Saturday, August 27, 2005
Cindy Sheehan, deadly flypaper for Democrats
Many people who understand what is wrong about her behavior excuse her as a woman crazed by grief, but Sheehan’s hostility to towards her son Casey preceded his death. In a radio interview she stated: “I told him I would run over him with a car, anything to get him not to go to that immoral war.” Her confessed reason for wanting to run him over was not to protect him. It was to stop him from doing what she thought was wrong.
Michael Reagan cites a host of similar indications:
...she says of her son, "He died for oil. He died to make your friends," Bush’s friends, "richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East."Patterico notes the bizarre extreme of Cindy Sheehan calling the Islamo-fascist insurgents in Iraq "freedom fighters":
How dare he?
It takes your breath away, doesn’t it? These are the very people who killed her son, and she is calling them “freedom fighters.”That would be the freedom to impose totalitarianism? Sweet.
And don't forget her "This country is not worth dying for," quote:
I take responsibility partly for my son’s death, too. I was raised in a country by a public school system that taught us that America was good, that America was just. America has been killing people, like my sister over here says, since we first stepped on this continent, we have been responsible for death and destruction. I passed on that bullshit to my son and my son enlisted. I’m going all over the country telling moms: “This country is not worth dying for. If we’re attacked, we would all go out. We’d all take whatever we had. I’d take my rolling pin and I’d beat the attackers over the head with it. But we were not attacked by Iraq. We might not even have been attacked by Osama bin Laden if [drowned out by applause]. 9/11 was their Pearl Harbor to get their neo-con agenda through and, if I would have known that before my son was killed, I would have taken him to Canada. I would never have let him go and try and defend this morally repugnant system we have.(Via Xrlq.)Notice again that her motivation for wanting to forcefully interfere with her son's choices has nothing to do with wanting to protect him. She only wishes she could have successfully interfered with his choices because she is violently opposed to what he chose to fight for. She is very consistent and very candid. She so hates the choices her son made that she feels justified in betraying him.
As bad-mom gets more exposure, her efforts to misuse her son’s death will almost certainly backfire and Casey will get some cosmic justice: his death will again serve the cause he believed in. So march on, bad-mom. Become a deadly fly-paper that exposes and destroys the credibility of all who are attracted to you. Lend your backing to anti-war candidates. Press the leadership of our anti-war party. Gobble up newspaper reporters and editors. Spray them all with your grotesque stink, which many pretend not to smell out of sympathy for your loss, but which fills their noses none the less. Let all who see that forbearance as an opening walk through it and become drenched in your odor. Help win the war at home that Casey was fighting abroad.
You're reaching. There's no question it was a dumb thing for her to say, but the obvious intent was to offer him a way out of the service if he didn't want to go to Iraq, not a threat to attack him if he did. No one offers to drives her son to Canada as a threat intended to force him out of the service, only as an option to allow him to go AWOL with relative impunity (assuming, of course, that living in Canada isn't considered adequate punishment in its own right).
Hinderaker does not share your interpretation of Sheehan's comments, and even chided me a bit for thinking anyone might. He does claim that the quote proves Sheehan was rabidly opposed to the war all along. I'm not even sure it proves that. The only thing it clearly proves is that Cindy Sheehan really, really, really didn't want her son to go fight in Iraq. That, in turn, could be motivated either by an intense hatred of the war, an intense hatred desire of the idea of having her own son get killed in it, or any combination of the two.
This being the case, she ought to leave her son out of it. She is trying to use his death to defeat the purposes that he died fighting for, which is a supremely unloving act. That fact should be taken into account when interpretting her other statements. She has absolutely no respect for her own son's moral choices. She refuses to acknowledge her son's moral autonomy. She confiscates his life to use for her own purposes, diametrically opposed to his. I don't doubt that she feels some species of love, but it is a twisted, controlling, self-centered love. Ultimately, her own purposes are all that matter.
How do you explain the reference to Canada?!
Why does it matter that she never mentions a protective purpose? Because to acknowledge the independent value of Casey’s life would be to acknowledge his moral agency, which is exactly what she is refusing to acknowledge when betrays his purposes, trying to use his death against what he risked his life for. That is the remarkable consistency that I was trying to point out. Her words and her behavior both subordinate the value of his life to her purposes. She’s not hiding it!
The most sympathetic view of Cindy Sheehan might be to say that she is acting like one of those parents whose child has died of drug addiction. A number of such parents become crusaders against drug addiction. As possessors of more mature judgment than their children possessed, they reject the choices their children made, and try use their children’s deaths to keep other people’s children from making the same mistakes.
