I haven’t written about Cindy Sheehan because it is just a tragedy. She has lost her kid, is grief-stricken, so I figure it best to just leave her alone. Fair enough.
However, it is understandable that her new-found activism, along with her aligning herself with the radical anti-war left and staging media events with no purpose other than to attack the President, should be seen as opening herself up to criticisms of her political positions. It is also fair to state that many on the left have chosen her as a symbol to bludgeon anyone who still supports this war. The prevailing opinion from the left appears to be that Sheehan is the perfect weapon, someone whose viewpoints are simply not allowed to be challenged, someone who can be used at will to not only galvanize support for the anti-war movement, but to attack the President, the President’s policies, and anyone who chooses to continue to support the mission in Iraq. And no one is allowed to say anything to counter that- the President and those who still support themission are supposed to just sit there and take it, lest they be accused of attacking a grieving mother.
And what a weapon she has turned out to be! As I write this, there are 2,560 current media stories about Cindy Sheehan listed by google news. Technorati coughs up another 4967 blog posts. Google, when asked, coughs and sputters and reveals 729,000 archived stories. By comparison, Todd Beamer, of “Let’s Roll” fame offers up 69,000 hits.
With that alone, a reasonable person might feel safe in stating that Cindy Sheehan is at the very least approaching becoming a public figure. Throw in the MSNBC, FOX, CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS coverage, her blogging for Michael Moore and the Huffington Post,and it is beyond safe to come to the conclusion that she has eclipsed ‘grieving mother’ status and has moved on to anti-war celebrity status. I would even venture to say that she is a political figure, as well as the perfect political weapon.
And this is what she wants- to put out her political message. To do so, she has enlisted the aid of numerous antiwar groups, including Gold Star Families for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Military Families Speak Out, and numerous others, including some that are specially designed for the occasion, such as MeetWithCindy.org. There are many more, but I am tired of looking for him- accept this as a representative sample.
It is undeniable that Cindy is seeking the media spotlight to put forward her message, but there will be some who continue to deny this, all the while seeking more and more attention for Cindy, so as to maximize the political damage to the administration. Since we have to deal those who deny reality as if they were serious people, I will just let Cindy speak for me:
Today was a highly eventful day. This entry won’t be artful, but utilitarian.
I conservatively got 3 to 5 phone calls a minute. I did about 25 phone interviews and several TV interviews. I did several right-wing radio interviews. I was supposed to do: The Today Show, MSNBC live interview, Connected Coast to Coast (MSNBC) and Hardball (MSNBC). The Today Show just never showed up and the other 3 MSNBC shows cancelled for no reason…
We need to show the media that we are in the majority. We need to show George Bush and his cabal of neocons that when we say “bring the troops home, now” we mean “bring the troops home, now!”
Sure sounds like a public figure with a political agenda who is trying to get as much media exposure as possible, but I am not convinced:
Today started at 4am when I had to get up and get ready to be on Good Morning America. It was pouring down rain at Camp Casey. The wind was blowing and there was thunder and lightening. It was pretty exciting. The interview went very well. I haven’t seen it or read a transcript. Since it was taped, I am just wondering if they showed it when I said Bush doesn’t want to see me because he likes to surround himself with “sycophants…”
I talked with John Conyers today and he wrote a letter to George signed by about 18 other Congress members to request that he meet with me. I also talked to Maxine Waters tonight and she is probably going to be here tomorrow. I am so overwhelmed by the support.
I did non-stop interviews today. 100 people came through today to visit with us. About 25 people are staying the night. More food, water, flowers, and money came through today. One father brought his 2 and 4 year old sons out to meet me and thank me for trying to save his boys from the same fate Casey suffered.
Maybe she is just a grieving mother who simply wants to meet with the President. Again. For a second time. I dunno:
We had a little bit of trouble with locals today. We are beginning to feel a little unwelcome here. One lady almost ran over a television crew. She screamed at us that the neighbors are really mad …so we moved down the road to our closest neighbor who is very sweet. Her husband is a medic who just got home from Iraq.
Again, I did tons of interviews. It looks like I will be on the cover of People Magazine. Time Magazine, Vanity Fair and Oprah’s magazine will be interviewing me also.
