8.13.2005

Dear Mrs. Sheehan

Dear Mrs. Sheehan,

I’d like to offer my condolences for the loss of your son, Casey. I cannot imagine the pain you must feel. A heart attack took my mother's life several years ago and it was the most difficult time of my life. How much more heart-wrenching for a parent to lose a child for any reason, much less in a war. I thank you for raising a young man with the courage, the compassion and the conviction to fight for his nation.

I understand that you had disagreements with President Bush long before your son left for the battlefield. I have also read the statement released by your family recently, denouncing your behavior as you call for another meeting with the president. I hear that you simply want to ask the president why he killed your son. I understand that while grieving, sometimes time only introduces more questions and frustration. But, is that really why you want to see the president? To ask him why he killed your son? Is that really your question? Your one question?

Maybe it might be more helpful to talk with other mothers and fathers who lost their sons in the same field. I am sure you are aware of the many others who have lost sons to the same cause and who continue to support the war effort.

I don’t mean to paint an idealistic picture of this situation. Nobody wants war. Nobody. War is ugly. When nations war, men and women die. That’s just the way it works. However, I have to wonder what these other parents might say.

Perhaps they would have different questions. One mother might want to ask the president, “How many women were saved from torture and rape at the hands of the Saddam Hussein regime because my son gave his life?” Another may want to know, “How many people participated in the first democratic election in Iraq’s history because of my son?” Yet another may say, “I’ve never seen children look as happy and grateful as the pictures my son e-mailed me before he was shot. Those children have hope for a better future because of my son.”

Why do I think they may say such things? Because I have heard them express these exact sentiments. This is not about one set of parents being right. This is about the honor of the men and women who have fallen as well as those who continue to stand in the battle.


Again, I am so sorry for the loss of your son. May you and your family be strengthened and comforted during this time.

Sometimes what we feel like doing most would not be the thing that our loved ones would want us to do. I remember how unnatural it felt to move forward in my life after my mother's death. Yet, as abnormal as it felt, it was what she would have wanted and what was right. With that in mind, Mrs. Sheehan, I have question. Would the patriotic young man who volunteered for this fight be honored to know that his mother is demanding--in such a manner--to interrogate and criticize his Commander-in-Chief? That is my question for you.

Sincerely,

Just an American



(PS: Check out this interesting account of one of Cindy Sheehan's interviews.)

23 Comments:

At 8/13/2005 07:49:00 AM, Blogger mlwhitt said...

Great posting Lores. I agree with your and Marks view on Cindy Sheehan. I love the questions that you put forth that would be better for her to ask the President.

If his life was thrown away that would be one thing, but it wasn't. What about all the men and women in service that have died during peacetimes, would that kind of death be acceptable to her? Or wouldn't as you put forth it be easier on one's heart knowing the countless lives that her son's death helped save and improve. I think anyone in their right mind would say that they rather at least lose a loved one knowing that a difference was made.

 
At 8/13/2005 11:34:00 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Lores, the "Commander-in-Chief" works for us, for Cindy, for you -- for all of us. He is not some infallible Leader.

Cindy might be pissed off that her son died for a lie, not for a just cause. There's a difference. Everyone here dismisses the DSMs, etc., but I can assure you that most Americans don't. They know a lie when they see one exposed.

 
At 8/13/2005 11:47:00 AM, Anonymous Jets said...

Great letter but I'm afraid the extremely radical fringe has gotten to Cindy Sheehan and there is little if any chance of having an intelligent and thoughtful conversation with her as long as Michael Moore, Code Pink, et al... are around her and are using her grief to explote and manipulate her. What these groups and indivduals are doing is despicable and if they had any morals they would stop.

 
At 8/13/2005 11:59:00 AM, Blogger pawlr said...

Also Lores, the one question Cindy is there to ask is not "why did you kill my son?", although she has expressed interest in an answer to this as well.

The primary question she has repeated over and over is "What is the 'noble cause' for which we are in Iraq?". She goes on to note the multiple shifts in rationale for being there, first to find WMD, then to find WMD-related programs, then to fight terrorism, paint schools, then to maintain order for democracy, etc. etc.

