Mom Who Lost Son in Iraq Speaks Of Bush Being 'Detached From Humanity' During Meeting
Greg Szymanski | July 6, 2005
Cindy Sheehan has already had her heart ripped into a million pieces by the illegal Iraqi war, losing the son she loved more than life itself only five days after he arrived in Baghdad in April 2004.
There is nothing more painful or more heart breaking than a parent losing a child.
And for Sheehan to lose her 24-year-old son, Casey, must have been like someone taking her very own heart and soul and, without warning, ripping them out and throwing them into the depths of hell.
No one should have to experience such pain, but the cold reality of war is that someone’s child actually dies and there are actual parents left living with the hopeless task of trying to cope with the pain.
And anyone with any semblance of a heart and soul knows a mother coping with such a loss needs all the help and understanding she can get.
Anyone with the slightest bit of compassion knows a kind word or a shoulder to cry on helps a mother, who experienced the ultimate loss, get through another day when every day feels like it could be the end of the world.
So when Sheehan received an invitation to meet privately with President Bush at the White House two months after her son died, the least she could have expected was a bit of compassion or a kind word coming from the heart.
But what she encountered was an arrogant man with eyes lacking the slightest bit of compassion, a President totally "detached from humanity" and a man who didn’t even bother to remember her son’s name when they were first introduced.
Instead of a kind gesture or a warm handshake, Sheehan said she immediately got a taste of Bush arrogance when he entered the room and "in a condescending tone and with a disgusting loud Texas accent," said: "Who we’all honorin’ here today?"
"His mouth kept moving, but there was nothing in his eyes or anything else about him that showed me he really cared or had any real compassion at all. This is a human being totally disconnected from humanity and reality. His eyes were empty, hollow shells and he was acting like I should be proud to just be in his presence when it was my son who died for his illegal war! It was one of the most disgusting experiences I ever had and it took me almost a year to even talk about it," said Sheehan in a telephone conversation from Washington D.C. where she was attending a July 4th anti-war rally.
Sheehan said the June 2004 private meeting with the President went from bad to worse to a nightmare when Bush acted like he didn’t even want to know her name. She said Bush kept referring to her as ‘Ma’ or ‘Mom’ while he "put on a phony act," saying things like ‘Mom, I can’t even imagine losing a loved one, a mother or a father or a sister or a brother.’
"The whole meeting was simply bizarre and disgusting, designed to intimidate instead of providing compassion. He didn’t even know our names," said Sheehan. "Finally I got so upset I just looked him in the eye, saying ‘I think you can imagine losing someone. You have two daughters. Imagine losing them?’ After I said that he just looked at me, looked at me with no feeling or caring in his eyes at all."
Sheehan said what really upset her about the meeting is that Bush appeared to become annoyed and even angry at her daughter Carley, 25, who also attended the White House get-together.
"My daughter said to him directly ‘I wish I could bring my loved one back’ and he said something like ‘so do we.’ Later she told me that after he made his remark he gave her one of the filthiest looks she had ever had gotten in her life.
"I just couldn’t believe this was happening. It was so surreal and bizarre. Later I met with some of the other 15or 16 families who were at the White House the same day and, sure enough, they all felt the same way I did.
"It’s interesting that they put us each in separate rooms. I heard this was done to prevent any type of group outburst and since it’s easier to control a situation when people are separated. Looking back, all I can say is that the meeting with Bush was one of the most disgusting experiences in my life.
"And I even asked him: ‘Why did you even bother to bring us here when I didn’t vote for you and don’t support the illegal nature of your war?’ He said it wasn’t political but I know it was just another one of his lies, as he probably wanted to be able to say out on the political stump that he wasn’t afraid to meet with families who lost loved one’s in the war."
Although Sheehan was opposed to the illegal nature of the war from the outset, it wasn’t until January that she began to become politically active.
Besides speaking at rallies and becoming known in Washington for her outspoken criticism of Bush, Sheehan formed a group called Gold Star Families For Peace, joining together families who lost loved ones in an effort to expose the illegal nature of the war and to hasten the return of troops still fighting in Iraq.
Her involvement with the anti-war movement also led her recently to join forces with the After Downing Street movement, a civic, political and activist group seeking to open a Presidential impeachment inquiry based on the release of damaging British intelligence documents showing Bush doctored WMD intelligence reports to justify his war policy.
"Americans need to wake up and we need to put public pressure on our leaders to end this illegal war," said Sheehan, adding that if the public remains passive, recent statements by Donald Rumsfeld that the war may last another 12 years will come true. "We can’t let these people continue to murder our children and also continue murdering innocent Iraqi citizens, now totaling more than 100.000.
"This is an immoral war based on a false premise. Iraq was never an imminent threat and the Downing Street Memo proves Bush went to war for oil, greed and all the wrong reasons.
Commenting on Bush’s recent speech at Ft. Bragg intended to rally America behind an unpopular war, she said:
"He never mentioned the WMD threat and repeatedly brought up 9/11 in an attempt to scare and frighten everyone again. People have characterized the speech in many ways, but if I had to pick a few words, I would say hypocritical, manipulative, condescending, meaningless drivel."
After the speech, Sheehan was unexpectedly invited on the CNN Larry King Show June 28, but expressed concern and outright anger over the fact she was only given 82 seconds to be "the token anti-war peace speaker" in an hour show which essentially contained a pro war message from all the other guests.
In a recent rebuttal article placed on the Internet, expressing her displeasure with some of the CNN guests and the short time given for her anti-war message, she wrote:
"My absolute favorite guest of the evening was Sen. John Warner, powerful chair of the Senate Armed (Disservices) Committee. Of course, he fell in lockstep behind his Führer (Bush) and praised the speech…. I sat in the Green Room with Sen. Warner's entourage. I wondered (even out loud) what price they have paid for our administration's misdeeds in Iraq. They all looked like happy, well-fed, well-dressed, well-educated, and well-hydrated Americans.…I sincerely doubt if any of them had a loved one ripped from their lives by a car bomb, IED, or bullet in an ambush.
"I spoke with John Warner after his interview and told him unless he was prepared to sacrifice even a good night's sleep over this senseless and criminal war, then he should work on ending it, not prolonging the carnage. He told me that I was "entitled to my opinion," but he would respectfully have to disagree with me. That was awfully Constitutional of him!
"I finally got to speak for my 82 seconds (all the time Larry King Live could spare for the peace message) about how this war is a catastrophe and how we should bring the troops home and quit forcing the
Iraqi people to pay for our government's hubris and quit forcing innocent children to suffer so we can allegedly fight terrorism somewhere besides America. How absolutely racist and immoral is it to
take America's battles to another land and make an entire country pay for the crimes of others? To me, this is blatant genocide.
"After my brief advocacy for peace, my position was refuted by another mom whose son was killed in Iraq in 2003, saying she "totally disagrees" with me and "feels sorry" for me.
"Well, you know what? I ache for her blindness and for the millions of ‘sheeple’ who have had the wool pulled over their eyes by this bunch of hypocritical, bad shepherds who are running a disastrous herd over the world. I have distressing news for the ‘Soccer Safety Moms’ and the ‘NASCAR Dads’ who are such ardent supporters of this administration and war:
"Your grandchildren and children who will be entering Kindergarten this fall will be fighting George's endless war if he gets his way and is allowed to continue spreading the cancer of imperialism in the Middle-East….
"Think about it when you tuck your child into bed tonight."
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