08/16/2005: So, is Cindy Sheehan unhinged?
Quickly reviewing Darryl Cagel's archive of editorial cartoons on the subject, if editorial cartoonists are reflecting the public opinion, Bush is losing this one, badly.
Serves the sniveling Coward in Chief right. Couldn't happen to a more deserving prick.
UPDATE: Brian Leiter picked up on the Cagel archive before I did. And Leiter also reminds us of an excellent essay by E.L. Doctorow from last fall on "The Unfeeling President":
I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.To my mind, this is one of the reasons why Bush's lack of military service has galled me. Granted, not all Presidents with military service have had the opportunity to grapple with death like Eisenhower did (e.g., Jimmy Carter). But someone with real military service internalizes the values of the service. He or she rubs shoulders with man and women who have sacrificed... who have received wounds (I knew quite a few Purple Heart winners during my service, and I was a mere desk jockey), and who have known comrades who gave up everything, and sacrificed their lives. That's not something that Bush internalized, because he regarded his Air National Guard "service" as a summer camp that he could enjoy as long as he could, and then walk out of when it pleased him (read: when faced with the specter of actually having to take a drug test as part of his flight physical (premium content; ad view or subscription required)), in favor of lounging around the apartment pool with pretty secretaries and pretending to work on a political campaign for his dad's buddy.
But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man.
He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.
They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life . . . they come to his desk as a political liability, which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.
How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that, rather than controlling terrorism, his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice.
He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.
Len on 08.16.05 @ 07:35 AM CST