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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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things are getting a bit whacky down there

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War Backers Set Up Camp Near Bush Ranch
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Aug 21, 12:43 AM (ET)

By ANGELA K. BROWN

(AP) Cindy Sheehan supporters have erected a new camp closer to President Bush's ranch in Crawford,...
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CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - A patriotic camp with a "God Bless Our President!" banner sprung up downtown Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by a fallen soldier's mother two weeks ago near President Bush's ranch.

The camp is named "Fort Qualls," in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall.

"If I have to sacrifice my whole family for the sake of our country and world, other countries that want freedom, I'll do that," said the soldier's father, Gary Qualls, a friend of the local business owner who started the pro-Bush camp. He said his 16-year-old son now wants to enlist, and he supports that decision.

Qualls' frustration with the anti-war demonstrators erupted last week when he removed a cross bearing his son's name that was among hundreds the group had put up along the road to Bush's ranch.

Qualls called the protesters' views disrespectful to soldiers, and said he had to yank out two more crosses after protesters kept replacing them.

Cindy Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, died last year in Iraq, started the anti-war demonstration along the roadside on Aug. 6. "Camp Casey" has since grown to about 100 core participants, and hundreds more from across the nation have visited.

Sheehan vowed to remain there until Bush agreed to meet with her or until his monthlong vacation ended, but she flew to Los Angeles last week after her 74-year-old mother had a stroke. Her mother has some paralysis but is in good spirits, and if she improves, Sheehan may return to Texas in a few days, some demonstrators said.

In her absence, the rest of the group will keep camping out for the unlikely chance to question the president about the war that has claimed the lives of about 1,850 U.S. soldiers.

Bush has said he sympathizes with Sheehan but won't change his schedule to meet with her. She and other families met with Bush about two months after Casey Sheehan died, before she became a vocal opponent of the war.

Large counter-protests were held in a ditch near Sheehan's site a week after she arrived, and since then, a few Bush supporters have stood in the sun holding signs for several hours each day.

Bill Johnson, a local gift shop owner who created "Fort Qualls," said he wanted to offer a larger, more convenient place for Bush supporters to gather.

He and others at "Fort Qualls" have asked for a debate with those at the Crawford Peace House, which is helping Sheehan.

It's unclear if that will happen. But a member of Gold Star Families for Peace, co-founded by Sheehan and comprised of relatives of fallen soldiers, said her group would not participate.

"We're asking for a meeting with the president, period," said Michelle DeFord, whose 37-year-old son, Sgt. David W. Johnson, was in the Army National Guard from Oregon when he was killed in Iraq last fall. "We don't want to debate with people who don't understand our point of view."
http://apnews.excite.com/article/20050821/D8C40CQO0.html



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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 07:49 AM
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RE: things are getting a bit whacky down there

Reading the clip I get irritated by the subtle implication that Mrs. Sheehan is not patriotic. Why is it that the pro-war group is described as the "patriotic" group? This is pretty sloppy use of our language and completely out of touch with our Constitution. These people could be called "nationalistic" if they need a handle other than pro-war. But to use the word patriotic is poor reporting and a disservice. Jim
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 08:12 AM
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RE: things are getting a bit whacky down there

Jim,
Your sentiments are echoed in the editorial piece from The New York Times.

A comforting truth is that the public is smarter than the some of the lesser media who launches smear campaigns.

August 21, 2005
The Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan
By FRANK RICH
CINDY SHEEHAN couldn't have picked a more apt date to begin the vigil that ambushed a president: Aug. 6 was the fourth anniversary of that fateful 2001 Crawford vacation day when George W. Bush responded to an intelligence briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" by going fishing. On this Aug. 6 the president was no less determined to shrug off bad news. Though 14 marine reservists had been killed days earlier by a roadside bomb in Haditha, his national radio address that morning made no mention of Iraq. Once again Mr. Bush was in his bubble, ensuring that he wouldn't see Ms. Sheehan coming. So it goes with a president who hasn't foreseen any of the setbacks in the war he fabricated against an enemy who did not attack inside the United States in 2001.

When these setbacks happen in Iraq itself, the administration punts. But when they happen at home, there's a game plan. Once Ms. Sheehan could no longer be ignored, the Swift Boating began. Character assassination is the Karl Rove tactic of choice, eagerly mimicked by his media surrogates, whenever the White House is confronted by a critic who challenges it on matters of war. The Swift Boating is especially vicious if the critic has more battle scars than a president who connived to serve stateside and a vice president who had "other priorities" during Vietnam.

