Sunday, August 07, 2005

OP ED: War mother wrong to blame Bush

No decent and caring person can be insensitive to those grieving over the loss of a loved one. It would be inhuman not to sympathize and empathize with the mother of a young service man killed in combat. As a society, we are all diminished by the deaths of both the innocents, and those who have taken up dangerous jobs to protect us as persons, and protect our free society. It is sadly ironic that those who protect us from harm can only do so by exposing themselves to great danger – whether police officers, fire fighters or those who serve in the military.

It is with this understanding that we share the grief, if not the total pain, of the mother of Casey Sheehan, who died in Iraq.

You may have seen the extensive press coverage she received for traveling to President Bush’s Texas ranch to join war protesters in demanding immediate withdrawal from Iraq. She accuses the President of killing her son. She endorses a movement that includes irreconcilable Bush bashers, brittle partisans and sincere moral-based pacifists. Whether motivated by principle, strident partisanship or psychotic hatred, the anti-war movement does a great disservice to “the republic for which we (most of us, at least) stand.”

Leaving the faulty foundation of the anti-war movement aside for the moment, I would like to reflect on Mrs. Sheehan.

Despite her grievous loss, it is unreasonable to expect the President to meet with her in person. No one person can expect such an audience, and the rejection is in no way an indication of disregard – although arrogant protestors will try to portray it as such. She has virulently accused the President of lying to intentionally start a war without adequate reason, and places personal culpability on the President for the killing of her son. That is more than sufficient cause to reject a meeting. She either has allowed her grief to distort her own thinking, or allowed herself to be used to advance the irrational extreme edge of the anti-war movement. In either case, her actions are providing more than enough evidence that she deserves no such meeting on demand.

She marches under a banner that says, “Honor the Warriors, not the War.” While some will surely argue against my opinion, I do believe that Mrs. Sheehan does a disservice to the memory of her son – and the many men and women fighting for what I (and many) believe to be a just and noble cause. They do not honor the warriors – living or dead.

My grandson will be shipped out to Iraq’s front lines in a matter of days. I hope and pray my daughter will never face a sorrowful reality visited upon Mrs. Sheehan. I wish he, and every other young man and woman could be on vacation on some tropical island rather than fighting a cruel and ruthless enemy in the sands of Iraq.

We are not an evil force fighting for acquisition. We are an honorable nation fighting horrendously evil people, who deplore the most ruthless of terror tactics against the most innocent of our world citizens. To the extent Mrs. Sheehan, and the rest of the anti-war crowd, are successful in diminishing public support for our engagement in Iraq, they will surely embolden our adversaries. For their misguided anti-war fervor, or for their own ruthless self interests, they will make the battle more difficult, last longer and at a cost of more lives. Will they hold themselves as accountable for each additional death, including civilians sacrificed for our cowardliness in the face of brutality?

Those who cannot see the difference between good and evil cannot fight evil -- and therefore will most certainly produce more of it.

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