Bart Whiteman: Bush Backs Down From Encounter With Mrs. Sheehan - And Responses

Thursday, August 11, 2005 - by Bart Whiteman
Bart Whiteman
Bart Whiteman

Cindy Sheehan is conducting a personal vigil at the end of the driveway to George W. Bush’s sprawling 1,600-acre Texas residence. She wants an audience, and she wants it now, with George W. to ask him a few questions and to engage in a polite discussion about the cause and effect of his Iraq War. To date, George W. has been a no-show.

I am always puzzled by big tough guys who claim to want to teach all the bad guys of the world a lesson, but at the same time they shrink from a meeting with an unarmed, middle-aged woman sitting in the shade on a hot August day in a folding chair and wearing culottes. If this menace scares them so much, what would happen if they really had to go toe-to-toe with a very, very bad guy not so delicately dressed? George has avoided using the driveway since the vigil began. Fortunately, he has a personal helicopter to make trips to the drug store and to sign mega-bucks bills related to oil and transportation that are not likely to help the average consumer at all in the near future, but will put gobs of bucks in the hands of his corporate cronies in a hurry. Let’s see, is there a tie between oil and transportation? Oh, I get it.

George can peer down at Mrs. Sheehan from the chopper and wish that she would go away.

So much for the average citizen’s right to have a face-to-face with their elected officials. Once some people get elected in this country they start acting like they had some divine right to hold the position.

George W. can probably safely duck one woman for awhile, maybe forever. But what if another mother with a son killed in the Iraq War joins Cindy Sheehan? What if two join? Three? Four? Five? Six? What if some children whose fathers aren’t coming back join the crowd? What if all the people in Iraq who have needlessly had family members killed by George’s actions find a way to get to Texas? Crawford could start looking like a big city.

What if the father of an American daughter killed in Iraq joins the growing metropolis? George might consider moving to New Mexico.

So far, George's attempts to console the grieving have been about as lame as they come. It would appear that he has never suffered a moment of grief in his entire life, which may be true. The thin consolation he offers is becoming less palatable with each passing day. Fewer and fewer people are going to accept his sad testimony as a reason to just keep on going and add to the body count and add to the grief. He will have to offer more. He may even have to meet with all the Mrs. Sheehans at the end of his driveway. What a sacrifice he will have made.

Meanwhile, Bush is willing to meet with his dwindling crew of supporters to decide what to do next. Somehow, no one in his camp has had a quiet moment to sit with him during the past few years to say: “Look, George, forget about an exit strategy for the war. What about an exit strategy for yourself? You have walked into a boxed canyon. No one made you do it. You did it all by yourself.”

What is sadder than our President’s pattern of avoidance is the word that somehow Mrs. Sheehan’s vigil is “waking up the national media” to the fact that maybe this infernal war should be questioned. Where have these idiots been? Who robbed them of their eyes and ears? Are they that in love with the corporate trough that supplies their feeding tubes that they have chosen to overlook the obvious waste from the beginning of the war that has not abated an iota since? What will it take to wake this legion of passionless automatons?

Iraq is supposed to have a constitution in four days. Ours, with a few amendments, a few dings, and a ton of argument has lasted over two hundred years. Not bad. The tires aren’t even worn out yet. What are the bets that the similar Iraqi product makes it down the road that far? We have approached its creation like it was a middle school civics class project. It was an assignment by a teacher you don’t particularly like or care for. You type it up the night before it’s due and hope for the best. Now, I know a few people who could ace that scenario every time. I just don’t see them sitting in the Iraqi general assembly.

In the meantime, I hope someone will offer Cindy Sheehan some lemonade. Maybe it will takes a mother’s love and logic to break the headlock that has gotten this country into its least enviable position perhaps ever.

Bart Whiteman

* * *

Great opinion article.

I applaud you for the guts to tell it like it is. We are in a war for no good reason.

We do need more Cindy Sheehans. That is people willing to call the Prez to account for his actions.

Personally I would hope that no more mothers (or fathers) need to lose their children on a totally bogus war.

Where are the W.M.D.?

William Hopke

* * *

Well, I for one support the soldiers. But I do remember.. and I even researched it. Ms. Sheehan last year, after she got home from her son's memorial service, praised Bush for being caring and understanding and had met with him in Washington.

It amazes me that Michael Moore talks to her... and then she now is opposing a man who less than a year ago she was a big supporter of. Gotta love it.

Jerry Parker

* * *

Oh, that explains it all. Michael Moore is a voodoo witch doctor, and he put Cindy Sheehan in a trance.

Let’s try to get one thing clear: support for the troops has NOTHING to do with support of George W. Bush. They are two SEPARATE issues.

It is an American tragedy that some people can’t get this straight in their minds. Our troops are our troops. They deserve better leadership. They have been led into an inextricable mess.

