On Cindy Sheehan
If you're expecting a post saying that Ms. Sheehan is a nutjob, you might want to skip this post. If you are expecting me to show her as a saint, same advice.
I really don't know what to make of Ms. Sheehan. On the one hand, we see a grieiving mother who has been stirred to some activism. On the other hand, I'm confused about how she can in one article say that she had a fairly good meeting with the President last year, and another one of the same event that was less charitible.
Chris Battles has a critical look at Sheehan that I don't agree with on the whole. While I don't agree with her viewpoint of an immediate pullout, she does have a right to protest like any American should. Here is the money quote from Chris:
The problem with this woman is that she is basically a misquided lunatic. From allegations that her son died for a "Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel" from her real reason for 9/11, that the "Arab-Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy," this lady proves repeatedly that she is no more in-tune with the issues than the tent she's sleeping in. And, true to form, the liberal media is giving her all the face time they can, including appearances on CNN's 'Hardball' and '360 With Anderson Cooper'. To Cooper's credit, he did catch her in a lie when she tried to deny the Israel statement, even though the letter that contains it included her signature. Despite her family's plea to leave, her husband, who is divorcing her in part because of her antics, and the angry words of President Bush's neighbors, Sheehan is refusing to leave or shut up. Lately she has become more radical, calling for the impeachment of the president and refusing to pay taxes until she gets her son back.
Here's my take (is it such a mystery?): Someone needs to call the men in the white van and the coats and take care of this lady. Rather than make sweeping generalizations about her state of mind, however, I'd like to refute some of her ridiculous arguments.
He also calls for the IRS to lock Ms. Sheehan up for not paying taxes.
There are a few things that I have to note here. I think it is wrong to say that a mother who lost her son as a lunatic. I don't know what her motives are. I don't agree with her viewpoint, but to say that she is crazy isn't fair.
I also think it is a leap of logic to assume that her foray into the ant-war movement is what caused her divorce. I have no idea what caused it, but losing a child could have something to do with it, not necessarily her politics. John Cole says it much better.
With some on the right demonizing her for daring to question the war, the left has made her a saint. I don't think either is right or even correct. Again, I don't know what to think. I do think both sides are using her.
As for the President meeting with her? Well even if he did, it wouldn't probably change her mind, but I still think he should. Since I have some experience with public relations, I know that it makes sense to handle public relation crises head on instead of ignoring them. The best way to defuse a situation is to face it. I doubt any minds would be changed, but it would show that the President cares and might defuse the anti-war left. I doubt the President will do that, since he has a penchant for not listening to any other viewpoints.
I for one don't buy the whole "let's pull out now" talk. Such a move would be disastrous. And yes some of her words border on weird conspiracy theories. But I do think we need to let her speak, even if her views seem beyond the pale because she is a grieiving mother. People who have expereinced some kind of loss sometime say things that make no sense. We've all seen how families react when they confront someone who murdered a love one. Sometimes what they say makes no sense. But we need to hear them because we need to hear what they lost. It's for that reason we need to hear Ms. Sheehan. While there are a lot of questions, one thing I can't question is the pain she feels about losing her son in a war she didn't agree with. She has a right to express her pain even if I don't agree with it because she is the one who has lost something precious to her.
I wish everyone , both on the left and the right, would just leave this woman alone.