Is Cindy Sheehan’s Divorce Fair Game?

Michele Catalano thinks discussion of the Sheehan divorce is beyond the pale of civil discourse:

Is it really necessary to splash her divorce papers all over the internet? Is this anybody’s business? No, her personal life is NOT fair game. Her family is not fair game. And as much as it takes enormous balls of steel for Sheehan herself to pen a diary at Kos entitled Leave My Family Alone when she’s the one who brought this into the public eye, it takes a person with no semblance of common decency to start gloating over Sheehan’s divorce as this proves something, somehow. Do you know how common it is for couples who have suffered the loss of a child to separate? Do you think this is some win on your part, something to high five each other about? Woohooo, a family is falling apart, another point for our side! That’s sick. SICK. You’re just another kind of leech.

(via Bill Ardolino)

John Cole agrees:

There is no need to go rummaging through her personal life- even if it is ‘news.’ It is mean-spirited, unfair, and should be beneath most decent people. And it is irrelevant.

This was apparently sparked by Michelle Malkin‘s original report on the matter, which focused on a very narrow point:

[I]t will be interesting to see if Cindy Sheehan continues to insist that she and her husband “are on the same side of the fence” with respect to her anti-war activism.

Even my co-blogger Steve Verdon thinks this improper, noting Malkin’s objection to the references to Dick Cheney’s family during the campaign.

Neither Malkin nor I are taking joy at someone’s misfortune but rather pointing out that part of their claim to authority is false. The fact of the matter is that Sheehan, through her own conscious choice, is a public figure. The only reason the media is paying any attention to her rantings is that she is capitalizing on the death of her son and claiming to somehow be a spokesman for others who have lost their sons and daughters in this war. Pointing out that she doesn’t even speak for her own husband is hardly meanspirited in that own context. As Jack Army notes in the comments of Steve’s post:

There are thousands of divorces a year and practically none of them get reported on OTB, Malkin, or any other outlet. This one is important because this woman is claiming she has more of a right to speak and be heard because of a family connection: her dead son. Reporting that her husband is divorcing her, a man that has the same dead son but isn̢۪t protesting, helps puts Cindy̢۪s protesting into context. The inference has been that Cindy was speaking on behalf of her family. If that inference was wrong, why did the rest of her family feel it necessary to release a statement announcing that they disagreed with Cindy? So, reporting on Sheehan̢۪s divorce is no different than reporting on any other public figure̢۪s divorce. Again, Cindy put herself in the spotlight and if she didn̢۪t like that, she shouldn̢۪t have gone there.

Danny Carlton agrees.

(Note: This was originally an update on my brief post announcing the divorce but I’ve moved it up as I expanded my thoughts.)

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Fersboo says:

    I have to agree with you and Jack, James.

    Of course, IMHO, it should be obvious that this woman needs help for trying to use her son this way, when it has been undoubtedly proven that Casey did this of his own free will.

  2. Bithead says:

    Jack Army’s comment says it all.

  3. Demosophist says:

    James:

    For what it’s worth, I agree. The simple rejoinder would be for her to point out that she speaks for herself, and not her family. That would put the kaibosh on this whole line of attack. She can speak as a mother, and her husband can speak independently as a father. If they disagree then they disagree. The “soft spot” for Cindy is simply that, like many of the illiberal left, she wants to coopt the opinions and legitimacy of those who disagree with her, including those with similar standing.

  4. ALS says:

    JACK ARMY – As usual, my friend, you hit the nail square on the head.

    You’ve got to feel for that poor family, though. As if they hadn’t been through enough.

  5. Steve Verdon says:

    Well technically I don’t object to bringing up the divorce. I didn’t object to bringing up Mary Cheney’s sexual orientation either (although I thought it was a bit tactless). I’m just bemused how both sides seem to think one is okay, but not the other.

  6. anjin-san says:

    By all means, lets attack this woman. After all, she is exercising her rights to free speech and protest. Freedom after all, is something the administration supports in Iraq, not in America…

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    By all means, lets attack this woman. After all, she is exercising her rights to free speech and protest.

    So…let me get this straight, exercising your right to free speech also insulates one views and postions from criticism? Great!

    Anjin-san, I’m hereby exercising my right to free speech on this blog and from now on, based on your “logic” above I will delete any and all comments by you that attack my position. Okay?

    Freedom after all, is something the administration supports in Iraq, not in America…

    Now that is just stupid.

    [Oh, and by the way, my first two paragraphs…that is sarcasm in case you didn’t catch it.]

  8. anjin-san says:

    Well Steve, you have a point. The thousands of attacks on Cindy Sheehan, the greving mother of a fallen serviceman, on pro-Bush are protected free speech. And If I want to stand on a soapbox at shout that genocide is great, well that is free speech too. But it is still ugly.

