Got Yer Cindy Sheehan Right Here

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It occurs to me that, except for one quote of the day in Reason Express, we have made no mention of the strange case of Cindy Sheehan. (I know, I know: We've also been ignoring Natalee Holloway and the disappearing cruise-ship groom, but there are only so many hours in a day!) You may have heard that there's a controversy going on about this woman whose son was killed in Iraq and who is now protesting outside President Bush's Crawford ranch, demanding a meeting with the president. Here's one side and here's the other.

Unfortunately, I have no strong feelings on this matter. Like all those Crawfordites they keep showing on TV, I'm glad Sheehan has the right to mount her protest; but at the risk of seeming insensitive to the Gold-Star mom, I find people who wave the bloody shirt basically creepy, even or especially when their loss is as close and personal as Sheehan's. (There may be some personal hurt feelings here, since I'm absolutely sure if I got killed in Iraq my own mother would roll over and say "Well, if our president says it was for the best it's not my place to question him—unless it's Clinton." My dad would bellyache, but only in front of his TV.) Nor are Sheehan's own comments—with which Drudge has been having a field day—likely to expand her circle of support by much.

On the other hand, is there anything less impressive than the complaints the pro-Bush types have been making against her? Who out there is so callow as to be shocked that Sheehan has a publicist and is pushing a political agenda? I don't really understand how anti-Sheehanists believe bringing up these bald facts is going to give them any headway in the argument. Her conspiracy theories go considerably further toward knocking down her credibility, but who cares? If she gets seriously called to task for her more outrageous comments she can always back away from them with the conversation stopper: Hey, don't you know my son got killed in Iraq? A grieving mother can always claim to have misspoken in a white-hot flash of grief. (More interesting, though less likely, would be if she continued to push the PNAC/Israel business as the story expanded.) There are some essential realities of public relations at work here: This is about Bush, and though I try not to underestimate the Republican PR machine, I don't see how even they can make it about Sheehan.

Why Bush didn't invite her in for a closed-door, no-media meeting a week and a half ago, I don't really understand. The DMV-window argument, that if he did this for her he'd have to do it for every grieving parent, is bogus. There are plenty of grieving parents out there, but most of them are not going to camp outside the president's ranch, and of the few who do, none will get any media attention after the first story is over.

I've also heard the argument that since Bush has already met with her, he should come out and say so in a press conference (the idea being that there are still plenty of people out there who don't realize this—unlikely—and so making that clear will defuse the issue). I think that would be a poor response. Noting that she's already had her moment with the prez sounds like something a lawyer would say, and the whole issue here is Bush's being made to look like an unfeeling cad.

The only real question is whether this story is winding down or just getting started. My guess is that this is another slow-news special, one of those blips of potentially bad news that Bush has a supernatural talent for getting away from. However, it's interesting that the relocation of her camp from its traffic-clogging spot to a private property (which I had initially taken as a sign the thing was wrapping up) apparently affords an even better view of Bush's ranch. According to a CNN reporter, the new location is so close the cameras will now be able to pick up glimpses of the president making his rounds—"something we almost never see," says the reporter.

So there you have it. Feel free to discuss. Sorry I don't have any brilliant insights you haven't heard before, or any vein-popping fulminations you have heard before but can't get enough of.

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  1. You’d think I’d have learned by now, but I am genuinely shocked the depravity of the attacks made on this woman. Bitch, whore, pimp. I’m not surprised there are people who oppose what she’s doing, but for chrissakes…

  2. Two possible explanations
    1) “big gooseberry season” (for anglophiles) – end of summer slack-off season
    2) they have her confused with Cartman’s mom.

    Joe – sadly it’s not surprising that such organized hatred of this woman exists. sigh.

  3. Tim, I’m pretty much with you on this. I don’t really have a dog in this race; I’m just tired of the petty partisanship that goes along with stories like this one.

  4. Yeah, I dunno why Bush didn’t give her 15 minutes weeks ago. And probably the best strategy for the Republican sludge pump would be to just shut up and hope it blows over. Attacking some dead guy’s mom. Classy.

    My favorite particular spin is the one where she’s been brainwashed and hijacked by the Moore/Soros/Moveon Axis and doesn’t know what she’s doing. Sort of reminds me of the Schiavo thing. How could you expect a mere woman to know her own mind?

    It would be cool if she injected PNAC into the mainstream conversation, such as there is one. Believe it or not it actually exists and has a remarkable amount of influence and isn’t some lefty feverdream.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

  5. Why Bush didn’t invite her in for a closed-door, no-media meeting a week and a half ago, I don’t really understand.

    Well, from what I’ve read by her, she started this whole thing because she was unimpressed by Bush the first time she met with him. I could see why Bush might think it wouldn’t do any good.

  6. I’m with joe on this one — I don’t think much of Sheehan, who seems to me to be a slightly unhinged woman thrust into the confusing and dehumanizing vortex of 15-minute stardom — but I really wish we could have a moratorium on the vitriol.

    Maybe it’s just because I live somewhere where oddball political demonstrations at roadside are normal, but what ever happened to ordinary civility? I mean, really, driving a truck over a makeshift war memorial is just wrong, no matter which side of the issue you are on. Calling women bitches and whores is not political discourse — it’s not even third-rate hip-hop lyrics.

    I am tired of the frothing-mouthed weirdos that the slightest hint of politics turns some people into. It’s as if people think that the mere fact that a political figure or party or viewpoint is involved in something means that civility (and, for that matter, intellect) goes out the window.

  7. “Her conspiracy theories go considerably further toward knocking down her credibility”

    It should be pointed out that at least some of the statements attributed to her seem to have been fabricated: http://www.goodbyejim.com/1124233040/index_html

  8. I just don’t understand why this lady is bitching. Isn’t the war over? I mean all I’ve seen on the news is missing hotties and Madonna’s broken arm. You’d think if there was something important like a war or something they would cover it. Old news lady. Let it go.

    So, what do you guys think happened to the Honeymoon Groom?