That is about the most that can be said for Cindy Sheehan’s love: that she regards her son's choices with such contempt that she feels justified in using his death against what he believed in (which was my original point).
I definitely did not mean to suggest that Cindy Sheehan wished her son ill. Hostility to someone’s choices and wishing a person ill are two very different things, as the drug-ruined-child example demonstrates. She just does not value the reality of his adult moral agency, as proved by her betrayal of it.
Similar situation with the Pat Robertson comment. Many leftists blogs begin with Pat Robertson but meander into a slam of everything the left hates with socially-accepted bigotry and ends with something like, "see I told you so, we are right they are wrong". This includes Christianity which has nothing to do with his comments. The left is being too literal like usual and indicts all of Christianity and its believers. "Robertson said something mean. He is a bad man. He is a meanie. I no like him. I hate all of you right wing nazis. The end.". The right handles Robertson correctly. They understand the comments were wrong(those that feel that way, most do) and properly indict him and him ONLY. They know not to associate with the wrong people which the left does.
This reminds me of Alec's comments from the Pelosi/Legalistic post about how Republicans and conservatives know how to infight but the left doesn't so it just continues to hammer their adversaries and refuse accountability. It is a sad irony that the left which calls themselves champions of progress, run in circles.
Cindy Sheehan is a current example. Now the left is directing all blame for everything in the world at Bush. Nobody is saying anything about "Pottery Barn" Kerry. Regardless of whether or not the left agrees with that philosophy(which they obviously don't with how acerbic they have been acting toward Bush) this is the route they chose last year. Now they unanimously disagree?!? Kerry knows the dangers of cutting and running from Iraq better than Bush! He handed it to the American people on a silver platter during the election but because he has a veil on him given by the left, it's all Bush's fault. Because in my opinion the left has no leadership or it is lousy, they act like children and blame their adversaries. If Kerry were elected, and Sheehan's son died the same way, who would be to blame? Would she be screaming, "Why did my son die for Pottery Barn? I trusted you but you turned out to be Bush's yesman." Or would she still blame Bush and associate or allow herself to be associated with anti-american users to further their cause?
She would like to know why her son was sent to Iraq, and why he had to die at the hand of the Iraqis we were supposedly liberating.
Everything else is chaff. All the extreme quotes you present are likely to have come from her mouth. She is not media-saavy, slick nor silver-tongued. She's a mother from Iowa. Let's not expect Cicero here.
The thing is, we should expect eloquence and poise from our President. Instead, we have "The Great Miscommunicator". The war in Iraq did not have to be about WMDs. In fact, WMDS should have been a minor factor in the dozens President Bush should have used to explain our incursion into a sovereign nation.
Thomas Barnett's delineation of the new world order is plausible and convincing, and from Bush's course of action, seems like the neo-con blueprint for the future they would like to see.
How difficult would it be for Bush to stand up and explain that the future of Iraq is brighter without Saddam Hussein and his sons? That democracy is worth spreading in this area, that democracy will help alleviate the coincidental poverty and religious extremism of the area, both products of self-serving sheiks and imams. That Iraq is the core of the Middle East, geographically and historically, and stabilizing the core is imperative to stabilizing the entire area.
Instead, we have him babbling about WMDs, talking about how he thinks about the war in Iraq every day, chuckling through another ridiculous speech that makes Jon Stewart and liberal America simultaneous cringe and laugh. They are amazed that someone so stupid and so unable to get across basic concepts has become our president.
Cindy Sheehan can say whatever she wants, babble about her dead son and call the Iraqi fighters whatever she pleases. The longer she remains in the spotlight, the more painfully obvious the inability of our President to defend himself with real thoughts and ideas becomes.
WMDs? They were one of many reasons listed in our declaration of war against Iraq, and were only emphasized months later, when we decided to take a simplified case to the UN as the best hope of gaining international cooperation from that degraded body. Even then, it was the long term threat, not immediate threats, that were emphasized. No longer were we going to let hostile storms gather, as the President put it in his State of the Union.
This all was, and remains, perfectly correct and compelling, along with the other oft repeated purposes of the war: to deny terrorism safe haven, to bring liberty to the Arab/Muslim world as an antidote to that regions various totalitarianisms, both secular and Islamic.
It is strange enough that citizens of this country would even need to hear these reasons articulated. I marvel at all who were not immediately eager, or have not remained eager, to drain the swamps where our attackers fester. But for all who can't figure it out on their own, the President has explained a hundred times. Any who don't hear cannot hear.
I have heard him speak in person regarding Social Security. I have watched him in the presidential debates. I've heard his speeches on CSPAN. These are instances sans any possible "left-wing liberal media filtering".
