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Media frenzy, critics take toll on grieving mom


The Argus
By Jason Dearen, STAFF WRITER

CRAWFORD, Texas — At 11 a.m. Monday, Cindy Sheehan's eyes drooped from lack of sleep, she spoke a little slower and her skin was reddened from more than a week in the intense summer sun.
Since deciding to unfold a lawn chair in a grassy roadside ditch near President Bush's ranch on Aug. 6, Sheehan has done nonstop media interviews, spoken at protest events and learned her husband, Patrick, — from whom she was separated — filed for divorce Friday. After a night of reflection, the Vacaville mother of four says she is going to take time to refocus her demonstration on more of the other families in "Camp Casey" who have lost their sons or daughters in the Iraq war.

Monday, the effects of her unrelenting schedule were apparent, and the usually polite Sheehan refused to answer basic questions during a news conference. Sheehan, whose son Casey, 24, was killed in Iraq in 2004, met with the president once before, but did not choose at the time to

ask him difficult questions about the war. Now, she is demanding another meeting with the president to ask him to explain what she says are lies about weapons of mass destruction, and other reasons he gave for sending the country into Iraq.

But first, Sheehan acknowledged the intense demand for her attention from her supporters and detractors has made her lose sight of her goal: To honor her son's death by demanding answers.

"We have to get back to our original mission and message," she said.

Since her story reached a national audience, Sheehan has seen a number of volunteer and paid organizers from liberal anti-war groups appear to help her manage what has become nonstop requests for her time.

Her journey is far from finished. She has vowed to stay put until Bush meets with her in person, or until Aug. 31 when Bush goes back to Washington, D.C.

Sheehan said she slept only an hour Sunday night because she was upset by attacks levied by the right-wing media and talk radio hosts.

She also said she realized that during her first weekend in Crawford, she became caught up in the events staged by different groups who appeared to help her, and had begun to lose sight of why she was there in the first place.

Monday morning, after a night of soul searching, Sheehan said she realized things had gotten out of hand.

"This last week almost killed me. ... I want the focus off of me now. I'm not the only one in America who wants to answer these questions," she said, referring to other families of soldiers killed in action.

Sheehan has been joined throughout the week by dozens of veterans and family members of some of the 1,854 soldiers killed in the Iraq war so far.

She has found strength in the tumultuous week of intense public attention."I have discovered things about myself that I didn't know. I'm strong, I didn't know that. I'm persistent," she said.

Sheehan did not comment about her impending divorce, but said earlier that she was separated from Patrick because the two had philosophical differences. His family members have also written a letter critical of Sheehan's demonstration.

Monday morning, sitting in a camper van with the doors open, Sheehan hugged and took photographs with people who had driven to Crawford to see her. Across the road, three pro-war demonstrators gathered. One played a guitar, singing a song about Sheehan and her supporters "aiding and abetting the enemy." A local rancher drove a red pickup truck wildly through a patch of grass near the camp and parked across the road, blocking traffic.

Secret Service agents ran over to check it out. The rancher, who did not identify himself, said he was tired of the protesters and angry that his complaints to authorities had been ignored. Then he drove away slowly.

A few minutes later a hard rain began to fall, causing the anti-war demonstrators and reporters to duck under a leaky tarp. With no tarp, the few Bush supporters ran to their cars until the brief storm passed.

Despite this roller-coaster ride she has been on, Sheehan has no regrets. She said she would not change a thing. "I would do it all over again."

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Send Cindy Home! Send Cindy Home! Does anyone know the names' of any anti-Cindy websites. I would like to donate to those organizations.

You got the money. You got the time. You want this war-fight it yourself. Get a real life before anyone else loses theirs for you.

I spent 8 years in the USMC to protect people like you. You're damn lucky I did. Semper Fi, mac.

If you are so gung ho...go the war yourself.

I'm only sixteen... I can't go.... yet!

Bushie!

i dont even know what to say to that

After reading all the vile abuse leveled at Cindy on this site I felt a deep weariness come over me.

I can only imagine how Cindy must feel...

It is obvious that about 50% of Bush supporters are seriously illiterate, judging by their inability to spell or string together any coherent argument. Mostly they just rely on spewing out obscenities and slander. I guess that is all they have left.

Those who do not resort to slagging her off tend to wrap themselves in the flag. Much like their president they seem infuriated that someone dares to disagree with their world view. Their tactics are sickening and are those of the morally bankrupt.

From an academic perspective I suppose it is quite revealing. Clearly Bush has appealed to those with a lower IQ, much the same way Hitler did. They can only 'win' any argument by character assassination, by calling those who oppose them 'traitors' and finally if all else fails by physically threatening people with shotguns, pick up trucks, the secret service or with whatever comes to hand.

My advice to all - DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.

Courage Cindy. You are changing the world.

Excellent advice, but it's awfully hard to resist.

Admittedly, it's like shooting fish in a barrel, and usually juvenile fish at that, but it does make an occasional light break from the more thoughtful discussions about Bushdom and its dark nightmares.

So true. And what you say is also corroborated by the event organized by the Department of Defense' star promotor, Donald Rumsfeld. The event, "Freedom March", that will be held in Washington, DC is a tribute to the true Bush supporters. It will feature the "country music" performer Clint Black. On this website someone posted lyrics in one of his songs....they say it all. This is the mentality The Bush Gang is pandering to.

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/1584#comment-10015

I'll start by saying that I don't support Bush in any way, but...

I respect that our military is a volunteer military, and Casey Sheehan signed up for the military knowing full well the risks that may come with being placed in combat.

It doesn't matter if this war is right or wrong, it's beside the point in my opinion. What does matter is that Cindy Sheehan has no respect for the choices her grown son made, and she is tarnishing his memory with her pipe dream that the president is going to meet with her.

What does she expect? What does she think the president would say or do? Does she think Bush would hold her hand and cry with her?

I feel that the president is doing the right thing by not meeting with her. If you remember, the White House stated that the president would not attend any funerals for any soldiers killed in battle, because he would not be able to attend them all. They felt this would be disrespectful to the famalies of soldiers whose funerals he could not go to.

This is the same situation. Some people say she's a figurehead for all the mothers who have lost their sons in battle. Some say she is courageous, brave, etc.

It's no wonder that her husband is leaving her, and that her family is distancing themselves from her. Who would want to be associated with someone unable to get a grip on reality, and, as I said above, respect the decisions her son made and the risks that came with that decisions.

Cons are such filth.

dems such ignorance... open your eyes... Sadaam killed 25 million people

Assuming you are sincere, you deserve an answer to your point of view.

Yes, Casey Sheehan signed up. His reasons for doing so had to do with his sense of honor in standing firm with his friends and fellow soldiers. While some might argue against the wisdom of that decision, it is something that any military person can understand and respect. But whether you agree or disagree, it really has nothing to do with his mother's grief over his loss.

There can be little doubt that Cindy Sheehan's position on the war with Iraq does reflect her bereavement. That position, however, contains no element of disrepect for her son, nor for his decision, nor for his comrades in arms. Her outrage and her quarrel is with George W Bush and his claims that a "noble cause" justifies her son's being sent to die in a foreign land. She believes that no such justification exists and is asking the President to explain to her the basis for his claim that it does.

Some stand with Cindy Sheehan and some against her in taking that position. I would hope, however, that all those who truly believe in the values that her son was willing to die for will respect her right to ask her son's Commander-In-Chief to answer her questions.

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