Heather Michon

Heather Michon
June 25
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AUGUST 21, 2009 10:21AM

Cindy Sheehan Isn't Important Anymore

Rate: 27 Flag

SheehanPointing out that "body bags aren't taking a vaction," anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan announced that she would be traveling to Martha's Vineyard to protest during the President's week-long getaway there next week.

The response from most of the media? Cue the crickets.

Well, with a couple of exceptions.

ABC's Charlie Gibson told Chicago's WLS radio the other day that "you have to be sympathetic to her. Anybody who has given a son to this country has made an enormous sacrifice, and you have to be sympathetic. But enough already."

And this morning on CNN, contributor John Avlon named her his left-wing "Wingnut of the Week." (Tom Delay got the right-wing honors.)

A former speechwriter for Rudy Giuliani who now holds himself up as a centerist, Avalon said: "Maybe she should spend a little more time protesting the Taliban. I mean, especially after this election, get a clue and sense of perspective."

Nothing better proves the inherent shallowness of modern commercial media than "enough already."

ABC and CNN couldn't wait to put her on the air when she opened "Camp Casey" on the road leading to George W. Bush's Texas ranch in the summer of 2005. For three years, she was the grief-stricken face of the anti-war movement. Her quixotic attempts to hold Bush accountable for his actions in manipulating the country into war in Iraq and Afghanistan were held up as the noble work of a mother on behalf of her dead son.

Of course, that was back when the dominant narrative was "Bush Lied, People Died."  With the election of Barack Obama, people have moved on to hope and change and the inherent misery of being an American in 2009. 

From an anti-war movement perspective, not much has changed. We're by no means out of the woods in Iraq. We're escalating in Afghanistan. One of his first acts as President was to order a increase of 17,000 troops into Afghanistan, even though many security experts doubt an increase in troops will lead to anything other than an increase in casualties.

On a good day, Iraqis and Afghans die by the dozen. On a bad day, they die by multiples of dozens. We literally can't count how many civilians have been killed in those countries over the last 8 years.

We can count our own dead and wounded. According to Defense Department returns, as of yesterday at 10 am, 5,118 soliders have died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Another 18,968 have been "WIA not RTD" -- Wounded in Action, Not Returned to Duty.

Even those raw numbers don't capture the toll of war. They don't show the suicides, attemped and successful. They don't show the marriages and families torn apart. They don't show those WIA who will spend the remainder of their lives coping with the affects of lost limbs and traumatic brain injuries.   

"No good social or economic change will come about with the continuation or escalation of wars in Iraq, Afganistan or Pakistan," Sheehan said in announcing her summer travel plans.

And this is supposed to be "wingnut" talk?

According to a poll released last week, 51% of Americans now oppose our continued presence in Afganistan. Only 32% of those questioned supported the Obama policy. 

I haven't always agreed with Sheehan's rhetoric or her tactics, but always worth our while to consider how we use our military power. The more we tune out, the more we become passive actors in our own national story.

At the VFW convention in Phoenix last week, Obama told the audience that Afghanistan is "not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity." Both those points are arguable. We should be willing to have the argument.

And Cindy, if you haven't already, get yourself some fleece socks. Nights up on the islands get mighty chilly this time of year.


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Good post. Well done.

I apologize for sullying your blog with this, but allow me a sincere, heartfelt note to Charlie Gibson:

"Enough already"?!? F*CK YOU!!!
@LeedsJr - no apologies necessary. I agree wholeheartedly.
Updated to include John Avlon's direct quote: "Maybe she should spend a little more time protesting the Taliban. I mean, especially after this election, get a clue and sense of perspective." CNN just put the morning transcripts up, and I was too bleary-eyed to take notes at 6:30 in the morning.
It's amazing to me that dipshit chickenhawks like Rush, Hannity, and O'Reilly get paid millions to spew their hate and lies and garbage into living rooms on a daily basis, while someone who has truly suffered and has some perspective gets thrown off to the side by the supposed major media outlets. Truly sad. Nice post.
Haven't you heard? all soldiers are supposed to get a hero's welcome these days. It has become the noblest of professions, not some nasty duty for conscripted civilians. With military and military related expenses taking 54% of the federal budget almost every citizen benefits directly or indirectly. And remember what Mao Tze-Tung said: "political power comes from the barrel of a gun" And yes, we must open up this barbaric career choice to the women as well.
I vote this an EP. The inherent double-standard of the media is transparent. When she was protesting Bush policies, they devoted an entire year to Cindy Sheehan. Now that she is protesting Obama policies, they can't get her off the stage quick enough. Media bias?
@Sactogator - The dichotomy between lines of though are just appalling. Losing your child is the ultimate sacrifice for your country....but do you have to go ON about it? The whole CNN "wingnut" thing was followed by a story about a soldier and his wife who almost divorced because of his long deployments -- like the two stories have no connection....?

