Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pro patria mori

A father who lost a son in Iraq takes a dim view of Cindy Sheehan's protest.


Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

That column reminds me of a saying: Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

11:42 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Very clever blog name, by the way. I'll be anxiously awaiting your first post.

11:43 AM

Blogger Ol' Froth said...

I feel badly for the losses suffered by Ms Sheehan and Mr. Griffin. However, turning the deaths of soldiers and the reactions of their families into a he said/she said seems a bit silly.

4:26 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I think the point is that Ms. Sheehan has no more claim on the president's time than any other Gold Star parent, and a lot of them feel much differently than she does. As much as I hate this war and don't like this president, Casey Sheehan volunteered to serve his country, and he assumed all the risks that entailed.

5:51 PM

Blogger Ol' Froth said...

I don't necessarily disagree that the president can't drop everything just because someone shows up at his door, yet Lincoln spent hours greeting people at the whitehouse when he was president.

Had Bush invited Sheehan in for a lemonade when she first showed up, before this became an event, would we be where we are right now?

5:32 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I agree to a certain extent Bush does have himself to blame for some of this because he has never appeared to take seriously the sacrifices he has asked the military to endure. (Of course, I say that as someone who is not in the military. I would never presume to speak for a soldier.) And perhaps he could have defused this from the start. On the other hand, I suspect that there isn't much he can do to satisfy Cindy Sheehan.

9:47 AM

Blogger Maria said...

In one sense, no, nothing will satisfy Cindy Sheehan because no one can bring back her baby. And, yes, he is her baby -- even at 26 -- just the same as when my grandmother insists on watching me walk down the sidewalk from her home after dusk until she can't see me anymore even when I remind her that I lived in NYC for 15 years and for five of those years had a job where I routinely left work around 2 or 3 in the morning.

And, of course she does not speak for all members of all Gold Star Familles -- I'm not aware that she claimed that she did.

Does she have any more right to the President's time than any other Gold Star Family member? No, of course not.

So why so much focus on her in the press? Is it because MoveOn is now backing her? ...because she's being fed lines by the "Lefty" groups?

I would suggest it's the exact opposite of that. MoveOn didn't send her down there...nor did Michael Moore. Her pain as the parent who lost her baby sent her there. The fact that she thought the war was wrong from the start, that she tried everything that she could do to prevent her baby from being killed in a war which she believed was so much bullshit from the start, does not lessen her grief. She knew it was wrong from the start, and yet, she still could not prevent her onw child from being caught up in it -- she could not save him from it.

And saying that she is somehow cheapening her son's service is just repeating the lie of the Right that you cannot support the troops and be against this war.

She has done something which MoveOn could not do. She did not create a crafty meme or slogan -- she told a story. A story which captured the attention of the American public that all the bumper stickers and T-shirts could not:

I am a mother. I bore a son. He died in this war. This war which many now believe was a mistake from the start. I want an answer as to why he died in this war which was based on lies. A war which makes us less safe -- not more. I will take my little lawn chair and sit in the hot Texas sun until I get an answer. I will sit in my lawn chair and wait until the President (arguably the most important man in the world) tells my why my boy (the most important man in the world to me) had to die in this war.

It's a very simple story that rings true to many. It's the story that the Bush Administration has the most to fear from. It is not talking heads, it is not Downing Street Memos that few have read. It is the coffins coming home that the Bush Administration has shielded the press -- and by extension -- the American public from seeing.

It's a story that can survive and surpass the circus that has built up around it.

5:00 PM

Blogger Maria said...

I need to add one more thought:

You're acting as though the "other side" has had no say in any of this. As though the President has not met with Gold Star family members who approve of the war. As if anchors on Fox do not wear American flag pins to signify their approval of this Administration and its actions; as if Support Our Troops yellow ribbon magnets and decals have not only become ubiquitous, but synonymous in the media with support for the war in Iraq; as if Bush didn't use the troops as so many props during the election; as if there have not been families featured on local and network news who approve of their children serving in Iraq; as if the mainstream media actually really asked hard questions before we entered this war. You're acting as if Bush didn't ask everyone to show their support for the troops (BUT REALLY HIS WAR) by flying their flag on the Fourth of July -- as if we needed his direction and approval to fly it.

