By Cindy Sheehan
The Huffington Post
August 24, 2005
I'm coming back to Crawford for my son. As long as the president, who sent him to die in a senseless war, is in Crawford, that is where I belong. I came here two and a half weeks ago for one reason, to try and see the president and get an answer to a very simple question: What is the noble cause that he says my son died for?
The answer to that question will not bring my son back. But it may stop more meaningless deaths. Because every death is now a meaningless one. And the vast majority of our country knows this. So why do more young men and women have to die? And why do more parents have to lose their children and live the rest of their lives with this unbearable grief?
The presidency is not bigger than the people's will.
And when the people speak out, it's the president's reponsibility to listen. He is there to serve us, not the other way around.
This isn't about politics. It's about what is good for America and what's best for our security and how far this president has taken us away from both.
I'm coming back to Crawford because -- now and forever -- this is my duty for my son, for my other children, for other parents, and for my country.
BUSH: NO PLANS TO MEET ANTI-WAR PROTESTER
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
DONNELLY, IDAHO - President Bush said Tuesday he strongly supported the right to protest the war in Iraq, but said those who want American troops to withdraw immediately were "advocating a policy that would weaken the United States."
The president also said he had no plans to meet Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier slain in Iraq who has galvanized the anti-war movement with her a vigil outside Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch.
"I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake," he said. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq, but the Middle East, are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States."
Bush was speaking to reporters at an impromptu question-and-answer session outside the Idaho resort where he is vacationing. He plans to speak to National Guard members at an Air Force base near Boise Wednesday.
Bush did meet with Sheehan in June 2004, two months after her son Casey was killed. At the time, Bush kissed her on the cheek, and the pictures were posted on the Sheehan family Web site. They have since been taken down.
From Aug. 6 to Aug. 18, Sheehan led about 100 protesters who set up what they dubbed "Camp Casey" outside Bush's ranch.
They vowed to stay there until Bush returned to Washington in September, but Sheehan was forced to go to Southern California last week after her mother suffered a stroke.
"I appreciate [Sheehan's] right to protest," Bush said Tuesday. "I understand her anguish. I met with a lot of families. She doesn't represent the view of a lot of the families I have met with, and I will continue to meet with families."
The president added that his national security adviser and a deputy chief of staff also met with Sheehan "early on."
Bush has scheduled more than two hours Wednesday to meet with family members of slain soldiers at the Mountain Home Air Force Base near Boise, Idaho.
A counter-protest, supporting Bush's policies in Iraq, has been organized to counter Sheehan's vigil and related demonstrations.
The caravan of the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" started in Vacaville, Calif., Sheehan's Northern California hometown, and planned to travel through Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico until it reaches Crawford on Saturday...
BUSH BACKERS IN CALIF START CARAVAN TO COUNTER SHEEHAN PROTEST
By Kathleen Hennessey
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
SACRAMENTO - Anti-war activists clashed with a members of a caravan protesting Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war mother who gained national prominence during a vigil outside President Bush's Texas ranch.
Conservative activists and military families embarked on a tour Monday that they call "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" They rallied in Sheehan's hometown of Vacaville, the state capital and other California cities as they make their way to Crawford, Texas.
"It's time to lay down the anger. We need to continue to uphold those people over there, to uphold those men and women with their boots on the ground," said Deborah Johns of the Northern California Marine Moms, who helped organize the caravan, which is sponsored by Move America Forward, a Bay Area-based group.
Sheehan began a protest vigil Aug. 6 on the road leading to Bush's ranch, an act that has encouraged anti-war activists to join her and prompted peace vigils throughout the country. Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed last year in Iraq.
A verbal confrontation erupted when the caravan arrived in Sacramento and was met by anti-war protesters chanting "Bring them home."
Sheehan supporter Dan Elliott, 71, confronted caravan members by waving a sign reading "Death is not support" and heckling Johns as she addressed the crowd.
"You are ruining the morale over there," responded Greg Parkinson, a Bush supporter.
Some caravan members called the anti-war protesters communists and said they were "aiding and abetting the enemy." Those comments enraged Sheehan supporter Dee Ann Heath, who said she has two sons serving in Iraq and another preparing to leave.
"I don't support the war, but I support my sons," she said. "I simply want them to come home."
In Vacaville, Toni Colip, 50, said her son, David, went to high school with Casey Sheehan and is now in the Army, although not in Iraq. She said her son opposes Sheehan's activities and has asked her to support his military service even if he is injured or killed.
"He said, 'Don't dishonor me, don't walk on my grave,'" Colip said.
The pro-Bush caravan plans to join fellow supporters who have set up their own camp in downtown Crawford as a reaction to the Sheehan-inspired vigil. Bush was in Salt Lake City on Monday, where he spoke to a national veterans group to rally support for the war.
Sheehan vowed to remain in Texas until Bush agreed to meet with her or until his monthlong vacation ended Sept. 3, but she flew to Los Angeles last week after her 74-year-old mother had a stroke. She is expected to return to Texas in a few days.
Several of those in the caravan said they understood Sheehan's anger but disagreed with her protest.
"This is not the way to honor her son," said Lori Judy, 49, of Vacaville, whose son, Tim, served in Iraq.
Meanwhile in Crawford, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, visited the anti-war inspired "Camp Casey" near Bush's ranch, lending support and words of encouragement to several families whose loved ones died in Iraq.
"It is time to bring our troops home," Lee said. "What we want to do is give America a sense that it's OK to speak up and ask questions."
Across from "Camp Casey," about eight people were gathered at "Camp George" in support of the president. Parrish Stevens, of Indiana, said people need to know all of the positive things that are happening in Iraq because of the troops ‹ such as hospitals opening and children attending school. Stevens is on break as a contractor in Iraq.
Earl Johnson, of Seattle, asked what would happen to the women and girls in Iraq if American troops left.
"The consequences of their proposal are not dealt with at all," Johnson said.
Meanwhile, folk singer Joan Baez and actress Margot Kidder showed up to talk with some of the families gathered at a pair of anti-war camps near Bush's ranch.
"I came in support of Cindy and all the other Gold Star families," said Kidder, who traveled to the site from Montana. "I couldn't not come."
Gold Star Families for Peace was co-founded by Sheehan and is made up of relatives of fallen soldiers.
Starmail - 24. Aug, 10:18