New Civilization News: A Message From Cindy Sheehan    
 A Message From Cindy Sheehan18 comments
picture10 Aug 2005 @ 09:39, by Richard Carlson

The true man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly, and that was all. He didn't forget where he began; he didn't try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again. This is what I call not using the mind to repel the Way, not using man to help out Heaven. This is what I call the True Man.


May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

---Edward Abbey

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the room.

---Simone Weil

Cindy Sheehan hears the Sheriff

While jailed reporter Judith Miller decides with her cellmate every night who gets to sleep on the floor [link] , activist mother Cindy Sheehan tells reporters she may be arrested tomorrow as a security threat. As news sources around the world are reporting (if their corporate owners allow them) Ms. Sheehan has walked as far as they'd let her down the road to the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he is taking a 5-week vacation (the longest presidential retreat in 36 years). Well, he does say he goes there "to meet with folks in the heartland and hear what's on their minds" [link] . Of course we know he never can let himself be disagreed with in public, so Cindy Sheehan bakes in the sun. She is telling reporters she's been notified that she and supporters will be cleared out when the Secretaries of State and Defense come to the ranch tomorrow. At the moment, people are boarding planes, trains, buses and anything else that will get them to Crawford in case that happens.

Yesterday Bob Fertik posted a message from Cindy at his blog. He didn't include a link so maybe she sent it personally. Here it is~~~

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
"Security Threat"
a Message From Cindy Sheehan, Crawford, TX

Where do I begin?

Today was a highly eventful day. This entry won't be artful, but utilitarian.

I conservatively got 3 to 5 phone calls a minute. I did about 25 phone interviews and several TV interviews. I did several right-wing radio interviews. I was supposed to do The Today Show, MSNBC live interview, Connected Coast to Coast (MSNBC) and Hardball (MSNBC). The Today Show just never showed up and the other 3 MSNBC shows cancelled for no reason.

Another big story that was going on today was about my first meeting with Bush in June of 2004. For you all I would like to clarify a few things. First of all, I did meet with George, and that is not a secret. I have written about it and been interviewed about it. I will stand by my recounting of the meeting. His behavior was rude and inappropriate. My behavior in June of 2004 is irrelevant to what is going on in 2005. I was in deep shock and deep grief. The grief is still there, but the shock has worn off and the deep anger has set in. And to remind everybody, a few things have happened since June of 2004: The 9/11 commission report; the Senate Intelligence report; the Duelfer WMD report; and most damaging and criminal: the Downing Street Memos. The VERY LAST THING I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS IS: Why do the right wing media so assiduously scrutinize the words of a grief filled mother and ignore the words of a lying president?

In the early afternoon, we got word that if we were still there by Thursday, we were going to be deemed a "security threat" to the president. Condi and Rummy are coming in on Thursday for a "policy" meeting. I just don't understand why we will be a security threat on Thursday when we aren't now? If we don't leave on Thursday, we could be arrested. Well, I am not leaving. There are only three things that would make me leave: if George comes out and talks to me, if August comes to an end, or if I am arrested.
People are heading here from all over the country. I have some more Gold Star Families for Peace members coming tomorrow. We are amazed by the outpouring of love and support we are getting. 62% of the American public are against this war and want our troops home. We need to show the media that we are in the majority. We need to show George Bush and his cabal of neocons that when we say "bring the troops home, now" we mean "bring the troops home, now!!!"

In the late afternoon, many of us left to go back to the peace house in Crawford because there was going to be a major lightning storm. While most of us were gone, the Sheriff came and told us that what we were told was county property really was private property and we would have to remove our stuff to a tiny place, or get it confiscated. I find it interesting that the county sheriff did not know that roads in his county that lead up to the presidential vacation home are private roads. I find it very hard to believe. They think that they are pushing us off, but we will not leave there voluntarily or without handcuffs on. My only hope is, there will be tons of media there when they carry me to the squad car.

Today was so bizarre for me. I got phone calls from famous people pledging their support, and phone calls from mothers with sons in Iraq who are overcome with emotion when they talk to me. And it is so brave for them to call me, because I am their worst fear. We had a young man who is in the US Army at Ft. Hood come this morning and spend hours with us. He has been there [Iraq] and his unit is scheduled to go back in October. How much courage did that take for him to come within earshot of his commander in chief's home and spend time with some old hippy protestors???

