Towards A Good Samaritan World

Monday, August 22, 2005


Last week I was walking past the White House on the way home, and I passed a pro-war demonstration. Actually a counter-demonstration; I later noticed that there was an anti-war demonstration going on next to it. Here are some great pictures.

What struck me is the contrast between the eloquence of the banners of the pro-war demonstrators, and the inane slogans of the anti-war crowd. On the one hand, "God Bless Our Soldiers, Liberating the World of One Tyrant at a Time." "US Soldiers Are True Heroes. Our Mission is Just and Honorable. Stay the Course." On the other hand, "Tell Cindy Sheehan the Truth."

If you haven't followed the Cindy Sheehan affair, Mark Steyn has a great roundup. Cindy Sheehan lost a son in Iraq and recently started camping out on the lawn in Crawford, Texas, demanding that Bush meet with her face to face, and, well... in her own words:

"You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana . . . You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine."

And how about this? "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for."

Just stop for a second and imagine Bush meeting Sheehan and saying: "I'm sorry. Your son died for oil. My friends in Big Oil wanted higher oil prices and profits (or is it that we wanted lower prices for American drivers?) so we went into Iraq and broke things up. And Pax Americana is a cancer. People don't want liberty and democracy. Either that or we're not promoting liberty and democracy at all, but... something else, some kind of imperialism or something... you should probably ask Chomsky to explain it to you, because no one else really understands it, certainly I don't, I got a C average at Yale. Actually, I'm not even sure whether we're spreading liberty and democracy but liberty and democracy are a cancer, or whether we're spreading something else that's a cancer, maybe harming liberty and democracy for the sake of American economic interests or something... And I'm also not clear on whether the Pax Americana, which I think is Latin for 'American peace', is a cancer because of the peace part, the American part, or both. I would have thought that maybe the problem is American WAR, not American peace, but I guess Saddam's regime can't really be described as peace, with all the killing that was going on, but it was a war for the liberation of the Third World or something... Well, this confession is confusing me, so I'll just say I'm sorry. And we'll get the troops out of Iraq, and start bombing Israel so that they'll leave Palestine, and bring the Pax Americana to an end right away..."

All right, well, draft your own version, but what could Bush possibly say to Sheehan that would qualify even remotely as an attempt to satisfy her without being a national disgrace. I can imagine being against the Iraq War. But I can't imagine wanting Bush to "tell Cindy Sheehan the truth," at least, unless "the truth" is that her particular combination of naivity and self-righteousness is poisonous, that she is as deranged as the people her son was fighting against; that there is an outside chance that she will, by turning public opinion against the war, get revenge against the people of Iraq for being liberated by her son, and other mothers, killed by jihadists, will experience the grief that she has; and that the progress of mankind may be measured by the extent to which we triumph over the Cindy Sheehan in each of us, the extent to which we face hardship with faith that it is still worthwhile to do right, the hope that through our sacrifices we will build a better future, and the love of liberty and of our fellow man, rather than letting grieve drive us into a frenzy of hate. I'd love to hear Bush tell her that.

What is odd is that, while skepticism about the Iraq War is becoming widespread, I think far more Americans, even those who oppose the war, would agree with "US Soldiers Are Heroes; Our Mission is Just and Honorable; Stay the Course," than with "Tell Cindy Sheehan the Truth." Far more Americans are basically behind the Iraq effort, even if some are doubtful about whether we've adequately defined its stopping place, than desire for Bush to abase himself and repudiate the toppling of Saddam, Israel, and the Pax Americana generally. Even if the Democrats want to oppose the war, Cindy Sheehan represents exactly what it is imperative for any responsible and patriotic Democrat to firmly, and preferably eloquently, repudiate. By treating Cindy Sheehan with respect, the media has done a great disservice to the country, and congressional Democrats, who aspire to be part of the apparatus of American power, should say so.


  • The proper response to Cindy Sheehan is to ignore her, and that's what the administration has done for the most part. However, the Republican base has not ignored her, and instead has decided to villify her for whatever reason, making her position seem more legitimate in the eyes of those who oppose Republicans on principle. The white house has ignored her. If the conservative pundits also had ignored her, we wouldn't be talking about it today. The reason it's such a big controvesy now is because Republicans attacked a grieving mother, not because people necessarily agree with the grieving mother. There are plenty of left-wing wackos that do agree with her, but there's not as many as I'm sure you think there are. Sheehan does not represent the Democratic base, but she does represent grieving mothers everywhere, which is why attacking her was a bad, bad move.

    But again, this to me is like the Rove scandal, a non-issue. No one is going to care about it one bit in a couple years, so there's really no point in talking about it now. Put it in a little blurb on page 12 and be done with it.

    By Blogger Thomas Reasoner, at 12:42 PM  

  • Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.
    Hannah Arendt- Posters.

    By Blogger Blog World, at 2:25 PM  

  • Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.
    Muhammad Ali- Payday Loans

    By Blogger Antonio Hicks, at 2:28 PM  

  • I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.
    Woody Allen-4-Poster.Com,

    By Blogger rs6471, at 2:32 PM  

  • The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.
    Lord Acton- Posters.

    By Blogger Blog World, at 2:39 PM  

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