Moral Authority and Cindy Sheehan

I was going to wait and write on Pandagon when they had yet another post denigrating capitalism, but I couldn’t let this one go by. Amanda has a post dedicated to taking Dennis Prager apart, which is fine with me. I have no particular love for the man. Without a lot of time at my disposal (I’m having dinner with this guy), I’ll keep the focus of this post rather narrow.

She trips up here:

The only evidence that Sheehan is stupid or immmoral I’ve ever seen any conservative cough up is that she disagrees with them about the war and subsequently whether or not having her son 6 feet under is a good idea. They can’t make a good case for Casey Sheehan’s death being necessary, of course. The whole point of Cindy’s crusade has been to get President Bush to answer the simple question, “What noble cause did my son die for?” It’s been nearly a year since she staked him out at his ranch in Crawford to get an answer for that question and as of yet, he hasn’t come up with one.

No, it’s not just that she disagrees with the war, it’s that she hates her country with a ferocity that matches my own feelings for her. We’ll begin with a soft quote and proceed:

That lying bastard, George Bush, is taking a five-week vacation in time of war, … tells me why my son died in Iraq. I’ve got the whole month of August off, and so does he.

She neglects to mention that Bush did meet with her; there was no reason for a second visit because it would have legitimized the hysteria she’s peddling.

I admire President Chavez for his strength to resist the United States. Instead, Bush is waging a war of terrorism against the world.

Here she’s siding against her own country and with a dictator that is in the process of wrecking Venezuela.

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, imperialism in the Middle East.

She will only accept one answer, but no noble cause is even remotely possible with this thankless shrew. Not even the National Security Strategy of 2002. No, it must be about oil, or some other conspiracy theory she dreamed up while sucking up to the tyrants of the world.

She also forgets that we are almost certainly the least imperialist country in human history that possesses our military and economic power. Or she doesn’t know what imperialism really is. My bet is on the latter. To take but one example, when Turkey’s parliament refused to give us basing rights to come in from the north into Iraq, did we kill the MPs that voted against us and put their heads on pikes? That’s what an imperialist would do, but we just came in full force from the south and parachuted into the north.

Are we not trying to provide a functioning country for the Iraqis to run for themselves? Yes we are, but that point is lost on the shrew.

Some more quotes, courtesy of Sweetness & Light:

We began the killing as soon as we stepped foot on these shores [of America] and the killing has gone on unabated for over 200 years.

Well, technically it’s more like 500 years, but I get the point. No cause for killing by this country could ever be just. Nevermind a war that separated us from tyranny and created a country whose highest ideal is liberty; nor a war that ended slavery and cost hundreds of thousands of lives (also in pursuit of liberty); or even a war that was fought to end Nazism. Not to mention a Cold War that defeated communism, which has been of great benefit to humanity. The shrew would prefer to spend her time sucking up to communists, rather than defeating them.

We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now.

Clearly, the shrew should not be allowed to handle a mop and bucket, given her state of mind. She lacks the competence.

Every member of Bush’s executive branch (past and present) and every member of Congress who voted to give George the authority to invade Iraq have innocent blood on their hands. For the next State of the Union address, maybe the hypocrites in Congress should shamefacedly display blood-soaked hands, instead of proudly wriggling fingers stained with ink to symbolize sham Iraqi elections.

Ditto from above. I could go on. I couldn’t find one of her most malicious quotes, but you get the point. She’s a loon.

Amanda continues along these lines:

Quick question to anyone who thinks Cindy Sheehan has a shallow moral system: Should people die for no good reason? If your answer is no, then you agree with her. It’s actually pretty simple. Through all the blather about “Judeo-Christian values” and “family values” and what other horseshit Prager and company want to pile on to argue for their moral superiority, at the center of this is that they can’t even manage to gather the moral strength to oppose getting people killed for no good reason.

Nifty trick. Only you must accept that it’s for no good reason, which she takes as a given. It’s not. The justification is the spreading of democracy as a defense against future terrorism. It’s a risky strategy, but it could well work. And it is a good reason because it’s intended to make the world, specifically America, safer in the long run.

This is debatable, but all of the nonsense that we entered into war for the profit motive requires a stunning propensity for conspiracy theories. The left won’t even acknowledge that there could even be a just reason for this war. The next time they advocate having our troops do a meals-on-wheels tour through Bosnia, I’ll remember and complain loudly. If we can’t justify a war that is fought with the intention of protecting this country, there’s no way we can justify a war in which our security is not threatened, even tangentially.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Democracy, Middle East, Terrorism, US Politics, World Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Robert Prather
About Robert Prather
Robert Prather contributed over 80 posts to OTB between October 2005 and July 2013. He previously blogged at the now defunct Insults Unpunished. Follow him on Twitter @RobPrather.


  1. ken says:

    You may think you have plenty of good reasons to kill someone, but it is illegal, so you had better not do it.

    The war on Iraq is like that. You may really, really want to invade and destroy a country but it is illegal to do so. So you shouldn’t do it.

