A Fallen Soldier!

What Is This Picture?

Obviously, it's a picture in a cemetery.  What cemetery and whose grave?  

Sadly, it's the grave of Casey Sheehan.  After two years, and a DoD payment of $250,000 to the "Peace Mom", Cindy Sheehan has not had the time or bothered to have a headstone placed on this young hero's grave.  And, she doesn't even have to pay for one, the DoD will provide one:

"The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world. For all deaths occurring before September  11, 2001, the VA may provide a headstone or marker only for graves that are  not marked with a private headstone.

Flat markers in granite, marble,  and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains."

Apparently she can find time to protest on at  least 3 continents, get arrested various times, go on vacation in Hawaii, have  photo ops with the Marxists in Venezuela, but can't seem to find the time to properly mark her son's grave.


I've never understood the Sheehan craze

The frenzied rush by segments of the left to associate themselves with Cindy (who, let's face it, isn't the best advocate) screams of fundamental doubts about the left's own legitimacy on matters of war.

Note to progressive America: you don't need to hang out with a mother who lost a son in Iraq (or a vet running for office, for that matter) in order to have a right to an opinion.

I'm making a lot of admissions today...

Shhh! I cringe every time I see or hear her. She doesn't speak for me. I think it's tacky and cheap how many on the left cling to her as if she's the only face of grief from Iraq....as if that legitimizes our claims against the war. Our claims against the war were legitimate before the first soldier, airman, sailor or marine died.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

She's Like Michael Moore

Except without all the entertaining documentaries.

I've never seen one of his

documentaries or read one of his books. I guess I'm just dull.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

When you knock Cindy! You support the Bush neo-con War!

Reguardless of her so-called politics of the left! She was the
lighting rod that bought the Anti-war question to American Public
and expose the Bush neo-con war mongering.

When 70% of the American
People consider Bush a loser on the War now, than she is the winner and
you are the winner. Do you perfer some demo wimps still debating the
and winning or the chance to roll the repub war machine out of
office in November? Knocking Cindyis like some repub
brain dead idiot who still thinks that we are still winning in Iraq or let's
nuke Iran ass right now.

M, The More I Think About Your Comment

The more I disagree. I can knock Cindy without supporting the war—I just did. The "if you're not with us you're against us" attitude is one of the characteristics about this administration that I'd like to see nipped, wilted, and eventually dead. It certainly isn't something that I plan to adopt just to defeat the other side.

I believe that the war in Iraq was wrong (though I don't have any problem with the fall of Saddam Hussein) and that the way America was duped into it was even more wrong. I believe the war is a no-win situation. I believe that our involvement in Iraq needs to be wrapped up as soon as possible without unnecessarily making the situation worse. And I believe that Cindy makes that harder, not easier. There's no contridiction there.

Finally something we can all disagree about.

I totally am behind everything Sheehan is doing. Too many people take their personal grief to heart and stop there. So when someone is willing to step into the spotlight and raise hell, I say god bless 'em. What she is doing is far more important than any grave marker will ever be.

Pardon my cynicism, but dead people don't give a shit about stuff like this. It's the ones who are still alive I worry about.

C'mon, really?

Anonymous, do you attribute the new Democratic backbone and Bush's low approval ratings to Cindy Sheehan?

Anglico, are you saying that Sheehan's approach to activism has benefitted the left more than the right?

For me, I doubt it. She doesn't recognize the difference between the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. She said that "The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush," which is not at all constructive. Which conservative reaction to that statement seems more likely: "oh, gosh, I never thought about it but she's right" or "I better give a little bit more to Santorum this year"? She's called the foreign fighters who have come to Iraq to fight us "freedom fighters." She's said that "We (the United States) are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now." She's said that our country is not worth dying for.

You can spin those statements until they come out clean, but nobody but her strongest supporters will. I think that her impact in the larger debate has been to help the right paint liberals as a bunch of nuts. I'm sorry for her loss, and I'm glad she wants to make things better, but I don't think she's helping. In politics, it is emphatically not true that there's no such thing as bad press.

The right vilifies anyone who disagrees with them

so I don't much care what they paint or don't paint or what they have to say about anyone. But more to the point, extreme moral outrage and extreme positions make the rest of us look normal . . . which comes in handy sometimes.

And as to her assertion that George Bush is the biggest terrorist in the world . . . it may not be constructive, but it's sure as hell true. If he didn't happen to be president of the US, but was instead, say, the president of some middle eastern country, he'd be tried as a war criminal for his actions in Iraq.

What he said...

I can add nothing to what Lance has said.

Anonymous you sound like the Republicans who say when you speak out against the war you aid the the insurgents. It's a crock.

