Sunday, August 14, 2005

The passion of Cindy Sheehan 

The only thing exceptional about Cindy Sheehan is how exceptional she is. I've been following the Iraq-related news coverage for quite some time now, and - not surprisingly - in an overwhelming majority of cases the parents and families of the servicemen and women who died in Iraq (and Afghanistan) choose to grieve in private. Of those who make any sort of political comments, most are proud of their son's or daughter's service and the enterprise they were part of.

This is not to say that Cindy Sheehan is unique (take this, for instance, from two days ago: "Fernando Suarez del Solar, father of US soldier Jesus Alberto Suarez del Solar, will accuse the US administration of the death of his son in Iraq at the Anti-imperialist Tribunal of the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students in Caracas."), but she's only newsworthy because she's so rare - the same reason that a few days ago "The Washington Post" chose to run an extensive profile of just one of the thousands of servicemen wounded in Iraq, who happened to be an outspoken opponent of the war and of President Bush.

As Bush himself said about Sheehan this week, "She feels strongly about her position, and she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America." But so do, of course, those who disagree with her.

The left loves it - here's a grieving mother poking President's eye with her finger, providing a propaganda boon for the anti-war (or the anti-liberation) crowd, and if you dare to criticize her, you look like a heartless monster. Thus Cindy Sheehan has become a willing human shield for the angry left.

And so Arianna huffs that "It Takes a Village to Smear Cindy Sheehan" and that "the right wing attacks on Cindy Sheehan -- desperate, pathetic, and grasping at straws -- expose much less about their target than about the attackers." She slams right wing pundits for slamming some of Sheehan's positions and associations, but without actually bothering to address such specific criticisms.

But Sheehan's grief (which no one denies her), nor her opposition to war (which, as Bush notes, she's entitled to), don't somehow nullify her cranky beliefs that George Bush stole not just the 2000 election but also the 2004 one, nor her promotion of the anti-Semitic cannard that the American boys are dying in Iraq because the treasonous neo-cons want to make the world safe for Israel.

Some less hysterical among Sheehan's supporters argue that "President must make time for grieving mother" and that "If Bush has time to go to fund-raisers, he has time for Cindy Sheehan." Is that based on a some new-found principle that the President is obliged to personally meet everyone who's life has been negatively affected by any one of his policies (war in Iraq? tax cuts? stem cells?)? As the editorialist acknowledges, "The White House says Bush has met with 900 relatives of the war dead, including talking with Sheehan at Ft. Lewis last year", only to contradict self in the next sentence: "But most of his gatherings with Americans are scripted to include only faithful supporters." You can't have it both ways - Sheehan is not Bush's "faithful supporter", and she has already met the President and had a chance to tell him what she thinks (particularly since the left maintains that Sheehan has been grossly misquoted by Drudge et al in an attempt to prove that she changed her story since then).

The last word in this sorry saga should go to Mohammed at Iraq the Model: "Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause... No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom."


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