On The Tour - Cindy's Blog
As we all know, the American death toll in Iraq reached 2000 yesterday. I believe most people in America are in mourning today whether we are pro- or anti-war. I can speak for myself, I am.
A few dozen of us held vigil at the White House yesterday. At 6 PM about 15 or 20 of us "died" to symbolize the unnecessary deaths in Iraq. We all represented one soldier and 50 Iraqis. We are hoping that 2000 Americans come out in support of us during the next 3 days and "die" with us to show our misleaders and media what 2000 dead Americans looks like.
Today at 11 AM we will take a wreath to Arlington Cemetery to mourn all of our citizens who have been killed in war, but especially this war. Then we will vigil at the White House from 12 PM to 8 PM. There will be other vigils at the White House this evening.
At 7:30 PM tonight we will symbolically die again. Tonight, I won't get up when they tell me to.
It is insane that there are so many people living and working in the White House that are responsible for war crimes, high crimes and misdemeanors and other crimes against humanity and they are wandering free to enjoy their lives and live fat off of their war profits. We will probably be arrested for exercising our rights to freedom of speech and freedom to peaceably assemble.
Yesterday in another hand-picked audience propaganda speech in front of military spouses, George Bush said:
Besides asking him for What Noble Cause did he kill 2000 of our wonderful and brave young people, I would also like to ask George what he is sacrificing. Is he even sacrificing a good night's sleep? Is he sacrificing his future with his child? He is not sacrificing anything. He and his cabal of warmongering crooks are asking us Americans to give up our lives and our children's lives for his lies and mistakes and I am sure the grim milestone barely caused a blip in their souls yesterday. George and his wealthy buddies don't even have to pay more taxes for the horror in Iraq or to rebuild New Orleans which is another Bush horror.
The indictments will hopefully be coming down to highlight the culture of corruption in this criminal administration that extends down to Congress and the Senate.
What the indictments highlight to America and to the world is the wanton disregard for laws and humanity that Bush and Co. have. They also highlight to the world how apathetic we in America are towards letting criminals run our country.
The upcoming indictments show me AGAIN that they stole Casey's life and 1999 other lives. They show me that we are allowing them to also steal our treasure and good reputations.
I have had enough. I will not allow them to steal anything else from me.
C.D. in D.C.
"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the State becomes lawless and corrupt." Mahatma Gandhi
Unfortunately the 2000th American death in Iraq is tragically coming up too soon. In addition to the wasted young lives in Iraq, 246 of our brave men and women have been killed in Afghanistan. Our troops and the war in Afghanistan get even less attention than Iraq, if possible.
I am in Washington, DC now and along with a coalition of peace groups and local activists, we will be holding vigils at the White House for the rest of the week from 12 noon to 8 PM.
Each day we will be passing out black wrist bands and we will have each person who picks one up write a KIA troops' name and number on it. Each wrist band will also stand for 50 innocent Iraqis killed. Everyday at 6 PM we will have a "die-in." We will ask everyone who is present at 6 PM to lie down and represent a dead soldier. At that point, the park police will give us 3 warnings before they arrest us. We are not encouraging people to get arrested is a very personal decision. I am planning to not get up on the day after the 2000 th soldier is killed. I may be arrested. Then when they let me out, I will go back and lie back down. We in America have let this criminal administration get away with murder for too long. Enough is enough. It's time to start practicing non-violent civil disobedience ( C.D.) on a large scale.
On Tuesday the 25th we will be fasting for the length of the vigil in solidarity with the hardships that Americans and Iraqis are enduring on a daily basis. We are asking America to fast in solidarity with us.
On Wednesday the 26th at 10:30 AM, we will be going to Arlington Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then to the White House for our vigil.
On Thursday the 27th at 10:30 AM we will be delivering a wreath and signed sympathy cards to the Iraqi Embassy. We are asking people who come out to our vigil on the Lafayette Park side to bring sympathy cards. Then to the White House for our vigil.
On Friday the 28th at 10:30 AM we will be delivering flowers and get well wishes to Walter Reed Hospital and we are asking people to bring get well cards to our vigil. Then off to the White House for our vigil.