Cindy Sheehan was not the first to speak out against the war. She put a face on a mother's grief, but opposition to the war was in full swing before Cindy came along.

I guess I was able to add to what Lance said.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

WELL HELL! Here I go Again!

Looks like I stired the pot good! Sorry about that. But I can see good in what each of you are trying to say! And it not because I am a veteran and looking at it from that point of view, I just happen to agree with Lance on this one! SD , Please dont get too mad with me.


A little late to be saying

A little late to be saying you "see the good" in all sides, after the vicious slander you direct at Sheehan. This is a vile attack, and frankly it's none of your business what Sheehan does to remember her dead son. You're as bad as Rove, and it's as simple as that.

As for Sheehan's political views, one can note that your beloved Democratic Party did jack shit about the war until it was politically expedient to do so -- issuing a litany of useless apologies in 2005, two years after the war started, and almost three years after most Democrats voted to approve a war that most could see was based on trumped-up intelligence and naked oil grabbing, and which the majority of the world opposed.

Sheehan has far more backbone and political conviction than any of you waffling squishy Dems will ever have. Pathetic.


What's it called, when you respond point-by-point to someone else's post? There's a name for it, but I can't think of it.

Paragraph 1: Someone on this thread is as bad as Karl? Excitable much? Libel (you did mean libel, right? not slander?) demands false statements. Would you mind pointing those out?

Paragraph 2: What does any of this have to do with Cindy?

Paragraph 3: Backbone and political conviction she clearly has in spades. A firm grounding in reality and a sense of how to best accomplish her goals? Not so much.

Anonymous, I'm glad that you decided to comment here, and I hope that you will again. But next time, leave the personal attacks and hyperbole at home.

"Leave the personal attacks

"Leave the personal attacks and hyperbole at home." Now THAT'S rich, considering the original post. I would tell you the same, but that would mean shutting down this pathetic blog.

Hey stranger.

Who you callin' pathetic? This sweet little blog hadn' done nothin' to you, 'cept maybe burn a bunch of time you shoulda spent doin' laundry, or maybe wipin' pollen.

Dan...I agree with Lance too

Don't worry...would never get mad at you for that.

It's ANGLICO who doesn't agree with us....but we love him just the way he is anyway, right?

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

We won the public with Cindy, so move on L.

Anonymous, do you attribute the new Democratic backbone and Bush's low approval ratings to Cindy Sheehan?* L

Yep! With her having the guts to sit in that lawnchair in front of George in the hot Texas sun, And getting the attention of the media
and the neo-cons. We would still be thinking George had a plan to win
Iran! It is that simple....That was the definding moment that turn
the American public again the neo-cons and Bush. Cindy is much smarter
than you think! And for what it is worth, Her stand last year didn't come from the so-called left, but from another direction after it was test market in this area as her appeal to the General public and the
soccer moms. It is much deeper than you think L. We have won the war battle with American public now, so let's move on to cleaning house of the Repubs in DC for this fall....as you are doing in exposing them here at this site.

This is the core of our disagreement

I've never spoken to anyone who has related a story (personal or otherwise) about Cindy changing any minds. I can't think of any way to prove whether she has done more ill than good, so, much as I hate the phrase, we'll probably have to agree to disagree.

Thanks for keeping it civil.


Whatever you may think about Cindy, putting her down for this personal decision (or lack thereof) only makes you look as insubstantial as you accuse her of being. You may not agree with her politics or style, but she has very legitimate criticisms of the Bush administration.

Argue the policy, but please don't attack her personal life.

Cindy's criticisms of Bush policy

are not unique, nor was she the first. She inserted her private life into the debate, therefore is open to criticism. She used the loss of her son as the basis for her argument.

My issue is more with the faction of the left that used her as their poster mom. She took a stand. She put a face on grief for many. They have exploited it to the point that Cindy's argument has lost much of its effectiveness.

Dan is a veteran fighting for veteran's rights. I think it was appropriate for him to point out the lack of a marker at Casey's grave and to question Cindy's priorities. Again, she is the one who brought her private loss into the public eye. It doesn't make sense to allow her to make a display of her son's loss and then tell the rest of us to back off when we find her actions inappropriate or distasteful. I don't think anyone here was attacking Cindy, but we are allowed to express our opinions about the part of her private life that she has made so public.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

She really might have

A good reason for not having gotten a marker, and I do agree that that is none of our business. My quarrel is with Sheehan's advocacy and the (admittedly pretty-much finished) Sheehan craze.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan: The Human Cost of Peace
by Samuel Bostaph

Although much has been written and said about the casualties of war, there are few mentions of the casualties of those committed to peace and opposed to war. In demonstrations against past wars, protestors have been beaten by police, imprisoned and rendered penniless by expenditures on defense lawyers, as well as had their characters and reputations lied about and smeared by government officials, war supporters and the press. This is no less true of those opposed to President George W. Bush’s war against Iraq and his use of U.S. military forces in a continuing occupation of what was once the "cradle of civilization."

