Perspectives on Bush-Sharon Meeting
Palestinian State? Nuclear Weapons; Christian Zionism; Home Destruction
WASHINGTON -- April 11 --
NASEER ARURI, email@example.com, http://www.tari.org Author of the book "Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Roles in Israel and Palestine," Aruri is chancellor professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He said today: "At the rhetorical level, both leaders pay lip service to the creation of a Palestinian state. And yet, both are committed to positions at variance with the existence of a truly independent and contiguous state. Both have declared the so-called Disengagement Plan of Ariel Sharon as the only game in town. ... The 'Disengagement Plan' will serve as a model for a political settlement in the West Bank where contiguity has been ruled out by the so-called separation wall, which is rapidly consolidating most of the settlement blocs and rendering the West Bank a fragmented area unsuitable for a viable Palestinian state. ... A drastic reversal of these impediments is the only path towards peace, and that requires a solution under impartial and international auspices."
MORDECHAI VANUNU, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.vanunu.com The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported that on April 2 the U.S. State Department "called on Israel to forswear nuclear weapons and accept international Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all nuclear activities." [See: <http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/560047.html>] Vanunu, who worked at Israel's Dimona nuclear facility, revealed Israel's nuclear capacity in 1986 and was imprisoned for 18 years, most of it in solitary confinement. He said today: "I hope Bush will begin to deal seriously with Israel's nuclear weapons and urge Sharon to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty. The U.S. government, if it is serious about nonproliferation, will confront the Israeli government about its nuclear weapons. Israel introduced the policy, the system of cheating on the development of nuclear weapons and then you had South Africa, Iran, Iraq and North Korea." On March 17, Vanunu was indicted by the Israeli government for speaking to media and continues to be under severe travel restrictions. His court date is Tuesday. He told the Institute for Public Accuracy today: "I will continue to exercise my human rights, my right of free speech. ... I hope reporters in Crawford will raise questions about Israel's nuclear weapons and my freedom of speech and freedom to leave."
HADI JAWAD, email@example.com, http://crawfordrally4peacenjustice.org, http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2002/0210unres.html Jawad is spokesperson for the Crawford Peace House, which scheduled a news conference at 2 p.m. (local time) Monday in Crawford. The group created a 800-foot-long banner containing all of the United Nations resolutions that Israel is in violation of.
Rev. DONALD WAGNER, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.ChristianZionism.org Author of the book "Anxious for Armageddon," Wagner said today: "There has been a convergence with Bush coming to power of the neo-conservatives, the rightwing of the Republican Party, Christian fundamentalists, and Jewish supporters of Likud and further to the right. This is exercising significant power in the formation of U.S. Mideast policy, using the 'war on terrorism,' and rallying many around a culture of fear." Wagner is executive director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University in Chicago, which is holding a conference on "Israel, the Bible, and the Future" this Thursday and Friday.
LIAT WEINGART, email@example.com, http://www.CatDestroysHomes.org/article.php?id=288, http://www.JewishVoiceForPeace.org On Wednesday shareholders of Caterpillar, Inc., will vote on a resolution calling on the company to investigate whether its sale of bulldozers to Israel for demolition of Palestinian houses, orchards and roads violates its own Worldwide Code of Business Conduct. On the same day, groups in over 40 cities -- including Chicago, Washington, Dallas, Memphis,
Also sometimes referred to as secular, modern, or humanistic. This is an umbrella term for Protestant denominations, or churches within denominations, that view the Bible as the witness of God rather than the word of God, to be interpreted in its historical context through critical analysis. Examples include some churches within Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ. There are more than 2,000 Protestant denominations offering a wide range of beliefs from extremely liberal to mainline to ultra-conservative and those that include characteristics on both ends.
|•||Belief in Deity |
Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty. Many believe God is incorporeal.
Beliefs vary from the literal to the symbolic belief in Jesus Christ as God's incarnation. Some believe we are all sons and daughters of God and that Christ was exemplary, but not God.
|•||Origin of Universe and Life |
The Bible's account is symbolic. God created and controls the processes that account for the universe and life (e.g. evolution), as continually revealed by modern science.
|•||After Death |
Goodness will somehow be rewarded and evil punished after death, but what is most important is how you show your faith and conduct your life on earth.
|•||Why Evil? |
Most do not believe that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve or that Satan actually exists. Most believe that God is good and made people inherently good, but also with free will and imperfect nature, which leads some to immoral behavior.
Various beliefs: Some believe all will go to heaven, as God is loving and forgiving. Others believe salvation lies in doing good works and no harm to others, regardless of faith. Some believe baptism is important. Some believe the concept of salvation after death is symbolic or nonexistent.
|•||Undeserved Suffering |
Most Liberal Christians do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God's plan, will, or design, even if we don't immediately understand it. Some don't believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering, and most take a humanistic approach to helping those in need.
|•||Contemporary Issues |
Most churches teach that abortion is morally wrong, but many ultimately support a woman's right to choose, usually accompanied by policies to provide counseling on alternatives. Many are accepting of homosexuality and gay rights.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 13, 2005; A01
CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 12 -- Cindy Sheehan vaulted into national consciousness this month on the power of her story as the grieving mother of a fallen soldier.
But what began as a solitary campaign to force a meeting with President Bush by setting up camp along the road to his ranch has quickly taken on the full trappings of a political campaign. Sheehan is working with a political consultant and a team of public relations professionals, and now she is featured in a television ad.
