This is not a story about Cindy Sheehan

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This is not a story about Cindy Sheehan

This Is Not A Story About Cindy Sheehan
by Sunsara Taylor

This is not a story about a woman who raised four children, sent one off to war, and collapsed one day in a fit of screaming at the news that he was dead.

This is not a piece to describe how that woman tried to stay awake for the next three days so as not to have to scream like that again after waking and then remembering that news.

There will be no attempt in this piece to comprehend the maddening indecency of the overgrown frat-boy president who sent her son to kill and die for lies and still had the gall to call her “Mom” and sits day after day-- to this day --as the self-appointed, unrestrained king of the world.

This is not a piece about a woman who exposed her grief and her rawest nerves, who sacrificed a twenty-nine year marriage and time with her remaining children, to a country calloused to the daily loss of life and succeeded in stirring many to their feet, into the streets, and to the tops of their lungs.

This is not a piece about how this woman parked herself in the dusty heat of a ditch in Texas and said yes to enough speaking engagements and phone calls from soldiers and late nights with grieving parents to send her own life teetering near its edge because she couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t give everything she could to prevent another mother from having to experience the loss that she knew.

This piece is not even about how her loss and her grief were not confined to her son, but extended each day further, to include the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and further yet, to those cast in the impoverished margins of our planet--including the thousands of children dying each day from starvation--as the U.S. obscenely spends hundreds of billions on constructing and deploying the machinery of mass death.

Nor is this about the millions who learned this woman’s name, whose hearts broke with hers, but whose spirits were lifted and consciences were challenged by the way she seized the moral high ground and much of the spotlight from the world’s biggest liars and most pitiless killers because she was right and she was fearless--to hell with the odds.

This piece isn’t even simply about a culture that demonizes and attacks such a person, that makes their every word or slightest gesture grist for the dishonest mill of the small-minded bloggers, the jones for cruelty of the war-planners, and fascist propagandizing of the major media mouthpieces.

Nor is this about a society that props up mothers as “keepers of the flame,” a counter-balance meant to excuse the war-makers, only to turn on them and call them “whores,” should they dare to do more than weep silently.

This is not merely about this woman’s refusal to be corralled into “realistic” and empire-bound strategies like timetables or phased-redeployment, about her righteous refusal to excuse the funding of the war, about her simple and righteous insistence that the slaughter and torture of human beings stop right now.

And, no, this is not mainly about the many questions that she herself ran up against and has put straight up in front of the movement and that all too many don’t want to speak to. Like why the Democrats won’t bend to the will of the people, or what kind of system only allows for two sides of the pro-war position, or what to do about an American people who are well on their way to becoming Good Germans. Those questions are crucial and agonizing and there are answers to them that can be found or forged. And there is a need for a movement that encourages the debate to rage around these questions and insists on honestly and unsparingly confronting reality. A movement that insists on getting to, and telling the people, the truth.

No, throwing up your hands is never the right response. But to be perfectly honest, this piece is not about what Cindy Sheehan should be doing. Not when really there are 300 million other people in this country who each morning wake up with profound choices to make--and who make them every day, whether they know it or not.

So, no, this article is not about Cindy Sheehan.

This article is about you.

Reading on your computer screen. Smudging black ink off the newsprint in your hands. Breathing in and out, your chest rising even as the chests of other human beings who happen to have been born atop huge reservoirs of oil fall still, as their breath is stolen, as their land is ravaged, as their girls learn to fear their budding breasts and widening hips under the leer of the occupier’s eye, as their fathers lose their minds trying to comprehend the life-danger they’ve become to their own children for being of a different religion than their mother, as the psyche and politics and view of what kind of world is possible, as a whole country and region is forever marked by the apparent indifference of way too many Americans to their sustained destruction… as millions who are also heart-sick flirt with the devastating and impermissible comfort of throwing up their own hands and looking away from the war zone…

This article is about you--because frankly, there is not enough space and not enough time and not enough ink and not enough trees to make enough paper to hold all the ways that the roadblocks hit by a woman like Cindy are a sign of failure. Not of the failure of the possibility for change, nor the failure of those who put everything on the line to make all this stop, but the failure of a society that does not cherish and have room for a woman like her. And the failure of continuing on a course that does not fundamentally challenge the killing confines of the choices this system puts before us.

So, again, this is about you--whether you will hide behind and resign yourself because of the faltering of another or whether you will step into the breech.

This article is about what you think about and do when you wake up each morning. About whose lives you value and prioritize. About whether it is sufficient to register disapproval or whether you are responsible for stretching your limits, risking friendships and family if you must, confronting discomforting truths about this political system, and whether you will dare to inspire and challenge and set an example of living for and impacting something bigger than yourself.