On August 6, 2005, a peace activist named Cindy Sheehan arrived in Crawford, Texas, and camped outside the gates of Bush’s ranch. Her avowed purpose was to meet with the president and obtain an explanation from him for his preemptive, unconstitutional war against Iraq. She had personal knowledge of the casualties of war. On April 4, 2004, her son U.S. Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, while on a rescue mission. Cindy Sheehan had been against the Bush presidency and the war in Iraq before Casey’s death, but afterwards she began publicly traveling and speaking against the war. What took her to Crawford was a television clip from a speech by Bush that was broadcast on August 3. In it, he described his war against Iraq and the subsequent occupation of that country by American troops as a "noble cause" that required continuation "to honor the sacrifices of the fallen."

Enraged at the president’s vacuous justification for what she perceived to be a great wrong, and the use of the death of her son as an argument in support of continuing that wrong, Cindy Sheehan went to Crawford for retribution. As the mother of one of the victims of his unjust war she wanted to confront the president and call him to account. He refused to meet with her, but sent two of his staff – National Security Advisor Stephan Hadley and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joe Hagin – in an attempt to mollify her. They failed, and her subsequent vigil led to international publicity and her almost instant celebrity as the "Peace Mom."

It also made her the favorite target of pro-war and pro-Bush journalists, commentators, pundits, talk-show hosts and political organizations. She was subsequently arrested for demonstrating without a permit (September 26, 2005), for unlawful conduct (January 31, 2006) and for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest (March 6, 2006), the last of which was coupled with an unnecessarily violent arrest and rough treatment by New York City police. Thus, Cindy Sheehan joined the casualties of peace.

After her August 2005 vigil in Crawford, there followed a succession of lies, distortions, misrepresentations and facile interpretations designed to paint Cindy Sheehan as an opportunistic, self-centered, lying media whore who uses her son’s death as a means both to enhance her own celebrity and to aid the political left in its war against George Bush. None of this was, or is, true.

The following are the main elements in the sliming of Cindy Sheehan, as well as the simple facts of the matter:

On September 15, 2005, radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh asserted that Cindy Sheehan’s story of her dead son was "nothing more than forged documents." Two days later, he pretended he had never said she was a fake and asserted that he had expressed sympathy for her loss on his program of September 12, but saw her actions as merely an opportunity to bash Bush. The facts of Casey’s death are public knowledge and indisputable; in fact, on Monday April 4, 2006, a memorial dedicated to all the members of the 1st Cavalry Division who died on April 4, 2004, was dedicated at Fort Hood, Texas. Casey’s name is among those listed. It is tempting to regard Limbaugh’s conflicting statements as merely a case of his oral r.p.m. exceeding his mental rate, with the torque at the low end of the scale. He is, after all, a political pornographer. But, in his obvious recklessness Limbaugh presented himself as either a fool or a malicious liar. Either way, his actions seem conscienceless. One can only speculate on the personal and professional ethics of a man or woman who will publicly repeat unfounded rumors or tell deliberate lies about a mother grieving for her dead child and demanding that the man responsible for that death explain himself.

Shortly after I wrote a positive article on Cindy Sheehan’s actions and character, followed by a review of her book Not One More Mother’s Child, I began to receive emails from people who claimed that Cindy Sheehan was divorced from her husband Pat while Casey was a toddler and that Pat and his new wife raised the boy to adulthood. So, my correspondents claimed, Cindy Sheehan was obviously using the death of her son for personal aggrandizement – not having had a parental relationship with him other than being his biological mother. Not one word of this vicious rumor is true. Cindy and Pat Sheehan were high school sweethearts, married on May 30, 1977, and subsequently had four children – Casey, Carly, Andy and Janey – all of whom they jointly raised to adulthood. The marriage lasted 28 years until Cindy and Pat Sheehan separated on June 1, 2005. Pat Sheehan subsequently filed for divorce on August 12, citing "irreconcilable differences."