    As for the Bush admin and freedom in America, just look at something like how hard they are working to keep information such as tire safety data from consumers. But why do you need to be free to know if the tires you family is riding on are safe or not? By all means, put your trust in Mr. Bush.

  9. Steve Verdon says:

    Well Steve, you have a point. The thousands of attacks on Cindy Sheehan, the greving mother of a fallen serviceman, on pro-Bush are protected free speech. And If I want to stand on a soapbox at shout that genocide is great, well that is free speech too. But it is still ugly.

    As for the Bush admin and freedom in America, just look at something like how hard they are working to keep information such as tire safety data from consumers. But why do you need to be free to know if the tires you family is riding on are safe or not? By all means, put your trust in Mr. Bush.

    That is a pretty strawgirlfriend you got there anjin-san. But where exactly did I say I put any trust in anything Bush has said? Hmmm let me look…ahhh yes, I see now: Nowhere.

    Does it hurt to be that stupid?

    My point is that some of the things Cindy Sheehan is writing/saying are just plain nutty. And as she has a right to free speech, so do others in pointing out the nuttiness of the things she has said/written. Apparently you have problem with that, which of course highlights your own hypocrisy.

  10. Bithead says:

    Agreement with Jack, here.
    The remainder of her family has backed away from her, and now her husband, as well.

    Why should the actions and opinions of the remainder of her family, including her husband, all of which, to a man, say the woman is dead wrong in what she’s doing, not get the same amount of coverage, as her whining?

    Is her message more valid than theirs? Clearly the leftists think so. So too, the press. (Granted, a redudancy.)

    Personally, I think the vision of her entire family backing away from her, like a crowd backing off a bearded young arab male yelling “ALLAH IS GREAT!” speaks more to the lack of validity of her position,(more correctly the lack thereof) than anything else I can think of. No wonder some people object to it.

  11. Darin says:

    I think it serves her right to have her divorce public, she is vocal about her private views. She didn’t vote for Bush and most of the country did. If I have to hear her lies and her using her dead son, for her own agenda then I want to here the dirt on the wacko!

  12. SandraK says:

    Darin, I Pray you never suffer the lost of a child. to add the pain of Divorce is a living Hell.
    Can I Look in your Closet?
    let it not be said principles such as the separation of church and state, due process, presumption of innocence, freedom of speech, and habeas corpus would be discarded so easily? Now, Cindy Can Be declared an “enemy combatant” and held up to Public scorn..
    She Lost HER SON..
    HE is DEAD.
    She does Not Like WAR..
    I don’t like Dead Children OR war.
    Do you ?

  13. Bithead says:

    Do not make the mistake of claiming that her having lost a son gives her opinion any gerater moral weight than thatof you or I.

    Are you really so daft as to aver that anyone likes war? Your problem is that unlike those fighting this war there, and supporting it here, you don’t see that those without swords still die upon them.

  14. The Monkey says:

    She’s made herself into a mediawhore. Her whole life is now fair game.

  15. SandraK says:

    Bithead,I’m Needing a Spell Check to understand you.. ?!
    I’m Not Daft or Playing the Quote game.
    I feel Cindy can say what she feels.
    Stop Bashing her Marrage.
    Her Hubby has a Gal Pal & Wanted out.. SO??
    Blame that on JWB..!!
    Go back to School,son.
    or you will never get Drafted

  16. SandraK says:

    But the way.I’m new to this Blog.. You all sound very Smart & Kind.
    I Have A Long line of Family in “Service”
    my Great Uncles in WW 1 & 2.
    and thier sons & Thiers followed their Career Path. I lost my Fav. Uncle in Nam**Lieutenant Colonel AF*
    I have a Cuz(his Grandson) now on A Ship.. near ****.
    I Support Him with all my Heart.
    I Still Hate WAR.

  17. Herb says:

    There goes anjin san barking his lefty liberal mouth off to those at OTB. This guy is most likely one of those foreign yoyos that “knows all about America”. He is one of those that dosen’t know a thing about WW 1, WW 11, Korea or Vietnam and the thousands of Americans who fought and died to provide him the opportunity to spout off his lefty liberal mouth and run America into the ground.

    I observed his words here on OTB last Sunday when he spouted “How civilized the Muslims are”

    But, there is always hope that with a few years of basic education, He will begin to know who Americans are and how Americans think. Right now, he don’t have a clue.

  18. Timmer says:

    This woman has had much more than her 15 minutes o’ fame – not to mention an audience and photo-op with the President last year. Not bad, but enough I should think.

    (Hell, I’d like to sit with the old man and chew the fat…maybe ask him WTF about the borders, or some such).

