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Just what does President Bush owe Cindy Sheehan?

During all the stir about the Cindy Sheehan story, I started wondering: is there a historical precedent for this? I recall stories of letters from Abraham Lincoln to mothers who lost their sons, but that's pretty much it.

When the Sheehan story was being batted around on a talk show last week, a World War II veteran called in. He said during that war, death notices were sent by telegram, often given to a taxi driver. And if the recipient was alone at the time, the cabbie was to remain there until the notice had been read.

But times change, conventions change, public mores change. That tradition was set aside, replaced with uniformed officers and chaplains delivering the grim tidings. But more importantly, the death rates declined to the point where it was actually practical to spare the manpower needed to carry out those duties.

And now, with President Bush, a new tradition is evolving. He regularly meets (out of the public eye) with the families of those who have lost loved ones in the War. He grieves with them, extends the thanks of a grateful nation, and assures them that their loss is not unnoted or unappreciated.

Now comes Mrs. Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq. She met with the President once, and was appreciative at the time. But now she wants a second meeting with him, to wave her son's bloody shirt in his face and demand we pull out of Iraq, that Israel pull out of Palestine (which, I presume, means that Israel cease to exist, because the Palestinians claim ALL of Israel), and -- oh yeah -- he resign his office. For the full details, see here.

(While this would have the benefit of making Dick Cheney president, and therefore killing Helen Thomas, I really don't think that would be worth it.)

Mrs. Sheehan and her supporters (which seem to represent a pretty broad cross-section of the Moonbat Loony Left) cite her son's death as the price she has paid for her audience with the president. Since she sacrificed her own flesh and blood, the least he can do is look her in the eye and let her speak her mind, right?

Well, no. Buried among all the passion and pain and outrage are a few flawed assumptions and misjudgments.

1) Mrs. Sheehan did not sacrifice her son. She lost him; he sacrificed himself. Casey Sheehan, as a free adult American, voluntarily enlisted in the military, and then re-upped when he had the chance to leave.

2) President Bush did not kill Casey Sheehan. He was killed by terrorists. To say otherwise is to diminish their responsibility, to cheapen their evil.

3) President Bush's vacation isn't a real vacation, like the year-long one John Kerry took from his Senate duties to come in second for president. He has the same duties he does in Washington, but with a few more comforts of his own home. He's talking with people, holding meetings, signing papers, and in general doing exactly what he would be doing in Washington -- minus the symbolic crap and with fewer interruptions, balanced out by time for some recreation.

Finally, the big issue: does the President of the United States owe a meeting to the mother of a US service member killed in the line of duty? I think not.

Yesterday, I wrote a satirical piece outlining a similar (fictitious) scenario during World War II. The point I was trying to make was that it is simply impossible for a president to do such things at a time of war. I can think of but one previous example when a president did such a thing -- Ronald Reagan meeting with the grieving families of US Marines killed in the barracks bombing by a Hezbollah suicide bomber.

I think that was the right thing for Reagan to do, but largely because it was the Terms Of Engagement that his administration had ordered that permitted the attack to be so successful. The guards' weapons were unloaded, and by the time they loaded them, the truck had already hit the building.

On the other hand, when US Army Rangers were killed and mutilated in Mogadishu in the now-infamous "Blackhawk Down" incident, I don't recall President Clinton meeting with those families to extend his sympathies, despite it was his refusal to allow the US forces in Somalia (for reasons that never quite stood up to scrutiny) to have adequate armor and reinforcements. But while I think it would have been right for Clinton to do so, I won't condemn him for it.

So far, Bush has followed the Reagan model, but on a quieter, more personal level. Reagan's single meeting was televised; Bush's numerous meetings are often not mentioned at all. But does he have a further responsibility? Is he obligated to honor Mrs. Sheehan's demands?

I think not. I'm going to quote a rather good novel here. The captain of a US warship is beating herself up over the loss of a crewman in combat, after she promised him that she'd bring him home. She is rebuked by one of her officers:

"Begging the Captain's pardon, but that was a promise you damn well didn't have the right to make! This is a warship in the service of the United States of America. You do not have the right to promise any of us a round-trip ticket! What you do have the right to do is to expend our lives like rounds of ammunition, if necessary, to get the job done."

