Follow the Soapbox
by Cindy Sheehan

Dear Friends, With the deplorable performance of Hillary at the debate, the other evening, I decided to post an article that appeared in The Progressive Magazine earlier this year. Cindy  

Let’s face it: In 2008, we are not going to get much worse than George W. Bush. I shudder to even think of what a President worse than George would look like.   I am hoping with 2008, though, that the American electorate will not settle for someone who is not as bad as George W., but we will seek out, support and celebrate someone who is far better and will lead our country back on a path of healing and peace in a way that will also show the rest of the planet that the United States is regaining her sanity after the horribly destructive Bush years.   

I am praying that we are finished with politicians who either don’t listen to the American public at all, or like Hillary Clinton, play political games while our troops are  dying by the dozens every week. 

It’s hard to figure out which Hillary will appear on a given day. In a voice that alternates between nails on a chalkboard and the charm, warmth, and modulation of a dripping faucet, Hillary changes her rhetoric and her positions as fast as her advisers can send her a message on her Blackberry. (A recent disturbing trend she has been exhibiting is laughing wildly and inappropriately at weird random's truly creepy).  

One of the reasons that I’m opposed to a Hillary Clinton Presidency is that another Clinton in the White House would mean that for the last twenty years we have had either a Clinton or a Bush in power. America does not do dynasties. We broke away from a monarchy 231 years ago, and we have engaged in imperialism all over the world allegedly deposing dynasties. Even though the monograms are already in place, it sets a dangerous precedent, especially with another Bush in the offing.   

Everyone who knows me, though, understands the main reason I do not, have not, or will not support Hillary Clinton. It is not because she is annoying. It is not because she is a Clinton. It is because she is a She-Bush warmonger. She can twang all she wants that she has always been against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, (as she did on a recent MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann) but anyone with a memory and a basic awareness of current events knows she is not exactly telling the truth. She said this on the floor of the Senate before she cast her original vote: “The facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. . . . Saddam must disarm or be disarmed.”  

I want Senator Clinton to show remorse for her complicity in the murder of my son, Casey, and his buddies, and for the mass murder of the Iraqi people. Even though saying, “I’m sorry for my vote that caused so much pain,” will not raise anyone from the dead, or rebuild the smashed structures and infrastructure in Iraq, it may go a long way toward healing and also toward bringing the rest of the troops home so they can live a long life on top of the earth, not prematurely buried beneath it.  

But Hillary refuses, even at this late, to apologize. “Mrs. Clinton believes that reversing course on Iraq would invite the charge of flip-flopping that damaged Mr. Kerry,” The New York Times reported on February 18. “She argued to associates in private discussions that Mr. Gore and Mr. Kerry lost, in part, because they could not convince enough Americans that they were resolute on national security, the associates said. Mrs. Clinton’s image as a strong leader, in turn, is critical to her hopes of becoming the nation’s first female President. According to one adviser, her internal polling indicates that a high proportion of Democrats see her as strong and tough, both assets particularly for a female candidate who is seeking to become commander in chief.” 

Still, she tries to have it both ways, saying that if she becomes President in 2009 she will “bring the troops home from Iraq” if they are still there. My answer to that is: Come in off of the fundraising track and work on bringing the troops home now. While the Senator is out campaigning and equivocating, people are dying.  

I, my sister, Dede, and another Gold Star Mother, Lynn Braddach, whose son, Travis Nall, was killed in Iraq in 2003, met with Senator Clinton in September of 2005. We poured our hearts and souls out to her. We cried as we told her of our sons and our fear for the people of Iraq and the escalating body count of our brave young people. She sat there stone-faced and walked out and told Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice, “My bottom line is that I don’t want their sons to die in vain. . . . I don’t believe it’s smart to set a date for withdrawal. . . . I don’t think it’s the right time to withdraw.” She may as well have slapped us in the face using Bloody George’s own lines and using our son’s sacrifice to justify her own warmongering.  

Since we met with her, more than 1,000 of our young people have come home in body bags and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died while she was waiting for the best political time to be semi-against the war. How many of our troops are lying in Walter Reed with devastating injuries that could have been prevented if a Senate leader like Clinton would have taken a moral, instead of a political, stance?  

On January 18th, Senator Clinton introduced a meaningless bill to put a cap on the number of soldiers that can be in Iraq. She set the cap at January 1st levels. It is as weak and meaningless as the nonbinding resolution, and it is just as politically safe, since about two-thirds of the country now opposes the war—and Bloody George, too.

This occupation of Iraq can’t be won by being smarter; it was lost before we went in. The United States was the big loser in a capricious military expedition that began with the support of Senator Clinton. She is an amazingly brilliant person, and she cannot credibly say that she was fooled, or lied to, by George. But that is what she said, as she began to backpedal as early as October 17, 2003.  

“The Administration gilded the lily, engaged in hyperbole, took whatever small nugget of intelligence that existed and blew it up into a mountain,” she said on the Senate floor that day.  

I don’t want a President who admits to being fooled by George Bush, one of the biggest fools in American history.  

Now, as Bush threatens war with Iran, Senator Clinton is in no position to hold him back. In fact, she out-hawks George W. on the imminent invasion of Iran. Early last year, she had this to say to a meeting of AIPAC (American-Israeli Political Action Committee): “U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons,” she said. “In dealing with this threat . . . no option can be taken off the table.”   

To avoid letting Iran get a nuclear weapon, she is willing to go nuclear. She dares to threaten using a weapon of mass destruction, which has only ever been used by the U.S., to pick the mote out of Iran’s eye when Israel has hundreds of logs in its own eye, and America has thousands.   

I want a President who keeps us safe. But I crave a President who keeps us safe not by killing innocent people, or embarking on an insane arms race to add weaponry to our already formidable arsenal, but by implementing wise policies that give fewer people abroad any good reason to despise us. I crave a President who does not aspire to run the empire just like the guys but who understands the need to dismantle the empire and to turn this country into a real democracy, instead.   

I, again, affirm my commitment to peace. I don’t care if it is a man or a woman; Democrat, Republican, Green; white, brown, or black; Christian, Jew, Muslim, or otherwise. I will only support a candidate who is courageously and uncompromisingly committed to peace. Hillary Clinton is not that person. She never will be.



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