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Cindy Sheehan Skips Another Anti-War Event

Once again Mother Sheehan is going to bail out of an event she hyped and promised to attend. This time it is " Camp Democracy " in DC.

From the Waco Tribune-Herald:

Cindy Sheehan Q&A: Peace icon on the mend, looking ahead

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

By Bill Whitaker

Tribune-Herald city editor

CRAWFORD — The growing anti-war movement fueled by last summer’s peace demonstrations in Crawford resurfaces in Washington, D.C., today, but the peace icon who sparked it all won’t be there.

Cindy Sheehan says she’s taking a hiatus from her activist role to heal and re-energize herself after a trying and torrid summer.

Most of the 100 or so anti-war demonstrators who joined her this year had left her peace camp in Crawford by the close of the Labor Day weekend. However, Sheehan, 49, remained behind, collecting herself after what proved a low-profile protest compared to last year’s massive, month-long demonstration near President Bush’s ranch.

This year’s protest gathered little steam in Crawford. Bush, who usually spends the entire month of August at his nearby ranch, cut his vacation to 10 days. And when Sheehan wasn’t hospitalized for exhaustion, dehydration and gynecological problems, she was recuperating at a motel in nearby McGregor.

Sheehan looked tired and moved slowly when she granted a brief interview to the Tribune-Herald. Her son, Andy, 22, sat with her. She talked about this year’s protest; her controversial association with Hugo Chavez, the anti-American president of Venezuela; and her plans for the five-acre spread she purchased for $52,500 just north of Crawford this summer.

Q: You’ve spent a lot of the past month in the hospital or on the mend. How do you feel?

A: Just really tired.

Q: You’ve been spending a lot of your time in McGregor instead of Crawford.

A: Yeah, when I haven’t been in the hospital.

Q: How does Camp Casey this year compare to last year? You became an international event in 2005.

A: This is more permanent, and we’re trying to figure out how to be more effective and changing this to the Camp Casey Peace Institute. It’ll be a permanent presence here. We’re looking at the more long-term goal of never allowing war to happen again.

Q: Why Crawford? I mean, when the president ends his term in a couple of years, why keep this out here?

A: Why not? (Laughs)

Q: Because it’s out in the sticks, that’s why.

A: Because it’s a nice place and I have been looking for a place to do my Camp Casey Peace Institute and it wasn’t going to be in the city. It was always going to be out some place.

Q: Some of your fellow protesters proclaimed it a victory this year when they apparently kept President Bush from coming back to his ranch near here. Why would keeping Bush from his ranch be a victory in all this?

A: I don’t know why they regard it as a victory. You’d have to ask them. I don’t see it as so much a victory as just proof that our presence is very effective. I would rather he was here because then he would see us and we would still be out at the (ranch) checkpoint all the time protesting and things like that. I believe they (the White House) changed their schedule constantly when we changed our schedule.

On Hugo Chavez

Q: Well, there certainly was a lot of shifting of schedules going on this year. Regarding presidents, many who sympathize with your cause question some of your actions this year, particularly your association with the Venezuelan president, who is very loud and very declaratory in his view of the U.S. Some might say this was a Hanoi Jane sort of thing to do. Why would you associate with someone like President Chavez?

A: I’m not so sure I associated with him as I met with him. I don’t think it’s a Hanoi Jane moment because we’re not at war with Venezuela. In fact, we have diplomatic relations with Venezuela, so why wouldn’t I be able to meet with someone from Venezuela? I understand it’s getting much worse, but I think we need to encourage people to talk out their problems. The reason President Chavez is the way he is is because the CIA orchestrated a coup against him. The United States has always been very meddlesome in South American politics.

Q: But doesn’t your visit with him digress from what your original message is?

A: Well, no. My short-term goal is to bring the troops back home from Iraq, but my long-term goal is to make sure this never happens again, and we have to model behavior that is diplomatic, not always aggressive.

On cutting and running

Q: Even those leaders who agree with you that it was a huge mistake to go into Iraq — that it was poorly grounded in intelligence or trumped up or whatever — even many of them say we can’t exactly pull out now, that the whole region would either collapse or go up in flames.

A: Well, like you say, it was irresponsible to go there in the first place, but I have met with many, many people who live in Iraq and I wonder how many other people in America have had the opportunity to talk with so many (of these) people. As a matter of fact, before Camp Casey, I was in Georgia and I met with some Iraqi parliamentarians who were saying, “You know, we need the occupying forces out, we can solve our own problems.”

Q: There are very definitely two schools of thought on that.

A: From Iraq? Mostly the people from Iraq — and it is their country — they say (differently) except for the people who are in power and are protected by the United States. Actually, the (Iraqi) vice president and national security adviser of Iraq have asked for a timeline for withdrawal. We’ve heard timelines proposed in Iraq ranging from three months to immediately. This is their country. We’ve seen polls where 80 percent of Iraqis want the troops out.

On Camp Casey success

Q: So what would you say is the big gain for Camp Casey this year as far as the war in Iraq is concerned?

A: Well, if you look at the past year, so many things have happened. When I came to Crawford last year, 51 percent (of the American public) disapproved of the war. Now I’ve seen some as high as 67 percent. I’m seeing so much grass-roots activism all over the country. Just this past week there were thousands of people protesting in Salt Lake City.

Q: Yes, and I saw reports about a similar war protest while the president was in Kennebunkport a week ago.