We have a lawyer working on getting us closer to the ranch and working on magically turning the private property back into county property again. I have some awesome young ladies from CodePink [link] answering my phone and taking phone calls. We have Veterans for Peace [link] out there putting up banners (our tiny campsite looks real nice). We have concerned citizens from all over America starting to come in. IT IS FREAKIN AMAZING, FOLKS!!!

Come and join us and let your voices be joined with ours. VISIT: [link]


Maureen Dowd continues on leave from The New York Times, as she writes a book, but she couldn't resist showing up this morning to comment on the Bush/Sheehan showdown [link] . I'll post the whole thing as a separate comment. I'll also put up Representative John Conyer's blog and formal challenge to Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby to give Judith Miller a waiver to testify about conversations he had with her that are of interest to the grand jury [link] . And they say there's no news in August!

[< Back] [New Civilization News]



10 Aug 2005 @ 10:27 by jazzolog : John Conyer's Blog
Why Won't Scooter Libby Grant Judith Miller a Personal Waiver?

August is typically a month of no news. Congress goes on its summer recess. The President takes a long vacation. A very long one. For those in the White House press corps who are not so fortunate to be assigned to bake in the Crawford, Texas sun, they too take vacations (though not as long as the President's).

This August is different. If you listen closely enough, you can hear the slow drip of scandal turning into a waterfall of corruption and coverups in the Bush White House. On the internet, new pieces of the puzzle are coming together. My friend and the proprietor of this blog, Arianna Huffington seems to have the best sources inside the New York Times newsroom and has led many of us to begin asking whether Judith Miller's refusal to testify is not what it seems.

Picking up this thread over the weekend is an overlooked investigative piece in the American Prospect Magazine's online edition. In case you missed it, in a piece entitled "The Meeting" , investigative reporter Murray Waas uncovers some new information about Treason-gate, Miller's refusal to testify and Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby's possible complicity in a coverup.

The article should be read in its entirety, but here are a few highlights:

-- Libby met with Judith Miller on July 8, 2003 and discussed CIA operative Valerie Plame. This meeting, six days before the publication of Robert Novak's infamous column outing Mrs. Joe Wilson (Valerie Plame), is a "central focus" of the Fitzgerald investigation.

-- The kicker: "Sources close to the investigation, and private attorneys representing clients embroiled in the federal probe, said that Libby's failure to produce a personal waiver may have played a significant role in Miller's decision not to testify about her conversations with Libby, including the one on July 8, 2003."

The President has, of course, directed his staff to "fully cooperate" with the probe. Make no mistake about it, if Waas's sources are right, Libby is not cooperating. In fact, while right wing pundits continually claim that the White House has not obstructed the Fitzgerald investigation, these new disclosures indicate that a top White House staffer is essentially directing a reporter to invoke a privilege on his behalf to keep the Special Prosecutor from learning the truth. Remember the hue and cry from conservatives when it was the Clinton Administration invoking privileges on what was not a matter of national security, but a private sexual affair? Where are they now?

The course for Libby is clear. He should obey the President's directive and immediately give Miller his personal waiver to testify about any conversations he may have had with her that are within the purview of the Grand Jury. Today, I and along with my colleagues Louise Slaughter, Maurice Hinchey and Rush Holt, wrote to Libby asking him to do just that. Waas has the letter on his blog .

If he refuses, the President faces a choice. He can show he means what he says and fire an employee who is so obviously obstructing the search for the truth. Or he can continue to tolerate such behavior and thereby make clear what many suspect -- when it comes to getting to the bottom of who did this vile act, he is all talk.

Posted at 07:30 PM  

10 Aug 2005 @ 15:47 by jstarrs : Stan Goff, also... a strong voice.
Good on 'em.  

12 Aug 2005 @ 08:58 by jazzolog : The Bushmobile Will Drive Today!
Bush's invincible limo will leave clouds of dust today as he whizzes down the drive to the kind of heartland face-to-face he likes best: a fundraiser at a neighboring ranch. Wahoo! Will he stop? Will he wave? And would Cindy Sheehan see him if he does...through those black windows? Maybe there's another way for him to get to his not so fraught with danger, like the surprise routes he always takes to avoid dissidents. Overland perhaps...or jump in the chopper, even if it's just a few Texas miles. Ms. Sheehan posted a blog entry yesterday afternoon, after the President mentioned her by name as Condi, Rummy & Cheney (secretly flown in from an undisclosed location) stood behind at a little press conference in the 100 degree heat outside the ranch house. In the 14 hours since, that entry has attracted an uncountable pile of comments from all sides. Americans of every tinge seem to be catching on: something important is happening here. If you want to read, or leave an opinion of your's here~~~  

12 Aug 2005 @ 22:36 by Quinty @ : Hooray for Cindy!

Who could of predicted Cindy Sheehan?