Bart Whiteman

* * *

Mr. Whiteman,

I saw your opinion article on Ms. Sheehan. I applaud her for going down and talking to Bush. He really is
showing he is a coward, in my opinion, for not talking to Ms. Sheehan. I think it's a lose-lose situation for him. On the one hand he can meet with her and talk about "what an honor" it was and repeat the rightwing talking points again and she'll tell the world for sure about her meeting with Bush. Then, if he doesn't meet, it gives a bad sign that he's not meeting with a griefing mother who wants answers on
why her son was killed.

Many people are now against the war and we know it's now not worth it and Bush has been lying to us. Many are saying how Ms. Sheehan was praising Bush in 2003. This was before we found out the truth earlier this year from the Downing Street Minutes from Britain and the hearing with John Conyers (she was there).

If you visit you can see the interview Ms. Sheehan did with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann where she addresses this and other things the right have been talking about her.

I love how the right always brings up Michael Moore. He's been silent
about everything, except on his personal website, since the election and his F911 film. It's really lame and pathetic how they either blame Moore, George Soro's (why is he brought up anyways?) or Clinton
(who's been out of office for five years now).

For more coverage on Ms. Sheehan check out

Emily Austin

* * *

Mr. Bartman is so correct about the mourning mother in Texas. George Bush says Jesus Christ is his greatest philosopher. Here is what Christ would say to Mrs. Sheehan: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

I think Bush should open his arms and his heart to Mrs. Sheehan, send someone to bring her to him, sit down with her and comfort her the best he can. Then he should explain to her his rationale for the war and try to give her some noble cause for which her son died. This is something he never has even done for the American people.

I had a son in the Gulf War who was in danger and very near a place in Riyahd where many American lives were lost. Had my son died there, I would still be weeping. I was more fortunate than Mrs. Sheehan. Whatever the circumstances, she should be warmly embraced by the President, tenderly consoled, and lovingly praised for her giving of her son to what the President must consider an important incursion into another country, although there are many who disagree with him in that matter.

It would not hurt, but help, George W. Bush if he could unbend a little and show that he truly cares about grieving mothers. If he has visited many of them as he claims, it has not been properly noted by the media.

Mildred Perry Miller

* * *

President Bush is an elected leader and has repeatedly explained why America has taken the fight to Iraq. Why must he individually respond to each person who might be mad about the realities of war?

President Bush did not go to Mrs. Sheehan's house and demand her son or else. Her son signed up to serve in the military.

No matter how much "personal growth" or college scholarship the military can provide, it is still the military. Signing up means you commit to service even in the event of a war.

And no, the military is not corporate America; therefore, we don't wait until everyone feels good about their mission. This is America and Mrs. Sheehan has her right to disagree and be angry, but President Bush has just as much right to ignore someone who seems to be looking for an argument just for the sake of an argument.

D. Wilkie

* * *

Mr. Wilkie’s comments fairly encapsulate the average American who still supports the President in waging his war, and they also point out all the flaws in that argument. Yes, Mr. Bush has tried to explain his war and has done so badly each time and has used evidentiary support for those arguments which has now been exposed as lies, untruths, distortions, misrepresentations, bad logic, and clumsy compositions. He has never backed down from any of the junk used to sell his war and has just blundered ahead regardless of the fact that he has made the biggest mistake we have ever committed as a country. The Democrats, so terrified of losing some appeal to the American middle, just wanked away the hours while this idiocy unfolded. So did the major media who were too busy getting fitted for their desert camouflage outfits to make the obligatory trip to Baghdad for a plum resume credit to put pen to paper.

I watched Colin Powell make the big sales pitch for Bush at the U.N., and there was nothing there that would compel a nation to go to war. It is now two and a half years later, and we are no closer to solving any of the issues or problems we supposedly set out to confront. In the interim, the U.S. has fallen form the most loved country in the world to the most loathed.

Mr. Bush has made a huge error by not going to see Ms. Sheehan the first day she was there. Did he get this bad advice from Karl Rove, too? He could have de-fused the whole thing. Now it has ballooned to something beyond his control. I don’t expect George to respond to me, but I’m not sitting at the end of his driveway. Considering the direction of the war, Ms. Sheehan’s crusade was just a matter of time. Several members of the military have initiated their own private protests, as well. It is only a matter of time that these small protests will get larger. This is what always happens when nations court disaster. Then it becomes a race to see which will arrive first: disaster or sanity.

Mr. Wilkie’s rattling off the military creed at this point won’t do the trick. A kind word form the President that would have taken ten minutes out of a laid back vacation day was what was called for. Now, emergency surgery may be necessary for a problem that could have been solved with a band-aid and a lollipop. Kind of like what we did in Iraq.

Bart Whiteman

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