Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Mother of All P.R. Battles

Not that the blogging universe is exactly crying out for yet another weigh-in on the Cindy Sheehan media circus, but here's mine. Please forgive the lateness of my unsolicited opinion, but I've been lost in my own world these past few weeks, what with pre-baby stuff and whatnot ...

Let me just say this: Despite my own considerable disgust with our Prevaricator in Chief, I don't share the scorn of my pal Token Liberal and so many others who say he should meet with Sheehan, the anti-war protester whose 24-year-old son is among the more than 1,800 U.S.troops killed in Iraq.

While I believe the Iraq War was and is a deadly and tragically unnecessary mistake, I don't see what real-world purpose would be served by Bush sidling down the driveway for a chat with Sheehan. It's a lose-lose proposition for him, and it will neither further the public debate over Iraq policy nor placate a grieving mother. You can sympathize with Cindy Sheehan's pain and passion, but that doesn't justify whatever she wants.

Whether or not she has some crackpot ideas, as the right-wing goon squad purports, is immaterial.

First, no one's mind would be changed by such a meeting. And if the hypothetical discussion between the mother and the mofo were to be private, as it surely would be (assuming, for an instant, it will ever happen), it's assured that Sheehan would characterize Bush's demeanor as cold and uncaring. He would be at the mercies of whatever she said unless cameras were rolling on the actual confrontation, and that scenario would expose the Prez to all sorts of media stunts that he doesn't need to risk.

As arrogant and detestable as Christopher Hitchens is, I'll concede his assessment of the Sheehan demand is on the money:

"Any citizen has the right to petition the president for redress of grievance, or for that matter to insult him to his face. But the potential number of such people is very large, and you don't have the right to cut in line by having so much free time that you can set up camp near his drive. Then there is the question of civilian control over the military, which is an authority that one could indeed say should be absolute. The military and its relatives have no extra claim on the chief executive's ear. Indeed, it might be said that they have less claim than the rest of us, since they have voluntarily sworn an oath to obey and carry out orders."

Finally, a strange precedent would be set, one in which the president of the United States, a guy ostensibly saddled with the busiest schedule and greatest burdens in the free world, must personally hear out the complaints of every fallen soldier's kin.

OK, granted, it's not as if he seems to be that busy, what with clearing brush on his ranch (Crawford, Texas, apparently has an endless supply of photo-op brush), but y'know, there's always the possibility that vacation will end and then Dumbya will have to get back to work, and pronto.

There are a lot of serious questions to ponder with Iraq -- such as an exit strategy, for one -- but the Cindy Sheehan spectacle isn't worth the ink.


At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course nothing would be solved if such a meeting took place, but you're missing the point. the true drama of this stand-off exists on another plane. this is all about image and public relations. the bushies blew it by not nipping this in the bud during the first 12 hours. any idiot knows that the press corps has nothing to do in august, particularly in perhaps the only more barren place than oklahoma. he should have pulled up in his pick up and asked her to take a ride beyond view of cameras/reporters. now there's no point because the left is molding and remaking this woman by the moment. the wildcard, of course, is sheehan herself. she's a loose cannon. her family this week even issued a statement saying they were humiliated by her action. at some point, the middle--most of us who are unhappy about the war, but know that we just can pull out without catastrophic consequences (consequences even far greater than 2,000 American dead--are going to get fed up. sheehan, perhaps because of her inexperience dealing with media glare, comes off as a nut half the time (of course, she may be a nut. who knows). in the end, most clear-minded people who oppose the war won't want to be associated with her and will wish she went away before using up her darling time in the national spotlight. all we can do now is watch and wait.

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Bob Levy said...

You couch Hitchens as "arrogant and detestable," then say that his assessment is "on the money"? Exactly what part of this statement is "on the money"?

"You don't have the right to cut in line by having so much free time that you can set up camp near his drive."

You know, I'm really glad that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had "so much free time" that he could march on Washington and in places in the South where they wanted to curtail his ability to "cut in line." Once we start believing the way Hitchens, Dennis Miller, Ron Silver, James Wood and every other high-profile former liberal has done in the past four years -- that freedom is an easy trade for security, even if it means bending over for the Patriot Act-wielding right wing -- then "our way of life" becomes just a theoretical construct.

Hitchens is a drunk, whored-out piece of waste, and my estimation of Slate goes down every time I see his byline. In this case, as he is every time he places his fingers near a keyboard, he is dead wrong. Sure, they volunteered, but the the government wasted Casey Sheehan's life and every other life that has been lost so far in Iraq.

As for Cindy Sheehan, she needs to make this a crusade of mothers, and kick everyone out who is not a relative or a parent of a fallen soldier. If anyone tries to co-opt her, such as the anti-WTO crowd or any other left-leaning cause that might be hovering around her, they need to go. The message must be pure: this is a woman who lost her son for no reason. He volunteered for the army, but the army is there for just causes, and as the truth rolls in and history rolls forward, this is clearly not a just cause.

You should have stopped at "arrogant and detestable."

