A slight detour from my usual ramblings...I couldn't shake the story of Cindy Sheehan, the woman who has posted herself outside the president's vacation home, demanding that he meet with her to explain why her 24-year-old son, Casey, had to die in Iraq. She's not going to move from that searing heat until she tells the president, face-to-face, why the troops must come home now. I clipped the story and have reread it several times.
It's not just what the article tells us about the pain she and thousands of other parents must feel, American and Iraqi, because of this insane war. Parents, it is often said, should never have to bury their children.
It's the amazing story she tells of how Bush behaves with families of soldiers killed in Iraq. In 2004, Sheehan and her family met Bush at For Lewis. According to The New York Times, the president "acted as if he were at a party and behaved disrespectfully toward her by referring to her as 'Mom' thoughout the meeting." Bush didn't even know her son's name.
Sheehen suggested that Bush think about what it would be like to send his two daughters to war. The Times' report recounts this exchange: "I said, 'Trust me, you don't want to go there,' Ms. Sheehan said, recounting her exchange with the president. "He said, 'You're right, I don't.' I said, 'Well, thanks for putting me there."
Of course, Bush doesn't want to go there. It's easy to run a war from far away, make bellicose statements and send people to die if you don't have to feel the pain personally. And not only not feel the pain but preside over an economic party for your friends--tax cuts for the rich in a time of war. Hide the coffins of the dead coming home...and no one feels the pain...except those families who have to bury the dead.
And we should also remember the names of those who have been killed. Here's the official list of those killed in the war.
I'm not surprised by the behavior--underneath the imagery put out by his political machine, I always smell a snide frat boy which comes creeping through that smirk in those uncontrolled moments--but what was amazing is that the story broke through into the mainstream media.
So, my suggestion is this: keep the story alive by suggesting that, if this war is so noble a cause and worth the sacrifice of the lives of so many young people in the "war against terror," the president should send his twins, Jenna and Barbara, to the frontlines. And maybe they can be accompanied by other children and grandchildren of the other "chicken hawks", starting with the relatives of the vice-president (who had "other priorities" when he was eligible for military service).
Here's an interview with Sheehen.