It was great having the other GSFP and MFSO there to help me with interviews and greeting all of the hundreds of people who came out from all over the country to be with us today. We were hassled by the Sheriff because there were too many cars out there. Our little Bush Town has grown to full capacity. The town Sheriff said we can put up tents and RV’s in the town stadium. There are wall to wall sleeping bags here at the Peace House.
Maybe, just maybe, this is more than just a grieving mother who wants media attention for her political cause. I still am not sure:
Since Congress is not holding George Bush accountable and the media is not doing their jobs and holding George Bush accountable, we the American people need to hold him accountable for lying to us to get us into a disastrous war. November 2, 2004 was not his accountability moment: today is. We are finished allowing him to get away with deceiving the American public and abusing his power.
We are mad as hell and we’re not taking it anymore.
I can’t be sure, but some people might get the idea that she is an activist with an agenda. I will venture forth carefully, and claim that I tepidly think Cindy, along with being the mother of a dead soldier, is also a media fixture, an anti-war activist, and a self-made lightning rod. I don’t think that is too awfully controversial.
In fact, it appears she is a bona fide political success, if you ask Bernie Sanders:
Cindy Sheehan and the other families of soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq deserve answers from President Bush about his plans to bring our troops home. That is why I, along with dozens of other members of Congress, have urged the President to sit down with Ms. Sheehan…
We know now that the President intentionally distorted information in order to justify going to war and that he misled the American people by suggesting a connection between Iraq and 9/11. The President owes Ms. Sheehan and other families that lost loved ones in Iraq more than platitudes. He owes them and the American public an explanation about his plans for an exit strategy.
Is that true? How could that be? I thought she just wanted to meet with the President. Again. For the second time. Because she is a grieving mother. And you all will go to hell for thinking otherwise. Even if she hates him:
So anyway that filth-spewer and warmonger, George Bush was speaking after the tragedy of the marines in Ohio, he said a couple things that outraged me.
Seriously outraged me.
And I know I don’t look like I’m outraged, I’m always so calm and everything, that’s because if I started hitting something, I wouldn’t stop til it was dead. So I can’t even start, cause I know how dangerous that would be, but George Bush was talking, and he never mentioned the terrible incident of those marines, but he did say, that the families of the ones who have been killed can rest assured that their loved ones died for a noble cause.
And, he also said, he says this often, and this really drives me crazy, he said that we have to stay in Iraq and complete the mission, to honor the sacrifices of the ones who have fallen.
And I say, why should I want one more mother to go through what I’ve gone through, because my son is dead. You know what, the only way he can honor my son’s sacrifice is to bring the rest of the troops home. To make my son’s death count for peace and love, and not war and hatred like he stands for.
I don’t want him using my son’s death or my family’s sacrifice to continue the killing. I don’t want him to exploit the honor of my son and others to continue the killing. They sent these honorable people to die, and are so dishonorable themselves.
So, as many of you have heard, and I didn’t mean to cause any problems with the convention, but I was writing an email to everybody, and I was so mad, like I said, and I just had this brainstorm, I’m going to Dallas, I don’t know where Crawford is. I’ve been in Texas, Casey was stationed at Fort Hood. I drove from northern California to Fort Hood one time, it took like, 30 hours. And I thought, I could be driving for days to get from Dallas to Crawford!
But I don’t care, I’m goin’. And I’m gonna tell them, “You get that evil maniac out here, cuz a Gold Star Mother, somebody who’s blood is on his hands, has some questions for him.”
Personally, I don’t know why he won’t meet with her. Again. For the second time. I wonder what she would say to President Bush?
“That lying bastard, George Bush, is taking a five-week vacation in time of war,” Cindy Sheehan told 200 cheering members of Veterans For Peace at their annual convention in Dallas last Friday evening. She then announced she would go to Bush’s vacation home in nearby Crawford, Texas and camp out until he “tells me why my son died in Iraq. I’ve got the whole month of August off, and so does he.”
Sheehan left the VFP meeting on Saturday morning and is now in Crawford with a couple dozen veterans and local peace activists, waiting for Bush to talk with her. She said in Dallas that if he sends anyone else to see her, as happened when national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin did later that day, she would demand that “You get that maniac out here to talk with me in person.”
She told the audience of veterans from World War Two to today’s war in Iraq, that the two main things she plans to tell the man she holds responsible for son Casey’s death are “Quit saying that U.S. troops died for a noble cause in Iraq, unless you say, ‘well, except for Casey Sheehan.’ Don’t you dare spill any more blood in Casey’s name. You do not have permission to use my son’s name.”
