Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sheehan Quits: Antiwar Queen Bails Antiwar Scene

Prominent radical leftist Cindy Sheehan quit yesterday "as the face" of the antiwar movement, issuing her goodbyes on Memorial Day in a number of venues, including a self-pitying essay at the Daily Kos.

The Houston Chronicle has the story:

Cindy Sheehan, the soldier's mother who galvanized an anti-war movement with her monthlong protest outside President Bush's ranch, says she's done being the public face of the movement.

"I've been wondering why I'm killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush," Sheehan told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday while driving from her property in Crawford to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California.

"I'm going home for awhile to try and be normal," she said.

In what she described as a "resignation letter," Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the "Daily Kos" blog: "Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it.

"It's up to you now."

Sheehan began a grass roots peace movement in August 2005 when she camped outside Bush's Crawford ranch for 26 days, demanding to talk with the president about her son's death. Army Spc. Casey Sheehan was 24 when he was killed in an ambush in Baghdad in 2004.

Cindy Sheehan's protest started small but swelled to thousands and quickly drew national attention. Over the next two years, she initially drew huge crowds as she spoke at protest events. But she also drew criticism for some actions, such as meeting with Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's leftist president.

"I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement," Sheehan wrote in the diary.

Kristinn Taylor, spokesman for FreeRepublic.com, which has held pro-troop rallies and counter-protests of anti-war demonstrations, said dwindling crowds at Sheehan's Crawford protests since her initial vigil may have led to her decision. But he also said he hopes she will now be able to heal.

"Her politics have hurt a lot of people, including the troops and their families, but most of us who support the war on terror understand she is hurt very deeply," Taylor said Tuesday. "Those she got involved with in the anti-war movement realize it was to their benefit to keep her in that stage of anger."

When she had first taken on Bush, Sheehan was a darling of the liberal left. "However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the 'left' started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used," she wrote.

I read the Sheehan Daily Kos post last night. For all her passion and movement experience, she demonstrates tremendous naivety. When one takes on all comers -- left and right, Democrat and Republican -- there's going to be some mighty blowback. Her exit's a classic denouement to a ugly chapter of cheap, anti-Americanism. I particularly disliked how she misused and abused the death of her son, Casey, for her attacks on the Bush administation. Casey Sheehan volunteered for national service, even reenlisting in the Army while knowing his unit would be sent to Iraq. His name should be celebrated as a hero, not whored around by a grieving mom looking for some time in the limelight. Cindy Sheehan's 15-minutes have evaporated. More embittered than ever, her goodbye looks mostly like an attempt to be remembered as a martyr to the cause.

By the way,
check out this Memeorandum post featuring a comprehensive roundup of some of the major blog commentary on Sheehan's exit.

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