Tomorrow I will be calling on President Bush to answer my original question: "What Noble Cause?" There is absolutely no noble cause. Our children and the Iraqi people are dying and suffering for no cause except for power and money greedy criminals.
The numbers are staggering. More American soldiers have been KIA in the first 32 months of Iraq so far then in the first 4 years of Vietnam. This isn't another Vietnam people, this is worse.
We cannot allow the people who are running our country to keep on running it into the ground.
It is time to exercise our sacred duty as human beings.
Let's get peacefully radical.
For more info on our activities this week call:
Dede Miller: 562-500-9079
By Cindy Sheehan
"If you believe in what you are doing, give me your stiffest sentence. If you don't, then resign."
Yesterday, started off with a "bang" when we went to Arlington Cemetery to lay a wreath in the section where the Iraq War dead are buried. In our group yesterday morning were 3 other members of Gold Star Families for Peace. Juan Torres was with us and his son, Juan, was murdered in Afghanistan.
First of all, I was followed all morning by the Park Police. I guess because I am a very dangerous subversive. I would never hurt a flea, but what I am dangerous to is the lies and corruption of our government.
Secondly, Juan, Beatriz Saldivar, and Julie Cuniglio who have all had loved ones killed in this war had brought pictures of their dead loved ones with them to Arlington. We were told by the administration of the cemetery that they couldn't take the pictures into the cemetery because they were "political statements!!" We were stunned that pictures of our children that have been killed for lies and betrayals and for purely political reasons can't be shown in a cemetery that supposedly honors those who have served, some making the ultimate sacrifice in war. We are living in a state that kills our children then calls them political statements. That speaks volumes to the chicken hawks who we are allowing to ruin our country.
After Arlington, I met with Sen. Carl Levin from Michigan who has been a strong and outspoken critic against the war. The mess that George Bush has unleashed on our country and on the innocent world weighs heavily on his shoulders. He knows something needs to be done. Let's support him in doing so. Today, I will meet with Sen. Stabenow from the same state.
We headed to the vigil at the White House for our hours long wait in the freezing cold. There was a man there who had several signs which among them said: "Saddam loves Cindy." This man didn't care that Rumsfeld (or Rumsfailed as I accidentally called him on an interview yesterday) was buddy, buddy with Saddam and gave him or sold him tons of WMD's before he became our enemy. I told this man that he didn't bother me, and he told me I don't bother him either. Well, if I don't bother him, why did he come down and make signs and march for hours screaming that I kill our soldiers? We found out why. He was making 60 dollars an hour to do so from some non-profit, right wing group. He said he would switch signs if we gave him more money.
At 7:30 PM about 100 patriots symbolically died in front of the White House. Then 26 of us refused to get up and were arrested. As usual, the Park Police were very polite and efficient and many whisper words of support and encouragement to us. We are planning another die-in tonight at 7 PM. We need more Americans to come out and symbolically die with us here in DC…or do it in your own communities at relevant places, like a federal building, congressperson or senator's office.
When I was being processed out the Lieutenant warned me if I got arrested again that I may have to stay in jail until January since this was my second arrest and I already have one under my belt that hasn't been resolved (which I plan on going to court for anyway). The Lt went to bat for me, he said, so the judge wouldn't keep me until my November court date this time.
I appreciate the warning of the Lt., but I plan on doing Civil Disobedience again this evening. I cannot live freely in a country where people are allowed to commit murder and roam free to commit more mayhem while other people who are exercising their first amendment rights to free speech are locked up in jail. I cannot live freely in a country where others are allowed to lie to retaliate against a person who had the temerity to challenge previous lies. I cannot live freely in a country where bereaved family members aren't allowed to carry pictures of their murdered loved ones into a national cemetery.
If I go before a magistrate tonight or tomorrow after my next arrest, I will tell him/her: If you believe in what you are doing, give me the stiffest sentence possible. If you don't, then resign. Peace soon.
Peaceful Day in Iraq
By Cindy Sheehan
October 17, 2005
I keep hearing on the news that this past Saturday was a relatively "peaceful" day in Iraq. Despite many reports already of alleged election fraud (shades of Ohio and Florida), George and his cronies are cautiously optimistic that the referendum for the constitution will pass. George Bush says that it looks like Iraq is heading for "peace."
