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Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sheehan steps aside as protest leader

May 30, 2007

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— Cindy Sheehan, the soldier's mother who galvanized an anti-war movement with her monthlong protest outside President Bush's ranch, said Tuesday she's done being the public face of the movement.

"I've been wondering why I'm killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush," Sheehan told The Associated Press while driving from her property in Crawford to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California.

"I'm going home for a while to try and be normal," she said.

In what she described as a "resignation letter," Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the Daily Kos blog: "Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it.

"It's up to you now."

Sheehan began a grass-roots peace movement in August 2005 when she camped outside Bush's Crawford ranch for 26 days, demanding to talk with the president about her son's death. Army Spc. Casey Sheehan was 24 when he was killed in an ambush in Baghdad in 2004.

Praise and criticism

Cindy Sheehan's protest started small but swelled to thousands and quickly drew national attention. Over the next two years, she drew huge crowds as she spoke at protest events. But she also drew criticism for some actions, such as meeting with Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's leftist president.

"I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement," Sheehan wrote in the diary.

Kristinn Taylor, spokesman for FreeRepublic.com, which has held pro-troop rallies and counter-protests of anti-war demonstrations, said dwindling crowds at Sheehan's Crawford protests since her initial vigil may have led to her decision. But he also said he hopes she will now be able to heal.

"Her politics have hurt a lot of people, including the troops and their families, but most of us who support the war on terror understand she is hurt very deeply," Taylor said Tuesday. "Those she got involved with in the anti-war movement realize it was to their benefit to keep her in that stage of anger."

When Sheehan first took on Bush, she was a darling of the liberal left. "However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the 'left' started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used," she wrote in the diary.

She said she sacrificed a 29-year marriage and endured threats to put all her energy into stopping the war. What she found, she wrote, was a movement "that often puts personal egos above peace and human life."

She said the most devastating conclusion she had reached "was that Casey did indeed die for nothing ... killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think."

Changing course

Sheehan told the AP that she had considered leaving the peace movement since last summer while recovering from surgery.

She decided on Memorial Day to step down and spend more time with her three other children. She said she was returning to California on Tuesday because it was Casey's birthday. He would have been 28.

"We've accomplished as much here as we're going to," Sheehan said, saying she was leaving to change course. "When we come back, it definitely won't be with the peace movement with marches, with rallies and with protests. It will be more humanitarian efforts."

Last year, with $52,500 in insurance money she received after her son's death, Sheehan bought 5 acres near downtown Crawford as a permanent site for protests.

"Camp Casey has served its purpose," she wrote in the diary. "It's for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas?"

Comments

preebo 7 years, 6 months ago

Her comment on how America is more concerned about who is going to be the next American Idol rather than what America is doing in Iraq really resonated with me. I too, am disappointed with the Dems on their compliance with Bush's failed Iraq policy. I respected her determination, unfortunately, she was the lone voice of disention in a sea of "yes-men."

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 6 months ago

Time to watch right wingers heap abuse upon this Gold Star mother who made the ultimate sacrifice. OK, warmongers... uh, I mean super-duper patriots ... go for it! Ready, aim, fire!

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 6 months ago

Whom do you fascist Republicans hate more -- Cindy Sheehan or Usama bin Laden? I don't see much of your ignorant venom directed at UBL around here, only at your fellow Americans, especially those who served and sacrificed for this nation.

chungasrevenge 7 years, 6 months ago

It is conveniently ignored that the only authentic way to best support the troops is to keep them out of dangerous, undeclared, no-win wars that are politically inspired. Sending troops off to war for reasons that are not truly related to national security -- and for that matter may even damage our security -- is hardly a way to "patriotically" support the troops.

Who are the true patriots: those who conform or those who protest against wars without purpose? How can it be said that blind support for war, no matter how misdirected the policy, is the duty of the patriot?

Randolph Bourne said that "war is the health of the state." With war, he argued, the state thrives. Those who believe in the powerful state see war as an opportunity. Those who mistrust the people and the market for solving problems have no trouble promoting a "war psychology" to justify the expansive role of the state.

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 6 months ago

Quoting Cindy Sheehan...for Smurf Daddy.

