Illustration: The illustration speaks for itself. However, our illustrator has left this environment and I hope he will find his new surrounding therapeutic. G. B. Shaw once said that he was convinced that there was live elsewhere in the universe as earth is their insane asylum. If so, the U.S. is the ward for the retarded. I know where he said he was last, but he either gave the wrong location so that he could not be hassled or he has moved on so there is no point in disclosing that information. We all wish him well.
There has been a long hiatus between issues, and that is to seek a new direction. The Democratic Party, which is more democratic than the Republican (I think the same could be said of the Politburo), caved in and passed the war funding bill. Senator Gravel for Alaska, who is also running, had suggested that the leadership call for a vote on over-riding the decider’s veto and call for it every day so the people would know who really stood for what. Nope – it passed.
Cindy Sheehan, the woman who gave the anti-war movement such vitality simply by sitting outside the pretender’s ranch waiting for an appointment, has decided she has had enough with the pretense of a two party system.
Her announcement, however, was not covered in full by the media – as to be expected. It is reprinted below along with a transcript of an interview she gave the Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman after the fact.
We will retain the address The Absurd Times for convenience and because “Absurd” has a variety of applications. When we started, we were not even locatable on any of the search engines. By the winter, we were listed 5th on Google search for absurditimes. I looked recently and we were second. This alone is a sign of how needed information is and gave me some positive views of our audience. So thank you all for the “hits”.
*ZNet | Anti War*
*"Good Riddance Attention Whore"*
*by Cindy Sheehan; DailyKos
<http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/5/28/12530/1525>; May 31, 2007*
I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed
and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the
American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie
I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further
trashed on such "liberal blogs" as the Democratic Underground.
Being called an "attention whore" and being told "good riddance"
are some of the more milder rebukes.
I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day
Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but
things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The
conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are
very heartbreaking to me.
The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called
left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the
Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the
right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to
marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an
original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system’
However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same
standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause
started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the
same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to
me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no
reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."
I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics
should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of
people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by
Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are
sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies,
misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to
one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party
loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the
world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our
political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don't
find alternatives to this corrupt "two" party system our
Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we
are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a
fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don't see
party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see
that person's heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and
votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just
because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat’ I have also reached
the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am
an "attention whore" then I really need to be committed. I have
invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with
justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants
both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk
in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing
others. I have spent every available cent I got from the money a
"grateful" country gave me when they killed my son and every
penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then.
I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for
extended periods of time away from Casey's brother and sisters
and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last
summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have
used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering
innocent human beings. I have been called every despicable name
that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened
The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning,
however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious
lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who
loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and
run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have
tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful.
Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the
next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the
next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics
with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought
into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for
that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.
I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often
puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won't
work with that group; he won't attend an event if she is going
to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention
anyway’ It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that
is named after it has so many divisions. Our brave young men and
women in Iraq have been abandoned there indefinitely by their
cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on a chessboard
of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to death
and fates worse than death by people worried more about
elections than people. However, in five, ten, or fifteen years,
our troops will come limping home in another abject defeat and
ten or twenty years from then, our children's children will be
seeing their loved ones die for no reason, because their
grandparents also bought into this corrupt system. George Bush
will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply,
they may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the
system will perpetuate itself in perpetuity.
I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going
to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to
regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and
nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in
the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to
repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began
this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is
now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly
Camp Casey has served its purpose. It's for sale. Anyone want to
buy five beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas’ I will consider any
reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon,
too... which makes the property even more valuable.
This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American
anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I
will never give up trying to help people in the world who are
harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished
working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully
resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it.
I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people
that I love and the rest of my resources. Good-bye America ...
you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no
matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country
unless you want it.
It's up to you now.
Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org
"We Will Retool...and Come at it from a Different Direction" - Cindy
Sheehan Says She Will Return After Stepping Back as Antiwar Leader
Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
Cindy Sheehan has been the face of the US antiwar movement for the past
two years. In August 2005, she set up Camp Casey outside President
Bush's Crawford estate in memory of her son Casey, who was killed in
Iraq. Now Cindy says she is stepping back from her role as a leading
campaigner against the Iraq war. In this Democracy Now! special, Cindy
Sheehan joins us for the hour to talk about her decision. [includes rush
We turn now to Cindy Sheehan, who has just announced that she is
stepping away from the antiwar movement after two years of being the
nation's most visible critic of the war in Iraq.