    As I point out in my own blog – Sheehan wants to ask the President “Why did you kill my son?” I have a better question for HER… “Why are YOU killing more of our young men and women by emboldening the Enemy?” al-Jazeera is already eating this stuff up, and THAT is where I draw the line on MY sympathy.

  19. Bithead says:

    I’m not Bashing her Marrage. (Sic… and you start on ME about spelling?)… I’m simply stating fact. Her husband clearly doesn’t agree with what she’s doing, nor does the remainder of either side of family. That’s simple, recorded fact. You seem to be avoiding facts. Why? (As if we don’t already know)

    While I have the editor open, a few points to be made:

    Tom Alday points out that Cindy Sheehan has at least one fan… David Duke.

    No, I kid you not.

    Tom points out that the liberlas may want to think twice about tying themselves to that particular star…

    And finally, let’s consider why she changed her tune… MONEY.

    You know full well that were a Democrat in the WH, the press would be all over her wanting to know about her connections with various political groups, with particular scrutiny of her financial transactions.

    IE; They’d be looking at… did she get paid to change her tune.

    And let’s consider her changes and what she really thought of her son, shall we? Her son apparently thought what he was doing was the correct thing to be doing. I’m not prepared to debate his wisdom here.

    Put another way; I’m not prepared to call her son a dummy. Sheenan, apparently, is. And my sympathy for her loss disappears when she crosses that line.

    I should also say it disappears further when she is so obviously taking cues from animals who were loudly calling her son a murderer just for being in Iraq in uniform.

    Idiots like Sheenan are called ‘Useful idiots’, folks. THe Arabs are eating this stuff up, Gang… and I shouldn’t be shocked to learn, funding it.

  20. anjin-san says:

    Herb,

    Hope your reading comprehension improves at some point, what I said the other day was that Muslims had a fairly advanced civilization at a time when Europe was mired in the middle ages. If you doubt me, go to Google and run a search for “Moors”. Of course it would probably be easier for you to crack another beer and catch a “Dukes of Hazzard” rerun.

    As for US military history, I have an uncle who fought at frozen chosin. What aspect of 20th century conflicts would you like to discuss? Belleau wood? Bastogne? Khe Sahn?

    Actually I am somewhat conservative by nature, I voted for Reagan twice. Mr. Reagan tore down the iron curtain essentially without firing a shot. your hero, Mr. Bush, who once refused to take a required physical in wartime, has us mired down in a conflict in Iraq that will most likely end with a pro-Iran goverment in power there. Iran, by the way, is working on real, not phantom WMD.

    Going back to prior posts Herb. please provide some detail about the Islamic dictatorships that you told us existed 2000 years ago.

  21. anjin-san says:

    Steve,

    If you are going to attempt to be sarcastic, you really should try to do a better job. I got better zings back in the 8th grade dude.

  22. With as much respect as I have for any Gold Star member, Cindy’s free ride is over! She lied and she was caught in the lie. That is what this divorce issue is all about; her credibility (if there ever was any) is shot. She pasted a great big “X” on her for head and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s time to shoot out the 10 ring.

    For a more detailed explanation, hit my URL.

  23. anjin-san says:

    A few words from Francis:

    I have the greatest respect and condolences for any Gold Star Member. The most memorable scenes in the movie “We Were Soldiers” were the notification scenes back at Ft. Benning. Every Gold Star member has the right to morn but 16 months is not just unhealthy, it’s selfish. So, here’s my open letter to Cindy Sheehan.

    > So Cindy Sheehan has a right to mourn, but only for a period to be determined by Francis, who apparently is also in charge of deciding whats “healthy”.

    Interesting definition of respect…

  24. Susan says:

    She invited everyone into her personal life when she started the attack. She is not the only mother who lost someone in a war. Even her other son wants nothing to do with her as she has now let her son die in vein instead of a war hero.

  25. It’s called an OPINION, anjin-san, and one rooted in FACTS as opposed to mindless emotion.

  26. ALS says:

    This whole moral authority argument is really interesting. Honestly, I’ve given it some thought. For those who argue that losing a child in a war gives one more moral authority than anyone else to voice opinions against that war… let’s go down this road.

    How about me? Do I have any “moral authority?” My husband fought in Iraq, and almost didn’t come home. But he wasn’t my child, and he isn’t dead. So how much moral authority does that give me? None? More than you? But less than Cindy Sheehan?

    What about Soldiers themselves who’ve served in Iraq? Ones that came home with physical wounds? Emotional scars? How much “moral authority” do they have? What about the supply clerks who rarely left the confines of their base camps? Do they have less “moral authority” than people like my husband – infantry Soldiers who patrol the streets, kick down doors, and engage in combat almost daily?

