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A Crawford Peace House Morning


A Crawford Peace House Morning

By Greg Moses
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CAMP CASEY, TX (Aug 11) Thursday is only a few minutes young, but Cindy Sheehan is already running late. Rumors are percolating that police will swoop into Camp Casey at midnight to arrest everyone, and she dare not be late for a date like that. So she says, "I really have to go now," and takes her leave from the soft light and murmur of the Crawford Peace House lawn. Before she goes however she does have time to say that her fever is getting a little better.

Among the dozen or more activists who remain at the Peace House, Sandy sits on the front porch looking toward Cedar Rock Parkway, the two-lane highway that runs East-West. About 12:30, Sandy sees a cop car speeding West, then another at 12:37, but the rumors and signs add up to to zero as other activists ask, "did you see the cop cars at the convenience store?" Apparently the law enforcement professionals were speeding to their coffee break.

The wee hours of this August morning are pleasant enough for the Texans who gather in a tight cluster of chairs on the porch, occasionally brushing away a June bug or a fire ant. A tube of fire ant medication makes the circle, and Sandy's companion Rusty sqeezes a modest glob of the gel onto his bare feet. The temperature is falling slowly through the 80s, but the humidity is stubbornly high as a threat of rain passes overhead.

Sitting next to Rusty in our clockwise review, Melvin is telling a story about how he was working for Dick Cheney's company Brown and Root when they dropped a machine on him, crushing his body from jaw to pelvis. With cane in hand, he talks about his home in the oil patch of SouthEast Texas and how his mama don't like Republicans either.

Mark Green, one-time Democrat candidate for Congress from the Fort Worth area, tells us that next time he runs for office he wants a party behind him, and that's the focus of his activism these days. He tells us by the way that former Speaker of the House Jim Wright is still active as a teacher in the Fort Worth area. Thinking about the ethics investigation that resulted in Wright's abrupt resignation from Congress in 1989 makes the 80s seem like the age of Scout's Honor.

Pulling up a chair from the lawn to sit at the top of the porch steps, Tom likes to joke that he drove all the way from Portland. Portland, Texas, that is. Tom is the entrepreneur of magneticpeace.com the alternative choice for folks who want to wear yellow magnets on their cars, but who would prefer peace signs to ribbons. He's looking for the owner of the car with the slogan written on the back window in wedding white shoe polish: "Jesus is Prince of Peace not God of War", because the car sports one of his magnetic peace signs, too. He tells a real interesting story about trying to locate a manufacturer. The folks who make the yellow ribbons said they wouldn't make those peace signs even if he paid them to. And you thought those yellow ribbons were not pro-war?

Dot from Dallas sits against the wall that divides the porch from an adjacent room, wearing her t-shirt from the Dean campaign. It was Howard Dean who kicked her into gear politically after seeing the man speak in Dallas during the summer of 2003. Green says he was there, too.

Dot's turn to tell her story gets interrupted about one o'clock in the morning when up the short sidewalk from the highway walks a woman barely middle aged. She has just driven in from Iowa. Her son is a soldier stationed in California. She figures she has a year to stop the war before he completes his training. He wouldn't like it that she's here, "but we all have to do what we must," she says softly.

A man and woman are walking up the sidewalk now. "This is a military spouse," says the man to Peace House host Hadi. And Hadi takes the woman inside to her sleeping space. The man is "reservist turned activist" Tim Goodrich, one of the co-founders of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He wears an IVAW t-shirt and says, "it's like a sauna out here." Before too long he also takes his leave, opens the door to the Peace House, and turns in. After some time chatting the woman from Iowa enters the Peace House to get some sleep and I climb also into my bunk, the passenger seat of a Honda.

Easing the seat backward to catch a nap, I flip down the sun visors to see if they will block the light from the porch. Over my right shoulder to the East an amazing star shines so bright I think it must be a planet, maybe Mars. But no, John Walker's website "Your Sky" informs me that my overnight companion is Altair, Southern anchor of the famed Southern Triangle. As Jim Kaler writes: "The Arabic name 'Altair,' reflective of the constellation itself, comes from a phrase meaning 'the flying eagle.' " The star calls me out. I have to get up, stand in the middle of Cedar Rock Parkway and watch that eagle glisten. Tiny frogs sing in all directions.

Overnight the pilgrimmage to the Peace House continues. A delegation from Louisiana. A pair of travelers from Dallas. A peace movement comes together before my opening eyes.

As soon as the sky lightens up into the faintest shade of blue, I rummage the trunk for my toothbrush. Soon I'm back on the porch with my back to the front window, checking out a little animal carrier tucked underneath a chair. Out from the Peace House comes a man with a sign that he slides behind my back onto the window sill. "Expose the 9/11 Cover Up." I move down a chair so that the sign might be read by others.

Turns out the little animal carrier came in with the Louisiana delegation carrying a 9-week-old kitten named Smudge. Leaping into a sprawling Rosemary bush, Smudge looks up at me with eyes of great adventure. And someone is placing a huge cup of coffee under my nose. "Here, please hold this," says Cindy Sheehan before she scoops up Smudge kitty for a little face-to-face schmooze. And Sheehan introduces me to Smudge's mommy, Annie who in turn tells me that the kitten has been with the family for about a week. I try to imagine this whole world as a nine-week-old kitten would see it, as Smudge leaps and pounces in the freshness of the day.

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Greg Moses is editor of Peacefile and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at gmosesx@prodigy.net

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My name is Matthew Ray; I teach Air Force ROTC at Louisiana State University. I’d like to make MY statement about President Bush and the war in Iraq or the War of Global Terrorism. Cindy Sheehan IS NOT a great American nor a hero.

Missus Sheehan’s loss is tragic as are the other 1,800 plus from the Iraqi conflict; or the 200 plus Enduring Freedom deaths; or the 300 plus Persian Gulf deaths; or perhaps the almost 60,000 Vietnam deaths; or 36,000 Korean War deaths. AND what of the hundreds of thousands killed in World War I and II?

These numbers represent only the military killed in action with many more secondary deaths. AND what of the civilian deaths caused by war OR the other nations with losses…MILLIONS and MILLIONS in the world wars.

And let us not forget the almost 3,000 civilians killed 11 September 2001.

War is never pretty or convenient. Below are some of my favorite quotes concerning war and the men and women who wage it. We are NOT war-mongers; nor is President Bush—it is I, and my comrades, who lay our lives on the line so that Mrs. Sheehan can spew her drivel. Missus Sheehan needs to stop talking and realize that many THOUSANDS of mothers and fathers have lost children that have helped make our country great; what makes her special?

Is our country perfect? No. But if these “peace-loving

Dear Matthew,
9/11 had nothing to do with our country invading Iraq. We have killed 100,000 innocent Iraqis. This war has only helped create more terrorists. Please shut off Fox News and sign up to go to Iraq yourself. There are plenty of soldiers forced to be there by stop loss orders who do not believe in this war, and they should be replaced by you. Put up or shut up.

Yes it is, Major. Even more tragic, however, is the fact that you and some of your countrymen continue to believe the propaganda and outright lies that were utterly transparent to most of the rest of the world before this needless war and its human sacrifice ever started.

It's a great pity. In the long run, the damage you do to yourselves and to your "democracy" will be far greater than the death and destruction you bring to others -- unless one mother and her supporters succeed in stopping your self-destruction, that is.

Your intelligence agencies know the truth about 9/11, WMD and most, if not all, of the other false "justifications". This war wasn't just tragic; it was and is illegal. PLEASE INFORM YOURSELF and remember your oath to defend The Constitution.

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