Thursday, August 11, 2005

Searching for Cindy Sheehan - her protest is growing, isn't it?

Yesterday I discussed the protest by Cindy Sheehan. She's the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq in April 2004. She has had a growing anger over his death, and has become a major anti-war protester. Last week while attending a rally in Dallas, she got inspiration to drive to GW Bush's ranch in Crawford TX and demand to meet with him. This has grown into an interesting media circus, supposedly.

However, one gauge I use to determine the size of a "media circus" is to cruise over to http://news.google.com/ and look at the articles on the subject. The article thread concerning her has been pinned at the top of the list for a couple days now, and that's a strong indicator of "media circus" in action. However, reading through the articles leaves me wondering as none of them indicate much is happening. Curiously Google News is ignoring articles from Salon.COM, which has published several about Cindy Sheehan.

Another indicator is the number of technorati tagged posts which also seems low. But at least the tag is rather active.

In any case, there is some news today so let's go over it.

A mother's vigil A Vacaville woman whose son was killed in Iraq attracts nationwide attention with her protest down the road from president's ranch (Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer, Thursday, August 11, 2005): This article tells the story of those who have shown up to hang out with Cindy Sheehan. There's dozens of people who have shown up, and each has their own story. The article contrasts them with the bullhorn-toting activists marching down Market Street in San Francisco, or the armchair activists manning MoveOn.org. Ouch, that hits a little close to home, as I've done my share of marching down Market Street.

I agree, someone who actually puts their body to service to a cause like this are brave. I feel drawn to join her in Texas, but am torn with taking care of the activities in my life. So I contribute this way.

Soldier's Mother Takes Protest to Bloggers (By Brian Faler, Washington Post, Thursday, August 11, 2005; Page A08): Talks about the main outreach avenue, the blogger community. Apparently the mainstream media is somewhat ignoring this story, so it is us bloggers who have to bring it out. Among the activities is a conference call sponsored by Joe Trippi, a high level democratic party strategist. The call involved a bunch of left-wing bloggers, and somehow they didn't know they should call me so I wasn't involved.

Anti-war voice resonates in mother's Texas vigil (By Edwin Chen and Dana Calvo, Los Angeles Times, published by the Seattle Times): Also talking about the supporters who have rushed in to help. One is the Crawford Peace House, a home owned by a man soley dedicated to providing a home base for out-of-town protesters. See, they find that Crawford Texas is generally solidly supporting GW Bush, and out-of-towners aren't always accepted well, and need a safe place to meet.

It also discusses how Sheehan's hometown newspaper had published an interview of her when she first met GW Bush in June 2004. The right wingers have taken certain quotes in that interview out of context, making it sound like she was in support of the war etc back in 2004, but that she has flip-flopped. There they are pulling out that flip-flopper phrase, I wonder why they think it strange when people change their minds. In any case, the article has been republished by that newspaper here and clearly shows her anger towards Bush even then. It's very natural to know that anger grows over time, especially after all the revelations over the last year.

Peace House a center of dissent in Crawford (By Oren Dorell, USA TODAY): More about the Crawford Peace House.

Account of Iraq War Protestor's Meeting With Bush Draws Scrutiny (By Greg Mitchell and Joe Strupp, Editor & Publisher): This appears to be a site dedicated to the news publishing industry. In any case they interview the author of the article in Cindy Sheehan's hometown newspaper, and discuss how that reporter stands by his original report.

Bush rejects mother's Iraq plea (11 August 2005, BBC.CO.UK): GW Bush spoke about Cindy Sheehan's demands. He is, unsurprisingly, refusing to meet with her. He doesn't say why he refuses to meet with her, but yesterday I speculated because he knows what questions she wants to ask, and that he knows he doesn't want to be asked those questions, because that would lead to his impeachment. In any case, he also refused to pull troops out of Iraq because it would be a "mistake".

I tend to agree, grudgingly. The war is illegal, foisted upon us in a cloud of lies, subterfuge, and illegally ignoring the United Nations. The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has declared this war to be illegal. However, now that we are there we have an obligation to the Iraqi people to see them to safety. That is, we deposed their government which, good or bad, was at least providing stability to the country. Today, with basically zero government and an open resistance war, there is no stability, and if the U.S. were to leave I expect it would turn into a mass pitched battle of warlords and clerics struggling to be the strongman who wins the prize of ruling Iraq. The U.S. did this, and are doing this, to Iraq.

Rage Against the Killing of the Light (By Norman Solomon, AlterNet. Posted August 10, 2005.):

What's going on this week, outside the perimeter of the ranch-style White House in Crawford, is some reclamation of reality in public life. Cindy Sheehan has disrupted the media-scripted shadow play of falsity. And some other relatives of the ultimately sacrificed have been en route to the vigil in the dry hot Texas ditches now being subjected to enormous media attention a few miles from the vacationing president's accommodations.

At this point, Bush's spinners are desperate to divert the media spotlight from Sheehan. But other bereft mothers arriving in Crawford will hardly be more compatible with war-making myths.

... When a mass killer is at the helm of the ship of state, taking a bow now and again while "Hail to the Chief" booms from big brass bands, a significant portion of the country's population feels revulsion. And often a sense of powerlessness -- a triumph for media manipulation. Passivity is the health of the manipulative media state.

Cindy Sheehan and Celeste Zappala have joined with others in Crawford to insist that death is not a message for more death -- that we can understand death as a profound reality check, imploring us to affirm and defend life.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light," Dylan Thomas wrote. The unavoidable dying of life is bad enough. The killing is unacceptable.

UPDATE: You can read Cindy Sheehans own writing on her blog: http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/?q=blog/171