That's the way it is for every military leader, from a PFC up to the Commander In Chief. And that's the way it has to be, or we might as well just give up fighting entirely and just surrender.

Mrs. Sheehan says that "(y)ou get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." But the terrorism started long before we went into Iraq, or Afghanistan, or even before the first Gulf War. And Israel is already pulling out of Gaza, accompanied by glowing threats of continued "resistance" (I guess that's the Arabic word for "terrorism").

Mrs. Sheehan's family has already expressed its wishes that she would simply give up her newfound fame as the trophy of the moonbat left and come home to them. I hope she listens to them, and soon.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Just what does President Bush owe Cindy Sheehan?:

» ThoughtsOnline linked with Haven't we seen this before?

» Conservative Outpost linked with Sunday Links

» A North American Patriot linked with Cindy Sheehan: You can almost see the strings.

» Smoke Signals Blog linked with The loony left claims Cindy Sheehan

» How Do You Like My Face? linked with Verbal vomit from Cindy Sheenan

» Down deep in Texas: The View from Waco linked with All Roads Lead to Crawford...

» SEIXON linked with Sheehan's Phantom Meeting

Comments (23)

From <a href="http://little... (Below threshold)

From Little Green Footballs

The latest stink from the KoSsacks, regarding their elevation of Cindy Sheehan to Mother Lefty Superior...and it smells BAD (I won't give them the honor of linking directly to it; see Charles' post for the link)

We are making errors with references to Cindy Sheehan.

What are we trying to accomplish with promoting her?

Emphasizing her sacrifice.

Emphasizing her stating truth to power.

Emphasizing her plain speaking, clear statements.

Relate her vigil over her dead son to universal archtypes of all vigils over dead children killed by dictatorial rulers throughout all history.

My suggestions below:

1. We should call her “Mother Sheehan”. We should never call her Cindy; I don’t know her. “Mother Sheehan” is her title, and expresses her ceremonial status as a bereaved mother, calling forth over the dead body of her son. She is not a person now, she is a mother, which is not an expression of her individuality, but rather the expression of her eternal character: the mother, the bringer of life who has been wronged by state power.

2. We should use the word “sacrifice”. She has sacrificed the most precious thing a mother has, the life and promise of her child.

3. We should use the word “useless” frequently. The death of her son is a useless sacrifise, done for the vanity of the ruler.

4. We should not use the name of her son. Her son is a symbol of all sons who have been sacrificed for this useless and criminal war.

5. The term “vigil” should be used to describe the persons and their patient petition to the dictatorial ruler. It is a vigil over the body of the dead son, killed by the ruler for his own purposes.

6. The right will try to INDIVIDUALIZE and SPECIALIZE her complaint. We must try to make her cry the UNIVERSAL and ETERNAL cry of all mothers whose children have died at the whim of the tyrannical and dictatorial ruler, who has made the decision to push children to the front of the army for his own, useless purposes. We must seek to make this like funeral vigils over all time. This is not Mother Sheehan’s vigil, this is a vigil over the dead son, killed by the ruler for his own selfish reasons.

7. If there are any persons who are theatre professionals at the Sheenan vigil, they should arrange things much more theatrically.

8. If I was there, I would not let Mother Sheehan talk to the press, but I would have her talk only through a spokesperson. In particular, I would not allow her to argue with critics, and would allow no critics to approach her. Her dignity must be preserved. If lesser emissaries from the ruler arrive (C Rice, etc), these should not be allowed to speak to Mother Sheehan.

I guess all's fair in love and moonbattery, isn't it...? Too bad the truth is the first thing sacrificed on their altar of convenience...


Remember the DSM? Tom Dela... (Below threshold)

Remember the DSM? Tom Delay? Rove and Plame? Give it another week, and it will be Cindy who? Then all the Hoo's in Hooville will move on to their next action item. There will be new gay Republicans to out, new petitions to sign, many emails of support needed to be sent to officials urging them to not apologize and new facts to twist into the conspiracy theories of the day.

Let them rant and rave, it keeps them busy and out of any real trouble. Every once in a while, they might take down a Gannon, a minor setback to the VRWC, but it helps their self esteem. There could be catstrophic results if the "reality based" community were to actually base themselves in reality and realize that they have no actual power, for if they did, there would be an army of Dem officials flying to Crawford in order to stand in front of all those cameras.