  9. Well, from what I’ve read by her, she started this whole thing because she was unimpressed by Bush the first time she met with him. I could see why Bush might think it wouldn’t do any good.

    But if she comes out of Meeting #2 complaining that he wasn’t impressive, then the story becomes about her opinion of the prez, rather than his refusal to meet with her.

    I should add that I’m not suggesting he meet with her now. That window’s closed, and a meeting at this point would really be a disaster.

  10. George Bush is supposed to be a professional, top tier politician.

    Bill Clinton would have sat quietly with her for half an hour, had her in tears, given her a bearhug, and the whole thing would have been over.

    Al Gore, she would have walked away agreeing to disagree, and the story turns into an argument on the facts.

    John Kerry, he does the Clinton thing, but not very well, and she walks away with a grudging respect.

    Bush knows that she’d kick his ass all over the living room, and leave her even angrier, with some additional ammo. This is what you get when you fake it. Eventually, the camera tricks stop working, and the president is either up for the job, or he’s not.

  11. My guess is that this is another slow-news special, one of those blips of potentially bad news that Bush has a supernatural talent for getting away from.

    Maybe GWB doesn’t have any supernatural talent. He might just be simply ethical in his conduct and acquaintances. One may not like his perspectives and policies, but as a man he may not have the usual high level of sleaze we expect from politicians. Those who have no resonanting argument against the ideas of his administration try to attack his character (and that of his circle). Bush ain’t Clinton, so sleaze-based assaults don’t stick.

    How can anyone believe that giving a second audience to Mother Sheehan would do anything other than inspire an endless string of “common man beseeches president” stories?

  12. Born on third and thought he’d hit a triple, again.

    It’s a big mistake to look at the teflon Bush was able to don for a couple years after September 11, and claim it resulted from anything to do with the man himself. Yet that’s just what his supporters do.

  13. I agree with just about everything Tim says, and I’d add that every time I see Sheehan on TV, I feel very sorry for her. If she knew how … well, undignified she looked, I think perhaps she would stop. I mean, her son joined the military. I’m just taking a wild guess here, but I don’t think he’d be happy that his death is becoming this national tragedy. Cindy Sheehan is behaving the way I would expect someone to act if their civilian child was killed by terrorists or something, and the president didn’t do anything about it. The soldiers I’ve known wouldn’t want their deaths to be this big a deal. Sure, they would want their families to greive, but they wouldn’t want the whole nation to grieve for then, personally. I don’t think it matches a soldier’s idea of honor.

    That said, Bush should have totally met with her, no cameras, on day 1.

  14. Another touchy feelie empathy-laden post on hit & run. brilliant.

    It’d be nice to see as much feeling and outrage for this war and for Sheehans dead son at reason mag. than over the Kelo decision and the DMCA…

  15. “Bill Clinton would have sat quietly with her for half an hour, had her in tears, given her a bearhug, and the whole thing would have been over.”

    … and she’d give bill a hummer…

  16. “I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say,” [Bush] said, according to Ruibal. “But it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.

    “The people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising.”

    No LBJ-style moping over intractable insurgencies for this former prep-school cheerleader. That’s the spirit, George. So, that whole Iraq thing isn’t going too well and a batallion of grieving mothers is at your door. You’ve still got your health and, really, that’s the important thing. All together now:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.
    Amen.

  17. “Bill Clinton would have sat quietly with her for half an hour, had her in tears, given her a bearhug, and the whole thing would have been over.”

    I doubt that a bear-hug would be all he’d have given her…

  18. I’d say that Bush owes her an apology on behalf of his talking heads, at the very least – and lest anyone forget, he’s her employee.

    That’s not to say she hasn’t spouted some nonsense – the PNAC I’ll go for, but that we’re in Iraq for Israel doesn’t make sense to me either. Regardless, if he’s going to mumble to the press about it, I think he ought to do the civil thing and talk to her face to face.

    Those who can hold reasoned debates do not vet their audiences in advance.

  19. Eric, look at it this way. I think a lot of things that are formally arrest worthy are better dealt with informally.

  20. Oops, wrong thread.

  21. I have it on good authority that Natalee Holloway and the disappeared cruise-ship groom are shacked up in Vegas and having a helluva laugh. What happens there stays there.

  22. SR sez:

    “statements attributed to her seem to have been fabricated”

    but gives us no evidence except a lame hyperlink. One follows the link and gets
    “Christopher Hitchens In Salon Wrote About It, But Other Mainstream Media Outlets Have Not Picked Up The Story.”

    Um, it was Slate (Tim provides a link and seems to believe Hitchens). And since the MSM hasn’t picked up on it, it must be unimportant or false. Right.

    Then you get ” ABC Nightline does not say that she did.” The hyperlink leads to a search results page at ABC.com. No denial though.

    Weak effort.

    I don’t care if Bush meets with her more than once or not. Just because her son was killed in Iraq doesn’t mean she’s right in her theory that Israel conned the U.S. into Iraq.

  23. I just find it a shame that people are using a dead soldier to further their political views. It’s just tasteless and disgraceful. And it demonstrates the depravity of the entire anti-war movement, as well as proves that we belong in Iraq.

  24. drf – great minds etc. 😉

    “as well as proves that we belong in Iraq.”

    Okay, I’ll bite – how do the actions of some people disagree with the occupation of Iraq in any way change the wisdom of the occupation?

  25. Basically, Sheahan is the anti-war Left’s Terri Shiavo. Except of course she’s a grown, if grief-stricken, woman, while Shiavo was brain dead.

  26. There was a letter with her name on it that made some horrible statements, that the right wing media picked up on, that was forged.

    Speaking of “should have learned by now,” I walked right into the Clinton jokes there.

  27. “If she knew how … well, undignified she looked, I think perhaps she would stop.”

    Maybe, just maybe, she’s sincere, and having lost her son, doesn’t really CARE how she looks.