I would love to support Hillary for President if she would come out against the travesty in Iraq. But I don't think she can speak out against the occupation, because she supports it.
I will not make the mistake of supporting another pro-war Democrat for president again: As I won't support a pro-war Republican.
This country wants this occupation to end. The world wants the occupation to end. People in Iraq want this occupation to end.
Senator Clinton: taking the peace road would not prove you are weak. Instead, it would prove that you are the strongest and wisest candidate. As a mom, as an American, as a patriot: I implore you to have the strength and courage to lead the fight for peace.
I want to support you, I want to work for you, but like many American moms, I will resist your candidacy with every bit of my power and strength unless you show us the wisdom it takes to be a truly great leader.
Prove that you are "passionate" and reflect our nations' values and refusal to support imperialism, greed and torture.
Senator Clinton: come out against this occupation of Iraq. Not because it is the politically expedient thing to do but because it is the humane thing to do. If you want to make Casey's sacrifice count, bring the rest of his buddies home alive.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I did meet with Sen. Clinton, along with Sen. Harry Reid, on September 22, 2005. No one has asked me how it went with Sen. Reid, but I've been asked about my meeting with Sen. Clinton many times. A few days earlier in Brooklyn, I had referred to her as waiting for a politically "expedient" moment to speak out against the war in Iraq. I, of course, think that this tactic is wrong, because politics has nothing to do with the slaughter going on in Iraq. No one asked the almost 2000 Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who have been killed what political party they were rooting for. When a mother receives the news that her son or daughter has been killed for lies she never thinks "Oh no, how could this have happened? I am a Democrat(Republican)!!!"
Playing politics with our soldiers' lives is despicable.
I thought the meeting with Sen. Clinton went well. I thought she listened and heard what we had to say. I went with another Gold Star Mother, Lynn Braddach, and my sister, Dede Miller. After Sen. Reid left, Mrs. Clinton stayed for a few more moments and she told us that she had met with the other Gold Star Mothers who had a different view from ours. I said it didn't really matter, because our view is right. Lynn, Dede, and I don't want our loved ones to be used as political pawns to justify the killing spree in Iraq. I can't believe any mother who has had her heart and soul torn out would wish that on another mother. How often do the lies have to be exposed before every American (elected official, media representative, average citizen) wakes up and says, "enough killing is enough!"
I thought Mrs. Clinton listened, but apparently she didn't because immediately afterwards she said the following to Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice:
"My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain... I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal... I don't think it's the right time to withdraw."
That quote sounds exactly like what the few Republicans I talked to that week said. Making sure that our children did not die in "vain" sounds exactly like something George Bush says. A "date" for withdrawal? That sounds like Rush Limbaugh to me. That doesn't sound like an opposition party leader speaking to me. What Sen. Clinton said after our meeting sounds exactly like the Republican Party talking points I heard from Senators Dole and McCain.
Sen. Clinton is in California today to raise money for her political campaigns. An invitation to one star-studded gala reads:
"We must stand with Senator Clinton as she stands up for what we believe in. Hillary is and always has been our champion in the White House and the Senate." And she's one of the "strongest, most passionate and intelligent Democrats."
I didn't get an invitation to any of the events, but maybe it's because she doesn't stand up for what I believe in. I don't believe in continuing this occupation of Iraq and I don't believe in killing more of our soldiers because my son has already been needlessly and tragically killed. I don't believe she is passionate. I think she is a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys. She is intelligent, there's no doubt about that. However, I believe that the intelligent thing for Democrats to do for 2006 and 2008 would be to come out strongly and correctly against the botched, bungled, illegal, and immoral occupation of Iraq.
62% of Americans now believe that this war is based on lies and betrayals and want our troops to start coming home. 53% of Americans want our troops to come home immediately. The last time I looked, Democrats did not comprise 62% of our population. Americans oppose this war in overwhelming numbers and it crosses party lines. Because America can see that the war in Iraq has fueled terrorism and has made the world and our country less secure. America can see that the murder of innocents is not a "right and left" issue, it is a "right and wrong" issue.
