Cindy Sheehan's Opinion Column

Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a U.S. soldier killed in action in Iraq, has written a column for The Huffington Post that’s getting some attention in the mainstream media.

I thought I’d respond to some of the statements she makes.

This is George Bush’s accountability moment. That’s why I’m here. The mainstream media aren’t holding him accountable. Neither is Congress. So I’m not leaving Crawford until he’s held accountable.

Why is this the President’s “accountability moment?” Because Cindy Sheehan and the anti-war activists tell us it is? It seems to this observer that the President’s “accountability moment” happened back on November 2nd, when he was put back in office by a majority of electoral votes after receiving a significant majority of the popular vote. The President has been held accountable for Iraq by the American people, and those people put in back in office for another 4 years.

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It’s ironic, given the attacks leveled at me recently, how some in the media are so quick to scrutinize — and distort — the words and actions of a grieving mother but not the words and actions of the president of the United States.

Wait a minute…the President is never attacked or scrutinized in the media? His words are never distorted? That’s news to me.

As for what’s being said about Sheehan, some of it is no-doubt regrettable. I’m very sorry for her loss, but when she makes the decision to use that loss in politics she’s going to have to withstand some criticism. She’s making some fairly serious charges against the President and his administration. She is blaming the President, personally, for her son’s death. She is calling him a murderer. Hyperbole like that is going to rankle some feathers. As much as we’d all like to spare grieving mothers they must be held accountable for their words and actions just like the rest of us.

But now it’s time for him to level with me and with the American people. I think that’s why there’s been such an outpouring of support. This is giving the 61 percent of Americans who feel that the war is wrong something to do — something that allows their voices to be heard. It’s a way for them to stand up and show that they DO want our troops home, and that they know this war IS a mistake… a mistake they want to see corrected. It’s too late to bring back the people who are already dead, but there are tens of thousands of people still in harm’s way.

Whoa, back the truck up. Where is she getting the 61 percent figure? Is it from a poll like this one by the Associated Press? One that was manipulated to show a negative result for the President and/or the war in Iraq? I’m not willing to take Sheehan’s word on this number. If she wants to throw a number like that around I’m going to need to know some facts about how it came into existence.

As far as I’m concerned, though, the most telling figure about America’s approval of the President’s handling of Iraq came to us on November 2nd. In an election that was very much about the war in Iraq the President won. Handily. Not much has changed about the President’s handling of Iraq since then.

There is too much at stake to worry about our own egos. When my son was killed, I had to face the fact that I was somehow also responsible for what happened. Every American that allows this to continue has, to some extent, blood on their hands. Some of us have a little bit, and some of us are soaked in it.

Cindy Sheehan is not responsible for her son’s death, nor is the President or anyone who supports the war. Some terrorist bastard over in Iraq is. Had Cindy’s son not gone to Iraq he would probably be with us today, but it was his decision to go there. He re-enlisted, in fact, after the war had began knowing full well that he’d likely be headed to Iraq. He was an adult and made a decision. His decision was to continue his service in the military. He clearly believed in the mission, even is his mother does not.

People have asked what it is I want to say to President Bush. Well, my message is a simple one. He’s said that my son — and the other children we’ve lost — died for a noble cause. I want to find out what that noble cause is. And I want to ask him: “If it’s such a noble cause, have you asked your daughters to enlist? Have you encouraged them to go take the place of soldiers who are on their third tour of duty?” I also want him to stop using my son’s name to justify the war. The idea that we have to “complete the mission” in Iraq to honor Casey’s sacrifice is, to me, a sacrilege to my son’s name. Besides, does the president any longer even know what “the mission” really is over there?

First of all, no parents can force their children to enlist. The reason this is true is because children don’t serve in the military. Adults do. Full-grown men and women, capable of making the conscious decision to join the military, do.

The mission in Iraq was to remove a terror-sponsoring tyrant from power. We’ve done that. The mission now is to leave Iraq under the control of a democratically-elected government that is capable of keeping that nation secure from terrorist insurgents who would like to see the place turned back into a safe-haven for their training and operations bases.

Casey knew that the war was wrong from the beginning. But he felt it was his duty to go, that his buddies were going, and that he had no choice.

No choice? He most certainly had a choice. He didn’t have to re-enlist, but he did. As for him thinking the war was wrong, signing up to fight in said war seems to me like a funny way of showing that.

The people who send our young, honorable, brave soldiers to die in this war, have no skin in the game. They don’t have any loved ones in harm’s way.

It seems rather ridiculous for us to require that our leaders have children in the military before we allow them to make decisions about international policy. Not to mention the fact that it is not in any of our leader’s power to force their children into the military.

As for people like O’Reilly and Hannity and Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh and all the others who are attacking me and parroting the administration line that we must complete the mission there — they don’t have one thing at stake. They don’t suffer through sleepless nights worrying about their loved ones.

I haven’t heard what O’Reilly, Hannity or Limbaugh have said about Cindy Sheehan. I certainly wouldn’t label anything Michelle Malkin as said as an “attack.” A strong response, yes, but when you call the President a “murderer” a strong response is to be expected. As for them not having anything at stake, I still think its ridiculous to make having loved ones involved in the conflict a prerequisite for having an opinion about said conflict.

Before this all started, I used to think that one person couldn’t make a difference… but now I see that one person who has the backing and support of millions of people can make a huge difference.

Yes. One person, manipulated by anti-war activists (who are anti-semitic, if their website tells us anything) to politicize the death of her son, having their words trumpeted by a media establishment highly interested in even the most hyperbolic accusations against the current administration can make a large difference indeed.

That’s why I’m going to be out here until one of three things happens: It’s August 31st and the president’s vacation ends and he leaves Crawford. They take me away in a squad car. Or he finally agrees to speak with me.

Seems to me like Cindy Sheehan already got to talk to the President once. On that visit she thought he was “sincere.” Why should the President now take time to expose himself to accusations of murder? He knows what she’s saying about him. Sheehan knows his reasons for the war. Neither are going to accept the other’s stance. It’d be a colossal waste of everybody’s time, but it would allow for an opportunity to garner some bad press for the President, which is really probably the point here.

My guess: She goes away in a squad car.

If he does, he’d better be prepared for me to hold his feet to the fire. If he starts talking about freedom and democracy — or about how the war in Iraq is protecting America — I’m not going to let him get away with it.

Right. Don’t let facts get in the way of your anger. You let him have it Cindy. After all, he murdered your son, right? It wasn’t the homicidal monsters we’re fighting in Iraq, it was George W. Bush.

Like I said, this is George Bush’s accountability moment.

If you say so, Cindy.

Update:

Drudge is claiming to have an email from some other members of the Sheehan family:

The following email was received by the DRUDGE REPORT from Casey’s aunt and godmother:

Our family has been so distressed by the recent activities of Cindy we are breaking our silence and we have collectively written a statement for release. Feel free to distribute it as you wish.

Thanks, Cherie

In response to questions regarding the Cindy Sheehan/Crawford Texas issue: Sheehan Family Statement:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son’s good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.

Sincerely,

Casey Sheehan’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

By Rob Port of Say Anything.

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