    What about veterans of Afghanistan, like me? How much moral authority do I have? None? Or only some? Why? Because I wasn’t wounded? Because I was a “staff puke” who spent most of the deployment chained to a desk in an air conditioned tent? What about my mother? Does she have more moral authority than your mother, because she had a daughter at war? What about my husband’s mother? Does she have more moral authority than my mother because her son was in Iraq, while my mother’s child was in Afghanistan?

    How come the media doesn’t apply the “more moral authority” label to the parents of dead Soldiers who support the war?

    Or does one only gain “moral authority” when your child dies AND you are opposed to the war?

    These are really interesting questions… please, by all means, let’s go down this road. Let’s talk about who has more of a right of free speech than others. Let’s rank order them. Starting with anti-war mothers who’ve lost sons being number one. Any takers on who should be number 2? Number 3? Come on folks, let’s go down this road.

    Does this remind anyone else of Animal Farm…All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others?

  27. anjin-san says:

    You are right Francis, we are all entitled to an opinion. In mine, a real man does not attack a greiving mother for political gain…

  28. Bithead says:

    But that’s not what she’s about.
    She’s using the “greiving mother ” routine for political gain.

    Funny you didn’t notice.
    Or perhaps you think THAT’S OK?

  29. ALS says:

    In mine, a real man does not attack a greiving mother for political gain…

    Political gain? Is Francis running for office? Is anyone here doing anything for “political gain?” Or perhaps we’re all just expressing our opinions?

    You seem to support peoples’ rights to express their opinions.

    Or is that you only support such expression when you agree with it?

  30. anjin-san says:

    ALS.

    I am not questioning Francis’ right to express his opinion.

    But lets get back to the real world for a moment. Rove’s “you are either for us or against us” strategy has been in place for a long time. His policy of attacking anyone who is not with the Rove/Bush program is well established. Just look at how they went after John McCain, a war hero who suffered torture while serving his country. (And a republican!).

    Francis has every right to shout his opinion about Cindy Sheehan from the rooftops. I just think its kind of ugly.

    Just look at Bitheads above comment about Sheehan’s “greiving mother routine”. Does anyone doubt that this woman is distraught about the death of her son, regardless of what they think of her protest?

  31. ALS says:

    Anjin-San,

    I don’t really see what Rove or Bush has to do with any of this. I notice that when you attack other folks for their positions or opinions, you use Bush, Rove, et al as justification for your attacks.

    I think folks here would be more likely to engage you in debate if you didn’t use that kind of by-proxy logic.

    We’re expressing our own opinions, not Bush’s or Rove’s, or the opinion of the Leprachaun off the Lucky Charms cereal box.

    While I sympathize with Cindy Sheehan (because although I have not lost a child, I have lost friends and fellow Soldiers I care for very deeply), I do think the woman has gone off the deep end. She has gone way past the point of being merely a mother grieving the loss of her son. She is exploiting his death for political gain. Unlike us, exchanging our opinions on a web log, she is very clearly making this is a political issue.

    Let’s face it: Say the President does meet with her. And he tells her: “This is why your son died… and we’re not pulling out of Iraq…” Do you think that she’s just going to say: “Okay, thanks. Just wanted to know. I’ll be leaving now, never to be heard from again”?

    She, and every other citizen in this country, has the right to protest and seek redress from the government, and no one is doubting that. No one is trying to “silence” her. Quite the contrary, she has been given the media as one big megaphone from which to voice her opinions – with the whole country as her audience. How can anyone argue that the woman isn’t being given her fair chance to speak?

    No one doubts the grief she is feeling. As an army wife, I ask myself “The Question” every single day that husband of mine puts on his uniform and walks out the front door; “Oh God, what will I do when he deploys again, and this time, doesn’t come home?”

    I for one, think she is very naive, and that she is being used by all kinds of groups that really don’t give a rat’s ass about SPC Casey Sheehan, and never did. They are using her to get a voice-and from their perspective, what a perfect voice it is.

    This is where my problem with Mrs. Sheehan lies. That she’s allowed herself to be manipulated; her grief used by those whose only real, true aim is to cause the current administration as much embarrassment as possible.

    I don’t presume to speak for the dead. But as a Soldier whose mother threw an absolute temper tantrum (the wailing, sobbing, hyper-ventilating, and beg-me-to-run-to-Canada kind) when I told her I was deploying after 9/11, I can honestly say that if I had died, my mother would be camped out on that lawn right next to Cindy Sheehan. And I’d be rolling over in my grave…

    …Not because she’s exercising her Constitutional right to air grievance and seek redress (the very freedoms I served to protect), but that she had allowed herself to be manipulated (by groups that didn’t even know my first name and didn’t ever give a damn), using my death as the catalyst to do so.

