A Catholic mother and wife's life and works.
I think that this cartoon says it all about the Sheehan crowd. Cindi has to know that she's embaressing her son through her actions. It seems that his desires are forgotten when things are done in his name.
Who better to speak in her son's name than herself, who raised him and knew him better than any conervative idealogue. Who better to continue fighting for her son? Perhaps Fox News has a better idea of what her dead son would want posthumously after giving his life to the poor-laid plans of a misleading administration. So is it better to slap a paper trophy on someone and say they died a hero (despite the overwhelming evidence this was not to our benefit and that the people of our country had to be mislead to enter this war) or to try and make him the last American casualty, and try to protect more from being killed? I think her efforts can only add to this soldier's legacy in an honorable way. Her efforts bring added meaning to her son's life as well as her own.
I would not say that the best person to speak for their political beliefs is their mother. I'd use my fiance as an example. His parents are extremely liberal, and Art... Well, just look at his blog and you will see. Cindi Sheehan doesn't believe in the war. There is nothing said about her son's beliefs. I don't think this really has anything to do with her son.
Have to agree with jim on this one-well said. I know that will come as a big suprise to El (lol) as we seem to be on opposite sides of most poliical issues/or at least this one. I don't know if Cindy Sheehans political opinions concur with her sons or not, but then neither does anyone else who's blogging about how she's shaming her son. I volunteered for the first Gulf War, I'm a liberal, and I'm eternally grateful that I can't be called up to fight this Iraq war because I simply don't believe there was a good reason to fight it. If I had to go however, I would, and if I we're killed and my Mom came out against the war--she would be trumpting my opinions. So it is possible to be a soldier and not agree with the war your country/president decides to fight. Who knows what Casey thought?--Only his family and friends obviously. Sorry to ramble.
Leo,In your scenario I'd agree with you. If Casey Sheehan did not in fact agree with the war, and his mother came out against it after he'd been killed I'd see nothing wrong with that. All we've heard so far though (even from Cindy's own mouth) is that Casey was very much in favor of the war. He believed in what he was fighting in. If someone dies for a cause they believe in, then I do believe that it dishonors their memory by actively protesting those very beliefs. We'll probably never agree on this one, but that's okay.
It's really weird having a political discussion on your blog el.
It is a bit weird having a political discussion here. Funny, and all I did was put up a cartoon. This is a hot issue though, and I have both liberals and conservatives that come here. Pretty cool really:)
I'm glad we can all express our opinions clearly without name-calling or attacking each other. I appreciate the varying responses because these discussions help give me peeks into points of view or perceptions that I may have not thought of or looked at an issue from. I understand that I personally don't know what her son's opinion was before or after going to war, and in that aspect my argument is slightly flawed. Yet, on that note, I'm left with the following thought; If someone had died as the result of joining a cult (which they truly believed in, even shaved their head and got neutered, j/k), or something similar, would that person's parent be wrong to go on a nationwide crusade to lobby government to do something to prevent such tragedies in the future? In that scenario the parent would be going directly against the deceased offspring's beliefs. Finally, if Sheehan is wrong to do this, I can't imagine how the President was justified in using the deaths of 9/11 victims here in NYC for the Iraq war.
Jim,In answer to your question, no, I don't think a parent of a cult member would be wrong for denouncing that cult. The implication here is of course that the military is a cult, and that its members are brain washed. I know that this is what many people on the left believe. I find it strange that most of these people are surprised when they actually meet and talk to someone who is in the military. They have all these preconceived notions about what we must be like. The military is not composed of automotons who blindly adhere to a single ideology. We are asked to take a simple oath, to support and defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies. Most people join because they believe in this country (despite its flaws) and are willing to give their lives to defend it. Unlike socialist states we do not have a particular ideology thrust upon us, and we do not have political officers in our ranks. I have travelled around the world in the Navy, and I have yet to see a place that I would prefer to the United States. I formulated this idea on my own without any outside assistance. I know that Casey Sheehan came to the same conclusion, otherwise he wouldn't have put on the uniform. Every man entertains the idea of military service at some point in his life. I'm sure that the thought crosed your mind once or twice yourself Jim. There is no shame in choosing not to serve, but there is honor in volunteering for a mission not of your choosing. Casey Sheehan is a hero not because of the way he died, but because of the way he lived. He volunteered to put on a uniform and to die for his country if the call came. He did so again four years later. Cindy Sheehan has called the war in Afghanistan illegal. Would we be having this discussion if her son had died in combat there? The location of a soldier's death makes their sacrifice no more, or less heroic. Cindy's actions demoralize the troops in the war zone, and provide propaganda value to the enemy. Does this honor her son? The military is a brotherhood (and sisterhood). Most units are a family. For many of us it is the only family that we know. We too grieve for each of our fallen brothers, then we go on with our mission.