Sheehan began her protest here last Saturday after crisscrossing the country for more than a year demanding answers on why Bush continues to wage what she calls an unjust war in Iraq. After her son Casey Sheehan, 24, was killed in Baghdad last year, she founded Gold Star Families for Peace, an antiwar organization that labored largely in obscurity -- until now.
In part, Sheehan's case has echoed as her grievances merged with what polls show is growing dissatisfaction with the war. But her cause has also been aided by political organizers who swiftly mobilized around her -- recognizing an opportunity to cause acute discomfort for a vacationing president and put a powerful emotional frame around the antiwar movement.
No one watching cable television news this week, dominated by coverage of Sheehan's crusade, could doubt that they largely achieved their aim.
Sheehan's Crawford encampment has swollen in the past week, as other antiwar protesters have flocked to Texas. Members of CodePink, a women's antiwar organization, have pitched their tent near Sheehan's.
TrueMajority -- an antiwar group founded by Ben Cohen, one of the creators of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream -- hired Fenton Communications, a Washington public relations firm that has worked intermittently with Sheehan over the past year to coordinate media coverage.
With this help, Sheehan has courted coverage from the traveling White House press corps with a news conference. A schedule of when relatives of other military casualties in Iraq are expected to join Sheehan here was distributed to reporters. Her team is coordinating an antiwar rally planned for Saturday.
Joe Trippi, the political consultant behind former Vermont governor Howard Dean's early success in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary race, hosted a conference with Sheehan for liberal Internet bloggers, hoping their online dispatches will draw even wider attention.
On Saturday, Sheehan launched a TV ad campaign hoping to achieve what her roadside vigil so far has not: a second chance to directly tell Bush about the devastation she has experienced since her son's death.
"Mr. President, I want to tell you face to face how much this hurts," Sheehan says in the ad, which will air with only a modest $15,000 buy of airtime in Waco, the nearest broadcast market to Bush's 1,600-acre spread. "How many more of our loved ones need to die in this senseless war?"
The rising profile of Sheehan's vigil has proved awkward for the president's staff, which has been reluctant to publicly refute the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, even as they do not wish to be seen as bowing to what they view as an orchestrated publicity campaign. On Friday, as Bush's motorcade whizzed by Sheehan's camp on the way to a nearby barbecue expected to raise $2 million for the Republican National Committee, Sheehan held up a sign saying "Why do you make time for donors and not for me?"
Bush has been publicly respectful, responding to Sheehan's case with reporters on Thursday and saying he has thought "long and hard about her position," even though he disagrees with her about the war.
Still, as Sheehan has stepped onto the media stage, she has become a target in the way that happens inevitably to anyone involved in high-stakes political combat -- with opponents questioning her motives and examining her statements for contradictions.
"Despite what the headlines say, Sheehan, 48, is more antiwar protester than grieving mother," said a column Friday in the online version of the American Spectator. "She is co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization that seeks to impeach George W. Bush and apparently to convince the U.S. government to surrender to Muslim terrorists."
Meanwhile, the Heart of Texas chapter of FreeRepublic.com, an online conservative forum, has scheduled a demonstration here for Saturday to counteract Sheehan's protest and show support for Bush and the war.
Others have also raised questions about Sheehan's account of her first meeting with Bush, which occurred two months after her son's death in April 2004. Sheehan was part of a larger group of grieving family members who met with Bush at Fort Lewis in Washington state.
After the meeting, she was quoted by the newspaper in her hometown of Vacaville, Calif., as saying that the president seemed sympathetic. Subsequently, she has said that Bush treated her callously during the meeting.
Sheehan said her initial reaction to Bush reflected her shock over her son's death. In addition, she said she grew increasingly angry toward Bush as it became clear that the United States had not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and as evidence emerged that the administration had discussed an invasion of Iraq before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She has said that she has become further angered as the administration has sent mixed signals about its plans for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
Though Sheehan's protest has galvanized support among antiwar activists, it has divided parts of her own family, some of whom sent an e-mail to news organizations distancing themselves from her protest.
"We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation," said an e-mail sent to the Reporter newspaper, in Vacaville. The e-mail was signed by Casey Sheehan's aunt Cherie Quartarolo on behalf of his paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
"The Sheehan family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving," the e-mail said. "The rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops, our country and our president, silently, with prayer and respect."
Sheehan, however, told the paper that the admonition came from in-laws who often disagreed with her.
"We have always been on separate sides of the fence politically and I have not spoken to them since the elections when they supported the man who is responsible for Casey's death," Sheehan said. "The thing that matters to me is that my family, Casey's dad and my other three kids, are on the same side of the fence that I am."
Cindy Sheehan, left, holds up a sign just before President Bush's motorcade passed heading to a fund raiser near Crawford, Texas, Friday, Aug. 12, 2005. Sheehan is seeking a meeting with President Bush to discuss the death of her son Casey Sheehan. (AP Photo/LM Otero) (Lm Otero - AP)
By LISA LEFF
The Associated Press
Saturday, August 13, 2005; 12:16 AM
SAN FRANCISCO -- He was an altar boy, an Eagle Scout, a church youth group leader. That is what people remember about Casey Sheehan, the 24-year-old soldier whose death in Iraq has become a flashpoint for debate about the war since his mother began staging a peace vigil outside the president's ranch in Texas.
Among family and friends _ not to mention TV pundits, Internet bloggers and newspaper columnists _ opinions vary about Cindy Sheehan's demand to meet with the president to talk about why the U.S. went to war. Like others, they struggle with whether her determination to bring the war home honors or diminishes his choice to join the Army.
