The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Justin Raimondo - In Defense of Cindy Sheehan

In Defense of Cindy Sheehan
Drink-soaked Trotskyite popinjay slimes antiwar Mom
by Justin Raimondo

All the usual suspects are lining up to slime Cindy Sheehan: Mr. Smarm, AKA James Taranto; the pretentious twits over at Powerline blog; and of course Matt Drudge, who ought to make his role as a sounding board for the Republican National Committee official. Yet none of these worthies were really up to the task. Drudge took Sheehan's statement after her first meeting with Bush out of context and was contradicted by his own source. Taranto mocks Sheehan's grief at the combat death of her son, Casey Sheehan, by titling a link to her account of her job loss over repeated absences "the sorrow and the pity." Taranto feel pity for anybody except, perhaps, a "settler" in Gaza, or maybe Ahmed Chalabi? Forget about it!

Sheehan, according to Taranto-la, is the adherent of "a grotesque ideology" because she believes "the mainstream media is a propaganda tool for the government." You know, the same MSM that printed Judy Miller's fantasies of WMD on the front page of "the newspaper of record" – the same folks who never challenged the fusillade of lies being fired at the American public by the Pentagon. How could anybody believe that this very same "mainstream media" could possibly be a tool of the government – why, it's "grotesque," doncha think? John Bolton is visiting Judy Miller in prison not because they're playing on the same team, you understand, but because Bolton wants to make international prison reform the centerpiece of his tenure as UN ambassador.

Taranto is a nasty piece of work whose scribblings are of little consequence, but the truly vile stuff – the heavy lifting – is done by his counterparts in the "blogosphere," the self-important little "warbloggers" whose natterings are dutifully recorded by Slate interns and the right-wing radio screamers: Powerline takes up the theme that maybe, just maybe Sheehan's crusade against this war constitutes a "hate crime":

"Cindy Sheehan: is she a poor, benighted woman unhinged and rendered irrational by grief, or is she a calculating, vicious anti-Semite and anti-American like the extremists with whom she associates? I don't know, and I'm not sure there is any way to know. But either way, is there any reason why she should be glorified by virtually every American media outlet?"

The Powerline cowards don't want to take a definite stand one way or the other, you see, but it's clear what they would like you to believe.

It's amazing that a blogger who cites David Horowitz's "FrontPage" dares breathe a single word about "extremism." Horowitz, for his part, gets the Over the Top Award for this headline:

"COINCIDENCE OR PLANNING? Cindy Sheehan's Planned Protest Will Coincide with Expected Terror Attacks in Iraq"

Is there anyone on the Right loonier than Horowitz? If so, I'd sure like to know who it is. At least Ann Coulter has a sense of humor, and some sense of irony. Horowitz, who likes to imagine that the antiwar movement is being personally directed by Osama bin Laden, is just plain bonkers in the dourest, dreariest way imaginable.

Leave it to Horowitz's buddy Christopher Hitchens, however, to synthesize all these varieties of the same poison, while adding his own distinctively astringent (some would say bitter) flavor to the brew. Hitchens is furious over this statement by Sheehan:

"Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full well that my son, my family, this nation and this world were betrayed by George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agendas after 9/11. We were told that we were attacked on 9/11 because the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy … not for the real reason, because the Arab Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy."

He leaves off the final sentence of that paragraph, however:

"That hasn't changed since America invaded and occupied Iraq … in fact it has gotten worse."

I don't wonder about that omission, since it explains the enormous appeal of Sheehan and her lone crusade against the Powers That Be: Americans are thoroughly sick of this filthy war, and are likewise riled up at those who lied and hectored us into it. What Hitchens and his fellow neocons hate is that Sheehan, no intellectual but an ordinary housewife and mother, names them for the evil swine they are: her accusing finger pointed in their direction rightly terrifies them. After so many years of operating in the dark, it is shocking to be pulled, suddenly, into the spotlight – and there are at least two prosecutors looking to shine yet more light on their subterranean activities. Until now, this has all been inside baseball for the delectation of the Beltway pundits, but these days ordinary Americans are beginning to realize who and what the "neocons" represent – and that can't be good for the War Party. No sirree!

Hitchens is livid:

"I think one must deny to anyone the right to ventriloquize the dead. Casey Sheehan joined up as a responsible adult volunteer. Are we so sure that he would have wanted to see his mother acquiring 'a knack for P.R.' and announcing that he was killed in a war for a Jewish cabal? (a claim that has brought David Duke flying to Ms. Sheehan's side.) This is just as objectionable, on logical as well as moral grounds, as the old pro-war argument that the dead 'must not have died in vain.' I distrust anyone who claims to speak for the fallen, and I distrust even more the hysterical noncombatants who exploit the grief of those who have to bury them."

David Duke defends Cindy Sheehan. What more does anyone need to know? If Duke were to point out the rather bluish color of the sky, anyone who followed suit, in Hitchens' book, ought to be charged with a "hate crime." Yet, it is fair to ask, just who is flying to the defense of the war Hitchens tirelessly agitated for? None other than Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and the millions of Bible-thumping, snake-handling, trailer-trash fundamentalists whom "The Hitch" purports to despise. Well, what of it? No doubt some prominent Satanists support the war – not that there's anything wrong with that – such as Peter H. Gilmore, high priest of the Church of Satan. Asked "which side is the Church [sic!] rooting for?", His Evilness answers:

"Most Church of Satan members would support victory for the United States, since its secular form of government, as well as its culture, promotes individualism and freedom. This secularism is seen as 'Satanic' by fanatical Muslims and rightly so – from their perspective. The architects of the U.S. Government were Freemasons and they held many Satanic values, so we feel that Americans should embrace the role they give to us as 'The Great Satan.'"

