In a Tent Near Bush's Ranch, Antiwar Mother of Dead Soldier Gains Visibility
By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 13, 2005; Page A01
CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 12 -- Cindy Sheehan vaulted into national consciousness this month on the power of her story as the grieving mother of a fallen soldier.
But what began as a solitary campaign to force a meeting with President Bush by setting up camp along the road to his ranch has quickly taken on the full trappings of a political campaign. Sheehan is working with a political consultant and a team of public relations professionals, and now she is featured in a television ad.
CNN THE SITUATION ROOM 3:00 PM EST
Friday, August 12, 2005
CINDY SHEEHAN, SON DIED IN IRAQ: I want to ask the president, why did he kill my son? What did my son die for?
BLITZER: War mothers on both sides of the issue speaking out.
And a CNN exclusive. We'll go live inside North Korea where our Mike Chinoy is the only western correspondent in a tightly closed country. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back. We've been hearing a lot about Cindy Sheehan, she's protesting the president and his war policy. She lost a son in Iraq. We're going to be speaking with her shortly. But first, let's go to Chicago. Georgette Frank is joining us live. Georgette Frank lost a son in Iraq, as well. Georgette, thanks very much for joining us. Tell us a little bit about your son, Phil, first of all.
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Thursday, August 11, 2005
BUSH: Listen, I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her position. And I -- she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has a right to her position. And I've thought long and hard about her position. I've heard her position from others, which is, get out of Iraq now. And it would be a -- it would be a mistake for the security of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was President Bush earlier today talking about Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. Now, she's been camped for days near the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanding to ask him in person why her son died. It's a personal story that's become very political as well.
COUNTDOWN on MSNBC 8:00 PM EST
August 11, 2005 Thursday
OLBERMANN: At about the same time the president spoke to the media today, the mother of Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, who died at Sadr City, Iraq, in April 2004, held a news conference of her own, joined by other families. Cindy Sheehan pledged to stay camped outside that ranch for the duration of the president`s August vacation, adding that if he does not talk with her there, she may to go Washington in September.
And while the president did not talk with her directly today, he did finally address her presence and her purpose.
HARDBALL 7:00 PM EST
Thursday, August 11, 2005
GREGORY: On the same day President Bush met with his foreign policy team at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, he said he had sympathy for a woman whose son was killed serving in Iraq. That woman, Cindy Sheehan, has been waiting outside the president`s ranch, demanding to meet with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: And I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her position. And I -- she has every right in the world to say what she believes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY: Melanie Morgan, a conservative radio talk show host, has been in e-mail correspondence with the Sheehan family on the father`s side and was sent the following statement just this morning: "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 expense of her son`s good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops and our country and our president, silently, with prayer and respect."
NBC Nightly News 6:30 AM EST NBC
Thursday, August 11, 2005
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor:
Now to that woman outside the president's ranch in Texas. Cindy Sheehan lost a son in Iraq. She has met with the president before but wants so badly to meet him and talk to him again. She's vowed to live outdoors, outside his Texas ranch, until she gets to see the president. Her story tonight from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell.
KELLY O'DONNELL reporting:
Day six at this improvised campsite, about a five-mile drive from the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas. One mother's vigil...
Ms. CINDY SHEEHAN: Why did George Bush kill my son?
This isn’t about politics, it’s about grief. It’s about a growing group of ordinary citizens trying to teach this callous cowboy how to care,even as he bikes away his worries while the families of the 46 soldiers killed in the month of August alone attend funerals.
By Lilian Friedberg
One sorely neglected aspect of the Cindy Sheehan story concerns public expression of mourning. Ronald Reagan’s death called for an entire week of public mourning, and myriad other instances of public mourning in response to the death of a single individual mark the landscape of recent US-history: the death of John Lennon in 1980, of John Kennedy Jr. in 1999, of Christopher Reeve in 2004, Pope John Paul II earlier this year, and most recently, of ABC news anchor Peter Jennings. Public mourning in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombings, the Challenger and Columbia disasters and the 9/11 attacks was widespread, fuelled in large part by a veritable carpet-bombing of memorials delivered to our living rooms by the corporate media. All of us took time out of our busy schedules to mark the tragedies in public displays of despair, and the effect was cathartic, a necessary step in the process of “moving on
Posted by spatula on Aug. 12, 2005
I don't know who is organizing it, but I can see its effects: the Republicans have launched an all-out war on the mother of a young man who died in Iraq...