  28. Juanita’s posting under “Ammonium” now.

  29. “If she knew how … well, undignified she looked, I think perhaps she would stop.”

    Obviously not a parent. I let my two year old daughter parade me around the house in her Barbie tiara.

  30. Boo to Sheehan. Your son volunteered to do something dangerous and something very bad happened to him while he was doing it. Not good, but it happens. Doesn’t mean you get to go on the media equivalent of a PCP rampage.

    Boo to Bush. If he really didn’t even bother to mention a lost soldier by name, that’s pretty half-assed.

    Boo to the people covering this. Shouldn’t there be a runaway bride or a dead intern or Tom Cruise to talk about instead? Seriously, I demand *quality* mindless drivel. This ain’t it.

    Double boo to the hatchet men attacking Sheehan. Yes, she’s probably not right emotionally. Yes, she’s clearly is drunk with media power and clearly thinks she’s entitled to special priviledges. And yes, she’s clowning your boy, the Prez. Doesn’t mean that she’s pure evil. Nor is everyone else who disagrees with him.

    2.25 boos to Randy Roads (on Air America during the West Coast drivetime). She’s just screechy and with a heavy Jersey accent. That’s not good radio.

  31. I just thought that, right? I didn’t actually say it out loud, right?

  32. Blindly Partisan Joe:

    “There was a letter with her name on it that made some horrible statements, that the right wing media picked up on, that was forged.”

    I haven’t seen any evidence it was forged. And of course you don’t provide any besides the inuendo that since the right-wing media picked up on it, it must be a forgery.

  33. “Juanita’s posting under “Ammonium” now.”

    Oh. Sorry, I should know better than to feed the trolls.

  34. “Your son volunteered to do something dangerous and something very bad happened to him while he was doing it.”

    She isn’t complaining that her son died serving his country. She’s from a military family, and knows the deal. She attended the event a few months ago, and was as polite and restrained as any righty patriot could expect from a bereft mother.

    She’s complaining about the slimy, underhanded reasons why he ended up dying in his country’s service. She’s been quite clear about what her complaint is, and I’m sick and tired of seeing this straw man.

  35. “I haven’t seen any evidence it was forged.”

    Uh, she stated it was forged when she was asked about it in a nationally televised interview.

    Not that I’d expect you to know anything that didn’t appear on World Nut Daily.

  36. Isn’t it obvious why it proves we belong in Iraq? She’s touting terrorist philosophy! After 9/11, especially, we need to take a stand against terrorists like those in Iraq.

    I’m all for free speech and everything, but this woman should not be allowed to support the terrorists. They are anti-freedom.

    I’m sure some of you terrorist sympathizers will have problems with my statements, but 99.9% of true Americans will agree with me.

  37. I haven’t seen any evidence it was forged. And of course you don’t provide any besides the inuendo that since the right-wing media picked up on it, it must be a forgery.

    In fact, this post, which includes a link to a usenet post from March, provides ample evidence that the letter was not forged, whatever she may have said on CNN the other night.

  38. Sorry joe, didn’t mean to present you with a straw man. It’s just that I honestly don’t care. And with that realization, I guess I’m done.

    See ya!

  39. Sorry, the first paragraph in my last post should have been in italics.

  40. It’s a big mistake to look at the teflon Bush was able to don for a couple years after September 11, and claim it resulted from anything to do with the man himself.

    joe, you commit the fallacy of “poisoning the well”. Because the attacks came so early in his presidency, any good one might find in him will not be attributed to his character, but to his being “lucky” to be a wartime prez.

  41. So the Dems must be flying back to DC, as we speak, to trash the constitution on her behalf.

  42. Peter K,

    It was an email to ABC.com that they apparently can no longer find.

    I could forge an email that looks like it came from God. Credibility is pretty darn low for email.

    2 daughters…I got the barbie fairy princess wings treatment 😉

  43. Kurt’s link says that Sheehan now claims Ted Koppel “doctored” the letter.

    Could be true I guess. Fighting Partisan Joe says we should believe Sheehan because, well …, because Bush killed her son in Iraq and she’s honest. Forgive me if I’m still skeptical.

  44. Her family says she’s bonkers, she acts bonkers, she says nutso stuff. If it walks like a nut and talks like a nut it’s probably a nut.

    From the Hitchens link:

    Finally, I think one must deny to anyone the right to ventriloquize the dead.

    Not even the mothers of the dead. Note that her husband has recently filed for divorce because he thinks she’s flipped her lid, but he didn’t hire a PR agent to broadcast it to the world.

    She’s made it clear that she believes our constitutional republic is a “morally repugnant system,” and that she believes, “We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now.” She compared Rumsfeld to Hitler and Stalin, and called Paul Wolfowitz a “murderous liar.” I’m sure he advocated for the war because he’s a damned Zionist, and they’re to blame for all the world’s troubles in Sheehan’s book. Give me a break.

    If she gets seriously called to task for her more outrageous comments she can always back away from them with the conversation stopper: Hey, don’t you know my son got killed in Iraq? A grieving mother can always claim to have misspoken in a white-hot flash of grief.

    Not unless you’re resigned to rolling over and not standing up to wingnuts, regardless of who their sons or daughters are or were.

    She’s lied about her meeting with the President, and the President has a pretty good track record of not meeting with people who make slanderous statements about him – thus his non-meeting with the NAACP for the last several years, after they accused him of supporting lynching and hate crimes.

  45. I’m also suprised that, unless I missed it, there hasn’t been a post about the goings-on in the Gaza Strip.

  46. Loony statements from activists come with the scenery, dead son or not. …and it’s always the loonies that go over the wall first–that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

    …The same thing happened during the American Revolution. The hot heads and the loud mouths blasted away, and then the adults took over.

  47. Aww, poor Pwesident!

  48. joe: She’s complaining about the slimy, underhanded reasons why he ended up dying in his country’s service. She’s been quite clear about what her complaint is, and I’m sick and tired of seeing this straw man.

    joe: you’re wrong, and you’re the one putting up the straw man. She is complaining that he died for our “morally repugnant system” that is “not worth dying for.” She’s also said she wouldn’t be any less upset if he died in Afghanistan, and that we were wrong to remove the Taliban from power.