Of course, the right, the Bushies and Bushwackers have to trivialize her. She's just a dupe for leftist malcontents and rabbel rousers. Or she's a bubble brain who can't really quite get it. A tool for MoveOn or Michael Moore.

She's anything and everything except what she is.

Which is a mother who opposes the war.

It's really that simple, isn't it?

She appears to be the first voice of reason which has broken through the media barricades. She's real. She's honest. She's just an ordinary American mom. Let's hope she stays that way. All she has to do is eloquently present herself and ask "Why? Why did my son die, for what?"

They don't know how to deal with that, do they? And better yet, she even appears to have the president on the run. Where's Carl Rove now that George needs him? Where's the glib tortured spin which will make her simply disappear? After all, it's a lot easier to lie about Iraq.

That nagging question of hers. It just won't go away. She's real. She's a mom and she's genuine. Bush just doesn't know how to deal with that.

Cindy Sheehan. It shows you how powerful the truth is, doesn't it?  

13 Aug 2005 @ 06:29 by vaxen : Cindy...
is a drop in the Ocean. When all those drops in the Ocean realise that they are indeed the Ocean and that the Ocean swells and grows to beyond Tsunami then the White House, and all the thieves and liars that occupy it, will be swept away in the dilligence of the Komodo, cum Godzilla, which might just re-member a tiny bit of what individual Sovereignty really means. It means responsibility!

Icons come and go, the aquifer is deep, groundswell is not built in a day...there is NO ONE leader! Bush is only a symptom as was Clinton and all the thieves and liars before him. Count yourself and forget Mom.

Scream forth and take a stand wherever you are. Cindy is not, nor ever has been, alone and there are millions of people out there...just like her...waiting and preparing for that day that they, too, will take a stand for freedom and truth and balance/righteousness.

The evil that has befallen this nation is deep rooted. 'Hacking' at the branches doesn't destroy the root.

"Think Bule Count OI"--- PWD

"A madeleine soaked in tea"---Proust

"This too will pass (Gam Zei YaAvor)."---Melech Shlomo  

13 Aug 2005 @ 19:04 by koravya : Hey Richard
The story was in the Albuquerque Journal, our daily rag, yesterday,
on the front page, albeit at the bottom, continued inside,
with a little picture of her looking at a cross bearing the name of her son,
"Grieving Mother, Bush at Impasse"
Also on the front page:
New Mexico has a powerball winner. Who is it?
UNM Execs may lose bonuses
Cameras to catch speeders at schools.
Pilot who was shot down in sheriff's helicopter says he will no longer fly.
Is she on TV news? I wouldn't know.
There will come a time when enough people
will have been pushed back far enough into a corner
that we will do exactly what Vaxen has said here.

14 Aug 2005 @ 09:19 by jazzolog : Thank You, Men
for your contributions and comments. It's not often, in my experience, that Vaxen lets blink a ray of encouragement as he does above, but I must say it is a relief and an honor to find it shining here. It's always great when Quinty perks up too. It's true John the major media are giving little more than a phrase or 2 to Ms. Sheehan in stories essentially about Bush's activities. His SUV flyby of Cindy and the group on Friday did get some press coverage, but mostly many of us now hit the Internet for our news. (TruthOut has a little video clip that shows the speed on their homepage.) The memories of those big, black SUVs tooling around at 50 mph amidst gatherings of people takes me back to last fall, when I tried to catch a glimpse of the Great Man~~~  

15 Aug 2005 @ 03:08 by vaxen : And to...
another era when...

"The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, "We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, nor the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands, and create a great source of power, outside of any national structure that could and would assure us victory." For those who have said, "Be patient and wait!" we must say, "Patience is a dirty and nasty word." We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually, we want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence."

John Lewis, August 28, 1963, Washington D.C.  

