T Nation

Is Cindy Sheehan Going Too Far?


We have all heard by now that a mother of a fallen soilder in Iraq is staging anti war protests at the Bush home in Crawford Texas. She claims she wants a meeting with President Bush.

Is she going to far, especially in light of the fact that President Bush has already met with her once?

Is she being used as a political tool by those on the far left?

What say the T-Nation board members?

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - Hundreds of candlelight vigils calling for an end to the war in Iraq lit up the night Wednesday, part of a national effort spurred by one mother's anti-war demonstration near President Bush's ranch.

The vigils were urged by Cindy Sheehan, who has become the icon of the anti-war movement since she started a protest Aug. 6 in memory of her son Casey, who died in Iraq last year.

Sheehan says she will remain outside the president's ranch until he meets with her and other grieving families, or until his monthlong vacation there ends.

Bush has said he sympathizes with Sheehan but has made no indication he will meet with her. Two top Bush administration officials talked to Sheehan the day she started her camp, and she and other families had met with Bush shortly after her son's death.

More than 1,600 vigils were planned Wednesday from coast to coast by liberal advocacy groups MoveOn.org Political Action, TrueMajority and Democracy for America. A large vigil was also planned in Paris.

As the sun set in Crawford, about 200 protesters lit candles and gathered around a wooden, flag-draped coffin at Sheehan's growing camp, about a mile from the Bush ranch.

"For the more than 1,800 who have come home this way in flag-draped coffins, each one ... was a son or a daughter, not cannon fodder to be used so recklessly," Sheehan told the crowd, which then sang "Amazing Grace."

Before the vigil, Gary Qualls, of Temple drove to Sheehan's camp site and removed a wooden cross bearing his son's name. He said he supports the war and disagrees with Sheehan.

"I don't believe in some of the things happening here," Qualls said. "I find it disrespectful."

Near Philadelphia's Independence Hall, a few hundred people strained to hear the parent of another soldier killed in Iraq. "This war must stop," said Al Zappala, 65, whose 30-year-old son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, died in an explosion in Baghdad in April 2004.

Karen Braz, 50, held a pink votive cup and a sign reading "Moms for Peace" as she stood shoulder-to-shoulder with about 150 other people outside the New Hampshire statehouse in Concord.

"My son is 26. It could've been him," she said

Some critics say Sheehan is exploiting her son's death to promote a left-wing agenda supported by her and groups with which she associates.

Before the Crawford vigil began, Gary Qualls, of Temple, walked to the protesters' memorial to fallen U.S. soldiers and removed a wooden cross bearing his son's name. Qualls said he supports the war effort even though his 20-year-old son Louis was killed in Fallujah last fall serving with the Marine Reserves.

"I don't believe in some of the things happening here," he said. "I find it disrespectful."

Those backing Sheehan, though, voiced their support across the country.

In Minnesota, about 1,000 war protesters stood on a bridge linking Minneapolis and St. Paul. "This war has been disgraceful, with trumped-up reasons," Sue Ann Martinson said. "There were no weapons of mass destruction and the Iraqis didn't have anything to do with 9-11."

Nearly 200 people gathered on the courthouse steps in Hackensack, N.J., with many saying they were angry about the war but were supporting U.S. troops.

"I'm a 46-year-old woman who, in my lifetime, has never seen the country so split," said Lil Corcoran. "My heart is broken."

In Charleston, W.Va., a banner bearing the name, age, rank, hometown and date of death of all Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan was unrolled - stretching the length of a city block.

Kenny Jones brought his 6-year-old daughter, Scouten, to a vigil in Portland, Ore.

"I was raised to believe that war is no solution," Jones said. "Her mother and I are raising her that way, too. This war is illogical."

Meanwhile, a group called FreeRepublic.com held a pro-Bush rally in the same Washington, D.C., park where 300 people had gathered for a candlelight vigil. At one point, members of the two sides had a heated exchange over who was more patriotic.

"If they don't want to support it, they don't have to support it," said Iraq war veteran Kevin Pannell, who had both legs amputated after a grenade attack last year in Baghdad. "That's the reason I lost my legs."



I want to give her a free pass and her 15 minutes of fame. That time is long passed.

Her son lost his life for a cause he believed. Honor and mourn him don't politicise him.

He family thinks she has gone off the deep end and her husband just filed for divorce. The groups she is now aligned with and being used by will chew her up and spit her out when they are done with her. Your known by the company you keep. That's really all you need to know about Cindy at this point. Moveon.org etc...

Her son's death has long since passed being an issue for her now it's all Bush all the time.


From Drudge today:

Wed Aug 17 2005 21:51:56 ET

"We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We?re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!"

So declared Cindy Sheehan earlier this year during a rally at San Francisco State University.

Sheehan, who is demanding a second meeting with Bush, stated: "We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now."

Sheehan unleashed a foul-mouth tirade on April 27, 2005:

"They?re a bunch of fucking hypocrites! And we need to, we just need to rise up..." Sheehan said of the Bush administration.

"If George Bush believes his rhetoric and his bullshit, that this is a war for freedom and democracy, that he is spreading freedom and democracy, does he think every person he kills makes Iraq more free?"

"The whole world is damaged. Our humanity is damaged. If he thinks that it?s so important for Iraq to have a U.S.-imposed sense of freedom and democracy, then he needs to sign up his two little party-animal girls. They need to go to this war."

"We want our country back and, if we have to impeach everybody from George Bush down to the person who picks up dog shit in Washington, we will impeach all those people.""