Yet, one middle-aged woman sends so many into such a tizzy.

That's the power of Cindy Sheehan's story.

5:35 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I think a lot of people are investing more authority in her opinion than they would other anti-war protestors because she lost a son in the war, and I don't agree with that. This war has cost her something immeasurable, but the war is made neither wrong nor right as a result of her loss.

5:54 PM

Blogger Maria said...

Would that be more right or wrong than the authority that they gave to George Bush, Condelizza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney who lied their asses off?

Maybe it's time to listen to Mom.

6:24 PM

Blogger Maria said...

Public opinion was already going against the war before Cindy Sheehan became news to the public in general. She has a compelling story. The media and the public like compelling stories. Her story is easy to comprehend. They public already is waking up to the fact that they were lied to -- but, no, the majority of them are not going to go read the Downing St. Memos.

So what?

What she's saying makes plain simple sense to them. Does it have to be a Cronkite? (As LBJ famously said, "If I lost Cronkite, I've lost the war.")

Why does it matter to so much that it's a grieving mom that's waking up the public rather than someone else?

6:33 PM

Blogger Maria said...

To put it more clearly:

The public is paying attention to Cindy Sheehan because the public is now ready for her story.

Do you really think she would have blown up in the press like this if she was doing it in August of 2003???

The public no longer wants Bush serving a plastic turkey to the troops -- they are already turned or turning against that.

They now WANT to rally behind a grieving mother.

And you want to quibble over that?

Would it have been better to have more people using their analytical processes better before the war started? Damn straight! But we couldn't even get the FOURTH ESTATE to do that.

Such a small percentage of the public evben pays any attention to politics -- even on life and death matters.

But they are now. They know something is wrong.

We were not greeted with candy and flowers, there were no weapons of mass destruction, the mission was not accomplished, the war grows ever bloodier...

You can't fool all of the people all of the time.

They are ready for Cindy now.

6:52 PM

Blogger Maria said...

"MoveOn definitely created and guided Cindy Sheehan. How do I know this? BECAUSE OF ALL THE FREAKIN' EMAILS THEY'VE SENT ME AND MY STAFFERS OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS."

Sheehan has been publicly criticizing Bush for OVER ONE YEAR -- did MoveOn retroactively "create" her? She seems to have been quite capable of speaking without them:

June 24, 2004
In a June 24, 2004, interview with the Vacaville Reporter published soon after the meeting, she expressed concerns about the president's justifications for war, as well as the way the war had been handled.

October 7, 2004
Cindy Sheehan Is Working To Bring Our Troops Home: "Mr. President. You have daughters. How would you feel if one of them was killed?"

November 4, 2004
An Open Letter to George W. Bush

"While you're at it, blame the Jews!"

Yes, because of course you cannot criticize the policies of the state of Israel without being an anti-Semite, just as you cannot criticize the policies of the United States without being anti-American.

6:50 AM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

Maybe it's time to listen to Mom.

NO, it is't.

Not when "Mom" is liar. The fact is Sheehan has meet with the President. So this whole media feeding frenzy is built on a obvious lie.

Not when the rest of the family think that Mom is disgracing her son's memory.

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect." (

Not when hyping of this witch in a ditch is a creation of the MSM. Anybody remember James H. Smith? Clue: His son died in Somolia under Clinton. Smith refused to shake Clinton's hand at the White House, and even ripped Clinton a verbal "new one". Was there a month of media coverage about that? Did they reenact that in the Blackhawk Down movie?

Hey, FN, look, no blog.

4:44 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Thank you very much. Very interesting that you would know about that...

9:38 PM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

If FN sayes "cracking" another dozen more times I will think he is channelling Wallace of Wallace&Grommit.

12:35 AM

Blogger Maria said...

But when she mentions a "PNAC Neo-Con agenda," she is speaking in very loaded phrases. She is saying -- and I think you know this -- that a group of Jewish men and women at State, DoD and the WH are pushing the U.S. to invade and occupy Iraq to serve their true masters, Israel.

I think I know that you pushing the Right's talking points now: That mentioning the Project for a New American Century/Neo-Con's is somehow equivalent to mentioning the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in terms of defaming Jews and that's BULL.