It is nice to see a political discussion without the name calling and rhetoric. Art--I totally respect Caseys' service to his country, and yours. I can understand why Cindy Sheehans comments and feelings could be demoralizing to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (and by the way I disagree with her stance on Afghanistan), but if some Americans truly believe we are involved in an unjust war in Iraq, what would you have them do, if not protest or speak out? I mean, I believe if you truly love your country and you honestly think it's made a huge mistake, it's your duty as a citizen to stand up and voice your concerns. I do not believe in the Iraq war, but I don't agree with the people who think we should immediately pull out either--we have a responsibility to the Iraqi people now that we've overthrown their government to follow through and help them.
Leo,I think that change can be accomplished in a more constructive manner. Proposing an alternate policy, and challenging incumbents at the ballot. I want to hear how things can be done better. If there's a better way to fight terrorism, then I'm all ears. I think the problem with the anti-war movement is that they've defined what they're against (George Bush/Iraq War), but not really what they're for. Before expending energy, I think one must ask themselves if a particular course of action can truly effect change. I don't believe that change will come from protesting. Instead why not concentrate on formulating an alternative policy and challenging the current candidates in the mid-term elections. I am conservative but I don't believe that all Democratic ideas are dumb. If both parties would divorce themselves from the fringe, and start defining what they're for, then I think we'll be a lot closer to where most Americans seem to be. Thankyou for your service as well.
Art--I agree with you for the most part. I don't believe protesting a war you disagree with is wrong, but I, like you, think that the best course of action for the Democrats now is to formulate alternative policies to the republicans and spend most of their time and money getting them out to the American people. I also agree that the fringe elements in both parties should be left behind.
Art- I did not call the military a cult nor did I liken soldiers to zombies, as you perceived from my previous post. I simply gave an alternate scenario where it is possible to voice beliefs contrary to your deceased child's beliefs while still performing a noble service. I apologize if it appeared I was implying something else. You're correct in assuming I once pondered military enrollment; to me the idea of being paid to train the mind and body from dawn till dusk and beyond is something I would love to be a part of. Furthermore, if there were a land war here I would be on the frontline, armed to the teeth, ready to defend my country against outside aggressors. If Saddam Hussein was trying to bring his brand of freedom to neighboring States by using military to occupy them and setting up pro-Iraqi dictatorships I would also be out there with rifle in hand. However, I don't like the idea of giving my life so an administration's corporate cronies can get richer while bankrupting our country all while creating greater threats to our national security, in the guise of furthering our national security.Regarding the power of protest and social movements: As we saw with the Civil Rights Act, this resulted from a massive showing of support at protests, rallies, and acts of civil-disobedience, at the same time as less effective lobbying efforts. However, when representatives for social policy seek to lobby Congress they find they do not have equal access to representatives, and the deck is stacked against the "have-nots" in favor of the coporate (across industry lines; pharmaceutical, energy, etc.) lobby. Yet, the successes of the civil rights movement can hardly be dismissed. The same can be said of how women obtained the right to vote. When disenfranchised groups do not have access to or equal access to all levels of government as corporate lobbyists then the only other way to be heard by those levels of goverment is to protest. If not for the anti-war movement during the vietnam war, there may have been even more casualties, and years later we found that the government and media were doctoring the numbers to give the appearance we weren't incurring as heavy losses as we were, we won't know for another 30 years if thats the case here as well.I agree that alternative policy is more important than just nay-saying and fingerpointing, but I also believe that mainstream media play on that assumption and don't report on the policy suggesstions that are formulated by organizers. Instead we just get some footage of a person at a podium repeating protest chants and saying NO this and NO that. Personally, I think we need a new Sec. of Defense and perhaps re-examine the leadership of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I really dislike it when the administration fails due to poor planning or poor intelligence and then has the nerve to blame the anti-war movement for hurting morale and hindering the war effort. I certainly think watching your borthers in arms die in front of you, going out on suicide missions due to lack of equipment and armor, or having your time-commitment extended indefinately while losing benefits is a greater hinderance to morale than a bunch of peace-loving people waving banners and trying to prevent additional casualties, thousands of miles away. I think the current anti-war movement has more support for our troops, and advocates more support for them than the current administration. El, sorry for the long post.