She began speaking out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq after
her 24-year-old son, Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq
on April 4, 2004.
Cindy Sheehan made headlines around the world in August of 2005, when
she staged a camp-out to pressure President Bush to meet her as he
vacationed at his Crawford estate.
On Monday, Sheehan announced her resignation as the face of the antiwar
movement. Sheehan said she is stepping down in part because of hostility
from Democrats, whom she has criticized for supporting the war. Sheehan
also cited repeated threats on her life, strains on her health and
family, and divisions inside the peace movement.
She wrote, "When I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same
standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started
to erode and the 'left' started labeling me with the same slurs that the
right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the
issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of 'right
or left', but 'right and wrong.'"
Cindy Sheehan joins us from Sacramento, California.
* *Cindy Sheehan*, co-founder of Gold Star Families For Peace. Her
son Casey was killed in Baghdad on April 4, 2004.
*AMY GOODMAN: *We turn now to Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star
Families for Peace. Her son Casey, killed in Sadr City in Baghdad, April
4, 2004. She has authored a number of books, including /Peace Mom: A
Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism/. Cindy Sheehan, welcome
to /Democracy Now!/
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Good morning, Amy. Thank you.
*AMY GOODMAN: *It’s very good to have you with us. You have just flown
home. Yesterday, you arrived in California. Tell us about your decision.
On Memorial Day, many people around this country and the world read your
painful letter, saying it seems, at least for now, goodbye to your
active role as one of the leaders of the peace movement in this country.
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *It was not an easy decision, and it wasn’t a spur of
the moment decision or a quick decision like going down to Crawford,
Texas, was very, you know, spur of the moment and very, very not thought
out well. But it turned out well. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it
for a year, when I -- after last summer, when I almost died, and I
started thinking about pulling back a little bit. And after, you know, I
regained some of my strength, I just went back into it full force. And
it’s hard to work within this movement that is so divided, that is so --
really has a lot of negative energy. It’s draining. It’s drained my
energy. And I used to -- you know, I still get so much support from so
many people, but when people -- our new left really is just barely right
of center, but when people there start criticizing me and calling me the
same names that the right has been calling me, I think it’s time to
reevaluate, pull back, you know, see what other direction we can come at
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy, I remember reaching you in the hospital last year,
not even knowing that you were ill. But explain what happened.
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, you know, I was having gynecological problems,
and in less than twenty-four hours I lost almost half of my blood
volume, so I had to go in. I had to have transfusions. I ended up having
two emergency surgeries and then, you know, getting a really bad
infection afterwards and having to go back to the hospital for a few
days. So, you know, that was very symbolic, life-draining. You know, my
lifeblood was draining out of me. So that was really touch-and-go there
for a little while. And I’ve regained some of my strength, but that was
serious surgery. And, you know, it’s my fault. I didn’t give myself
enough time to heal physically from it.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy, can we go back -- and I know this is extremely
painful -- April 4, 2004. Though you’ve spoken a great deal about it
publicly in this country and around the world, let’s talk about your
journey, the subtitle of your book, ‘A Mother's Journey Through
Heartache to Activism.’ When did you learn that Casey was killed’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, he was killed, in California time it was a little
before 8:00 in the morning. I woke up at 9:00 a.m. It was amazing. It
was the first day since he had been gone that I felt any kind of
lightness in my spirit. And I woke up. It was Palm Sunday. I went
through my Sunday activity, cleaning house, doing laundry, shopping for
the week, getting my clothes ready for the next week of work.
And my ex-husband and I, who, you know, I was still married to, Casey’s
dad, we were sitting down, watching CNN and eating dinner. We had filet
mignon that day. I remember what we were eating. And a report came on
CNN. It showed a Humvee burning and said that eight soldiers had been
killed in Baghdad that day. And I looked at Pat, and I said, ‘One of
them was Casey.’ And, you know, he got very upset. He goes, ‘Well, you
know, he’s only been there a few days. You know, there’s hundreds of
thousands of soldiers there. Chances are it can’t be Casey. You know,
it’s statistically very slim that it was Casey. And we don’t even know
where he is yet.’ And I just said, ‘I don’t care what you say. One of
them was Casey.’ And about four hours later, my worst fears were
confirmed by the US military.