"For the first year after Casey was killed, I didn't want to believe it," she writes. "I didn't want to place a tombstone on my son's grave. I didn't want one more marble proof that my son was dead. I couldn't even call where he was buried a 'cemetery,' I had to call it 'Casey's Park.' I placed fresh flowers in the cup every week and journaled there almost on a daily basis, and often laid on it and fell asleep and dreamed of my needlessly killed son. Have any of these people who claim that I am pissing on my son's grave even visited him? Have they visited the grave of any soldier needlessly or senselessly killed in George's war of choice for oil and profit? Have they sobbed uncontrollably for my first born who shouldn't even need a gravestone? No, all they want to do is attack a mother who wants to prevent other people from having to bury their own child."

shockchalk 7 years, 6 months ago

madmike, thank you for your service to this country. I am sorry that you were "greeted" in the manner that you were.

Navin_R_Johnson 7 years, 6 months ago

Oracle, that's a great Sheehan quote. here's a few other of my favorite Sheehan quotes:

  • "I'm never going to get to enjoy another vacation because of him. My vacation probably -- this is really sad because I have a really cute dress I was going to wear to the banquet tomorrow night -- but I'm either going to be in jail or in a tent in Crawford, waiting until that jerk comes out and tells me why my son died."

all hell cindy, we all wanted to see that "cute" dress!

  • "We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now."

well ol' navin might not be up on current events, but i didn't realize we'd gone neutron over there.

  • "I was raised in a country by a public school system that taught us that America was good, that America was just. America has been killing people... since we first stepped on this continent; we have been responsible for death and destruction. I passed on that bulls**t to my son, and my son enlisted. I'm going all over the country telling moms this country is not worth dying for."

need i say more on the status of public education in america.

  • "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."

if he died for oil, when did we take over their oil fields to pay for the war and let exxon and mobil buy oil for a nickel a barrel?

  • "Thank God for the Internet, or we wouldn't know anything, and we would already be a fascist state."

?

  • "Our government is run by one party, every level, and the mainstream media is a propaganda tool for the government."

yep, i tune in to CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and MSN each night to get my nightly fix of pro-war propaganda!

oh, and as to your question about whether them "fascist repubs" hate Sheehan or bin laden more, pr'aps you should ask her who the biggest terrorist is. oh, wait we all know that:

  • "The biggest terrorist is George W. Bush."

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 6 months ago

RE: Frankly Oracle, I pretty feel the same way about Sheehan as I do about UBL. both of them have damaged our country. As for serving and sacrificing for this nation, i served 20 years in the Army, went to my little war, "Vietnam", and was treated like crap by leftists just like you when I came home.

+++++++++++++++++

MadMike,

Since she's on a par with UBL in your mind, do you think Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan should be imprisoned or put to death for the 9/11-like "damage" she has done to our country?

Surely, in your opinion, exercising her right to free speech (that I'm guessing you were not fighting for in 'Nam) should get her the same punishment as UBL for murdering 3,000 in NYC, no?

RonBurgandy 7 years, 6 months ago

"I pretty feel the same way about Sheehan as I do about UBL. both of them have damaged our country. "

Wow.

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 6 months ago

Smurf, I'm surprised that your unfortunate combination of stupidity and hatred give you the patience to wait for the OK of a court to kill this woman, whose only conceivable crime would be speaking her mind freely about her dead son.

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 6 months ago

Smurf,

Maybe there's a higher law for Christians, like the ten commandments that say: "Thou shalt not kill."

But I can see from your words you're not one of those Christians.

Seriously, folks. For a Bush worshiper like Smurf to tout the "rule of law" is...so sad. I mean, what about the laws that say we cannot torture people, or perform searches without warrants, or imprison citizens without due process? Those laws don't matter.

As for treason, well, if it's treasonous to voice dissent with Bush on the war in Iraq, then 70 percent of Americans are traitors. You'd kill 'em all, huh?

It seems to me you hate Americans more than al Qaeda then.