I'm not advising you to join the military Jim. It's not for everyone. I was simply stating that if no one joined because they dislike a particular administration, or policy then the country would truly be in a bind. As to the policy of peaceful protest, I see distinct differences between the civil rights protests and now. The people protesting for civil rights were by definition disenfranchised. They were not permitted the right to vote. Last time I checked this was not the case with the people conducting protests. They may be unhappy with the outcome of the elections but they were not deprived of their right to vote. As for morale, I respectfully disagree with you. Soldiers will fight as long as they believe that they are supported back home. Anyone who does this for benefits is in the wrong business. I'm not sure what benefits you're referring to being cut either. Pay has gone up the last five years, as have benefits. Military personnel voted overwhelmingly for Bush, and those that have been in Iraq have higher reenlistment rates. Looking at this statisitic you'd have to conlude that the military is consumed by bloodlust or that it's members genuinely believe they are providing a valuable service. I lean towards the latter. Don't worry about El, she's thrilled to be getting so many comments whatever their length.
(I apologize for the delayed post, I don't like to post on Friday nights cuz I just want to get out of the office)re: veteran's benefits, re-enlistment rates:The 2004 budget cut funding for veteran's health care and benefit programs by nearly $25 billion over the next ten years. Re-enlistment rates account for approximately one-third of the Army's projected 12,000-troop shortfall in recruiting. Also, most of those re-enlisting are being promished cash bonuses. When put in the position to take advantage of a larger-than-normal cash bonus to protect their families in the event they don't return home, I would re-enlist too. However, this is possibly only one scenario among many others with varying positives and negatives depending on the reader's perception. I think it is important to note that there are already veterans from Iraq showing up in homeless shelters, and there Iraq war veterans who are campaigning for congressional seats to challenge the administration's Iraq policy.RE: "They were not permitted the right to vote."Large numbers of voters were not permitted the right to vote in various counties in Florida during the 2000 election. This was done by using the beaurocracy to mis-categorize people as being inelligible to vote, knowing that if they pursued this through the proper channels to seek remedy, the timeframe would exceed the election results deadline and thus would negate their votes nonetheless, as was the case. Later when seeking additional remedy through their Congressional representatives in the House, they saw democracy dismantled as not a single US Senator, including former VP Gore, would not second the representatives petition as was procedurally required. On another level individuals across the country are being denied the right to vote because of the inconvenience of the current voting systems. If election day were a national holiday that demanded store closures including banks and schools, there would be a much greater turnout. Also, registration is an impediment, as you have to register to vote about 6 months (? pretty sure on this number) prior to the presidential election to be eligible to vote. Consider also the previous problems with "chads" and the more recent problems with electronic devices. Couple that with the re-organization of districts, broken or outdated equipment resulting in people being turned away form polling stations, or tremendous lines with mulitple hours in waiting time on a work/schoolday and the poor organization at various polling places (not-suprisingly located in lower-income communities) and you've got low-voter turnout gumbo, and yes, people who are denied the right to vote.
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