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I went to Crawford yesterday


I went to Crawford yesterday
by JamesC [Subscribe]
Sat Aug 27th, 2005 at 19:23:52 PDT

I went to Crawford, Texas yesterday to add my voice to the protesters. It was exciting, enlightening, and all together satisfying. I met Cindy, sweated a lot, laughed, and wept.

First off, here's a Flickr of the pics I took.

The only one I want to specifically mention is this one!

This is Bob, and Bob is my new hero. He is a 6'7" Marine, Iraq War II vet, and evangelical Christian. What you can't see in his left hand here is a silver trumpet. At sunset he and Cindy stood next to each other at sunset in the middle of the crosses while he played taps. Everyone was completely silent. It brought tears to my eyes, and many openly wept.

I spoke to Bob later. He is a vet of this war and told me that since his return he has been called by Christ to witness against the evils of war.

The other guy I talked to made a deeper impression on me than Bob, although he actually said much less. I forget his name but he was also a veteran of this war. He was dark haired, about 5' 10", probably 21 or 22 years old, and wearing an Army jacket, jeans, and sandals.

"What did you do over there?" I asked.

"Artillery." He's got a quiet voice. Not shy, or bashful, just.. quiet.

"Really. You know a friend of mine and I were having a discussion about how useful artillery is in modern warfare. You'd probably be a good guy to ask."

"Yeah, it's pretty much useless. All artillery is rockets these days, anyway."

"Yeah? You just point a laser?"

"Yeah." He's looking down the road, eyes partially closed in thought. "Then it blows up and takes out one square kilometer." He looks directly at me. "That's too much."

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Sheehan can't fill the enormous role written for her.

By Patt Morrison

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Who died and left Cindy Sheehan in charge?

Not her son, Casey. When he was killed in Iraq, he left only a bereaved, bereft mother.

We put her in charge - the media, the politicians, the people. We put her in charge not just of her own message and her mission, which is all she had asked for, but we cranked up her voice to equal volume with the man she's calling out: POTUS himself, George W. Bush.

"We" are the TV bloviators who prefer talking-head chatter to the shoe-leather work of reporting; the only shoe leather some of them use on the job is walking from the limo to the makeup chair. "We" are the craven pols who let some "mater dolorosa" do their dirty work of challenging the Bush administration's war policy and deliver the message that something is wrong in Baghdad and Crawford and Washington.

And "we" are all those Americans who like their information celebritized, who want news to be cast like a movie, with stock characters: the determined leader, the foreign villain, the "mom."

We take a Cindy Sheehan, who has an honest argument to make for herself and people who may hear her and agree, and we punish her for speaking out by investing her with the mantle of omniscience. Buck Henry's line from "To Die For," the brilliant film satirizing television, is: "You're not anybody in America if you're not on TV." Sheehan's mauled image shows the nasty truth we also believe, that "if you're on TV, you must be somebody" - the alpha and omega of wisdom. It's why Tom Cruise, movie star, thought it was perfectly fine to show up on TV as Tom Cruise, mental health adviser to the nation.

So Sheehan, who just knows that she's against the war because her boy died there and she doesn't want that to happen to anyone else, gets the celeb treatment, iconized into single-name fame a la Madonna. She's attacked when she tries to fit the enormous role we wrote for her and when she doesn't manage to pull it off. We either hang on her words or hang her for them. The grilling she gets - about foreign policy, about regional strategies - from the nattering nabobs of numbskullery on toxic TV turn her into a straw woman.

This spring, Ted Nugent - rock musician and gun fan - screamed to the NRA crowd, "To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release." Is the National Rifle Association advocating the gas chamber for burglars and summary execution for carjackers? Not if it wants to be taken seriously. If I heard it from Larry Craig, Idaho senator and NRA board member, I'd worry. But not from Ted Nugent.

Sheehan gets quizzed about strategic policy as if she were on the Council on Foreign Relations, and she gets ridiculed when she founders. She's treated the way the interrogators ought to be treating the likes of Pat Robertson when he says we should save ourselves some bucks on another war by just assassinating the president of Venezuela (which is illegal under a presidential ban).

He's a Yale law grad, a Phi Beta Kappa, a former presidential candidate and a TV preacher with a tele-flock following of 20 years' standing. He holds himself up as an authority and ought to be held to account as one, and not just be dismissed, as Donald Rumsfeld remarked, as "a private citizen."

Some Fox talk show host let himself in for a hernia, straining to knit Sheehan into a sinister geo-conspiracy: "I can't help but notice that Cindy Sheehan is from Vacaville, Calif., very close to UC Davis, very close to UC Berkeley, reasonably close to UC Santa Cruz, where I believe that a lot of those WTO protesters came from." Vacaville is nearly 60 air miles from San Francisco, even farther from Santa Cruz -a good half-state away for you Beltway boys.

Using the same technique, I could make the opposite case: Vacaville is suspiciously close to where they make Ronald Reagan's favorite jelly beans. It's cheek by jowl with Travis Air Force Base, and home to two state prisons. And Vacaville means "cow town." How red state can you get?

Cindy Sheehan's was a voice we had not heard. When she has said her piece, I think she'll just want to take off the microphone and go home, and I hope we'll let her. If nothing else, Sheehan has shown us what we need to do. We need to stop making bigger television sets and start making bigger leaders.

Contact Patt Morrison at patt.morrison@latimes.com.

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