  49. I’m also suprised that, unless I missed it, there hasn’t been a post about the goings-on in the Gaza Strip.

    I posted on Cindy Sheehan though I had no strong feelings about it, but I have to draw the line somewhere. In a universe made entirely of laxative, I would still be unable to give a shit about the goings on in the Gaza Strip.

    But for the record, Jacob Sullum had an interesting column about the various demonstrators and the color war they’re waging.

    Oh, and come to think of it, I did mention this. Maybe it was the prune juice.

  50. I respect Sheehan for having the guts to take the Bushies head-on. Her mistake is that she probably should request a meeting with the real decision makers (Rove, Perle, Wolfowitz?) instead of the puppet clown. This incident illustrates the apathy of the average American about the Iraq war. Sheehan should be a magnet for the opposition to the war. There should be hundreds of thousands camping out in support. Widespread dissent will not occur until Americans understand that the invasion of Iraq was unjustified – that Iraq had no connection to Al Qaeda and the neocons knew ahead of time that Saddam did not have WMDs. It will take a nationwide draft to shake the complacency of the masses. Why should they complain about the war if other people are willing to fight and die for it?

  51. Loony statements from activists come with the scenery, dead son or not. …and it’s always the loonies that go over the wall first–that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

    Usually they’re wrong and end up leading other lemmings over the cliff.

  52. I had been sort of pleased that none of us had seen fit to expend any pixels on this moronic non-story, but it’s gratifying to see that we’re hitting it now only to observe that it’s a moronic non-story.

  53. I’ve decided to camp outside Jay Leno’s house until he agrees to denounce Israel and give me one of his bitchin’ classic cars. Anyone with me?

  54. I would argue, peter, that no matter what the issue is, the most radical people are always the first to jump the fence.

    …no matter what the issue is.

    Counting the loonies before you jump the fence, then, probably isn’t a very good way to gauge whether you should make the jump.

    P.S. I’d also point out that regardless of whatever loony things this lady has said, the basic point that I get from her–that what we’ve gained in Iraq isn’t worth what we’ve sacrificed–seems to ring through loud and clear.

  55. Every person has a bunch of stupid theories about why this war was fought because the explanation we have been given don’t add up. I wish people would stop spouting their silly views on why we are there and start asking why we are there.

    Cindy Sheehan, with great anxiety, exhibits tendencies towards anti-zionism, perhaps even anti-semitism. So she should see a shrink about her latent bigotries. Big deal. My Dad, a FoxNews Android, has his own theories. My Mom, a John Lennon Missionary, has hers. Neither knows why we are there. What they share in common is that they certainly don’t believe the Administration.

  56. I don’t care if Bush saw her twice or not. The best bit in Hitchens’s take on her:

    The president has compromised by sending his national-security adviser, Stephen Hadley, down that Crawford road to meet the PR-knackish Cindy. Not good enough, exclaims Dowd. Hadley was pro-war and has even been described as a neocon! Clearly, then, the Sheehan demand is liable to expand the more it is met. President Bush must either find a senior staff member who opposes the war and then send him or her down the track to see if that will do. Or else he must, like the Emperor Henry of old, stage his own Canossa and attend on her himself, abject apologies at the ready. After all, we mustn’t forget that we are dealing–as was that emperor in his dispute with Pope Gregory–with “an absolute moral authority.”

  57. Were I in Bush’s place I wouldn’t have anything to do with this woman. I would denounce those talking trash about her, make some comment about how ‘grief can do things to people, sad really’ and then I would shut up and wait for it to blow over.

    Julian is right, this is a non-story which has become a story only because people are making a big deal out of a non-story.

    But I do like John Palchak’s suggestion. Only I would settle for one of Leno’s Harleys…

  58. “I would denounce those talking trash about her, make some comment about how ‘grief can do things to people, sad really’ and then I would shut up and wait for it to blow over.”

    I keep looking for the contemporary equivalent of the expression “silent majority” to manifest itself. …In time, it will come.

  59. I don’t have a problem with per prancing around and mouthing off, but I gladly exercise my right to label this woman a pitiful loon who is not worth a struggling alderman’s time, let alone a president’s.

    “Bush is the world’s biggest terrorist!” “Bush killed my son!” No, lady, a roadside bomb planted by terrorists killed your son. Your son chose to enter the military where bad things are known to happen, with full knowledge that something might go down sometime, somewhere, possibly, for whatever reason, good or bad. Maybe you should be mad at your son for putting himself potentially in harm’s way in the first place by enlisting. Maybe you should be pissed at yourself for not trying harder, or at all, to convince him to not join up.

    She is not a totally rational being at the moment.

  60. “She is not a totally rational being at the moment.”

    What are you, an Objectivist?

  61. What are you, an Objectivist?

    I try 😉

  62. *sigh* So many stories to ignore, so little time…

  63. “In fact, this post, which includes a link to a usenet post from March, provides ample evidence that the letter was not forged, whatever she may have said on CNN the other night.”

    Ooooh, a usenet post by a third party who claims to be posting it on her behalf! If you consider that “ample evidence” then I’m sure the orphaned son of a former Nigerian oil minister would like to talk with you about a financial opportunity.

  64. Ooooh, a usenet post by a third party who claims to be posting it on her behalf! If you consider that “ample evidence” then I’m sure the orphaned son of a former Nigerian oil minister would like to talk with you about a financial opportunity.

    Well, everyone’s free to go to the link and judge for themselves. I find it an awful lot more persuasive than Sheehan’s current denials, and at the very least shifts the burden of proof over to those who believe the letter was forged because they want to.

  65. SR:

    Back off! That’s MY Nigerian oil minister’s orphan’s opportunity, and I ain’t sharing it with you joey-come-latelies!