15 Aug 2005 @ 08:13 by jazzolog : The Era Continues
John Lewis is one of my contemporaries and has been a hero for me even before he made that remark in front of a quarter of a million people at the Lincoln Memorial. A few minutes later Martin Luther King would share that thunder. Mr. Lewis never waited and hasn't stopped yet. He is the distinguished Congressman in the House representing Georgia's fifth district, which includes Atlanta. As Rosa Parks inspired him, perhaps Cindy Sheehan will inspire others. His bio may provide more information~~~  

15 Aug 2005 @ 19:56 by vaxen : Oh...
I know John Lewis. I operated businesses in Atlanta for a long time and got to know a lot of ''power brokers.''

Cynthia McKinney is now razing Caine over the 911 coverup. Not that any of this will mean a thing, in the long run, for the people refuse to 'govern' themselves--thus the truly evil will always 'jump at the chance' to enslave, then exploit, the sheep.

Maybe Cindy's stance, an icon at best, will inspire some...

Old Jewish saying: "So what?"

Gam zeh ya'avor, habibi, gam zeh ya'avor...  

16 Aug 2005 @ 06:40 by koravya : Another take

Bedlam at Bush’s Ranch
Alex Jones Goes to Crawford | August 15, 2005
by Alex Jones

I’d been to Crawford on the eve of the Iraq war and on its first anniversary, so I thought I knew what to expect when I traveled there yesterday. Upon my arrival Sunday morning, I found myself beset on all sides by the massive media circus surrounding Cindy Sheehan, the mother of Casey Sheehan, a soldier who tragically died in Iraq while attempting to give medical aid to his wounded buddies.

I could easily write a volume on what I witnessed. To put it simply, it was a paradox.(more)  

17 Aug 2005 @ 11:53 by jmarc : Marla Uhles
{LINK:|LINK} lost her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Drew Uhles on Sept. 15 in Iraq.

Therefore, she understands the pain Cindy Sheehan of California is feeling at the loss of her son in Iraq.

However, Marla Uhles said she has a difficult time supporting Sheehan...

Marla Uhles said Sheehan has gone "overboard" and it has become more about the publicity.

"I don't know, I think she's more out for herself right now than for her son," she said.

And Lisa Short:

Lisa Short said some days are better than others since learning in early November that her son, Lance Cpl. Aaron Pickering, had been killed while fighting in Fallujah. She still holds onto the last letter Aaron sent her and reads it almost daily. She reread it again Monday.

"He said, 'Mom, our presence here is necessary,'" Short said.

That's why she said it's difficult for her to believe in Sheehan's cause. This is an all-volunteer military, she said, you sign up knowing you might put yourself in harm's way.

"That's the whole point of joining the military," she said. "I don't support what she's doing. I just can't."

She said perhaps it is Sheehan's grief that has propelled her to take her cause this far. She understands that feeling of losing a son at such a young age. Aaron was 20 when he died.

"Sometimes you feel desperate enough to do anything," she said. "I don't understand the point of it - it's disrespectful to our kids."

And Matt and Toni Matula: {LINK:|LINK}

"Matthew was very proud of being a Marine and proud of his unit and what they were doing," Toni Matula said.

When the Matulas saw the Crawford protest on TV, something did more than just bother them.

"All this stuff going in Crawford, we've just been watching it and shaking our heads until two days ago, we saw the crosses with the names on there," Matt Matula said.

On one white cross read the name Matthew Matula: their 20-year-old son who was killed in Iraq last year.

"He's not a victim, he's a hero, and I think that everybody that's serving our country is heroes," Matt Matula said.

"He knew joining the Marines, his chances are, that was the purpose. His main number one job was to defend our country. He was very aware of that before he signed up," Toni Matula said.

So Matt Matula went to Crawford to stand up for his son, a Marine who proudly stood by the war he died in.

"I went there and had Matthew's name taken off of there. It's fine for people to grieve their own way. It aggravates me to see them using other people's names to further their cause," Matt Matula said.

"For people to use his name against it is not what he died for. He died so that they can do that though," Toni Matula said.

Debbie Argel Bastian {LINK:|LINK} is another mother who resents her son's name being used in Sheehan's protest:

The mother of a Lompoc soldier killed in Iraq is demanding that her son's name be removed from what she considers anti-war memorials on the beach here and outside President Bush's Texas ranch.