Go to PNAC's Statement of Principles Page and look at the signers. Are there Jews there? Yes. But I don't believe that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, and Dan Quayle are Jews. Yet they are Neo-Cons and they are signers on that page.

Is Paul Wolfowitz often mentioned as a Neo-Con: yes -- because he is one! And because he helped shaped Bush Administration policy with other PNAC members like Cheney and Rumsfeld that campaigned for war with Iraq. And, because he drafted, with Lewis Libby, the "defense policy guidance" report that was an early blueprint for the Bush's preemptive defense and interventionist foreign policies.

What PNAC and Neo-Cons believe in is one thing: EMPIRE. If Israel happens to fit into their big plans somehow, it doesn't make those opposed to their plans anti-Semitic. It doesn't mean that anyone who mentions PNAC is somehow using "code words" signifying anti-Semitism.

Man, you sure love guilt by association. Buchanan mentions PNAC so EVERYONE who mentions PNAC hates Jews. Michael Moore champions Sheehan so we now need to blame her for anything Moore has ever said or done.

I hear Buchanan says he loves this country so I'll just assume that if you love the US you are a follower of his, OK?

1:57 PM

Blogger Maria said...

"Your point is that, well, some of Bush's friends aren't Jews."

Who's being "intentionally obtuse"? My point is that numerous members of PNAC/Neo-cons are not Jews. Yet if someone on the Left says "PNAC" they get pounced on for being an anti-Semite. Jerry Bowyer did that to me before the war started.

There used to be a call-in show on current events on WPXI or maybe PCNC after the 6:00 PM news. It was usually hosted by anchor David Johnson, but on this day it was hosted by Bob Bruce. Bowyer was a guest. The topic was the, then, upcoming war in Iraq. I spoke about Bush's dangerous and illegal preemptive war policy. At the end of my call I mentioned PNAC, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz. I did not mention or allude to "Israel" or "Jews."

When my call ended, Bruce turned to Bowyer and asked what is PNAC? Bowyer said, "It's something that people who are anti-Semitic bring up."

"I apologize ahead of time for Lieberman's religion, Marie. We know that's REALLY why he's such a strong supporter of an aggressive American counter-terrorism policy."

Don't know who "MariE" is -- or who you are for that matter -- you aren't Bowyer, are you? Because your "apology" smacks of his debate "style" as in now I'm an anti-Semite.

Gee, is everyone who agrees with "aggressive American counter-terrorism policy" anti-Semite?

And, would that be the same "aggressive American counter-terrorism policy" that called for us to let the job of capturing bin Laden in Tora Bora to the War Lords who bin Laden paid off?

Would that be the same "aggressive American counter-terrorism policy" that had us pull out many of our troops in Afghanistan to put them into Iraq -- ensuring that the Taliban would resurface there?

Would that be the same "aggressive American counter-terrorism policy" that by going into Iraq created, according to the CIA, a "training ground for terrorists"?

Would that be the same "aggressive American counter-terrorism policy" that is right now creating a de facto Islamic theocracy in Iraq?

4:56 PM

Blogger Maria said...

"I don't think you're anti-semitic. I think you're likely somewhat young and you haven't been exposed to the language or context of Sheehan's words."
"Pick up a copy of Ha'aretz sometime. Or the NY Times. Or Dissent."

I think you're definitely completely dismissive and condescending to those who disagree with you.

"You are surprised that when people hear you using similar language, they jump to a conclusion. Well, Maria, there's a reason they do that, and it's not to simply shut you up."

I didn't say that code words do not exist, but when the mere mention of a group counts as using "similar language" you are doing what the Bush Administration does (very well) and shutting down conversation before it begins.

PNAC is not a shadowy cabal -- their website and mission statements are there for anyone to view. Their prominent adherents include the current vice president, an ex VP, the Sec. of Defense and any number of men who have run for the office of presidents (all of who are Christians). To use them in an argument about why we invaded Iraq as I did before the war began when we were fed any number of lies (WMD's nuclear programs) to try to explain to people that the planned invasion was far from being in the meme of "everything changed after 9/11" because this group has advocated invading Iraq since it's inception is completely valid.