But those who knew the young man she so publicly mourns agree that if anyone is an appropriate face for the war's more than 1,800 U.S. deaths, it is Casey. He had a gentle but firm commitment to family, church and country, re-enlisting after the war started and volunteering for the rescue mission in which he and six others were killed last year.
"Casey was quiet, but he loved to serve and it didn't matter whether it was working in the kitchen, backstage or up front," recalled Steve Tholcke, who directs a Catholic youth camp where Sheehan worked as a counselor and organized youth retreats. "If something needed to be done, Casey was there to do it."
Born on Memorial Day, Casey Austin Sheehan was the first of Cindy and Patrick Sheehan's four children. In an essay she wrote for the liberal online magazine Truthout this year, Cindy Sheehan described Casey's early years as a typically suburban experience. He loved Nintendo, G.I. Joes, watching Wrestlemania and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"We did everything together. Even when one of us would want a frozen yogurt, we would all pile into 'Vanna White,' our white Chevy Astro Van," she wrote. "There was no such thing as one of us going and bring yogurt home for everybody. We all just went."
The Sheehans were active members of their Roman Catholic churches, first in the Southern California community of Norwalk, and then in Vacaville, the town halfway between Sacramento and San Francisco where they moved when Casey was 14.
Stefanie Fereday-Mannel, a fellow member of St. Mary's Church in Vacaville, recalls how close the family was, and how Casey shared his mother's deep faith and commitment to the church, even as a teenager. When Cindy Sheehan worked as a youth minister, Casey helped found the church's youth group and remained active even after graduating from high school.
"At some point church can be not the cool thing to do, and I remember always admiring Casey for being so dedicated to church as a young person," Fereday-Mannel said. "He didn't really care what people said or thought. He had very strong values about his family and church."
Before he graduated from Vacaville High School in 1997, Casey Sheehan acted in school plays. When he started attending Solano Community College, he gravitated toward the theater department, but also wrote entertainment articles for the school newspaper, The Tempest. Faculty adviser Mary Mazzocco said she was suprised when her drama critic announced he had joined the Army in 2000.
"He was so sweet and so shy and so quiet, you had a hard time seeing him as a soldier," Mazzocco said. "But he really did get into it. The last time I saw him on campus he was in his uniform and very proud of it and very proud to have made it through basic training."
His decision to sign up surprised his family as well. One night he came home after running some errands and "announced that we were looking at the newest recruit in the U.S. Army," Patrick Sheehan recalled a few days after Casey's death.
Sheehan had dreams of working as an Army chaplain's assistant, but wound up working as a mechanic. His division, the First Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Tex., was sent to Iraq in March 2004. The last time his parents spoke to him he was on his way to attend Mass before getting ready to convoy into Baghdad.
"On April 4, Palm Sunday, we got the word that Casey had been killed in an ambush," Cindy Sheehan wrote in her essay. "The first chance he got, my brave, wonderful, faithful, sweet, gentle and kind boy volunteered for a rescue mission ... Casey and 20 of his buddies were sent into a raging insurgent uprising to rescue wounded soldiers. Only 13 of them returned."
Since his death, Casey Sheehan has been honored in quiet ways. His old Boy Scout troop created an award in his honor. The chapel at Fort Hood started a new Knights of Columbus chapter that was named the "Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan Council."
In Crawford, a different sort of memorial to his life is unfolding at the makeshift campsite of war protesters who have joined his mother's mission.
"I think he definitely is one of those people who lived his life through a higher calling," observed Allison Corrington, 18, a Sheehan family friend. "He knew there was something big he was supposed to be a part of and definitely worked his way to his goals."
Friday, August 12, 2005
"There is no one religious position on the Roberts nomination, no one religious view on the future of the court or the cases it will hear," Rev. Bill Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, told reporters in a conference call.
Sinkford and other religious leaders criticized plans for the evangelical rally, which is designed to build support for Roberts' nomination and highlight what organizers say is the court's judicial activism and hostility to religion.
The Sunday rally in Nashville, Tennessee, is the second televised church event co-sponsored by prominent Christian conservative groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. The event is titled "Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and this Honorable Court."
The first "Justice Sunday" rally in April attacked Democrats filibustering against President George W. Bush's judicial nominees, saying the Democrats were opposed to people of faith. It featured an appearance by Senate Republican leader Bill Frist.
Frist was not invited to speak at Sunday's rally after he recently broke with Bush and supported an expansion of human embryonic stem cell research. House of Representatives Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas will speak on Sunday.
Other speakers at the rally, to be broadcast live to churches around the country and carried on hundreds of radio stations and the Internet, will include former Democratic Sen. Zell Miller and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.
Liberal religious groups criticized the organizers' emphasis on religion in the evaluation of Roberts and called it a threat to the principle of separation of church and state.
"A senator or a congressman's faith should never be called into question based on their support or opposition to a particular nominee," said Rev. Robert Edgar, general secretary to the National Council of Churches.
A spokeswoman for the Family Research Council said liberal religious groups were being disingenuous in pushing to remove issues of faith from the Roberts confirmation debate while injecting their own political views.
"We think the democratic process is robust enough to accommodate all kinds of voices," said Charmaine Yoest, a senior fellow at the council.
Edgar said the group's only position on the Roberts nomination was that tough questioning of his views and experience should take place.
"It is damaging to the legitimacy of the confirmation process to suggest the examination of a nominee's record, as well as support for or opposition to a nominee, is in any way religiously motivated," Edgar said.