A: Activism has gone up. And we’ve seen people like (U.S. Rep.) John Murtha come out and say, “The troops need to come home.” He’s not even saying anything about a timeline, he’s saying, “Now, immediately.” We’re seeing a lot of that happen. Look at Ned Lamont and (U.S. Sen. Joe) Lieberman in Connecticut. People are wanting to be involved in the process.

On stepping out of spotlight

Q: It’s been suggested that you’re not as much of a player in all this as you used to be.

A: That was suggested by the Waco Tribune-Herald, in fact. But I think it’s great. I think last year I was just part of a bare majority. This year I am right in the middle of mainstream America.

Q: So it doesn’t make any difference if you’re gradually becoming a marginal figure in all this?

A: I never set out to be the face of the anti-war movement. I just got out to call attention to the fact that our country was waging an illegal and immoral war and that there are a lot of people in our country and in Iraq suffering because of it. What happened that I didn’t expect was for the country to become energized around the movement. I think it’s just absolutely fabulous that other people are stepping up.

Q: Things have changed a lot.

A: I’ve also taken a lot of heat for my position. I’ve been out in front, getting all the smears and, well, if anyone wants to share that with me, that’d be great!

Q: Do all the smears bother you?

A: It doesn’t hurt me at all.

On funding the movement

Q: The news media, of course, keeps track of the financing of political campaigns of all spectrums as well as the cost of the war in Iraq, so let me ask you this. How can you keep this grass-roots anti-war campaign of yours funded? How did you purchase this property out here?

A: I bought the property myself with my own money.

Q: How about the rest of this peace movement?

A: It’s grass-roots donations to our nonprofit group.

Q: You don’t have any major backers at all?

A: No.

Q: Really?

A: Not this year.

Q:You had some big ones last year.

A: I had some big ones last year.

Q: What happened to them?

A: I don’t know. I think this year a lot of people are concentrating on the elections coming up. I think that’s where a lot of the energy is going.

On not being silenced

Q: I’ve read a lot of different things about your son, Casey, for whom your peace campaign is named. How did your son feel about the war?

A: He was against the war.

Q: He was against it?

A: Yeah, he was against the war, he was against George Bush. He never voted for him. Our family has always been pretty liberal. He didn’t want to go to the war, but he felt it was his duty.

Q:What is that printed on your T-shirt?

A: It’s Arabic. It means, “We will not be silent.”

On Camp Democracy

Q: I understand the peace campaign Camp Democracy starts up immediately after this in Washington, D.C., and that it will last the better part of September.

A: It starts Tuesday, but I won’t be involved in it. I have to go home and get my health back. I’m not recovering as quickly as I hoped.

Q: Well, a hysterectomy is major surgery.

A: Yeah, that’s what people keep telling me — “It’s major surgery, what’s the matter with you?” Actually, before my surgery, when I was in the hospital the week before, I almost bled to death from (gynecological) problems. And then I was fasting for 37 days. And I’ve been so busy and I think I just got run down. I need to go home and get my strength back.

On moving to Crawford

Q: Last question. Do you plan to come back next year? The president is going to be in office till 2009 and our continued presence in Iraq seems fairly assured.

A: I hope he’s not in office till 2009, but this (anti-war presence in Crawford) is permanent. We’re going to start building a permanent structure soon. This may sound weird, but I’m going to live here. My residence is going to be a tree house. We’ve got some plans for amazing tree houses! This is a flood plain, so we have to build it. But the first structure we’re going to build is a camphouse with a great room and an industrial-type kitchen and an office and some bathrooms. So we’re planning on being permanent. It’s not just about George Bush, it’s about ending the occupation of Iraq and making sure it never happens again.

Q: I guess if you saw that article in the Tribune-Herald a week ago, you also know the mayor of Crawford isn’t exactly rolling out the welcome mat.

A: Well, actually, the mayor helped us get our water (piped to the property). He was very hospitable about that. We finally got our water.

Q: Do you have electricity yet?

A: No, but we’re not sure . . . we want to stay off the grids, so we’re going to look into solar, and we have that amazing biodiesel generator that the Nelsons gave to us.

On recuperating with Willie

Q: The Nelsons? Who are they?

A: The Nelsons, Willie and Annie.

Q: Oh, how is Willie? I understand you recuperated with his family last month.

A: I was actually at his house in Abbott right after I got out of the hospital the first time, and then this week we spent some time at his house in Austin. He’s great. He’s an amazing and supportive person, and his wife is closer to my age so we have a lot of fun together. She was out here for a few days.

Notice how many of the stories we reported exclusively here, such as her stay at the Nelsons' ranch, are now finally being confirmed.

And speaking of Mother Sheehan’s promises:

Q: How does Camp Casey this year compare to last year? You became an international event in 2005.

A: This is more permanent, and we’re trying to figure out how to be more effective and changing this to the Camp Casey Peace Institute. It’ll be a permanent presence here. We’re looking at the more long-term goal of never allowing war to happen again.

So I guess she was lying when she told the good people of Crawford she would donate the land back as a park after Bush’s term expired. And this after lying to purchase the land in the first place.

As always with Mother Sheehan, her word is her bond.

And isn’t it nice to see that Cindy now considers herself a spokes-thing for all of the people of Iraq. After all, she has met so many Iraqis. (Remember she claims her cab driver in Jordan was an Iraqi.)

Hey, I didn’t even know Mother Sheehan spoke Farsi. — I thought she just stuck to farce.

She certainly does belong in a tree.

(Thanks to Zilla for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 5th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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