Sixty-nine of our best and brightest have been sent meaninglessly and unnecessarily to their premature deaths since I met with Mrs. Clinton on September 22 nd. Sixty-nine mothers and fathers and who knows how many spouses, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, cousins, and friends have been meaninglessly and unnecessarily sent into tailspins of grief and emptiness since that meeting.
We all know that Sen. Clinton, along with many other Representatives and Senators voted to give George Bush the authority to invade a sovereign nation that was no threat to the USA. We know that they spinelessly abrogated their constitutional responsibility and duty to declare war. We (and most of them) know that voting to give an irresponsible person authority to wage war was a devastating mistake. But I know that knowing all of that will not bring my son or almost 2000 other Americans back and it won't bring back that nation's war dead, either.
Going to the movies was something Casey and I enjoyed doing together. Casey was a Theater Arts major in college and he went with a critical eye. Since I love sharing my children's passions with them, Casey and I would go to the movie theater often.
God forbid anyone get too disturbed over the devastation and needless death and suffering in Iraq. God forbid that the media tell us that 32 of our young people have been slaughtered in Iraq so far in October. God forbid that we have to think about the hundreds of faceless and nameless Iraqis who have been needlessly killed, too, just performing day to day tasks.
From Despair to Hope
By Cindy Sheehan
October 7, 2005
There were many nights after Casey was killed and we buried him that I had to restrain myself from swallowing my entire bottle of sleeping pills. The pain and the deep pit of hopeless despair were almost too much to cope with. How can a person be expected to live in a world that is so full of pain and so devoid of hope? I would think to myself: "It would be so easy to take these pills and go to sleep and never wake up in this awful world again."
One day about three weeks after Casey was killed, my daughter Carly came out and hit me with my reason for living: her poem: A Nation Rocked to Sleep. One stanza reads:
Have you ever heard the sounds of a mother screaming for her son?
The first stanza reminded me that I was not the only one in the universe who had such excruciating grief, but the verse that helped me claw my way out of the pit of despair, one agonizing inch at a time, is the last stanza:
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
I knew when she recited those lines to me that I would have to spend any amount of time, money, or energy to try and bring the troops home before another mother would have to weep. I was ashamed of myself that I didn't try to stop the war before Casey died. I foolishly thought: "What can one person do?"
Well, I now felt that if I couldn't make a difference, I would at least try. If I failed, I vowed that I would go to my grave knowing that I gave it my best shot.
I started to gradually get 3 doses of hope back, and then slide 2 doses back. I had a marvelous time in Florida during the campaign working against George Bush. I founded Gold Star Families for Peace. I was a main speaker at the Peace Rally in Fayetteville, SC. Casey and I were on the cover of The Nation magazine. I testified at Congressman John Conyer's Downing Street Memo hearings in June, 2005. I felt that I was one chip at a time eroding public support for the occupation of Iraq.
Then in August of 2005, after I had already separated from my husband of 28 years, I was sitting at home watching TV (a very rare occurrence) and I saw that 14 Marines from Ohio were killed in one incident. If that weren't heartbreaking and sickening enough, George Bush came on the TV and said that the loved ones of fallen soldiers can rest assured that their loved ones died for "a noble cause." That enraged me and inflamed my sense of failure. I didn't not believe before Casey was killed, after he was killed, and on August 3, 2005 that invading a country that was about as much threat to the USA as Switzerland, killing tens of thousands of innocent people all for greed for power and money is a noble cause. I decided to go to Crawford to ask him what the "noble cause" is.
Then George had the unfortunate temerity to say something that has enraged me for months. He said we had to: "Complete the mission to honor the sacrifices of the fallen." I have been publicly calling for him to stop that for months. I don't one more mother to have her heart and soul ripped out of her for no reason: for lies and crap. I wanted to go to Crawford to demand that George quit using my son's honorable and courageous sacrifice to continue his dishonorable and cowardly killing.
The rest is history. The more the American people came to Camp Casey. The more letters, cards, emails, phone calls, and packages of support we received, the happier we at Camp Casey became.
