The Silence of the Antiwar Movement is Deafening
Cindy Sheehan’s Lonely Vigil in Obamaland
By JOHN V. WALSH August 26, 2009 Counterpunch.com
A funny thing has happened on Cindy Sheehan’s long road from Crawford, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard. Many of those who claim to lead the peace movement and who so volubly praised her actions in Crawford, TX, are not to be seen. Nor heard. The silence in fact is deafening, or as Cindy put it in an email to this writer, “crashingly deafening.” Where are the email appeals to join Cindy from The Nation or from AFSC or Peace Action or “Progressive” Democrats of America (PDA) or even Code Pink? Or United for Peace and Justice. (No wonder UFPJ is essentially closing shop, bereft of most of their contributions and shriveling up following the thinly veiled protest behind the “retirement” of Leslie Cagan.) And what about MoveOn although it was long ago thoroughly discredited as principled opponents of war or principled in any way shape or form except slavish loyalty to the “other” War Party. And of course sundry “socialist” organizations are also missing in action since their particular dogma will not be front and center. These worthies and many others have vanished into the fog of Obama’s wars.
Just to be sure, this writer contacted several of the “leaders” of the “official” peace movement in the Boston area — AFSC, Peace Action, Green Party of MA (aka Green Rainbow Party) and some others. Not so much as the courtesy of a reply resulted from this effort – although the GRP at least posted a notice of the action. (It is entirely possible that some of these organizations might mention Cindy’s action late enough and quickly enough so as to cover their derrieres while ensuring that Obama will not be embarrassed by protesting crowds.) We here in the vicinity of Beantown are but a hop, skip and cheap ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard. Same for NYC. So we have a special obligation to respond to Cindy’s call.
However, not everyone has failed to publicize the event. The Libertarians at Antiwar.com are on the job, and its editor in chief Justin Raimondo wrote a superb column Monday [reprinted below] on the hypocritical treatment of Sheehan by the “liberal” establishment. (1) As Raimondo pointed out, Rush Limbaugh captured the hypocrisy of the liberal left in his commentary, thus:
“Now that she’s headed to Martha’s Vineyard, the State-Controlled Media, Charlie Gibson, State-Controlled Anchor, ABC: ‘Enough already.’ Cindy, leave it alone, get out, we’re not interested, we’re not going to cover you going to Martha’s Vineyard because our guy is president now and you’re just a hassle. You’re just a problem. To these people, they never had any true, genuine emotional interest in her. She was just a pawn. She was just a woman to be used and then thrown overboard once they’re through with her and they’re through with her. They don’t want any part of Cindy Sheehan protesting against any war when Obama happens to be president.”
Limbaugh has their number, just as they have his. Sometimes it is quite amazing how well each of the war parties can spot the other’s hypocrisy. But Cindy Sheehan is no one’s dupe; she is a very smart and very determined woman who no doubt is giving a lot of White House operatives some very sleepless nights out there on the Vineyard. Good for her.
Obama is an enormous gift to the Empire. Just as he has silenced most of the single-payer movement, an effort characterized by its superb scholarship exceeded only by its timidity, Obama has shut down the antiwar movement, completely in thrall as it is to the Democrat Party and Identity Politics. Why exactly the peace movement has caved to Obama is not entirely clear. Like the single-payer movement, it is wracked by spinelessness, brimming with reverence for authority and a near insatiable appetite to be “part of the crowd.” Those taken in by Obama’s arguments that the increasingly bloody and brutal AfPak war is actually a “war of necessity,” should read Steven Walt’s easy demolition of that “argument.” (2) Basically Obama’s logic is the same as Bush’s moronic rationale that “We are fighting them over there so we do not have to fight them over here.” There is a potential for “safe havens for terrorists,” as the Obamalogues and neocons like to call them, all over the world; and no one can possibly believe the US can invade them all. However, the ones which Israel detests or which allow control of oil pipelines or permit encirclement of China and Russia will see US troops sooner or later.