Every day I get a report in my email that shows me how many hits and visitors the site got, a projection of traffic for the month, number of requests per second, and, most importantly, the URLs of the referring sites. This way I can tell where the traffic is coming from. Often this leads me to other amusing sites where our articles or the site are discussed-- sometimes in a flattering way, and sometimes not.
KTEN Channel 10
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - At least five Oklahomans have joined a growing peace vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.
What started Saturday as a California woman's solo demonstration has swelled to encampment of at least 50 supporters.
Serena Blaiz of Oklahoma City says the crowd might number 100, but that it's hard to tell the peace activists from the media.
Melissa Rabe of Blanchard says she came to support Cindy Sheehan, the California mother whose son was killed in Iraq last year.
The Peace House of Oklahoma City says other Oklahomans at the vi
Anti-war protest near Bush ranch
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 12, 2005 12:00 AM
SCOTTSDALE - Two Scottsdale mothers have joined a highly publicized vigil near President Bush's remote ranch in Crawford, Texas, to demand that he withdraw troops from Iraq.
"This is a real pivotal moment in the anti-war movement," said Sherry Bohlen, whose son is in Iraq. "We want to raise public awareness."
Under mounting pressure, Bush repeatedly has said it is too early to pull out of the war, but he sympathizes with parents of soldiers.
Bohlen and Rebecca Bahr, also of Scottsdale, arrived in Crawford on Wednesday afternoon, where about 200 protesters have gathered since Saturday.
U.S. media produce excuses, not stories, on Downing Street Memo
Extra! July/August 2005
Julie Hollar and Peter Hart
Journalists typically condemn attempts to force their colleagues to disclose anonymous sources, saying that subpoenaing reporters will discourage efforts to expose government wrongdoing. But such warnings seem like self-puffery after one watches contemporary journalism in action: When clear evidence of wrongdoing emerges, with no anonymous sources required, major news outlets can still virtually ignore it.
A leaked British government document that first appeared in a London newspaper (Sunday Times, 5/1/05) bluntly stated that U.S. intelligence on Iraq was shaped to support the drive for war. Though the information rocked British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s re-election campaign when it was exposed, for weeks it received little attention in the U.S. media.
Read 'em and sympathize. It has to hurt to have no other argument for your war than the ability to call opponents of it "extremists."
Contact: Mikael Moore (202) 225-2201
Los Angeles, CA - This weekend, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) will travel to Crawford, Texas to lend her support to Ms. Cindy Sheehan who is attempting to meet with President George W. Bush during his month long vacation at his ranch. Ms. Sheehan's son, Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed in Baghdad on April 4, 2004, less than a week after arriving in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan wants to meet with the President to ask him why her son died and to voice her concerns about the war in Iraq.
Congresswoman Waters will bring books, food and other supplies with her to help sustain Ms. Sheehan during her time in Crawford.
Cindy Sheehan holds up a sign as President Bush's motorcade drives by.
Friday, August 12, 2005; Posted: 2:27 p.m. EDT (18:27 GMT)
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- President Bush's motorcade, en route to a political fund-raiser near his ranch, passed Friday by the site of Cindy Sheehan's Iraq war protest where more than 100 people had gathered to support her.
Sheehan -- whose son, Casey, was killed five days after he arrived in Iraq last year at age 24 -- held a sign that read: "Why do you make time for donors and not for me?"
It's unclear whether Bush, riding in a black Suburban with tinted windows, looked at the demonstrators as his caravan passed.
The motorcade did not stop.
Law enforcement agencies used their cars to block two intersecting roads, where the demonstrators have camped out this week, and required them to stand behind yellow tape. They were not asked to leave their makeshift campsite.
(links in the original)
Here's coverage of yesterday's "press conference" (in quotes because a grand total of five questions were involved) by George Bush from Knight-Ridder's Ron Hutcheson:
"By Thursday, President Bush could no longer ignore the grieving, angry mother from Northern California camped outside his ranch.
"'I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan,' Bush told reporters Thursday after more than a week of intense media focus on his uninvited visitor."
