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McCain’s Noble Cause

It took nearly three years, and it came from a Presidential wannabe rather than President Bush, but Cindy Sheehan finally got an answer to her question: “What is the noble cause?” It’s oil.

Senator McCain, speaking at a campaign stop, said, “I will have an energy policy …which will eliminate our dependency on oil from the Middle East that will then prevent us… from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.” The Senator subsequently attempted to cover up his Freudian slip (or “senior moment”) by claiming that he was referring to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, not the current conflict. Sorry, Senator, but that cat’s just not going back.

What sort of mental and moral gymnastics does McCain perform in order to justify his ongoing support for a war he claims to want to prevent in the future? Is it the same floor routine that he uses when refusing to endorse various bills, such as the G.I. Bill and equal dwell time, which would benefit veterans and military families, while professing his patriotism and support for the troops?

I understand quite well that the Senator served and was badly injured in Vietnam and endured years of torture as a P.O.W. I get it. I also get that the Senator says he wants to avert another war for oil in the coming years. But our troops and their families are fighting, dying, and dealing with the fallout from the Iraq war at this specific juncture in the time-space continuum. Senator “Marty McFly” McCain needs to park the time travel machine and address the Iraq debacle in the “fierce urgency of now.”

The Senator said that he “regret[s] sincerely the additional sacrifices imposed on the brave Americans who defend us…But let us honor them by doing all we can to ensure their sacrifices were not made in vain.” (April 11, 2007)

If, as the Senator insinuated, the war in Iraq is a war for oil, which he purports he would “prevent” with the fuzzy energy policy of his hoped-for Presidency, yet he continues to support the current war for oil, it begs the question: If not then, why now?
The rinse and redeploy cycle that keeps sending our loved ones to fight and die in a war for oil does not honor the sacrifice of the fallen. It is an unconscionable violation of the legitimate purposes and constitutional laws governing the use of the military. Every additional deployment adds moral insult to psychic injury and bodily harm. Each day that the war continues perpetuates the blatant disregard for the bravery and commitment of our troops and reduces the cost of their lives to mere pennies.
The average American adult male human body contains approximately 1.5 gallons of blood. In 2004, when Cindy’s son, Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq, the price of a gallon of gas was $1.85, and crude oil accounted for 47% of the cost, according to the Energy Information Administration. Casey’s blood, traded for a gallon and a half of gasoline, retailed for $2.78, the cost of the crude oil – 47% - was valued at $1.31.

Given that, it’s not surprising that Cindy sat down in a ditch in Crawford, Texas, waiting for President Bush to tell her what her son’s sacrifice had been for. What’s surprising is that Ms. Sheehan ever got up again.

What is appalling is that Senator McCain and Congress is considering a package deal supplemental to ensure that our troops remain engaged in a war for oil while Americans complain about the price they’re paying at the pump. Crude doesn’t begin to describe it.

Stacy Bannerman is the author of When the War Came Home: The Inside Story of Reservists and the Families They Leave Behind, (Continuum Publishing, 2006). She is longtime member of Military Families Speak Out Her husband is preparing for his second deployment to Iraq with the 81st Brigade. She can be contacted at her website


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