Cindy Sheehan The Huffington Post August 22, 2005
I have received dozens of emails with this heading: Go Home and Take Care of Your Kids. I think of all the name calling and unnecessary and untrue trashing of my character, this one offends me the most. What do the people who send me this message mean?
First of all, it offends me because it is so blatantly sexist. Would anyone think of emailing George Bush when he is out and about (now he is going on a vacation away from his vacation to make speeches in Idaho and Utah defending his killing policies), telling him to go and take care of his kids? Does anyone write to ANY man and tell him to go home and take care of his kids. I have news for all of these people, my children are adults and their dad is home to take care of them if they need any taking care of.
The second reason this command from the self-righteous right offends me is that I believe that what I am doing is for my children, and the world's children. I think that the strategy of eternal baseless war for corporate profit and greed is bad for all of our children: born and unborn. We heard a few weeks ago that Rummy said that we would be in Iraq for at least a dozen more years, and we recently heard over the weekend that the military is planning for four more years of this occupation, at least. If Rummy is correct, then Soccer Safety Mom Susie's kindergartener will be fighting and dying in the harsh sands of the Middle East and if the military is correct than NASCAR Dad Nick's middle-schooler should start boot camp now. I hate to be the one to break it to America, but constant war is not a positive family value and this administration's policies are not making us more secure.
We as mothers need to stop buying into the load of misogynistic crap that our children need our constant presence in their lives so they can thrive and grow. What we need as families are strong support systems that allow each family member to grow and achieve his/her full potential as human beings. What we as Moms need to stop doing is giving our children to the military industrial war complex to be used as human cluster bombs: to kill innocent civilians and to perhaps die enriching and feeding the gluttonous war machine.
It is up to us Moms to make sure our children are whole and safe. We can start doing this by always opposing the wars that bury our kids before us. So what I am saying to the people who want me to go home and take care of my kids: I AM taking care of my kids, and yours, too.
CINDY'S CRAWFORD: CAMP CASEY CONTINUES TO GROW DESPITE SHEEHAN'S ABSENCE Democracy Now Monday, August 22, 2005
Despite the temporary departure of Cindy Sheehan to care for her ailing mother, the antiwar vigil outside President Bush's estate in Crawford is continuing to grow. Hundreds gathered on Saturday night to hear musician Steve Earle perform at Camp Casey. Legendary folk singer Joan Baez also held a concert Sunday evening. Military families, veterans and other supporters are coming from around the country -- as far away as Alaska, California and Massachusetts -- to support Cindy's efforts.
It all started two weeks ago on August 6th when Cindy began the vigil in memory of her son, Casey who died in Iraq last year. She has vowed to stay until Bush meets with her, or until his month-long vacation ends. Cindy's protest has received national and international media attention and has become the central focus of the antiwar movement. She left the site abruptly on Thursday to be with her mother who suffered a stroke. She says she plans to return before the end of the president's August vacation.
Over the weekend, Bush met with cycling champion Lance Armstrong for a two-hour bike ride around the Crawford property. Armstrong has recently criticized the war in Iraq saying it has prevented the country from spending more on cancer research. While President Bush gave him a t-shirt that said "Tour-de-Crawford", he made no public comments, Cindy Sheehan, the "Tour-de-Force" while in Crawford.
After two weeks at the Crawford estate, Bush is heading out on the road this week for a pair of speeches focusing on Iraq and the war on terror. On Monday, the president is scheduled to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Utah.
Meanwhile, at Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehan's supporters are vowing to stay throughout the month until Bush's vacation ends and then on to Washington for a major antiwar rally on September 24th.
Democracy Now! broadcast from Camp Casey on Friday. We stayed on though the weekend to cover the story. Military families and Iraq veterans held a press conference at Camp Casey Friday afternoon.
After the news conference, military families, veterans and others held a prayer vigil in front of the more than 840 crosses planted in the camp grounds representing soldiers killed in Iraq. They then boarded into vans and headed out towards President Bush's property to deliver the letter. Leading the procession were two women: Beatrice Saldivar whose nephew, Daniel Torres was killed in Iraq in February 2005 and Mimi Evans whose son is a marine awaiting deployment to Iraq. They were stopped at a checkpoint on the way to Bush's property.
Refusing to be turned away, Mimi Evans and Beatrice Saldivar walked hand in hand up to the barriers blockading the entrance to President Bush's estate. They dropped the letter on the ground and laid a pair of flowers on top. This is Beatrice Saldivar.