“And the other thing I want him to tell me is ‘just what was the noble cause Casey died for?’ Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We’re not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism,” she exclaimed.
Really, I can’t understand why Bush won’t meet with her. Again.
So what do I think of the whole situation? I think she should be left alone and ignored. She is a grieving mother, and she can do or say what she wants, and hopefully, some day, she will find her peace.
But she doesn’t have the right to set policy, she doesn’t have the right to make demands of the President, and she most certainly doesn’t have the right to be used as a weapon by people, who, like herself, want only to savagely attack this administration and expect that every0ne will just sit back and take it and not respond.. And that is what is going on right now. She has been adopted by the anti-war left, their surrogates in some sectors of the media, and in whole flanks of the blogosphere as a club to attack the President. It is no coincidence that the vast majority (most likely none, if any) of the blogs trumpeting Cindy’s message have no such time or energy to chronicle the political opinions of families who have lost a loved one in the war yet still support the mission.
Where most of my ire resides is with those who have chosen to exploit Cindy Sheehan’s grief. Those who bristle with anger when the center of attention of their media circus, their ‘perfect weapon,’ is called a ‘media whore.’ While a more delicate phraseology would have been appropriate, it is a laughable presumption that Cindy Sheehan is a media ‘virgin.’ Neither are the numerous people using her to suit their needs.
And they are the focus of my anger- pimps like Atrios, who cynically take the regrettable phrase ‘media whore,’ and render it into more fodder for the masses, who, themselves awash in outrage, blinded by hatred for Bush, will throw critical reasoning aside, and see nothing wrong with outright lies, as long as it helps their cause:
Um, has Michelle Malkin talked to Cindy Sheehan’s son? Has Bill O’Reilly? Has Erick Erickson, who called Cindy Sheehan a whore over at redstate.org? If they haven’t talked to him, they should shut up, leave her alone, and defend their incoherent position on the Iraq war without hiding behind Cindy Sheehan’s dead son
And then they will feed on their own created outrage in an orgy of group think, vitriol, and anti-Bush fervor, and take it upon themselves to make sure that anyone who dares question their cynical misuse of this grieving woman is punished by attacking family members:
Please tell [my wife] the test came back positive, and she should start on AZT immediately.
By the way, she is a terrible f**k.
Or leveling threats:
During the war in Yugoslavia, a squad of eight Serbs captured a famous Muslim soccer player, his wife and their two young daughters.
The chained the player to a radiator pipe and sliced off his eyelids. Then, they repeatedly raped his wife and daughters, aged six and nine.
When all eight Serbs were could no longer come, they gutted the mother and children as though they were, say, trout and let them bleed to death.
The soccer player begged them to kill him, but they laughed and released him to wander the country.
This is what I wish for you and your family.
And those are just the tip of the iceberg, and not even the vociemails and letters trying to get Erick fired for voicing an opinion on an opinion website.
So, for all of you who have asked or wondered why I have not written about this issue, here is where I stand:
I feel deeply sorry for Cindy Sheehan and everyone who has lost a loved one in Iraq. And let’s not forget those who are horribly disfigured, crippled, maimed, blinded and emotionally scarred.
I think Cindy Sheehan has moved beyond the role of grieving mother, and is now a political figure who gets no free pass for her bizarre, outrageous, and offensive statements.
I don’t think there is anything Bush can do to make Cindy happy, and the best strategy is to leave her alone.
I think the pimps in the anti-war left who are cynically exploiting this woman’s tragedy are evil. Even if she wants the attention to aid her cause. Atrios and the human debris such as he know what they are doing, and they represent the worst of the Democratic party.
I think this is the last time I am going to discuss this issue, because as careful as I have been to not say anything about Cindy personally, the jackasses on the far left are going to distort this post, lie, vilify, and attack anyway, and it just isn’t worth it to me to deal with their bullshit.
*** Update ***
After a conversation with someone via email, I feel exactly the same way about the people using Cindy Sheehan every day that I did about Frank Pavone, Randall Terry, and their ilk when they used poor Mr. and Mrs. Schiavo as their political pawns back in March. The Schiavos and Cindy Sheehan, I can understand them speaking out, I can understand them doing what they are doing (even if, in both cases, I disagree with them). The people using them to advance their own agenda? Beneath contempt.