(While this would have the ... (Below threshold)

(While this would have the benefit of making Dick Cheney president, and therefore killing Helen Thomas, I really don't think that would be worth it.)

Have you really thought through this value proposition?

That's a wonderful idea Wes... (Below threshold)

That's a wonderful idea Wes, the true value of it would be that Bush could run again since he wouldn't have completed two full terms. I remember some leftist morons proposing that Clinton did that. Those same morons that suggested Clinton doing it would balk at the idea of Bush doing it, one more public display of the left's hypocrisy and Helen Thomas' corpse (insert theme song from Night of the Living Dead here) finally ceasing to waste valuable resources makes it a very good proposal.

"... they might take down a... (Below threshold)

"... they might take down a Gannon...."

Indicators point to the possibility he was a mole - in the early phases of the Plame "outing" setup to implicate the WH. The data is available to research further, I've just been in a loafing frame of mind :)

In her own words:"... (Below threshold)

In her own words:

"I will never, ever forget the night of April 4, 2004, when I found out that my son Casey had been killed in Iraq.

I will also never forget the day when we buried my sweet boy, my oldest son. If I live to be a very old lady and forget everything else, I will never forget when the general handed me the folded flag that had lain on Casey's coffin, as his brother and sisters, standing behind me, sobbed.

I think of Casey every day as I wait outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, determined to meet with him.

I want to let the president know that I feel he recklessly endangered the life of my son by sending our troops to attack and occupy a country that was no imminent threat to the United States.

And I want to let him know that millions of Americans believe that the best thing we can do - for our own security, for our soldiers and for the Iraqi people - is to bring the U.S. troops home from Iraq now.

Just because it's too late for Casey and the Sheehan family, why would we want another innocent life taken in the name of this ever-changing and unwinnable mission in Iraq?

I did get to meet with Bush two and a half months after my son was killed, but I never got to say any of these things to him. I was in deep shock and grief at the time, and all I wanted to do was to show him pictures of Casey and tell him what a wonderful man our son was.

But today, things are very different. My shock has worn off, and now I've got a lot of anger along with my grief.

I'm angry because every reason the Bush administration gave for the invasion of Iraq has been shown to be false.

The 9-11 commission's report concluded there was no link between Iraq and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The weapons inspectors gave up searching for weapons of mass destruction and wrote in the Duelfer report that there were none to be found.

From the Downing Street memo, we learned that the Bush administration "fixed" intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion.

And after every supposed milestone in Iraq - the capture of Saddam Hussein, the transition to Iraqi rule and most recently the Iraq election - things just don't get better. U.S. soldiers and Iraqis continue to be killed in greater and greater numbers, the cost of the war skyrockets and there's no end in sight.

After 30 U.S. troops were killed in one week recently, the president reiterated his pledge to complete the mission of our fallen soldiers. But that mission originally was to protect the U.S. from a lethal attack by Hussein - with weapons it turns out he did not have.

Anyway, I don't want the president to use Casey's memory to justify continuing this war, which will end up only needlessly killing more wonderful young men like him.

Many people have been streaming in to Crawford to support my vigil and convince the president to listen to the people who want an end to this war. We are camping out in a drainage ditch, in 100-degree weather, but it's worth it.

If and when I do meet with the president this time, it will be for all of the Gold Star Families for Peace who lost children in this war, for all of the mothers and fathers and husbands and wives who are grieving and who want to tell the president to end this devastating war.

No one else, not one more mom, should have to lose her son in Iraq."


You're right, neil. Emotion... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

You're right, neil. Emotion always trumps reality. It's far more important to feel than to think.

In fact, neil, you've given me an idea. Why don't we survey the parents of all the 1800+ service members who have died in Iraq, and let them set our foreign policy? Isn't that the logical extension of your argument?

Whoops, my mistake. I was thinking again, when I should have been feeling. I apologize.


Well, I had some unkind thi... (Below threshold)

Well, I had some unkind thing to say about "Mother" Sheenan a few days ago. I take them all back. I truly feel sorry for the woman. She is stark raving mad, a mouthpiece for the unamerican left yes, but derrainged nevertheless.

I don't know her son. But ... (Below threshold)

I don't know her son. But considering he re-upped, I'd imagine he found something worthwile about the role he was playing.

