –
    since to each be own and no systems make home strong except a man who defends his home.
    honor thyself and creative rights to alternative everything
    humans were meant to be more creative
    than this and they didnt liberate women either if anyone thought that with supposed freeing of Iraq

    minds are awakening to the ‘something sick and retarded’ happening where theres a wealthy cult of families who want to turn the middle east into another USA.

    Then they want to ship everybody in the current America to be over there slowly but surely so they are able to run this easier will prolly be the next step.