I just posted an article to The Watch Alert archive concerning Cindy Sheehan. I’ve been watching Cindy Sheehan’s protest outside of President Bush’s ranch in Texas with great interest. This article finally compelled me to comment on this.
So far Sheehan’s protest has been informative concerning the dynamic of American culture and politics. For instance, every statement by the Bush Administration in regard to Ms. Sheehan has been hyperbole, followed by cliche’d statements about how her son died for a noble cause and the American public should support its troops. The exact same message is parroted in the Right-leaning press. In the mainstream press, in every article I’ve read that has tried to include a counterpoint to Ms. Sheehan’s views, the counterpoint has always come from some Right-Wing think-tank spouting typical party-line claptrap about how Ms. Sheehan is undermining our efforts in Iraq and either directly or indirectly asserting that this means she does not support the troops. The so-called Left, of course, thinks Cindy Sheehan is great.
Here’s what I think.
The Right spins everything regarding Cindy Sheehan back to the same tired argument; those who disagree with or protest against the war in Iraq are unpatriotic and are not supporting our troops. It’s all spin, of course. I truly cannot believe that they really, honestly imagine that you can’t be against the military action our troops are ordered to carry out without being against the troops themselves. They try to make their political base believe that people are practically spitting on returning troops like some people did during the Vietnam War (to my knowledge, nothing of the sort has happened).
But Cindy Sheehan is not protesting against our troops. She’s protesting against the war itself. Her son, Casey, died in Iraq; not because he believed in the conflict, but because he believed in fulfilling his duty, and he did so at the cost of his life. To date no one has been able to fully explain to the American public why soldiers like Casey are in Iraq in the first place. And don’t throw that crap in my face about Saddam being a bad man. There are a lot of bad men in the world, and the morally superior Right never once asked that the United States military stop the slaughter of civilians in Rwanda or the Durfur region. In fact, when the Serbs were attempting genocide against Muslims in Bosnia, the Right uniformly chanted “No war for Monica!” when President Clinton took action to intervene. I can only guess that Bosnia didn’t have enough oil for the Republicans’ supporters to think it was justified. That hypocrisy continues to this day. Mugabe, anyone?
I realize that it seems that I’m getting off-track here, but I’m not. This stuff is all tangled up together. This myth that you can’t be against a war without being against the troops themselves is one of the reasons The Right hates Cindy Sheehan so. You can take the vilest human being in the world and stand him up in front of the population for them to spit upon him and they will do so, but if you wrap him in an American flag it’s suddenly anti-patriotic to suggest that this same guy is anything less than good and moral.
That’s what they’ve done with this war; they’ve wrapped it up in the American flag. So that’s the lense they see Cindy Sheehan through. She’s not against something or someone that’s wrong. She’s against the United States, its troops and our very democracy because The Right has wrapped the Iraq war tightly in the American flag and dared anyone to be critical of it. In the scary black and white world of the Republican Neo-Con, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan supported President Bush because he went to Iraq as ordered; Cindy Sheehan did not support her son, Casey, because she did not blindly support the President as she was supposed to.
The irony of this entire situation is that it is probably President Bush himself who finally pushed Cindy Sheehan into being an anti-war activist. In her first meeting with Bush, in which she was part of a group of mothers who were allowed to meet with the President, Bush would not look at pictures Casey. When she tried to talk about Casey on a personal level, Bush would deflect her and change the dialogue. He also wouldn’t refer to Casey by name, instead repeatedly referring to him as “your loved one,” and apparently he didn’t know whether Casey was male or female.
Now, I don’t expect the President of the United States to remember the names and sexes of every soldier killed in combat, but President Bush showed no interest whatsoever in Casey Sheehan while standing before his grieving mother; a mother grieving a son who died in a conflict that Bush himself initiated, which facts have born out was based on lies, misinformation and the Administration’s eagerness to fix facts to suit their own agenda.
It breaks my heart as an American to see how Cindy Sheehan is being demonized in the Right-Wing press, that our country and our democracy has devolved to a point where these worthless dogs run wild in the proverbial streets. All I keep thinking about is something someone asked about the Bush family; if the war in Iraq is such a noble and holy cause, why aren’t President Bush’s daughters, Jenna and Barbara, in uniform? One has to wonder how many of the Right-Wing talking heads like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have children in Iraq. I imagine the number is pitifully low. As such, I believe that Cindy Sheehan has more of a right to speak on the issue than any of them.
– Army Spc. Casey Sheehan
(Note: Non-political. This a memorial page on the Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom web site. This web site is for remembering fallen soldiers only. It is not a political forum.)
Media Coverage from The Left
The Smearing of Cindy Sheehan
“Republicans are now accusing Cindy Sheehan of being motivated by ‘hate’ and ‘anger’ for wanting the war in Iraq to end.”
AUDIO: O’Reilly and Malkin Smear Cindy Sheehan
“If you don’t like what the mother of a fallen soldier has to say, what do you do? Smear her!”
@ Think Progress
Cindy Sheehan Draws Tears of Support in Crawford
“She will not leave until they put her in jail, until she sees the President, or until he leaves Crawford for the summer.”
Cindy Sheehan “changed her story on Bush”?
“Tracking a lie through the conservative media”
@ Media Matters for America
Media Coverage from The Right
Cindy Sheehan: The Grieving Activist
“Cindy Sheehan’s son fought under our Commander-in-Chief. Cindy Sheehan fights against him.”
@ Men’s New Daily
If Cindy and Akbar Could Meet
“…both are on either side of a debate on how much sacrifice should be made to bring democracy to the Middle East.”
@ Christian Science Monitor
Cindy Sheehan: Media Glorifies a Radical
“Now, angry, Bush-hating Cindy Sheehan…is being celebrated again as she sits outside Bush’s Texas ranch.”
@ National Ledger