Air Force Capt. Derek Argel's remains were buried with four of his comrades at Arlington National Cemetery last week. His mother, Debbie Argel Bastian, says the other memorials are an insult to his memory.

"I'm livid about it," Bastian said of the weekly beach display on Santa Barbara's West Beach and the smaller memorial in Texas, where the mother of another dead soldier has made headlines with a weeklong protest.

"Derek would not want to be remembered that way."

It's only sad that idiots who drive their pick-up trucks through Cindy's crosses or shoot shotguns in the air provide a distraction and a media fodder for those who would rather not listen.

Update: When parents of a Marine from Ohio killed in Iraq call in question President Bush's strategy in Iraq, advocating either escalation or complete withdrawal, and call Cindy Sheehan "the Rosa Parks of the new movement opposing the Iraq war", "The Washington Post" thinks the story is important enough to make page A02 of the paper {LINK:|LINK}.

When a mother of a Marine from Ohio killed in Iraq says "The dedication to the cause is something to admire... How proud we are of these young men, and what they continue to do and what they stand for", it gets the last paragraph of a story on page A19 {LINK:|LINK}.

Go figure. {LINK:|LINK}  

18 Aug 2005 @ 05:43 by jazzolog : Home On The Range
Our family is taking a few days off beginning this morning, so look for more silence around your computer but first: while we wait for the splendid results of last evening's vigil in support of Cindy Sheehan and the suffering families from this Terror War, have a look at this article in good ol' Boston Phoenix. Google News sent me to it just now, it being the second referenced item in its top story of the hour, which is Cindy Sheehan~~~

Home on the range
A visit to Camp Casey, where one mother has set off a vibe that tempers even the most rabid Iraq-war backer

CRAWFORD, TEXAS — There’s mercy in the August breeze in Crawford. It brings relief from the ever-present malevolent heat and humidity at Camp Casey, the makeshift settlement named in honor of Cindy Sheehan’s son, whose life is among the thousands that have been wasted in George W. Bush’s politically pornographic Iraq war/occupation.

Crawford was the last place I ever expected to find a sense of community. I had no interest in visiting the vacation retreats of evil nincompoops. Having just returned from the Voting Rights March in Atlanta, I was plum (peach?) tuckered out. But my absolute abhorrence of the war prompted me to accept Randi Rhodes’s request that I travel to this particular end of the earth as the Camp Casey correspondent for her Air America Radio show.

I was to go for only a few days, but like many US military personnel I found myself pressed into extended service in a stop-loss program. In this case the loss that needed stopping was that of thousands of lives in Iraq. As tough as it is on the ground in Crawford, I’d be much more uncomfortable anyplace else. When you get to know Cindy and other Gold Star Families for Peace, abandoning them to the untender mercilessness of the fire ants, scorpions, water moccasins, rattlers, and Bush functionaries that slither about the president’s prairie playground becomes an unattractive option.

Besides, I haven’t had this much fun in years. Thanks to Mrs. Sheehan, some exceedingly friendly enzymes have been introduced into the Belly of the Beast. When you arrive in Crawford, right before the main railroad crossing where the gate comes down several times a day to allow the speedy passage of freight trains hauling bales of war cash to Houston, you cannot miss the Crawford Peace House. The CPH, opened by Texas peace activists on Easter Sunday 2003, is the nerve center of the staging operation for Camp Casey, which is seven miles farther into the rolling hills. At these two locations, the aforementioned Gold Star families and other organizations, such as Veterans for Peace, Iraqi Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out, coalesce with hundreds of people from across Texas and every state in the union, as well as from Japan, Australia, Iraq, and several European nations. Collectively, they are taking what is becoming the most fabled stand in these parts since the Alamo.

If Fox News had had a turnout as large and thoughtful as this one a few months back in Florida, the Terri Schiavo protest would have looked like Woodstock. The corporate media have minimized Cindy’s large crowds while somehow implying that Bush’s supporters are nearly as prevalent. The fact is that pro-war types have been consistently outnumbered by at least 10 to one, and that’s only during peak times when a few dozen of them arrive simultaneously. Generally they only last long enough to appear on TV.

On Friday, August 11, a reactionary radio blabber tried to sponsor sending several buses of Dallas Metroplex Bush supporters to Crawford. He was able to fill only one. In the most Republican major city in the nation, in the president’s home state, barely enough people could be mustered to fill one bus. Even Cindy would be hard-pressed to make a more compelling argument about the lack of popular support for this war.

