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Protesters Will Follow Bush War Tour


Crawford, Texas - President Bush, trying to counter the message of anti-war vigils outside his ranch and growing public discontent with Iraq, leaves Texas on Monday for the first of two speeches on the war and the September 11 attacks, but more protesters await him.

Bush, appearing at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Salt Lake City, will weigh in on attempts by Iraqis to meet a deadline for a draft constitution and may reiterate his stay-the-course message to Americans who are increasingly uneasy about his handling of Iraq.

At a park near the VFW venue, Celeste Zappala, 58, the Philadelphia mother of a National Guardsman killed in Iraq, plans to lead a protest. Her son Sherwood Baker was killed in Iraq last year and she is part of anti-war mother Cindy Sheehan's group, Gold Star Families for Peace.

Baker was killed while assigned to the Iraq Survey Group, which was on the hunt for stockpiles of illicit weapons but concluded they were never there.

"We all know that noble cause for war that Bush talks about has changed several times," Zappala said.

Her theme will be similar to that of Sheehan, the Vacaville, California, mother whose son Casey was killed in combat in Iraq. Sheehan has become a magnet for anti-war sentiment by camping out near Bush's ranch and demanding to talk face-to-face with the president.

"We want to meet with him. We have questions to ask him," Zappala said.

Sheehan's group is also airing television ads in Salt Lake City accusing Bush of having lied about Iraq. One station, an ABC affiliate, is refusing to air the ads.

Bush, who has ruled out a near-term pullout from Iraq, on Saturday cited the upcoming fourth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and said Iraq was a cause worth fighting for.

"Our troops know that ... if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war," he said in his weekly radio address.

Bush went to war in Iraq in 2003 warning of a threat from stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. None were found.

Critics say Iraq had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks and that the administration has tried to tie Iraq to terrorism since the war to justify its actions.

After Salt Lake City, Bush will go to Idaho for two days. He will speak on the war on terror there on Wednesday before resuming his vacation at his Crawford, Texas, ranch.

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The disgusting, politically motivated smear campaign being conducted against Cindy Sheehan only proves that our fraudulent president and his fool's chorus of defenders are running scared. The undeniable truth is about to destroy their house of cards, and their desperation has reduced them to the new low of trashing the mother of a dead soldier who dares to publicly ask George W. Bush a very simple question:

"What is the 'noble cause' that you claim my son and all the others have died for, Mr. President?"

His silence actually speaks volumes.

Claims by Bush, his subordinates and his blind followers that Cindy Sheehan's anti-war crusade shows a lack of support for the troops, hurts their morale, and dishonors the memory of those that have paid the ultimate price is nothing more than pathetically disingenuous political spin.

There can actually be no greater show of support for our troops than streets filled with fellow citizens demanding that they be brought home and not made to fight a war waged on the lies of a corrupt administration.

Every ounce of blood spilled in Iraq is on George W. Bush's hands. His lips know no public truth about this unnecessary disaster. He and his war mongering minions are the ones showing no respect for the troops, damaging their morale and dishonoring the memory of every single dead soldier.

You would think that if the war criminal in chief were trying to sell America a fraudulent military conflict he would at least try to make sure the troops had everything they needed. Instead we have families spending their own money on essential communication equipment for the troops that the military has failed to provide.

We can only speculate about how many of the dead would be alive today if the people responsible for sending them into battle had seen to it that they were properly equipped.

More than two years into the Iraq disaster, troops are still forced to add plywood and sand bags to their unarmored Humvees for extra protection. The problem with this improvisation and the bolt on armor kits that have been provided in some cases is that the underside of the vehicle is left unprotected from roadside bombs, which of course are the cause of most troop deaths.

But no expense is spared, of course, to make sure that Pentagon and State Department employees and Congressional delegations are riding in nothing but the best armored vehicles when they visit Iraq.

All the flowery presidential rhetoric in the world cannot overcome the glaring evidence that the people on the front lines are considered to be nothing more than pawns of war by the fascist Bush administration.

His completely dishonest recruiter aside, Casey Sheehan did indeed make his own choice, as an adult, to join the military, and it is reasonable to assume that he was aware of the risks. This does not, however, give his commander in chief cart blanche to put his life at risk for nothing more than the advancement of his own political agenda.

This is why Cindy Sheehan and other parents of troops who took their last breath in the Bush-created hellhole that is Iraq are so angry and speaking out so forcefully. They are not anti-America. They are not against the troops. They are actually better patriots than George W. Bush or any of his blind supporters could ever hope to be, because they have the nerve to live up to their responsibility as citizens of this great country by demanding accountability of their president. Unlike so many misguided Bush supporters, they have not forgotten that it's the president that works for the people, and not the other way around.

To suggest that the anger of Cindy and her supporters and fellow military families is somehow not justified is to close one's eyes to the unavoidable truth. Their loved ones died not for freedom or democracy or to ensure the safety of their fellow countrymen. They died for a pile of blatantly obvious lies told by the president of the United States of America.

If you are a parent or loved one of a soldier killed in Iraq that still supports George W. Bush, I am doubly sorry for you.

John Perry

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