He is the 41st president's son, and while that may be enough to provide him with the 43rd presidency, it does not in any way guarantee him intellect.
He has made what should have been a humanitarian operation, a morally just operation, into something that the world reviles and has bankrupted the world's good will and compassion towards the US post-9/11.
His flagrant cronyism - his administration's awarding without bids a multi-billion dollar contract to Halliburton, VP Cheney's old gig was so obvious. And yet, Halliburton gets caught over-charging for gas and meals for soldiers.
His refusal to acknowledge the United States as a secular nation, not a Christian nation - This adds credibility to the belief in the Islamic world that our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is a Crusade. This doesn't help our soldiers.
His reliance on arrogant, bumbling fools from his father's gang - Cheney and Rumsfeld are embarrassing in their pandering to corporations. The Bush Administration negotiated the Big Tobacco settlement from $150 billion to $15 billion.
His blatant disregard of expert advice - The Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, and staff who drew up the plans for the Iraq invasion learned lessons from Vietnam, and dictated a policy of overwhelming force for occupation. This Powell doctrine was ignored by Bush and his people - I believe none of them actually went to Vietnam. Now our soldiers pay.
We also have the Guantanamo Bay issue, the Patriot Act, Valerie Plame and Karl Rove, and the shambles of Afghanistan.
He has done nothing well while in office. I support the war because human beings deserve better than to live under a madman. I support our soldiers because they are the America Iraqis see, and I would like the Iraqis to remember the GIs as fondly as my father remembers GIs who fought the Korean War.
But Bush deserves nothing. In fact, he owes me, considering the way he uses the friends I lost in the World Trade Center as rationale for his stupidity. I've read a good amount of your blog. You're much too intelligent to not see Bush for who he is.
Powell is the numbskull who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in 91, in the service of his absurd doctrine that, not only do we want to go in only with overwhelming force and overwhelming backing, but we don't want to have any open ended commitments. Thus with Saddam ready to flee headlong, and no Islamo-fascist movement to take up his cause, Bush I followed Powell's advice to say "fini" at 100 hours, when we could have at that point simply turned over Iraq to a republican democracy (that is, to a democracy with constitutionally protected liberty).
Powell is the timidest American military man since McClellan. Under the Powell doctrine, we could not have fought the war we did in Afghanistan. Instead of overwhelming force, we used air power, spotters on the ground, and savvy alliances. The Powell doctrine is the Maginot Line of military thinking. If not for Powell's desperate emotional need for foreign approval we might not have bothered with the second fruitless foray to the U.N., with its wrongheaded emphasis on WMD and an extra six months for the Baathists to prepare their insurgency.
As for the Halliburton stuff, the "they had no plan" stuff, that's just Michael Moorish. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are doing an incredible job of prosecuting a very difficult war on many fronts with astoundingly little loss of life. "The plan" was to do whatever is necessary. The best outcome would be if the enemy chose not to fight, but whether the enemy chose to fight or not was not in our hands. They have chosen to fight, and we are systematically destroying them, again, with astoundingly little loss of life.
Of course there were some mistakes. Bremmer decided to treat fighters captured in Iraq as criminals, subject to civilian justice, rather than prisoners of war. What the hell is the matter with him? Is he a Democrat?
But it does not change the outcome, which was won at the start. By fighting, the enemy can only make the Iraqi people hate them. They were lost from day one. Now the end is in sight but the administration cannot even say it because the idiot left, lost in a demented unreality, actually believes that we are losing, and that any forecast of pullback is an admission of defeat. When that general in Iraq suggested that we could bring half our troops home next year, the administration had to shut him up because the leftist world press trumpeted it as a terrorist victory.
How is it possible for people to be so self-deluded? But it is an absolutely real blue-state phenomenon. I just visited Boston and, sure enough, people there thought we are losing the war. Or should I say that they were unintentionally optimistic that we are losing the war, imagining that if somehow Iraq could become Vietnam (if we could just choose to lose), then the Democrats might win. And WHY should anyone want such a party to win?
Bush is positively brilliant in the only way that matters: he understands correctly the instrumentalities of liberty. He understands it in regards to the U.S. economy, and he understands that it is poison to illiberal ideologies like Islamo-fascism. Where liberty lives, they will die.
On domestic social policy, he's a little confused, sometimes not valuing liberty enough (favoring government education over choice for instance), and sometimes thinking that liberty alone can solve all (as with his immigration policy, imagining that we can just import Mexico's dysfunctional overflow with no threat to economy or society). But so what, these foibles? Bush doesn't have to be perfect. We do, after all, have a legislative branch that is supposed to be doing the heavy lifting. Bush gets the biggest things right, and that is enough.
(P.S. Any relation to Marilda?)