Cindy Sheehan's son Casey died in Sadr City last year, and that fact is supposed to put her beyond reproach. For as the New York Times' Maureen Dowd informed us: ''The moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."
Really? Well, what about those other parents who've buried children killed in Iraq? There are, sadly, hundreds of them: They honor their loved ones' service to the nation, and so they don't make the news. There's one Cindy Sheehan, and she's on TV 'round the clock. Because, if you're as heavily invested as Dowd in the notion that those "killed in Iraq" are "children," then Sheehan's status as grieving matriarch is a bonanza.
They're not children in Iraq; they're grown-ups who made their own decision to join the military. That seems to be difficult for the left to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as "children." If a 13-year-old wants to have an abortion, that's her decision and her parents shouldn't get a look-in. If a 21-year-old wants to drop to the broadloom in Bill Clinton's Oval Office, she's a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year-old is serving his country overseas, he's a wee "child" who isn't really old enough to know what he's doing.
The infantilization of the military promoted by the left is deeply insulting to America's warriors but it suits the anti-war crowd's purposes. It enables them to drone ceaselessly that "of course" they "support our troops," because they want to stop these poor confused moppets from being exploited by the Bush war machine.
I resisted writing about "Mother Sheehan" (as one leftie has proposed designating her), as it seemed obvious that she was at best a little unhinged by grief and at worst mentally ill. It's one thing to mourn a son's death and even to question the cause for which he died, but quite another to roar that he was "murdered by the Bush crime family."
Also: "You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana . . . You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine."
Contrast this with a statement from the family. Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins put out the following statement:
"The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. 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. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect."
[H]ow about Casey's father, Pat Sheehan? Last Friday, in Solano County Court, Casey's father Pat Sheehan filed for divorce. As the New York Times explained Cindy's "separation," "Although she and her estranged husband are both Democrats, she said she is more liberal than he is, and now, more radicalized."
Toppling Saddam and the Taliban (Mrs. Sheehan opposes U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, too), destroying al-Qaida's training camps and helping 50 million Muslims on the first steps to free societies aren't worth the death of a single soldier.
Casey Sheehan was a 21-year old man when he enlisted in 2000. He re-enlisted for a second tour, and he died after volunteering for a rescue mission in Sadr City. Mrs. Sheehan says she wishes she'd driven him to Canada, though that's not what he would have wished, and it was his decision.
And here's Frank Rich, a guest opiner for the New York Times, who amazingly packs an extraordinary amount of mad-left drivel into "The Swift-Boating of Cindy Sheehan." [He needed two pages for this and, naturally, it's the most emailed article in the past 24 hours]. Here's a sample:
THIS summer in Crawford, the White House went to this playbook once too often. When Mr. Bush's motorcade left a grieving mother in the dust to speed on to a fund-raiser, that was one fat-cat party too far. The strategy of fighting a war without shared national sacrifice has at last backfired, just as the strategy of Swift Boating the war's critics has reached its Waterloo before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury in Washington.
No, Frank. I think when Cindy caterwauls about the Bush Crime Family and the Daily Kos wants to call her "Mother Sheehan" sane folks start to tune out.