On Saturday, several Bush backers were drawn to the most compelling feature of Texas’s newest frontier settlement — several hundred white roadside crosses bearing the names of American soldiers slain in Iraq, a project called Arlington West sponsored by Veterans for Peace. At first they thought they’d show up the protesters by driving American flags into the ground next to the crosses, but American flags were already distributed throughout. Bush’s pilgrims were greeted with a polite welcome and encouraged to respectfully place their flags in appropriate spots. As they read the names and the real human cost of the war hit them, several were reduced to tears. The liberal residents at Camp Casey did what came naturally — they comforted the afflicted. And if minds weren’t changed, seeds of doubt were planted.

Maybe these people will think twice the next time they hear the inane and scurrilous charges the Bush attack machine levels at Sheehan with the same unconscionable malice it’s employed against everyone from the Dixie Chicks to Ambassador Joe Wilson. As ever, the target of its venom is guilty of nothing more than standing for truth. But with the machine’s most rabid attack dog, Karl Rove, busy fighting off Traitorgate, this particular target — Cindy Sheehan, a mother of a soldier slain in a war that the nation suddenly sees as misguided and futile — has become Crawford’s Teflon Resident.

When Sheehan first arrived in town to demand that Bush articulate the "noble cause" he claims her son and more than 1800 Americans have died for, he had a perfect chance to unleash his doctrine of pre-emption — effectively, this time: a quick meeting with her would have defused the situation. Instead he chose to use his Crawford neighbors as human shields behind which he rides bikes, clears brush, and covers up scandals. In the process, he did once again what he does best: he committed a historic blunder.

He compounded his error when he drove past Camp Casey in a motorcade for the one reason he found compelling enough to come within shouting distance of the protest — money. Bush whizzed by Cindy, the Gold Star families, and the crosses in a limousine with enough armor to safely hold a road rally in Fallujah. After raising two million dollars for the cash-strapped Republican Party, back he came, once again failing to stop and meet with Cindy.

Bush has always wielded Crawford as a weapon for punishing the press corps — certain that the anus of the Bible Belt is a place that only he and a few tough Texans could long withstand. But while he’s lollygagged at his air-conditioned ranch during a vacation so long that it really should be called a sabbatical, Cindy Sheehan and hundreds of dedicated activists have not just survived the searing temperatures and creature discomforts, they have thrived on them. In the process they have forced George W. Bush and his Republican cohorts to make the ludicrous case that motherhood is somehow a dangerous feminist plot. And now the whole world will watch until August 31, when Bush leaves and Camp Casey’s residents go back to the place its namesake and so many others should never have left: home.

Barry Crimmins can be reached at
Issue Date: August 19 - 25, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Phoenix Media  

18 Aug 2005 @ 20:43 by jmarc : the good ol' boston phoenix
the fact that you read that puts you in a whole new light jazz. lol.  

28 Aug 2005 @ 09:41 by jazzolog : Frank Rich Reviews The Iraq Circus
Well, he is supposed to be some sort of theatre critic, ya know~~~

The New York Times
August 28, 2005

The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation

Another week in Iraq, another light at the end of the tunnel. On Monday President Bush saluted the Iraqis for "completing work on a democratic constitution" even as the process was breaking down yet again. But was anyone even listening to his latest premature celebration?

We have long since lost count of all the historic turning points and fast-evaporating victories hyped by this president. The toppling of Saddam's statue, "Mission Accomplished," the transfer of sovereignty and the purple fingers all blur into a hallucinatory loop of delusion. One such red-letter day, some may dimly recall, was the adoption of the previous, interim constitution in March 2004, also proclaimed a "historic milestone" by Mr. Bush. Within a month after that fabulous victory, the insurgency boiled over into the war we have today, taking, among many others, the life of Casey Sheehan.

It's Casey Sheehan's mother, not those haggling in Baghdad's Green Zone, who really changed the landscape in the war this month. Not because of her bumper-sticker politics or the slick left-wing political operatives who have turned her into a circus, but because the original, stubborn fact of her grief brought back the dead the administration had tried for so long to lock out of sight. With a shove from Pat Robertson, her 15 minutes are now up, but even Mr. Robertson's antics revealed buyer's remorse about Iraq; his stated motivation for taking out Hugo Chávez by assassination was to avoid "another $200 billion war" to remove a dictator.

