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What One Mom Has to Say to George Bush
* Still Not Worth It by Cindy Sheehan
What One Mom Has to Say to George Bush
by Mike Ferner
"That lying bastard, George Bush, is taking a five-week vacation in time of war," Cindy Sheehan told 200 cheering members of Veterans For Peace at their annual convention in Dallas last Friday evening. She then announced she would go to Bush s vacation home in nearby Crawford, Texas and camp out until he "tells me why my son died in Iraq. I've got the whole month of August off, and so does he."
Sheehan left the VFP meeting on Saturday morning and is now in Crawford with a couple dozen veterans and local peace activists, waiting for Bush to talk with her. She said in Dallas that if he sends anyone else to see her, as happened when national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin did later that day, she would demand that "You get that maniac out here to talk with me in person."
She told the audience of veterans from World War Two to today s war in Iraq, that the two main things she plans to tell the man she holds responsible for son Casey s death are "Quit saying that U.S. troops died for a noble cause in Iraq, unless you say, well, except for Casey Sheehan. don't you dare spill any more blood in Casey s name. You do not have permission to use my son s name."
"And the other thing I want him to tell me is just what was the noble cause Casey died for? Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We're not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism," she exclaimed.
"There, I used the I word - imperialism," the 48 year-old mother quipped. "And now I'm going to use another I word - impeachment - because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail."
As the veterans in Dallas rose to their feet, Sheehan said defiantly, "My son was killed in 2004. I am not paying my taxes for 2004. You killed my son, George Bush, and I don't owe you a penny...you give my son back and I'll pay my taxes. Come after me (for back taxes) and we'll put this war on trial."
The co-founder of Gold Star Mothers for Peace objected to hearing that her son was among the soldiers lost in Iraq. "He s not lost," she said tearfully. "He s dead. He became an angel while I was sleeping."
She railed against the notion expressed by officials in the Bush administration that bringing the troops home now would dishonor the sacrifice of those who have died. "By sending honorable people to die, they so dishonor themselves. They say we must complete our mission...but why would I want one more mother to go through what I have, just because my son is dead?"
The Vacaville, California resident said she first heard of Veterans For Peace in early May last year, during a CNN report about an exhibit of white crosses arranged in rows in the Santa Barbara beach. The exhibit was organized by VFP Chapter 54 to memorialize each U.S. soldier killed in Iraq. Her son had died the month before. "I decided there was only one place I wanted to be on Mother s Day that year, and it was Santa Barbara," she told the VFP members in Dallas.
Retired Special Forces Sgt. and VFP member, Stan Goff, today initiated a "Talk to Cindy" campaign to get Bush to meet with Sheehan. Contact information for the White House is: (202) 456-1111 or email@example.com
Ferner is a writer in Toledo, Ohio and a member of Veterans for Peace. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Still Not Worth It
by Cindy Sheehan
Last January, I was bumped from the Larry King Live show for an appearance by the soon to be proven innocent Michael Jackson. I was going to be on the program to answer the question: Did I feel my son's murder in Iraq was "worth it" after the "free" elections in the war torn country on January 30th. I wrote an article then called: "Not Worth It."
I never thought I would be invited back on as a guest after I pretty much burned the Larry King bridge with my article. However, to my astonishment, I was invited to be a guest on June 28th. I was asked to be on the broadcast in order to give my impressions and rebuttal to George's speech on Iraq that he delivered in front of the less than enthusiastic (what the White House spin doctors call: respectful) troops at Ft. Bragg, NC.
I felt like I was in Bizarro World as I heard George speak about 9/11 five times and mention terrorism 31 times, even though these rationales for war have been disproved repeatedly. I think George thinks that since we believed him once about terrorism vis-`-vis Iraq, that we must therefore be gullible enough to believe him this time. I don't know, and I am not a professional pundit, but my theory is he might have mentioned 9/11 to manipulate our emotions and maybe even frighten us a little again?
The thing that struck me when I was watching that vacuous man giving his hollow speech was the fact that he could have always replaced the word "terrorists" with the phrase: "my moronic and callous foreign policies" For example, when he said that terrorists spread death and destruction on the streets of Baghdad and kill innocent people, he could have just as easily said: "My moronic and callous foreign policies spread death and destruction on the streets of Baghdad and kill innocent people." When he said that we need to stop terrorists from toppling governments in the region, he could have just as easily said: "We need to stop my moronic and callous foreign policies from toppling governments in the region." People have characterized the speech-lite in many ways, but if I had to pick a few words to describe it, I would say: "Hypocritical, manipulative, condescending, meaningless drivel."
I sat through an entire hour in the CNN studio in DC hearing not one person say that the invasion was a mistake and if it was a mistake, then our troops should be brought home immediately. Even the "Democratic" Senators (Kerry and Bayh) on the program just gave their recipes for "success" in Iraq, which did not include any exit strategies. The guest host for that hour was Bob Costas and he asked one guest, Sen. John McCain, an intriguing question: "If you could push Button One and have an eventual wonderful outcome in Iraq, or if you could push Button Two and never have had it happen, which one would you pick?" Of course, Sen. McCain chose Button One. He hasn't had a loved one killed in this enormous tragedy of a war, nor does he have a loved one in harm's way. It has not affected him personally one bit. What skin is it off McCain's nose if our troops remain for a highly unlikely rosy outcome at the cost of thousands of more lives? I would push the button that would bring back my son, Casey, and the tens of thousands of other victims who have been killed for nothing but outright lies and bald-faced betrayals. I would push the button that would give Iraq back its power, water, and infrastructure.