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"My Son Joined the Army to Protect America, Not Israel"
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What is PNAC?
What Are Neo-Cons?
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What Can We Do?
Transcript of remarks made by Cindy Sheehan, a member of Gold Star Families For Peace. - April 4, 2005
04/10/05 "ICH" - - I've been asked to speak to you for 5 minutes or so. Please forgive me, but I'm going to take a little more than 8 minutes. The additional time that I'm going to steal from you is dedicated to my son, Casey, whose entire future was stolen from him.
My son was killed in Iraq on this day one year ago, the same day of April on which Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. From a jail in Birmingham, on April 16 1963 Dr. King wrote these words: "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence.......of the good people." ...end of quote.
And the Apostle Paul said this:
"...those who desire to be rich fall into temptation...into a snare that plunges men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evil."
Thirty years ago, 1975, Gerald Ford was President of the United Sates. His Chief of Staff was Dick Cheney. His Secretary of Defense was Donald Rumsfeld. Paul Wolfowitz was heading-up the international arms-control end of things. All of these positions related directly to national security. While these men were looking after the nation's safety, they and President Ford concluded that Iran needed to supplement its energy system by adding nuclear power. The nuclear energy project that these men approved would have netted certain US corporations billions of dollars. Had the Shah of Iran...a blood-bought servant of US corporate interests...not soon been overthrown by his own countrymen, the big-wigs at Westinghouse or General Electric...or perhaps both...would have amassed personal fortunes from this one project, alone. Some of the stockholders would have also made bundles on the deal.
In 1975 my son had not yet been born. Today he is in his grave. Dick Cheney, on the other hand, is now Vice President of the United States, and he is materially wealthy beyond what any of us would ever pray to be. This is the same Dick Cheney who during the months leading-up to the invasion of Iraq said that Saddam Hussein not only has stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction...more than a hundred metric tons of the deadly stuff...but he also said that Saddam Hussein was well-advanced in developing nuclear weapons and that therefore the US must invade Iraq and dethrone Saddam Hussein. Clean, quick, and simple according to Dick Cheney. Yet for some time now he has changed his tune. He now says...as if he had said it all along...that the US occupation of Iraq will require years of difficult and sometimes bloody conflict before it will be stable enough to bring our loved ones home. And too, rather than speak of Weapons of Mass Destruction, he now uses the word "democracy" a lot.
Is there yet an American who can not clearly see that Dick Cheney...whether it be 1975 or 2005...will say whatever he thinks is required to ultimately cause wealth and power to move to himself and to his friends? ...need I defile this holy place with words like "Haliburton" and "Kellog, Brown & Root" and "torture" and "US weapons industry"? Indeed, the Apostle Paul is correct in saying that, ultimately, the love of money leads to ruin and destruction.
Donald Rumsfeld is again Secretary of Defense. Only yesterday, it seems, he told the whole world that Saddam Hussein has stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction. He even announced to world that he and his generals know where Saddam's feared weapons are hidden. He announced this only days before our loved ones risked their lives searching those very areas where he so confidently said the weapons were hidden. Tell me, isn't it entirely reasonable for us to assume that those very places were being surveiled every second of every day and night until the very moment when our loved ones reached those areas and began their search? Donald Rumsfeld told us that the search would net more than a hundred metric tons. Are we to believe that Saddam quickly assembled a caravan of 18 wheelers and loaded all this stuff up and hauled it away to some new hiding place...and that US surveillance...the best in the world....didn't notice any of this happening? Are we to believe that this administration was, once again, asleep at the wheel...just as they would also have us to believe that they were innocently caught off-guard on the morning of September 11, 2001?
I implore you to read some of Scott Ritter...write the name down if you need to: Scott Ritter. R..I..T..T..E..R. I'm certain that many of you have already read his work. His work can be found in book stores, or go to Amazon.com. Read him and you will finally begin to understand that the horrid price we and the people of Iraq have paid to discover that Saddam's Weapons Of Mass Destruction had already been destroyed is not due to any failure at the U.S. intelligence agencies, it is in fact a validation of U.S. intelligence agencies. Ritter will explain to you exactly how is was that Rumsfeld was well-informed, by knowledgeable people within the Intelligence community, that Saddam had been striped clean of such weapons, that Saddam's ability to reconstitute such weapons' programs had also been destroyed, and that any moves Saddam might have made in that direction would have been observed and stopped, forthwith.
Is there anyone in America who cannot yet see that Donald Runsfeld is a liar...that he, as with Hitler and Stalin....will say anything so long as he thinks it will help shape the world to his own liking? Is there even one, sane adult among us who cannot see that Donald Rumsfeld is a threat to our nation's security and to peace on our beloved earth?
Paul Wolfowitz, after months of not finding any Weapons of Mass Destruction....and after hundreds of US soldiers were killed....my son amongst them....and after tens of thousands of innocent Iraq citizens were killed....this same Paul Wolfowitz casually explained....with his kindly charade and his ever so soft voice...that a decision was made to put forth "Weapons of Mass Destruction" as the need for the invasion. Essentially, Paul Wolfowitz admitted that he and his fellow conspirators had decided amongst themselves "...let's just go with the bit about Weapons of Mass Destruction. It's the one thing that will scare the American people enough so as to cause them to get behind this invasion."
As soft-spoken and sincere-sounding as Paul Wolfowitz is, is there yet any sane adult in this country who's skin does not crawl when this murderous liar opens his mouth and speaks? Am I the only person in this room who clearly sees that Paul Wolfowitz is a threat to our nation's security...and to peace on our beloved earth?"
