Even Cindy Sheehan can go too far

Posted: Aug 31, 2005 12:00 AM

Through hurricane and tornado, the Cindy Sheehan bandwagon rolls on. In their haste to assault President Bush and the war in Iraq, Sheehan's allies have ignored her extremism. They have ignored her attempt to undermine other military families and to destroy the morale of troops still in combat. Those on the radical anti-war left are only too happy to trumpet Sheehan's disgusting message. Freed from the burden of having to defend just why their arguments sound so suspiciously like those of our enemies, leftist media members salivate greedily for each new sound bite. Members of the media have been waiting months to utilize American body bags as weapons against the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. In the form of Cindy Sheehan, they see their opportunity.
But Sheehan herself is no victim of exploitation. She is proud of what she has to say. Believing in her own moral invincibility (yes, even at the expense of other military parents), Sheehan has unleashed her viciousness and hatred. Yes, everyone is sympathetic to her plight. But contrary to Maureen Dowd's zealous proclamation that Cindy Sheehan has "absolute moral authority," Sheehan can go -- and has gone -- too far.

 Sheehan has used her personal "moral authority" to tear down America's moral authority abroad. Our foreign policy has long been based on the principle that spreading American values across the globe will benefit all involved. America will benefit by living in a world that values liberty and freedom. And the rest of the world will benefit by being rid of its corrupt, oppressive governments. President Theodore Roosevelt expressed the idea well: "Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation."

 But Sheehan clearly does not believe that American values are superior or should be spread. According to Sheehan, her son Casey died for no good reason. If Sheehan meets with President Bush again, she announced, "I'm gonna say, 'And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for.' And if he even starts to say freedom and democracy, I'm gonna say, 'bulls---. You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don't tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.' Cuz, we're not freer. You're taking away our freedoms. The Iraqi people aren't freer, they're much worse off than before you meddled in their country."

 These are sentiments reserved for the most radical members of the anti-war movement. These are sentiments that echo precisely the words of Osama Bin Laden and his ilk. "[O]ppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy," Bin Laden stated in a 2004 tape sent to Al Jazeera. "Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance. … The policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations -- whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction -- has helped Al Qaeda to achieve these enormous results."

 How is any of this different from Sheehan's insistence that America goes to war for oil and corporate gain?

 How is any of this different from Sheehan's belief that Iraqis are worse off now than under the regime of Saddam Hussein?

 How is any of this different from Sheehan's contention that President Bush is "the biggest terrorist in the world," a "filth-spewer and warmonger," an "evil maniac," a "war criminal"?

 How is any of this different from Sheehan's statement that Iraqi terrorists are actually "freedom fighters"?

 Sheehan's words are despicable. Dissent is valuable and necessary. Demeaning American values, slandering the President of the United States, openly sympathizing with the murderers of American soldiers -- none of it is valuable or necessary. It is reprehensible and repulsive. No exceptions, Mrs. Sheehan.

 Pain and grief are powerful emotions. They mandate our sympathy. But our sympathy for a grieving mother cannot and should not outweigh our sympathy and support for the men and women still fighting to promulgate American values and protect American freedoms -- and their parents. Even Cindy Sheehan can go too far.