  66. “at the very least shifts the burden of proof”

    So let’s see, because “Tony Tersh” (or “Tersch”, the website spells it both ways) posts something to usenet on behalf of a party known only as “Skeeter”, who allegedly sent it to Tersh at the request of Sheehan, that is sufficient evidence to shift the burden? And furthermore, how, pray tell, does someone prove they didn’t instruct one person to tell another person to post something to usenet? You’re so delusional it’s pathetic.

  67. Whether her righteous anger is justified or not, I get the feeling that being at the center of this kind of movement is much the same to serious lefties like this woman as being able to play a concert with the Rolling Stones would be to other people. I have to wonder at this point if she isn’t really having the time of her life.

  68. joe, you commit the fallacy of “poisoning the well”. Because the attacks came so early in his presidency, any good one might find in him will not be attributed to his character, but to his being “lucky” to be a wartime prez

    Yeah, it’s not as if he existed before 1/20/01 and might have ever done anything that could provide insight into his character, joe.

  69. It should be pointed out that at least some of the statements attributed to her seem to have been fabricated: http://www.goodbyejim.com/1124233040/index_html

    That point has pretty much been demolished.

    http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/8/18/175654/041

  70. You’d think I’d have learned by now, but I am genuinely shocked the depravity of the attacks made on this woman. Bitch, whore, pimp.

    Joe, who is calling her names like that? Mostly what I’ve been hearing is that she’s unbalanced, has an agenda, she’s being used by left-wing orgs, etc.

  71. In my anarchist dreams everyone behaves like this, and admits that they are insane, as a precondition to claiming sapiency as mostly hairless talking apes.

    Rush on one side, Cindy on the other. Gives me goose bumps.

  72. I just thought of one thing that is positive about Cindy. She comes by her “insanity” honestly, the old fashioned way, she earned it by motherhood.

  73. (excuse the repeated postings)

    boo radley,

    I haven’t saved any of the links, but (and I rarely do this) I agree with joe, sorta…

    I have heard media whore (is that any better), and some of the other stuff has been pretty foul too, you gotta check the freepers on this one, it was disgusting enough for me to shut down my laptop and walk away.

  74. When this first started, I thought she was preparing to run for a seat in the house. She still might but she ain’t going anywhere. It’s that tinfoil hat, it’s so…Jenny say quat.

  75. Sheehan wants answers, but she has gotten answers. They’re just not the answers she wants and they’re never going to be.

  76. Skeptikos,

    Personally, I wouldn’t call her names at all, out of sympathy for her loss (and to retain my own credibility). But,

    1. Media whore is a lesser insult than whore by itself. It’s an exaggeration, kind of like soup nazi or poverty pimp.

    2. I’ve listened to Tony Snow, “Spinmeister Bill” O’Reilly, and Limbaugh a little bit on this subject. They’ve thrown some mild ridicule her direction, but no serious personal attacks. I don’t think that the whole right side of the spectrum should be tarred by the behavior of a few Michael Savage types.

  77. OK, I googled for sheehan along with bitch or whore or pimp, and it kind of confirmed what I was thinking. Lots of right-wing bloggers have said nasty things about Cindy Sheehan, with ‘media whore’ being very common. I have no respect for that kind of personal attack.

    Has anyone from the Bush administration, or any mainstream conservative pundit, used these terms?

  78. Regardless of what they call her, I still think her message is getting through.

    …what we’ve gained in Iraq isn’t worth what we’ve sacrificed. The expectation that this would be so formed the basis of my original opposition to the invasion, and–call me naive–it continues to form the backbone of my opposition to Administration policy today.

    If the Pro-Iraq War lobby wants to make their case, rather than engaging in personal attacks on Sheehan, they should tell us that what we’ve gained in Iraq was worth all the sacrifices and then they should tell us why.

    …The rest of it’s all bullshit.

  79. I know, I know: We’ve also been ignoring Natalee Holloway and the disappearing cruise-ship groom

    If I’m not mistaken, you also ignored the passing away of Robin Cook, the indictments of AIPAC executives, Larry Franklin, and now David M. Satterfield, a top US diplomat in Iraq for spying for Israel.

  80. Well, the latest news is that she’s going back to California to care for her sick mother. Any bets whether her posse will stick it out in Crawford until her return?

    She’s had her 15 mins.

  81. Of course she’s not rational. She’s a mother whose son just died violently on the other side of the world. She’s obviously not a particularly sophisticated political thinker, either.

    But that’s not the point. She doesn’t have a particularly complicated or refined message.

    If she came off at totally rational, and had an airtight five point plan for Iraq, would the people attacking her for being “irrational” or “loonie” be satisfied? Of course not, they’d just have a different pile of invective to hurl.

  82. Why do people keep bringing up the fact that Cindy’s son volunteered for military service? So did every other person that’s serving today, so what? Is she blaming Bush directly for taking her son’s life? NOPE. She wants to know why the fuck this asshole thought it was imperative to go into Iraq, why this war is justified.

    She wants answers, and she isn’t the only mother who feels this way. She should be praised for questioning this joke of a war, not condemned. Someone decides to get off their couch and go do something about it, and the woman gets bashed? For what? Pathetic.

    When Tony Blair gets railed on CSPAN about the war, IN AN OPEN FORUM, from his people who are able to sit directly in the audience and ask him questions…it becomes clear we have NO ACCOUNTABILITY for our own politicians. It was refreshing to see people ask Tony Blair questions, and have him answer in a non-staged manner. Why the fuck don’t we do this? Is Bush too good for his people? No, he’s just a partisan hack just like the Democrats. They won’t debate with Libertarians, with Greens, with the Constitution Party…because they’d be called to task on their stranglehold on our joke of a political system.

    You partisan hacks can go fuck yourselves.

  83. “She’s had her 15 mins.”

    Even if this is true, she got the rock rolling down the hill.

