A reader wrote in yesterday wondering if we were going to post on Cindy Sheehan. I agree with him that this is an “incredibly rich topic,” so thought I would share a few thoughts.
As least as far back as the Greeks, people noted the particular sadness of the death of a child. In the Fifth Century before the Common Era, the historian Herodotus wrote, “In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.” I cannot imagine the grief that Ms. Sheehan and thousands of other parents have experienced at the loss of their son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan. Just as many parents grieved on September 11, 2001, when their children’s lives were cut short. While some of those parents oppose the war, many continue to support the president even after the loss of their child.
Most of the parents bear their grief in private. Ms. Sheehan has made a public spectacle of herself. As EMT 907 noted last week on his blog, she changed her story about her meeting with the president. Even though she did not support the president’s policies in Iraq, she initially described her meeting with the president in positive terms. Right after the meeting, she said, I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis . . . . I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he’s a man of faith.” But, last week (more than a year after the meeting), she claimed on CNN that Mr. Bush treated the meeting “like a party.”
She now thinks that if it were not for the Internet, “we would already be a fascist state.” I can’t think of a single fascist state which allows its citizens to protest so vociferously so close to the chief executive’s summer retreat while that very state does not prevent the media from reporting such protests.
I highly doubt that the MSM would give this much attention to a woman who had lost her son in the war and then spoke out publicly in defense of the president, saying that he should not let setbacks in the war discourage him and must fight on until victory so that her son would not have died in vain. Now, as far as I know, there is no such woman leading such rallies, but many parents who have lost children in Iraq continue to support the president. While she certainly represents one perspective, Cindy Sheehan does not speak for all parents who have lost children in Iraq.
Indeed, she doesn’t even speak for her entire family. Relatives of her husband (from whom she is separated) “issued public statements attacking Ms. Sheehan for her protest.” (Those statements have not nearly drawn the attention that Ms. Sheehan’s antics have.)
Moreover, she, like many critics of the president, remains blind to the reality of our mission in Iraq. In this rambling letter, she misstates the reasons for the “invasion of Iraq.” The president did not say (as she claims) that Saddam was an “imminent threat to America” nor that he could have “WMD’s on our shores within 45 minutes.”
We were told that we were attacked on 9/11 because the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy…not for the real reason, because the Arab-Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy. That hasn’t changed since America invaded and occupied Iraq…in fact it has gotten worse.
That’s right. Despite the closing of Saddam’s torture chambers, the end of his random executions, the free election of Iraqi government, Ms. Sheehan thinks things in Iraq are worse now than they were under Saddam. Over at GOP Vixen, Bridget offers some images (WARNING–they’re gruesome) of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq–which Cindy Sheehan believes to have been a better place than Iraq since the U.S. liberation.
My heart goes out to Ms. Sheehan and the other parents who have lost children in this noble cause. I cannot begin to understand the grief she–and her family–must have suffered–and still be suffering. But, her grief should not cause us to forget the “million Iraqi mothers” who no longer “expect death to knock on their doors at any second to claim someone from their families.”
At Iraq the Model, Mohammed writes a touching letter to Cindy Sheehan about the meaning of the U.S. liberation of his nation. (Hat tip Best of the Web.) He writes of mothers who searched mass graves and prison cells for evidence of their children, murdered by the henchmen of a tyrant whom now sits in U.S. custody awaiting trial. Some of his victims just “disappeared from earth.”
I cannot measure, cannot even imagine what these mothers have suffered. Throughout history, countless parents have suffered when their sons and daughters died in wars both just and unjust. At least we know that Casey Sheehan died fighting a just war and his sacrifice, along with that of other brave Americans–and troops from other coalition lands–will mean that the people of Iraq will be free and they–and millions of others in the Middle East–will turn to the U.S. and our allies for inspiration, for hope and vision of a better future.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: Lorie Byrd has two short posts on this topic, one linking Arthur Chrenkoff’s post on the grieving parents who support President Bush. And this one. Linking to the Chrenkoff’s post, Ace of Spades notes that there is “No MSM coverage for those who believe their sons and daughters died for a noble cause.”