08/17/2005: 'The Right Wing Bully Boys vs. Mom'
Larry Johnson, former CIA analyst and State Department counter-terror expert, has an excellent musing on the wingnut reaction to the Sheehan situation:
The clueless right wing is up in arms over the momentum of the Cindy Sheehan anti-war movement. There appears no depth they will not plumb, nor mudpit they will not enter in their effort to smear a mother who gave her son in service to our country. I cannot award a Chutzpah prize because there are too many deserving schmucks. Take wheelchair bound Charles Krauthammer's recent vicious attack:
She says she wants to ask the president why her son died. She already knows her own answer, and her answer is -- and she's said this openly -- to enrich the president's friends, meaning oil companies and contractors. There are a lot of honorable reasons and thoughtful reasons to oppose the war in Iraq. That's not one of them. And to advance the idea, as she has also, to the press of the entire world that we are in Iraq as a matter of imperialism is to demoralize our troops, encourage our enemies, and to encourage those who say that we are there as conquerors and not as liberators, which can only endanger our troops, which I think is a disgrace.
Well, well. What does Charles say about President Bush's multiple misrepresentations of why he took our nation to war? Nothing! In fact, according to Krauthammer's reasoning, to even challenge the President over what we now know to be as patently false reasons for going to war, you are disloyal and demoralizing the troops. The same specious reasoning has been echoed by rightwing apologists like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter.
These apologists for Bush's war ignore the lapses in leadership by George Bush and his Department of Defense that truly demoralizes the troops; things such as inadequate force strength on the ground in Iraq to control the battlefield; insufficient supplies of body armor; lack of fully armored vehicles for conducting patrols; and lack of a plan for victory in Iraq. George Bush, with the acquiescence of a pliable Congress, has sent our men and women to war in Iraq that he chose to start. Whether Cindy Sheehan's explanation for why Bush took us to war is correct is irrelevant. What we know for certain is that George Bush lied to the American people and continues to lie about the reasons we are at war.
Bush's misguided invasion of Iraq not only resulted in the death of Casey Sheehan and more than 1800 other U.S. military men and women, it diverted scarce military resources from the hunt for the Al Qaeda. If Cindy Sheehan does get a chance to sit down with the President I hope she asks him why the masterminds of 9-11--Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Zwahiri--are still on the loose and issuing videotaped threats to attack our country again.
If her son had died during an operation to kill Bin Laden than Cindy would at least have the peace of mind to know that her son died trying to make America safer. Instead, her son died in Iraq in an operation whose rationale still remains unclear. But we now know for certain that at least one of the President's claims, i.e., that we are "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here", is no longer true. Instead of a safer America the President has made America at greater risk of a terrorist attack by the Islamic extremists who struck our shores almost four years ago. Since 9-11 the number of international terrorist attacks have soared to unprecedented levels. Last year, for example, there were almost 700 separate terrorist attacks in which someone was killed or wounded. This marks the highest level of terrorist activity since data was first recorded in 1968.
So, as of today, Cindy Sheehan's son is dead along with the sons and daughter of almost 1900 other families. The insurgency in Iraq is growing in strength and level of international terrorism is growing. That Cindy Sheehan is angry should not surprise us. That all Americans are not up in arms over the recklessness of George Bush should.
[boldfaced passage in original --LRC]
Len on 08.17.05 @ 09:11 AM CST