Cindy Sheehan's behavior at a minimum disprects her own son's independance as an adult. It also seems to disrepect his own feelings about being part of the war. I wonder how he'd feel about his death being used this way.

I'm getting really tired of... (Below threshold)

I'm getting really tired of Windy Cindy.

And I would happily contribute to a legal defense fund so the parents and spouses of soldiers killed in in Iraq can sue any group that appropriates the deceased's name and/or image for their hysterical lefty hatefests, starting with Windy Cindy. She may think her son's name and memory belong to her to do with as she wishes - but the names and memories of the sons of others certainly do not, and she should not appropriate them as part of her protest.

Here we see the ultimate ou... (Below threshold)

Here we see the ultimate outcome of the Oprahfication of America. It's not important for things to be realistic or for honor to matter. No, Feelings are that matter anymore. Doesn't matter that her son made his choice, that he swore an oath. No, all that matters is that she FEELS his loss everyday. So it must all be wrong!

Sometimes, I despair for America.

She takes the chance of enc... (Below threshold)

She takes the chance of encouraging the terrorists to keep on killing more of of our men and women serving in Iraq every time she opens her mouth. I doubt her son would approve. I also doubt the soldiers that served beside him would approve.

You've got a point. This i... (Below threshold)

You've got a point. This is exactly the type of sentiment that the terrorists are hoping to put into the headlines on a regular basis.

(Editor's note: Sorry, B... (Below threshold)

(Editor's note: Sorry, BR, but I felt I had to delete your comment. I'm sure you didn't mean it as mean-spirited or rumor-mongering, but that kind of speculation is just not A Good Thing. If it turns out to have more substance than just your geographically-based speculation, then I might entertain it, but for now I gotta rule that one off limits.)

Ms. Sheehan is much less re... (Below threshold)

Ms. Sheehan is much less responsible for her public spectacle that the very cult like anti-American Leftists groups surrounding and exploiting her.

Sheehan makes speeches calling for the destruction of the state of Israel? Like wtf has the tragic death of her son have a thing to do with that?

Oh...yeah... she's being controlled by Crawford "Peace" House.

And the perfidy of much of the MSM in refusing to examine her obvious contradictory statements is just more of the slow news cycle of August where Cin is just another sensation like shark attacks or lightening strikes on Boy Scouts, with the added bonus of another chance to attempt to dump on the President.

And as Wanderlust has posted above, there is little more proof that Cin Sheehan is but a paper mache puppet for the Left than the KosKiddie list.

They don't give a flying fig for her as a person..she's a useful tool for the defeat of American troops. Irony that she's so deep in the cults' clutches she parrots the sentiments of groups who support the "freedom fighters" who killed her son.

That's okay, Jay Tea. I tr... (Below threshold)

That's okay, Jay Tea. I trust the President will be well protected.

Re your WWII vet, I've neve... (Below threshold)

Re your WWII vet, I've never heard anything like that, and I'm a WWII buff. It's possible that that may have occurred, I suppose, but the services took that duty very seriously, and often had a chaplain accompany the officer to the family home.

If Helen Thomas died, the a... (Below threshold)

If Helen Thomas died, the average IQ of the White House Press Corps would rise.

Politically or legally he o... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

Politically or legally he owes her absolutely nothing. He owed her words at the first meeting, and he expressed that with his respects. This debt was generated by his sense of feelng the grieve of Ms. Sheehan and his personal belief that what he did was right and it cost the lives of brave, young American men. It was his deep personal moral debt he owed, and he paid it. At least, he did not stand stand there, biting hs lip and uttering "I feel you pain."

When I was in the service d... (Below threshold)

When I was in the service during the Reagan years, I understood that my life would be easily sacrificed for the mission and country, but I was taught to kill for my country not to die for it.

Each American soldier has something to lose, but I would hope that they and their families understand that it is killing and dying is what being in the military is all about.

I would gladly trade places with Casey Sheehan because I have had a long and fruitful life. But when I served, I was ready to give up my life so other Americans can live out their long and fruitful lives.

I guess this only makes sense to those of us who served.

But what does make sense to every patriotic American is that Cindy Sheehan is an embarrassment, a traitor and loser looking for friends and fame at the expense of her dead son.

At least, he did not stand... (Below threshold)

At least, he did not stand stand there, biting hs lip and uttering "I feel you pain."