The clear implication is that Bush had spontaneously made this remark to reporters, and that he had made some kind of conscious decision to "no longer ignore" Cindy Sheehan. But that's nonsense. In the 859-word cliche-ridden speech delivered by Bush that precedes the questioning, Cindy Sheehan doesn't come up at all. It's only after, in response to a question about troop withdrawals, that Bush says, "I also have heard the voices of those saying, pull out now, and I've thought about their cry, and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out," and, following that, that a reporter follows up by asking, "Just to make clear, you're referring to Mrs. Sheehan here, I think?" And even then, Bush pointedly doesn't answer "yes", but instead replies "I'm referring to any grieving mother or father, no matter what their political views may be." And only then does he finally get around to "no longer ignoring the grieving, angry mother" and express his (phony) sympathy with Sheehan.
August 12, 2005
Dear Mr. Swanson:
Thank you for getting in touch with me regarding the Bush Administration's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) used to justify going to war. I agree with you that we need a thorough, effective and objective investigation of the intelligence on Iraq and how it was used.
As a Senator and a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, I was presented information that led me to believe that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons and the means to use them. Bush Administration officials also said that Iraq had links to terrorism and was developing nuclear weapons. This has been called into question in light of what UN inspectors and U.S. forces have found - and not found - on the ground in Iraq.
By Congressman Dennis Kucinich
The vigil of Cindy Sheehan and those supporting her outside President Bush's ranch in Texas continues.
If you are in Texas or wish to travel there to join Cindy and others in the vigil, contact the Crawford Peace House for advice and directions. If people at the Peace House are overwhelmed and you can't reach them, go anyway (directions are on their Web site) and plan to stop there on your way in.
Supplies needed include food and water, coffee, first aid kits, tarps/canopies, tents, tables, batteries, flashlights, wet wipes, materials to make and hang banners and signs, nails & tools, bug spray, ice and ice chests, ladders, and car lighter adapters for electric appliances.
By Dave Lindorff
Quietly, and under the radar for now, a movement is growing across the country that could blow up White House war planning and finish off the U.S. adventure in Iraq.
That movement is state-by-state legislation to provide for testing of returning National Guard troops for signs of contamination by depleted uranium.
Kicked off in Connecticut by a feisty Democratic state representative from New Haven named Pat Dillon, a woman who was trained in epidemiology at Yale—her bill passed the state legislature in July unanimously, and goes into effect this October, about the time many Connecticut Guard troops will finally be coming home from Iraq—the measure has copycats hard at work in some 14-20 other states. Louisiana has already passed a similar law.
By Patricia Wilson
Friday, August 12, 2005; 1:16 PM
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush got his first look at an anti-war vigil near his ranch on Friday as his motorcade took him by the protest site lined with small white crosses representing fallen American soldiers in Iraq.
When Bush's black sport utility vehicle carried him past the site to a Republican fund-raiser, the protest leader, Cindy Sheehan, whose son was one of the nearly 1,850 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, held up a sign that said: "Why do you make time for donors and not for me?"
Other signs said: "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam" and "Bring Them Home Now." Some protesters held up white crosses as well.
By Dave Wedge
Friday, August 12, 2005
Pressure continued to mount for President Bush to meet with the distraught mom of a soldier killed in Iraq as both Bay State senators backed the woman and scores of families joined her outside Bush's Texas home, including two from Massachusetts.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday each threw their support behind Cindy Sheehan, who has been camped outside Bush's Crawford, Texas, home since Saturday, vowing not to leave until the president meets with her about the war. Sheehan's 24-year-old Marine son, Casey, was killed five days after he arrived in Iraq.
As a result of a request from CODE PINK, people around the country are hunger-striking for Cindy Sheehan.
I spoke with Diane Wilson a little while ago. She's been hunger striking in Crawford since last Saturday.
She said Cindy's sister has joined in the hunger strike as well.
Support Cindy Sheehan! Troops Out of Iraq Now!
Friday, August 12, 2005 at 5 PM Powell Street BART (Powell and Market Streets), San Francisco
Last week, Gold Star Families for Peace co-founder Cindy Sheehan traveled to Crawford, Texas to pay a visit to George Bush at his vacation ranch. Cindy's son Casey was killed in action in Iraq on April 4th, 2004. Cindy is currently camped on the side of a road a few miles from the ranch and plans to stay until Bush "tells me why my son died in Iraq. I've got the whole month of August off, and so does he." Cindy has been informed that and her companions could be arrested as they would reportedly be considered a "national security threat" due to their encampment a few miles from the ranch.