30 years ago these 3 men gave the green light to Iran so that Iran could hire US companies to go there and build a 6.4 billion dollar nuclear power facility. ...no doubt the final bill would have been at least three times that much. Yet Dick Cheney recently said this of Iran's current intentions to add nuclear power to their energy system: Quote...."They are already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. Nobody can figure why they need nuclear to generate energy"....end of quote. Did these men not notice, 30 years ago, while they and their cohorts were being wined and dined by the Shah, that his opulent surroundings were bought and paid for with oil and gas that was being taken from the ground beneath their feet? Yet these men agreed, clear back then, that Iran needed to add nuclear power to their energy system. It is now 30 years and God only knows how many tens of millions of barrels of oil, later. Why should we believe these men....who we know are liars....when they now say that Iran's primary motive for wanting nuclear power is so that they can make nuclear weapons with which to destroy us and our allies? Even now, the International Atomic Energy Agency reports that there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. The Bush administrations response? They are trying to oust the agency's lead inspector, Mohammed al-Baradei. But who can forget that it was Mr. al-Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency who, during the months prior to the invasion of Iraq, reported that Saddam no longer had a nuclear weapons programs.
Our country has been overtaken by murderous thugs....gangsters who lust after fortunes and power; never caring that their addictions are at the expense of our loved ones, and the blood of innocent people near and far. We've watched these thugs parade themselves before the whole world as if they are courageous advocates for Christian moral values....and for the spread of democracy. Yet we all know that they are now putting in place, all across this country, a system of voting that provides no way to validate the accuracy of the counting of the votes. Our loved ones have been buried in early graves even as these arrogant thugs parade themselves before the entire world, insisting that democracy is worth dying for, killing for, and destroying entire cities for, all the while they are busy here at home overseeing the emplacement of an electronic voting system that invites fraud at every turn, an electronic vote-counting system that provides no way to validate the votes cast, and that, by it's very design, prohibits recounting the votes.
For these men to not see to it that our own system of voting and vote-counting is accurate, understandable and verifiable...all the while sending our loved ones to kill and to die so as to establish a democracy in some far away place......this is just one more staggering piece of evidence that the US government is now ruled by murderous hypocrites...criminals who should be arrested, charged appropriately, confined behind bars, and then tried in a court of law...not only here in our own country, but also in all the other countries which have suffered their incomprehensible greed. In their secret hiding places, while celebrating newly won fortunes with their fellow brass, these men must surely congratulate themselves with orgies of carnal pleasure as they mock the dwindling multitudes who are yet so blind as to mistake them for God's devoted servants.
Cindy Sheehan, is a founding member of Gold Star Families For Peace [email - Scindy121@aol.com]
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"From the pavement I could see into the bullet-mottled windshield more clearly, the driver of the car, a man, was penetrated by so many bullets that his skull had collapsed, leaving his body grotesquely disfigured. A woman also lay dead in the front, still covered in her Muslim clothing and harder to see.Two new fatalities, six new orphans, for a total of eight new victims of American aggression. When will enough be enough? When will the U.N., or the Pope, or anyone other than antiwar activists speak out forcefully against these abominations?
"Meanwhile, the children continued to wail and scream, huddled against a wall, sandwiched between soldiers either binding their wounds or trying to comfort them. The Army's translator later told me that this was a Turkoman family and that the teenaged girl kept shouting, 'Why did they shoot us? We have no weapons! We were just going home!'"
Day 6 began early yesterday morning when people in cars drove by our camp a few times and blasted on their horns. I just assume they were blaring their approval of us.
Before we get to the less than negative things that are happening out at Camp Casey and in the world at large, over 700 people showed up at the Camp yesterday. There were more people, flowers, cards, mail, interviews, laughter, heartache, camaraderie, excitement, and just sheer work.
We had the first birthday party last night at our little event. Alicia from Austin turned 17 and they came to Crawford to celebrate with a cake. Alicia said that she wanted to be out here for her birthday. So many great people from so many parts of the country and our world are here.
Yesterday was kind of a blur to me. From running around from interview to interview, to getting a visit from Viggo Mortensen, it was a whirlwind of activity. I have discovered that the White House press corps is always looking for something to do and someone to cover. We have been happy to oblige them. We had a press conference today with Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out members. It was very effective when people who actually have skin in the game ask the president to be held accountable for the words he has actually said.
Still putting out the O'Reilly fires of me being a traitor and using Casey's name dishonorably, my in-laws sent out a press statement disagreeing with me in strong terms; which is totally okay with me, because they barely knew Casey. We have always been on separate sides of the fence politically and I have not spoken to them since the election when they supported the man who is responsible for Casey's death. The thing that matters to me is that our family -- Casey's dad and my other 3 kids are on the same side of the fence that I am.
November 2, 2004 was not George Bush's accountability moment: today is. We are finished allowing him to get away with deceiving the American public and abusing his power.
We are mad as hell and we're not taking it anymore.
UPDATES ON CINDY SHEEHAN VISIT TO CRAWFORD
Photos of the Aug. 6 activities are at the bottom of this page, plus a message from Cindy Sheehan to George W. Bush.
The Lone Star Iconoclast is covering Saturday's journey to Crawford by several groups, including Veterans For Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Code Pink, Crawford Peace House, and others.
