Beatrice Saldovar has come to Camp Casey to represent the Torres family whose son-- her nephew-- Daniel was killed in Iraq in February 2005, and she has done so with the utmost grace. Whether speaking to the press or the Camp Casey participants, Beatrice's words both honor her nephew's memory and condemn the injustice of the Iraq war. Around camp, she is always giving people hugs, helping with whatever needs to be done, and using every ounce of remaining energy to voice her opposition to the war. She has become so dear to everyone here. I sat down with Beatrice last week to hear the story of her nephew's last visit with his fiancee Sofia; how she had to break the news of his death to Sofia, then 7 weeks pregnant; and Sofia's difficult road ahead without her baby's father.
We had an incredible evening yesterday up at the new Camp Casey site. Now, as you read the rest of this post, keep in mind that the new site is literally within spitting distance of Bush's ranch-- though we wouldn't actually spit, as we're trying to behave ourselves. And besides, why stoop to vulgar behavior when we have a sound system so loud the words "No more war!" can surely be heard in the man's bedroom?!?
Other statements that boomed over the loudspeaker tonight, besieging Mr. Bush and his pro-war agenda:
By David Swanson
The Washington Post today wondered out loud whether Cindy Sheehan might be a "catalyst for a muscular antiwar movement." In translation, this is an assertion that Cindy Sheehan has already become an accepted reason for the corporate media to finally acknowledge the existence of, and consequently help to build, the antiwar movement. There has, of course, been a major anti-war movement longer than there has been a war. And Cindy Sheehan has been speaking eloquently at anti-war events for many months. What has changed is primarily the media.
A website called Blue Oregon noticed this yesterday and wrote: "the Oregonian appears to be using Cindy Sheehan as cover to mention the lies upon which the war was justified." Yes, the Oregonian used the L word:
Refusal to See Sheehan Is Second-Guessed
A Decision Characteristic of Bush Has the Potential to Be a Consequential Act
By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 21, 2005; Page A05
CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 20 -- It would have taken half an hour or less, and it might have lowered the temperature on a month's worth of searing publicity.
When Cindy Sheehan showed up outside President Bush's ranch on the fourth full day of his five-week working vacation to talk about a son who had been killed in Iraq, he declined to meet with her -- a decision that has been widely second-guessed, even by some Republicans. The way that choice was made, and the reasons for it, provide a vivid illustration of several hallmarks of Bush's style, including his insistence on protocol, his concern with precedent, his resistance to intrusions and his aversion to hand-wringing.
(AP) A Utah television station is refusing to air an anti-war ad featuring Cindy Sheehan, whose son's death in Iraq prompted a vigil outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch.
Also, a patriotic camp with a "God Bless Our President!" banner sprung up in downtown Crawford, Texas Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by Sheehan. The camp is named "Fort Qualls," in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall.
The anti-war ad began airing on other Salt Lake City-area stations Saturday, two days before Bush was scheduled to speak in Salt Lake City to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Two War Protesters Injured During March
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH -- Two women protesting the war in Iraq were taken to a hospital Saturday after police broke up an unauthorized march involving about five dozen people on a busy one-way street near an Army recruiting station.
David Meieran, who helped organize the protest, accused police of "inappropriate and excessive force."
Sgt. Clint Winkler, a supervisor on duty, told The Associated Press that one woman who would not leave was subdued with a Taser. He also confirmed that a police dog bit another woman on the leg when she refused police orders to disperse.
At a meeting with representatives of Valley Grassroots For Democracy, Daniel Tamm and John Heaner, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-27th CD) agreed to co-sponsor H. Res. 375 - the Resolution of Inquiry, introduced by Democratic Bay Area Representative Barbara Lee. The resolution requests the President and directs the Secretary of State to transmit to the House of Representatives all information in their possession relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq. You can read a copy of H. Res. 375 at http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/downloads/roi-onepage.pdf
New York Times
By FRANK RICH
CINDY SHEEHAN couldn't have picked a more apt date to begin the vigil that ambushed a president: Aug. 6 was the fourth anniversary of that fateful 2001 Crawford vacation day when George W. Bush responded to an intelligence briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" by going fishing. On this Aug. 6 the president was no less determined to shrug off bad news. Though 14 marine reservists had been killed days earlier by a roadside bomb in Haditha, his national radio address that morning made no mention of Iraq. Once again Mr. Bush was in his bubble, ensuring that he wouldn't see Ms. Sheehan coming. So it goes with a president who hasn't foreseen any of the setbacks in the war he fabricated against an enemy who did not attack inside the United States in 2001.