@Noah -- Yup. I'm firmly in the "honor the troops by bringing them home" camp. The amount of $ that goes to our military adventures is just throwing it down the hole at a time when we could really use it here. My feeling is we need to get beyond the Cold War mentality of buying ourselves into supremacy.

@Deborah -- from your keyboard to the Editor's eyes! I can't decide if the mainstream media is bias or just lazy...probably a bit of both.
Where are all of her leftist anti-war friends now?
They pretty much dropped her like a hot rock.

@Deborah........same goes for the homeless stories. How many stories are we hearing about the urban outdoorsmen now?
I closely follow the activities and the writing of Cindy Sheehan (Her book "Myth America"). The woman is unremitting, a true patriot.

Both the Left and the Right are attempting to marginalize her because she brings truth to the table.

She has dangerous enemies. I really hope she doesn't suffer an unfortunate boating accident.
Ditto what Leeds Jr. said.

This woman is a true patriot. I am grateful to her ever diligence.
Cindy Sheehan is an American patriot and I fully support her actions.
Tweet from CNN just a little while ago: We're getting word of the oldest solider to be killed in Afghanistan. 59-year-old 1st Sgt. Jose Crisostomo died in IED blast Tuesday.
It just goes to prove there is such a thing as Bush Derangement Syndrome. Cindy doesn't have it. I think she really believes what she is saying. She doesn't change her message as often as some here change their underwear.

Do we now have proof that most, not all, liberals are FOS?
"And this morning on CNN, contributor John Avlon named her his left-wing "Wingnut of the Week." "

Between Lou Dobbs and this a-hole, CNN is sliding down toward that Faux News region of media. Calling an American citizen who lost a son in service is just disgusting. It's something slimy Fox Snooze would do.

Shame on them and shame on people for not letting her be heard without such vitriol.

Song For Cindy Sheehan
© David Rovics 2005
All Rights ReservedAuthor: david rovics

Casey was a good boy
He treated people well
And his momma loved him
Anyone could tell
She'd send him off to school
Pack his lunch with care
When he came back home she hugged him
With her fingers in his hair
Cindy, she loved Casey
And when all is said and done
She is every mother
And he was every mother's son

When Casey was a little older
He spent his time each week
In that church in Vacaville
In the service of the meek
In the service of his city
In the service of the lord
With his momma in the pews
All the time they could afford
And if their love alone could save us
Then the world would be one
She is every mother
And he was every mother's son

People thought the priesthood
Was where he'd someday be
So some folks were surprised
When he joined the army
The recruiter told him
He wouldn't have to fight
Cindy hoped this was the case
And prayed for him every night
That was before they sent him
To the desert with a gun
She is every mother
And he was every mother's son

His truck had no armor
And when it came under fire
It and half the soldiers in it
Became a funeral pyre
Cindy, she was sleeping
The moment Casey died
And she knew she'd never see him
Standing by her side
There was no consolation
No safe place she could run
She is every mother
And he was every mother's son

The president, he told her
He died for a noble cause
But Cindy's wondering
Exactly what that was
Since they never found the weapons
And now that Casey's gone
It seems that oil is the game
And Casey was the pawn
Cindy's got some questions
And so does everyone
Because she is every mother
And he was every mother's son

free download here:

Fine post. As a veteran I once viewed Mrs. Sheehan with derision. Then my son went to Iraq. Long days and nights of prayer and worry. Then my wife went to Iraq. A very bad year. 'Twas then that I understood how foolish and shallow I had been to let years of service and false patriotism injure my thoughts. Upon his return I bought my son a bag of marijuana to smoke so that he would get discharged...My wife goes back in January 2010.
Amen to the many words of wisdom posted here. And another amen to the beautiful and all-too-true "Song for Cindy Sheehan."
Right on, Heather. Cindy is a true hero. She is pushing for our country to stand up to its so-called ideals. She, like me, is pushing Obama to fulfill his campaign 'promises.' Rutilus, good on you for getting your son out of the quagmire. When I read today that Obama would be playing lots of golf during his downtime, I felt very critical. No! Get us out of these wars! Spend time with your girls, yes, but PLEASE give us 4 years of hard work like we expect - not Bushy golf games while people die. Keep on, Cindy and Heather!
Sheehan's right in that Iraq is STILL a problem. As is Afghanistan.
I agree 100% - Cindy is a true patriot who has for years been vilified by media cowards who substitute formulaic cliches for authentic journalism.

Journalism's "muddled middle" mentality deserves criticism for the way they have treated her. Their misguided sense of "fairness" and "balance" and "objectivity" means they must castigate someone on the left every time they report of the very real misdeeds of someone on the right and Cindy is one of their favorite go-to "villains."
I liked your post Heather. I think it probably should have been titled "Why Should People(still)care about what Cindy Sheehan and others are saying about these wars" -too long, I know. But my point is this Americans but shake themselves from the Obamalade hang over and recognize that you can't suddenly make two illegitimate wars/occupations(both wars of aggression and therefore war crimes) legitimate just because you've switched the face of the Empire through an election. These wars/occupations are immoral and illegitimate and they need to be ended. And everybody who comes to terms with this should be in the streets.
I wonder how her son would feel? In the day of VOLUNTARY service, he bellied up and came on board of his own volition. He knew all of the risks and benefits. While I applaude her right to say HER piece -I daresay he is turning over in his grave. Whatever her political leaning - I think her anti-war antics have been totally disrespectful to her son and his dedication to military service. Deep down, I think he would be proud that he defended the right of free speech -- just not his mother's. I personally can't stand the woman.
Comment to CNN:

Of course mainstream media and "centrist" hacks of either corporate funded political party consider Cindy a wingnut. She calls accurately recognizes them as either war criminals or accomplices. Our "leaders" in Washington and on the TeeVee dutifully do the bidding of their corporate masters, resulting in "wars on terror" and American militarism all over the world and a shredded Constitution at home, all glossed over in pretty sound bite friendly packaging and celebrated as patriotism by fearful and ignorant Americans. The hatefulness and hypocrisy of this country are on full display right now as so many "Christians" treat peacemakers like Cindy with scorn and angrily deny that we are our brothers' keepers in the healthcare "debate".

Calling Cindy a wingnut is of course meaningless and would be unworthy of comment except that it attests to the incredibly sad and deep sickness that now cripples my beloved America that - thanks to companies like CNN - considers war to be normal. How many thousands of people around the world like Cindy have buried children and other loved ones thanks to the crimes committed by the thieves, racists and liars who really run this country and the cowards in the media who let them get away with it?

Cindy loves this country enough to truly honor our soldiers and fight for peace, and CNN laughs at her. See you in church, you damn hypocrites.
The reason she faded into the background is she did not really add anything to the argument and was just a pawn of those who would use her. She lost a child to war, thousands did and do each year so that does not make her unique.

As for "giving" her son, I would respectfully disagree. Yes, she lost her son, but she did not give him. She did not support his beliefs or his convictions to join the army. Her son gave his life as a free thinking adult who chose to join the army. He gave his own life, Cindy had nothing to do with it.

She has every right to grieve and to protest and to voice her opinion, but in the end she had nothing to say.
@AspergersMom -- I can respect your opinion, and as I said, I haven't been foursquare behind every bit of of her rhetoric over the years myself, but you do bring up a couple of pet peeves of mine:

1) We didn't know Casey Sheehan personally, so we can't know if he would have been proud, appalled, or completely indifferent to his mother's anti-war stance. To use our personal interpretation of how a soldier might be feeling about his mother's moral and ethical opinions from the Great Beyond is useful only to praise or condemn her, and we don't have the right to do that. It propagandizes -- and thus dehumanizes -- a man who is no longer here to issue his own statements.