In the wake of Ms. Sheehan's protest, the facts on the ground in America have changed almost everywhere. The president, for one, has been forced to make what for him is the ultimate sacrifice: jettisoning chunks of vacation to defend the war in any bunker he can find in Utah or Idaho. In the first speech of this offensive, he even felt compelled to take the uncharacteristic step of citing the number of American dead in public (though the number was already out of date by at least five casualties by day's end). For the second, the White House recruited its own mom, Tammy Pruett, for the president to showcase as an antidote to Ms. Sheehan. But in a reversion to the president's hide-the-fallen habit, the chosen mother was not one who had lost a child in Iraq.

It isn't just Mr. Bush who is in a tight corner now. Ms. Sheehan's protest was the catalyst for a new national argument about the war that managed to expose both the intellectual bankruptcy of its remaining supporters on the right and the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats who had rubber-stamped this misadventure in the first place.

When the war's die-hard cheerleaders attacked the Middle East policy of a mother from Vacaville, Calif., instead of defending the president's policy in Iraq, it was definitive proof that there is little cogent defense left to be made. When the Democrats offered no alternative to either Mr. Bush's policy or Ms. Sheehan's plea for an immediate withdrawal, it was proof that they have no standing in the debate.

Instead, two conservative Republicans - actually talking about Iraq instead of Ms. Sheehan, unlike the rest of their breed - stepped up to fill this enormous vacuum: Chuck Hagel and Henry Kissinger. Both pointedly invoked Vietnam, the war that forged their political careers. Their timing, like Ms. Sheehan's, was impeccable. Last week Mr. Bush started saying that the best way to honor the dead would be to "finish the task they gave their lives for" - a dangerous rationale that, as David Halberstam points out, was heard as early as 1963 in Vietnam, when American casualties in that fiasco were still inching toward 100.

And what exactly is our task? Mr. Bush's current definition - "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down" - could not be a better formula for quagmire. Twenty-eight months after the fall of Saddam, only "a small number" of Iraqi troops are capable of fighting without American assistance, according to the Pentagon - a figure that Joseph Biden puts at "fewer than 3,000." At this rate, our 138,000 troops will be replaced by self-sufficient locals in roughly 100 years.

For his part, Mr. Hagel backed up his assertion that we are bogged down in a new Vietnam with an irrefutable litany of failure: "more dead, more wounded, less electricity in Iraq, less oil being pumped in Iraq, more insurgency attacks, more insurgents coming across the border, more corruption in the government." Mr. Kissinger no doubt counts himself a firm supporter of Mr. Bush, but in Washington Post this month, he drew a damning lesson from Vietnam: "Military success is difficult to sustain unless buttressed by domestic support." Anyone who can read a poll knows that support is gone and is not coming back. The president's approval rating dropped to 36 percent in one survey last week.

What's left is the option stated bluntly by Mr. Hagel: "We should start figuring out how we get out of there."

He didn't say how we might do that. John McCain has talked about sending more troops to rectify our disastrous failure to secure the country, but he'll have to round them up himself door to door. As the retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey reported to the Senate, the National Guard is "in the stage of meltdown and in 24 months we'll be coming apart." At the Army, according to The Los Angeles Times, officials are now predicting an even worse shortfall of recruits in 2006 than in 2005. The Leo Burnett advertising agency has been handed $350 million for a recruitment campaign that avoids any mention of Iraq.

Among Washington's Democrats, the only one with a clue seems to be Russell Feingold, the Wisconsin senator who this month proposed setting a "target date" (as opposed to a deadline) for getting out. Mr. Feingold also made the crucial observation that "the president has presented us with a false choice": either "stay the course" or "cut and run." That false choice, in which Mr. Bush pretends that the only alternative to his reckless conduct of the war is Ms. Sheehan's equally apocalyptic retreat, is used to snuff out any legitimate debate. There are in fact plenty of other choices echoing about, from variations on Mr. Feingold's timetable theme to buying off the Sunni insurgents.

But don't expect any of Mr. Feingold's peers to join him or Mr. Hagel in fashioning an exit strategy that might work. If there's a moment that could stand for the Democrats' irrelevance it came on July 14, the day Americans woke up to learn of the suicide bomber in Baghdad who killed as many as 27 people, nearly all of them children gathered around American troops. In Washington that day, the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a press conference vowing to protect American children from the fantasy violence of video games.