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq last year, is seeking a meeting with President Bush, who is vacationing in Crawford, to have some of her questions answered about the war. Several busloads of interested individuals are expected in Crawford to support her cause. Sheehan has said that she is willing to camp out in Crawford until she gets to meet with the President.
Iconoclast reporter Nathan Diebenow is on the scene and will be dispatching reports during the day. As they come in they will be reported here:
11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
Hirosima survivor Dr. Satoru Konishi spoke at the Crawford Peace House this morning, along with Paul Ritthaler, a retired United States marine captured in World War II by the Japanese and interned at a prison camp about 75 miles from Hiroshima. Ritthaler was there when the bomb was dropped near the end of World War II.
About a dozen people were on hand to hear the talks.
Konishi said he wants the government of Japan to give money to the Japanese victims of the bombing because for a long time the Japanese government did not acknowledge that the radiation had an effect on the people of the areas of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. He expressed no ill will toward the people of the United States. He said he wants the ban of all nuclear weapons.
The Veterans Administration admitted last year that the radiation was the cause of illnesses among those interred there, said Betty Ritthaler, the wife of Paul.
Ritthaler said in a written statement, "Our government is the worst country in the world at getting into wars. Our foreign policy stinks and we need to quit getting into wars."
Betty, said, "Let's don't never do that again to the human race."
It appears that Cindy Sheehan's entourage has just arrived in Crawford (11:35 a.m.). More later.
12:40 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
When Cindy Sheehan got off her bus in Crawford around 11:40 a.m. coming from the Veterans for Peace convention in Irving (near Dallas), she was greeted with applause and swarmed by reporters. Some of the media covering the event, along with The Iconoclast, were ABC, CNN, CBS, NBC and AFP (Agency France Press).
A veteran of World War II, Archie Goodwin from South Florida, carrying a sign, commented that he is for peace, "but Bush isn't." His sign reads "Somebody lied."
Currently, a bus provided by Veterans for Peace is taking about a dozen members, including Cindy Sheehan, to the checkpoint in front of President Bush's ranch. Sheriff's Department Captain Kenneth Vanek said prior to departing to lead the caravan, "As long as y'all work with us, we'll work with y'all."
Following the bus is a train of automobiles, numbering over 15.
Sheehan said she is prepared to go to jail if necesssary, but is expecting a peaceful confrontation.
The McLennan County Sheriff's Department is acting as the escort to the checkpoint.
With the arrival of Sheehan's bus, there were at least 50 people present, from Code Pink Austin, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Iraqi Veterans Against the War, and Gold Star Families for Peace, which is Sheehan's group.
Among those present, rumors of pro-war anti-protest protestors perhaps arriving later were voiced.
In all, about a dozen law enforcement officers were on the scene near the Peace House. No Secret Service personnel had been identified. More later.
1:10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
We've got about 50-something people walking on the side of the road, in a ditch, all the way up the mile to the Bush ranch. At the first checkpoint, the police ordered them to not walk on the roadway, but in the medium-tall grass along the right side of the road where it is about 10 ft. wide in places, three feet deep in some places. They are kind of straddling the roadway.
There appears to be another checkpoint up ahead, with another car in the middle of the road.
Now two big white dogs are coming out to greet them along the fence. I don't know what kind of dogs they are, but they seem to be friendly. Some rancher's probably.
It's really hot, humid, with people sweating.
Wait. Call you back in a minute.
1:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
We are at the second checkpoint and the sheriff's department has told the protestors to get off the road. They've been walking on the road, breaking their part of the bargain, the police say.
Some of Cindy's group are now sitting, waiting for Bush to come out. Now more are sitting down.
One Veterans for Peace protestor asked police officers for water because it's a hundred degrees.
Now the protestors are reciting The Lord's Prayer in unison.
Now Cindy Sheehan is shouting that Bush's mother ought to be ashamed of him. She's proud of her child who died in Iraq.
I now see Secret Service out here.
Protestors are saying that one of their rationales for not getting off the road was that the media was on the road. A police officer said that the media was just following the protestors, but the media is still on the road, with cameras, booms, microphones.
Some protestors are still sitting, but more are now standing.
They are now chanting "No Justice, No Peace." "George Bush is a war criminal." "Downing Street memos prove it." "Billion dollars a week for war."
Chanting again, people on left saying "Had enough," people on right saying "Stop the war," going back and forth.
Police are now telling the media to get on the other side of the road and to not disrupt traffic.
Chanting is still going on (time 1:20).
2:10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
At the first checkpoint, Sheehan told Officer Vanek: "We don't have the quarrel with you. The quarrel we have is with the President."
At the second checkpoint, she said, "I didn't come all the way from California to stand here in a ditch."
An officer offered to send Bush a letter or a statement from Cindy Sheehan, but she said she didn't want to do that.
Her reply was that they were making the mother of a veteran of the Iraq war walk in a ditch.
Protestors are carrying signs that read "No more blood for oil," "Support our troops, bring them home now," and "Frodo failed. Bush has the ring."
It is extremely hot. People are starting to get dehydrated.
Sheehan is moving toward the ranch at the second checkpoint and says, "In the name of 1,828 soldiers that should be alive, I'm going to go see the President. He killed my son."
An officer got in her face, stopping her.
The crowd starts chanting, "W. killed her son. W. killed her son."
Bush has not come out, none of those anti-protest protestors either.
Hadi Jawad, a board member of the Crawford Peace House, shouts to the media: "Do your job. Ask about the Downing Street Memo."
After sitting in the heat waiting to interview Cindy, most members of the press start to leave. Now protestors start to leave. One says, "I guess we ought to go." It appears that the initial protest is over.