The most prominent smear victims have been Bush political opponents with heroic Vietnam résumés: John McCain, Max Cleland, John Kerry. But the list of past targets stretches from the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke to Specialist Thomas Wilson, the grunt who publicly challenged Donald Rumsfeld about inadequately armored vehicles last December. The assault on the whistle-blower Joseph Wilson - the diplomat described by the first President Bush as "courageous" and "a true American hero" for confronting Saddam to save American hostages in 1991 - was so toxic it may yet send its perpetrators to jail.

True to form, the attack on Cindy Sheehan surfaced early on Fox News, where she was immediately labeled a "crackpot" by Fred Barnes. The right-wing blogosphere quickly spread tales of her divorce, her angry Republican in-laws, her supposed political flip-flops, her incendiary sloganeering and her association with known ticket-stub-carrying attendees of "Fahrenheit 9/11." Rush Limbaugh went so far as to declare that Ms. Sheehan's "story is nothing more than forged documents - there's nothing about it that's real."

But this time the Swift Boating failed, utterly, and that failure is yet another revealing historical marker in this summer's collapse of political support for the Iraq war.

When the Bush mob attacks critics like Ms. Sheehan, its highest priority is to change the subject. If we talk about Richard Clarke's character, then we stop talking about the administration's pre-9/11 inattentiveness to terrorism. If Thomas Wilson is trashed as an insubordinate plant of the "liberal media," we forget the Pentagon's abysmal failure to give our troops adequate armor (a failure that persists today, eight months after he spoke up). If we focus on Joseph Wilson's wife, we lose the big picture of how the administration twisted intelligence to gin up the threat of Saddam's nonexistent W.M.D.'s.

The hope this time was that we'd change the subject to Cindy Sheehan's "wacko" rhetoric and the opportunistic left-wing groups that have attached themselves to her like barnacles. That way we would forget about her dead son. But if much of the 24/7 media has taken the bait, much of the public has not.

The backdrops against which Ms. Sheehan stands - both that of Mr. Bush's what-me-worry vacation and that of Iraq itself - are perfectly synergistic with her message of unequal sacrifice and fruitless carnage. Her point would endure even if the messenger were shot by a gun-waving Crawford hothead or she never returned to Texas from her ailing mother's bedside or the president folded the media circus by actually meeting with her.

The public knows that what matters this time is Casey Sheehan's story, not the mother who symbolizes it. Cindy Sheehan's bashers, you'll notice, almost never tell her son's story. They are afraid to go there because this young man's life and death encapsulate not just the noble intentions of those who went to fight this war but also the hubris, incompetence and recklessness of those who gave the marching orders.

Specialist Sheehan was both literally and figuratively an Eagle Scout: a church group leader and honor student whose desire to serve his country drove him to enlist before 9/11, in 2000. He died with six other soldiers on a rescue mission in Sadr City on April 4, 2004, at the age of 24, the week after four American security workers had been mutilated in Falluja and two weeks after he arrived in Iraq. This was almost a year after the president had declared the end of "major combat operations" from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.

According to the account of the battle by John F. Burns in The Times, the insurgents who slaughtered Specialist Sheehan and his cohort were militiamen loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric. The Americans probably didn't stand a chance. As Mr. Burns reported, members of "the new Iraqi-trained police and civil defense force" abandoned their posts at checkpoints and police stations "almost as soon as the militiamen appeared with their weapons, leaving the militiamen in unchallenged control."

Yet in the month before Casey Sheehan's death, Mr. Rumsfeld typically went out of his way to inflate the size and prowess of these Iraqi security forces, claiming in successive interviews that there were "over 200,000 Iraqis that have been trained and equipped" and that they were "out on the front line taking the brunt of the violence." We'll have to wait for historians to tell us whether this and all the other Rumsfeld propaganda came about because he was lied to by subordinates or lying to himself or lying to us or some combination thereof.

As The Times reported last month, even now, more than a year later, a declassified Pentagon assessment puts the total count of Iraqi troops and police officers at 171,500, with only "a small number" able to fight insurgents without American assistance. As for Moktada al-Sadr, he remains as much a player as ever in the new "democratic" Iraq. He controls one of the larger blocs in the National Assembly. His loyalists may have been responsible for last month's apparently vengeful murder of Steven Vincent, the American freelance journalist who wrote in The Times that Mr. Sadr's followers had infiltrated Basra's politics and police force.

Casey Sheehan's death in Iraq could not be more representative of the war's mismanagement and failure, but it is hardly singular. Another mother who has journeyed to Crawford, Celeste Zappala, wrote last Sunday in New York's Daily News of how her son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was also killed in April 2004 - in Baghdad, where he was providing security for the Iraq Survey Group, which was charged with looking for W.M.D.'s "well beyond the admission by David Kay that they didn't exist."