America did not go to war to save people from rape rooms (although the Abu Ghraib photos you DON'T see are reported to contain just such activity). We did not go to war to make Iraqi children smile.

We went to war to prevent a nuclear holocaust on our soil. That was the #1 rationale. The verdict is plainly in that this turned out to be a colossal fiction perpetrated on the people of this country.

This is the reason recruitment is down, that soldiers and their families are no longer sacrificing themselves with a smile on their faces, and a snappy salute.

And you can bet your boots she has talked to several other parents of soldiers who have given their lives, both for and against the war. To suggest otherwise is kind of condescending, I'm sorry, but it is.

 
At 8/13/2005 12:14:00 PM, Blogger pawlr said...

Cindy Sheehan isn't being exploited, don't worry - she's just coming to the same conclusion via direct suffering that many people came to directly through reasoning and compassion. She had these views long before various other peace groups began supporting her.

 
At 8/13/2005 04:48:00 PM, Blogger Jaymeister said...

As a counterpoint to Mark's "interesting account", have a look at This.

(I don't mean to toot my own horn by linking to my blog, but I received this in e-mail form and don't know where else it's posted.)

 
At 8/14/2005 04:05:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Lores, thanks for the linkage. I was looking for information about this story earlier and followed some links and found this, an answer to Cindy Sheehan, from a blogger who livwes in Iraq:

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2005/08/message-to-cindy-sheehan.html

Pawlr, there was, and is, a definite threat to America in Iraq. How do you think Cindy Sheehans son died? He was killed by terrorists. They are the threat, not Bush. And they are still there.

Also, recruitment is not down. It is up.

 
At 8/14/2005 07:54:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

At least someone is responding to pawlr! Facts are tough to argue around, but spin works well -- Mark, the DoD reduced it's monthly quota in order to make their number, and the deficit is still quite huge, as these folks sign up for more than one month. You kinda hafta make up for a lot of lost ground. Kinda like job creation -- to say nothing of the quality of jobs created.

Anyway, I think pawlr nails the talking-point/meme that Sheehan is A-OK but has been taken over by far-left groups. Doubly insulting: one, she figured this out for herself, as pawlr says; two, she's been active in the antiwar movement for years now. She's not exactly a total naif here.

Question: Why hasn't Bush come out to talk to her? Would be interested in answers...

 
At 8/14/2005 08:09:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

A related question, Mark: Why are terrorists operating in Iraq now? Note, in your answer, realize that they were not there before (if you think a totalitarian regime like Hussein's could have that occur in areas under his aegis, please explain, as that would lead in interesting directions).

 
At 8/14/2005 08:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8/15/2005 05:00:00 AM, Blogger Layman said...

"Lores, the "Commander-in-Chief" works for us, for Cindy, for you --"

Which means he works for me too and I don't think he needs to waste time visiting a woman whose only purpose is to make political points using the death of her son. Bush visited with Ms. Sheehan and expressed his sympathy for her loss. Bush has explained his rationale for the war again and again to the American people. Sheehan got her personal audience with the Pres and she's not entitled to another one.

And "most Americans" had a chance to vote Bush out if they thought he was a liar, and the majority of Americans who cared enough to vote decited to keep him.

 
At 8/15/2005 05:10:00 AM, Blogger Layman said...

Recruitment in the Army has been down, but retention is up. So by your reasoning that means that those troops doing the actual fighting must realize how noble is their cause. Right?

I suspect recruitment is down in the Army (not for Marines, Air Force, or Navy) because soldiers are getting killed and the economy is good.

 
At 8/15/2005 03:14:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

How much of that retention is due to stop-loss?

I love how no one actually responds to pawlr's points (or mine) or questions...just more GOP talking points, which I read from the source, so please lay some original stuff on me here!

 
At 8/15/2005 03:18:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Since you brought up the 2004 election, are you absolutely sure, and I mean as an American, not a party-person, that it was fair?

If Kerry had won, and the same crap was coming out of Ohio viz-a-viz the Democrats's shenanigans, you can be sure I'd be screaming from the hilltops.