By Jeff Alworth
I'd like to draw your attention to a passage from the lead editorial in today's Oregonian:
"Two years later, though, the U.S. death toll is nearing 1,900. The misty scrim that obscured our view of the war -- wishful thinking, distortions, outright lies -- is rapidly dissolving. Americans increasingly see the war as it is, and know it's going badly. Little wonder that when a gold-star mother parks herself inconsolably in Crawford, Texas, asking hard questions and spurning glib answers, she strikes a nerve."
I've highlighted the bit that particularly attracted my eye. Here we are 28 months into an ill-conceived war, and the Oregonian appears to be using Cindy Sheehan as cover to mention the lies upon which the war was justified. And now the editors are sufficiently emboldened to actually call the administration's justifications "lies."
Soldier Benefit Barbecue
This week, a Central Coast mother and father grieve the loss of their fallen soldier in very different ways.
Cathy Baker held a fundraiser Saturday, collecting donations to send care packages to American soldiers overseas.
Her son, 25-year-old Michael Mitchell was killed in Iraq in April 2004.
Michael's father spent the week in Crawford, Texas, with Cindy Sheehan, who's son died in the same incident as Michael Mitchell.
They're insisting the President send the American troops home.
Baker says her benefit has nothing to do with Sheehan's Vigil and that it's all about showing support.
ASSOCIATED PRESS WIRE
War Backers Start Camp Near Bush Ranch By ANGELA K. BROWN
Saturday, August 20, 2005 10:05 PM EDT
CRAWFORD, Texas - A patriotic camp with a "God Bless Our President!" banner sprung up downtown Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by a fallen soldier's mother two weeks ago near President Bush's ranch.
The camp is named "Fort Qualls," in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall.
"If I have to sacrifice my whole family for the sake of our country and world, other countries that want freedom, I'll do that," said the soldier's father, Gary Qualls, a friend of the local business owner who started the pro-Bush camp. He said his 16-year-old son now wants to enlist, and he supports that decision.
Bush Begins Five-Day Push to Defend Iraq War
By NEDRA PICKLER, AP
CRAWFORD, Texas (Aug. 20) - With anti-war protesters continuing their vigil outside President Bush's ranch, the commander in chief began a five-day push Saturday to tell Americans why he thinks U.S. troops must continue the fight in Iraq.
In his weekly radio address, Bush argued that the war in Iraq will keep Americans safe for generations to come. He'll try to drive the point home with speeches in upcoming days in Utah and Idaho.
"Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy,'' the president said in the recorded broadcast.
Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside the President's ranch has galvanised the anti-war movement - and provoked a vicious political slanging match. Paul Harris reports
Sunday August 21, 2005
Candles were lit all across America last week in one of the largest single anti-war protests in recent US history. At more than 1,600 vigils tens of thousands of protesters gathered in solidarity with the woman who has been the catalyst for the rebirth of the anti-war movement: Cindy Sheehan.
Her remarkable one-woman stand outside George Bush's Texas ranch has turned into a national phenomenon - and one of the most vicious political slanging matches in recent US history. On the pro-war side, Sheehan has been derided as a traitor to America, betraying her dead soldier son's memory. On the anti-war side she has become a secular saint, laden with the powerful imagery of the avenging mother roused to action. For them, she is the lone soccer mom who is taking on Bush - and winning.
By Brian Bogart
Finally, after reading hundreds of your letters today, I can write one to you.
Thank you very much for writing. (You have all been put on the IntelligentFuture email list for updates.) So many nations out there! Glad to hear from you.
The Strike for Peace plan is going well, and I want to encourage you to spread word that this is all about connecting our 300-plus Pentagon-funded schools across the nation, and transferring the energy created by Cindy Sheehan's camp (and that of the national rallies planned for September 24-26) onto our campuses and into our communities on the first day of school, September 26.
By Perry Jefferies, First Sergeant, USA (retired)
t r u t h o u t | Letter
Thursday 18 August 2005
I am a Veteran of the Iraq war, having served with the 4th Infantry Division on the initial invasion with Force Package One.
While I was in Iraq, a very good friend of mine, Christopher Cutchall, was killed in an un-armored HMMWV outside of Baghdad. He was a cavalry scout serving with the 3d ID. Once he had declined the award of a medal because Soldiers assigned to him did not receive similar awards that he had recommended. He left two sons and a wonderful wife. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.
There are now 48 co-sponsors of H Res 375. The four latest are Congressmen Barney Frank, Elijah Cummins, Rush Holt, and Gregory Meeks.
In the photo, Ven Neralla (top), Legislative Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, tells members of Progressive Democrats of America's Virginia Chapter about the Resolution on Saturday, August 20.
The Resolution will likely be voted on in the House International Relations Committee between Sept. 6 and Sept. 16. The more congress members who co-sponsor, the more likely some committee members are to both vote Yes and engage in a serious debate in the committee.
