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Cindy Sheehan's Message Repudiates George Bush -- and Howard Dean

By Norman Solomon

In 1972, after many years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg wrote: "In that time, I have seen it first as a problem; then as a stalemate; then as a crime."

That aptly describes three key American perspectives now brought to bear on U.S. involvement in Iraq.

The moral clarity and political impacts of Cindy Sheehan's vigil in Crawford are greatly enhanced by the basic position that she is taking: U.S. troops should not be in Iraq.

Sheehan's position does not only clash directly with President Bush's policy, which he reiterated on Thursday: "Pulling the troops out would send a terrible signal to the enemy." Her call for total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq also amounts to a firm rejection of the ongoing stance from Howard Dean, the head of the Democratic Party, who told a Minneapolis audience on April 20: "Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out."

Supporters of the Bush policy in Iraq may express misgivings, but they have an outlook that views the faraway war as a fixable "problem."

Dean, the Democratic National Committee chair, has opted to stick to a calibrated partisan line of attack that endorses the war in real time. "The president has created an enormous security problem for the U.S. where none existed before," Dean said in Minneapolis. "But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there."

Of course, the idea that Bush could be "incredibly successful with his policy now" in Iraq is the stuff of fantasy. But it's the kind of politician-speak that makes a preposterous statement because it seems like a good media tactic. That's what most Democratic Party bigwigs, and some activists who should know better, are still doing. They're the rough equivalent of those who, like Ellsberg for a time four decades ago, regretted that the war was "a stalemate." Along that line, objections to the war liken it to a quagmire.

But the U.S. war effort in Iraq is not a quagmire. It is what Daniel Ellsberg came to realize the Vietnam War was: "a crime."

Cindy Sheehan -- and many other people who have joined her outside the presidential gates in Crawford, and millions of other Americans -- understand that. And they're willing to say so. They have rejected not only the rabid militarism of the Bush administration but also the hollowed-out pseudo-strategic abdication of moral responsibility so well articulated by Howard Dean.

On Thursday, in his transparent attempt to halt the momentum of the vigil led by Cindy Sheehan, the president spoke to journalists and repeated his usual rationales. Along the way, Bush provided a sing-song catchphrase of the sort that political consultants are paid big bucks to script: "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." It all added up to insistence on war and more war. "Pulling troops out prematurely," he said, "will betray the Iraqis." But Bush got his scripted syntax inverted when he made the mistake of saying something that rang true: "Obviously, the conditions on the ground depend upon our capacity to bring troops home."

While Bush sees the war as a problem and Dean bemoans it as a stalemate, Sheehan refuses to evade the truth that it is a crime. And the analysis that came from Daniel Ellsberg in 1972, while the Vietnam War continued, offers vital clarity today: "Each of these perspectives called for a different mode of personal commitment: a problem, to help solve it; a stalemate, to help extricate ourselves with grace; a crime, to expose and resist it, to try to stop it immediately, to seek moral and political change."


Norman Solomon is the author of the new book "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." For information, go to:

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On September 11, 2001 when we saw the Twin Towers come down, when we saw our countrymen leaping to their deaths, when was saw New York City covered by a cloud of smoke, when we saw the Pentagon in flames, what was the first thing that struck you mind? That something had to finally be done about the Middle East? That was my first thought. I think we all recognize that region as being a major source of terrorism and unrest, but it’s not limited to the Middle East and it’s not limited to Al Queda.

Terrorism worldwide has been an increasing problem for the world in general for over 20 years. Dozens of countries have had innocent citizens murdered in terrorist attacks and the frequency of these attacks has been steadily increasing. There seem to be countless numbers of terrorist organizations. Each has a particular “cause

"Every modern war has had its root in exploitation. The Civil War was fought to decide whether the slaveholders of the South or the capitalists of the North should exploit the West. The Spanish-American War decided that the United States should exploit Cuba and the Philippines. The South African War decided that the British should exploit the diamond mines. The Russo-Japanese War decided that Japan should exploit Korea. The present war [WW1] is to decide who shall exploit the Balkans, Turkey, Persia, Egypt, India, China, Africa. And we are whetting our sword to scare the victors into sharing the spoils with us. Now, the workers are not interested in the spoils; they will not get any of them anyway." -- Helen Keller

SOURCE: War Crimes Even Helen Keller Could See

"There are none so blind as WILL not see."
who said this?

I know many American citizens that WILL themselves
not see the truth of what is going on.

Obviously those, like Hellen Keller, that CANNOT
see don't necessarily have a problem understanding
the meaning behind wars.

This is a phenomenal quote...thanks for posting it.

You're welcome. The quotation "None so blind as those that will not see" is attributed to Matthew Henry (1662 - 1714) Commentaries, Jeremiah 20. There are lots more here.

Was the last post from the RNC ?? What nonsense.Iraq DID NOT attack us....get the enemy correct. It was Osama and al quaeda in Afghanistan. You are such a dupe...the attack on Iraq is a mistake and a huge disaster for our nation.Our enemies are not being weakened but are being strengthened by this stupid war....we are being weakened.As far as all the statements about how dangerous Iraq was, this is the same Bush BS that is being regurgitated. 1991 Saddam had weapons we needed to destroy....and the UN DID THAT AFTER GULF WAR 1..we knew that Hussain Kamal(Saddam's son-in-law) was in charge of destroying all the WMD...and he did so in is in the Duelfer Report. His testimony was given when he defected from Iraq and it was reported BEFORE the war...I read and knew of it, and so did Bush. It doesn't matter which Democrat said how dangerous Iraq was all wrong. We know that isn't a question.And both Colin Powell and Condi Rice made statements that I have read before Bush rolled out the war propaganda after 9/11 stating how Saddam was successfully contained, had no weapons to threaten us or his neighhbours. Only Bush decided to invade and occupy Iraq against the opinion of the UN and virtually the entire world....and we are in the process of destroying the US army with this stupid blunder.It is Bush's war. We had no allies( spare me the propaganda about the Coalition of the willing). Only the war criminal Blair sent in any large military assistance, and if you read the Downing Street minutes you would know what a criminal act that was. Iraq had NOTHING to do with the "war on terror" except that now after this stupid invasion there are jihadists flocking to Iraq to attack Americans, and we will create a shiite government allied to Iran....these are the worst anti American, anti Jewish, pro terrorist people in the world.Good job Republicans.

This Duped citizen still blathers about the non existent WMDs...maybe they were moved out. Yes maybe they are on the moon. Why doesn't he read the CIA official Bush chose to ivestigate after the war. Both Kay and Duelfer say the WMD were destroyed by the Iraquis..not moved anywhere. And it is a complete lie that the inspectors were in any respect stopped from having total unfettered access to all of Iraq.Hans Blix has said this and they were even destroying rockets with Iraqi cooperation.Prove this one from the Bush team even made the claim that the inspectors were being impeded.Get some facts.

"Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out."!!! That sounds like something George W Bush would come up with, not the chair of the DNC. Not NOW! Especially not after the DSM came out. To have voted FOR the war was bad enough, but that was THEN. Now THIS? Howard, Harry, Nancy, what in the world is the matter with you?

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