Sympathy for Sheehan, disgust for those using her
On a week when Ohio witnessed funeral after funeral for fallen Marines, one can only offer sincere condolences and appreciation to Cindy Sheehan, as we do to all families mourning those who have been killed in the War on Terrorism.
I have some other things to say to those who choose to capitalize on her pain.
It takes an unusually callous attitude to co-opt a grieving mother for a media circus. It takes a heartless level of cruelty to rob a mother’s pride and convince her the son she loved died a worthless death in an unjust cause. It takes a special shamelessness to toss that mother before television cameras to repeat the foolish conspiracy theories you are unwilling to admit are false.
There are legitimate reasons to be against the War on Terrorism and/or against the war in Iraq. I’ve discussed them on these pages many times in the past four years. There are also senseless, illogical accusations which either display extreme ignorance or partisanship bordering on dementia. Those deeply entwined in the latter category have, unfortunately, drafted this poor woman into their cause.
To dismiss the charges quickly: “Imperialism” includes control of a country to extract its wealth. We maintain tentative control on Iraq day by day, and can’t wait to hand it over to a capable Iraqi government. As far as wealth goes, we’ve invested more into Iraq than we could extract in 25 years if we kept all the oil profits. Even the outrageous oil prices now being experienced have little to do with the war, and much to do with foolish U.S. energy policies now decades old coupled with short-sided acceptance of brutal regimes in oil producing countries from Libya to Iran. That policy has finally changed – thanks to President Bush.
Cindy Sheehan, who actually did meet with President Bush last summer and now is pushed out into the spotlight as a sympathetic figure by those whose wild theories could find no sympathy on their own, has every right to protest the president, question his judgment and challenge him to a face-to-face confrontation.
Her son fought and died to make certain she could – and she should be proud of him for that.
We all should be.
UPDATE: Think I was hard on those egging on Sheehan? Well, here's one of them. You decide - maybe I wasn't hard enough. (Hat tip: Christopher Hitchens)