  32. anjin-san says:

    ALS,

    Thank you for your reasonable response. Who are these groups? I have heard many things said about Cindy Sheehan, but have seen little in the way of documentation.

    I do feel that many of Mr. Bush’s supports have copied the attack dog tatics that he has employed now, and in the past. This is nothing new in American politics, Clinton had his own dogs that he employed from time to time, but I feel that the Bush admin has hit a new low.

    Do you feel that all who oppose the war have no concern for the well being of our troops? I hope not. I saw too many young men come back from Viet Nam in flag draped coffins. That war, as we now know, was based on a lie, The Gulf of Tonkin “Incident”. I fear that we are now going down the same road.

    One of the reasons that I voted for Mr. Bush in 2000 was he promised not to commit our forces abroad without a clear exit strategy. Where is our exit strategy? When the war started, it was about the WMD threat. When it turned out there were no WMD, the war was re-branded as a crusade for democracy. I don’t buy it. Go back and review the president’s own words leading up to the war.

    Back to Cindy Sheehan for a moment. No, no one is trying to silence her. But there is certainly a campaign of charachter assination being waged against her. I read today in a posting that she was being “funded by Arabs”.

    Perhaps some of the people who you feel want to cause the Bush admin embarrasment by any means simply feel that the war is morally wrong, and they don’t want to see any more of our boys die, or for that matter, any more innocent Iraqi’s die in the crossfire.

  33. ALS says:

    Anjin-San,

    Who are these groups? Good question. Take a look at all the protest signs where Mrs. Sheehan is camped out. The signs run the gamut from environmental issues to anti-semitism.

    No, I am not suggesting that people who oppose the war have no concerns for our troops. I’m sure many anti-war folks do. Look, Anjin-San, when my husband was perched on the Kuwaiti side of the border with Iraq in March of 2003, no one was praying for a peaceful solution more than I. I prayed and hoped and begged the TV screen to “find another way.” I hope you aren’t suggesting that people who support the war have the taste of blood in their mouths; that we’re all a bunch of cowboys screaming “yee-haw” with little regard for the lives of our Soldiers.

    It’s been my experience in the last couple of years – attending community events designed to support the military and volunteering for Soldier-related causes… that the anti-war are eerily absent. If they care so much, why aren’t more at Walter Reed, visiting the wounded? Why haven’t more volunteered at these functions I go to? Why aren’t more of them at military blood drives – where they collect blood to send to combat hospitals in Iraq? Why haven’t more put their supposed “concern” for our Soldiers into action? Protesting is a basic right, but let’s face it, that doesn’t do much to help the military and their families. I’m not saying that anti-war folks don’t do ANY volunteering – I’m sure there are some. I just haven’t met any yet.

    It’s why I’m suspicious, Anjin-San. When people on this and other sites call me a “nazi” and an “arm chair warrior asshole,” yet claim to be oh-so-supportive and dripping with love of our troops… I have to wonder… how much does that person REALLY care about me? About my husband? About other Soldiers and military family members?

    After a while, Anjin-San, you start to wonder if they only support the troops who agree with them.

    Tell you what – You go up to ten random protesters out there at Crawford. Ask them how old SPC Casey Sheehan was. Ask them what his specialty was. Ask them where he was stationed in Iraq. Ask them what unit he was assigned to. Ask them why he joined the Army in the first place. Ask them if he had a girlfriend.

    Bet you can’t find five who know the answers to any of those questions.

    Then ask those same ten how much money they’ve donated to Soldier-worthy causes, and how much time they’ve spent volunteering for the military community.

    And then ask yourself if they REALLY care, if they really and honestly, have a loving devotion to SPC Sheehan and all of our Soldiers.

    Then you’ll begin to understand why I just ain’t buying it.

  34. anjin-san says:

    ALS,

    There is no doubt that the usaual cadre of professional protesters has shown up in Crawford, just as they do any place where cameras are present. I am not sure that I see how this diminishes Cindy Sheehan. It is just an unfourtunate byproduct of media saturation.

    And I agree that there are many in this country. red states & blue, who voice support of the troops, but do nothing concrete to back it up. Where I live they slap a yellow ribbon on the SUV and head for the mall to do some shopping.

    Like you, I have been attacked for simply expressing my views. Called anti-American, a terrorist symp. Nice stuff. So much for a free exchange of ideas.

    Going back to the days leading up to the war, do you really feel that the Bush admin exhausted every avenue short of war available to them? That we were in a crisis so grave that an invasion was the only possible course of action left to us?