*AMY GOODMAN: *And talk about your journey through that day. How did you
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *You know, when I was walking my dogs, I came home. I
saw them standing in my living room. You know, I immediately collapsed
on the floor. I was screaming, screaming, screaming. And I think -- you
know, it’s -- I don’t know how I coped. You know, people start coming
over. The time starts to just become a blur. You do a lot of drinking.
You do a lot of laughing. You remember the good times in that period.
But I think the thing that gets you through that horrible period is an
intense shock. It’s a physical, emotional kind of shock that envelops you.
And I remember I didn’t go to sleep that night. I didn’t go to sleep the
next night, because I didn’t want to wake up. I didn’t want to forget
that Casey was dead and wake up and have to relive that experience. I
was sitting on the porch swing about 6:00 in the morning on Monday
morning, after we heard Casey was killed, and I’m watching people get up
and go to work. And I just wanted to scream at them: how can you live
your lives when my son is dead’ And, you know, you’re mad at -- you’re
mad at the world for going on, when your life has been destroyed and
your world, your very world, is destroyed. Your whole universe becomes a
different place. And then, about eight or nine months later, the shock
starts to wear off, and if you thought you were in pain before, that’s
when the real pain settles in.
*AMY GOODMAN: *And, Cindy, how did you go from your private mourning to
becoming more public, to speaking out’ When was the first time that you
spoke out after Casey died’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *It was on the Fourth of July, 2004, exactly three
months after Casey was killed. I went to the Unitarian Universalist
Church in Berkeley, California, to support another Gold Star mom, Jane
Bright, whose son Evan Ashcroft was killed in Iraq in July of 2003. I
went to support her, because she came up to speak to their congregation.
That’s when I first physically met Bill Mitchell, whose son Michael was
killed in Iraq the same day in the same incident Casey was killed in.
And I didn’t go there to speak, but I was compelled to speak. And since
then, I haven’t shut up. So that was the first time, and it was, you
know, very meaningful, I think, that it happened on Independence Day,
that I found my voice. And I found really my independence from this
country that is so destructive to so many people.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy, when you went to Crawford and established Camp
Casey in memory of Casey in August of 2005 and said you wanted an hour
of the President's time, coming from that Dallas Veterans for Peace
convention, you had met with the President before. Describe that
meeting. Where did it take place’ What happened there’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, a couple months after we buried Casey, we were
invited to go up to Fort Lewis, Washington state, to -- what we were
told -- have a sit-down with the President, so he could express, you
know, the good wishes of a grateful nation. And so, our entire family
went up there. We went to the post hospital. We had to go through some
very intense security screening. And we sat down in this little tiny
room, in one of the hospitals’ waiting rooms. And we sat there. The
President came in.
We brought about four or five pictures of Casey from the time he was a
baby until he was a soldier. We wanted him to see the pictures of Casey.
We wanted to talk about Casey. We decided as a family that we weren’t
going into any kind of political discussion with him. We wanted to use
the short time we had with him to describe what a marvelous person was
taken from our family. He didn’t look at the pictures. He didn’t want to
talk about Casey. You know, he kept calling Casey "the loved one,’ you
know, to depersonalize Casey as much as he could. He didn’t even say
‘him’ or, you know, he, of course, didn’t use his name or his rank. He
called me "Mom" the entire time. Right before George Bush came in, they
made us take off all our name tags. So he called me ‘Mom,’ Casey ‘the
loved one,’ and just acted like it really -- we were at a tea party.
*AMY GOODMAN: *And what did you say to him, the President of the United
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, he came up to me and he took my hand and he
looked in my eyes, and he said, ‘Mom, I can’t imagine losing a loved one
in a war, whether it be an aunt or an uncle or a brother or a sister.’
And, you know, I stopped him before he can go through the whole litany
of how Casey could be related to me, besides being my son. And I said,
‘Wait a second, Mr. President’ -- that’s when I still called him ‘Mr.
