Sunday, August 14, 2005

The 'noble cause'

Too few Americans have the courage to speak truth to power this century. However, an unlikely spokesperson has emerged recently: Cindy Sheehan. Cindy is the mother of a soldier who was killed in the Iraq War.

Like most Americans -- those who support the War and those who oppose it alike -- Cindy is proud of her son doing his duty. However, she's not buying the line that his life was given for a noble cause. In fact, like most Americans who oppose the War, she doesn't even believe the Commander in Chief even knows what his mission in Iraq is.

So Cindy is calling the president to task. She is camped outside Crawford Ranch for the five weeks Bush is on vacation there until she gets to meet with him. She wants Bush to identify the "noble cause" for which her son died. Explaining why she's going to such great lengths for a personal audience, Cindy wrote:
“He’s said that my son -- and the other children we’ve lost -- died for a noble cause. I want to find out what that noble cause is. And I want to ask him: 'If it’s such a noble cause, have you asked your daughters to enlist? Have you encouraged them to go take the place of soldiers who are on their third tour of duty?' I also want him to stop using my son’s name to justify the war. The idea that we have to 'complete the mission' in Iraq to honor Casey’s sacrifice is, to me, a sacrilege to my son’s name. Besides, does the president any longer even know what 'the mission' really is over there?”

The preceding is just an excerpt of her entire statement. I encourage you to read all of it. Cindy eloquently echoes the words that many patriotic Americans would say to the president. In fact, in a Gold Star Families for Peace television commercial, she went so far as to flat-out accuse the president of "lying to us" about the original justifications for invading Iraq.

The truth hurts. Now the right-wing media is trying to cast Cindy in a harsh light. In fact, many claim that Cindy is damaging the anti-war movement with the directness of her comments. On Meet the Press today, Byron York referred to her comments as "the kind of rhetoric that you normally associate with fringe elements on the left," adding that "she'll diminish her own credibility."

The White House correspondent was specifically referring to a conference call Cindy had with some anti-war bloggers. During that conference (in which she also called the 2004 presidential election "the election, quote-unquote, that happened in November"), she said:
“They can't ignore us, and they can't put us down. Thank God for the Internet, or we wouldn't know anything, and we would already be a fascist state.

“Our government is run by one party, every level, and the mainstream media is a propaganda tool for the government.”

Has Cindy gone too far with her comments? On this issue, I disagree with York. On the contrary -- I believe the truth can never go too far. Yes, Cindy's comments sound a lot like inflammatory rhetoric. Sadly, they're also soberingly objective truths.

The truth be told, the reason why Cindy's words are getting so much play is because Americans find it refreshing to hear plain speaking rather than tip-toeing around what increasingly more Americans are beginning to recognize as reality: not even Bush can explain what his "noble cause" in Iraq is in a manner that we can clearly grasp.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where is the "noble cause" Mr. Bush? I think it's a fair and overdue question, one that the President and his Administration owe a direct answer. But about Cindy Sheehan and their cause?

I agree with the author of this article:

"...these moms and dads have been badly let down by both sides of the war debate. The war's authors have offered little justification for the sacrifices made by loved sons and daughters in Iraq, which has allowed the families' raw grief to fester into public anger - and the war's opponents have sought cynically to exploit the families' sorrow for political ends."

I suppose desperate sensationalism trumps logic and reason in politics these days, with the Republican Party in clear, albeit dangerous, control.