The ranking Democrat on the committee is Tom Lantos.
Here's a report on efforts to lobby him from Ashley Evans on August 18:
By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, in Crawford, Texas
Hundreds of protesters have now come to Crawford
At the end of a long line of white crosses, each bearing a name of a soldier killed in Iraq, is a small, open tent set up like a shrine.
Inside the tent is a photograph of Casey Sheehan, surrounded by flowers and candles.
The 24-year-old died in Iraq last year, and two weeks ago his mother, Cindy, set up "Camp Casey" and caught the nation's imagination.
To begin with just a few people drifted along to join her - just a couple of miles down the road from where President George W Bush is spending his summer vacation.
Submitted by Jeff Paterson
My photos of yesterday's interfaith service with family members of those killed
in Iraq, and other happenings at Camp Casey:
I also created a video slide show of my photos set to "Prairie Chapel
Road" by local singer/songwriter Eric Folkerth. Eric performed the song
at yesterday's service.
4 minute video. Windows Media Player required. 10M file.
For a higher qty version of the video above, and all of my past photos and reports
Solidarity vigils planned for this weekend
Friday, August 19, 2005 (Toronto) - The Toronto Coalition to Stop the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign will hold a jointly-sponsored vigil this Saturday in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan and American military families who continue to protest the war in Iraq. Although Cindy herself has temporarily suspended her protest due to a family illness, anti-war activists across the United States and Canada - including military families in Crawford, Texas - will go ahead with vigils as planned.
Cindy's protest at the gates of President Bush's summer ranch in Crawford, Texas have inspired millions of people around the world who oppose the war in Iraq and the ongoing occupation. On Wednesday this week, more than 100,000 people in more than 1,600 communities all over the US held vigils calling on Bush to bring the troops home now.
Coloradans to join war protest camp near Bush's ranch
By Deborah Frazier, Rocky Mountain News
August 20, 2005
GOLDEN - Karen Trietsch squatted in her living room Friday, finishing the lettering on her neon-pink sign that proclaimed: "Bush lies, Thousands die."
"We can no longer view this war as a Nintendo game on CNN," said Trietsch, 37, who leaves today for Crawford, Texas, with more than a dozen friends.
"Code Pink" is emergency room-speak for a child in danger. The name and color were adopted by women, including Trietsch, opposed to the war in Iraq.
Crawford is the home of President Bush's ranch, where he is spending five weeks on a working vacation. It's also where Cindy Sheehan camped for two weeks seeking a personal meeting with Bush to ask that he withdraw troops from Iraq. Her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Baghdad in April 2004.
Sydney Morning Herald
By Marian Wilkinson, National Security Editor
A letter written by a former senior Foreign Affairs officer setting out grave concerns over the hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction after the war was withheld from a Senate inquiry, blocking efforts to investigate US pressures on Australian personnel in Iraq, according to a new report.
The five-page letter, written by a senior Australian weapons analyst, Dr John Gee, explained his resignation from the US-led Iraq Survey Group, the body charged with finding Iraq's WMD.
The letter was given to the offices of the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, and the Prime Minister, John Howard, in early 2004, just as the Australian and US governments were dealing with reports that no WMDs had been found in Iraq.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Ray McGovern
Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC, and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. On Wednesday, he arrived home in Arlington, VA, after five days in Crawford, and shared these remarks with 300 neighbors at the close of a candlelight observance in honor of Cindy Sheehan.
President Bush still refuses to meet with Cindy Sheehan, the Rosa Parks of Crawford, Texas, but there is some good news. While Crawford's Camp Casey (named after Cindy's son killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004) continues to be short on amenities, a sympathetic neighbor has given the hundred or so friends I left there on Wednesday a field in which they can pitch their tents. No longer will they have to try to sleep in the seven-foot wide ditch alongside the road, with local pick-up trucks and Secret Service SUVs whizzing by honking reveille at 5:00 AM. In addition, newly donated tarps are providing some protection from fire ants by night and the 105-degree sun by day.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Cindy Sheehan
The media are wrong. The people who have come out to Camp Casey to help coordinate the press and events with me are not putting words in my mouth, they are taking words out of my mouth. I have been known for sometime as a person who speaks the truth and speaks it strongly. I have always called a liar a liar and a hypocrite a hypocrite. Now I am urged to use softer language to appeal to a wider audience. Why do my friends at Camp Casey think they are there? Why did such a big movement occur from such a small action on August 6, 2005?
I haven't had much time to analyze the Camp Casey phenomena. I just read that I gave 250 interviews in less than a week's time. I believe it. I would go to bed with a raw throat every night. I got pretty tired of answering some questions, like: "What do you want to say to the President?" and "Do you really think he will meet with you?" However, since my mom has been sick, I have had a chance to step back and ponder the flood gates that I opened in Crawford, Tx.