President’ -- ‘Casey was my son, and you have children. Imagine one of
your children being killed.’ And he didn’t say anything. And I said,
‘Trust me, you don’t want to go there.’ And he said, ‘You’re right. I
don’t.’ So that was about the one-on-one contact that we had. Then he
talked about how Casey was in a better place and things like that.
*AMY GOODMAN: *You have written in your letter, the letter that you sent
out on Memorial Day, that you have come to the conclusion that Casey
died for nothing. Can you explain how you came to this conclusion’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, I set out on this quest really to make Casey's
death count for something, to make it meaningful, not to be, you know,
counted as death and destruction, as occupying a country that was no
threat to the United States of America, not for lies. I didn’t want to
think that he died for lies, that he died because my government is
callous and has no regard for human life or human suffering. I wanted
his death to count for peace. I want it to count for love. I want it to
count for justice. And, you know, in this system we have, it’s ruled by
the corporations, it’s ruled by the corporate war profiteers. They use
people like they’re things and not people.
And I am just really devastated and frustrated with an American
population, you know, not counting the people who listen to your show or
who watch your show, an American population that doesn’t give the Iraq
war one, you know, bit of attention, doesn’t think about it, doesn’t
have to think about it. They don’t want to think about the death and
destruction and the pain that’s being caused by the government that
they’re giving their tacit support to by their silence. You know, we
care more about who’s the next American idol, what was in Anna Nicole’s
refrigerator when she died, than the hundreds of thousands of innocent
lives that have been sacrificed for the greed for power and money that
this country is always on the prowl for. So it just makes me think that
Casey is going to go down in a long line of people who have been
sacrificed to the corporate war machine in this country.
*AMY GOODMAN: *We’re talking to Cindy Sheehan, lost her son Casey, April
4, 2004, founded Camp Casey, where thousands have come almost on a kind
of pilgrimage outside the estate of President Bush in Crawford. Since
that time, Cindy has actually bought property in Crawford. Can you talk
about your decision to buy the property, Cindy’ And now, in your letter
that you wrote on Memorial Day, saying you’re putting it up for sale.
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, after we left Crawford in August of ‘05, the
McLennan County supervisors passed an ordinance that there’s no camping
or parking or sleeping along the sides of Prairie Chapel Road. And, you
know, we think that was a direct, specific and targeted ordinance
against free speech, against the First Amendment, really, which gives
you the right to petition your government for redress of wrongs and
gives you the right to peaceable protest. And no matter what anybody
says or any criticism they can have about me or Camp Casey, the protests
there have always been very peaceable and always been very positive. So
I decided if we wanted to keep having these gatherings in Crawford,
Texas, we would have to own property. So I purchased five acres. It’s
right inside the town of Crawford.
And I really think now that this part of my activism is over and that I
think Camp Casey has served its purpose. And I think I have gone as far
as I can right now in the movement. I’ve come to a road block. I’ve come
to a dead end. I’ve come to a brick wall. And then, of course, I have,
you know, decimated all of my resources, my monetary resources, on this
activism, on this cause, in the movement, that I need, you know,
resources to just be able to survive. And so, that’s why I decided to
sell Camp Casey.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy, yesterday, after your letter came out on Memorial
Day and we announced that you would be on the broadcast for the hour, we
were inundated with email from around the country and around the world.
In the next part of the show, I want to read some of it to you, but one
of the people who wrote, Marguerite from Santa Fe, said that they wanted
to financially help you, describing a Cindy Sheehan
retirement-from-the-peace-movement fund. What is your response’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *We have gotten -- in any way people can reach me, we’ve
gotten hundreds and hundreds of emails -- and, you know, very few
negative ones -- offering support, offering emotional support, offering
places I can go to rest, offering financial support. And I’m very
overwhelmed, again, by the good-hearted nature of Americans. But I think
that we have to realize that if you’re going to put so much pressure on
one individual, that person has to be supported continually, not get to
the point where I did, where I just had to throw my hands up and say, ‘I
give up. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t have any more energy. I don’t
have any more money. I don’t have any more stamina. I have to go away.’
