Monday, August 15, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's message is "Bring the Troops Home Now" (though some seem confused by her message)

Mike called today because Amber had e-mailed him about a number of things including basic facts about Cindy Sheehan's stance being misunderstood or misconstrued. This entry is for Mike because he wants Sheehan's stance noted. Community members know Sheehan's stance.
It's not a hard one to figure out but maybe the mainstream media has confused the issue and led to some being confused?

I don't know. I don't know how anyone can claim that Cindy Sheehan is arguing for fine tuning or a 'smarter' war. That is not her position and that has not been her position.

So let's review where Cindy Sheehan stands.

Military Families Speak Out's "Voices From Crawford: A Report by MFSO Members in Crawford, Texas:"*

Over 40 MFSO members have traveled to Crawford, Texas to join Cindy Sheehan in calling on the President to meet with Cindy and to end the war in Iraq.

To end the war in Iraq. That's pretty damn clear. That's not fine tune it, that's end it.

Same source, same article:*

Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) members in Crawford are calling on all military families from around the country who oppose this war to stand together and call for an end to the war in Iraq. They are asking that vigils and demonstrations and rallies be held in front of Congressional offices, federal buildings and other sites in support of what is happening in Crawford, and call for the troops to be brought home now. MFSO members in Crawford are also calling for everyone to turn out on September 24th in Washington, DC to take the message back to the politicians that this war must be brought to an end.

"This war must be brought to an end." That's not confusing, that's not ambiguous.

From Military Families Speak Out's "More Gold Star and Military Families Join Cindy Sheehan in CrawfordVow to Stand Vigil Until End of August; Call for Troops to be Brought Home Now:"*

CRAWFORD, TX - More Members of Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out from Georgia, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon and Ohio are arriving in Crawford, Texas to add their voices to Cindy Sheehan's, calling for a meeting with President Bush and for troops to be brought home now.

Again, Military Families Speak Out, "A Message from Gold Star Mother Mary Ann MacCombie
Atlanta - August 11, 2005
"* about her son, Sgt. Ryan Montgomery Campbell:

Wrong time, wrong place, wrong mission.
Ryan’s best friend from childhood is currently serving his second tour of duty in Iraq. He, too, is a soldier in the First Armored Division. He, too, is not doing the job for which he enlisted. He was trained to be a tank scout. Now he is a sniper. His term of enlistment was up months ago, but he has been stop-lossed. The Army will not let him leave. He has become a part of the involuntary Army. He should be home by now. It’s too late for my son but not for his best friend and thousands of their fellow soldiers and Marines. Now is the right time, the right place, the right mission to Bring Our Troops Home!

"Now is the right time, the right place, the right mission to Bring Our Troops Home!" There's no lack of clarity there.

If you want to "fine tune" the invasion/occupation, you argue that yourself, not on Cindy Sheehan's back. You're distorting what she stands for. If it's because you honestly don't know what she stands for then you need to ask yourself what sources you get your information from? If you do know what she stands for and you made the decision to distort it, then shame on you.

We can go all night on this post. (But we won't.)

Military Families Speak Out, "E-Mail from MFSO Member Lisa Gill about Meeting with Congressman Jim McDermott on Saturday, July 23rd - 3rd Anniversary of the Downing Street Memo"* (scroll to "Remarks by MFSO Member Bear Dyson")

My name is Bear Dyson and I am honored to co-represent Pacific N. W. MFSO- Military Families Speak Out. Formed in November of 2002, we are an organization of people who are opposed to the war in Iraq, who call out for an exit strategy to bring our troops home, who call for the return of our Natl. Guard. To these ends we will continue to work with our allies, we are relentless in the pursuit of these aims.

Again, Military Families Speak Out, Lou Plummer's "A Report From Fayetteville:"*

In Fayetteville, NC today, military families and veterans were once again at the forefront of the national resistance to the war in Iraq. Beginning at noon, Military Families Speak Out members Stan Goff, Larry Syverson and myself joined members of Fayetteville Peace With Justice at Quaker House to prepare for an afternoon press conference. Media representatives included MSNBC, National Public Radio and all of the local TV stations serving the Ft. Bragg area.Iraq Veterans Against the War member Charlie Anderson from Norfolk, VA drove home the message "Bring them home now and support them when they get here." The publicity for the event reached the Fayetteville community in plenty of time to spread our message to potential new members of MFSO and IVAW. Charlie was able to sign up several Iraq vets. Stan and I spent hours talking to new contacts.

[*Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace and CODEPINK are "scroll down" sites. Meaning the links won't take you to individual entries.]