I really don't fault Cindy Sheehan. If I lost a child, I'd go off the deep end.

What I do object to is the pack of hyenas/liberal democrats around her. Did anyone see these little runts?

I keep looking for e-hater.

Maybe he's too small to be seen behind the berkley professor.



I just don't know what she's trying to accomplish. It's tragic that her son died. But it is war. Whether or not it is misguided or poorly executed, you must expect casualties in war. Her son chose to fight. The death of a solider is not going to dictate public policy. I don't think she's a tool of any politicians or interest groups.

I think she was against the war from the start and even moreso now that her son is dead. This is her way of expressing her grief. But it's unfortunate and I believe the wrong thing to be doing. I think she should stop. She seems to be needed at home. From what I heard, she has another son who has begged her to come home. And I believe her husband has filed for divorce.


I think that, more than her, the left-wing has shamelessly used her to push their ABB propaganda.

MoveOn.org, MMoore, George Soros, et al have latched on to this mother in mourning for no other reason than to promote their ABB agenda.

Pretty low-class move.

I mean it's one thing to be against the war. There has always been an anti-war group in every war we've fought. But it is entirely another matter to use a mother's mourning, all be it protracted and overly dramatic, to indict a President.

But that's what the ABB left does. It would be nice if they would all wake up one morning and accept that they lost the election and decide to actually MoveOn.


As if this war has neither political underpinnings or political implications?

Plenty of people have been chewed up and spit out by the Bush political machine. Does the fact that they print books and not websites make it any different?

I am actually surprised that more people have not flocked to Crawford to join her cause.


This is exactly the point. IT SHOULD. This is why Cindy Sheehan has commented about Bush sending his daughters. It does not dictate policy because it is not HIS soldier.


I'm pretty damned sure that if Bush's daughters had volunteered to join the armed services, they would have the same chance of going to war as any of the other VOLUNTEERS in out all VOLUNTEER force.


Well that is most certainly not true. Nonetheless, this IS NOT a criticism of how a VOLUNTEER army works.

It is a criticism of how the government uses and misuses that volunteer force.


I don't understand why Bush won't talk to her for 10 minutes. Whether he agrees with her or not, it seems kind of cold for him to just drive by and not even offer his condolences.


You are in no position to tell anyone what is certainly true, or not true.

My point was that Ms Sheehan's son volunteered. Mrs. Sheehan lost the right to her son the second he decided on his own to join the armend forces.

And the use/misuse of our armend forces is hardly a matter that should be deferred to your interpretaion of proper use.

But you aren't going to see that you are just full of opinion.


He already talked to her, and he gave condolences again through the media.

But to give in to this protester will open a can of worms, and every protester in the world will believe they will get to speak with the president if they protest loud enough.


That's not necessarily true. I personally do not think that Iraq was well-executed. But not wanting your kids to die in battle is not the same thing as not believing that it's not worth fighting for. There might be a war sometime in the future that I think we should be involved in. But I doubt I would want my (future) kids to join the army and die. I'm selfish like that. People are selfish like that. That's why those who CHOOSE to join the armed forces and risk their lives are all the more admirable.


What are you refering to? Getting involved under false pretenses? Or improperly arming the troops?


They shouldn't. There are grounds to criticize the intial involvement in Iraq and the way it has been managed. The tragic death of a solider who voluntarily joined the army are loosely related. It should be a private matter and privately mourned.


I think you have to separate the content of the message from the right of this person to spew whatever she wishes.

If she feels that she needs to publicly berate the president for something, there is no time limit or misuse of her life, as long as she is competent to make her own decisions.

I'd agree with some of the assessments above if I had enough information to truly know whe had been coopted by liberal groups, though at this point she might truly welcome them as it may help her voice her cause.

The issue is, if this is her cause, that she has decided to stand up and rally about, then good for her. It doesn't mean it will change anything or that anyone will listen...

But, this is exactly what freedom of speech is all about.

This person, a mother, has decided that poor government decisions wasted the life of her son. Why should she not lament that fact, if she believes it? Whether or not her son volunteered doesn't mean she has to like the use that the government made of her son's offer of his life in service.

I'm not rallying against Bush or anything here, though this woman apparently is.

How do we judge her situation and her life and claim what she should or should not do, with her own feelings and beliefs? Strange indeed.


Cindy Sheehan has put the hawks and the right wingnuttery on the defense and on the ropes so I would expect the right wingnuttery appologist to come out with all their guns blazing.

It is amusingly predictable.

Just like I expected the left wingnuttery to spaz out when Roberts was nominated by Bush.

...popcorn in hand while I enjoy the show...


"Getting involved under false pretenses?" and or 'getting involved at all.'

This is what I am trying to convey in my exchange with Rainjack above. To the best of my knowledge she is protesting the war, not actually the unfortunate death of her son in war. She is using him as a symbol of her protest.

It is a moot point on whether he volunteered or not. It is not about the particulars of her sons death, if not Cindy Sheehan it is someone else protesting the war.

The argument is not over whether soldiers die (of course they do - that is the cost of war), the debate is over the reason and circumstances with which they die.


nah. might be annoying but i think she's pretty frickn far from going too far.


You are giving a simple woman way more credit than she deserves. She is ABB. She is in bed with both MMoore and George Soros. That right there removes any credibility she might have had in protesting the war, or whatever she's protesting.

Another sign that the left is dying a slow and raspy-breathed death.