I kinda beleive in democratic republicanism, so I worry when I see stuff like this and this.

Do any of you?

 
At 8/15/2005 03:20:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

You couldn't keep folks from signing up for WWII and other wars thought essential for our security. So "dying soldiers" wouldn't keep the true and brave from joining up if they thought they'd give their lives (and take others') for something other than a pack of lies.

 
At 8/15/2005 05:58:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...

"How much of that retention is due to stop-loss?"

None. I'm talking about soldiers resigning for additional terms.

"I love how no one actually responds to pawlr's points (or mine) or questions...just more GOP talking points, which I read from the source, so please lay some original stuff on me here!"

I responded to your points. You ignored my response except to ask a question that has now been answered.

 
At 8/15/2005 06:08:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...

"Since you brought up the 2004 election, are you absolutely sure, and I mean as an American, not a party-person, that it was fair?"

I think the there was corruption but that most of the corruption was in favor of the democrats.

If Kerry had won, and the same crap was coming out of Ohio viz-a-viz the Democrats's shenanigans, you can be sure I'd be screaming from the hilltops."

I'm not so sure. Ohio is generally a Republican state. Why there is some surprise that it went Republican again is the real mystery.

"I kinda beleive in democratic republicanism, so I worry when I see stuff like this and this."

I don't tend to run down bunny rabbit trail links to claims of voter fraud. Unless you feel like refuting all the evidence of Democrat voter fraud and shaningans out there as well:

http://www.rnc.org/News/Read.aspx?ID=4996

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/009328.php

http://instapundit.com/archives/020738.php

For the most exhaustive analysis of possible voter fraud by both parties, I recommend checking the study done by the American Center for Voting Rights:

http://www.ac4vr.com/reports/072005/default.html

For a summary, check out its news release entitled, Democrat Operatives Far More Involved in Voter Intimidation and Suppression in 2004, available here:

http://www.ac4vr.com/news/acvrnews080205.html

"Do any of you?"

Yeah, like only Democrats care about democracy. It appears that Democrats only believe democracy is working when it elects Democrats. Which I think is a very damaging way of thinking for our republic.

 
At 8/15/2005 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Daffy76 said...

How, pray tell, did Mrs. Sheehan's poor son get to Iraq? Because Bush sent him there? No. Because he enlisted to be a soldier. As far as I can tell, no one forced Casey Sheehan to enlist, so the responsibility for his life is not the Presidents--it is Casey Sheehan's. Here is a simple little fact, when you enlist in the military you are promising that if the need arises you will lay down your life for our country. That does not mean that if you do not agree with the reasons we are at war, you or your family can blame the president if or when you get hurt. You have made the choice to make that sacrifice when you enlist.

Okay, argue with me that Casey would still be alive if our forces had never gone to Iraq. Argue that we have no business in Iraq. But answer me this, if we had not gone to war with Iraq, would Casey Sheehan still have run the risk of being killed in warfare? Yes. Not because of President Bush, but because he enlisted to be a soldier and that's what being a soldier is all about. Casey Sheehan made his choice to go. Let's not dishonor his memory by making him out to be a mindless pawn.

 
At 8/16/2005 08:00:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Hi, layman:

Thanks for your responses and links. I'll check 'em out; just checked into this blog since I posted.

Thanks for the stop-loss answer. Not that I don't trust you implicitly, but could you shoot me a source? :)

Why won't you read the links I posted, I wonder?

Does it bother you at all that the person who ran the Bush campaign in Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000 was involved in voting shenanigans?

I know this is how it works for both parties; I think we ought to have an independent election commission.

Why in the world can't voting machines have a paper trail? Your ATM does.

How do you account for the fact that highly Democratic counties in Ohio voted for Bush in large numbers, when huge majorities voted for Democratic referenda and candidates?

I never once said or implied that our system only works when it elects Democrats. In fact, we could do with instant-run-off voting, third parties, publicly-financed elections, and a whole load of other things to make our elections actually matter and count all votes.

