Friday, August 12, 2005

Another Difference a Year Makes

"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."
That was how Cindy Sheehan described her meeting with the President a year ago. Though she and her husband vigorously opposed the war, and were not shy to criticise it and the way - as they saw it - the President "has changed his reasons for being over there every time a reason is proven false or an objective reached", they appreciated that he took the time to meet them, and came away from the meeting with no complaints, and a good impression. As her husband said, "I have a new respect for him because he was sincere and he didn't have to take the time to meet with us".

What a different picture of that meeting Ms Sheehan paints now. She now claims to have come away from the meeting "dissatisfied and angry". She claims that the President treated the first meeting as a party, did not seem to know her son's name and referred to her as "Mom", and that she was hustled out of his presence without the ability to voice her concerns about the war:

We wanted him to look at pictures of Casey, we wanted him to hear stories about Casey, and he wouldn’t. He changed the subject every time we tried. He wouldn’t say Casey’s name, called him "your loved one".
Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin has come into criticism for noting that Ms Sheehan has aligned herself with Michael Moore, who calls the Iraqi insurgents "Minutemen", and that "I can't imagine that Casey Sheehan would approve of such behavior, conduct and rhetoric". (Transcript here - scroll down to the bottom). For this Malkin has come under savage attack. Ms Sheehan has said "I didn’t know Casey knew Michelle Malkin…I’m Casey’s mother and I knew him better than anybody else in the world". And Dan Savage, guest blogging for Andrew Sullivan, had this to say:
Now you might normally think that a dead man's mother would know his mind better than some batshitcrazy columnist he never met. But you would be wrong. Everyone in our armed forces backs their Vacationer-in-Chief—except for that Paul Hackett dude, of course. Alive, wounded, or even dead, America’s heroic armed forces are 100% behind our Dear Leader! Just ask Michelle "I See Dead People" Malkin.
Fair point, one would think. And yet, here's what Pat and Cindy had to say a year ago:
The 10 minutes of face time with the president could have given the family a chance to vent their frustrations or ask Bush some of the difficult questions they have been asking themselves, such as whether Casey's sacrifice would make the world a safer place. But in the end, the family decided against such talk, deferring to how they believed Casey would have wanted them to act. In addition, Pat noted that Bush wasn't stumping for votes or trying to gain a political edge for the upcoming election.
Note the bit I emphasised. Based on that it seems that Malkin's got a pretty good grip on what sort of behaviour and rhetoric Casey Sheehan would have approved of, and that includes neither Moore's nor, sad to say, his own mother's. Another clue is the fact that he re-enlisted in August 2003, four months after the invasion of Iraq, knowing very well that he was likely to be sent there, and that he resisted his mother's incitement to desert and flee to Canada.

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