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Cindy Sheehan: Using and being used

I wrote an extensive post about Cindy Sheehan, the mother whose son died serving with the US Army in Iraq, and who holds President George W Bush responsible. She is calling for a wergild to be paid by the Bush twins:

If George is not ready to send the twins, then he should bring our troops home immediately. We will demand a speedy withdrawal.

But as is being reported at Drudge, Sheehan's reaction to her son's death has changed dramatically. From 2004:

THE REPORTER of Vacaville, CA published an account of Cindy Sheehan's visit with the president at Fort Lewis near Seattle on June 24, 2004:

"'I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,' Cindy said after their meeting. 'I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith.'

"The meeting didn't last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son's sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.

"The trip had one benefit that none of the Sheehans expected.

"For a moment, life returned to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.

For the first time in 11 weeks, they felt whole again.

"'That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together,' Cindy said."

From 2005:

She vowed on Sunday to continue her protest until she can personally ask Bush: "Why did you kill my son?"

In an interview on CNN, she claimed Bush "acted like it was party" when she met him last year.

"It was -- you know, there was a lot of things said. We wanted to use the time for him to know that he killed an indispensable part of our family and humanity. And we wanted him to look at the pictures of Casey.

"He wouldn't look at the pictures of Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name. He came in the room and the very first thing he said is, 'So who are we honoring here?' He didn't even know Casey's name. He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear anything about Casey. He wouldn't even call him 'him' or 'he.' He called him 'your loved one.'

Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject. And he acted like it was a party.

BLITZER: Like a party? I mean...

SHEEHAN: Yes, he came in very jovial, and like we should be happy that he, our son, died for his misguided policies.

What changed?

First, nothing may have changed. The first account might be utterly wrong.

But here's another possibility. Casey Sheehan died on April 4, 2004. The anti-war group Gold Star Families for Peace was founded by Cindy Sheehan in January 2005. Did something happen in that time?

According to Sheehan, nothing changed:

Cindy Sheehan's son Casey, a soldier, was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. "Our family never agreed with the war or it's reasons, but since Casey was killed, so many of the reasons and rationalizations that Bush has given have proven to be lies," Cindy said.

So they were always doubtful about the war?


Or maybe she has decided to jump into the deep-end of hard-left America-bashing with both feet:

Sheehan continued, “9/11 was Pearl Harbor for the neo-conservatives’ agenda” and declared the U.S. government a “morally repugnant system.” Then she raged:

We have no Constitution. We’re the only country with no checks and balances. We want our country back if we have to impeach George Bush down to the person who picks up the dog sh-t in Washington! Let George Bush send his two little party animals to die in Iraq. It’s OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons but we are waging nuclear war in Iraq, we have contaminated the entire country. It’s not OK for Syria to be in Lebanon. Hypocrites! But Israel can occupy Palestine? Stop the slaughter!


“George Bush and his neo-conservatives killed my son,” she said tearing up a bit. “America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for.”

This is a woman in pain, but she is using her son as a weapon against those she has come to hate.

I find that creepy. Casey, who voluntarily re-enlisted in the Army after his first hitch was up, who earned a Bronze Star, and who as a mechanic was not expected to see combat but who volunteered to join a rapid rescue team being formed to get a convoy of soldiers from his unit out of trouble in Sadr City, that action being the one in which he died, seemed to want to serve. Indeed, his mother Cindy admits this:

An Eagle Scout, devout Catholic committed to his parish, saw the Army as another way of serving. His mom [Cindy Sheehan] says, "My son was brave; he didn't want to go to war. But he joined the Army and he volunteered to go on the mission that killed him because his buddies needed to be rescued."

Sounds like a woman angry with her adult son's decisions, but who can't come to terms with her anger at her dead son, and who instead rages against those she sees as having created the circumstances of the anger she cannot face or admit to.

Psychologists call it displacement:

According to Freudian psychoanalytic theory, displacement is when a person shifts his/her impulses from an unacceptable target to a more acceptable or less threatening target. For example, if you are very angry at your teacher because you did poorly on a test and think the reason for your poor performance is because the teacher asked tricky, unfair questions, you may become angry at your teacher. But, you obviously can't yell at your teacher (really, you can't!), hit your teacher, or express your angry in any other hostile way toward the teacher, so you go home and "displace" your anger by punching your little brother instead.

She can't be angry at her dead son, so she gets angry at the President. An acceptable target? Of course, judging from the vitriolic postings at places like Daily Kos. A patriotic family would have had all sorts of concerns about targeting the president, but Cindy Sheehan reads the vile comparisons of Bush to Hitler, or Bush to a chimpanzee, and the threats to impeach, to arrest, to harm or kill the president (carefully veiled, of course).

Now she can blame the President for her son's death, instead of blaming her son for making an adult decision in time of war, or even more troubling, blaming herself for raising a son who would hear the call and serve with distinction.

Cindy Sheehan is a troubled woman.

I can understand the roots of her rage, the psychology behind it, and even the way she is using her son's death.

What I find more troubling is the way the hard-left is using her. If I can psychoanalyze Cindy Sheehan and see her as a woman flailing in misdirected rage because of her own unresolved anger at her son and at herself, surely some bright sparks at Daily Kos can too. So why isn't anyone saying "Stop, her anti-war stance is a manifestation of deep-seated psychological troubles, and not honest in an intellectual way"? Seems like they don't care. As long as she helps get the job done, I suppose they're more than happy to let her continue hurting. In fact, I'd wager they would just as much prefer no one say a word about this "displacement" thing.

And they insist that it is the US administration that is throwing lives away without any consideration.

[Michelle Malkin looks at Sheehan's friends as well then updates it with "The Grief Pimps", while the Anchoress has thoughts about exploitation, and about anger being a stage of grieving. Jeff at Protein Wisdom is just sick of the way she is being used.

What about the other side? Dummie Funnies has a choice selection of Democratic Underground posts, in which the left are salivating over the prospect of Cindy Sheehan being arrest. With friends like these...]

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