Posted on Thu, Aug. 11, 2005
Philadelphia Daily News
HOW THE RIGHT ATTACKS EVEN THE GRIEVING
AS PRESIDENT BUSH vacations in his Crawford, Texas, ranch, sitting just outside is the American Public.
In this case the American Public is Cindy Sheehan, a 48-year-old mother who lost her son Casey in the war in Iraq. Casey, a soldier and mechanic in the Army, was one of eight soldiers killed in a firefight in Baghdad last year.
Cindy Sheehan sits in a beach chair outside the Crawford ranch, hoping and waiting for a meeting with President Bush. She wants to ask him one question: Why did she lose her son to a war that is becoming more senseless every day.
"I want to ask the president, why did he kill my son?" Sheehan says. "He said my son died in a noble cause, and I want to ask him what that noble cause is."
Sheehan has become an icon among antiwar activists - and a target of right-wing pundits who have little shame in twisting her words.
Conservative blogger Matt Drudge took the first stab and tried to make Sheehan look like a flip-flopper by contrasting her current critical words about Bush with earlier statements she made to her hometown newspaper. Sheehan, along with other families who lost loved ones in Iraq, met with Bush last year and told The Reporter, the local paper in Vacaville, Calif., that she now knows that Bush is "sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis."
Left out of the Sludge - oops, sorry - Drudge Report were the families' concerns about the war, which were also part of the story in The Reporter.
The controversy generated so much attention, The Reporter's editor this week wrote a column to correct Drudge's - and the right-wing media's - cynical spin of the story.
"We don't think there has been a dramatic turnaround," said Diane Barney. "Clearly, Cindy Sheehan's outrage was festering even then."
We're not surprised by the smear tactics of the right in the case of Cindy Sheehan. Critics of this administration - from Richard Clarke to Joe Wilson - know the White House crowd are bullies and moral cowards and would attack a grieving mother if it suited their purpose.
But how are they going to smear the American Public, which polls show is increasingly siding with Cindy Sheehan?
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