I have not written about the whole Cindy Sheehan debacle because I did not feel I had anything to add. But I have today read two posts which do have something to add to the story. They are written from two very different perspectives, but I agree with both of them. And I appreciate their ability to contribute to the discussion with dignity and restraint. They didn’t call any names. They didn’t denigrate Ms. Sheehan. But they spoke some truths that have needed to be said.
The first is Instapunk, and I am sorry, but I don’t remember who linked to him. Okay, I went into history and found it. Right Equals Might directed me there. (Both Right Equals Might and The Anchoress have expressed their desire for discussion with respect for others rather than with vicious epithets today. I appreciate that.)
For whatever reason, we have exalted grief in this nation to a supernatural force that must be honored and appeased rather than overcome. As recently as the Victorian era, infant and child mortality was so pervasive that few large families did not experience it. Before the age of modern medicine, sudden, unexpected death was an everyday companion of the living. They learned to control grief with defined periods of mourning in prescribed clothes and then to proceed with life. And they learned not to lose their faith and humility in the process.
Has it helped? No. Are the eternally bleeding really saints? No. The evidence indicates that the death of a child tends to destroy marriages these days, promote substance abuse, vandalize careers, and perpetuate depression. Appeasing and worshipping grief strengthens the power of grief and causes people to lapse into self-absorbed obsessions.
And then I read Varifrank’s article, where he writes of his parents’ loss of a child and then continues:
But Cindy Sheehan, for all the sympathy I have for her, is also wrong and Cindy Sheehan is also a liar. What’s worse, Cindy Sheehan is taking action to ensure that more American soldiers are killed by foolishly aligning herself with the insurgents, which will empower them and ensure that more innocent Iraqis are killed and more American troops are killed. She is feeding the very forces of hate and terror that killed her son.
Varifrank then goes on to quote Ms. Sheehan herself on her son’s re-enlistment. And then he shows a picture, of a Kurdish mother and child killed by mustard gas in 1994. And continues:
Casey Sheehan put his life on the line to make the world a better place. Casey Sheehan indirectly contributed to the lives of many Iraqis who once condemned to death at the hands of Saddam. In doing so, Casey has made the world a safer place for all of us. The defense of freedom, the defense of democracy is nothing to be ashamed of. We are not in Iraq for oil, and to say so cheapens the life of men like Casey and the anonymous Kurdish woman in the picture.
And that’s what Casey was fighting for Mrs. Sheehan, the rights of women everywhere to be as free as you are. Remember Mrs. Sheehan; he died for you and the rights you are now abusing – he did not die for oil.
Go ahead and grieve Mrs. Sheehan. Get mad, get angry, stomp your feet, call names, spit, cry and fall to the ground in front the Presidents house only do it all over again the next day. You wont be the first, and God help us, you won’t be the last, but go ahead, it’s your right, its a right that Casey and the other men who fight for freedom gave to you.”
Yes, she’s a mom. But there are thousands of mothers who have lost their sons. And they haven’t aided the enemy. As the Anchoress asked today, “Why does she need a second meeting?”
She doesn’t. I hope she doesn’t get one, either.
Another perspective comes from a soldier who has been in Iraq three times already. The Makaha Surf Report (Forward Deployed) writes:
If anyone is to blame for Casey’s death, it is Moqtada Al-Sadr, the fat arrogant shia religious leader who ordered his forces to rebel in Sadr city. How can the leader of our country be responsible for the murderous orders of a religious thug that relishes attacking American soldiers?
Finally Ms. Sheehan I want to ask about some of the groups you are hanging out with. A few groups have expressed their solidarity with the insurgents in Iraq, these are the same insurgents that killed your son. The New York Sun took this poll last year and this is what they found.
Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out all have representatives on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, an anti-war umbrella group. They share that distinction with the Communist Party USA. UPJ organized the march during the 2004 Republican Convention in New York, at which a New York Sun poll of 253 of the protesters found that fully 67% of those surveyed said they agreed with the statement “Iraqi attacks on American troops occupying Iraq are legitimate resistance.”
So Ms. Sheehan, your friends on the left (well at least 2/3 of them) think attacks like the one that killed your son are legitimate. Why would you side with people that support the murderers of your son over the people that truly cared about him?