Beatrice Saldivar, her nephew, Daniel Torres was killed in Iraq in February 2005
Becky Lourey, (D-MN). Her son, Matt, was killed in Iraq in May. Lourey was a leading opponent in her state of the invasion of Iraq. In March 2003, she authored an antiwar resolution signed by eighteen other state senators.
AMY GOODMAN: Military Families and Iraq Veterans held a news conference at Camp Casey on Friday afternoon. The temperature, as usual, over 100 degrees. One of those who spoke was Minnesota State Senator, Becky Lourey. Her son, Matt, was killed in Iraq just a few months after Casey Sheehan died. Lourey was a leading opponent in her state of the invasion of Iraq. In March 2003, the State Senator authored an anti-war resolution signed by 18 other state senators. This is what Becky Lourey had to say at the rally on Friday.
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: Thank you so much for being here so that you can report to the world that Camp Casey is alive and well. I'm Minnesota State Senator, Becky Lourey. My son, CW-4, Matthew Scott Lourey, a wonderful American hero, died on May 26, saving his colleagues' lives in Iraq. And I'm reading you a letter written by all of us here.
August 19, 2005. "Dear Mr. President, Cindy Sheehan a Gold Star mother who has been camped outside your ranch, asking you to take one hour out of your five-week vacation to meet with her, left Camp Casey today when her mother had a stroke.
"While Cindy Sheehan is temporarily not in Crawford, we want to be clear that we, Gold Star and Military Families and Veterans who have stood by Cindy these past 11 days, remain encamped outside your ranch, and we will stay here until you meet with us and answer ours and Cindy's questions about the, quote, 'noble cause,' unquote, for which our loved ones have been killed or placed in harm's way. Cindy Sheehan may have started this, but we are committed to carrying it on on behalf of Cindy and the thousands of Gold Star and Military Families across the country who have the very same concerns and questions.
"Many of our families have paid the ultimate price for your administration's lies leading up to this war in Iraq, and we all deserve answers. Harm, danger, death and grief entered our living rooms the moment you sent our nation and our loved ones to a war with a country that posed no threat to America and had nothing to do with the terrible tragedy of September 11th.
"We need answers. We need the truth. You put our loved ones and all of our troops into harm's way based on lies. Too many of our loved ones have already paid the ultimate price. For those of us with loved ones deployed or about to deploy, every day threatens to transform them from a military family to a Gold Star family. We call on you, Mr. President, to support our troops and bring them home now.
"Sincerely, Charlie Anderson, Iraq veteran; Rebecca Bahr, mother of a soldier; Lynn Bradach, Gold Star mother; Cody Comacho, Iraq veteran; Michelle Deford, Gold Star mother; Linda Englund, mother of returned soldier; Mimi Evans, mother of deploying soldier; Linda Jansen, family of soldier; Doug Met, family of soldier; Tammara Rosenleaf, wife of deploying soldier; Beatriz Saldivar, aunt of fallen soldier; Nancy Towson, mother of deployed soldier; Allison Townson, sister of deployed soldier; Pat Vogel, mother of returning soldier." And say your name.
JUAN TORRES: Juan Torres, father.
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: Juan, father --
JUAN TORRES: Juan Torres.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And Sergio Torres, father.
STATE SEN. BECKY LOUREY: And Sergio, father, right here. And for a few remarks from me personally, I do believe that a conversation is incredibly valuable. If North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones, who dubbed French fries "freedom fries," can change his mind and offer a resolution because it is clear now from all the intelligence that the presence ever our troops in Iraq is making the insurgency stronger, if Congressman Walter Jones can change his mind, so can our President Bush.
AMY GOODMAN: Minnesota State Senator, Becky Lourey, speaking at Camp Casey, Friday afternoon. She lost her son Matt this past May in Iraq. After the news conference, military families, veterans and others held a prayer vigil in front of the more than 840 crosses planted in the campgrounds representing soldiers who have been killed in Iraq. They then boarded vans and headed towards President Bush's property to deliver the letter. Leading the procession were two women, Beatriz Saldivar, whose nephew Daniel Torres was killed in Iraq, and Mimi Evans whose son, a marine, is awaiting deployment. They were stopped at a checkpoint on the way to Bush's ranch.