Sheehan says she is going to stay at the checkpoint. Others are bringing water to her. The idea seems to be that she intends to camp out here, but I am unsure at this point whether the authorities will allow it. The others are going back to the Peace House to regroup.
Cindy Sheehan said after the media had left, "This is the beginning of the end of the occupation of Iraq." A wild round of applause followed.
Currently, the Secret Service and the police are just hanging around. The area is beginning to look deserted except for Cindy and her small group.
3:10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6
The police are giving Cindy a hard time because they won't let her set up a tent by the side of the road.
This will probably be the last dispatch for awhile.
7:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
Iconoclast publisher W. Leon Smith visited with Cindy Sheehan just a few minutes ago. She was cooling off at The Peace House in Crawford.
Sheehan said she intends to continue to attempt to gain an audience with President Bush and will go back to the checkpoint tonight, where she will camp beside the road.
Sheehan commented that a brainstorm of an idea she had Wednesday has snowballed into this, with support from all over the country.
"I'm filled with hope now, too, that we might be able to turn things around," she said.
Earlier in the afternoon, after most of the individuals departed the second checkpoint, Sheehan says she was greeted with representatives from the Western White House who offered to take a message to President Bush. She says she told them her concerns, but that she was there to speak directly to the President.
In a message through The Iconoclast to the President she said, "George Bush, if you really care about me why aren't you meeting with me?"
Sheehan noted that additional support is on its way from throughout the country as she continues her efforts, which will include a candlelight vigil. Caravans from Louisiana and San Diego are on the way, to name a couple, she said.
PHOTOS FROM TODAY'S ACTIVITIES IN CRAWFORD
Nathan Diebenow, photographer
Hiroshima bomb survivor Dr. Satoru Konishi spoke on the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing about the horrors of nuclear weapons at the Crawford Peace House...
... along with another Hiroshima bomb survivor Paul Ritthaler (left), who was a U.S. Marine interred in a prison camp 75 miles from Hiroshima's ground zero. Ritthaler was accompanied last Saturday by his wife, Betty.
Iraq Veterans Against War turned out in support of Cindy Sheehan in Crawford.
Cindy Sheehan and Dr. Satoru Konishi met at the Crawford Peace House on the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, holds two photos of her late son, Casey Sheehan, 24, of Vacaville, California. Sheehan died in Baghdad, Iraq, when his unit was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He died on April 4, 2004. (www.fallenheroesmemorial.com/ oif/profiles/sheehancasey.html)
World War II Veteran Archie Goodwin of Coral Gables, Florida holds up a sign at the Crawford Peace House while Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, meets with reporters.
Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and mother of U.S. soldier who was slain in Iraq, called for President Bush on Saturday, Aug. 6, to return all troops in Iraq to the United States immediately. Although she failed to meet with Bush face-to-face at his Crawford-area ranch, Sheehan did speak with two of the president's aides. She still vowed to remain in Crawford to meet with the President.
|Captain Kenneth Vanek of the McLennan County Sheriff's Department agreed to work with the members of Cindy Sheehan and her group of supporters last Saturday as they made their way to President Bush's Prairie Chapel ranch; however, their deal broke about four miles from the ranch when the group walked on the road, not the ditch, as they were told to do to allow for traffic flow, according to the officers. |
Two supporters of Cindy Sheehan display their ideas of the war in Iraq last Saturday after the Veterans for Peace convention in Irving, Texas.
Reporters last Saturday follow Cindy Sheehan and her supporters to Bush's ranch after the McLennan County Sheriff's Department ordered the group to walk on the grassy shoulder, not the roadway.
Cindy Sheehan and her relatives, Dede Miller and Amy Ranham, walk at the head of the group to a checkpoint near President Bush's Ranch.
Four miles from Bush's Ranch, the supporters of Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, stopped because the McLennan County Sherriff's Department said the group had disobeyed orders by walking on the roadway, not the grassy shoulder. Supporters included members of Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against War, Vietnam Veterans Against War, CodePink Austin, and the Crawford Peace House.
Persian Gulf War Veteran Dennis Kyne (center, in camouflage jacket) led Cindy Sheehan's supporters in a chant four miles from President Bush's Prairie Chapen Ranch last Saturday. Kyne, a former battlefield medic, is author of Support The Truth, a book about his experience on the effects of depleted uranium weapons and PB Tablets (www.denniskyne.com).
"The media is allowed on the road, so why aren't we?" asked the supporters of Cindy Sheehan stopped four miles from the Bush Ranch, to which the McLennan County Sheriff's Department replied, "Because they were following you."
"In the name of 1,828 soldiers that should be alive, I'm going to see the president," said Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace (center, left). "He killed my son." An hour of so later, two of Bush's aides met with her for 45 minutes; however, Sheehan vowed to stay in Crawford Saturday until she met face-to-face with the president.
Editor's Note: Permission is granted to reprint the information and photographs appearing in this feature about Cindy Sheehan's visit to Crawford and activities at The Peace House. Attribution would be appreciated. — W. Leon Smith, publisher, The Lone Star Iconoclast
SUBSCRIBE TO THE ONLINE REPRODUCTION OF THE PRINT EDITION OF THE ICONOCLAST. SEE FRONT PAGE.
Mother Of Slain Troop Has Been Camped Out Since Saturday
Vows To Remain Until Meeting With Bush(CBS) CRAWFORD, Texas As a campsite of protesters steadily swells in size along a road leading to President Bush's ranch, demonstrators there are facing increased antagonism from locals and opposition from some military families.