As Ms. Zappala noted with rage, her son's death came only a few weeks after Mr. Bush regaled the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association banquet in Washington with a scripted comedy routine featuring photos of him pretending to look for W.M.D.'s in the Oval Office. "We'd like to know if he still finds humor in the fabrications that justified the war that killed my son," Ms. Zappala wrote. (Perhaps so: surely it was a joke that one of the emissaries Mr. Bush sent to Cindy Sheehan in Crawford was Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser who took responsibility for allowing the 16 errant words about doomsday uranium into the president's prewar State of the Union speech.)

Mr. Bush's stand-up shtick for the Beltway press corps wasn't some aberration; it was part of the White House's political plan for keeping the home front cool. America was to yuk it up, party on and spend its tax cuts heedlessly while the sacrifice of an inadequately manned all-volunteer army in Iraq was kept out of most Americans' sight and minds. This is why the Pentagon issued a directive at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom forbidding news coverage of "deceased military personnel returning to or departing from" air bases. It's why Mr. Bush, unlike Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, has not attended funeral services for the military dead. It's why January's presidential inauguration, though nominally dedicated to the troops, was a gilded $40 million jamboree at which the word Iraq was banished from the Inaugural Address.

THIS summer in Crawford, the White House went to this playbook once too often. When Mr. Bush's motorcade left a grieving mother in the dust to speed on to a fund-raiser, that was one fat-cat party too far. The strategy of fighting a war without shared national sacrifice has at last backfired, just as the strategy of Swift Boating the war's critics has reached its Waterloo before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury in Washington. The 24/7 cable and Web attack dogs can keep on sliming Cindy Sheehan. The president can keep trying to ration the photos of flag-draped caskets. But this White House no longer has any more control over the insurgency at home than it does over the one in Iraq.


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馬鹿は死ななきゃ治らない。

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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 08:41 AM
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RE: things are getting a bit whacky down there

No doubt about it, the NY Times best represents the opinions for even the dumbasses in Texas who find the protesting Mom's behavior repellant. Why have any other point of view when we have the NY Times to provide the truth?

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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 09:55 AM
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RE: things are getting a bit whacky down there

Some nut job took his truck and ran over a bunch of crosses yesterday too. He was arrested.

Maybe that is where Bone went?[:p]
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 10:38 AM
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Just some one else's opinion

How dare that Angela Brown voice her opinion
with a newspaper article
post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 11:24 AM
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RE: things are getting a bit whacky down there

If that was an opinion piece on the op-ed page, there would be a different set of guides to judge the "reporting" by, as, just as you note, we are all entitled to our opinions. In this case, the story was not portrayed as an opinion. And, just in case you are confused, that is the objection. As reported it should be a factual, not opinionated, account of the news, and it is not a fact that the pro-war crowd is the only patriotic group in this situation. Jim
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 12:04 PM
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RE: things are getting a bit whacky down there

Protesting and supporting the war is neither patriotic nor non patriotic. I just cannot believe a mom is protesting her son’s decision to join the military to fight a war after his death. The son can not even state his opinions to counter argue against his mother for going to war. I feel her pain, but she needs to honor her son's decision.

She can protest all she wants, but she needs to not use her son for her cause. I bet some of the anti-war folks would be very mad to discover that they were being used to support the war.

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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 12:19 PM
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RE: things are getting a bit whacky down there

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tiggerfink - 8/21/2005 2:04 PM

Protesting and supporting the war is neither patriotic nor non patriotic. I just cannot believe a mom is protesting her son’s decision to join the military to fight a war after his death. The son can not even state his opinions to counter argue against his mother for going to war. I feel her pain, but she needs to honor her son's decision.
Son may be embarrassed or maybe even turning in his grave, but mother has the right to express her love for her [lost] son - publicly.

I know because I'm a parent.

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馬鹿は死ななきゃ治らない。

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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2005, 12:24 PM
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Just the FACTS please

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JimSmith - 8/21/2005 12:24 PM

If that was an opinion piece on the op-ed page, there would be a different set of guides to judge the "reporting" by, as, just as you note, we are all entitled to our opinions. In this case, the story was not portrayed as an opinion. And, just in case you are confused, that is the objection. As reported it should be a factual, not opinionated, account of the news, and it is not a fact that the pro-war crowd is the only patriotic group in this situation. Jim
Oh please Jim
You're bringing a tear to my eye.
A tear from laughter.
Factual and non-opinionated from the main stream media
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