SECRET SERVICE: Hello. How are you doing? I'm B.J. Flowers, Secret Service. How are you doing? What can I do for you this morning?
MIMI EVANS: Hello, we have something for the President of the United States. My name is Mimi Evans. I'm with Military Families Speak Out, and I have a letter for the President.
SECRET SERVICE: Okay.
MIMI EVANS: And this letter says --
SECRET SERVICE: Well, ma'am, I cannot accept --
MIMI EVANS: I'm not reading it, and I know you cannot accept it.
SECRET SERVICE: Okay, I can't accept it, and I don't believe there's anyone from staff here to take your letter at the moment, okay?
MIMI EVANS: Will they be here later?
SECRET SERVICE: I don't anticipate them to be here. No, ma'am. Sometimes they're here
BEATRIZ SALDIVAR: Can you call somebody?
SECRET SERVICE: No. Can't call them down here. That's up to them whether they want to be down here, you know, to address any complaints or [inaudible] --
BEATRIZ SALDIVAR: Can you ask them that all the mothers of the fallen soldiers are asking somebody from the White House to come in and accept this letter?
SECRET SERVICE: They -- there's no one here to accept it, ma'am. I'm sorry. I can't take it. Thank you.
MIMI EVANS: As Secret Service, would you be able to convey the message that we are still down at the camp, and we intend to stay there, the mothers and the families, please?
SECRET SERVICE: I will relay that information.
MIMI EVANS: We are not going anywhere.
SECRET SERVICE: Okay. Very good.
MIMI EVANS: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Refusing to be turned away, Mimi Evans and Beatriz Saldivar walked hand in hand up to the barriers blockading the entrance to President Bush's estate. They dropped the letter on the ground and laid flowers on top. This is Beatriz Saldivar.
BEATRIZ SALDIVAR: I want to say to President Bush one thing, okay, and in the name of Cindy and all the mothers, that letter that's laying there with those precious flowers on top is laying there. Our soldiers when they killed -- get killed in Iraq, the men next to them, the other fellow soldiers, picks up their body, their pieces. Sometimes the bodies are not recognized. Sometimes they come back in one piece, and sometimes they have their eyes open and they're dead. We ask you, President, to have the courage to pick up that letter. It's just a simple letter. We cannot pick up our sons and daughters and husbands and nephews, but you can -- we cannot bring them back alive, but you can have the courage to pick up that letter and talk to this nation and the world. The whole world is listening.
AMY GOODMAN: Beatriz Saldivar, her nephew Daniel Torres, died in Iraq earlier this year. The Secret Service told the women and their religious people supporting them who came to the checkpoint that they had to get back in their vans. The letter and the flowers remained on the ground.
JOAN BAEZ BOOSTS PEACE CAMP Associated Press / Globe & Mail August 21, 2005
CRAWFORD, TEXAS - Iraq war protesters camping out near U.S. President George W. Bush's ranch got some support Sunday night from a prominent figure in the anti-Vietnam war movement: folk singer Joan Baez.
"In the first march I went to (opposing Vietnam) there were 10 of us. This is huge," Ms. Baez told relatives of fallen U.S. soldiers Sunday before performing a free concert just up the road from the ranch.
About 500 people gathered to hear her on a half-hectare lot offered by a landowner who opposes the war. Not far away, protesters continued a camp-out started by grieving mother Cindy Sheehan.
Ms. Baez said a movement like this was waiting to happen.
"It was the final tear for the overflow and you can't stop running water," she said. "Cindy's was the final tear."
Downtown, more Bush supporters arrived at a pro-Bush camp that had been set up as a reaction to Ms. Sheehan's. As of Sunday afternoon, more than 150 people had visited the large tent with "God Bless Our President!" and "God Bless Our Troops" banners and a life-size cardboard cutout of Mr. Bush.
"When we saw this, we said, 'Thank God you're here,'" said Frances Lee, who arrived in Crawford with her Douglasville, Ga., neighbour Brenda Bohanan. They planned to hold pro-Bush banners down the street from the protesters.
"We said, 'We wanted y'all to know that there are people from all over the United States that care,'" Ms. Lee said.
The pro-Bush camp is called "Fort Qualls," for Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne
Qualls, 20, a marine killed in Fallujah last fall. His father, Gary Qualls of Temple, said the anti-war demonstrators are being disrespectful to soldiers.
Ms. Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Ms. Sheehan, also died last year in Iraq. He is among more than 1,800 U.S. soldiers killed since the March 2003 invasion.