More drivers are speeding and blaring horns continuously as they pass the camp, which started Saturday as grieving mother Cindy Sheehan's simple peace vigil. It has grown to about 100 people, with more expected from across the nation.
Sheehan, of Vacaville, Calif., whose 24-year-old son Casey died in Iraq last year, said thousands of supporters, including many service members' relatives, have told her they believe the war is wrong and that troops should come home now.
Protesters are digging in their heels, vowing to stay by their tents in the heat or rain until President Bush talks to Sheehan or until his five-week ranch visit ends later this month.
President Bush commented on the protests for the first time Thursday, saying he sympathizes with Sheehan and has tried to comfort many slain soldiers' relatives. He did not say whether he will meet with Sheehan.
"Listen: I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has a right to her position," Mr. Bush said.
He also acknowledged that some families of U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq want to bring the troops home now, but said that would be a big mistake.
"Pulling the troops out would send a terrible signal to the enemy," he said.
For Cindy Sheehan, the president's words weren't enough, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante reports.
"I don't want his compassion or his sympathy, because I know it's not real," Sheehan said. "What I want is answers to my questions."
The White House, while reluctant to criticize Sheehan, points out that the president met with her and other families of the fallen a year ago and Friday put out a list of 24 such gatherings with 900 family members.
While Sheehan has been joined by dozens of other anti-war protesters,
and her cause has been taken up by high-profile liberal groups
like MoveOn.org, her efforts are drawing criticism as well. In an e-mail to the Drudge Report, members of her husband's family said, "She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation."
Sheehan says she's always been at odds politically with her Republican in-laws.
"When they voted for the man who my husband and I consider killed our son, that was the thing that was the last straw," Sheehan said.
Although authorities have not arrested anyone or forced the protesters to move, more residents have complained about the group parking on the edge of private property or blocking an intersecting road, according to the McLennan County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies went to the site Thursday with county health inspectors to see if conditions were sanitary but said they found no problems. Protesters said they have used restrooms at the Crawford Peace House several miles away but that portable toilets will be brought to the camp.
Austin attorney James C. Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, went to the site Thursday to make sure the group's rights were not being violated. He said he may file a federal lawsuit seeking to allow the protesters closer to Bush's ranch.
On Internet chat rooms and blogs, some organizations and soldiers' relatives are criticizing the protest, saying participants are trying to promote a left-wing agenda and lower troop morale. They say Sheehan does not represent their views on the war with Iraq.
"You have hundreds of people protesting there; you have thousands upon thousands who are not," Becky Davis of Orrington, Maine, who has three sons in the military, told The Associated Press. "A lot of military families I've talked to think it's almost sickening to watch."
Davis says she doesn't know how she would react if one of her sons died in Iraq. But she said she would still support the war because she believes Saddam Hussein was an inhumane dictator who posed a direct threat to the U.S.
"My sons made me promise not to go off the deep end and protest if they got killed ... (because) they were doing what they wanted to do," Davis said. "They volunteered, and they very much believe in their mission."
Protesters say they support the troops.
"We can be proud of our soldiers and ashamed of our government at the same time," said Tammara Rosenleaf, whose husband is stationed at Fort Hood and is to be deployed to Iraq this fall.
Nearly 40 Democratic members of Congress have asked Mr. Bush to talk to her. On Wednesday, a coalition of anti-war groups in Washington also called on the president to speak with Sheehan, who they say has helped to unify the peace movement.
"Cindy Sheehan has become the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement," said Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus, an activist group. "She's tired, fed up and she's not going to take it anymore, and so now we stand with her."
During my many years as a writer, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people. But talking with Cindy Sheehan this morning was unlike any conversation I’ve ever had. Even though we were talking via cell phone -- and had a crummy, staticky connection at that -- her authenticity and passion reached through the receiver and both touched my heart and punched me in the gut.
She spoke with a combination of utter determination, unassailable integrity, fearlessness, and the peace of someone who knows that their cause is just. Her commitment was palpable -- and infectious. It reminded me an old quote about the great Greek orators: “When Pericles spoke, the people said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march!’”
That’s the feeling I got from this former Catholic youth minister. She of the floppy hat and the six foot frame (though she’s standing even taller than that these days). A woman driven by faith and conviction who used to think that one person couldn’t make a difference and is learning otherwise. Her humanity stands in stark contrast to the inhumanity of those who refuse to admit their mistakes and continue to send our young men and women to die in Iraq.
She may not be the kind of media figure the cable news channels would order up from newsmaker central, a la Natalee Holloway. But she is the kind of unexpected leader I’ve been writing about for years. One who springs not from the corridors of power, but from among the people. One who may come from Vacaville, California, but who makes nonsense of red state/blue state distinctions.
The time has passed when we can stand around waiting for a knight on a white horse to ride to our rescue. We’ve got to look to ourselves -- to the leader in the mirror. Our elected officials have woefully failed to provide the leadership needed on this most vital issue of our time. And stepping into that void is Cindy Sheehan. Inspiring us. Touching our conscience. Calling forth our courage and our commitment. Focusing our outrage. And acting as a catalyst for the tens of millions of Americans who know that the war in Iraq is a disgrace.
Who knows, her example might even be just the thing to give Hillary and Harry and the rest of the Democratic leaders the spine transplant they so desperately need. But don’t hold your breath. Instead, use it to show your support for Cindy Sheehan -- and for our troops.