Skip to comments.Cindy Sheehan in Raleigh, NC -- eyewitness report
Posted on 09/16/2005 12:39:41 PM PDT by Interesting Times
As you may know, Cindy Sheehan is touring the country on an antiwar tour. She hit Raleigh today.
Well, we had a small pro-troops meeting at 3PM at the site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial statue on the old NC Capitol grounds. The Sheehan circus was supposed to start at 1:30 on the NC State campus, but petered out, as did the supposed march to the Congressman's office they'd promised to visit.
So we went ahead anyhow, on time. Four people spoke, who were: a female veteran from the Viet Nam era, a Navy vet whose brother has served in Iraq, an Army vet from Iraq who was badly wounded and spent months in Walter Read Hospital before recovering, and me. A small group attended, mostly Rolling Thunder and NCVVI members, and at least 3 TV crews and one NPR reporter. The speeches before mine were all different, and all very good. The woman addressed Cindy as a mother and vet herself, and very gently told her to get off this and leave alone the memory of the son who wanted to serve his country and paid the ultimate price for so doing. The Navy vet read a letter from his brother, who's flown missions over Iraq since after the Gulf War, and he spoke of the provocation Saddam had provided so amply for years on years, and how devoted his men and he are to fulfilling the mission that began when we went into Iraq this time. The infantry vet talked about solidity of feeling among all his unit about getting to finish the job they'd started, their sympathy and admiration for the average Iraqi, and how negative they felt when they heard broadcasts from BBC and CNN saying this was a bad war, they were in a bad cause, etc.
I only said a few words about the history of dissent, how things went during Viet Nam, and what I think it means today. (see attached) People seemed to like it all, and I got interviewed in depth by an NPR reporter. Super sharp guy, good questions, really listened. We even had a nice personal discussion and hoped to get a beer together some time.
Then I wandered over a few blocks to the park where the Code Pink operation was set up. They were doing the black umbrella thing, laying out a bunch of them in the park with pictures of KIAs on them, or antiwar mottoes in silver ink, they had little girls with "Honk For Peace" signs waving them at the traffic, and assorted posters here and there. Some of the usual colorful crew were setting things up, I really liked the one kid with the T-shirt that said on the back "Death to Capitalism" (in Spanish). Nice to know where people are really coming from... Anyhow, they finally got things going, had a crowd of about 150, but it was hard to tell how many were press and how many were there from the bus group.
The first speaker went on about his grandfather being killed in a Nazi death camp and his father coming to the US as a refugee. And his father was a good citizen, grateful to be here, but he knows that before his father passed away, he'd become concerned about where this country was going. And the man personally has seen the falsity of war ever solving anything, he is for alternate means of resolving disputes, etc, and the brave people, the real patriots, are the ones who will stand up and fight for peace. I kind of lost the thread of it after that, since I was still back at war doesn't solve anything, but the systems of camps his grandfather died in were shut down by Allied troops who never heard of alternate means of resolving disputes.
Speaker #2 was a former serviceman, 23 years in, whose son did one tour in Iraq and is not back for his second. He started off calmly enough on the need for dissent, etc, and then slid into the "we are all brainwashed" speech about how we get sent out to fight for things based on faith in a system which in fact has deceived us. And we find out the terrible truth while we serve, and it's up to us to come back and expose the truth of the US imperialist policies in the world, we have to make people understand what we did in Viet Nam, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Kosovo, Guatemala, and... I got lost then too, since I was trying to recall when we invaded Guatemala, and how much oil we took out of Kosovo. But he wound up warmly complimenting the bravery of those who stand up in the antiwar movement, most especially the vets and vet families that tear themselves to pieces reliving emotional traumas in public in order to make their fellow citizens understand what's important. Which is, we have to get all our people out of Iraq now, now , NOW. Nothing else matters. (There was zero mention of what happens when we sprint out of the country en masse overnight.)
Finally, he introduced Cindy Sheehan, the incredibly brave woman who has taken on the hazardous mission of confronting the President and all his men, and who is going to be the woman of the century.
Cindy came on to a very warm, prolonged round of applause, and she glowed. I mean, she stood at the microphone, and just smiled and waved and glowed. There was one other vet there from our local group, and we looked at each other and I said "THIS is what this is about." He nodded.