    The other theme you hear from her detractors, along with the sexualized slurs and, inevitably, charges of antisemitism, is the harping on the dissent in her family. The husband filed for divorce, her inlaws disagree with her, yadda yadda yadda. There’s some interesting subtext going on there. She gets her power from her position as a Mom, so her detractors go after her as a Bad Woman, who can’t even keep her family together. It’s remininscent of a decorated, wounded veteran being accused of cowardice and treason, or a judge with a great record of helping kids being accused of being a pedophile.

  84. I’ve said this before.. if this were a draft, then this nut would have a leg to stand on.

    But yeah, I agree with the notion that Sheehan is just a human being who allowed herself to be completely overwhelmed by the chaos of grief. The real bad guys are the vultures who are exploiting her, like the assholes who took advantage of the Schivo (sp?) family squabble.

    If you have a point to make, great.. but don’t base it on speaking for dead people, who may or may not have agreed with you. That is just patently dishonest.

  85. IMHO, Cindy would receive more widespread support – even from a good chunk of moderate conservatives – if she just stuck with the Iraq theme. But when you start blithering on about neocons, Israel, oil, fascism, etc, like a third-rate Michael Moore, along with regurgitating pithy slogans usually found on the most hysterical protest signs, you’re going to turn off a lot of people.

  86. I haven’t heard Sheehan claiming to speak for her son. I’ve heard her speaking about her son. And I’ve heard her critics claiming to speak for her son.

    BTW, my psychic powers tell me that my Mom/Bad Woman thesis above will be turned into several thousand undergraduate and graduate academic papers over the next two years. With titles like “Scarlett Woman” and “Cindy Sheehan and the Thingy Thingy Motherhood Thingy.”

  87. If you have a point to make, great.. but don’t base it on speaking for dead people, who may or may not have agreed with you. That is just patently dishonest.

    Including the 9/11 victims?

  88. joe:

    Actually, I’m talking about all those wooden crosses they are putting up of the war dead. It’s a disgrace. I believe that good soldiers died with certain assumptions/beliefs (right or wrong), and it is dishonorable to use them as props for a leftist rally. It dishonors the families who believe (right or wrong) in the cause.

    And I stole a great point you made during the Schivo thing.. that yeah, the TS parents were a bit batty, but it was understandable given the tremendous emotional strain they were under. The real bad guys were the christian conservatives who backed the whole thing.

    So I’m curious.. what makes this different?

  89. Why not have Karl Rove meet her with a mask of President Bush?

    If he told her sensitive information, i.e. when we are planning to leave Iraq. We (US) could throw her in jail for not disclosing an informed source.

    It is a solution.

  90. Insofar as personal attacks from the “right” on Cindy, it’s not entirely surprising. And if Cindy were an outspoken Christian anti-abortion advocate staked out in front of a Planned Parenthood building, she’d be receiving the same sort of personal attacks from various left-wing and libertarian bloggers. All sides of the “partisan fence” have their share.

  91. Hold it, Nice Guy, are you saying that memorializing our war dead is always wrong? Or only when it’s done by people who don’t agree with the war?

    The Vietnam Wall must really tick you off.

    “So I’m curious.. what makes this different?” The political activists around Shiavo were lying to her parents, telling them she was conscious and could respond to therapy, to further their goals. The political activists around Sheehan are telling her the truth, that the reasons given for her son’s death are not the actual reasons he was put in harms way. To someone like me, who judges truth in old fashioned Enlightenment terms, this distinction is quite acute.

  92. Visiting the Vietnam memorial is an extremely sobering experience. Words can’t describe it.

    I don’t see it as anything remotely exploitive. I don’t remember any stories of families wanting names REMOVED from the wall. It is a place of honor.

    As compared to dinky wooden crosses on the side of the road.. by people who, frankly, have way too much time on their hands, and clearly have an axe to grind.. and have you heard about the father who made the trip to remove the cross of his son? What about his feelings?

  93. …and, apologies for pulling a Gunnels here..

    I don’t see an acute distinction. Both situations have powerful political interests exploiting the grief of a parent to further their respective causes.

  94. MNG,

    Have you ever done any reading on the history of the Wall, and the controversy that surrounded its design? The proud patriots who supported the Vietnam War and claimed to speak for the Troops were outraged by that dark gash, and the obvious support it gave to their ideological opponents.

    But if anyone wants their kid’s cross removed, the protestors should do so.

    “Both situations have powerful political interests exploiting the grief of a parent to further their respective causes.” Just as, sadly, I expected. The actual question of truthfulness doesn’t matter, just the political import, to you. I don’t hiding the difference between truth and lies behind the term “exploit” is a very good way to go about this.

  95. joe:

    There is always controversy over war memorials. It is an extremely emotional issue and hardly anyone is ever 100% happy with the outcome.

    Have you ever visited the memorial? If you did, you would see veterans proudly wearing their uniforms and taking etchings of their friends. There are flags everywhere. No one is wiping their ass on them.

    I don’t see it as being left-wing or even right-wing. The wall is merely a stark reminder of what we paid for that conflict.

    And “truth” can be a relative thing, joe. I’m confident that at least some of those vultures who fed those “lies” to the TS parents might’ve actually believed them. For some people, the urge to score political points at all costs is just too great.

  96. But if anyone wants their kid’s cross removed, the protestors should do so.

    Out of politeness to the parents, by all means take the cross down, but replace it with one that has no name on it.

    I’m not sure if I understand where some of you guys are coming from here. If you get killed in the crossfire from an anti-drug SWAT team, and I’m out trying to convince Americans that anti-drug SWAT teams are bad because they kill so many innocents, should I get your families’ permission before adding your name to the list of innocent SWAT victims? Seems to me to be the same thing, here.

  97. MNG, I went to GWU. I’ve visited the memorial dozens, if not hundreds, of times, and it is as you describe. Now. It was not so at the time the design was chosen – it was the subject of outrage and recimination that went light years beyond what happened with the WW2 Memorial. Its acceptance today is the result of its familiarity, and the fact that the complainers, though loud and powerful, were deeply out of touch with how most Americans felt about the war. How dare you present our noble crusade as something shameful? You’re still spitting on The Troops! That sort of thing.

