Bush says Sheehan does not represent most military families
CBC News | August 23, 2005
U.S. President Bush says the "Peace Mom" who has been camping near his ranch at Crawford, Texas, does not represent the view of most military families.
In Donnelly, Idaho, Tuesday -- between speeches to rally support for the war -- Bush said fulfilling demands by Cindy Sheehan for withdrawal from Iraq would weaken the United States.
Bush said he understood Sheehan's anguish over her son's death in Iraq last year.
But he said he disagreed with her assertion that U.S. troops should be brought home before more die in a "senseless war."
The president said U.S. troops in Iraq are keeping Americans safe and Iraqis are making progress toward democracy. He urged patience as officials in Baghdad struggle to complete a constitution.
Bush said: "The fact that they're even writing a constitution is vastly different from living under the iron hand of a dictator."
Bush spoke at the Tamarack Resort, where he is spending two nights away from his ranch.
His visit to Idaho came between two speeches to rally support for the war -- one Monday in Salt Lake City and another Wednesday in Nampa, Idaho, that is to be followed by more than two hours of private meetings with relatives of dead soldiers.
Bush met Sheehan last year at a similar series of meetings with families of the war dead. But Sheehan said there have been developments since then and she has more she wants to say to Bush.
Her vigil in Crawford, Texas, has given momentum to the peace movement, and even some Republicans have said Bush should meet with her.
Bush said he did meet with Cindy Sheehan. "I strongly support her right to protest. There's a lot of people protesting. And there's a lot of points of view about the Iraq war." He added: "She expressed her opinion. I disagree with it."
The President also said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had made a tough and courageous decision to withdraw Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip. He said the next step was to establish a government in Gaza that responds to the Palestinian people.