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What we need is a return to pragmatic communitarian values -- a back to the basics movement that rejects our corporatist war culture and instead embraces a return to simplicity, manual labor and pacifism. We will only be a great nation when we reject warmongering "defense" and embrace true peace. We should be trying to negotiate with the insurgents in Iraq so they can play a role in the government, and then we should admit defeat and come home! It will be healthy for our nation to concede our imperialist ways -- then maybe the so-called "terrorists" will embrace us as brothers and sisters and decide not to attack us.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous B.L. said...

Is this sarcasm? Difficult to tell in the blogosphere.

Well, I'm not going to hold my breath for a hug from insurgency leaders, and I don't know how the U.S. converting to an Amish lifestyle fixes things, but our current methods are not working in Iraq. Something else must be done, and this expansionist crap must end. Bush should read volume three of Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire if he needs help understanding where we are heading, but that might be too much to ask.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Captain Carnage said...

"Fall of the Roman Empire"?

Yes, that was a genuine empire alright. If America is an empire, it's a pretty poor specimen. What territory has it acquired, and what methods has it used to consolidate hegemony?

A real empire doesn't invade a country and immediately set up elections, with a view to someday departing. On this point and thousands of others, there is no valid comparison between barbaric ancient Rome and modern America.

As for anonymous' appeasement idea, we are about to see exactly where that naive capering leads with the contemporary Gaza example. Hamas have expressed naught but contempt for Israel's pullout, the UN has inexplicably funded their propaganda, and the terrorist "brothers and sisters" are champing at the bit to set up their missiles a wee bit closer to their targets.

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You go Captain Carnage.

For all of you who applaud the Gaza pullout as a step toward peace, be warned. The pull-out sends but one simple message to those who blow up pizza parlors and buses: Terrorism works.

And if you for one moment think negotiations would lead to insurgents embracing us in an off-key chorus of kumbaya, you're misguided at best. Trading the Toyota for an Amish buggy--while it would save gas--would put us no closer to peace. And I, frankly, love my air conditioning far too much ever to cut the electric cord--war or not. Although Amish do make wonderful pie and I love pie...but I do digress.

I'm more confused by the day about Iraq. I look at the recent (40-year) history if Afghanistan and worry. Women there during the 1960s and 1970s were as modern as you get in that part of the world. Free to wear mini skirts, if you can imagine. And now, not only has the society been decimated, but the radicals seem to flourish in the hardscrabble nothingness. That happened when the U.S. pulled out leaving a vacuum. Iraq is a bigger and badder Afghanistan--the Woodstock of the Islamic world. And there's no other show in town.

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Token Liberal said...

Scorn? You want scorn? Ask me about the recently signed energy bill if you want scorn.

I would have marched the War President down to meet with Ms. Sheehan as a PR move. She wants to meet with me? Here I am. Story over. It's indicative of the arrogance of this administration that they did NOT do this.

Instead, they chuckled, and did what Team Bush always does: Demonize the opponent and count on the parrot right-wing media to echo its charges while the lazy mainstream media to cower.

And Chris Hitchens? Isn't he British? WTF?

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People need to wake up. It's time for peace, not war. Not one American life is worth this. Not one American life was worth Afghanistan. It's time to come home. Every day I am amazed that there are people in this country who cannot see that we should be focusing on our problems at home, not worrying about a so-called terrorist threat. 9/11 was a blip on the radar, and Repuglicans want to make it into something bigger. What a nutty century this is turning into!

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Chase McInerney said...

Token Liberal! You read this site on occasion! I'm touched, bub!

At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's something I didn't know -- even though it's not much of a shocker, nor is it exactly breaking news:

A CBS reporter recorded Cindy Sheehan weeks ago (though her choice comments were never highlighted by the MSM so far as I can recall) saying some very interesting things.

During the interview, Sheehan referred to death-loving jihadist insurgents with a penchant for car-bombings and beheadings as "freedom fighters."

That sounds kind of familiar - I seem to remember certain moonbats last year during the election employing this same term to describe sociopathic murderers in Iraq.

Sheehan also said in the same interview that "Iraq was not a terrorist state" before the war.

Of course, even leftists, if they're being intellectually honest, know that Sheehan's statement is false on its face.

Iraq WAS a terrorist state before the war -- sponsoring and participating heartily in global terrorism, attempting the murder of a former U.S. president and hosting terrorist training camps (including a nifty training base that taught crack jet hi-jacking skills).

Noting these two statements from Sheehan doesn't justify -- or detract from -- the war in Iraq.

It simply employs logic to dissect Sheehan's clear intent, which is a radical leftist intent that honest opponents of the war should disengage from.

Why opponents of the war have embraced Sheehan is a bit of a mystery, considering the vile sophistry she spews.

If opponents of the war continue to embrace Sheehan and others of her ilk, I and other clear-headed Americans will continue to see their agenda as a radical leftist intent (and one that is deeply anti-American).

At 12:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, here's one stellar character witness that Cindy has in her corner...

"Courageously she has gone to Texas near the ranch of President Bush and braved the elements and a hostile Jewish supremacist media." -David Duke

Camp Cindy: It's where all the most fabulous anarchists and anti-Semites want to be.

Right on, radical chic!


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