The bottom line is that everyone in New England and NYC who is a genuine antiwarrior should join the imaginative effort of Cindy Sheehan in Obamaland this week and weekend. We owe it to the many who will otherwise perish at the hands of the war parties of Bush and Obama.
Or go to Antiwar.com and make a contribution while you are there. It’s almost as good as CounterPunch.com.
John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com He welcomes comments, and he looks forward to seeing crowds of CounterPunchers at Martha’s Vineyard this week and weekend.
War Coverage and the Obama Cult
Why we aren’t getting the real story by Justin Raimondo August 24, 2009 Antiwar.com
There was a time when Cindy Sheehan couldn’t go anywhere without having a microphone and a TV camera stuck in front of her. As she camped out in front of George W. Bush’s Crawford ranch , mourning the death of her son Casey in Iraq and calling attention to an unjust, unnecessary, and unwinnable war, the media created in her a symbolic figure whose public agony epitomized a growing backlash against the militarism and unmitigated arrogance of the Bush administration. It was a powerful image: a lone woman standing up to the most powerful man on earth in memory of her fallen son.
Touting “an exclusive interview with Cindy Sheehan” on Good Morning America , four years ago ABC anchorman Charles Gibson intoned: “Standing her ground. She lost her son in Iraq, she opposes the war, now she’s camped out at President Bush’s ranch and says she won’t leave until he meets with her.”
The level of coverage only increased in the coming days and weeks. As Cindy continued her vigil, Gibson enthused:
“All across the country protests against the war in Iraq, inspired by the mother standing her ground at President Bush’s ranch.”
Flashing across their television screens, viewers saw the headline “MOM ON A MISSION: IS ANTIWAR MOVEMENT GROWING?” as Gibson averred:
“This morning a war of words. All across the country protests against the war in Iraq, inspired by the mother standing her ground at President Bush’s ranch. But is anyone in the White House feeling the heat?”
That was then. This is now: in an interview [.mp3] with Chicago’s WLS radio on Aug. 18, Gibson was asked whether his network planned to cover Sheehan’s plans to travel to Martha’s Vineyard, where she is protesting the escalation of the war in Afghanistan while President Obama is vacationing there. Gibson’s answer:
[mp3-jplayer tracks=”http://911truth.org/911truthmedia/Audio/Charles_Gibson.mp3″ title=”Charles Gibson on Cindy Sheehan”]
It is one thing to decide war protests aren’t newsworthy, that they’re just the irrelevant emanations of a fringe element radically out of step with the 99 percent of the country that’s marching happily off to war. That, however, is very far from being the case. Back in 2005, Cindy represented a minority that was on its way to becoming a majority. Today, she starts off her renewed vigil with over half of the American people agreeing with her that the Afghan war isn’t worth it.
Yet Gibson’s announced news blackout is being observed well nigh universally: aside from Rush Limbaugh , only the generally conservative Boston Herald , the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette , a daytime MSNBC news show, and a few blogs bothered noticing Sheehan’s determination to be “an equal opportunity vacation disruption,” as the Herald writer put it. The bitterness of conservatives over the obvious double standard is expressed by Limbaugh in terms of the usual partisan rhetoric:
“When she’s out there revving up people against George W. Bush, it’s, let’s cover her 24/7, let’s make sure we have our cameras out there outside Bush’s ranch when she’s there, whatever she’s saying, whatever she’s doing, if she goes down and meets with Hugo Chavez, our cameras will be there. They could not get enough of her. Now that she’s headed to Martha’s Vineyard, the State-Controlled Media, Charlie Gibson, State-Controlled Anchor, ABC: ‘Enough already.’ Cindy, leave it alone, get out, we’re not interested, we’re not going to cover you going to Martha’s Vineyard because our guy is president now and you’re just a hassle. You’re just a problem. To these people, they never had any true, genuine emotional interest in her. She was just a pawn. She was just a woman to be used and then thrown overboard once they’re through with her and they’re through with her. They don’t want any part of Cindy Sheehan protesting against any war when Obama happens to be president.”