"If you believe the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan or Iraq for oil, or empire, under a pre-text of national security stemming from 9/11, then you're just wrong."

I have not argued against our going to war with Afghanistan, I have argued that we screwed up the war in Afghanistan to go into Iraq -- a country which posed no threat to us.

You're just wrong on your views on Iraq -- there, that apparently settles that.

7:36 AM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

Hey, FN, don't you get the feeling that your party has left you? Just look at how few national Democrats you can site that support the war in a staight forward honest manner. BTW, I would not group Clinton, and Biden with Leiberman, who I think is very honest, decent mench.

Hey, Maria, you have PayPal? That way I can sent you a couple of quarter to buy a clue. The issue about PNAC is not that their member is not 100%, but that Sheehan thinks they are part of a Jewish cabal. Read Sheehan's letter to NightLine:

Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full-well that my son, my family, this nation, and this world were betrayed by a George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agenda after 9/11. 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.

Seems to me to be a open and shut of loony far left ranting against Jewish conservatives by a truly hateful woman.

4:48 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Well, launching this war was a mistake, so this is one Democrat who wishes that more of my party's leadership opposed the war when it mattered. What I am frustrated by is the Democrats' failure to develop a coherent national security strategy to counter the president's flawed vision.

6:04 PM

Blogger Maria said...

"I will say, however, that if you agree with her suggestion, that prominent policy analysts, most of whom are Jewish, tricked the U.S. into invading and occupying Iraq to further the foreign policy goals of Israel, you might have some of your own issues to work out.

I don't think you believe that. But if you do, well, you know."

I never suggested that PNAC "tricked" anyone. Their position on US global domination is clear. Their position on Israel is only part of their strategy. Their main policy seems to be a preference for preemptive war. This policy has adherents at the top levels of the Bush Administration most of whom are Professional Christians TM.

I don't suggest that any members of PNAC have some sort of dual loyalty to the US and Israel because I don't know that that is true and I have not been presented with any evidence that that is true. I do know that many prominent members of the Rapture Right crowd have long been fans of Sharonist polices -- not because they have any particular love for Jews in Israel -- but because it fits in with their view that Jews must be in the Holy Land in order to fulfill "End Time prophecy" and because they state this publicly.

US support of Israel has come in all shapes and sizes for good or ill.

""""similar language"""

That was your phrase for why anyone who uttered the phrase "Project for a New American Century" should not be "surprised" to be labeled as an anti-Semite whether or not they said "Israel" in the same sentence.

"By why single out THIS GROUP? They aren't the most powerful thinktank in DC? It's not like they've become Brookings or RAND overnight."

Because when you go to PNAC's web site you SEE the names of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, and Dan Quayle signed on to their statements. You do not see that at Brookings or Rand. So either our leaders are only more than happy to be associated with it, or Brookings and Rand need to rethink their PR.

"Oh, I don't know. I've been shot at twice by Iraqis in my life, and going back for a third round. I've found the Baathist thugs and various Jihadist maniacs to be poison to American values and the safety and security of Iraq's neighbors."

They were boxed in and we had weapons inspectors on the ground. And, oh, I don't know, but when a country is bombed and invaded, they do tend to shoot back. I know it's kinda nutty and hard to believe that it would work that way, but it does seem to. Any sensible person would expect to be greeted with candy and flowers.

6:25 AM

Blogger Maria said...

"And weren't there other groups far more likely to have pushed for war, like, say, CONGRESS????????

I seem to recall a certain vote, by elected policymakers, about a certain war, with a majority of Democrats in support, and, well, why go on.

Blame the Jews!"

Maybe because when Congress voted they didn't know that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." BUSHCO lied to Congress, lied to UN and lied to the American people about the reasons we went to war. The amendment Congress voted on was about WMDs -- the ones that were not there. Small point, I know. Another small point: Sheehan is asking Bush for an answer not "the Jews."

6:44 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

FakeName, you are coming perilously close to revealing your identity through the disclosure of these personal details.

9:14 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Let's keep the name-calling to a minimum, please.

10:35 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

FakeName, you are free to re-post your previous comment without the gratitious swipe at Sheehan.

10:48 AM


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