```Harry, what the hell are you doing campaigning for that crippled son-of-a-bitch that killed my son Joe?' (Joseph P.) Kennedy said, referring to his oldest son, who had died in the war. Kennedy went on, saying Roosevelt had caused the war. Truman, by his later account, stood all he could, then told Kennedy to keep quiet or he would throw him out the window.''
-- ``Truman,'' by David McCullough, Page 328
WASHINGTON -- A large number of Americans feel deep and understandable unease about the war in Iraq, and want nothing more than to pull out. But the antiwar movement is singularly disserved by its leadership, such as it is. Its de facto leader is Cindy Sheehan, who catapulted herself into that role by quite brilliantly exploiting the media's hunger for political news during the August recess, and by wrapping herself in the courage of her son Casey, who died in Iraq.
Her loss and grief deserve sympathy and respect. However, Sheehan believes that it entitles her to special standing in opposing a war in which her son served, about which he (as far as we know) expressed no misgivings, and for which he indeed re-enlisted.
Maureen Dowd of The New York Times claims that Sheehan's ``moral authority" on the war is ``absolute." This is obtuse. Sheehan's diatribes against George Bush -- ``lying bastard;'' ``filth-spewer and warmonger;'' ``biggest terrorist in the world'' -- have no more moral standing than Joseph Kennedy's vilification of Franklin Roosevelt. And if Sheehan speaks with absolute moral authority, then so does Diane Ibbotson -- and the other mothers who have lost sons in Iraq yet continue to support the mission their sons died for and bitterly oppose Sheehan for discrediting it.
The antiwar movement has found itself ill-served by endowing absolute moral authority on a political radical who demanded that American troops leave not just Iraq but ``occupied New Orleans.'' Who blames Israel for her son's death. Who complained that the news media went ``100 percent Rita'' -- ``a little wind and a little rain'' -- rather than covering other things in the world, meaning her.
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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