While Cindy is nobody’s pawn — as she is proving by her actions — the general point Limbaugh is making seems all too true. So why isn’t he cheering?
After all, what did this pro-war blowhard have to say about Cindy back when Gibson was breathlessly broadcasting her every utterance? Well, he basically said she was a traitor and a fraud, comparing her to Bill Burkett , who provided CBS with phony “evidence” purporting to show Bush’s failure to show up for National Guard training. “Her story,” he said, “is nothing more than forged documents.” Sheehan’s crusade, he claimed, was all part of a “coordinated” plan by the “far Left,” which he seemed to equate with the Democratic Party.
In the beginning of this year, when a caller asked “where are all the … Cindy Sheehans, the Code Pink Tuscaderos [sic] of the Democratic Party” now that Obama is in the White House, Limbaugh replied :
“Well, frankly, that doesn’t bother me. I had enough of Cindy Sheehan to last me a lifetime. She was always a nonfactor anyway. I mean, Cindy Sheehan, this is a poor woman who’s lost her mind, and then that fact was used by the Drive-By Media to further drive her crazy into making everybody and her think that she was relevant, only because she was willing to accept enough money from a California PR film to build and occupy a little shack across the road from Bush’s house down in Crawford, Texas.”
Aside from the fact that he has no idea whether or not she has the same media handlers — the True Majority group, founded by Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, hired Fenton Communications to handle Cindy’s media relations and thanked her when she (prematurely) announced her “retirement” from peace activism — one has to wonder what Rush is complaining about. Gibson is doing just what the bombastic radio commentator always wanted him to do: ignoring Cindy’s antiwar protest.
Can’t we all just get along? On the higher levels of the commentariat, the “Left” and the “Right” are slow-dancing in perfect harmony whenever Obama plays a martial tune. Now that the Obamaite think-tanks , such as the Center for a New American Security and the Center for American Progress, are holding joint conferences with Rush’s neocon buddies — Bill Kristol and his Foreign Policy Initiative — hailing Obama’s Afghan “surge” and proffering advice on how best to go about it, Rush ought to relax. He and Keith Olbermann can now march together, arm in arm, into the glorious war-torn future, united in steadfastly ignoring the Cindy Sheehans of this world.
We, of course , are not ignoring her passionate protest, including in our news section — but, then again, we don’t fit into the Left/Right dichotomy that the “mainstream” media is stuck in and has a financial interest in promoting. With Keith Olbermann capturing the self-described “left-wing” pro-Obama demographic, and Limbaugh/Hannity/O’Reilly going after the anti-Obama crowd, they’re divvying up the demographic pie, with Fox News settling for the older crowd, and MSNBC going for the younger and more “hip” set.
Here at Antiwar.com it isn’t about demographics or Obama, and it certainly isn’t about the two major parties, both of which now accept the central premise of America’s wars: that the U.S. has both the right and means to police the world.
In rejecting that onerous principle, we stand outside the bipartisan “consensus” and the whole ersatz Left/Right division of American opinion — whose proponents exhibit a curious unity when it comes to the vital question of foreign policy.
As much as Limbaugh and his right-wing brothers and sisters railed against the “liberal” media for undermining the war effort, they never really questioned the factual basis of the administration’s case for invading Iraq: that Saddam Hussein possessed “weapons of mass destruction,” that he was on the verge of attacking his neighbors, and that he had proven links to the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Instead, they reported these claims uncritically — even as they were being debunked right here on this Web site.
The lesson of all this is simple: the “mainstream” media simply can’t be trusted. That’s why newspapers are losing circulation at a rapid clip , and television news is fading in importance. It’s not the Internet that’s killing off the sainted mandarins of the “mainstream” — it’s their role as transmission belts for official propaganda, whether it be from the government or the partisan opposition. They’re shills, and everybody knows it.