This is about whether you know enough and have seen enough of other people’s sons and daughters dying in the service of empire to say without equivocation that all this must halt. This is about whether you will plunge into and confront the dead-ends that have led so many to disorientation--whether you will look deeper, consider radical solutions, even ones you might once have dismissed.

And, yes, it can seem at times like we are hurling our soft bodies and our embattled dreams up against cold rock, and like the forces aligned against us are made of impenetrable marble. But marble has fissures and faultlines and cracks deep beneath the surface and these can be located and the marble itself can be pried apart by the determined action of millions who dare. So I am struck again with the truth and the enormity of our choices captured in the final words of the World Can’t Wait Call: “History is full of examples where people who had right on their side fought against tremendous odds and were victorious. And it is also full of examples of people passively hoping to wait it out, only to get swallowed up by a horror beyond what they ever imagined. The future is unwritten. WHICH ONE WE GET IS UP TO US.”

The war is still wrong.

What are you going to do?

Sunsara Taylor writes for Revolution Newspaper, sits on the Advisory Board of The World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime, has appeared on The Rational Response Squad, and is a friend of the show.


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Cindy Sheehan is a stupid

Cindy Sheehan is a stupid bitch and I find this entire article offensive.  I swear, if I should fall in combat and my mother uses my death to make some asinine political statement, I'm climbing out of my grave and dropkicking her in the teeth repeatedly.  Besides, my mother knows better.  And my mother understands the risks just as well as I do. 

 Specialist Sheehan was an American Soldier.  End of story.  He knew the risks, and he died an American Soldier, doing his duty, following orders.  

Furthermore, I want to know exactly what the fuck the sentence, "...Breathing in and out, your chest rising even as the chests of other human beings who happen to have been born atop huge reservoirs of oil fall still, as their breath is stolen, as their land is ravaged, as their girls learn to fear their budding breasts and widening hips under the leer of the occupier’s eye, as their fathers lose their minds trying to comprehend the life-danger they’ve become to their own children for being of a different religion than their mother, as the psyche and politics and view of what kind of world is possible, as a whole country and region is forever marked by the apparent indifference of way too many Americans to their sustained destruction… as millions who are also heart-sick flirt with the devastating and impermissible comfort of throwing up their own hands and looking away from the war zone…" is supposed to mean.  If she's such a friend of the show, that means she has at least three or four functional brain cells in her head.  That statement right there shows that she's short two or three.  Maybe even all four.  Is she seriously trying to call me a rapist and a murderer?   I'm going to go point by point here, starting with what I find to be the stupidest statement of all.

"...as their girls learn to fear their budding breasts and widening hips under the leer of the occupier’s eye..."  Unless I'm mistaken, she just called me a fucking rapist, just in a nicer form.  Fuck you.  I, nor any of the fine men I work with, are anything of the sort.  What logical reason could females have to 'fear their budding breasts and widening hips under the leer of the occupier's eye'?  Well, if we were rapists, I could see that.  However, I have never met a finer group of men than those I work with in the United States Army Infantry.  And the Infantry is widely reputed to be the worst-behaved branch of the Army.  I'll agree with that, we're no angels, we like to drink and fight.  However, that's about the extent of our misbehavior.  If I ever meet a civilian who is half the man an Active Duty Soldier or a veteran is, I'll eat my own goddamned helmet, NOD mount, helmet band and all.  As it is, especially when civilians spout dumb shit like this, I'll keep my helmet on my head.

"...as their fathers lose their minds trying to comprehend the life-danger they’ve become to their own children for being of a different religion than their mother..."  That's not our fucking doing, shithead.  That's the fucking Shiites and the Sunnis and all those other religions, not the U.S. Army.  And the fathers are a threat to the Army because they're the most likely to strap explosives to themselves and try to kill me and my colleagues and friends.  I'll be damned if I let that happen.  

"...as the psyche and politics and view of what kind of world is possible, as a whole country and region is forever marked by the apparent indifference of way too many Americans to their sustained destruction…"  Hell to the No.  That's mostly their own fucking fault.  If you try to kill me or my colleagues and friends, I will do my best to kill you first.  Its that simple.  Do you remember when Saddam fell?  How people celebrated in the streets that he was gone?  Do you remember when that shitstain was finally hanged?  How, once again, people celebrated in the streets?  However, if we had pulled out immediately, Iraq would have collapsed into total civil war.  You know it as well as I know it, unless you truly are that stupid.  At the moment, our mission in Iraq is pretty much to roll around and hope we don't get blown the fuck up by some asshole with a shit-ton of explosives.  We're there on a peacekeeping mission, nothing more.  We strike targets in retaliatory attacks.  Again, if you try to kill my colleagues and friends, I will do my best to kill you first, its that simple.  'Sustained destruction' my ass.  We don't roll around rattling off bursts from our Mark 19 grenade launchers into markets or buildings at random.  We return fire when engaged.  We don't fly around and drop bunker-busters on random buildings, we surgically target and destroy threats to us.  

