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News :: Human Rights
Mother of GI killed in Iraq confronts Bush
10 Aug 2005
George W. Bush thought he could escape the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq by hiding out on his 1,600-acre Crawford, Texas, ranch for a five-week vacation. But the horrors of the war have followed him to his vacation hideaway.
CindySheehan2.jpg
Mother of GI killed in Iraq confronts Bush

By Dustin Langley

George W. Bush thought he could escape the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq by hiding out on his 1,600-acre Crawford, Texas, ranch for a five-week vacation. But the horrors of the war have followed him to his vacation hideaway.

Cindy Sheehan--whose 24-year old son, Spc. Casey Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., was killed in Baghdad's Sadr City on April 4, 2004--is determined to confront Bush.

On Aug. 6, Sheehan rode to Crawford on a bus organized by Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Once they reached Crawford, she began walking toward the ranch. She was accompanied by veterans, local activists, Gold Star mothers and others who had driven in from across the country.

Eventually, they were stopped by local police and the Secret Service. As of Aug. 9, the protesters are camped out by the road leading to the ranch. Activists from all over Texas and the United States have joined the crowd at what they call Camp Casey, named after Sheehan's son, to demand an answer from Bush.

One active-duty soldier from Ft. Hood stopped by on Aug. 7 to express his support for Sheehan and her efforts. Gold Star Mothers for Peace announced that families from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arkansas and other states whose loved ones have died as a result of the war were planning to join Sheehan in Crawford.

Peace organizers with Arlington West are planning to join them and erect their display of crosses, one for each U.S. soldier killed in Iraq.

Dennis Kyne, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Army who was a medic during the first Gulf War, joined the Aug. 6 protest. He said: "Why won't the president--the Commander-in-Chief--meet with the mother of a fallen soldier? What is it that he is afraid of?"

In a move to silence Sheehan, the Secret Service informed her on Aug. 8 that she had until Aug. 11 to leave or she would be arrested as a "threat to national security." Sheehan has said she intends to stay, even if that means getting arrested.

Bush's inhumanity exposed

Sheehan has met with Bush once before, shortly after her son's death, when she was invited to a brief visit at the White House in June 2004. She says that Bush behaved as if he were at a party, walking into the room asking in a loud, bluff voice, "Who we'all honorin' today?"

She recalled: "His mouth kept moving but there was nothing in his eyes or anything else about him that showed me he really cared or had any real compassion at all. This is a human being totally disconnected from humanity and reality. His eyes were empty, hollow shells."

She remembers that Bush called her "Ma" or "Mom" throughout the whole meeting, never got around to learning her name and didn't know the name of her son. "He wouldn't look at the pictures of Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name. Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject."

Shortly after this meeting, she co-founded Gold Star Mothers for Peace, and began speaking out against the war. She says she has found from her travels that "people are fed up with this war and want to do something to stop it."

In June, Cindy Sheehan testified at a hearing in Washington, D.C., about the Downing Street memos. These are the recently leaked British intelligence documents that exposed the fact that Bush intended to invade Iraq almost from the beginning of his first term, and that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of invasion.

Busloads and carloads of activists are currently heading toward Crawford to support Sheehan. Organizers are asking individuals to call or email the White House (comments (at) whitehouse.gov 202-456-1111) and demand that Bush meet with Sheehan. They are also asking activists in the region to come to Crawford to stand in solidarity. Daily updates are available at www.meetwithcindy.org.

Sheehan commented: "And the other thing I want him to tell me is: 'Just what was the noble cause Casey died for? Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We're not freer here, thanks to your Patriot Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism!'

"There, I used the 'I' word - imperialism," Sheehan said. "And now I'm going to use another 'I' word - impeachment - because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail." (Counterpunch)

Polls show that most people want the troops home now. It is up to activists everywhere to make sure this sentiment is reflected en masse on Sept. 24 at the anti-war protest in Washington, D.C.

-- 30 --

Labor donated.
See also:
http://www.meetwithcindy.org
http://www.nodraftnoway.org

This work is in the public domain
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