Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Cindy Sheehan O'Rama

James Taranto at Opinion Journal has several must-read snippets about the mindset of Cindy Sheehan, the California women who has been camping outside President Bush's Texas ranch in the hopes that the president will finally own up to the "real" reason why the United States is in Iraq.

The most important is contributed by Mohammed, one of two Iraqi brothers who writes at Iraq the Model. In an open letter to Sheehan, Mohammed wrote:
Our fellow country men and women were buried alive, cut to pieces and thrown in acid pools and some were fed to the wild dogs while those who were lucky enough ran away to live like strangers and the Iraqi mother was left to grieve one son buried in an unfound grave and another one living far away who she might not get to see again.

We did nothing to deserve all that suffering, well except for a dream we had; a dream of living like normal people do.

We cried out of joy the day your son and his comrades freed us from the hands of the devil and we went to the streets not believing that the nightmare is over. We practiced our freedom first by kicking and burning the statues and portraits of the hateful idol who stole 35 years from the life of a nation. For the first time air smelled that beautiful, that was the smell of freedom.

The mothers went to break the bars of cells looking for the ones they lost 5, 12 or 20 years ago and other women went to dig the land with their bare hand searching for a few bones they can hold in their arms after they couldn't hold them when they belonged to a living person.

I recall seeing a woman on TV two years ago, she was digging through the dirt with her hands. There was no definite grave in there as the whole place was one large grave but she seemed willing to dig the whole place looking for her two brothers who disappeared from earth 24 years ago when they were dragged from their colleges to a chamber of hell.

Her tears mixed with the dirt of the grave and there were journalists asking her about what her brothers did wrong and she was screaming "I don't know, I don't know. They were only college students. They didn't murder anyone, they didn't steal, and they didn't hurt anyone in their lives. All I want to know is the place of their grave".

Why was this woman chosen to lose her dear ones? Why you? Why did a million women have to go through the same pain?

We did not choose war for the sake of war itself and we didn't sacrifice a million lives for fun! We could've accepted our jailor and kept living in our chains for the rest of our lives but it's freedom ma'am. Freedom is not an American thing and it's not an Iraqi thing, it's what unites us as human beings.
Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause…No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom.
Did you read that? Freedom is not an American thing and it's not an Iraqi thing, it's what unites us as human beings. How any typical American could read that and not be moved by the bravery of our troops and of the Iraqi people is beyond my understanding.

But then, it's becoming increasily apparent that Mrs. Sheehan is not a typical American. In April, she spoke at a rally in support of Lynne Stewart, the civil rights attorney who was convicted of providing material aid to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. Among her comments:

  • "We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush."
  • "I take responsibility partly for my son’s death, too. I was raised in a country by a public school system that taught us that America was good, that America was just. America has been killing people . . . since we first stepped on this continent, we have been responsible for death and destruction. I passed on that bull**** to my son and my son enlisted. I’m going all over the country telling moms: “This country is not worth dying for. If we’re attacked, we would all go out. We’d all take whatever we had. I’d take my rolling pin and I’d beat the attackers over the head with it. But we were not attacked by Iraq. We might not even have been attacked by Osama bin Laden . . . 9/11 was their Pearl Harbor to get their neo-con agenda through and, if I would have known that before my son was killed, I would have taken him to Canada. I would never have let him go and try and defend this morally repugnant system we have. The people are good, the system is morally repugnant.
(For a counterpoint, I love how Mrs. Sheehan shapes her speech according to the audience. At the above-quoted rally, she wasn't shy about injecting profanity to make her point; at a speech at a California Methodist church earlier this year, she was quoting the Apostle Paul to make a point against CheneyRumsfeldWolfowitzHalliburtonBush and how their devotion to the almighty oil dollar will lead them straight to hell.)

Taranto wraps up his contribution (scroll down to just before "It's Freedom, Ma'am") this way:
The mainstream media have largely ignored Sheehan's crackpot views, and not only--perhaps not even primarily--for ideological reasons. Members of the White House press corps find the annual sojourn to Crawford deathly dull. They need something to do; they want bylines--and "heartbroken everymom" makes for a much more compelling story than "extremist hatemonger."

The journalists will soon move on, and her political allies may do so as well. For them she is a mere instrument. The White House press corps will discard her as soon as they return to Washington where there's real news going on. Serious opponents of the war in Iraq will cast her aside if her foul statements make her an embarrassment. When that happens, we can only hope that someone still cares about Cindy Sheehan--not as a story or a symbol, but as a human being.
"Serious" opponents of the war may abandon Sheehan, but there are plenty of war opponents who will prop her up and make her think that her bitter, angry, hateful screed against this country is normal. So even if the press and some of her current "best friends" leave her like a bad date at the prom, her only hope of being cared for as a human being may come when she's ready to hang up the anger and MoveOn.

Oh, one last thing, courtesy of Arthur Chrenkoff. He listed several Americans who lost loved ones in Iraq, yet did not share Sheehan's perspective, and concluded:
[Daily] Kos and the rest of the left think that exploiting Cindy Sheehan's exploitation of her loss is the best new secret weapon in the war against George Bush. But both sides can play the "grieving parents" game -– except that it's not a game, and it shouldn't be played. The right has not used people like Lynn Kelly, Linda Ryan, or hundreds of others, to make their case in our current war. It would be decent if the left stopped using Cindy Sheehan to make theirs.
Decent, but not likely.


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