"...as millions who are also heart-sick flirt with the devastating and impermissible comfort of throwing up their own hands and looking away from the war zone…"   It is not a war zone, except one of their own making.  U.S. troops in Iraq are doing our best to help rebuild this country.  Even Japan and Germany after WWII were bright enough to accept our assistance in reconstruction.  Why can't Iraq?  And you want to go ahead, paint U.S. Soldiers as murders and rapists?  Its all our fault?  Fuck you.  

Yes, President Bush is my commander in chief.  Yes, it is possible that he may not have been the best choice for the job.  However, if you think that we could simply pull our troops out of Iraq tomorrow and not have Iraq crumble and have Iran run roughshod all over its ass, you, Sunsara Taylor, are an idiot.  One of the few things President Bush is right about is that we do indeed have a commitment to Iraqi freedom.  Unfortunately, they can't seem to unfuck themselves enough to let us get the hell out of there.  Until the Iraqis can fix their own shit, the U.S. needs to be over there. 

Sunsara Taylor, you are an idiot.   


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thesarge, you definitely

thesarge,

you definitely have a much better perspective of what's happening in Iraq then i, and i wouldn't begin to debate with you over the justification of US involvement in this war, because we're viewing the same problem from completely different angles. but like many americans, i long ago lost "faith" in our administration's ability to resolve this conflict. i've heard some alternative strategies, and since i don't have any military experience with which to weigh an opinion, i'd be curious what you think.

I've heard of an idea that would involve re-deploying our troops out of the civil war that has engulfed Baghdad. They could be re-deployed to surrounding bases, to other parts of the country, to Kuwait and Qatar, and especially to Afghanistan, where our mission is in danger of failure. At the same time, we would be convening a regional conference including Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt to come up with a long-term plan for Iraq and ensure that a regional conflict does not arise. We could consider the Biden-Gelb plan for a soft partition of the country. While we couldn’t impose that kind of a loose federation on the Iraqi people, it’s worth noting that one seems to be developing already. Tens of thousands of Iraqis a month are relocating out of mixed sectarian neighborhoods.

like i said, this is not my area of expertise, so i'm curious if any of this seems plausible to you. thanks. 

www.derekneibarger.com http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=djneibarger "all postures of submission and surrender should be part of our prehistory." -christopher hitchens


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Its Viet-fuckin'-Nam all

Its Viet-fuckin'-Nam all over again.  The way to win this war, in my opinion, is to allow the armed forces to do their job, and keep the President and all that other bullshit out of it.  Allow our generals more SOF (Special Operations Forces) to get in there and associate with the locals, flush out and pinpoint the enemy strongholds, use the Airborne Infantry to do quick, surgical combat jumps and raids.  If we stepped this up, threw all our SOF and the 82nd Airborne Division in there, we would probably be out of there by December or so. 

 Unfortunately, just like Vietnam, the President (who has no combat experience whatsoever) and his so-called 'experts' who learned war out of a textbook, are trying to dictate policy to the armed forces.  And totally screwing us over in the meantime.  

As for the long-term plans for Iraq, I can't offer an informed opinion.  I'm an Airborne Infantry grunt.  I don't really get much of a chance to see things from the big picture.  All I know at the moment is that with the population as it is and so many damned terrorists mixed in there, if we pulled out now, it would turn into an all-out shitfest.  From what little I do know, however, I can compare it with my knowledge of military history, of which I am admittedly no expert, just a military history buff.   


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Sarge, I just want you to

Sarge, I just want you to know I love you more than Sunsara. 

- Brian Sapient


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TheSarge wrote: Its

TheSarge wrote:

Its Viet-fuckin'-Nam all over again. The way to win this war, in my opinion, is to allow the armed forces to do their job, and keep the President and all that other bullshit out of it. Allow our generals more SOF (Special Operations Forces) to get in there and associate with the locals, flush out and pinpoint the enemy strongholds, use the Airborne Infantry to do quick, surgical combat jumps and raids. If we stepped this up, threw all our SOF and the 82nd Airborne Division in there, we would probably be out of there by December or so.

Unfortunately, just like Vietnam, the President (who has no combat experience whatsoever) and his so-called 'experts' who learned war out of a textbook, are trying to dictate policy to the armed forces. And totally screwing us over in the meantime.

