Some of you may not care for Cindy Sheehan’s brand of protest. She’s the “Peace Mom” who began a vigil outside President Bush’s Texas ranch, seeking an audience with the man who ordered U.S. troops to war. (She recently left to visit her ailing mother, but plans to return).
Even Americans who oppose her methods, and anti-war message, ought to admit that Sheehan’s is a compelling story of war’s cost. Her 24-year-old son was killed in Iraq last year. She has met President Bush before – and said complimentary things about him – but Sheehan’s attitude toward the war, and Bush, have changed. Now, she’s something of a media star.
None of which diminishes her grief. It is no less genuine than that of other, grief-stricken parents who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq – but who support the war.
Sheehan is a face of war we don’t see often enough; the one far from the battlefields, the one in a daily fight against immeasurable loss. Look at her and, like it or not, the haunted face of war stares back.
I don’t think we have the “haunted face of war” here. We have the haunted face of paranoia and derangement.
I’ve pointed this out to the LSJ editors:
If Sheehan’s face is “a face of war we don’t often see enough”, I’d say the 30,000 references in the last 2 weeks have balanced that off.
I think she deserves all respect and sympathy for the loss of her son.
Dishonoring her son’s decision by promoting ultra-left-wing fantasies of America as evil deserves contempt. It is fundamentally different from protesting the war.
Whether or not Sheehan’s face is “a face of war we don’t often see enough”; it is certainly the face of virulent anti-Semitism and hard-core hatred of America on principle. The loss of her son does not make the following true:
“We have no Constitution. We’re the only country with no checks and balances. We want our country back if we have to impeach George Bush down to the person who picks up the dog sh-t in Washington! Let George Bush send his two little party animals to die in Iraq. It’s OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons but we are waging nuclear war in Iraq, we have contaminated the entire country. It’s not OK for Syria to be in Lebanon. Hypocrites! But Israel can occupy Palestine? Stop the slaughter!“
This was Sheehan’s introduction for Lynne Stewart -“recently convicted of conspiracy and for passing along fatwas (Islamic religious edicts) from Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman to his terrorist followers in Egypt’s Islamic Group.” – at San Francisco State University in May/05.
Perhaps Ms. Sheehan’s grief has been captured and redirected into the nether regions of conspiracy theory. In any case, the face we see is not one of reason.
More Sheehan commentary:
“Our country has been overtaken by murderous thugs….gangsters who lust after fortunes and power; never caring that their addictions are at the expense of our loved ones, and the blood of innocent people near and far. We’ve watched these thugs parade themselves before the whole world as if they are courageous advocates for Christian moral values….and for the spread of democracy.“
“George Bush and his neo-conservatives killed my son, America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for.”
“Could my son be dead because of an evil-neo con Pax Americana agenda? Wake up dude. This government has always been in the business of killing people. What is even better is if we kill people who are a different color or not Christian.“
“We began the killing as soon as we stepped foot on these shores and the killing has gone on unabated for over 200 years.“
Amrica was evil long before her son was killed. America is to be depised on principle.
This is her comment on what the content of her 2nd meeting with Bush would be:
“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.’“
It’s somewhat at odds with what she said after she met Bush in Jun/04:
“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.“
I think she is deserving of pity twice. Once because she lost her son, and once because she has become unhinged.
She is not automatically due sympathy or respect for what she says.
Hers is the face of anguish and confusion so deep as to be far beyond its root cause in someone not resident in a mental hosptial, and it is a sad thing for her and for reasonable discourse.