    I’m sure a google on “Maya Lin Vietnam Memorial” would yield a good source.

  98. It’s remininscent of a decorated, wounded veteran being accused of cowardice and treason, or a judge with a great record of helping kids being accused of being a pedophile.

    OK, I know who the veteran is, but who’s the judge?

  99. MNG, I went to GWU. I’ve visited the memorial dozens, if not hundreds, of times, and it is as you describe. Now. It was not so at the time the design was chosen – it was the subject of outrage and recimination that went light years beyond what happened with the WW2 Memorial.

    Just for the record, this is absolutely true. Skeptics should check out any Maya Lin bio for proof (and plenty of anti-Asian comments thrown her way during the controversy). Also, I don’t know if it’s still there, but check out the traditional sculpture of heroically posed troops that originally graced or deformed the center of the memorial-this was the compromise they worked out with protesters who thought the memorial was a disgrace.

  100. I’m just curious.. was there an intentional leftist message in the original memorial design, or did the right-wingers merely over-react? Why were people grossly offended by a plain, black wall?

    Jennifer:

    In your example, I would argue free will. The soldiers involved are not, in my opinion, innocent bystanders. They signed a contract and swore an oath to carry out the orders of a president that they may or may not 100% agree with. And I would even said that it’s understood that a commander may not always be 100% up-front. There can be hidden agendas in this business.

  101. “I’m just curious.. was there an intentional leftist message in the original memorial design, or did the right-wingers merely over-react?”

    As I recall, they were simply upset that they were being given an abstract monument–it made them feel marginalized. …They wanted something that looked more like the Jefferson Memorial.

  102. I think Bush should have met with Cindy Sheehan five times. Once clearly was not enough, as so many on this post seem to suggest, and although Tim Cavanaugh suggests: “if she comes out of Meeting #2 complaining that he wasn’t impressive, then the story becomes about her opinion of the prez, rather than his refusal to meet with her.”

    No, it doesn’t. It becomes he met with her only because he caved to pressure, was entirely insincere in doing so, and tacitly admitting he was wrong about everything he has ever done in office.

    A series of meetings, however, shows a real interest in what she has to say — it’s opening up a dialogue. Why five? Any fewer shows too little interest, any more shows he’s not spending enough time actually enacting policy, rather than discussing it with random citizens who demand attention.

  103. Over 100 comments on this thread and only 1 reference to PNAC. Maybe cable news IS truly reflective of the general viewer (or at least general blogger). I expected more from “Reasonoids”.

    This discussion is as shallow as Paula Zahn. Can’t we get past the visuals and start a conversation about the direction this country is taking? Because there are obviously a handful of individuals who have been planning this for years, but it doesn’t seem to get much mainstream coverage.

    Would like to see more debate amongst general public about the role of post-cold war American power. Isn’t it the job of the media to advance this? Perhaps it wouldn’t get good ratings…

  104. Rick Henderson wrote:

    No, it doesn’t. It becomes he met with her only because he caved to pressure, was entirely insincere in doing so, and tacitly admitting he was wrong about everything he has ever done in office.

    If he meets her now it does. (Or at least, he would look like he caved; the stuff about tacitly admitting he was wrong about everything he’s done in office is just silly and hyperbolic.) I said he should have done it a week and a half ago, before the story caught on. I could be wrong about that, but that still leaves the question of how the president can defuse this situation (if he actually needs to defuse it).

  105. Tim,

    I forget the details, but in one of the first races Karl Rove managed, his candidate’s opponent for a judicial position was getting lots of press for all the work he’d done for children over the years. Then a whispering campaign, which absolutely had nothing to do with his candidate, started, saying that the judge was a child molestor.

    As I understand it, the opposition disliked the Vietnam Memorial design because it reflected grief and shame, rather than pride and patriotism. It was sunk into the ground, rather than standing above it. It was black, while all the other monuments on the Mall are white. It exprsses sorrow, not victory. It’s post-modernist, not classical. And it contains no references to the great things the troops achieved – it just draws attention to the loss. Also,the stone is reflective, and the opposition didn’t like the suggestion that our experience in Vietnam should cause us to reflect – because that suggests we might have done something wrong.

    My favorite criticism was that it was a “dark gash.” As opposed to, for example, the giant white object erected for the Father of our Country.

  106. In your example, I would argue free will. The soldiers involved are not, in my opinion, innocent bystanders. They signed a contract and swore an oath to carry out the orders of a president that they may or may not 100% agree with. And I would even said that it’s understood that a commander may not always be 100% up-front. There can be hidden agendas in this business.

    Casey Sheehan reenlisted in August of 2003. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was also a volunteer on the rescue mission in which he was killed.

  107. “Casey Sheehan reenlisted in August of 2003. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was also a volunteer on the rescue mission in which he was killed.”

    So, tell me, was his death, and the deaths of all the other Americans who died, worth less than what we gained in Iraq? …Why?

    *crickets*

  108. …Really, some hawk out there, please, finish the following for me.

    Sure, we sacrificed some 1,800 American lives in Iraq and we suffered some 14,000 American wounded, but it was all worth it because…

    *crickets*

  109. I subscribe to the ‘draining the swamp’ idea, myself.

  110. If I could interrupt the chirping crickets for a moment, I’ll respond to your question: I don’t know. Concerning this issue, I have nothing but questions stacked upon more questions:

    How do you weigh immediate loss of lives against the long-term benefits that could potentially be achieved from the Iraq invasion?
    If Saddam had stockpiles of WMD (as many across the political spectrum believed), was the invasion justified?
    If Saddam had WMD, would he have passed them along to Al Qaeda to use against us?
    Will the invasion/occupation eventually lead to a free, democratic Iraq? If so, will that spread across the rest of the region?
    etc, etc, etc.