And there are so many people, there are so many worthy organizations who
are struggling financially, who could do so much, who have people who
can be effective voices, that aren’t supported by the peace movement or
people in America, the millions of people in America who oppose George
Bush and who oppose the war. If they aren’t physically able to get out
and do the work, then I think that they -- and if they have the
financial resources -- should be supporting people in the movement who
can do this.
*AMY GOODMAN: *As you talk about cash-starved organizations, I think
about the tens of millions of dollars that the candidates are raising,
who are running for president in 2008, that money -- majority of it, of
course -- going to the major corporate networks for advertising.
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Right. You know, it’s an obscenity. I can imagine
people in third world countries looking at, you know, someone like
Hillary Clinton raising $35 million for her presidential campaign that
goes to really, you know, nonproductive means, and they see that, and
they just -- it’s just really immoral, I believe. And we’re spending $12
million in Iraq. How many people could that help, not only around the
world, but in our own country’ You know, it’s very immoral and obscene
what we do with our resources.
*AMY GOODMAN: *There was a time when you said you would run against
Hillary Rodham Clinton for her stance supporting war.
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *I never said I would run against Hillary. I was heavily
recruited or drafted, or people were -- from the state of New York just
really wanted me to run against her for her Senate seat in New York. I
did say -- I threatened to run against Dianne Feinstein here in
*AMY GOODMAN: *When we come back, I’ll read to you some of what our
listeners and viewers and readers have written from around the world,
and I also want to ask you more about your family. As you wrote in your
Memorial Day letter saying you’re stepping back from the antiwar
movement, you talked about sacrificing your twenty-nine-year marriage
and wanting to come home to your children. We’re talking to Cindy
Sheehan. We’ll be back in a minute.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Joan Baez singing ‘Joe Hill’ at Camp Casey, August 24,
2005, a few weeks after Cindy Sheehan established Camp Casey, where
ultimately thousands of people came, many of them who lost loved ones in
Iraq -- sons and daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers. Cindy
Sheehan joining us in Sacramento. She just flew home yesterday, after
releasing a letter on Memorial Day called "Good Riddance, Attention
Whore." Why did you call your letter that, Cindy’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, that was one of the last slurs that I read before
I decided that I had, you know, had enough. And it was Memorial Day when
I read that slur against me on a so-called left blog, a leftwing blog.
And it was Memorial Day. I was in Crawford, Texas, and I thought -- I
had just also talked to my oldest daughter, who had just been to the
cemetery to put flowers on Casey's grave. And I thought, what am I doing
here’ Why aren’t I home with my children’
*AMY GOODMAN: *You talk about your twenty-nine-year marriage. At the
time you were establishing Camp Casey, making international headlines,
your marriage was crumbling. And your children, your surviving son and
daughters, talk about them.
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, I have a daughter Carly -- she is in university
right now; she was Casey's next youngest sibling -- and then a son
Andrew, who is a land surveyor in the Bay Area -- he’s doing really
great -- and my youngest daughter Janey, who’s a massage therapist. And
it was a struggle when I first started doing this. And when they saw
their mom and dad -- it ruining their mom and dad's marriage, it was,
you know, a lot. They had just lost their brother, and their mother went
on this mission, this passion to end the war and to hold somebody
accountable for their brother's death. And they’re just -- they’re so
strong. I dedicate my book to them, because they have gone through a
lot. And they get stronger every day. They get more capable every day.
And we went from a family, where even though mom worked full-time, she
did everything for the kids. My children were the center of my life. We
were involved in every aspect of their lives. And it was very hard for
them to adjust to the new life without their brother, their mom and dad
You know, they thought that they were going to be, you know, a family
that was together forever, but, you know, April 4th, our entire universe
changed. And, you know, the members of my family, they wanted to go back
to April 3rd, before he Casey was killed, and I knew we could never do
that. I knew we would have to move forward and forge a new life
together, a new family together, without Casey there, because our family
was never going to be the same.
And it was a struggle with my children, but, you know, we have regained
a very solid relationship. I want to now, instead of spending quality
time with them, I also want to spend quantity time with them. I want to
be able to alleviate some of their physical stress that they have, to be
there for them. Carly, this is her last quarter at university, and
she’ll be graduating. You know, I want to be there for her to help her
through this. She’s majoring in history. I majored in history. It’s very
exciting to be with her and to have conversations, mature adult
conversations, with her. So, you know, I want to get to know my kids as
adults, and I want to be there for them, you know, help forge this new
relationship that we have and give it a good foundation. You know, it’s
been a relationship that’s been very inconsistent because of my travel.