We realized that at Camp Casey we remembered something after almost 5 years of a virtual dictatorship of control we have in America now: we the people have all the power. We the people NEED to exercise our rights and responsibilities as Americans to dissent from an irresponsible, reckless, ignorant and arrogant government. We realized, a little late, but not too late, that when George said: "If you're not for us, your against us," we all should have risen in angry, righteous and patriotic unison and said: "You are damn right you lying, out of control madman. We are so against you and your insane rush to invade Iraq."
We didn't rise up then, but Camp Casey taught us that it is okay to raise your voices against the government. Not only is it "okay" but it is mandatory if your government is responsible for killing innocents. It is mandatory if there are no other checks and balances in place that we the people be the checks and balances on the media and government.
I thought all my hope was KIA on the same day Casey was KIA. Carly's poem gave me a reason to live. Camp Casey with its wonderful feelings of love, acceptance, peace, community, joy, and yes, optimism for our future, gave me back my desire to live. I can now smile and laugh and even mean it most of the time. These things we often take for granted but I never will again.
Living with hope that our world will one day exist in a paradigm of peace, love, and non-violent conflict resolution is a very good way to exist. I love being alive now and will devote my life to peace with justice so our children will never, ever be misused by the war machine again.
Thank you, America.
Thank you, Casey.
Camp Casey to DC Update
Today as we honor and memorialize our countrymen and women who were tragically killed on 9/11, we must also not just remember them, but honor their memories by working to hold this dangerously incompetent administration accountable and responsible for the continuing devastation of our country.
We pointed all of these counter-arguments out to Mr. Molinari. I also pointed out that as a mother and grandmother, would the Senator be willing to sacrifice one of her loved ones so people can line their pockets with her children's blood. At this point, I don't believe that Dianne Feinstein represents her constituents (of which I am one), the people of California. Not only is she weak on the Iraq issue, she introduced Condi ("smoking gun") Rice for her confirmation hearing and she called John (Death Squad) Negroponte "a great public servant." If she refuses to be a leader on getting our troops out of Iraq, then we the people of California need to withdraw our support of her.
What Kind of Extremist Will You Be?
Early morning, April 04, a shot rings out in the Memphis sky,
--U2: Pride (In the name of love). Almost everyone who is reading this knows what happened to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 04, 1968. Some of you may even know what happened to my son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan on April 04, 2004. If you don't know, Dr King and Casey were murdered by the same malevolent entities: People and ideologies that say that we have to be mortally afraid of the "ism" du jour and we, as Americans who have the "moral high-ground" in the world can send our innocent children to invade innocent countries and kill innocent people to fight the "ists" that go with the "isms." In Vietnam we were fighting the evil Communists and in Iraq we are fighting the evil terrorists.
Our war against Communism out-stayed its welcome in the 1980's and the military industrial war complex was running out of excuses to build bombs, tanks, bullets, ships, submarines, and soldiers; so in 2001, our leaders who serve the war machine had to switch our enemy of the state to terrorism. Dr. King had the temerity to challenge the war machine and war racketeers on April 04, 1967 in his famous speech on Vietnam?and he paid for that bit of inspired, courageous, honesty with his life exactly one year later.
Casey had the naïve gall to join the US Army thinking he would be making the world a better, safer place-- and he paid for that kind of immature (but honest) patriotic mistake with his wonderful life. Casey was a brave and honorable man who we were told volunteered to go on the mission that killed him to save the lives of his buddies. He was shot in the back of the head and died a little while later in a medic's station while a medic was trying to hold his brains in while the doctors tried to keep him breathing.
We have heard many wildly disparate stories of Casey's last few minutes on earth, I don't know if we will ever know the truth. One thing I do know, however, is that like Dr. King, Casey's murder will be to advance the cause for peace and in the name of love. I am wholly and completely convinced that this aggression on Iraq is illegal, immoral and appallingly unnecessary. I am also convinced that one drop of blood was one drop of blood too much to be shed for this abomination in Iraq. Now oceans of blood˜both Iraqi and American˜have been spilled for ruinous and disturbing policies of very bad people in our government who have based their reasons for invasion and occupation on their twisted imaginations and their seemingly bottomless lust for power, profits, chaos and confusion. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote this from the Birmingham Jail in 1963 and it is so relevant today:
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. I must regretfully admit that before my son was killed, I didn't publicly speak out against the invasion/occupation of Iraq. I didn't shout out and say: "Stop! Stop this insane rush to an invasion that has no basis in reality˜don't invade a country based on cherry-picked, prefabricated intelligence and contemptible scare tactics!"I didn't stand up and scream: "Congress, don't you dare abrogate your constitutional rights and responsibilities! Do not, under ANY circumstances give the keys to our country to power-drunk, irresponsible and reckless maniacs!"
