Thursday, August 18, 2005


I have been against the Iraq war long before Bush even started talking about it. My first anti-war protests ever were actually against his daddy's Iraq war. (Which by today's standards was a lovely war.) The whole road to the current war in Iraq was paved with lies, half-truths and exaggerations. There was no post-attack plan and who knows how long we're going to be over there. It's been an exceptionally badly run war. It's not that I don't believe war is ever a justifiable last resort, but attacking Iraq never made sense to me. Although after it started I wanted to be proved wrong. Sadly, I don't think that day is coming.

I'm also a pretty bonafide lefty. Aside from writing on this blog for 2.5 years, I'm a walking, talking lefty cliche-- liberal Jewish lesbian with liberal parents from the Northeast who went so a super-liberal college in New England, spent years working for and supporting lefty progressive organizations, and consider myself to be part of "the movement." I moved to DC in 1998 to be a bit player in the progressive movement.

That being said, I hope the Cindy Sheehan protest fades away quickly or evolves into something beyond her as the sole focal point.

When Sheehan started off as a pure, simple protester, I truly admired her. The mother of a dead soldier questioning the war, underlining Bush's lack of planning, his arrogance. I think we do need someone like her to get people talking and opening up about what an unforgivable mess this war is been from the start. The timing of Sheehan's trip to Crawford couldn't have been better, she comes onto the scene during Bush's 5 week vacation, under the blazing Texas sun, and it just so happens that support for both Bush and the war the lowest it's ever been.

However, Sheehan is becoming exactly what the (not)Right has accused of her being-- a knee-jerk, lefty anti-war protester who just-so-happened lost a son in Iraq. Instead of appealing to people as a mother, she has started to appeal as a lefty idealogue parroting lefty talking points. American could have fallen in love with her if she had maintained that voice, talked about her son, pleaded with Bush to answer her rhetorical questions. She should have kept it personal, about her son, made it about the senselessness of her loss, not partisan politics. She could have been a riveting symbol that crossed party lines. But now? She symbolizes an incredible waste of an opportunity, a caricature of the anti-war movement itself.

Instead she totally "jumped the shark" when she allegedly started spouting off about the PNAC and Israel.(Not because of my personal feelings about it, but she sounded like a total loon.) As far as being a symbol of the anti-war Left it's fine if she's a Democrat, even a liberal, but her open public associations with controversial partisan people and groups have hurt her credibility with many of the people who otherwise might have listened to her. She gave her critics the exact ammo they were looking for to make her seem like a tool. I just wish she could have remained independent and above the partisan fray.

Cindy Sheehan is no political analyst, she wasn't a creation of the Left. Anti-war groups naturally supported her. Unfortunately she doesn't seem to know how the PR game is played, however, all the organizations who are supporting her could have handled the situation a whole lot better-- they *do* know better.

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