NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Listen up Cindy

I struggled to find the right words for Cindy Sheehan, but I could never equal this eloquent and and thought provoking draft letter, that Scott Ott wrote for President Bush’s consideration. Link (here.)

Click here for a private e-mail comment. For public comment select comments below.

4 Comments:

Blogger steve frisch said...

I read the Scott Ott report on the'letter'(Mr. Ott sis not write the letter he reportes on it) and think it is thought provoking, sounds heartfelt and could be the beginning of a much needed debate about US policy in Iraq, the middle east and againt 'terror'.

Unfortunately, President Bush did not compose the response, it comes from anonomous White House communications staffers with perhaps some appended paragraphs from the President. If our President were as compassionate as the letter, without spinners crafting words for his pallatte, if spoke from his heart on this issue in a way that Americans could trust, his policy might be believable.

Unfortunately he has consistently lied to the American people about the threat that Iraq posed to the US and the reasons for the war in Iraq.

Nor could the President really open up the debate that is needed on our foriegn policy. Becasue the policy in question is his policy.

It is the job of the clear thinking, democratic American people to challenge policy when it is wrong.

President Bush's policy is a lie and the wrong path for our country if it hopes to fight terror and create a safer world.

Russ, it is also tacky for you to refer in a previous post to Cindy Shehan as a 'fellow traveller'. If you think she is a communist just come out and say so.

Sat Aug 27, 07:53:00 AM PDT  
Blogger steve frisch said...

Hey....I apologize for missing a few things in my spell check as a result of unbridled enthusiasm.

Sat Aug 27, 07:55:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Russ Steele said...

Steve:

Re "fellow traveler" this was a poor choice of words, I did not mean to imply that Cindy was a communist.

Ott writes parodies, and they often start with words about a leak from the WH. In this case, this fake staff letter for the President was a more serious message.

Russ

Sat Aug 27, 02:39:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

From a conservative blog ostensibly seeking to restore objectivity to Nevada County media (ncwatch.blogspot.com) comes this link: http://www.scrappleface.com/MT/archives/002289. A supposedly leaked draft speech of Bush's response to Cindy Sheehan, so belatedly late, is available there. Interspersed are my comments.

“Dear Mrs. Sheehan,
You have asked me to identify the noble cause for which your son died. I have not answered you personally out of respect for the nobility of your son's sacrifice.”

Putting aside the nobility of said sacrifice: How is not responding to one's grieving mothers and taking a vacation while others die under one's command respect? How do conservatives find this impressive? Because there are noble-sounding words? Yes, and Hitler's mouth was full of sweet sounds.

“Being president forces me into the spotlight, but I would rather stand in the shadows of men like Casey Sheehan.”

And your cowardice assures that you do stand in their shadows, but I would think there are rather longer shadows to stand in: women and men fighting for good causes with courage, not bad ones with courage.

“Directing national attention on my response to your protest creates a distraction from what matters. The focus of our attention, and our admiration, should rest on people like Casey Sheehan, who stand in the breach when evil threatens to break out and consume a helpless people.”

So responding to individual dissidents ain't allowed, but honoring individual soldiers is? What kind of double standard is this? And if the cause is indeed so noble, why not just respond and get it done with?

Evil threatens to break out? Saddam was at his weakest before the invasion, as everyone knew. He had no intent to “break out”, and Bush cannot provide one ounce of evidence to prove that, even if the Kuwaiti invasion was not a misguided attempt to appeal to the imperial master (among other things, of course).

The Iraqi people were not helpless in 1991 against Saddam; they got crushed because of your father, boyking George. And they are not helpless now, as more and more still resist your soldiers trying to turn their country into you and your puppetmaster's playground.

I will discuss this more extensively in a post coming up, but let me point out that even if the story of “liberation” is not mostly a crock, 100,000 civilian deaths and 1500 military deaths for said liberation, especially since we did not consult the Iraqi people before liberating them (largely because the Administration was quixotically looking for WMDs), may not be worth it. In any respect, no one gave us the right to answer the question, “Was it worth it?”, with other people's lives.

“The running story on the news networks should be the valiant efforts of our troops -- the merchants of mercy who export freedom and import honor. They trade their own lives for the sake of others. “

And, as FAIR indicates, indeed the running story is the nationalist mythos, and if it had not been those boys would not have died.

“As a result, we live in a nation where a woman can camp outside of the president's house and verbally attack the president for weeks on end without fear of prison, torture or death. And the number of nations where such protest is possible has multiplied thanks to the work of our military.”

Multiplied? As in Vietnam, Chile, Iran, Nicaragua, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and elsewhere where freedom was conquered by the Americans?

“You ask for what noble cause your son died?

In a sense he died so that people like you, who passionately oppose government policies, can freely express that opposition. As you camp in Crawford, you should take off your shoes, for you stand on holy ground. This land was bought with the blood of men like your son.”

Actually, this land wasn't “bought”, it was stolen through extortion and sheer cowardice. And watch as Bush attempts to appeal to the national identity to override dissent!

“Now, 25 million Iraqis cry out to enjoy the life you take for granted. Most of them will never use their freedom to denigrate the sacrifice of those who paid for it. But once liberty is enshrined in law, they will be free to do so. And when the Iraqis finally escape their incarceration, hope will spread throughout that enslaved region of the world, eventually making us all safer and more free. “

They cry out to be free of the American occupiers as well. Why they are not out is the real question that American news should be asking.

“The key is in the lock of the prison door. Bold men risk everything to turn it.”

Turn it for others in total disregard for their safety?

“Mrs. Sheehan, everyone dies. But few experience the bittersweet glory of death with a purpose -- death that sets people free and produces ripples of liberty hundreds of years into the future.”

Hitler could easily have uttered such words. All empire masters say that service to the state is the highest end and that sacrifice to its graveyards and its burgeoning stomach of stolen life is the best way to do.

“Casey Sheehan died that freedom might triumph over bondage, hope over despair, prosperity over misery. He died restoring justice and mercy. He lived and died to help to destroy the last stubborn vestiges of the Dark Ages.”

The last stubborn vestiges of the Dark Ages? As a billion live on less than a dollar a day? As hundreds of millions starve? As Africa remains a poor continent thanks to what European imperialism did to it? Are these comments intended to be taken seriously by anyone?

“To paraphrase President Lincoln, the world will little note nor long remember what you and I say here. But it can never forget what Casey Sheehan did during his brief turn on earth. If we are wise, we will take increased devotion to that cause for which he gave the last full measure of devotion.”

Actually, the world is doing a great job of trying to forget Casey Sheehan. It is trying to silence the mother of this soldier. It is refused to photograph the dead coming home in coffins. And many other soldiers fighting for great empires are not remembered.

“Our brave warriors have blazed a trail. They have entrusted the completion of the task to those of us they left behind. Let's, you and I, resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

Let's finish the work that they have thus far so nobly advanced.”

With torture, death, colonial occupation, plunder and terror?

“Sincerely,
George W. Bush”

Except for the word “sincerely”, the only honest words in this letter.

Sun Aug 28, 08:26:00 PM PDT  

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