"B-b-b-but C.I.! That's not Cindy Sheehan speaking!"

Gold Star Families for Peace's "Dear Friends and Supporters:"*

Dear Friends and Supporters,
George Bush said speaking about the dreadful loss of life in Iraq in August: (08/03/05): "We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission." "The families of the fallen can be assured that they died for a noble cause."
In reaction to these two asinine and hurtful statements, members of Gold Star Families for Peace (GSFP) are going to George's vacation home in Crawford, Tx this Saturday, August 6th at 11:00 am to confront him on these two statements.
1) We want our loved ones sacrifices to be honored by bringing our nation's sons and daughters home from the travesty that is Iraq IMMEDIATELY, since this war is based on horrendous lies and deceptions. Just because our children are dead, why would we want any more families to suffer the same pain and devastation that we are.
2) We would like for him to explain this "noble cause" to us and ask him why Jenna and Barbara are not in harm's way, if the cause is so noble.
3) If George is not ready to send the twins, then he should bring our troops home immediately. We will demand a speedy withdrawal.
GSFP will be joined by members of Veteran's for Peace (VFP), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Code Pink, and Crawford Peace House.
We GSFP members will not leave until we get answers from George Bush. We deserve and expect him to welcome us with answers to as why our loved ones are dead.
Every worker for peace, every worker for justice, every person who wants our country back are welcomed to join us on Saturday. Show George Bush that we mean business. Be there to support us family members who have already been through so much. We are fighting for our country, our world, especially the children.
Crawford is about 2 hours from Dallas where the VFP Convention is being held this weekend. There will be car pools from the convention.
Bring water and hats...we plan on staying until we are arrested or satisfied with the answers. (I am betting on jail).
Please pass this email on to your friends, lists, and media. For more info: call Cindy Sheehan 707-365-7750 I will be in Dallas starting tomorrow evening.

"IMMEDIATELY" is in all caps in this from Cindy Sheehan. Does that confuse? "HONOR OUR LOVED ONE'S SACRIFICES: BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW!!!!" That's pretty clear.

CODEPINK asks for your help with the following:

ONEMILLIONREASONS.ORG:Tell Bush to Get Out of Iraq
Polls show that we now represent the majority -- 6 out of 10 Americans would like the US troops to come home -- people feel isolated from each other and feel their voices are not being heard. So we have created an exciting new campaign called ONEMILLIONREASONS.ORG, where you can post on-line YOUR reason why the US should get out of Iraq, and read what other people all over the world have to say. On September 26 we will hand deliver the signatures and messages directly to the White House.

Join us for the mass mobilization in Washington DC, September 24 - 26
The tide is turning and now more than ever we have to force those behind the gates of the White House to see the writing on the wall. We must get out of Iraq NOW. Join with tens of thousands of other activists who know the time for us is NOW. Be with us in this historic moment as we march on the White House and deliver one millionreasons to BUSH. Mark your calendars, reserve your tickets, and get your pink gear ready!

The reality is that these aren't groups latching onto Cindy Sheehan, these are groups that she's been a part for some time. In the case of Gold Star Families for Peace, we're talking about an organization that she co-founded.

Mike mentioned ones on the right who were screwing up Sheehan's message as well as some on the left. I'm not surprised about the right, I can't believe people on the left would mess with her message and I'm hoping that it's just a case of someone not knowing the basic facts. But these are the basic facts.

If they are new to you, you need to reconsider where you get your information.

We're not done yet. Let me plug Democracy Now! and note that Cindy Sheehan, long before People Magazine discovered her, was a regular guest. If you've got time for People, for the Washington Post or the New York Times, you better make time for Democracy Now! Not just when everyone's talking about some segment, but every day because Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and all the people behind the scenes at Democracy Now! bust their butts to bring viewers, listeners and readers the reality of the world around us.

"Thousands Protest in Fayetteville in Largest Army Base Demonstration Since Vietnam" (Democracy Now!, March 21, 2005):

Cindy Sheehan: Since this war is based on lies and betrayals -- this is very awkward -- not one more drop of blood should be spilled, not one more penny for killing. If our Congress votes to give Mr. Bush $81 billion more, they should soak their hands in blood and not ink from sham elections in Iraq. On this day, we should remember the terrible loss of our country that we have suffered and the devastating losses, too, of the Iraqis, especially we families who have paid the terrible price for our leaders’ recklessness. I have a challenge for George W. Bush. [inaudible] democracy, why doesn't he march his daughters over there. I'm done. But if he won't send his kids, he should bring our kids home now!