As for the long-term plans for Iraq, I can't offer an informed opinion. I'm an Airborne Infantry grunt. I don't really get much of a chance to see things from the big picture. All I know at the moment is that with the population as it is and so many damned terrorists mixed in there, if we pulled out now, it would turn into an all-out shitfest. From what little I do know, however, I can compare it with my knowledge of military history, of which I am admittedly no expert, just a military history buff.

fair enough. nothing would make me happier than to see ALL of you home by december, but with the way things are going in washington i won't hold my breath. take care of yourself. 

www.derekneibarger.com http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=djneibarger "all postures of submission and surrender should be part of our prehistory." -christopher hitchens


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Wow.  Just....wow.  While

Wow.  Just....wow.  While I enjoyed Ms. Taylor's article, I am going to have to defer to The Sarge.  Sarge, I completely respect your position and cannot thank you enough for your efforts.  Your posts and blogs have been quite eye-opening.

What I am going to take away from all of this is to become more educated about the people we elect.  I am ashamed to admit that I have grown quite lax in my political participation.  No more.  I will also encourage everyone I know to do the same.  Yeah, it takes time.  Yeah, it is work.  But when we stop to remember the consequences of our actions, it is too important to just continue to live in ignorance.

Thank you, Sapient for posting this article and thank you, Sarge for the reality check. 

 


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  Sapient wrote: Sarge, I

 

Sapient wrote:
Sarge, I just want you to know I love you more than Sunsara.

 Haha, I love you, too, man.  Rock on.

By the way, should I fall, I've given my parents implicit instructions that there are to be no religious symbols present.  I think it'd be great if you could preside over my funeral instead of a priest, too, as you seem to be the closest man the city of brotherly love has to an atheist bishop. 

But if all goes well, I'd like to buy you and the Squad a beer or two when I get home from the Sandbox. 

djneibarger wrote:
fair enough. nothing would make me happier than to see ALL of you home by december, but with the way things are going in washington i won't hold my breath. take care of yourself.

Yeah, it'd be nice, but unlikely to happen.  As it is, I'll be home in time for Christmas of '08, as long as all goes well.

 

jce wrote:

Wow. Just....wow. While I enjoyed Ms. Taylor's article, I am going to have to defer to The Sarge. Sarge, I completely respect your position and cannot thank you enough for your efforts. Your posts and blogs have been quite eye-opening.

What I am going to take away from all of this is to become more educated about the people we elect. I am ashamed to admit that I have grown quite lax in my political participation. No more. I will also encourage everyone I know to do the same. Yeah, it takes time. Yeah, it is work. But when we stop to remember the consequences of our actions, it is too important to just continue to live in ignorance.

Thank you, Sapient for posting this article and thank you, Sarge for the reality check.

 

Well, I'm sincerely glad that I've been able to reach someone.  The main reason I took offense to Ms. Taylor's article was the barely masked insinuations that we Soldiers are murders and rapists, and that is NOT the case.  We are human, just like everyone else, not heartless 'baby killers'.

And yes, by all means, please, become more educated about the people we elect.  I myself am ashamed to admit that during the last election, I was completely taken by President Bush wanting to stick to his guns and stay the course and all that.  I was fooled, and I've decided to never allow that to happen again. 

Again, I'm glad I could help with a reality check.  It really gives me a sense of accomplishment when I can help someone to get a little bit of an inside glimpse into the armed forces.  I know we're painted in such a negative light, because all you hear about are the incidents where people do terrible things.  However, on the whole, the men and women from the United States armed forces are among the finest I've ever met.  We are human, yes, and we do make mistakes, but no more often, and with the UCMJ breathing down our necks, possibly less often than the civilian population.  On the whole, I can look anyone straight in the eye and inform them that I am indeed proud to serve with the United States Army, even if I don't agree with the political agenda behind us.  At least we do our job the right way. 


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TheSarge wrote: By the

TheSarge wrote:

By the way, should I fall, I've given my parents implicit instructions that there are to be no religious symbols present. I think it'd be great if you could preside over my funeral instead of a priest, too, as you seem to be the closest man the city of brotherly love has to an atheist bishop.

Dude, if you fucking die I'll fucking kill you.

 

Quote:
But if all goes well, I'd like to buy you and the Squad a beer or two when I get home from the Sandbox.

That's not happening because we're buying. Eye-wink

- Brian Sapient


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Sapient wrote: TheSarge

Sapient wrote:
TheSarge wrote:

By the way, should I fall, I've given my parents implicit instructions that there are to be no religious symbols present. I think it'd be great if you could preside over my funeral instead of a priest, too, as you seem to be the closest man the city of brotherly love has to an atheist bishop.

Dude, if you fucking die I'll fucking kill you.

 

Quote:
But if all goes well, I'd like to buy you and the Squad a beer or two when I get home from the Sandbox.

That's not happening because we're buying. Eye-wink

I'll tell you what.  I'll buy the first round.  And I think you'd have a hard time killing me again after I'm dead, but I appreciate the sentiment, man.