My country is in the grip of a president surrounded by thugs in suits
By Howard Zinn
It has quickly become clear that Iraq is not a liberated country, but an occupied country. We became familiar with that term during the second world war. We talked of German-occupied France, German-occupied Europe. And after the war we spoke of Soviet-occupied Hungary, Czechoslovakia, eastern Europe. It was the Nazis, the Soviets, who occupied countries. The United States liberated them from occupation.
Now we are the occupiers. True, we liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein, but not from us. Just as in 1898 we liberated Cuba from Spain, but not from us. Spanish tyranny was overthrown, but the US established a military base in Cuba, as we are doing in Iraq. US corporations moved into Cuba, just as Bechtel and Halliburton and the oil corporations are moving into Iraq. The US framed and imposed, with support from local accomplices, the constitution that would govern Cuba, just as it has drawn up, with help from local political groups, a constitution for Iraq. Not a liberation. An occupation.
By David Potorti
As a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, I¹ve been witnessing Cindy Sheehan¹s Crawford odyssey with a bittersweet mixture of pride, support and sadness. I felt the same way when Megan Bartlett, one of the first EMT workers to arrive at the World Trade Center site, founded Ground Zero For Peace/First Responders Against War; as military parents Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson founded Military Families Speak Out; as the 9/11 widows known as the "Jersey Girls" dragged their government, kicking and screaming, into conducting an independent commission into the 9/11 attacks; and as Michael Hoffman, Kelly Dougherty, Jimmy Massey and others came together to create Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Houston Chronicle Editorial
Nothing is more emblematic of American democracy than the idea of one person standing up for his beliefs and in the process becoming the catalyst for a national debate. In the arena of civil rights, Rosa Parks' refusal to sit in the back of a Montgomery, Ala., bus was such an act. During the Vietnam War, Daniel Ellsberg's decision to give the media the Pentagon Papers detailing the secret history of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia was another.
Now Californian Cindy Sheehan's August vigil on a sweltering roadway near President Bush's Crawford ranch has given a human voice and face to the revulsion of the carnage in Iraq. Sheehan, the mother of a 24-year-old Army specialist killed in Iraq last year, wants a face to face meeting with Bush to ask him what mission was worth her son Casey's life.
Dear Mr. President:
Although you will never get this email, and the contents will never be known to you, Sir, I must tell you how I feel:
Sir, I am an Air Force Vet, peace time service only, but still a TRUE BLUE LOYAL PATRIOT AMERICAN! I am not even Republican, but I support and believe in the Commander in Chief of the United States Military. I support and believe in the war and the efforts in Iraq. I support the US Forces. My husband is a retired Army Vet who served in GW-1.
Sir, Meet with Cindy Sheehan. She gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country, her son.
Mr. President, I am a Mother. I don't know how I could move on and grieve if I lost one of my sons, in this war or the next, or in any way. Children are not supposed to die before their parents.
When I first heard that Cindy Sheehan had camped out in front of President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, it reminded me of another woman who sat down in the front of a bus because she was tired and had had enough.
Then I thought, here is yet another painful example in our world today. We are tired of young men and women around the world dying needlessly, without purpose, and leading to escalating violence between nations, in our country, in our communities, in our schools.
Women from around the country are uniting in Texas. It is time to ask ourselves why we are not using the knowledge and methods we already have to resolve conflict in nonviolent ways! We have not yet invested in organizing the wealth of information and resources we currently have and creating the structure to do so. It is time to do this.
By Arianna Huffington
During my many years as a writer, I've interviewed hundreds of people. But talking with Cindy Sheehan this morning was unlike any conversation I've ever had. Even though we were talking via cell phone - and had a crummy, staticky connection at that - her authenticity and passion reached through the receiver and both touched my heart and punched me in the gut.
She spoke with a combination of utter determination, unassailable integrity, fearlessness, and the peace of someone who knows that their cause is just. Her commitment was palpable - and infectious. It reminded me an old quote about the great Greek orators: "When Pericles spoke, the people said, 'How well he speaks.' But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, 'Let us march!'"