That’s why Antiwar.com is more important than ever — and isn’t it ironic that we’re clinging to life by a very thin thread, just at the moment when we’re needed the most?
Oh, well, life is like that, you know. I never expected it to be easy. Yet even I have to admit that this fundraising campaign is beginning to scare me: we’re way behind where we were at this point last time around, to say nothing of last year. The number of contributors is equivalent, and even shows signs of increasing, but the amounts are smaller by as much as half. We all are facing some hard economic times . It just means we’ll have to extend our fundraising campaign by as much as a week — hopefully not more. But we’ll do what we have to do to stay afloat.
If you haven’t given, or even if you have, I want to extend this appeal to all my readers, even the ones who don’t agree with some (or much) of what I have to say in this space. You may love Obama or you may bitterly oppose him: what ever . You need to realize, however, that this isn’t about him . It’s about maintaining a skeptical approach to the foreign policy currently being conducted by those geniuses in Washington, who think they know all there is to know to bring order to a disorderly world.
It’s about maintaining a wonderfully complete source of hard news, as well as an outlet for dissenting opinions — often colorfully expressed — in an age of ideological conformity and bland “pragmatism.”
It’s about maintaining the tradition of independent journalism in a world where “journalists” are bought and sold like the ladies of Amsterdam’s red-light district and events are viewed through a partisan prism.
Antiwar.com has stood like a rock against the War Party, resisting and opposing the pressure that is brought to bear on any popular media outlet these days, and we’ve been doing it since 1995. Don’t let this be our final year — which, I’m sad to say, is a very real possibility. Please make your tax-deductible contribution today .
by Cindy Sheehan August 20, 2009 Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
“And you look at somebody like that (note: me) and you think here’s somebody who’s just trying to find some meaning in her son’s death. And you have to be sympathetic to her. Anybody who has given a son to this country has made an enormous sacrifice, and you have to be sympathetic. But enough already.” ABC Nightly News Anchor, Charles Gibson August 18, 2009
“Enough already?” Hmmm…I don’t know Charlie Gibson and I don’t pay any attention to his career, but I seem to agree with him on this one: “Enough already.”
Enough with the killing, torturing, wounding and profiting off of the backs of our troops and off of the lives of the people of Iraq-Af-Pak: as our brothers and sisters in Latin America say: “Basta!”
Somehow, I don’t think that this is what Charlie Gibson meant, though. I am sure that he just wants me to go away like most of the rest of the anti-war movement has done under the Obama presidency.
One of the things I hear quite often from people from all over the political spectrum is: “Why don’t you just go away, you’ve had your 15 minutes of fame.”
Yes, that’s exactly what I thought as soon as I heard that my son was killed in the US’s illegal and immoral war in Iraq: “this is a perfect opportunity to get my 15 minutes of fame.” Actually, after I slowly recovered from the shock and horror, the pain always remains, I thought that I had to do everything I can to end this nightmare so other mothers/families wouldn’t have to go through what I was going through and what I am going through.
I certainly am not the anchor of a major network news show, but last time I checked, people are still dying at a heartrending clip in Iraq-Af-Pak.
If my goal was “15 minutes of fame,” I could have gone quietly away a long time ago. I started because I wanted the wars to end, and I will figure I can go away when the wars end…but when is that going to be? In my lifetime, probably not.
I am cutting my writing-staycation short to head to Martha’s Vineyard because I think the new titular head of the empire needs to know that his policies are devastating people as much as the same policies did when Bush was president.
I would rather be able to go away and spend the rest of my life worshipping my grandchildren, writing, reading, resting, and doing humanitarian work where I am needed.
I wish the wars would go away, but they aren’t going away if we the people don’t get more militantly insistent.
CAMP CASEY UNDER SAIL FOR SHEEHAN’S SHIPBOARD PEACE SUMMIT
Peace proponent Cindy Sheehan calls all peace leaders to come sail with her aboard ‘SS Camp Casey’ anchored in Martha’s Vineyard for a shipboard peace summit.
