Our country has been involved, for the majority of the past 100 years, in wars that concern other countries more than our own. It is not a new theme that soldiers are dying for the sake of democracy and freedom overseas. One of the more important details about the United States military is that it is, and has been for quite some time, a volunteer force. The exception to this is obviously the draft, which our last president successfully avoided. The majority of these volunteers support their country and are enthusiastic about their job. When a soldier dies, in war or in peace, they are to be honored for their service and dedication to democracy.
Their service and sacrifice are not to be used as political weight by any group, nor are their deaths something to be trivialized. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening in Crawford, Texas.
Cindy Sheehan, for those of you who are not aware, has been the central figure in a protest this month in front of President Bush's Crawford ranch. She had the unfortunate experience of burying her own son, Casey Sheehan, who was serving in Iraq. Because of this, she has lined the road to Bush's ranch with crosses bearing the names of those who have died in Iraq, as if the president is somehow unaware that we have lost around 1,800 troops since March 2003.
Let me say that no parent should ever have to bury their child and my condolences go out to anyone who has lost someone in this war. Such an experience does not entitle anyone to the horrendous and tasteless tactics that Ms. Sheehan has spearheaded lately.
I fully support her right to protest, it's the real message behind this particular campaign by Sheehan and others that disturbs me the most. She is exploiting the death of her own son to further her own political agenda. Is there a more disgraceful way to dishonor a soldier's sacrifice than to say it was all for nothing? Let's not split hairs, this is what her campaign boils down to. Why else would she include her son and other soldiers' deaths into her main appeals?
While we're at it, what exactly does losing a son in Iraq do for your argument? Ms. Sheehan, you have my sympathy but nothing more. There are parents who have lost children in Iraq and still support the effort. I guess that cancels out Sheehan's argument. If losing a child in Iraq suddenly gives you some unprecedented ethos and expertise in foreign policy, then we're going to have lines of "experts" outside the Oval office. It doesn't make you an expert though and it doesn't give you anything more than an emotional appeal that may work on some, but don't count me in.
If Michael Moore wants to hail this woman as a hero and help her get her fifteen minutes of fame, then more power to him and his supporters. If Cindy Sheehan wants to disgrace the service of Army Specialist Casey A. Sheehan, who died in combat on April 4th, 2004, then that is her prerogative.
I simply don't understand how a mother could do such a thing to her first born. There are better ways of dealing with grief, Ms. Sheehan. You are not the first, nor will you be the last, to lose a loved one in Iraq. It is an inescapable fact of war that people die. Let us honor the soldiers who serve or have served and let us pray that Cindy Sheehan doesn't tarnish the good name of her son.