But of course Eneils, thats what they want. its all about feeling. I guess they don't understand that without managing emotions we're just animals reacting to whatever comes our way.

Cindy Sheehan has responded... (Below threshold)

Cindy Sheehan has responded to President Bush's comments concerning meeting her and has posted her response in The huffington Post. The first statement Cindy Sheehan makes that comes off as anti-democratic is this one and I quote Cindy Sheehan- " Does anyone else know what "democratic" means? It simply means majority rule. Not some high-minded, free-floating, pie in the sky ideal. It means 50 percent plus one." Cindy Sheehen in that particular statement actually attacks 51 % majority rule as a bad form of government and if you can read anything else into that, defending that statement, please make your comment at the end of this post. I would like to say to Cindy Sheehan that 50 plus one is much better then Saddam's 1 % plus brutal totalitarian rule in which the 1% Saddam, rules 99 % of the entire population. Maybe Sheehan has met with some socialist organizations that oppose democratic forms of government. I did notice that a socialist website called 'Socialist Worker Online' is running a rather large article advocating Sheehans position. Cindy Sheehan actually gave an interview to the Socialist Worker Online, she spoke to Socialist Worker’s ERIC RUDER which is mentioned at the beginning of the article. In her interview with the Socialist Worker Online she says and I quote " Some people may think that we’re fighting terrorism over there. But when is that job ever going to be complete? Terrorism is just a new “ism.” It was “communism” when I was growing up." Here Cindy Sheehan is discounting the validity of the threat of communism in the past as just a made up " ism." I believe history taught us that communism brutally oppressed and killed millions of innocent people and is still somewhat of a threat today in places like North Korea where millions have died from starvation due to KimYong II, brutal rule. Cindy Sheehan later went on to say and I quote " I DEFINITELY think that we should support war resisters in the military". I will leave that statement up to the readers interpretation, but it sounds to me to border on subversion and treason. Here is Cindy Sheehan's interview with the Socialist Workers Online in its entirety http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/549/549_06_CindySheehan.shtml .
The next statement Cindy Sheehan makes is both inaccurate and untruthful and I quote
"This is the biggest smokescreen from him yet. I didn't ask him to withdraw the troops, I asked him what Noble Cause did Casey die for." Actually Cindy Sheehen didn't ask Bush, she demanded that he "bring the troops home now", here is a quote from her statement made on August 18 2005 and carried by ABC News ""If George Bush comes out here today or if we leave here at the end of August, this is only the beginning, and we're not going to stop until our troops are brought home", I would suggest that means a withdrawal what would you think it means? Also in this ABC article written by Eric Noe it is stated " In addition to requesting a meeting with Bush, Sheehan is now calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. She promised to send a similar message if the president agrees to meet with her." Here is the complete article you be the judge http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=1045556&page=1&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312 . Is ABC lying, did they just make that up? I have myself watched Cindy Sheehan on national television say time and time again "bring our troops home now" but she has stated that she has never intended to ask Bush that question. I smell another lie. Whats really strange is in Cindys own article she just released today she says this and I quote " Then bring our troops home. The status quo in Iraq is awful", if you ask me she cant even get through one article without contradicting herself. She goes on to imply that America is spreading "imperialism " by what she says is 14 permanent bases being set up in Iraq the size of Sacramento, California. I dont know if there is any United States military bases on the entire planet Earth the size of a large U.S. city,if there is please let me know ok. By the way the interview Cindy Sheehan gave to the Socialist Worker is the same Socialist worker who ran this article entitled " The Meaning of Marxism" in which they praise Marxism to no end. Here is the link to that garbage http://www.socialistworker.org/Featured/MeaningOfMarxism.shtml

as an active duty soldier i... (Below threshold)
sam rogers:

as an active duty soldier in the united states army, i'm also sick and tired of cindy sheehan and her whacked out leftist agenda.ive served two tours in iraq and proud of it.i'm sure cindy's son(may he rest in peace) is really proud of good ole mom's anti war stance.she's not only an embarassment to america,but also an embarassment to all of the people who are serving thier country.many a fine soldier have made the ultimate sacrifice and gave thier life to protect her freedom.her rants sicken the people who wear the uniform proudly.i'd personally like to smack that for the tv smile off her face.i hear she's been on a hunger strike.i hope she starves.......

sam rogers






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