Mom power

Stakeout in Crawford

The Democrats haven't been able to call the Bush administration to account, but a single Gold Star Mom has done it.

Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was killed in Iraq last year, and she wants an honest explanation from George W Bush about that war. So, Sheehan went to Bush's ranch in Crawford — he's on a five week vacation so you would think he'd have time for a chat. But no. Sheehan was prevented from approaching the ranch, so she has camped out by the road, vowing to stay there until Bush talks to her or he goes back to the White House.

Cindy Sheehan waits by the road in Crawford, Texas
Cindy Sheehan waits by the road in Crawford, Texas

Now here's someone who deserves a Medal of Freedom (unlike George Tenet, Paul Bremer, and Tommy Franks (story 15-Dec-04). Sheehan brings the absolute moral force of a mother who has sacrificed her son to the protest. She's not just making a theoretical, philosophical argument. Her family has paid the price.

And the Bushies can't figure out what to do about it. They can hardly send the Gold Star Mothers for Truth out in a swift boat to slime her like they did John Kerry. Having gone through war rationales like toilet paper in a diarrhea ward, the Bushies find that her question resonates with a large part of the population. (The approval rating for Bush's conduct of the war now stands at only 38% [AP poll].)

Sheehan has now become a cause célèbre and the subject of editorial cartoons.

frame from Pat Oliphant cartoon frame from Tony Auth cartoon

(Click images to see complete cartoons)

Bush did send some of his flunkies down to see Sheehan, but she's having none of it. She wants to see the Commander in Chief himself.

The truly amazing thing is that no one in the Bush White House can imagine doing the obvious: send the Secret Service down to fetch her back for a glass of lemonade or cup of coffee with W and Laura. Even if W can't remember her name (in a previous meeting with some of the mothers he kept calling Sheehan "Mom"), Laura would be able to charm the pants off her. It would totally defuse the whole situation. But they are so afraid of appearing "weak" and "giving in" to her protest that they are willing to keep the story alive and remain the butt of easy jokes than show a little of the "compassion" so often claimed so righteously.

It will be a shame of Sheehan is co-opted by a bunch of noisy anti-war protesters. That would only weaken her protest, for its force comes from its roots in true sacrifice in service to the country. If other like-minded Gold Star Mothers would join her in quiet protest it would be a formidable force to be reckoned with.