When George threateningly stated in his disordered and defiant headlong rush to disaster: "If you're not for us, you're against us," I will regret forever not calling him on the phone and screaming: "I am SO against you and your repulsive policies, you self-important man. I am against killing innocent people and I am against you telling me it's unpatriotic to be against you and your murderous philosophy!"
Why, oh why, was I silent when the cowardly and capricious arm-chair warriors of the Pentagon sent my son and over a million other brave young Americans to an atrocious excuse (that never should have been fought in the first place) for a war without the proper equipment, armor, training, supplies, or planning? I should have boldly strode up the Pentagon and said: "Look here, Donald, not only do you not go to war with the Army you "have", you make sure our precious life blood is well protected if you do send them off to fight and how about not sending our kids to die in the sand or soil of another country UNLESS it is absolutely necessary to defend our own sand and soil?"
If I had broken the bonds of my slavery to silence sooner, would Casey (and scores of others) still be alive? I don't know. There were and still are so many good people working for peace and justice and they have been for so many years. One thing I do know, however, is that no matter how much I scream and cry and rail against God, country, and humanity, I cannot bring Casey back. But, I have not shut up since Casey was killed, nor will I be silent until every last one of our nation's sons and daughters are brought back from this morally repugnant and ill-fated war!! Nor, will I give up when this occupation is finished. I will continue fighting for the children of the world and make sure a tragedy of historic proportions like this never happens again. If I can save even one mother here or there from the pain and agony I'm going through, then it will have been so immensely worth it. I encourage and challenge every citizen of the world to do one small thing for peace each day.
Even if it is to nag your elected officials to demand the keys of our country back from the all but convicted felons, liars and self-proclaimed pro-life hypocrites who have them now. Casey and Dr. King were both violently killed on April 04 in different years and during different wars?two wars that are really just two different sides of the same coin. I want their deaths to mean something. I want them to count for peace and justice, not violence and hatred. I can feel my son's presence urging me on to save his buddies. I can hear him whispering in my ear and in my dreams: "Mom, finish my mission. Bring my buddies home alive"
I can hear Dr. King's words similarly challenging me to action: "The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be?" Well, Casey, my son, my hero. Well, Dr. King, the hero of millions, I pledge to be the kind of extremist who works for peace with justice and who will never take "No" for an answer. I will strive to hold the bad people in our government accountable for all of the heartache and emptiness they have caused our world by their deliberate lies and deceptions and by their misuse of power and their abuse of our nation's precious human resources. I will be the kind of extremist who believes that our country can be taken back from the corporatocracy and unethical war profiteers that have control of it now. I will be the kind of extremist who believes that the people of Iraq can rebuild their own country without the dangerous "help" of the American military presence and I will be the kind of extremist who strives to bring our kids home from the Middle East immediately. If there ever was a time in our nation's history that required the passion and compassion of extremists, it is now: This very minute. What kind of extremist will you be?
Back on the Road Again
Well, after what turned out to be a few days' rest, instead of a week, I am heading back out on the truth trail. Camp Casey III in Covington, La, is really hopping. Members of our Camp Casey group took 10,000 pounds of supplies to Covington which is a poor African-American town in La. The Vets for Peace bus is also doubling as the communication's center since it has satellite internet and a satellite phone. Members of Code Pink from Austin and Houston collected clothes, baby formula and diapers and delivered them to Camp Casey III. The situation is dire, but we are glad that we can provide some of our fellow Americans with the basic comforts of home that our government is not supplying to them. We are putting our money, time, and energy into helping the people of Louisiana. Because of the misplaced priorities of the administration, they have become the collateral damage of this occupation of Iraq.
Join us in asking these questions to your Congressmenber or Senator, sign on at www.meetwiththemothers.org.