I'll condense the rest of it, you probably heard it all before. Iraq was a sovereign state of no danger to anyone, certainly not in the tiniest way to the US, we invaded it only to control its oil and make W's friends at Halliburton rich, US forces have killed over 200,000 Iraqis, thousands in New Orleans would be alive today if the helicopters had been here, .... and I lost it again, since so far we don't know that thousands in New Orleans are dead today, and if they died in the storm, choppers couldn't have flown to get them, and the governor of Lousiana to whom the National Guard there reports didn't get them going as she could have and wouldn't declare a state of emergency so the feds could come in, and... by then I stopped thinking and tried to get back to what she was saying. She was on the wind-up phase, this march will swell to millions and we'll swamp DC and they'll HAVE to listen to us, and we will bring the troops home and save their lives.
At that point the same NPR reporter who talked to me earlier showed up, pulled me aside, and asked what I thought of all this. We talked for a while more, and then I got really tired and came home. A long, long day. I have to get up at 5 to turn on NPR and see if I can tape the finalized interview he promised me would run.
So that's the story. Cindy is a media magnet and is doing a bang-up job for the radicals. I can only hope that most people hear about all her baggage and her credibility never gets too far off the ground. We'll see.
The Anti-War Menagerie (Del's speech at the pro-troops rally)
We are Americans. That means many things, but among them is a devotion to freedom of speech and expression, and the right to dissent. This has always differentiated us from many if not most of the nations of the world. There have been antiwar movements in one form or another going back to our founding. The most famous American of the 1920s and 30s was Charles Lindbergh, and he was vehemently against any US involvement in the war Hitler had started. He traveled throughout the country in the late 1930s and into 1940-41, making speeches to large audiences in support of isolationist thought and the need of the US to stay out of the war.
But after Pearl Harbor, he instantly changed his position, and volunteered to fly warplanes for the US. Eventually he managed to get to the Pacific Theatre, where he flew many support missions as a special adviser, and eventually shot down a Japanese fighter himself. There not only was never any doubt of his patriotism, there was also no doubt about his capacity to understand and respond to a real threat against his country.
In more recent history, antiwar activities began early during the US involvement in Viet Nam, and began to grow after American troops started landing there in 1965. After the famous battle of Tet in February 1968 (a military disaster for the communists), reporting of the war took a sharp turn into negativity, and antiwar groups both grew faster and began to enjoy a very close relationship with the media. The publicity they generated became part of the daily newsfare of the country, their demonstrations became larger and more frequent, their issues and demands were matters of frequent discussion in many venues, most particularly on college campuses, and increasingly, the floor of Congress. In the final analysis, the social unrest and pressure caused by these groups motivated Nixon to find a way out of direct involvement in the war. And even after US ground presence in Vietnam had gone back to a few thousand advisors and the POWs had been returned, the political pressure was kept up. Ultimately, this led to Congress cutting the support to South Vietnam to a trickle, while the Soviet support to the North became a torrent.
Finally, the North launched a massive invasion, 400,000 men, hundreds of tanks, hi-tech artillery, etc, which the South was unable to resist in its weakened and undersupplied condition.
And then what happened? We had been told that when the North took over, there would be at most a few thousand casualties, that unification would bring liberation, peace, stability, the country would heal and prosperity return, as it did in America after the Civil War. So the antiwar leaders rejoiced in the fall of Saigon, felt they had contributed to a wonderful victory for the people.
What happened was something over 60,000 South Vietnamese were executed by the liberators, while a million more went into re-education camps. 220,000 of them spent from 3-17+ years in those camps, while 80,000+ others died in them. In 1975-85 roughly 2 million people fled the unified and liberated Viet Nam, refugees from oppression who risked a high death rate in attempting to escape; and they came from the North as well as the South. Viet Nam today is on the human rights list of Countries of Concern, due to the suppression of human rights there, including a lack of religious freedom, brutal persecution of minorities, and intolerance of any dissent.
Laos fell to communism, and is today an impoverished, repressive society. Cambodia fell to a particularly insane form of communism, and up to 2 million people were murdered there. It is today still a very damaged society, in severe economic stress.
These are all well known historical facts, and consequences of the takeover of South Viet Nam, but the media have never focused on them with even a fraction of the attention that was lavished on, and is still lavished on, any event involving reported mistreatment or suffering alleged to have been caused by any agency of the US.
And how have the antiwar protestors who were so righteous in their attacks on this countrys actions in Viet Nam reacted to any of the multiple and manifest horrors that grew from the conquering of South Viet Nam by the Northern communists?
The answer is simple- they have not reacted to any of it, in fact the great bulk of them have never even acknowledged those horrors took place. One of them even accused the returning POWs of having lied about being mistreated or tortured, despite the ample evidence of torture from scars and damaged joints, and the high death rate of those taken captive. They will not and cannot ever see the ultimate consequences of their actions, since that would demonstrate the error of their ways and take from them the righteous satisfaction they treasure as having fought the good fight and achieved so much good.