By the way, how do you know that the ACVR is the most comprehensive look at 2004? Have you read more than this report? Are you aware that the ACVR's Chairman, Brain Lunde, was chair of Dems for Bush, 2004? That its spokesperson, Jim Dyke, was the RNC's communications director in 2004? (http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=4585)

Or the following: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/search/s_360812.html?

LOL. Dude, I don't think there's much point in debating this with you. You have a position and look for anything to bolster it. It's called "fixing the intelligence to fit the policy." Republicans (some, not all) are very good at that. As was LBJ, a Democrat.

 
At 8/16/2005 10:57:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...

Doug,

I've been a veteran of too many boards to play "link-wars." If you have an argument to make, then make it. Otherwise we can just thrown links at each other all day long. So, if you have evidence that Bush did not receive a majority of the vote in the last election, especially despite much greater voter suppression and fraud efforts by paid Democractic operatives, then present it. That was the point, right? You claimed most Americans know Bush is a liar but I proved the majority of American voters voted to reelect him.

Pointing to the far fewer allegations of Republican voter misconduct versus convicted Democracs who engaged in such conduct, is hardly a persuasive response.

As for voting machines, sure they should have a paper trail. But if someone is willing to rig computerized vote tallies they won't think to create their own paper trail? In any event, its been Democratic lawsuits and operatives demanding more and more of the stupid computerized systems in the first placed. They tried to stop the election here in California until they had enough of the things in "poor" areas, and are some now scream bloody murder that they are not reliable.

I've read plenty of allegations regarding voter fraud. This is the most comprehensive one to look at all the allegations, intead of just party hacks tossing out their favorite jems. If you have a more comprehensive more fair look, or can detect fraud in the ACVR report, please do so.

And you end your post claiming I'm not worth discussing the issue with. That's certainly convenient now that it is clear that the Democrats are guilty of far more voter misconduct than the Republicans.

Why you are eager to excuse Democractic voter fraud is hard to sqaure with your supposed concern for our American Democracy? Are you friends with any of the five democratic operatices charged in Wisconisn with slashing the tires on 25 get-out-the-vote vans of Republicans on election day? Here are their names and how much they were paid by the Democractic Party:


Two defendants in the case are the sons of prominent Milwaukee Democrats: U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt, Chairman of the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Milwaukee. (61) The following is a list of the individuals charged with slashing tires on the morning of November 2, 2004, and their connections to the Democrat campaign in 2004:

Michael J. Pratt

* Paid $7,965.53 by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in 2004
* Pratt's father is former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt, who chaired the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Milwaukee

Sowande Ajumoke Omodunde (a.k.a Supreme Solar Allah)

* Paid $6,059.83 by Gwen Moore for Congress and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in 2004
* Son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)

Lewis Gibson Caldwell, III

* Paid $4,639.09 by Gwen Moore for Congress and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in 2004

Lavelle Mohammad

* Paid $8,858.50 by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and America Coming Together ($966 for canvassing work in June and July) in 2004

Justin J. Howell

* Paid $2,550.29 in 2004 by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (62)

Or did you know any one who was working for the Ohio Democratic Party who was enjoined by a court to refrain from making misleading calls giving the wrong date of the election and wrong polling places to Republicans?

On and on I could go, but you seem to have frighteningly little concern over Republicans being denied the right to vote or Democrats engaging in voter fraud.

Sad.

As for reenlistments, the Army actually suspended its bonus program for reenlistments because they were so succesful, exceeding their goals:

http://www.military.com/MilitaryReport/0,12914,MR_Army_082602,00.html

 
At 8/23/2005 09:23:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Hi, layman:

Just checked in, again...

After disallowing links (despite the fact that you put five in one earlier post), you provide links. I don't mind; really! Links are the internet's version of footnotes.

That way, you can check up on whether a person's made a mistake.

Like you did. Clearly, you and I were discussing the state of recruitment in 2005. You posted a link claiming that the Army has suspended recruitment bonuses because recruitment was going so well.

After some quick digging, I realized that you, I take it unintentionally, missed the fact that the link you posted for me is from August 26, 2002.