    Like me, are you mad that after all this time many of our forces STILL lack adaquate armor? That Bin Ladan remains free to plot against us after all this time? That the administration seems to lack the ability to even entertain the idea that that might have been wrong in their approach to Iraq?

    The President’s father handled Saddam pretty well. I wish that GW Bush had some of his father’s wisdom & experience.

  35. Marcia L. Neil says:

    Sheehan [she-e-han — a Chinese sympathizer, might it be surmised?]is the subject of an influence network. As previously stated else-where, telephone call-demand networks claim that it is ‘freedom of speech’ to contact individuals and ask any question; some of the questions are ‘regular’ scripted ‘queries’ that all such contactees receive.

    One such question asks if the respondent “wants a divorce”; another question of the same orienta-tion asks [‘polls’]other subjects about other people’s marriages, and it can be deduced that such a poll was the source of the divorce initiation scenario.

    People who are targeted by such networks need special counsel, because the callers will not stop their telephone contact activity — not even with police complaint. They also demand replies, and are quite intimidating; and schedule carry-away actions.

  36. Bithead says:

    Going back to the days leading up to the war, do you really feel that the Bush admin exhausted every avenue short of war available to them? That we were in a crisis so grave that an invasion was the only possible course of action left to us?

    I for one, think so. Indeed, it was well PAST time to respond.

    There is one option worse than war.
    Do you know what it could be?

  37. anjin-san says:

    Respond to what?

  38. anjin-san says:

    “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

    –Governor George W. Bush (R-TX) When Pres. Clinton comitted troops to Bosnia

  39. ALS says:

    Going back to the days leading up to the war, do you really feel that the Bush admin exhausted every avenue short of war available to them? That we were in a crisis so grave that an invasion was the only possible course of action left to us?

    Back when the whole world was convinced that he had WMD, yes, I felt we had more-or-less exhausted our options, and that we were at the point where we had to do something.

    Knowing now what I didn’t know then (ah, the beauty of 20/20 vision), obviously, the answer is no. There was no imminent danger. In fact, knowing what we all know now, I would not have supported the invasion.

    But since the UN, the French, the Germans, and even John Kerry believed, and voiced publicly, that Iraq possessed dangerous WMDs, as a Soldier and an Army wife, I don’t feel lied to. I don’t feel used. I don’t feel manipulated. The whole world screwed up in their assessments of Iraq’s threat. To scream the childish “Bush lied” rant is to ignore everyone else in the world who “lied.”

    But guess what? We’re there. It’s over. It’s done. We aren’t fighting the Iraqi people anymore, we only did that for 4 weeks. We’re fighting a small group of insurgents and foreign Jihadists. Cindy Sheehan says she doesn’t want one more Iraqi mother to grieve. Is she not aware of how many MORE Iraqi mothers would be grieving if we completely pulled out of Iraq and let the insurgency run rampant? If we stopped all the construction, all the building, all the training of Iraqi forces, all the opening of schools, hospitals, etc, how many MORE Iraqi mothers would be grieving? Hundreds, if not thousands, more.

    Like me, are you mad that after all this time many of our forces STILL lack adaquate armor?

    Well, because of my civilian job, I have a very different perspective. I know for a fact that, despite the lies, yes lies, you have read, there was enough body armor in Iraq for every Soldier to have at least one set about 6-8 months into the war. All the infantrymen had it for the invasion, and back then, they were the most vunerable, because that was before the development of the 360 degree frontline. Less than a year into the war, Iraq sent more than 30,000 sets of EXCESS body armor back to the states. About a year after the start of the invasion, la-ti-da-dee-everybody in the entire CENTCOM AOR (that includes all the safe places like Qatar, Kuwait, etc) had body armor. And upgrades continue to be shipped to theater as the newer technology continues to emerge.

    The reason you kept reading stories about Soldiers without body armor is because none of them realized they would get it in Kuwait before they crossed over into Iraq, that it actually became a requirement to even get into Iraq.

    But because they didn’t have it in their hot little hands at their home station in the states, their grandmothers were spending their social security checks to buy some junk armor off the internet, when the kid was due to get it in Kuwait.

    The stories have been hyped up. Terribly. With lies rampant throughout every single article ever published. There have been dozens and dozens of studies done by our organization and medical communities, and not one single casualty has been as a result of the Soldier not having body armor. Either he died in an explosion where body armor makes no difference, or he drowned, or was shot in the face, head, etc.

    And as far as vehicle armor – had you ever heard of an IED 18 months ago? Who the hell knew we’d need that kind of heavy armor on every single vehicle? Whoever possesses that kind of vision – please encourage them to come work for the Defense Department.

    That Bin Ladan remains free to plot against us after all this time?

