Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A mom's protest against the Iraq war

Okay, we all know that we were lied to in order to create this war. It's been covered repeatedly in the news. But the GW Bush administration keeps ignoring the building case, and the lapdog press is merely repeating whatever the administration tells them.

This year it's different. This year GW headed to his ranch in Crawford TX for the yearly august vacation. You may remember that on August 6, 2001 he received a briefing during that vacation titled "Bin Laden determined to attack the U.S." which was ignored. It's a Washington DC tradition that everybody takes august as their "vacation" time, and that's what GW is doing.

This year, though, Cindy Sheehan, mother of one of the soldiers killed in Iraq, decided that the august vacation was her time. She has been appearing at anti-war rallies for over a year, and has taken the anti-war rally to Bush's ranch. Well, that's what she's trying to do. Unfortunately she's been stopped by the sherriff from getting closer than 8 miles to the ranch. As a result she's encamped by the side of the road in the west texas deserts doing her best to rally up media attention.

President Bush Ditches Mother Of Slain Soldier (By Nathan Diebenow, Associate Editor, Lone Star Iconoclast, Online): Reports on how she came to the ranch, and how the Sherriff forced her to stop while still 8 miles from Bush's Crawford ranch.

Offers these resources:

http://www.crawfordpeacehouse.org/ - Crawford Peace House
Gold Star Families for Peace - http://www.gsfp.org/
Military Families Speak Out - http://www.mfso.org/
Veterans for Peace - http://www.veteransforpeace.org/
CodePink - http://www.codepink4peace.org/
Vietnam Veterans Against War - http://www.vvaw.org/
Iraq Veterans Against the War - http://www.ivaw.net/

Of the Many Deaths in Iraq, One Mother's Loss Becomes a Problem for the President (By RICHARD W. STEVENSON, Published: August 8, 2005, NY Times.com): I saw this story widely reprinted elsewhere.

... But when she was blocked by the police a few miles from Mr. Bush's 1,600-acre spread on Saturday, the 48-year-old Ms. Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., was transformed into a news media phenomenon, the new face of opposition to the Iraq conflict at a moment when public opinion is in flux and the politics of the war have grown more complicated for the president and the Republican Party.

... "It's just snowballed," Ms. Sheehan said beside a small stand of trees and a patch of shade that contained a sleeping bag, some candles, a jar of nuts and a few other supplies. "We have opened up a debate in the country."

Seeking to head off exactly the situation that now seems to be unfolding, the administration sent two senior officials out from the ranch on Saturday afternoon to meet with her. But Ms. Sheehan said after talking to the officials - Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and Joe Hagin, a deputy White House chief of staff - that she would not back down in her demand to see the president.

Her success in drawing so much attention to her message - and leaving the White House in a face-off with an opponent who had to be treated very gently even as she aggressively attacked the president and his policies - seemed to stem from the confluence of several forces.

Plaming Cindy Sheehan (by Ahmed Amr, (Wednesday August 10 2005)): There's been a nasty backlash by the Republican operatives. The backlash is smearing Cindy Sheehan's credibility, but the smears aren't terribly truthful taking quotes out of context etc, in a way that strikes one as familiar with previous smears of other people. The title refers to the Valerie Plame affair, the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, who revealed some of the evidence that Cindy Sheehan and others point to when we say the administration lied us into the war. Wilson was smeared himself in the same way Sheehan is today, and further retribution was to reveal his wifes identity as a secret agent, ruining her career, etc.

Unfortunately Ahmed Amr's article goes into some wild tangents putting words into GW Bush's mouth that GW probably doesn't believe.

Mr. Bush, Let's Talk (by Joan Vennochi, August 9, 2005, Boston Globe): Talks about the walls of separation most politicians erect after their election. Democracy is supposed to be a personal affair, with representatives, well, representing the peoples interests and dreams. The practice is far from that ideal, especially with someone like GW Bush in office.

Cindy Sheehan is simply asking to exercise democracy, and talk with the President. She had an opportunity in 2004 when GW offered to meet her family and some other relatives of dead soldiers. At the time her family decided not to raise any ruckus, but events since then have stirred up the ruckus maker in Cindy Sheehan. But it's clear what Sheehan wants to talk about, the fallacies leading to the war, and it's just as clear that GW is going to resist talking with her as strongly as he can.

His presidency is based on having said those lies, and I suppose if he were to do anything to acknowledge them his advisors are afraid that events will take him to the impeachment he so richly deserves. Hence his advisors are keeping him well away from Cindy Sheehan. Hence, that's why she was stopped miles from the ranch.

Military families to join Crawford protest (RAW STORY): As it says, there's a growing contingent of people joining Cindy Sheehan in her protest. Some of them are family members of military.

Every Mother's Son (By William Rivers Pitt, TruthOut.org. Posted by alternet.org August 9, 2005.) Why Cindy Sheehan won't leave Crawford until she gets some answers from George W. Bush -- the man who sent her son needlessly to die in Iraq.: This article describes, among other things, the meeting between Sheehan and GW Bush in June 2004. The meeting comes across very impersonal which you can expect given it was primarily a photo-op happening during the presidential campaign.

This article is also important as it gives lie to the right wingers who are smearing Sheehan. They're claiming her original statements regarding the meeting were very positive. Those statements were published in the Vacaville newspaper, and were taken out of context by Matt Drudge (a man with very dishonest journalism practices) and have been passed around the "conservatives" for use in their attacks on Sheehan. But it's clear, Sheehan at the time felt the meeting was insulting, and her outrage only grew over time as more and more evidence was revealed.

Cindy Sheehan Gives BuzzFlash the Latest from Crawford Direct from the drainage ditch, the intrepid protester says "Our spirits are great," but Bush "doesn't have enough courage to face someone who actually disagrees with him ..." (BuzzFlash.com): This is an interview with Cindy Sheehan describing the conditions and her expectations of perhaps being arrested. She also reported having about three dozen fellow protesters, with more arriving all the time.

It gives a new web site for Cindy Sheehan as: http://www.meetwithcindy.org/

"Flip-flopping" Americans Right-wing bloggers are attacking military mom Cindy Sheehan for changing her mind about Iraq. But so have millions of other citizens. (By Eric Boehlert, August 9, 2005, SALON.COM): As mentioned above, the rightwingers are complaining about Cindy Sheehan's supposed change of mind, calling her a flip-flopper. It was a phrase they used last year against Kerry, so I suppose they're accustomed to using those words. In any case the salon.com article goes over the history of this protest, showing how the rightwingers are building a noise machine around this event.

Even further, the salon.com article asks this question: Isn't everybody allowed to change their mind?

Consider the new evidence that has appeared since June 2004 when Cindy Sheehan and others met with GW Bush. Why, the Downing Street memo's hadn't even been published yet. So much evidence has been revealed clearly showing what I suspected in July 2003, that every bit of the statements meant to justify the war in Iraq were utter lies. Anybody with a clear mind would step back at some of these revelations and say "wait a minute, what's going on here?".