March 3, 2006

Crossing A Line

The Prez took some egg on his face last year from Cindy Sheehan during her public protest demanding an explanation for her son's death. It was a well-played political move and it served its purpose well -- it demonstrated that the White House a) does not have a convincing enough explanation for the war to satisfy anyone but its own partisans and b) that the Bushmen won't willingly allow the President to enter into hostile or even uncharted political waters any more and it's unlikely after this incident that they'll allow him to take unscreened questions ever again.

But Cindy Sheehan has failed to understand that her positive role in the anti-war movement has been pretty much played out. She's been believing her own press for too long. And now, she's gone far enough that she needs to be disowned by her colleagues on the left. On her blog last week, she wrote:

Let's set up Camp Caseys in front of recruiter's offices to stop our children from even enlisting to wear a uniform for the war profiteers. Let's set up Camp Caseys in front of the Pentagon… Congress… Congressional offices… embassies… the White House… propaganda media centers… war profiteers… President's vacation homes… Karl Rove's DC home… the list for valid protest locations is endless...but not in front of our troops.
I'll grant that she was writing in opposition to the idea of setting up a "Camp Casey" in front of the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, that is just off the NATO military headquarters on the U.S. air base in Kaiserslautern. I've been to both locations in the past, visiting my parents, and I agree with Sheehan that these are not appropriate locations for Americans to be protesting the war. First of all, seriously wounded troops coming from from Iraq will stop at that hospital in Landstuhl on their way home. They do not need to be exposed to political protest about the reason why they are suffering, at least until after they've had a chance to re-integrate with their families and other domestic support groups. Secondly, it's on foreign soil and in front of our allies and therefore a disgrace to the country. Like it or not, folks, we are in a fight and whether we ought to be in that fight or not is a matter to decide at home. I've no objection to protests here in the States, even very high-profile ones that made the world news. But the world needs to know that when we come for a fight, we're going to fight -- or else our efforts at diplomacy and peaceful problem-solving will not be taken seriously, and then we'll have to fight.

But these are not the reasons that the left should disown Sheehan. Read her quote above again. She said, in all seriousness and in active encouragement of her political entourage:

Let's set up Camp Caseys in front of recruiter's offices to stop our children from even enlisting to wear a uniform for the war profiteers.
A blogger with whom I am unfamiliar got it exactly right:

No, let’s not. I have all kinds of problems with the government but the last thing that I want to do right now is starve the military for recruits. It’s like some denigrating leftie caricature. So we want out of Iraq, great. I’m on board. Now find some way to accomplish that which doesn’t leave the military even less equipped to handle real-deal threats and set up “the left” as some sort of enemy of national service. Seriously, this has to be the most counterproductive use of energy that I’ve ever seen.
Quite so. The left in this country -- hell, even the Democratic party, which is not nearly so leftist as its "progressive" wing or the extreme fringes which now embrace Cindy Sheehan -- have a big image problem of appearing unpatriotic. Ronald Reagan first played that card in 1980 and damn if it doesn't keep on working. I've never believed that Democrats are unpatriotic or that they don't love the country just because they disagree with Republican ideas about foreign policy, military policy, or anything else for that matter. Offering a different point of view is not unpatriotic, it's how the country is supposed to work.

Protesting military recruitment centers is unpatriotic. The military is doing what its political leaders have instructed it to do. We certainly don't want the military to do otherwise. And if you're going to claim to be "pro-soldier," that means you have to admit that being a soldier is a good thing. Now, I have a hard time squaring that idea with Sheehan's dewey-eyed claim that "


Pamela said...

I agree.

Salsola said...

One can be against the war and for the military. If this works out and democracy spreads, this will be a turning point in history. If not, a colossal waste. Time will tell, but I will never believe it was fought for profit.

Burt Likko said...

Cindy Sheehan has tried to portray herself as against the war but for the military. I agree that is a tenable political position to take.

But one cannot be for the military and at the same time urge people not to join the military.

Anonymous said...

If you had a balance scale and placed Ciny on one side and the Swiftboat Veterans on the other you would now have equalibrium. It is not supposed to be that way .... poor Cindy is losing her spot in all this.