Not one more drop of blood? Is that confusing? ". . . if he won't send his kids, he should bring our kids home now!" Is that confusing? Maybe you think Cindy Sheehan's down in Crawford, TX because she wants to see Jenna & Barbara Bush enlisted? If so, you're wrong. (Sheehan knows that's not happening. But, let me ask again, did either get a job? I thought they were going to be teachers by now?)

Are you still confused?

"Mother of Soldier Killed in Iraq: 'The Best Way To Honor My Son's Death Would Be To Bring The Troops Home'" (Democracy Now!, June 29, 2005):

CINDY SHEEHAN: Well, first of all, I think the best way to honor my son's death would be to bring the troops home, and that's what we in Gold Star Families want our children to be remembered for: peace and not war and hatred. For him to use my son's blood to continue the killing, to me, is despicable. I don't want one more drop of blood spilled in my son's name or in my name. We never should have been there in the first place. It was a mistake. It was a mistake when we invaded. It's a mistake now, and I want my son’s sacrifice and the sacrifices of the other brave Americans to stand for peace and to bring peace to the world and not to spread more hate. You know, he said that my son died to spread freedom and democracy in that region. We're spreading imperialism and death and destruction everywhere we go. And, no, not one more drop of blood in my son's name or the names of any other of our brave young people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for basically nothing.

"Not one more more drop of blood" -- still confused?

Distorting Cindy Sheehan is not supporting Cindy Sheehan. If you want to Thomas Friedman it (as Mike said), that's you're issue. That is not, however, Cindy Sheehan's issue. She has been clear for some time. Maybe you're new to her, maybe your media sources failed you, but her message has been "Bring the troops home now." It hasn't changed.

So if fine tuning is your thing, then own up to it being your thing. Don't push it off on Cindy Sheehan. Don't claim to speak for her. (I don't speak for her, I've put her words up in this post to attempt to clear up confusion that stems from . . . I don't know what.)

It really bothers me that her words, which are very clear and very consistent, are being distorted. I pray it's not intentional. But that doesn't change the fact that anyone arguing fine tuning and smarter war with Iraq is arguing a point that's not being made by Cindy Sheehan.

So if someone wants to argue that point, they need to do it on their own. They don't need to put words into Cindy Sheehan's mouth or couch their hawk-ish attitude on Sheehan's back.

Maybe they didn't hear all of her testimony at the Conyer's hearing?

Again, I would like to thank you for inviting me to testify today and giving me a chance to tell my story, which is the tragic story of too many familes here in the US and in Iraq. I hope and pray that this is the first step in exposing the lies to the light and bringing justice for the ones who can no longer speak for themselves. More importantly, I hope this is a step in bringing our other children home from the lie of historic proportions that is Iraq. Thank you.

Cindy Sheehan wants the troops home and she wants them home now. Laura Flanders has covered this on The Laura Flanders Show as well as when she filled in last week on The Majority Report. (Laura Flanders, on any show, is another source of solid information. So turn off the cable news, toss aside the remote and listen to Laura Flanders.)

Now maybe you're still not convinced of what Cindy Sheehan belives in. Well here's another great source for news, BuzzFlash. (Does an incredible job.)

"The Dangerous Gold Star Families" (BuzzFlash, January 24, 2005)
When is this administration going to bring the rest of our children home before it's too late for their families?
[. . .]
We Gold Star Families for Peace are not giving up the fight to hold someone in this administration accountable for the quagmire in Iraq and the more important struggle to bring the rest of our children home from this devastating occupation now. It takes most of our energy just to get out of our beds in the morning and mourn our horrific losses. We need all Americans to wake up and start lobbying their elected officials for an end to this immorality in Iraq and to join our voices in protest.

I've italicized the above because Cindy Sheehan has emphasized (bold print) "Gold Star Families for Peace" and "now." ". . . bring the rest of our children home from this devastating occupation now." Is that still not clear?

"Stories From the Front: The only way to support our troops is to bring them home from this mess -- now." (BuzzFlash, written by Cindy Sheehan, July 11, 2005):

Let's affirm life in the fullest for everybody: the unfortunate, uncounted people living Iraq who are "acceptable" collateral damage to the war hawks, and our own indispensable loved ones. The only way to support our troops is to bring them home from this mess --now.

Is that clear enough?

She is not trying to prove her hawk bonafides.

She is not someone without a spine who can't speak out and speak clearly.