2) Anti-war does not mean anti-solider. The War and The Solider are two different things. Wars can be good or bad, moral or immoral. Individual soliders can be good or bad, moral or immoral. The fact that one might think War is wrong does not, in any way, diminish the work of the Soldier, doing his or her duty as they have sworn to do.

And what better way to honor the troops then to work to get them out of harm's way?
Rated. I don't agree with Sheehan on most points, but I can absolutely respect not. backing. down. As you've said, this doesn't seem to be about politics for her. It seems to be about principles she won't simply chuck because they're inconvenient or unpopular. Good for her.
Four years ago in September of 2005 I was part of a group of about 15 citizens from Indiana who met with our Senator Richard Lugar at his Washington office about ending the Iraq War and occupation. I had invited Cindy to join us and she joined our meeting in progress. We had an exceptionally well informed group who were telling our Senator and the then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Cindy just sat in the back of the cramped conference room while we kept giving Lugar the reasons to end the occupation immediately.
When I got a chance to speak I said "Senator this is Cindy Sheehan who lost her son in Iraq and has been kind enough to join our meeting."
Cindy in a very quiet voice said "I didn't lose him." and then paused. Usually I am not at a loss for words, but I didn't know if I should say something or what.
After a long pause Cindy continued "George Bush murdered him." She then briefly explained to our senator that lying to start an illegal, immoral war constituted murder for all those that died as a result. She then told our senator that we were doing a great job telling him exactly what he needed to hear and let us continue our meeting with him.
I have had the opportunity to meet and hear Cindy speak several times and believe her to be the consience of America. She tells us what we always don't want to, but need to hear.
When she first went to Crawford Texas, the Democratic Party sent aides there to mold her and script her comments to the Party Platform. For a few days, confused her message was somewhat tempered. Her mother took ill and Cindy returned to California to be at her bedside. She then wrote a letter about how she had allowed these Democratic Party operatives to "take words out of my mouth", but she would no longer allow it. She has been 100% her own woman ever since.
Ya gotta be against war;
ya can't be against war.

WHAT? It is not war; rather it is
what Ike warned us about - the MILITARY
Industrial Complex. The simplest part
of the complex is that you cannot
know if the factory up the road
is living off of defense contracts.

If yer local factories ARE livin' that way,
then you stop the wars, and you stop
your local economy or someone
else's local economy.

I like the president and think he would tilt
at the windmill that IS the MILITARY Industrial
Complex, but maybe they got to him, and he made
a deal wtih the DEVIL. "You can get you domestic
agenda done; just let us keep things going
in Afghanistan." IRAQ?

Violence is urban there like in the U.S.
Per capita killings are statistically greater
in U.S. cities than in Iraq. Last year this
time the Iraqi government had rejected
a status of forces agreement. It was
not reported in U.S. media.

the Bush regime negotiated a status of forces
agreement at the last minute less than 40 days
before leaving office. U.S. media reported most
casually not saying that the U.S presence in
IRAQ would have been illigal had the last minute
deal not been accomplished. The pull back from
cities under Obama was prescibed in the status
of forces agreement. I mean if Iraq turns
ugly all over again that's just what
the generals are saying
because that's what they are hoping for.

Afghanistan? Status of Forces Agreement
is not necessary. U.S. military is running
the show, and that is exactly what it is.

It is all so complex and complicated; only
the generals know all the ins and outs.

if war is profitable, I as an American do not
need that kind of profit. There's the really
simple part. I need 60% of all Americans
to agree with me, and this should be
Cindy's angle too

Enough already, indeed. Enough war for profit.
Afghanistan OR Iraq; doesn't matter, all the money
and man power poured in has not made anyone
anywhere safer. PERIOD
AsbergerMom: Pay attention. Cindy's ongoing courage in the face of the calumny of bloodthirsty chicken hawks does her son, this country and the world proud. If there were 100 more Cindy's with her moral stature in this nation we could turn things around. Who else will step forward?
God bless the peacemakers
missiles that is
Ever since disheartened conscripts of the State
were mythically spat upon by those who would end the God of War
and lost the battle,
We have vowed never again
To question
the nobility of the mercenaries and their profession
who kill in foreign countries
to defend our way of death
and to protect Our right to speak anything
except to speak against them
Really great post here. Thank you. Rated. Will tweet and facebook. ;)