The Democrats are hoping that if they do nothing, they might inherit the earth as the Bush administration goes down the tubes. Whatever the dubious merits of this Kerryesque course as a political strategy, as a moral strategy it's unpatriotic. The earth may not be worth inheriting if Iraq continues to sabotage America's ability to take on Iran and North Korea, let alone Al Qaeda.

As another politician from the Vietnam era, Gary Hart, observed last week, the Democrats are too cowardly to admit they made a mistake three years ago, when fear of midterm elections drove them to surrender to the administration's rushed and manipulative Iraq-war sales pitch. So now they are compounding the original error as the same hucksters frantically try to repackage the old damaged goods.

In the new pitch there are no mushroom clouds. Instead we get McCarthyesque rhetoric accusing critics of being soft on the war on terrorism, which the Iraq adventure has itself undermined. Before anyone dare say Vietnam, the president, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld drag in the historian David McCullough and liken 2005 in Iraq to 1776 in America - and, by implication, the original George W. to ours. Before you know it, Ahmad Chalabi will be rehabilitated as Ben Franklin.

The marketing campaign will crescendo in two weeks, on the anniversary of 9/11, when a Defense Department "Freedom Walk" will trek from the site of the Pentagon attack through Arlington National Cemetery to a country music concert on the Mall. There the false linkage of Iraq to 9/11 will be hammered in once more, this time with a beat: Clint Black will sing "I Raq and Roll," a ditty whose lyrics focus on Saddam, not the Islamic radicals who actually attacked America. Lest any propaganda opportunity be missed, Arlington's gravestones are being branded with the Pentagon's slogans for military campaigns, like Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Associated Press reported last week - a historic first. If only the administration had thought of doing the same on the fallen's coffins, it might have allowed photographs.

Even though their own poll numbers are in a race to the bottom with the president's, don't expect the Democrats to make a peep. Republicans, their minds increasingly focused on November 2006, may well blink first. In yet another echo of Vietnam, it's millions of voters beyond the capital who will force the timetable for our inexorable exit from Iraq.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company  

28 Aug 2005 @ 10:08 by jazzolog : Cindy Sounds Like This
The second thing that worries the crap out of me is the almost icon status that I have achieved. I never set out to become the "Rosa Parks of the Peace Movement." I ventured out on August 6, 2005, to hold George Bush accountable and to raise awareness about his lies and misuse and abuse of power. I didn't set out to become anyone's hero. I am a regular mom who just wants peace and no one else to be murdered for the deceptions of our government. I love the love and support of America: it is what sustains me through these very difficult times and the reich-wing smear campaign. I am blown away and humbled that people are coming from all over the world to meet me and have their pictures taken with me. I am honored when people ask me for my autograph and I love meeting the little ones. I think we really need to focus our energies on the cause of peace, though - and the message, not the messenger. I am not a perfect person. I am strong and I do have the cajones to tell the world that our "emperor" has no clothes, but it is done out of love of Casey and the others who have died and who are in harm's way and out of the simple fact that at the end of the day I have to look at myself in the mirror. If I didn't do everything in my power to end this monstrosity of an occupation in Iraq, how could I do that? I promised my boy that I would make the world a better place for his unborn nieces and nephews, and I mean to keep that promise.
t r u t h o u t | One Mother's Stand
By Cindy Sheehan
Saturday 27 August 2005
9:51 AM  

28 Aug 2005 @ 15:01 by Quinty @ : My only quibble
with the BBC representation is that it makes it seem as if Americans have suddenly woken up. There were millions of us who opposed the madness in Iraq before the war started. Let's not forget that. Because it has been an extremely long struggle, as you in Ohio know, and its far from over yet. Nor let's forget that there are many men and women in the Bush administrtation who are accountable for various serious crimes. And that they should be called to account. The slip and slime of today's media world slides right over the truth, even when the reporting is reasonably good. I'm still stewing over the media characterizing Hugo Chavez as a "dicatator."

As for Cindy? She is an embodiment of an angel who has come down from heaven to help us in this time of need. (Well, you know what I mean.)  

1 Sep 2005 @ 09:29 by jazzolog : Some Beautiful Pictures
For some striking beauty of last days at the encampment outside Rancho Crawford, see this gallery at Code Pink~~~  

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