You are herecontent / At Last Minute, USA Today Slaps New Headline on Lousy Editorial

At Last Minute, USA Today Slaps New Headline on Lousy Editorial

Cindy Sheehan decamps, leaving very mixed messages
USA Today

Even though the Iraq war is on its way to claiming 2,000 American lives, it has for the past two and a half years seemed disconnected from the lives of many Americans.

Unlike World War II, the whole nation is not involved in the war effort and sacrifices. Unlike in the Vietnam War, when the draft scooped up men from all walks and stations of life, soldiers in Iraq are volunteers who hail largely from small-town and rural America. The human cost of the war is obscured because media access to much of Iraq is difficult, and coverage of the returning dead and wounded is restricted.

Last year, one of those killed was Army Spc. Casey Sheehan. This summer, his mother, Cindy, camped outside President Bush's ranch in Texas for almost two weeks, seeking a meeting with Bush to discuss her son's death. She left Thursday after her mother had a stroke but said she planned to return.

Thanks to heavy, perhaps excessive, television coverage, Cindy Sheehan has become the public face of the grief felt by military families at a time of rising discontent with the war in Iraq. But that image fails to convey the complexities that mirror the war itself.

Sheehan's "cause" has been twisted and co-opted by groups left and right. She by turns has been used by groups such as as a rallying point for anti-war sentiment and demonized by pro-war commentators. She has become a lightning rod, her sorrow all too easy to dismiss.

How, then, to balance the human tragedy of war against the purposes for which it is being fought? Perhaps by looking at the Sheehan family members and the way their grief has been exploited as a microcosm of the nation's angst.

Others in the family bitterly opposed Cindy's stance. In a statement, her sister-in-law — Casey's aunt — said that "the rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops, our country and our president." Cindy's surviving son begged her to come home. It was revealed that her husband had filed for divorce. Their son's death, as in so many families, had strained their marriage rather than, as in others, making it stronger.

Their story shows how a death in Iraq shatters so many more lives. Does the war merit that loss? For much of Casey's family, if not for his mother, his was a sacrifice worth making. And has involved their sacrifice, too. Others need to reach their own conclusions.

Perhaps the greatest sadness is that appreciation of families' grief could help bring a distant war home, and bring the nation and families closer together. As the sad Sheehan saga shows, the opposite is, for now, the case.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Where to begin on an article like that? In just litanous form, I'll spout out my reaction. I would love to know one marriage made stronger by the death of a child. There's that phrase "discuss her son's death", which seems to me to dismiss what Cindy really wants to discuss. She wants to discuss the "noble cause" that this "president" used as an excuse for this illegal war. When a reporter poses a question "Does the war merit that loss?", shouldn't that reporter, by the very nature of asking that question, seek to provide an answer? It'd make him a much better reporter, wouldn't it?
The other family members are entitled to their opinions. Why the quotes around the word "cause"? Is that to suggest that the intended goal is dubious? Excessive television coverage???? What station does this reporter watch? There's also a tone in the letter that supposes if the majority of Cindy's family feel she should just go home and shut up, then she's somehow misguided. Not necessarily stated but there, just the same. It's a disgusting piece of reporting..but then again, it is USA Today.

They are still using lines like " the rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops, our country, and the president".We need to find a way to separate troop support from war support."I still get people telling me I can't support the troops and America but not support the war or Bush, that is crap.Ms. Sheehan supports our troops a lot more than Bush. My only son,Robert, is going back for tour #2 , I support our troops more than Bush but I don't support the war or Bush.Robert knows that I protest the war because I love him and the reasons given for this war are wrong.He told me that protesting the war is not demoralizing the troops but a changing reason for their being in Iraq is very demoralizing. His best friend was killed in Iraq when the reason we are there was WMD, then the reason changed. Robert is bitter because he believes Cpl. Cabala died in vain, I must agree. That by no means deminishes Cabala's sacrifice or heroism.Protesting an unjust war is one of the highest forms of troop support.

I quit buying the 'USA Toady' after the Conyers hearing. Now it's like they're children begging for attention.

Your article reads like,OH Well,To bad,So sad,tough luck,I don't care,etc.........

You could at least make some attempt to be unbiased and do a story on facts,at least be honest and say"My boss is Republican so I have to write this way","Or it doesn't matter if Cindy's son is dead-It's not my son",or etc.

It doesn't matter if her entire family thinks she wrong"How many dead sons from a war based on a LIE do they have"

Puffy reporter"How many of your kids are dead in the BUSH war based on a LIE"?

How then to balance the human tradegy of war,mr reporter that works for Bush!
Go enlist your children,your grandchildren--hope one of them gets blown up and then come back and answer the question"How then to balance the human tradegy of war based on a LIE

I liked the article for two reasons. The first, it shows the truth. The second, it is fair. This article is in no way biased. So why are you people all jumping up in arms to defend someone you don't know and hardly know anything about!?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.