And, there were those public-spirited correspondents who informed me that Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war protests and speeches betrayed that for which her son lived and died and thus dishonored his memory – that he died willingly fighting for his country and his mother was just using his death for her own political agenda. This mirrored the August 11, 2005, letter from her aunt, Cherie Quartarolo, and other in-laws, to Matt Drudge that said that Cindy Sheehan was promoting her own notoriety and personal agenda at the expense of her son’s good name and reputation. Quite aside from the point that one inherits one’s in-laws – for better or worse – one can only respond with a question: "For what did Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey fight and die?" Did he give his life for his country, or for George W. Bush? Congress did not declare war against Iraq, George W. Bush did. And for what reason? Every successive rationale for the war that George Bush, Dick Cheney Don Rumsfeld, Colin Powell or Condi Rice have presented to the American public has either gone down in the flames of evidence to the contrary, been exposed as a misrepresentation or an outright lie, or it has been expressed as an empty slogan like "noble cause." More to the point: Who is it that has used the bodies of Casey Sheehan and other fallen American soldiers and Marines as part of an obvious political agenda? The answer is not "Cindy Sheehan," it is "George W. Bush." It is Bush who seeks to sanctify his war by pouring the blood of its victims over it. Cindy Sheehan wants him to stop the sacrilege; she wants no more victims. And why does it "dishonor the memory" or expend the "good name and character" of a fallen soldier to ask for a clear explanation of why he became such? Isn’t it clear to the entire civilized world that the "honor" and "good name and character" in question is not that of a fallen soldier, but that of the commander who put him in the position of being fallen? Casey Sheehan’s good name and character has never been in question; rather it is that of George W. Bush that Cindy Sheehan has been questioning – and with good cause.

For an obnoxious example of the sort of political muggings to which Cindy Sheehan has been subjected for the past eight months, one need go no further than the Canadian website of Steve Janke, who bills himself as "Angry In the Great White North" and a representative of the Canadian conservative "right." Janke has made a cottage industry of scurrilous attacks on Cindy Sheehan’s mental health, veracity, marital situation, personal finances, political views and true regard for her dead son. And he has done so on the thinnest of factual grounds. Almost every action, change in circumstances or statement by Cindy Sheehan has been used by Janke as the basis for a creative speculation that implies that she is a true villain. Only one example is necessary: In his article of October 17, 2005, Janke used the fact that Sheehan had recently purchased a new car, while there was as yet no gravestone on Casey Sheehan’s grave, as obvious evidence of her moral depravity – or at least that’s the implication of the juxtaposition of the two facts. Janke hammered in this accusation with a speculation that the money used to buy the car either came out of Casey’s insurance payoff or the federal government military death benefit. What sort of mental sludge pit can manufacture an accusation like this from virtually no information at all? Janke has no information on why there is no gravestone; he has no information on whether Cindy Sheehan paid cash for the car and, if so, from whence the cash; he has no information on exactly what insurance amounts were paid to Sheehan and when. So, he takes this absence of knowledge and uses it to libel a woman he has never met, and knows virtually nothing about, except what he reads in newspapers or receives in gossip. Sludge from Janke’s pit is still being circulated on the web despite origins that are reminiscent of the harvesting of the orcs from the mud in The Lord of the Rings. Anyone with the stomach to do so can "google" a veritable smorgasbord of similar baseless accusations against Cindy Sheehan as well as clumsy character assassinations.

Three days after Cindy Sheehan began her vigil in Crawford, Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly said that "she has been hijacked by some very, very far left elements…there is no question that she has thrown in with the most radical elements in this country…" He added that the other families who have lost sons and daughters to the Iraq war "feel that this kind of behavior borders on treasonous." Two days later in his August 11, 2005, "O’Reilly Factor" column he said that "far left ideologies are controlling access to Cindy Sheehan…." Given O’Reilly’s personal moral character, as revealed in certain of his telephone conversations made public last year, one is tempted to dismiss this as proof of Samuel Johnson’s adage that "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel;" however, it is certainly true that Cindy Sheehan has allied herself with many "progressive groups" in her campaign against the war. On January 30, 2006, she appeared on a six-person panel on impeachment at a public forum held at the Bus Boys and Poets Bookstore in Washington, D.C. The forum was sponsored by Democracy Rising, ImpeachPAC, Backbone Campaign and Censure Bush. On March 6, 2006, she was arrested for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest outside the U.S.U.N. mission in New York City, along with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink. Code Pink is on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, which also includes Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and the Communist Party of the U.S.A. On August 8, 2005, syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin referred to Code Pink as anti-American, anti-military, terrorist-sympathizing agitators. Malkin is hardly a fount of objectivity on any issue, but many other commentators have similarly characterized Sheehan’s choice of allies and criticized her for those associations. It only deepened this perception when her January 2006 trip to Venezuela to participate in the World Social Forum was sponsored by the Venezuelan foreign ministry, and that following her appearance arm-in-arm with Hugo Chavez at a rally she said that she admired him "for his strength to resist the U.S." Yet, left out of this characterization of her choice of allies is the fact that only a few weeks before she went to Crawford in August 2005 she lectured at the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. It is also a fact that many anti-war libertarians have joined with her and all the other groups mentioned above, as well as others not listed, to oppose this unconstitutional war. Several members of the Congress of the United States, including John Conyers, Jr., have united with Cindy Sheehan against this war. Several leading figures in the Civil Rights Movement, including Dr. Joseph T. Lowery, co-founder with Martin Luther King of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, have united with Cindy Sheehan against this war. Prominent figures in the television and motion pictures industry have all united with Cindy Sheehan against this war. In the past few months, Cindy Sheehan and I have co-authored two anti-war articles that have appeared in online journals as politically diverse as LewRockwell.com, Michaelmoore.com, palestinechronicle.com and political affairs.net – a Marxist online journal. Anyone consulting my scholarship would discover that I have been a severe critic of "progressive" and socialist theories and practices for most of my academic life. The point is that mere association in a common cause does not connote a commonality of views on other matters. I would add that anyone who knows Cindy Sheehan is very much aware that she is not liable to be "hijacked" by anyone – she is an implacable foe of Bush’s war and accepts all allies in that fight, despite other differences in views. Her allies stand with Cindy Sheehan; none of them "run" her.