    Having been in Afghanistan, I can honestly tell you that Iraq has had no effect on this. We’re either going to get him, or we won’t. The number of personnel dedicated to finding him, and the units in Afghanistan haven’t decreased as a result of Iraq.

    That the administration seems to lack the ability to even entertain the idea that that might have been wrong in their approach to Iraq?

    I have a lot of problems with the way things have been executed – the lack of foresight and planning – the kind of civilian leadership chosen for critical positions… I don’t think anyone would argue that this operation has gone off without a hitch. Even those of us who support it. Hell, my husband’s going back to Iraq in about a year. Do you honestly think that I’m going through life with rose-colored glasses? That everything’s just peachy-keen? No, of course not. But we’re there. And leaving now does way more harm than good.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t disagree with Cindy Sheehan. That doesn’t mean we can’t find fault with what she is saying, and how she is going about it.

    She made herself a celebrity, quite purposefully. And like all celebrities, she opened herself up. She’s invited the world into her family. She’s said some really hateful and divisive things. I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for everything she has been through. Tremendous. I grieve for the loss of SPC Casey Sheehan, more than you can guess. I grieve for them all. Daily.

    But I have no sympathy for the way she’s opened herself up, the way she’s allowed herself to be used and manipulated, and for the hateful and counter-productive things she’s said to the world on national television.

  40. anjin-san says:

    ALS:

    So this story is a pack of lies? I find that a bit hard to believe.

    Pentagon trying to give troops new body armor
    Dependence on cottage industry creating delays
    Michael Moss, New York Times
    Sunday, August 14, 2005

    For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect U.S. troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents.

    The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions that insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of service members still lack the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon’s procurement system.

    The effort to replace the armor began in May 2004, just months after the Pentagon finished supplying troops with the original plates — a process also plagued by delays. The officials acknowledged that it would take several more months to complete.

    Citing security concerns, the officials declined to say exactly how many more of the stronger plates are needed, or how much armor has already been shipped to Iraq.

    “We are working as fast as we can to complete it as soon as we can,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army’s deputy for acquisition and systems management, said Wednesday in an interview at the Pentagon.

    While much of the focus on casualties in Iraq has been on soldiers killed by explosive devices aimed at vehicles, body armor remains critical to the military’s goals in Iraq. Gunfire has killed at least 325 service members, about half the number killed by bombs, according to the Pentagon.

    Among the problems contributing to the delays, the Pentagon is relying on a cottage industry of small manufacturers with limited production capacity. In addition, each company must independently come up with its own design for the plates, which then undergo military testing. Just four vendors have begun making the enhanced armor, according to military and industry officials. Two more companies are expected to receive contracts by next month, while 20 or more others have plates that are still being tested.

    An important material that strengthens the ceramic plates also remains in short supply despite a federal initiative aimed at prodding private industry into meeting the growing demand, military officials said.

    “Nobody is happy we haven’t been able to do it faster,” Maj. Gen. William Catto, head of the Marine Corps Systems Command, said Wednesday in the interview.

    “If I had the capability, I’d like to see everybody that needs enhanced SAPI to have it and at the rate we have now, we’re going to have months before we get the kind of aggregate numbers we want to have,” Catto said, referring to the thicker plates, known as the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert.

    Throughout the war, the military’s procurement system has struggled to stay ahead of the insurgency. Most notably, efforts by the Defense Department to add armor to the humvee — a vehicle never intended for combat — often have been undermined by the insurgents’ relentless ability to build more powerful bombs.

    Military officials say they have kept the effort to supply troops with the stronger body armor quiet to avoid alerting the insurgency, which they say is adept at mining news media reports for any evidence of weaknesses in the U. S. force. At the request of the Pentagon, the Times has omitted from this article details that would expose vulnerabilities in the original armor and the types of munitions that the original plates cannot repel.

    Upgrading the plates for U.S. troops in Iraq will cost at least $160 million, according to industry estimates.

    Body armor arose as an issue in Iraq shortly after the invasion in March 2003, when insurgents began attacking U.S. troops who had been given only vests and not bullet-resistant plates. The Army had planned to give the plates only to frontline soldiers. Officials now concede that they underestimated the insurgency’s strength and commitment to fighting a war in which there are no back lines.

    The ensuing scramble to produce more plates was marred by a series of missteps in which the Pentagon gave one contract to a former Army researcher who had never mass-produced anything. He was allowed to struggle with production for a year before he gave up. An outdated delivery plan slowed the arrival of plates that were made. In all, the war was 10 months old, in late January 2004, before every soldier in Iraq had plates

    Four months later, the Pentagon quietly issued a solicitation for the enhanced plates that would resist stronger attacks. At the same time, it worked to make improvements to the vests, including adding shoulder and side protection.