    The anti-war folks will answer all questions with a categorical answer that makes the Bush administration look as bad as possible; the pro-war folks will do the opposite. And I’ll continue to sit here (picture ‘the Thinker’, only perched on a toilet) saying ‘I don’t know’ over and over again.

  111. “As opposed to, for example, the giant white object erected for the Father of our Country.”

    I actually find it very reassuring and inspirational. And I’m sure Martha did, too.

    If they put one up for Ben Franklin, it would block out the sun..

  112. sorry.. another Gunnels..

    I think the Washington monument in Baltimore is even more blatant. They might as well put two big white boulders at the base.

  113. Can’t we get past the visuals and start a conversation about the direction this country is taking?

    This must be the first and only Hit and Run thread you’ve ever read.

    Mr. Nice Guy–

    All right, my SWAT analogy doesn’t hold here, but isn’t a list of names of dead soldiers pretty much common knowledge anyway? If Sheehan and her people were, for example, printing private photographs taken of the men the day before they died, I could see the families being upset. But names? If you died in Iraq, that’s just a plain fact, not something over which I could see a family member having some sort of proprietary interest.

    And I repeat: if it were me, I’d take down the named crosses out of politeness, but I would immediately replace them with an equal number of unnamed crosses.

  114. “Sure, we sacrificed some 1,800 American lives in Iraq and we suffered some 14,000 American wounded, but it was all worth it because…

    *crickets*”

    Study a little history. Hitler said he’d have backed off if the Allies had stood up to him from the begining.
    I agree, it is impossible to know if this sacrifice is worth it. Was the sacrifice in Vietnam or Korea worth it? Of a magnitude of sacrifice, what, fifty times higher?

    Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. Proving you’ve prevented an incredible evil is, by definition, impossible.

    But the history of evil, of despots, left to do their worst is pretty clear. 2,000 lives is a high price but only a fool cannot imagine how many more might have died had Saddam and HIS SONS been allowed to continue their clear ambitions.

    Maybe you’re okay with the people Saddam killed in Iran, Kuwait as well as Iraq over time but I see them as human beings as much as you or I. Maybe you’re okay with that continuing and even spreading to Israel and likely the rest of the Middle East.

    Me, I don’t like paying any price for anything but I’m confident the price we’ve paid in Iraq may be one of the greatest bargains of all time.
    Certainly I could be wrong. But can you be so certain it is has been a failure given the history of men like Saddam?

  115. Before anything else, this to me is the whole ball of wax. This is my opposition to the War in a nutshell and, what’s more, this is what I see as Sheehan’s central message. …What we’ve gained by an occupied Iraq–and what we’re likely to gain–isn’t worth what we’ve sacrificed.

    …If the President and his supporters wish to counter that–and part of it is, of course, a value judgment–then, rather than riding Sheehan and her supporters, they should argue that what we’ve gained and what we’re likely to gain is worth more than the sacrifices we’ve made.

    …Other Presidents have done this in the past, speaking of history.

    “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain–that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    Some things are worth killing and dying for, but nothing we’ve achieved to date justifies the killing and dying. …and I find the things I hear hawks say will someday justify our sacrifices entirely unlikely.

    To me, Iraq looks like a greater terrorist threat–to the people of the United States–than it was under the watchful eye of the coalition. Rather than being a force for Reverse Domino Theory, I think much of Iraq is likely to end up a marginally theocratic state with loose but very real ties to Iran.

    I also think that ridiculing Sheehan and the people that flocked to her does nothing to persuade anyone that our achievements in Iraq were worth our sacrifices.

  116. Nor are Sheehan’s own comments?with which Drudge has been having a field day?likely to expand her circle of support by much.

    Wow, now there’s good support for your argument, Matt Drudge, the verbal diarrhea queen, and Christopher Hitchens, the neo-con slut and apologist. Hey, is Hithcns also a Jew? He sounds like the rest of the Straussian freaks that are in control of the Bushie “administration”.

  117. You know, I’m getting really sick of hearing the analogies with Hitler. The Nazis controlled the most powerful state in Europe, with a clear agenda of conquest and Lebensraum – Saddam was an aging relic of the era of Arab nationalist tyrants, with no power-projection capabilities left after 1991 other than murdering his own subjects. How was he going to threaten his neighbors – with nukes that didn’t exist? Even if he had been able to cobble together some sort of WMD program, he had no delivery vehicles, plus 2/3 of the country was constantly overshadowed by US and allied air power. Israel would have squashed him in a week if he’d ever posed a real threat to them. Sure, getting rid of him was a Good Thing, but will replacing him with a trio of quarreling substates be that big an improvement or justify US and Iraqi casualties?

    As for Korea and Vietnam, it looks to me that the former sacrifice was justified, even though South Korea had to suffer through a long period of authoritarian rule – at least they could develop a robust economy, and democracy eventually came. Vietnam, OTOH looks like a complete failure – North Vietnam conquered the weak, corrupt regime we backed, overran the rest of Indochina, and still exsts to this day. I think it’s safe to say that Vietnam wasn’t worth a single US casualty, much less 250,000 of them.

    Hey, is Hithcns also a Jew? He sounds like the rest of the Straussian freaks that are in control of the Bushie “administration”.

    No, Hitchens is not a Jew – now why don’t you go back to masturbating over your dog-eared copy of Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

  118. I read a really good Tom Wolfe essay once about how the Wall was awful because it was a horrible piece of art. i think the piece was a bio of the guy who finished 2nd the desing the memorial. He was a real artist, if I recall. In fact, all of the people proposing differnt designs for the memorial were told to include all the names, so Maya Lin didn’t exactly have a stroke of genius… her work showed no technique, no skill at all.

  119. “Hey, is Hithcns also a Jew? He sounds like the rest of the Straussian freaks that are in control of the Bushie “administration”.”

    Please do the rest of us who are opposed to Bush Administration policy a favor and join the other side.

  120. Cindy who?

  121. Sheehan is ugly….put the Aruba girl back on!!

  122. Mom,I love you but………shut the fuck up.

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