What strength of character, coupled with the conviction of the rightness of one’s cause, is required to wade through a daily sewer of lies and twisted interpretations about one’s character, motives, actions and personal history? Cindy Sheehan has been subjected to an almost continuous stream of conscienceless vituperation since she publicly raised the question of the motives of George W. Bush in waging a preemptive war against Iraq and continuing the devastating occupation of that country. It is true that she has often not deleted expletives from her speeches and has called the president and his closest associates "war criminals," "liars," "murderers," "cowards," and deemed them "morally corrupt." But, aren’t they? And, isn’t she justified in being angry? Shouldn’t all of us be just as angry at what is being done in the name of our country by what appears to be a pack of cowardly, arrogant, avaricious political terrorists? And what good does the argumentum ad hominem used against Cindy Sheehan do in a debate over principles and political actions? Don’t the attempts to attack and discredit her provide a strong sign that her critics dare not debate principles or facts?

The George W. Bush presidency is one that has made the act of lying to the public the centerpiece of its administration. This is a regime that appears to be dedicated to shredding the last tattered vestiges of the Constitution of the United States for purposes that the members of that regime either cannot or will not reveal. Kidnapping, torture, imprisonment without due process, violation of the Geneva Conventions, ad hoc trial procedures forced on prisoners brought to military tribunals, domestic spying in violation of federal law; all of these are features of the Bush regime.

To date, almost 2400 U.S. soldiers and Marines have died and over 17,000 have been wounded in a preemptive and unconstitutional war and occupation waged by the Bush regime. Tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children have suffered the same fate. Cindy Sheehan has single-handedly and publicly called the President of the United States to account and has demanded the return of U.S. forces from Iraq if he cannot provide a clear explanation for their being there. And he continues to run from her. Rather than branding her as "unpatriotic" and accusing her of aiding and abetting the enemy, of being "a hardleaning leftie" (Jeff Quinton) or a "fascist fishwife" (James Taranto), some of her critics need to refresh their memories about what the United States of America used to represent to the rest of the world. Ronald Reagan called it "a shining city on a hill"; few outside its borders see much shine to that city anymore. In spite of his almost constant use of the word "freedom," George W. Bush has taken us closer to the Britain of V for Vendetta than to the "Atlantis" of Atlas Shrugged.

Those same critics should also look within themselves to discover how they managed to join the lowest common denominator in the vulgarization of public debate over this war. They should be celebrating Cindy Sheehan for her patriotism and love of country, rather than vilifying her with terms that would have caused their mothers to wash out their mouths with soap.

April 20, 2006

Samuel Bostaph [send him mail] is Professor of Economics and Chairman of the Department of Economics at The University of Dallas. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles on topics in intellectual history and economic theory. A former enlisted Marine, who later served as a U.S. Army intelligence staff officer during the Vietnam War era, he is the proud father of Katie and Megan Bostaph and prays that they may never go to war.

In the interests of accuracy

In what sense is the Iraq war unconstitutional? Ill-advised, morally wrong, and based on falsehoods, fine. But unconstitutional?

So anyway, would it be ok if I agree that Cindy has been subjected to all kinds of slimy accusation and innuendo and still not love or support her? This article does a great job laying out how the right wing have turned Cindy into a propaganda boon. It doesn't do anything to convince me that she's done corresponding good for the peace movement.