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Mother's plea to U.S. president gains widespread attention

Sunday, August 14, 2005

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Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq, has gained national attention for her efforts to demand the President of the United States speak with her personally. "What I want to ask is, 'What noble cause did my son die for?' And if he says that it was to get rid of Saddam or liberate the Iraqi people, I'm not going to buy it." Mrs. Sheehan told Salon.com reporters. Prompted by President George W. Bush's announcement that Americans in Iraq have died for a 'noble cause', Sheehan has been camping near Bush's Texas ranch for the past week to demand a private conversation with the President. "I don't want comfort," she told Cox Newspapers, "I want the truth."

Mr. Bush said he was aware of the pleas of the grieving mothers, "But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there's somebody who has got something to say to the President, that's part of the job. And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life."

Cindy has been joined in Crawford by hundreds of supporters, including many other mothers of fallen soldiers, who are camping out with her and joining her in calling "for the truth" about why their sons had to die. Rallies of support are also taking place and being scheduled across the nation, and contributions from citizens across the world are flowing into the "Peace House", a nearby cottage providing shelter and support for the mothers.

Casey's grandparents and other members of her extended family issued a statement emailed to the Drudge Report website, which reveals their disagreement with the actions and statements that Mrs. Sheehan has made and accuses her of using her son's death to promote a personal agenda:

The Sheehan Family 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.

Mrs. Sheehan has responded by saying that political views within her extended family have always been diverse, but she is happy that her husband and children share her views and are supporting her efforts. She says her husband Pat, couldn't bear having Casey's things at home and put most of them in storage. "We grieved in totally different ways. He wanted to grieve by distracting himself. I wanted to immerse myself."

Mrs. Sheehan and her husband were part of a group that met with the President following her son's death last year; a meeting that President Bush began with what she thought was an insultingly insensitive greeting; "Who we'all gonna honor today." Mrs. Sheehan says she had mixed feelings about Bush's demeanor at the meeting, but kept quiet. When more information came out about the planning for the war, however, she started to feel utterly betrayed. "I want the kind of meeting that holds him accountable for the words he's actually said.", Sheehan told Time magazine reporters.

Sources