"Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families." -Benjamin Rush
V.I. Lenin called Western Leftists who sided with Socialists in political debates "useful idiots." He's been dead for 81 years, but there appears to be no shortage of Michael Mooronic idiots lending aid and comfort to those seeking to destroy the "beacon of liberty" today.
Recently, this column warned that re-emerging anti-American movements were gaining momentum. That essay ["Spitting on The Few, The Proud..."] outlined the Left's anti-war modus operandi between 1968 and 1973, noting how elitist politicos like George McGovern and Ted Kennedy, joined by glitterati like Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, came together to rally adolescent fervor. The resulting spectacle -- one created by young protesters and promoted by Walter Cronkite and the Left's nightly newscast dezinformatsia machine -- was a major factor in dissuading public support for the defense of South Vietnam.
That spectacle also, by extension, cast a pall over everyone in a military uniform, including those coming home in flag-draped caskets. American military personnel were viewed with seething glares and subject to spitting and name-calling from "enlightened youth" and their protagonists who tagged all military personnel personae non gratae. The entirety of them were even labeled "war criminals" by none other than John Kerry.
Today, Kennedy, Kerry, Fonda and their ilk are still at it, but they have not had much success since 9/11, when America virtually and rightly united behind President George Bush's campaign against asymmetric Jihadi threats and their host nations -- collectively known as Jihadistan.
In recent weeks, support for the Iraq campaign of the Long War has begun to wane in some circles -- not because of 58,000 casualties as in Vietnam, but because, once again, as America's finest are defending liberty at home by fighting for freedom in critical regions abroad, the beleaguered Left has recruited a pawn to pitch (perhaps hurl) its phony anti-war agenda across the nation. For a solid month, the Leftmedia has focused its broadcasts and headlines on Ms. Cindy Sheehan and her well-funded road entourage. The network talkingheads have in fact awarded her "Peace Mom" heroine status -- which provided a big political break for the Left.
Sheehan's 24-year-old son was killed in action in Iraq last year. President Bush met with her shortly after his death at her request, and Sheehan said of that visit, "I have a new respect for him because he was sincere and he didn't have to take the time to meet with us. I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis. I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss, and I know he's a man of faith."
What a difference a few media lights can make. Now this peacenik poster child says Mr. Bush is an "evil maniac," a "lying bastard," and a "filth spewer and warmonger." In addition, she's asserted that the President and his "band of neo-cons" wanted the 9/11 attack "to get their neo-con agenda through." "We are not waging a war on terror in this country," protests Sheehan, "we're waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!" Sheehan has been hounding the President around the countryside asking for another meeting, but why would President Bush dignify such remarks by meeting with her?
Army Specialist Casey Sheehan enlisted, and then re-enlisted in April of 2004, in order to go to Iraq. Two weeks after arriving there, he volunteered for a rapid-rescue force deployed to help save fellow soldiers from an ambush by Shiite militia outside Baghdad. Casey died valiantly -- heroically serving "the men beside him."
Cindy Sheehan, of course, has every right to free speech, but Ms. Sheehan is also responsible for the exercise of that right. Her crusade is not about "grief," as her Angry Left cronies claim; it is about the arrogance and selfishness that uniformly characterize the Left's causes. Her fallen son deserves the gratitude of all Americans, yet Ms. Sheehan's actions merely minimize his noble sacrifice.
Despite Sheehan's disgracing of her son's sacrifice, the rest of his family issued the following statement: "[We] lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country and our President, silently, with prayer and respect." The statement was signed "sincerely" by "Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins."
Indeed, those closest to the President, and most objective observers, would agree with this assessment of his sense of obligation as Commander in Chief. "I've been with the President of the United States when he has met with the families of those brave young men and women who have sacrificed all," says Senator John McCain. "I have seen his compassion, I have seen his love, I have seen his concern. So any charge of insensitivity or uncaring on the part of this president is absolutely false. ... I'm sure he wouldn't like to hear me say this, but I saw him afterwards. He was very, very grieved."
Objectivity, however, has never been the guiding principle of Leftmedia "journalists." To wit, no headlines have featured or news leads have featured comments from the parents of Army Cpl. Forest Jostes, 22, who served with Casey Sheehan in the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry. On 4 April 2004, Forest died beside Casey in the same battle with Jihadis.
Last week, Forest's parents, Von and Diane Ibbotson, had this to say about his death: "We were at a crossroads, but we decided from the day he died that we were going to honor him, his sacrifice. We support the President, and we have made a conscious effort to not make this political."
Of Ms. Sheehan's behavior, Forest's parents said, "We both lost sons in the same battle, but the similarities pretty much end there. Cindy Sheehan has a right to protest, wave signs, march or whatever, a right she wouldn't have had it not been for men like our sons. My son gave his life for the freedom we enjoy in this country; I hope that the Iraqi people have that someday. We feel sympathy for Mrs. Sheehan, but we're angry because she presumes to speak for so many. I resent the fact that she says she 'speaks for the millions' and is the face of the Gold Star families. That is not so."
President Bush echoed those sentiments on Monday, saying, "She doesn't represent the view of [families of those KIA] I have met with."
Cheers completely overwhelmed the jeers this week as President Bush addressed thousands of military families in Idaho. While there, the President introduced Pocatello resident Tammy Pruett, who now has four sons in Iraq, and whose husband and a fifth son served there last year. "Tammy says this -- and I want you to hear this: 'I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country.' America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruetts."
Of course, so do our nation's anti-war protesters. As was the case three decades ago, the revived anti-war movement is casting its long shadow over our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. Nowhere is this more regrettably evident than at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, where hundreds of Patriots are recovering from severe wounds suffered in Iraq.
This week, protesters marched outside the facility's entrance, chanting amid mock flag-draped caskets with signs reading "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die for Halliburton." They taunted veterans entering and leaving the facility with angry slogans like "George Bush kills American soldiers." Walter Reed has been a primary treatment facility for American Patriots of all ranks for nearly a century. It's the place where Generals Pershing, MacArthur and Eisenhower died. It certainly should not be defiled by such contemptible rabble.
Protest organizer Medea Benjamin, one of Ms. Sheehan's backers, has also backed communists in Vietnam and Nicaragua and recently said of her visit to Cuba, "It seemed like I died and went to heaven." (Perhaps she should return posthaste!) So, we've come full circle. As was the case decades ago, the so-called "anti-war" movement is really the manipulation of useful idiots like Cindy Sheehan in support of a much larger political agenda -- that inspired by V.I. Lenin.
If Sheehan and her lemmings were really interested in preventing senseless death, their attention is grossly misguided. In the two years since 19 March 2003, there have been approximately 1,450 Patriots killed in action defending our nation as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Consequently -- indeed, since 11 September 2001 -- our Armed Forces have kept the warfront with Jihadistan far away from our homeland. Perhaps Ms. Sheehan should become the spokesperson for the 14,500 men, women and children who died on American highways last year as a result of alcohol abuse.