12
Aug
2005

CINDY SHEEHAN UPDATE 1

CINDY SHEEHAN UPDATE 1

EXCERPTS:

"SHEEHAN: There's members of my -- they're my in-laws. And we have always been politically on the opposite sides of the fence. And we always kind of did it good-naturedly. You know, my father-in-law would call me Meathead and I would call him Archie, and we would just fight about politics all the time.

"But you know what? When they supported George Bush in November, and when they voted for the man who I consider killed their grandson, that's when -- that was it. That, to me, was a betrayal of Casey, and it hurt me so deeply. I haven't spoken to them since.

"And our family, Casey's dad and my other three children, are 100 percent behind me and agree with me philosophically about what's going on. I just talked to my husband, and he said, he said, Cindy, you know I've always supported you philosophically. I know George Bush did the wrong thing, and I had nothing to do with what my sister wrote...

...

"OLBERMANN: As I mentioned earlier, as is well known here, you spoke with Mr. Bush last year, and your comments to your local newspaper in California about that meeting have made the rounds anew on the Internet this week, how you had said that you had felt he was sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis, that he had felt obviously some pain for your loss.

"Two questions about those quotes, first being, your critics say they suggest that you have changed your stance on the war, on Mr. Bush, in the interim. Is that true, or is it false?

"SHEEHAN: No, it's false. If they had read the whole article, or talked about the whole article, they would have -- it would have shown that I was already having serious misgivings about the mission that keeps on changing all the time.

"And the other day, I wonder if they blogged about this. My hometown newspaper said Cindy Sheehan has not changed her position. It's just become clarified and it's become more focused, and her mission has become more important to her..."

-------------

CAMP CASEY: DAY 6 By Cindy Sheehan Huffington Post

//www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/featuredposts.html#a005524

Day 6 began early yesterday morning when people in cars drove by our camp a few times and blasted on their horns. I just assume they were blaring their approval of us.

Before we get to the less than negative things that are happening out at Camp Casey and in the world at large, over 700 people showed up at the Camp yesterday. There were more people, flowers, cards, mail, interviews, laughter, heartache, camaraderie, excitement, and just sheer work.

We had the first birthday party last night at our little event. Alicia from Austin turned 17 and they came to Crawford to celebrate with a cake. Alicia said that she wanted to be out here for her birthday. So many great people from so many parts of the country and our world are here.

Yesterday was kind of a blur to me. From running around from interview to interview, to getting a visit from Viggo Mortensen, it was a whirlwind of activity. I have discovered that the White House press corps is always looking for something to do and someone to cover. We have been happy to oblige them. We had a press conference today with Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out members. It was very effective when people who actually have skin in the game ask the president to be held accountable for the words he has actually said.

Still putting out the O'Reilly fires of me being a traitor and using Casey's name dishonorably, my in-laws sent out a press statement disagreeing with me in strong terms; which is totally okay with me, because they barely knew Casey. We have always been on separate sides of the fence politically and I have not spoken to them since the election when they supported the man who is responsible for Casey's death. The thing that matters to me is that our family -- Casey's dad and my other 3 kids are on the same side of the fence that I am.

November 2, 2004 was not George Bush's accountability moment: today is. We are finished allowing him to get away with deceiving the American public and abusing his power.

We are mad as hell and we're not taking it anymore.

------------

TRANSCRIPT FROM INTERVIEW WITH CINDY SHEEHAN 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Aug. 11

//www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8925133/

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: There were more than five people in Crawford, Texas, today, but for our purposes, we will concentrate on five. Four of them you know -- President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretaries Rice and Rumsfeld.

And then there is Cindy Sheehan. She is what we used to call a Gold Star Mother, a mother who lost a son in military service. And she's camped out near the president's ranch, demanding a meeting with him to ask him to bring home those troops who did not meet her son's fate. Cindy Sheehan joins us tonight.

Cindy Sheehan may or may not have had a bona fide complaint that President Bush was refusing to see her to talk about Iraq and the deaths of young men and women there like her son. He had, after all, met with her before. But then, somebody decided that Ms. Sheehan had had hit enough of a public nerve. Suddenly she had political enemies, and they were trying to discredit her.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN now, her story is about more than just her protests. It's about the role of dissent in a country founded on the right to dissent. It's a story now so big that even though Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld met with the president at his ranch today, the news from Crawford is mostly about Cindy Sheehan. She joins us in a moment.

First, our White House correspondent, David Gregory.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID GREGORY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since August 2, when the president left for a vacation on his Texas ranch, 38 American troops have died in Iraq. It is that grim reality of war that appeared to weigh on Mr. Bush today. Flanked by his national security team, he took pains to address the public's growing opposition to the conflict.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I grieve for every death. It breaks my heart to think about a family weeping over the loss of a loved one.

GREGORY: The president added, he has heard the call from war critics to pull out now.

BUSH: And I've thought about their cry and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out. I just strongly disagree.

GREGORY: Such a move, he argued, would embolden terrorists also calling for a U.S. withdrawal. The message, the president fears.

BUSH: You know, the (INAUDIBLE), the, the, the United States is weak, and all we've got to do is intimidate and they'll leave.

GREGORY: As for when troops would return, Mr. Bush dampened recent talk of an exit strategy today, saying that even when his top commanders talk about a substantial drawdown by next spring, they are merely speculating. Additional troops may be needed when Iraqis vote on a new constitution.

But one military expert says the unspoken reality is that our troops in Iraq, now 138,000 strong, are spread too thin.

GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY (RET.), U.S. ARMY: This level of deployment over this small an Army and Marine Corps is not sustainable beyond next summer.

GREGORY: Congressional war critics accuse Mr. Bush of failing to level with the public.

SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: I don't think the president is making the point clear about the range of difficulty.

GREGORY (on camera): Today the president did highlight the progress, namely a political process moving forward, and the ultimate goal, a free Iraq to serve as a bulwark against terror.

The question is, how long will the American public wait for the strategy to pay off?

David Gregory, NBC News, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN: At about the same time the president spoke to the media today, the mother of Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, who died at Sadr City, Iraq, in April 2004, held a news conference of her own, joined by other families. Cindy Sheehan pledged to stay camped outside that ranch for the duration of the president's August vacation, adding that if he does not talk with her there, she may to go Washington in September.

And while the president did not talk with her directly today, he did finally address her presence and her purpose.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her position. And I have -- she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has the right to her position. And I've thought long and hard about her position. I've heard her position from others, which is, get out of Iraq now.

And it would be a mistake for the security of this country and the ability to lay the foundations for peace in the long run if we were to do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN: As promised, joining us from her makeshift campsite in Crawford, Texas, Cindy Sheehan.

Thank you for your time tonight.

CINDY SHEEHAN, LOST HER SON IN IRAQ: Hey, Keith, no problem.

OLBERMANN: You heard what the president said today at his news conference. You heard that clip of him just there. What's your response to that?

SHEEHAN: Right. I don't want the president's sympathy. You know, I want to talk to him, and I want answers to my questions. And I want him to tell me the noble cause that my son died for. And I want him to stop using my son's name and the name of the other lost loved ones and Gold Star Families for Peace. We want him to stop using our children's name to justify the continued killing.

OLBERMANN: As I mentioned earlier, as is well known here, you spoke with Mr. Bush last year, and your comments to your local newspaper in California about that meeting have made the rounds anew on the Internet this week, how you had said that you had felt he was sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis, that he had felt obviously some pain for your loss.

Two questions about those quotes, first being, your critics say they suggest that you have changed your stance on the war, on Mr. Bush, in the interim. Is that true, or is it false?

SHEEHAN: No, it's false. If they had read the whole article, or talked about the whole article, they would have -- it would have shown that I was already having serious misgivings about the mission that keeps on changing all the time.

And the other day, I wonder if they blogged about this. My hometown newspaper said Cindy Sheehan has not changed her position. It's just become clarified and it's become more focused, and her mission has become more important to her.

OLBERMANN: Second question about the meeting in June of last year. What could you say to President Bush now that you could not have said to him then? Or why didn't you say then what you want to say now?

SHEEHAN: Good question. June of 2004 is a lot different than August of 2005. For one thing, in June of 2004, I was -- had buried my son nine weeks before the meeting. I was a woman in a deep state of shock, in a deep state of grief. And you know what? I am still in a deep state of grief. And thanks to George Bush, I will be in a deep state of grief for the rest of my life.

But I'm not in shock anymore. The Duelfer weapons of mass destruction report came out, the 9/11 commission report came out, the Downing Street memos came out, the Senate Intelligence Committee report came out. These have all come out since my son was killed. They show categorically that my son was‹his murder was premeditated, that there was no reason to invade Iraq.

And that's what I want the answers to today, in August of 2005.

OLBERMANN: Another part of this story that has developed in terms of the criticism and this political flashpoint that has developed around you, that seems so reminiscent of a lot of protests. I kept thinking about your camp there, and it sort of being a parallel world to that, the whole Terri Schiavo protest situation that just became a Mideast phenomenon.

There is an e-mail that purports to be from members of your family that denounces your presence there in Crawford. It was sent to a right-wing Web site. Is there any truth in it? Are there members of your family who are upset with what you're doing there?

SHEEHAN: There's members of my -- they're my in-laws. And we have always been politically on the opposite sides of the fence. And we always kind of did it good-naturedly. You know, my father-in-law would call me Meathead and I would call him Archie, and we would just fight about politics all the time.

But you know what? When they supported George Bush in November, and when they voted for the man who I consider killed their grandson, that's when -- that was it. That, to me, was a betrayal of Casey, and it hurt me so deeply. I haven't spoken to them since.

And our family, Casey's dad and my other three children, are 100 percent behind me and agree with me philosophically about what's going on. I just talked to my husband, and he said, he said, Cindy, you know I've always supported you philosophically. I know George Bush did the wrong thing, and I had nothing to do with what my sister wrote.

OLBERMANN: Last question. It's pure politics. The nature of the media coverage you're getting now, the response from other families of soldiers killed in Iraq, all of that, from the perspective of your protest there, in a way, isn't it really better if President Bush doesn't meet with you?

SHEEHAN: I would think so, yes. I think it's great. And if he would come out right now, it would really defuse the momentum, and I don't want to give them any hints. And I think that's something they've probably already thought about.

But, you know, but we're here. We're committed. We're staying the whole month of August, and then we're moving to Washington, D.C. And we're going to have a 24-hour vigil on his front lawn to keep the pressure on. The pressure is there. Sixty-two percent of Americans want our troops home. And this is giving them a voice to stand up and be counted and say, You know, we want our country back, and we want our troops home.

OLBERMANN: Cindy Sheehan, thanks much for taking time to join us tonight.

SHEEHAN: You're welcome. Thank you.


Informant: NHNE



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