And I now share a home with my two daughters. And now, when I go away, I
miss them even more than I did before.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy, headlines around the world this week. /Guardian/
of London: ‘Sheehan quits as face of US anti-war fight.’ Xinhua News
Agency, China: ‘Activist Cindy Sheehan ends her anti-war campaign.’
Alalam News Network, Iran: ‘Anti-war mom gives up campaign.’ /Melbourne
Herald Sun/, Australia: ‘Grieving mom walks away.’ /Ontario Now/,
Canada: ‘Cindy Sheehan throws in the towel.’ Your response’ And are you
concerned your decision could deflate some of those in the antiwar
movement’ What words do you have to say to them, and especially families
who have lost loved ones in Iraq, soldiers who are in Iraq, soldiers who
have come home’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, you know, I have -- in those hundreds of emails
I’ve gotten in the past couple days, there’s been many from soldiers in
Iraq, there’s been many from family members who have loved ones in Iraq
and from people all over the Muslim world, telling me, please, please
don’t give up, don’t abandon us. And I just want them to know I’m not.
I’m just -- I’m pulling back. I’m, you know, getting some rest. I’m
trying to restore my health. I want to come back stronger, but I’m not
coming back the way I was before.
We’re going to seriously reevaluate our place -- and when I say ‘our,’
I’m talking about Gold Star Families for Peace, I’m talking about the
Camp Casey Peace Institute, my skeletal staff. We’re going to -- and my
sister Dee Dee, of course. We’re going to just hunker down and find a
way that we can be more productive, that we can be more useful to
humanity. Like I said, I’ve come to a dead end in what I’m doing now.
We’ve found a chink in the armor. We exploited that chink. Now, most of
the country is on our side. I don’t think we can work with the
politicians. When we come back, we won’t work with or against
politicians, but we’ll work with humanity.
Well, since I’ve been traveling the globe, I’ve met so many people who
have been encroached upon or damaged or their families damaged by this
corporate military imperialism of the United States. We want to help
them. And we’re hoping by helping our brothers and sisters around the
world struggle against the imperialism of the US military and the US
corporations, that it will have a residual effect in helping America. We
don’t want to abandon our soldiers there in the field like the Democrats
did. You know, last night I was on Air America. Laura Flanders calls it
to sacrifice the troops, instead of support the troops. We don’t want to
leave them abandoned in the field. We don’t want to give the impression
to the people of Iraq that they have no hope.
But I just want to let you know that I was just a small cog in this
movement. It’s a large movement. And I think that this will encourage
people to step up to the plate. And I sacrificed too much for this
movement, and I’m not blaming anybody except myself. I was a willing
participant. And I would be willing to keep sacrificing, if I thought we
were making progress, if I thought my sacrifices could help. But I don’t
think that it’s helping anymore, so we’re going to pull back and figure
out how we can help. But, you know, people need to step up now. And
everybody in America is going to have to sacrifice something. We have
too much. We work too much to get things that we don’t even need, while
24,000 people a day die of starvation in the world. So everybody is
going to have to sacrifice a little bit. If everybody sacrifices a
little bit, you know, a few people wouldn’t have to sacrifice so much.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy Sheehan, I asked you about messages to people here
-- of course, then there’s the Iraqi people, and people do know of your
activism there. What would you say to Iraqis’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *You know, I would say that we are still there trying to
help you, trying to end this horrible occupation, that my new
organization that’s going to be humanitarian in nature will do
everything we can to help alleviate your suffering. And I just hope that
the people of America finally come to the realization that you are our
brothers and sisters -- we all share one beating heart of humanity --
and that we cannot allow our leaders to do what they’re doing anymore.