Ms. Sheehan, of Vacaville, Calif., started the anti-war demonstration on Aug. 6 and vowed to remain until Mr. Bush agreed to meet with her or until his month-long vacation ends Sept. 3. She flew to Los Angeles last week after her 74-year-old mother had a stroke but is expected to return to Texas in a few days.
Mr. Bush has said he sympathizes with Ms. Sheehan but won't change his schedule to meet with her. She and other families met with Mr. Bush about two months after Casey died, before she became a vocal opponent of the war.
BRADBLOG MP3 INTERVIEW WITH JOAN BAEZ: http://tinyurl.com/7ej3v
ANTI-WAR MOM OPPOSITION MOUNTING Associated Press August 21, 2005
A Utah television station is refusing to air an anti-war ad featuring Cindy Sheehan, whose son's death in Iraq prompted a vigil outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch.
Also, a patriotic camp with a "God Bless Our President!" banner sprung up in downtown Crawford, Texas Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by Sheehan. The camp is named "Fort Qualls," in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall.
The anti-war ad began airing on other Salt Lake City-area stations Saturday, two days before Bush was scheduled to speak in Salt Lake City to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
However, a national sales representative for KTVX, a local ABC affiliate, rejected the ad in an e-mail to media buyers, writing that it was an "inappropriate commercial advertisement for Salt Lake City."
In the ad, Sheehan pleads with Bush for a meeting and accuses him of lying to the American people about Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction and its connection to al Qaeda.
"I love my country. But how many more of our loved ones need to die in this senseless war?" a weary-looking Sheehan asks in the ad. "I know you can't bring Casey back. But it's time to admit mistakes and bring our troops home now." The ads were bought by Gold Star Families for Peace, co-founded by Sheehan.
Salt Lake City affiliates of NBC, CBS and Fox began running the ad Saturday.
In a statement Saturday evening explaining its decision, KTVX said that after viewing the ad, local managers found the content "could very well be offensive to our community in Utah, which has contributed more than its fair share of fighting soldiers and suffered significant loss of life in the this Iraq war."
Bush carried nearly 70 percent of the vote last fall in Utah, one of the most conservative states north of the so-called Bible Belt.
Station General Manager David D'Antuono said the decision was not influenced by the station's owner, Clear Channel Communications Inc.
Celeste Zappala, who with Sheehan co-founded Gold Star Families for Peace, said she was puzzled by the decision.
"What stunned me was that it was inappropriate to hear this message," she said. "How is it that Salt Lake City should hear no questions about the war?"
The e-mail read: "The viewpoints reflected in the spot are incompatible with our marketplace and will not be well received by our viewers." It added that the spot didn't qualify as an issue advertisement.
For the ad to have been considered an "issue" advertisement a ballot measure would have had to be at stake, D'Antuono said.
Mark Wiest, vice president of sales for NBC-affiliated KSL television, said that in the interest of freedom of speech, his station didn't hesitate to run the ad. KSL is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"The bigger picture is, by suppressing the message are we doing what is right under the First Amendment and in an open democratic society?" Wiest said.
Salt Lake City's Mayor Rocky Anderson used e-mail this week to call for "the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen," when President Bush appears at the convention Monday.
Anderson says Bush policies are disastrous for the country and that to stay quiet during the president's visit would be send a message of apathy.
The mayor's e-mail called for a collaboration of health care advocates, seniors, gay and lesbian advocates, anti-Patriot advocates, civil libertarians and anti-war folks to protest outside the VFW convention.
Mike Parkin, senior vice commander of a VFW post in Salt Lake City, says the move makes Anderson look unpatriotic.
The Vietnam vet, who says he voted for Anderson, but won't again, says the protest will offend veterans and embolden enemies of the U.S.
In Crawford, Gary Qualls, the father of a slain soldier, explained his reasons for supporting the pro-war camp. "If I have to sacrifice my whole family for the sake of our country and world, other countries that want freedom, I'll do that," said Qualls, who is friends with the local business owner who started the camp. He said his 16-year-old son now wants to enlist, and he supports that decision.
Qualls' frustration with the anti-war demonstrators erupted last week when he removed a cross bearing his son's name that was among hundreds the group had put up along the road to Bush's ranch.
Qualls called the protesters' views disrespectful to soldiers, and said he had to yank out two more crosses after protesters kept replacing them.