Sunday, August 14, 2005

No Winners to This Contest

In responding to pro-Bush pundit Kate O'Beirne, Wonkette encapsulates my thoughts on what I hope is not the outcome of the Cindy Sheehan situation down in Crawford, TX. Bolding mine:

Over at The Corner, Kate O'Beirne finally suggests what we suppose is inevitable, that anti-war grieving mother Cindy Sheehan should be countered with pro-war grieving mothers: "Surely a fair number of such family members are in Texas? Let's hear from them. . ."

Is that what the debate has come to? Which side can corral the saddest crop of widows, parents, and orphans? Call it a harms race. Better: an ache-off. We hope the grimly absurd image of two competing camps of mourners illustrates why it is we've been somewhat reluctant to weigh in on Sheehan's cause: Grief can pull a person in any direction, and whatever "moral authority" it imbues, we can't claim that Sheehan has it and those mothers who still support the war don't. The Bush administration knows all about exploiting tragedy for its own causes, including re-election. Whatever arguments there are against the war in Iraq, let's not make "I have more despairing mothers on my side" one of them.

Having said that, I have to also say that I find the assertions that Sheehan is a turncoat/flip-flopper/pawn of the left/hypocrite just because she had publicly said some polite things last year about the President to be quite hollow. It often takes people a while to process important changes in their lives and thoughts, and as far as I am concerned, doing so does not count as hypocrisy. Drudge and Malkin are among those who have been making a big to-do about an interview with her local paper that describes a meeting George Bush had with Gold Star families in June of 2004, three months after her son's death. Here is the original article from the Vacaville, CA newspaper that described last year's 10-minute meeting between the Sheehans (and others) and the President. Note Drudge's selective quoting.


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