...Reads Cindy's and Pronounces Her a Liar
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Mother's war protest veers onto wrong path
By ROBERT L. JAMIESON Jr.
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST
President Bush could end the shenanigans of the military mom turned antiwar poster child who is camped outside his Texas vacation ranch.
All he has to do is meet with the grieving woman.
If the president spoke with Cindy Sheehan for a few minutes behind ranch doors, he could field her questions about why her soldier son made the ultimate sacrifice.
He could show the world he does have a heart, contrary to public perception. A brief tête-à-tête also would douse the blaze of media that threatens to make the cowpoke town the site of a whoopee-ti-yi-yo showdown.
Mom versus the Prez.
Trouble is Sheehan is not sincerely interested in meeting Bush for a private, heartfelt chat about her understandable anguish and lingering questions.
She wants to make a public splash by allowing critics of the unjustified war in Iraq to use her as a human bazooka against Bush, who got us into this war mess.
That Sheehan would allow her private grief to be plied for a public stunt seems unfathomable even if her underlying message about unnecessary blood being shed by American soldiers hits the mark.
Sheehan already got face time with the president, right here in Western Washington last year -- a fact that folks tend to ignore as Sheehan morphs into the celebrity du jour.
It was in June 2004. Sheehan met with Bush at Fort Lewis. A reporter for a newspaper in Vacaville, Calif., Sheehan's hometown, interviewed her about the occasion.
The mom said at the time that Bush seemed sincere about desiring freedom for the Iraqis and appeared to feel the pain of lost American lives. Sheehan said meeting Bush and hearing his condolences made her family feel better.
"That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness," Sheehan told the newspaper.
Tellingly, when the Sheehan family met with Bush they opted not to share concerns about the war, according to news accounts.
Now Sheehan is sounding a different tune.
She believes Bush lied about the war. She says the war is wrong. She wants to return the presidential "gift" to sender.
"If I can shorten the war by one minute and save one life, that would just give me so much comfort in my grief," Sheehan was quoted as saying this week.
I agree with Sheehan's statement in principle. I do not agree with her form of political protest, which she has the right to do. Her effort just seems like a misguided spectacle.
Sheehan admits that she just wants to lay a question on Bush: Why did you kill my son?
Her accusatory tone suggests that she wants to flog the president with blame and vitriol and not have a meaningful, respectful dialogue.
At the very least, she gets her name all over the news as the mom who tried to stick it to Bush.
If Sheehan wants sober war policy answers, I have a one-word suggestion for her: Google.
She can read up on Bush's shifting justifications for the Iraq debacle. She won't get solid answers, but she will read a lot about a Bush administration that misrepresents facts and lies as a matter of habit.
She also will come across accounts of our "heartless" president crying with families of dead soldiers.
Sheehan's Texas tantrum wittingly or unwittingly abets left-leaning forces that are happy to use her to get at the president. If the anemic antiwar movement needs a mourning mom to lead the charge against this unjust war, then the movement is in dire straits.
Protest marches and demonstrations, which powered public sentiment against the war in Vietnam, have been reduced to this -- a mom with a mic.
My thoughts drift to grieving parents of slain troops who have not even had a chance to meet with Bush.
There are hundreds of soldiers' families -- several in the Seattle area -- in as much grief as Sheehan is over the death of her son, Casey, last year in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
They haven't found the need to shack up near the president's vacation pad to shame him into a confrontation under the guise of seeking sincere dialogue.
Some of these families believe the war is wrong, too.
They just choose to deal with their feelings in a way that doesn't cheapen the memory of their loved ones or turn a grave matter into a media circus standoff that generates more heat than light.
P-I columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr. can be reached at 206-448-8125 or