Let us come forward 35 years now, and examine what were seeing in the antiwar movement that is on the move today.
Well, I have attended their demonstrations, one in Boston last year and one in Fayetteville earlier this year, and they really are like going through a time machine back to the good old days of the early 70s. I found the same mixture of groups that made up the movement back then, sincere pacifists, radicals, outlier political groups, idealists, radicalized students, and a few genuine veterans and families of veterans. That last group gets the top billing and the spotlight, but they are a small fraction of the crowd. The leadership is now, as it was then, dominated by the radicals, whose agenda is not just antiwar but also anti-US. And again, we see a very disproportional amount of media attention given to the movement, and the implication that if even 1% of the vets or their families are antiwar, then they speak for all vets and all families. This is propaganda, false and misleading.
I do not question the sincerity of the real vets and vet families, and I fully respect their suffering as well as their right to dissent. But sadly, they are tools of a flawed view, a movement which while seeking to do good, actually accomplishes harm. As the men & women of the 70s movement unwittingly bolstered the morale, energy, and determination of hardened communists bent on expansion of their power, antiwar people today are unintentionally encouraging more suicide attacks against an Iraq struggling to stabilize itself, they are bringing joy to the radical jihadist preachers, and they are serving the purposes of Al Queda. In so doing, they bring all those serving in the war against terror into more danger, and guarantee a prolongation of the violence and bloodshed. And they ignore the certainty that abandoning Iraq to chaos and the mercies of the terrorists will lead to suffering and disaster there, as bad or worse than what happened in Vietnam.
Whether or not the decision to go to Iraq was perfectly sound, or the conduct of the war has been flawless, are not really relevant at this point. What is relevant is that we have confronted the forces of aggression and destabilization in the Mideast, and are now engaged in a brutal and messy struggle to help a new Iraq emerge. An Iraq that will not be a threat to its neighbors or its own citizens, and which will give the lie to the idea that the US is a despotic conqueror and an enemy to all Moslems. This goal is of enormous worth to everyone, and the country needs to provide solid, determined support to our troops and their leaders.
Lindbergh knew when to stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution. Let us hope that more and more Americans will see the same thing, and that while we permit dissent, it does not get more than the appropriate attention, and certainly not the level of blind acceptance that led to some much tragedy in Viet Nam.
Note to mods: I'm linking to Del Vecchio's FrontPageMagazine interview from a couple of days ago since this isn't online anywhere, and the forum software demands a link. This information came to me directly from Del.
Know your enemy ping...
Thank you, vets, now and forever.
When NC Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated, I attended with a Vietnam Veterans Group. We took over a floor of a hotel and we ran out of beer.
Someone said he would make a beer run and began to take up a collection.
He got about $400 in ten minutes.
Did he come back?
Thanks for the excellent on-site reporting....and for all your other efforts. In an obviosu, thougth perverse way..Cimdy will do wonders for the GOP, as she drags the Dems far to the left, and off the cliff..It will be very interesting to see what happens when she gets to DC..I'd wager that most Dems avoid her like she was, well, the water in New Orleans..
Halliburton. Never heard of it.
Great report IT. Thanks for going. You rock! Oh, and...
Thanks for the ping.
God Bless Del Vecchio and all who are countering the Cindy al-Sheehadi Circus.
Drudge has a link to the latest quote from Mama Moonbat:
friday, september 16, 2005
Mama Moonbat: "Occupied New Orleans"
Mother Sheehan jumps the shark, at (where else?) MichaelMoore.com. (Hat tip: protein wisdom.)
I dont care if a human being is black, brown, white, yellow or pink. I dont care if a human being is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or pagan. I dont care what flag a person salutes: if a human being is hungry, then it is up to another human being to feed him/her. George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power. The only way America will become more secure is if we have a new administration that cares about Americans even if they dont fall into the top two percent of the wealthiest.
Thanks. This isn't my report, though, it's by Del Vecchio, a Vietnam veteran and an expert on the war. Among other things, Del is co-author of Whitewash / Blackwash, an excellent analysis of popular myths and misinformation about the Vietnam War.
Well..then..thanks for posting it...(g)
Thanks for the ping. .
She appeared for about a minute for a NC State rally and then went to Senator Dole's office with about five people. She couldn't get into the building because she didn't have a photo ID. Later, she attended a rally in downtown Raleigh organized by the groups behind her. At the same time, there was a rally at the State Capitol Building of people who supported the troops and the war in Iraq. One woman, who's son-in-law just came back from Iraq said, "Sheehan is emboldening the enemy." By the way she was wearing flip-flops.
Thanks for the ping and nice job!
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