Check the URL, or better yet, check here , where you'll see the title of the post, "Army Suspends Reenlistment Bonuses until October" listed as the fourth link down. Click that link -- I invite all on this blog to do so -- and you'll find your article.

I believe we invaded Iraq in 2003.

Anyway, getting back to voter fraud...anyone from any party who did anything to keep anyone from voting should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, from the folks you mention (I'll take your word for it, but I'm less than convinced of your care with information after your mistake) up to Mr. Blackwell of Ohio. I did clearly state that both parties can, have, and will continue to mess about till we have an independent election commission. You seem to have missed that point.

I think the key here is relative frequency. Let's by all means have an open, bipartisan look at 2004 -- or better yet, an independent look -- and let the chips fall where they may.

But I note that the ruling party in Congress refuses to discuss this at all. I should think that would seem telling, especially if, as you seem to claim, the Democrats are guilty of terrible voting shenanigans. Why not open up an investigation of what went wrong in Ohio, then?

I think the studies I cited -- and we all must cite others, unless we think ourselves omniscient and omnicompetent, and I for one do not -- are sufficient smoke to investigate whether a fire occurred. I'm sure you disagree...but then, wouldn't you be in favor of an investigation of the alleged Democratic shenanigans? I would assume so. Why keep it focused on one party, then?

I don't see where you proved anything -- other than linking (yes, linking!) to a study that I responded to with some, I should think, pretty interesting background information on its supposed impartiality.

My point about ACVR is that they certainly seem to be party hacks to me. They're all of them Republicans -- and they hide the fact that their chairman used to be a Dem but is now clearly not only a Republican, but also a Bush supporter (not necessarily the same thing).

Now, when did I excuse Dem voter fraud? Quote me. I refer you to what I wrote above in the comment re: voter fraud if you're still confused about my motives.

Being a Rhode Islander (and a New Jerseyite during the election), no, I don't know any of the folks you mention. Why would you think I did? I imagine you were having a little rhetorical flight of fancy there.

The "not debating with you" comment has pretty much been borne out. Now, have you or have you not read the Conyers report? C'mon, answer truthfully before the eyes of God, now! (This is meant as gentle kidding, just to be clear! No offense intended.) I read the ACVR report, and then read about it.

Since I like links and since I am against voter fraud, could you post a source for your info on the people you list (other than ACVR, if such exists)?

I'm sure you're no doubt aware of the Republicans making exactly the same kind of phone calls you accuse the Dems of making. A source on that would be nice, too -- not that I think Dems (or any political party) above such things.

Finally, on what in my previous comments on this blog do you base your statement that I don't care about Republican disenfranchisement? Please quote it back to me.

Now, on lies: one thing is clear, and increasingly so, most Americans believe that going into Iraq was a mistake, and that they were misled, to get back to the original post. I'm sure you've seen the polls. What do you make of them?

 
At 8/28/2005 02:38:00 AM, Blogger Doug said...

layman, where are you?

 
At 9/06/2005 06:36:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...

Doug,

I do not check for responses indefinitely. It took you a week to respond. Taunting like that is in extremely poor taste. I suggest, rather than petty taunting, sending me an email if you wait so long to respond to a comment.

Here is more current news about reeinlistment:

"The general did say the Army has surpassed its re-enlistment projections so far for fiscal year 2005. The Army's active duty re-enlistment rate is 107 percent of projected estimates, with 58,480 soldiers re-enlisting between Oct. 1, 2004 and July 31, 2005. The Army was hoping to re-enlist 54,510 soldiers during that time. Lovelace said the Army National Guard and Reserve re-enlistment rates are also exceeding 100 percent of projections."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,166490,00.html

Links for information or if the other person is interested are of course fine. But I don't like to just argue with arguments made in another link but not really voiced by the advocate in the discussion.

And after linking to partisan blogs you discount a study done by a respected group because one of its leadres was a Democrat but voted for Bush? That's pretty hypocrticial. You certainly have no information by anyone else who has even purported to review claims of voter fraud and intmidation. And it is you who claimed that Bush stole the election. You should have to back up such an outrageous allegation, but have not.

 

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