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 6 months ago

Yo Smurfette,

"Thou shalt not kill" is from the King James Bible...the Bible of my pilgrim forefathers. What is your "murder" quote from, some johnny come lately Jerry Falwell comic book "bible"? It ain't the word of the God that I recognize. But then again, your bible clearly left out a whole lot of stuff, like everything Jesus ever said ... like "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." [Matthew 5:9]
or

"I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute you" [Matthew 5:44]

or

"Do not judge, lest you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." [Matthew 7:1 & 2.]

blackwalnut 7 years, 6 months ago

Sheehan must be exhausted. She risked and sacrificed much, and predictably, was villified by those she dared challenge. She will be missed. An unlikely hero she was, but a true one. Heroes never gain anything from their own sacrifice, but she made a difference for others. It's hard to remember, now that support for the war is polling at 25%, that when she first bravely spoke out she was one of few who would risk the smears of "unpatriotic" and worse. Now it appears she was 100% correct, after all.

Thanks, Cindy, for everything. I hope you will be able to find some kind of peace.

as_I_live_and_breathe 7 years, 6 months ago

Oracle_of_Rhode says:

"Do not judge, lest you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." [Matthew 7:1 & 2.]

I'd have to say that Cindy is a bit ....judgmental... herself...

I also bet she makes a killing on that little piece of land. Hope she uses it to wisely.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years, 6 months ago

breathe, I think you've touched on something. If Sheehan was truly speaking out on principle, I think most people would have respected her right to her opinion, but she always reminded me of Jesse Jackson, showing up at every opportunity for a photo op - or well-paid speaking engagement.

It just seemed like she was a walking product line. Buy my book, and don't forget to book my speaking tour and ....oops, that's a camera, I'll be right back.

The argument that the Democratic Party has turned on her is also weak. The party has always relished being attacked from the left in the same sense that many Republicans relish being attacked by the right. It gives them credibility as moderates, while feigning great guilt at the accusations from Cindy Sheehan, Tom Frank, et. al. gives them the air of the progressive reformer.

Surely, she'll turn the profits from the sale of the land over to the peace movement.

PS, Boyda just poked Ryun in the eye with her stance on the war, and didn't hurt her standing with the military folks in her district either.

Godot 7 years, 6 months ago

""However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the 'left' started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used," she wrote in the diary."

Honey, when people on both ends of the spectrum of your ideal agree that you are irrelevant, then you are right; it is time to go home to your native country.*

*NPR stated on their news commentary and opinion program yesterday afternoon that America was no longer the country that Sheehan loved and that she was returning to her native California. Apparently NPR is skipping ahead a few years and already recognizes California as its own sovreign nation.

peppermint 7 years, 6 months ago

as_i_live_and_breathe said: "I'd have to say that Cindy is a bit :.judgmental: herself:"

Have you buried a child? I guess when you bury a child, as she did, you can judge her on that.

pelliott 7 years, 6 months ago

If it takes torture, lying, cheating, corruption, canceling constitutional liberties that generations of died for, if we have to become dispicable and ruthless, if it supports the troops that is justification. If all the sons and daughters of the poor and middle class must die or be maimed, we are justified. . If we ruin our economy and the worlds, revisit the depression, revise the history of all truths, we still stand tall. If we can use the phrase support the troops to justify gangsterism and lies, we can stand tall all the way to the mental hospital.

pelliott 7 years, 6 months ago

I was a bit testy. i don't believe that every support the troop remark is an automatic hypocrital cover for torture loving hatemongers. It is a bit much that a mother who has lost a son and is against the war is demeaned and said to be grandstanding. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. i think she honestly was trying to do the right thing. God help those that think politicians just need to understand and they will do the right thing. I do not hate people who think that Bush is right and that the war has been handled as best as can be. i hate some of the results, and I hate the constant personalized attacks. I watch people yelling at the protesters at the courthouse, they yell, get a job. some of those protesters have their 30 year pin. There are heros in Iraq whose service will be tarnished by the judgment of their president. I am ashamed that our country sanctions torture and I doubt the methods we are using in iraq and in diplomacy will bring us to peace and understanding and a more secure setting. It is not only my right but my duty to say i am against such roads. I find the demonizing on the many sides of the issues as road blocks to solutions and unfair. Then I get so angry, what haunts me is the loss of respect for civil liberties that we have been taught was won by soldiers and citizens at greatest costs. It isn't just the troops, it is generations of people forging laws from consumer protection, labor rights, private property, they seem to be being traded for sound bites.

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