    Pentagon officials said they have been hampered in their efforts by the need to make the armor as light as possible.

    “You can trace this back to … centuries ago when they started wearing body armor to the point they couldn’t get on the horse,” Sorenson said. “We are doing the same sort of thing. You can only put so much armor on a soldier to the point where they can’t move.”

    The new enhanced plates weigh about 1 pound more than the original plates, bringing the total body armor system with vest to about 18 pounds, military officials said.

    Among the first soldiers to use the stronger armor were the military’s special forces, who are known to cut the handles off their toothbrushes to reduce the weight of their packs.

  41. ALS says:

    So this story is a pack of lies? I find that a bit hard to believe.

    Yes, it is, Anjin-San. Packed with them. This is one of the VERY articles of which I was speaking.

    Number one – body armor in Iraq is NOT failing. The current body armor has saved COUNTLESS lives. I’ve met many of them. I know many of them. I’m married to one.

    http://gojackarmy.blogspot.com/2005/07/body-armor-works.html

    This clip shows the current generation of body armor in action. If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it. The body armor saves this Soldier’s life – from a very, very nasty round.

    There is 100%, absolutely NOTHING “failing” about body armor. I have my husband here today because of that body armor.

    Michael Moss is a jackass who takes what he wants to take out of interviews. He formed his opinion long before he wrote the article, or met with any of those men (some of whom are my bosses). I have been advocating that we draft a response to his pack of blatant lies and half-truths, but I’m just a small cog in the wheel, what do I know?

    Number two – Yes, we are currently getting the next generation of body armor to the field. As we always do. And we aren’t “struggling” to do it. We’re actually well ahead of schedule. Funny, Mr. Moss didn’t seem to care to mention that, even though he was told that in the interview (of which I have a copy of the transcript).

    Technology evolves, Anjin-San. it gets better with time. Are you mad that Honda 2005 Civics are better cars than the 1998 versions? The technology that makes the 2005 so great simply didn’t exist in 1998. Sure, the scientists were WORKING on it in 1998, and they made it available as soon as technology permitted it to.

    We have been upgrading and supplementing body armor for the last 4 years. Because Michael Moss finally finds out about it, he’s convinced that somehow, someway, the military is all screwed up, and dammit, he’s going to print it. He’s an idiot. He thinks this is something new – upgrades. Hell, the military upgrades EVERYTHING. Does that mean that the thing you had before the upgrade was a piece of shit? Of course not. Was the M1A1 tank a piece of shit? Was it “struggling?” Well, then why did we bother coming out with the M1A2? You see my point?

    Of course we want it to happen faster – I wish that the next generation from 5 years into the future was available now. I wish that the next generation after that was available now. I wish I could have a 2015 car today. But you can’t.

    He had his mind made up before he went into that interview. I saw a copy of his “questions” which were more like accusations, before the meeting ever took place.

    He’s always had an agenda, from day one. He has an obsession with this topic, and he simply won’t rest until he finds something to sink his teeth into. Too bad this article FLOPPED. It didn’t catch on ANYWHERE. He was hoping to make a huge splash with this, and he FAILED, because he LIED.

    He’s one of those: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I know what I believe” kind of people.

    You can believe someone who works on the program, or you can believe an obviously biased reporter for the New York Times who’s hell-bent on finding a story to fit his preconceived opinions.

    A true disgrace to the profession of journalism. I don’t hate many people, Anjin-San. But I really hate people who lie and make our Soldiers question the efficacy of their very, very sound equipment; equipment that has saved many lives. Soldiers must have confidence in three very important things: 1) their leadership, 2) their training, 3) their equipment. I don’t throw around the “un-American” accusation very often, but I don’t hestitate to label him as very Anti-American. Anti-Soldier, Anti-Military, and Anti-American.

    I spit on him and that “newspaper.”

  42. kennymac says:

    ALS,

    Thank you so much for your imput. We need to hear more from people like yourself who can provide us civilians with a better perspective that we get through the MSM. You are doing us a great service. God bless you and your husband.

    Anjin-san , it’s your serve. Certainly you can provide some proof to support your contention that the NYT article is correct.

    As an aside, my Mother in Law lost a son who was a police officer. Murdered in the line of duty. Is she now more qualified to help make local policy?

  43. Freda says:

    Anyone who is inthe spotlight of the media has always been fodder. Why is Cindy Sheehan so special. I say print it PRINT IT ALL and go find some more.

  44. CAvH says:

    Cindy Sheehan is using her son’s death (against his will) to rpomote and extend her days of infamy. I think it is fully appropriate that the world gets to know that she is not backed by her family in smearing her sons legacy.

    CAvH