For whatever reasons, some people have either missed her message or taken the attitude of, "I know she said this, but I think she meant . . ." She is very clear, she is always very clear when she speaks. Her message has been "Bring the troops home now."

If you imply otherwise, you are wrong. If you imply othewise and know better, you are lying.

Distorting is not supporting.

Cindy Sheehan has spoken for herself. If you claim that she's for fine tuning or a smarter war or anything other than "Bring the Troops Home Now!" you have left the reality based world.

Americans want the troops home now. And this attitude might have taken hold a long time ago if certain gate keepers hadn't worked overtime to trash anyone who said "Bring the troops home now." Cindy Sheehan is now speaking out and she's getting attention and, for some reason, some want to use her to argue for fine tuning the invasion/occupation.

If you want to fine tune, you make the argument yourself. Don't pin your fantasies of a 'smarter' war on Cindy Sheehan.

We'll end with something completely not associated with Cindy Sheehan but that makes a similar argument, "Bring The Troops Home Now" (The Progressive):

The United States should pull out of Iraq. Already, the United States has lost more than 1,350 soldiers. Already, about 10,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded, at a rate now of almost 1,000 a month.
That is too high a price for us to pay in American blood.
Then there are the Iraqi civilians who have died. According to, as of January 5, Bush's war has killed between 15,080 to 17,285 civilians. But that organization compiles statistics only from published reports. According to a study done by public health officials from Johns Hopkins University, the actual total is much higher. Their study, published in the British medical journal the Lancet, says at least 100,000 civilians have died, the majority falling victim to U.S. attacks.
Then there is the cost in American dollars. The United States has spent about $160 billion so far on this war, and the yearly price tag is rising toward $100 billion. This is draining our Treasury of much-needed revenue. For instance, the Administration says it can't afford $300 million more for Pell grants-less than 0.5 percent of what it is spending on this war. Poor students can't go to college because Bush went off half-cocked.
The situation in Iraq shows no signs of stabilizing. Quite the contrary. The morbid pace of chaos is increasing. The last six months of 2004 were the deadliest for U.S. troops since Bush launched the war, with 503 U.S. soldiers perishing. And the attacks keep mounting. "The number of attacks on U.S. and allied troops grew from an estimated 1,400 attacks in September to 1,600 in October and 1,950 in November," Robert Burns of AP reported. In November 2003, by contrast, the number of attacks was 864.

[. . .]
The objections to leaving are not persuasive. First, we are told that if we leave, there may be a civil war in Iraq. But there is essentially a civil war going on right now. And the CIA predicts that by staying in Iraq, the United States may precipitate an all-out civil war. So why should we stay to prevent a civil war when we are in the process of creating one?
Second, we are told that if we leave, we will be helping Al Qaeda. It is very unlikely Al Qaeda will take over Iraq. The Shiites are in the majority, and Al Qaeda is a Sunni-based movement. What's more, Bush is helping Al Qaeda by staying in Iraq. The pictures of Abu Ghraib and the images of the U.S. leveling of Fallujah run on an endless loop on Arab and Muslim TV around the world. Every time there is a new atrocity-like the U.S. soldier shooting the wounded, unarmed Iraqi in a mosque, or the U.S. bombing of a residential home with a 500-pound bomb-this provides additional footage for the next bin Laden video. The occupation is inflaming hatred against the United States among a new generation of Arabs and Muslims. Some of the more violent will join up with Al Qaeda, which is now 18,000 strong, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
Third, some people say we have a moral obligation to clean up our mess in Iraq. But there are some messes that the mess-maker is incapable of cleaning up. Iraq is one of them. The pyromaniac does not make a very good firefighter. And Bush is a pyromaniac.
The departure of the United States "entails risks," as Harvard Professor Stanley Hoffmann acknowledged in a piece for The New York Review of Books. "A breakup of the country can by no means be ruled out. Although an elected Iraqi government would be in a strong position to ask other countries, especially in the Muslim world, to provide the forces needed by the U.N., it may find those countries unwilling to risk their soldiers' lives. Conflict over a new constitution could lead to a civil war, or to foreign interventions, say, by Iran helping the Iraqi Shiite clerics, or by Turkey trying to prevent Kurdish secession."
But we believe the United States has neither the right nor the capacity to contribute to a solution. As Hoffmann writes: "Preventing a bloody disintegration of Iraq, and preventing a takeover of Iraq by Islamic extremist terrorists if new Iraqi security forces prove to be inadequate, should be left to international diplomacy by the U.N. and regional organizations, as well as to international peacemaking forces provided by them and by individual countries."

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