MARTHA’S VINEYARD—Peace proponent Cindy Sheehan is calling for peace movement leaders, international news ‘anchors’ and pro-peace members of the public to sail around Martha’s Vineyard, from August 27 to 29. The meetings will be aboard the grand sailing vessel dubbed the SS Camp Casey anchored in Martha’s Vineyard. Sheehan will co-captain daily excursions as she holds this seaside peace summit.
Sheehan’s purpose is to bring leaders together to stand as an acting ‘Department of Peace’. She calls for immediate stipulations: “I am calling in the Peace Movement to encircle our country with our united demand for an immediate return of all U.S. forces around the globe. Bring every one of our troops home NOW! We need them in our families and towns. This world needs a permanent vacation from war.”
Sheehan declares her plan to mobilize peace leaders to begin work with her to draft the world’s first ‘Universal Peace Treaty’: “We must stop the terrorizing of our soldiers and the world’s civilians with the imperial sword rattling of wartime administrations,” said Sheehan. “We must BE the change we wish to see in our President!”
Sheehan demands that the Obama Administration issue a mandatory end to U.S. war policy. “The clock does not turn back with a new President.. We must return them all back here immediately. No more waiting will be tolerated. Zero acceptance for keeping our troops abroad!
“Security begins at home with intact families,” says Sheehan. “The time of healing must begin. The true purpose of our nation should be Peace on Earth, starting with the decisive end to our failed war policies.”
To the international peace community, Sheehan says: “This is our time to finally draw an end to America’s wars. We must abide by the saying of ancient scriptures: Let peace and peace and peace be everywhere. I declare this to be our new national defense policy.”
Cindy Sheehan on 9/11 – Video
Posted at YouTube by JaneUnderground March 02, 2007 Cindy Sheehan states her position on 9/11 Truth at Billings Auditorium at the University of Vermont where she came to speak in support of impeachment measures being put before voters on Town Meeting Day.
Q: “Cindy, do you buy into the government story of events on 9/11 and if not, which part or parts do you suspect or have you determined to be false?”
A: I think it’s pretty safe to say that this regime lies, that this regime is capable of anything. … Project for a New American Century … Pearl Harbor-like event … But I don’t have time to study it. I’ve seen documentaries like Loose Change, I’ve read New Pearl Harbor by David Griffin … and it’s something that I’m constantly studying. I’m not going to come out and say our government did 9/11 because I don’t know that and I haven’t come to that conclusion yet. But I don’t have a lot of time to study it because I’m working on ending this immoral and illegal ocupation … And I know my son died because of 9/11 and I know we’re over in Iraq and Afghanistan because of 9/11 but 9/11 has already happened. There’s millions of people who are alive in those states. And there’s so many lies that have already been proven about the lead-up to the war. So I think there’s some really good people working on 9/11 truth. I encourage them to keep working on it. Like we said at our last meeting, it would be great if we had a true 9/11 commission in our country to study it and I would at least call for a true 9/11 commission to study what happened on that day, but I think our focus and energy has to be on bringing our troops home …”
Cindy Sheehan, Statement of Support of NYCCAN
Cindy Sheehan 7/16/2009 http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com
On April 4th, 2004, my son Casey was killed serving the United States Army in Iraq during the illegal occupation started by the Bush Administration.
That illegal occupation was made possible because of the attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001, resulting in the deaths of 2,973 people.
Since that horrid day, victims’ family members have been doing everything within their power to seek justice and accountability for what happened, with little to no success. It is shameful that almost 8 years after the fact, they have been denied this. The official 9/11 commission report was a sham and a mockery of justice, not justice.
Currently, there is an effort underway in New York City to get a new investigation onto the ballot by this November. The New York City Coalition for Accountability Now ( www.NYCCAN.org ) is currently attempting to get enough signatures to make this happen, and they need your help. I wholeheartedly support and endorse this effort.
Please do what you can to support this effort, and thank you.