The Cindy Sheehan "Camp Casey" phenomenon grows daily. It has spread like wildfire capturing the imagination of Americans all across the country — foreigners alike — and has lit a fire in the hearts of so many who seemed to have given up long ago. But Cindy Sheehan has come under attack from many sides in these last few weeks. Does she really have an ulterior motive? Is she using her son’s death for a hidden purpose? Or is she just what she says she is: An angry mother who wants answers? I went to the United States to meet with her personally and to find out for myself — I wanted to know if she was doing this protest for real.
I arrived late in the evening in Austin, Texas on Sunday night August 14th. After unpacking my bags and some small talk, I was ready for a nightcap and some sleep. The nightcap was impossible because this was "God’s country" I was told, and it is illegal to sell alcohol after midnight. I was flabbergasted. Why, oh why had I returned to this nutty Socialist nanny state?
"You mean to tell me that a person cannot go and buy alcohol after 12 to consume inside the privacy of their own home according to the laws of Texas?" I couldn’t believe it. "That’s the law." was the reply. Well, so much for the so-called Land of the Free. I thought. Can’t wait to get back to Japan — a much freer country — where you can buy whatever you want, anytime you want.
But I digress, this is not an article criticizing the lack of freedoms you poor folks have in the United States. This is about Cindy Sheehan. I hear that Cindy Sheehan has started a spark that is uniting a fragmented country and that this is the beginning of the end of the Iraq War. I came to Crawford, Texas to put my money where my mouth is. Personally, I am dead-set against this Iraq War and I know that George W. Bush and his crew deserve to be impeached and tried for treason. Some have said to me that if I felt so strongly about this, then why don’t I return to the United States? Well, I did. And while I was there, I am happy to report, I saw a small part of the America I thought no longer existed. I saw that there still is an America in the hearts of those who chose to stand up and be counted. And now I ask all of you, whether you are for this war or against it: Put up or shut up. As your president said, "You are either with us or against us." Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and by some strange ironic twist of fate, Georgie-boy could be right for once. Now is the time to join the anti-war movement and support Cindy Sheehan or support the war by joining up for the armed forces today. You have no excuses. And that goes for you Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly, Jenna and Barbara Bush; as well as out-of-work Tucker Carlson. You all have no excuse for not joining up. Pat Tillman made a heck of a lot more money than any of you do and he joined up. Age is no excuse either as the Army took a 72 year-old woman from Syracuse, New York. It’s time now for all Americans to either put up or shut up.
I wanted to show Cindy Sheehan that I am 110% behind her — as are the people of Japan. I came the 8000 kilometers, risked my safety due to the "no fly list" (A few fake letters here and there — just goes to show you how screwed up Homeland Security is) and I came to support Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey. I "put up."
The morning after arriving, I awoke at 6 AM. Scott Horton from Antiwar.com agreed to drive to Crawford, Texas to see for ourselves just what exactly was going on at Cindy Sheehan’s vigil. The vigil had grown in the last 6 days from one woman sitting in a lawn-chair along the side of the road into a virtual uproar of people from all parts of the world showing up in solidarity with the mother of a son who died in Iraq.
Looking at the daily paper I saw that the media were having a field day. The right wing smear machine was out in all its resentful guilt-ridden glory. They were attacking her as being Anti-American. Of course there is something to be said for that particular right-wing slur: In today’s America, what kind of a mother raises her child to become an honor student, a boy scout, and a decorated war-hero? I guess if that makes Cindy Sheehan anti-American then that explains what kind of a cesspool people like Bill O’Reilly came from.
And for the rest of the right wing who wish to slander the mother of a fallen soldier I say to you, dear reader, that they can be ignored for they are the vilest form of humanity. This woman’s own flesh and blood made the ultimate sacrifice and those hypocrites will slander her? Think about it: Who is the hateful anti-American in this picture? The mother of the fallen soldier; or the TV/radio talking head who has never seen service?
When we arrived at the Crawford Peace House, the first stop before Camp Casey, I was shocked to see how a small grass-roots movement like this could turn into a national phenomenon. Many people gave me hugs of joy and told me that I was "witnessing the beginning of the end." I wasn’t sure if they meant the beginning of the end of the Iraq War or the beginning of the end of George W. Bush. In my mind, they go hand in hand. But this was not my event. This was Cindy Sheehan’s event.
The actual Camp Casey surprised me with its simplicity. It wasn’t much really. It was just a few dozen cars and a couple dozen tents along the side of the road. I thought, This is what has become a social movement in the United States!? This simple, made-in-USA, protest by a mom as American as they come? This is what is snowballing into what could become George W. Bush’s Waterloo? What an idiot this president must surely be! Anybody with just one iota of common sense would have met with this American mother on the first day of her protest and ended this. But this, sadly, is not a person with any common sense. This is George W. Bush: The simpleton President of the United States — the mental giant who claims to have never made a mistake.
This Cindy Sheehan protest movement shows everyone just what a straw dog George W. Bush and his cronies are. Sorry, George, you are at least 0 for 3. You’ve lost Afghanistan; you’ve lost Iraq; and now you’ve lost the American public because you are not enough of a man to go toe-to-toe with this American mom.
Now the right wing media are pulling out all stops to smear Cindy Sheehan. They are saying that she has a “left wing agenda” or that she is doing this or talking that. I interviewed Cindy Sheehan. What she wants is very simple. What she wants crosses all political boundaries and has no hidden agenda: She wants this war to end. Period.
Here is a transcript of a short, no frills interview I took with Cindy Sheehan on the morning of Monday, August 15th, 2005 at the Crawford Peace House:
Me: How long have you been here? When did you start?
Cindy: Last Saturday at about 12:30.
Me: What are you doing here?
Cindy: I want the president to talk to me and give me answers.
Me: About what?
Cindy: I want to know what noble cause my son died for. I want to know if it is such a noble cause, does he encourage his daughters to enlist and take the place of some soldiers who may want to come home? And then I want him to stop using my son’s memory to stop justifying the continued killing. My son’s memory is standing for peace. I don’t want it to stand for war and killing.
Me: Why doesn’t President Bush come to meet you?
Cindy: He’s probably afraid.
Me: Afraid of what?
Cindy: The truth. He’s afraid of facing a mother who’s here because of a broken heart and who wants the truth from him."
That’s it. The who, what, when, where, and why of Cindy Sheehan. Now you tell me, who is anti-American: This American mother who lost her war hero son and now wants some answers; or this lying excuse for a man who hasn’t the guts to face her?
George W. Bush, you are a damned all-American disgrace. Cindy Sheehan has no hidden agenda. She just wants answers. I personally have no hidden agenda either: I pray for the day I see you, George W. Bush, in chains.
To support Camp Casey and a non-political antiwar movement contact:
The Crawford Peace House
9142 5th Street
Crawford, TX. 76638-3037
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.