The "Great Satan" – oh, that's too funny. Top that, Hitchens, you moron!

The point is that Hitchens' invocation of Duke tells us nothing about Sheehan – and speaks volumes about Hitchens, whose viciousness is surpassed only by his intellectual dishonesty.

That this drink-soaked Trotskyite popinjay, as George Galloway incisively dubbed him, has the utter gall to bring up "ventriloquizing the dead" has got to be the most appalling act of hypocrisy since anti-vice crusader and noted "war on drugs" hardliner Rush Limbaugh pleaded for "understanding" (and a reduced sentence) for his drug habit. Wasn't it Hitchens and his fellow "idealists" whose rationale for war with Iraq was revenge for Saddam Hussein's many victims? The murdered Kurds, Hitchens tirelessly reminded us, cried out for "vengeance," as did the heroic Marsh Arabs.

What is particularly loathsome about Hitchens is that his "argument" consists entirely of epithets: to speak of "neocons," he avers, is to speak of a "Jewish cabal." But why is that? Most American Jews are vastly unsympathetic to George W. Bush, his party, and his war. Aside from that, however, is neoconservatism suddenly and inexplicably disappeared, even as one of its leading exponents triumphantly brays that the "neoconservative movement" has succeeded? Sheehan never once used the word "Jew" to describe anyone or anything for the simple reason that "neocon" is not a synonym for a person of the Jewish faith. Hitchens himself is a living example of why this is true. There are others: Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Michael Novak, Victor Davis Hanson, and Bill Bennett, not to mention former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, indicted spy for Israel and devout Catholic.

You don't have to be Jewish to put Israel first, even over and above your own country, as the Christian fundamentalists of the Darbyite persuasion have made all too painfully plain. Franklin spied for Israel and handed over [.pdf] top-secret information to his Israeli handlers, trying to push American foreign policy in an even more Israel-centric direction and avidly enlisting AIPAC to manipulate the U.S. into a confrontation with Iran.

AIPAC's machinations replicated the methods utilized by the War Party in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Sheehan is on target in naming Israel – not "the Jews" – as a major reason why the U.S. went to war against a country that represented no threat to us. In saying this, she is simply echoing the opinion of a great many Americans, including Michael Kinsley, General Anthony Zinni, intelligence expert James Bamford, former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, and a host of others who plainly see the geopolitical implications of an American war to "democratize" the Middle East while leaving much of the region in ruins.

The ugliness of the War Party's rhetoric is often its own undoing, and this is surely the case when Hitchens tries to prove that Sheehan has no particular moral authority on the subject of the Iraq war. Fresh from his polemics against Mother Teresa, Hitchens cruelly disdains a mother's tears:

"What dreary sentimental nonsense this all is, and how much space has been wasted on it."

Those poor sentimental Americans, always going on about their emotions! Why don't they just stiffen and button their upper lips, and forget all this tripe about the sacredness of human life and the love of a mother for her son? Don't they know there's a war on?

Hitchens just wants us to get on with it. How dare a mother protest the death of her son – unless, of course, it's an Iraqi whose son was killed by Saddam's thugs. Then it's okay, the more sentimental nonsense the better. We are supposed to be all bent out of shape about the fate of the Marsh Arabs, but God help us if we mourn the death of our own children – and try to stop their slaughter in the name of a perverted "idealism." It is an "internationalism" of the heartless, the leftist origins of which are not hard to discern. Hitchens could care less how many Casey Sheehans have to die, as long as his cruel war against religion – and against anything else that conflicts with his arid, militaristic neo-Trotskyite ideology – is carried through to the end.

The War Party hates Cindy Sheehan for the simple reason that she speaks the truth – a truth that the overwhelming majority of Americans are now waking up to.

The neocons did bring us this war: they manufactured the lies, they promoted the phony "intelligence," they went on television predicting that the Iraqis would shower us with flowers and hosannas. They aren't scapegoats: they're the culprits, and they deserve what's coming to them – although not nearly enough are going to be called upon to account for their actions.

These neocons are, all of them, militant advocates for Israel, and that, as the Marxists used to say, is no accident. The blueprint for targeting Iraq – and "democratizing" the Middle East – as a strategy to take the pressure off Israel was originally laid out in "A Clean Break," a policy paper prepared for then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1997 by several neoconservative policymakers – including Douglas Feith and Richard Perle – who have held high positions in the Bush administration and are now implicated in the trail of ersatz "intelligence" that lured us into the Iraq trap. This policy paper targeted Syria as the main danger to Israel, and averred that the road to Damascus had to run through Baghdad. Before a single American soldier had set foot on Iraqi soil, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was already issuing his postwar marching orders. Speaking of Syria, Iran, and other recalcitrant Muslim nations, he brayed to a visiting delegation of U.S. congressmen:

"These are irresponsible states, which must be disarmed of weapons [of] mass destruction, and a successful American move in Iraq as a model will make that easier to achieve."


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