And, you know, it’s very important for people in America to struggle
against our system, to hold the Democrats to the same standard of
accountability that we were trying to hold the Republicans to, and to
force an end to this occupation. And that -- I’m not going to work, you
know, in this political system anymore, because I don’t have the energy
to do that anymore. But it’s very important that everybody keep up the
*AMY GOODMAN: *And I want to read a few of the comments of our listeners
and viewers and readers around the world that came in at
democracynow.org. On electoral politics, Gordon Brown, a teacher in
Switzerland, asked, ‘Who do you believe would make the best next
president of the United States’’ Leslie Bonnet of California writes,
‘Will Cindy join the Green Party, which has steadfastly advocated for
peace and against the invasion of Iraq’ Will Cindy consider running as a
presidential or vice presidential nominee with the Green Party’’ Barbara
and Graham Dean said, ‘What can all of us in the peace and justice
movement do now to give you back your hope that we can indeed change the
dangerous course this government has forced upon this country’’ And they
ask, ‘Would you consider running for Congress’’ Paul said, ‘Given what
you’ve described as the corruption and deception that exist in both the
Republican and the Democratic political parties and how the huge
appropriations of money for defense contractors have become such a force
in the US economy, do you have any hope we will return to being a nation
that stands for right instead of being a nation that has to have
something to fight’’ And another listener/viewer, John Stauber, says,
‘What is your opinion of MoveOn and the role it played in the recent
congressional debate over war funding’’ Take your pick.
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, of course, I’m not going to run for election. I
don’t -- you know, I’m very disillusioned with our political system. If
we don’t wake up in America and realize that we have to vote out of our
courage and integrity for candidates who reflect our own beatitudes, and
not the beatitudes of the war machine and the corporations, we are --
we’re doomed. And if we don’t get a viable third party -- or some people
say second party; you know, the Democrats and Republicans are so
similar, and their pockets are lined by the same people -- we are -- our
representative republic is doomed, where George Bush has assumed all the
powers to himself and Congress has given him those powers. And we really
need an opposition party in this country. But we vote out of our fear.
We go and we vote for the lesser of two evils, and we always end up
getting somebody evil. And, you know, I say ‘evil,’ not in the Christian
sense of the word. But, you know, I do believe that.
I’m not going to join any party. If I do vote again and if I do become,
you know, politically active, it will be independent. I’m not going to,
of course, run for anything, be in the system. I have been asked by the
Green Party to run for president, but, you know, that’s not anything
that I want.
And I know John Stauber. He has been struggling against MoveOn. I was
really upset with MoveOn, and plus with the corporate media, who were
characterizing MoveOn as the antiwar left in America, which was just
really, for people who are on the inside know how hilarious that is. So
I think that MoveOn has a lot of resources, and they should be trying to
represent -- truly represent the opposition to, instead of being, you
know, so tied in with the Democratic Party, to really represent the
views of the left.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy Sheehan, what do you think are the greatest
successes of the peace movement so far, and then, of course, what you
want to see changed’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, you know, I think that we did an incredible job
of educating America about -- causing a debate really in this country
about the Iraq war that didn’t exist before August of ‘05. It didn’t
exist in a public way before August of ‘05. And the shift in the country
has been enormous, you know, to being against George Bush and against
the war, when it was overwhelmingly in favor of it. And we thought we
were doing something good when we elected Democrats. We thought that we
were electing them to change the way things are going, not for this, to
keep the /status quo/. And I think that we’ve been very successful in
Where things have to go now -- and, you know, I’ve been saying this for
a long time -- is that we have to be willing to put our bodies on the
line for peace and justice, that, you know, we can’t work on short-term
band-aids. We need true solutions to the problem, to this corruptness,
to the stranglehold the corporations have on our government. And we
can’t just put band-aids on them. Like, ending the Vietnam War was
major, but people left the movement. It was an antiwar movement. They
didn’t stay committed to true and lasting peace. And that’s what we
really have to do.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy Sheehan, we have fifteen seconds. I have the sense,
as you talk, that you’re not actually leaving, even as a public face of
the movement, but stepping back perhaps for a few months, a few weeks,
to regroup. Is that accurate’
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Well, what I like to think about is like, we’re closing
down the factory, we’re going to retool, and we’re going to open up, and
it will be a new and improved version of it. But we are definitely going
to come at it from a totally different direction.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Cindy Sheehan, I want to thank you for being with us.
*CINDY SHEEHAN: *Thank you, Amy.
*AMY GOODMAN: *Co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, speaking to
us from, well, near her home. She’s in Sacramento, California.