Words spoken to crowd at the vigil for Cindy in front of White House:
"My name is Gilda, I am a member of MFSO and I have a son who is an active duty Marine. He was deployed to Iraq during the bloody assault on Fallujah in November. One hundred thirty-seven of our sons and daughters and countless Iraqis died in that assault.
We are gathered here to support Cindy Sheehan in her quest for truthful answers from President Bush about Iraq. This is a call to conscience!!! This is about supporting our troops who have served honorably and bravely under impossible conditions. They went under orders of their Commander- in-Chief to a war of choice unprepared and under equiped. President Bush…you owe us an explanation!!!! The only noble thing in this rotten war has been our noble sons and daughters who answered the call to serve their country, something you could not have understood or valued.
By C.W. Nevius
San Francisco Chronicle
Before the war in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan was no rebel. The mother of four was a youth minister at St. Mary's Catholic Church, in quiet, conservative Vacaville.
But when Sheehan's son Casey, 24, was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004, her world lurched out of orbit. In the sleepless days and nights that followed, Sheehan tapped into the anti-war movement on the Internet, looking for answers.
"Sometimes I get up in the mornings and I turn on my computer,'' she told me when I met her in February at a peace vigil in Benicia, "and my husband comes home at 5, and I'm still there in my pajamas.''
By Greg Moses http://peacefile.org/wordpress/?p=233
Not having Cindy Sheehan in Crawford Friday turned out okay. Her absence didn't stop the media from crowding around a noon prayer vigil. And nobody I talked to was planning to cut short their stay on account of her absence. In fact, as usual, folks were sort of falling in love with the land and each other, wondering how many days more could they squeeze in.
Take the example of Katie Sterling of Fort Worth and her traveling companion Pam Humphrey of Burleson, Texas. In the sweltering afternoon heat across Cedar Rock Parkway from the Crawford Peace House, they were tending to a field of 40 cars parked in neat rows, talking with big smiles about last night's sleepover in the network of bar ditches that has become Camp Casey. "We planned to stay in Waco with relatives, but we couldn't leave, so we slept in a ditch and it was great!" And why couldn't they leave? Because they were having too much fun.
By Congressman John Conyers
With Cindy back in California attending to her mother's illness, it is more important than ever that we think of ways to support her cause and push back against the right wing smear campaign she is facing.
Last week, we sent a letter signed by 40 Members of Congress supporting Cindy, and sought contributions to support her. This week, I am organizing a campaign to encourage supporters to write letters and guest editorials supporting Cindy to submit to their local papers. My initial goal of 1,000 letters was met today, so with the help of the Kos community, I would like to expand the goal to 2,000. If you would like to write a letter and have it automatically submitted to your local paper, click here. I have also created a Crawford Action Center on my web site which includes a variety of video and audio clips, talking points and other materials.
While I, thankfully have not become a member of the Gold Star ranks, I am a blue star mom, twice over, soon to be thrice. And here is why I'm going:
As the mother of a son who was perched on the berms of the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border in the run-up to the war, I ingested every single living breathing detail about Iraq and it's threat to the United States that I could, from when the president first hinted at going to war there, after his multi-week vacation in the summer of 2002.
My mind told me it was not a good move, this "war of choice", this "pre-emptive war" stuff, conducted in a country that was cobbled together of three different regions and cultures and religions.
I spent a majority of the day in the hospital with my mom. She seems to be getting stronger by the minute thanks to all the prayers and well wishes from the world. I am so grateful for all of the love and support we are getting right now.
My mom is still in ICU and I don't know if she will ever be able to come home, but I know she knows we are there and we even made her laugh a couple of times today even though she can't speak.
I hear things are going great at Camp Casey and more Gold Star Families for Peace members are arriving every day. They want to say..."we want to speak to the President, too. He killed our sons, brothers, and dads, too. We are tired of being disrespected and lied to. We deserve the truth and we deserve respect."
August 19th, 2005
Dear Mr. President,
Cindy Sheehan, a Gold Star mother who has been camped outside your ranch asking you to take one hour out of your five week vacation to meet with her, left Camp Casey yesterday when her mother had a stroke.
While Cindy Sheehan is temporarily not in Crawford, we want to be clear that we, Gold Star and Military Families and Veterans who've stood by Cindy these past 11 days, remain encamped outside your ranch and will stay here until you meet with us and answer ours and Cindy's questions about the "noble cause" for which our loved ones have been killed or placed in harm's way; Cindy Sheehan may have started this, but we are committed to carrying it on, on behalf of Cindy and the thousands of Gold Star and Military Families acorss the country who have the very same questions and concerns.