My absolute favorite guest of the evening was Sen. John Warner, powerful chair of the Senate Armed Disservices Committee. Of course, he fell in lockstep behind his F|hrer and praised the speech and how, although we have "all" paid a terrible price for this invasion and occupation, bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people is worth all the sacrifices that the world is making. I sat in the Green Room with Sen. Warner's entourage. I wondered (even out loud) what price they have paid for our administration's misdeeds in Iraq. They all looked like happy, well-fed, well-dressed, well-educated, and well-hydrated Americans. They looked to me like they had plenty of electricity to blow-dry their hair and charge their cell phones and laptops. They looked like they had quite a nice supply of clean drinking water and fresh food. I sincerely doubt if any of them had a loved one ripped from their lives by a car bomb, IED, or bullet in an ambush. I wondered who the "we" was that John Warner spoke of. I spoke with John Warner after his interview and told him unless he was prepared to sacrifice even a good night's sleep over this senseless and criminal war, then he should work on ending it, not prolonging the carnage. He told me that I was "entitled to my opinion," but he would respectfully have to disagree with me. That was awfully Constitutional of him!
I finally got on to speak for my 82 seconds (all the time Larry King Live could spare for the peace message) about how this war is a catastrophe and how we should bring the troops home and quit forcing the Iraqi people to pay for our government's hubris and quit forcing innocent children to suffer so we can allegedly fight terrorism somewhere besides America. How absolutely racist and immoral is it to take America's battles to another land and make an entire country pay for the crimes of others? To me, this is blatant genocide. How dare we export our brand of flag-waving death and devastation to a people who have been through so much already? It wasn't bad enough that our sanctions killed tens of thousands of Iraqis before we even started an active aggression against them. Now we have to create confusion, chaos, and disorder there. How dare our president and Congress, and we Americans, allow this to continue?
After my brief advocacy for peace, my position was refuted by another Mom whose son was killed in Iraq in 2003 who said she "totally disagrees" with me and "feels sorry" for me. Well, you know what? I ache for her blindness and for the millions of sheeple who have had the wool pulled over their eyes by the bunch of hypocritical, bad shepherds who are running a disastrous herd over the world. I have distressing news for the Soccer Safety Moms and the NASCAR Dads who are such ardent supporters of this administration and war: Your grandchildren and children who will be entering Kindergarten this fall will be fighting George's endless war if he gets his way and is allowed to continue spreading the cancer of imperialism in the Middle-East. Donny Rumsfeld said we could be in Iraq for another dozen years. Does anybody think with all the billions of dollars that are being poured into constructing super-sized bases in Iraq that the war machine plans on relinquishing the cash-cow that is that poor, unfortunate land anytime soon? Think about it when you tuck your child into bed tonight.
I heard George and the Senators say that evening the sacrifices we as Americans have had to make for Iraq are "worth it." I really would like to know who has benefited and profited from Iraq and who has really had to sacrifice anything. I know it was "worth it" to Dick Cheney who was the CEO of Halliburton, (of no-bid contract fame) which has raped billions of dollars from our government, from the people of Iraq, and from our soldiers who are not getting what they need to survive in a combat zone. It is "worth it" to Black Water Security Co. who sends one-thousand-dollar-a-day mercenaries to Iraq, funded by the War Department. It is "worth it" to L. Paul Bremer who slunk out of Iraq with 8.8 BILLION dollars missing from the Provisional authority. It is also "worth it" to the other companies and individuals who have been enriched by feeding our children to the military industrial complex. By George, I think we have found the people who think this war is "worth it." But, is it worth it to George Bush who was counting on this unlawful and unprincipled aggression in Iraq to give him "political" capital? Instead, if poll numbers are any good indication, Americans are withdrawing their assent for George and they are withdrawing their consent for him to wage eternal war on humanity.
As I sat in the Green Room of CNN, I was saddened and troubled by George's call for us Americans to fly the flag proudly on the 4th to honor our troops. For one thing, the American flag is not a magical token that can bring armor to the troops who are still dying without the protection. The flag is not a faith healer that can restore limbs and eyesight to the ones who have been maimed forever. The flag is not a genie in a bottle that can blink her eyes and bring our children home from this horrible blunder that they are suffering for and being slaughtered for. But, as for me, I will never be able to celebrate another patriotic holiday without mourning what this nation has stolen from my family. I will never be able to look at an American flag without thinking of the uniform my son wore proudly that displayed that same symbol and the evil ones who desecrated and defiled the stars and stripes by lying us into the invasion of Iraq. No, Casey's sacrifice was not "worth it" and George needs to do more than wave his flag and manipulate our sense of patriotism. He needs to march his girls to a recruitment center and send them to Iraq to fight the terrorists that his moronic and callous foreign policies have recruited or he needs to wake up and smell the apple pie and bring our other sons and daughters home, now!