Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bush vs Sheehan

August 30 2005

pv vivekanand

SHE IS A "treasonous crackpot" who has nothing better to do than encouraging the insurgents in Iraq. She is out to gain fame and fortune by exploiting her son's death. She has an extremist left-wing agenda for anarchy. She is a tool of the Democratic Party. She is being used by anti-American forces. She is anti-Semitic (anti-Israeli). She is mentally deranged.
These are some of the many descriptions given to Cindy Sheehan, an American mother who has galvanised the anti-war movement in the US by setting up camp near President George W Bush's ranch at Crawford, Texas. She is demanding a meeting with Bush during which she wants to ask him why the US invaded Iraq and why is the US military continuing its occupation of that country despite the rising casualties among American soldiers.
Bush has not only refused to meet Sheehan — obviously because he does not want to face specific questions related to Iraq and be forced to give credible answers — but also seems to have ordered his neoconservative political propaganda machinery to discredit the woman, who lost her young son in action in Iraq in April last year.
"Camp Casey" — named after Sheehan's dead son — drew thousands of visitors and suppporters since it was set up on Aug.6.
Among the prominent visitors were Martin Sheen, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, Steve Earle, Joan Baez, Russell Means, Dennis Banks and Al Sharpton, adding to the pressure on the administration.
Put that mounting pressure against recent polls which show the majority of Americans are concerned about the US quagmire in Iraq, and one could sense the sense of urgency of the neocons to dissuade them from demanding answers to their questions and force the Bush administration to reveal the secret agenda — drawn up and propagated by the pro-Israeli neocons — that prompted Bush to wage war against Iraq, resulting in more than 1,800 American deaths and up to $300 billion spent to run the war machine.
The neocon propaganda machinery has already swung into action, and the descriptions cited here of Sheehan aired through different media outlets and indeed in cyberspace are part of the bitter smearing campaign against the woman.
Clearly, the neocon camp and allies are evading the woman's real questions, assailing her integrity and questioning her patriotism and her motives, her mental health and her ideology and raising issues related to her family.
The neocons might not be willing to acknowledge it, but they should know within themselves that Sheehan campaign has given rise to a situation where many Americans see a confrontation between a government which deceived its people into a disastrous war and the people themselves represented by a grieving woman.
That should be giving nightmares to the neocons, who have consistently went after every critic of some value against the Iraq.
An article appearing on www.prisonplanet.com under the title "Counteroffensive: Bush launches Operation Cindy Sheehan" notes:
"Every critic of this war has taken his lumps. Gen. Eric Shinseki was ushered out of the army for suggesting that the occupation of Iraq required hundreds of thousands of foot soldiers.
"Lawrence Lindsey was dismissed when he estimated that the war would cost up to $200 billion. The neocons berated both men’s estimates as being ‘wildly off the mark.’
"We all know what happened to Ambassador Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame. Hans Blix was publicly defamed, Scott Ritter was ignored and General Anthony Zinni was smeared as an anti-Semite. Former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill was labelled a malcontent. And who now remembers Richard Clarke, the anti-terror adviser, who accused both Bush and (former president Bill) Clinton of dropping the ball in confronting (Osama) Bin Laden prior to 9/11."
Definitely, the pattern reveals that there is a group within the neocon camp dedicated to destroying critics of the Bush administration's policies, particularly the Iraq war. Indeed, it could not but be part of the overall neocon strategy for the planning and execution of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
The article on prisonplanet.com suggests that Bush's close advisor, Karl Rove, who is credited with orchestrating the president's re-election in 2004, is heading the propaganda and counter-propaganda group.
Rove is the same person who is said to have revealed to the media the name of Valerie Plame as a secret operative of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in retaliation for her husband former ambassador Joseph Wilson's public revelations that there was no evidence that Iraq had bought material for nuclear weapons from Niger — a charge that the Bush administration had levelled despite Wilson's official report to the contrary.
Also under fire are mainstream American media organisations, some of which — wittingly and unwittingly — supported Washington's build-up to the invasion of Iraq.
The prisonplanet.com article notes:
"Mass media corporations have transformed themselves into one giant burial ground for this administration’s scandals. In covering the Iraq war, the major media outlets have consistently acted as an echo chamber for the rosy projections originating in the White House. In the last month alone, they have dodged the responsibility to cover the Plame case and the AIPAC spy scandal at the Pentagon. Allegations of war profiteering by Dick Cheney and Paul Bremer have been put aside."
The neocon campaign to discredit Sheehan is countered with growing support for the American mother in many other states, and soon it could reach a point where the neocons would have to mount similar drives against hundreds of anti-war activists. However, the neocons seem to believe that discrediting Sheehan would deal a severe blow to the anti-war protesters.
Indeed, many pro-war activists have also sprung up, some of them genuine believers that whatever the president is doing should be for the good of the country and some others hardcore military people who argue that public expressions indicating mounting pressure for withdrawing the US forces from Iraq would only encourage the insurgents in that country to step their attacks and claim more American casualties.
"Cindy is killing American troops by her anti-American protest," is their key slogan.
Reports in pro-war websites claim growing strength for supporters of those who argue that Bush is doing the right thing in Iraq.
Sheehan is beginning a tour across the US with her "Camp Casey" to Washington on Wednesday when Bush ends his Crawford vacation and returns to the White House.
She and supporters would be regroup n Washington Sept.24.
For many, the tour would make it clear to everyone how strong or weak her campaign has grown and Sept.24 would be "the day" for the anti-war camp since all those who oppose the war are asked to converge in Washington on that day.
In the meantime, trust the neocon camp to pull all the plugs against Cindy Sheehan, who, in the words of a supporter, has come to symbolise the "American conscience against war."