    It is also immoral to do so. This is another good reason why you shouldn’t start wars on other countries.

    I know this is too complicated for conservatives to understand. Conservatives just do not share American values, so it is really hard to communicate with them about important things like the moral and legal issues related to war.

  2. Ken,

    In what way is the war illegal? It was done in accordance with our constitution (Congress approved) and that is our governing document. The UN Charter doesn’t really matter because of the way international law is handled in this country. Whichever law is passes last is the one that governs. The authorization to use force was passed after the UN Charter (or treaty, whatever).

    As for the morality, war is a necessary evil. It’s how tyrants are stopped, how political oppression is ended and how people secure their own liberty, as we did starting in 1776.

  3. ken says:


    Article 10 of the US Constitution says that treaties, once signed and ratified become the ‘supreme’ law of the land.

    I take it you, as a conservative, think that any old law passed by congress can supercede this Constitutional imperative but it doesn’t mean you are right. It only means you are a republican shill.

    As for the morality of the war on Iraq I will just refer you to the Pope who said that it was not morally justified.

    If you cannot follow the Popes argument then you have no moral compass and cannot be reasoned with on the basis of morality.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Ken, since you are not the arbiter of what is or is not legal concerning the actions of the United States, you should STFU. A bipartisan congress authorized the use of force to remove Saddam from power in Iraq. If you think the war is illegal, take it to court. Otherwise shut up. Your side lies about everything. No wonder you idiots cannot win an election.

  5. ken says:

    Well the record is there for all history to judge. Bush lied about Irag in order to get Americans to support his war on Iraq.

    You can complain about the truth all you want. It won’t change a thing.

    And by the way, an act of Congress does not supercede the Constitution of the United States.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    The starting premise is also false. If I have a reasonable fear of my life, due to a threat another person poses, then the law usually grants me or anyone else the use of deadly force.

    Also, ken’s analogy is a rather inapt one as it seems to suffer from the fallacy of composition. A nation, while made up of people, is itself not a person.

    Thus, ken’s entire argument is called into serious question.

  7. Ken,

    You need to re-read the Supremacy clause of the United States Constitution:

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    So Ken, upon closer inspection it appears that the Constitution and laws passed by Congress (and State legislatures) are also the Supreme law of the land.

    SCOTUS determined in a 1979 ruling that certain treaties are political documents and aren’t enforcable. One reason, I think, is because they would then have to withstand judicial review and could be overturned by the courts. SCOTUS wisely decided to stay out of that argument and leave it to the political branches.

    Congress has an enumerated power allowing it to declare war for whatever reason it chooses. Saying that a treaty can nullify this is tantamount to allowing one part of one branch (the Senate) amend the Constitution. It won’t fly.

    In practice, treaties are subordinate to the law, and as I mentioned earlier, they can be changed by Congress simply passing a law. Last past the post is my understanding of it.

    Either way, you lose the legal argument.

  8. lily says:

    With one exception, your quotes only show that she hates Bush and his policies. It is a complete misunderstanding of democracy to equate contempt for a politician and his policies with contempt for the nation itself. Of course many Republicans would like people to misunderstand things this way, but the fact remains that there is nothing inherently patriotic about suporting a poitician and nothing inherently unpatiriotic about opposing one. I’m really surprised that you would fall into this error.

    The one quote that wasn’t about Bush is the one about the 200 year history of violence. We do have a 200 year history of violence, but so does nearly very nation. Our nation’s errors are human errors, not uniquely American. However, her attitude is one taking responisibiity for THIS country’s history (as opposed to the whitewashing of it or the minimizing of it) and that is not the same thing as hating the country.

  9. Anderson says:

    Steve linked this post for Sheehan’s sucking up to “communist dictators.” Am I missing something? The only leader whom I can find referenced, besides Bush, is Chavez. Is Chavez a communist? dictator?

    Or am I having trouble with that R.I.F. thing again?

  10. Steve Verdon says:

    Well, this Wikipedia entry supports the conclusion that he is strongly influenced by Communism/Socialism.

    This article says Chavez is a “self-prolaimed communist”. Granted, not a great source though. Personally, I’d like to see that self-proclomation.

    This Cox and Forkum post has a quote from Chavez that strikes me as fitting within the Communist/Marxist mold.

    “You have to strip yourself of individualism,” he urged listeners in one televised address. “You have to strip yourself of the yearnings for personal wealth. You have to strip yourself of egotism. You need to be, simply, useful.”

  11. C.Wagener says:

    I have always thought it is odd that attacking a regime that was firing at our aircraft on a daily basis is deemed illegal.

  12. Anderson says:

    Yeah, the Chavez bit isn’t really holding up.

    I mean, sure, he’s pursuing economically disastrous policies; but then, so is Bush.

  13. With one exception, your quotes only show that she hates Bush and his policies. It is a complete misunderstanding of democracy to equate contempt for a politician and his policies with contempt for the nation itself.


    Her blind hatred of Bush suggests to me that she doesn’t have both oars in the water. As for misunderstanding democracy, I don’t think so. First, free speech itself is not a necessary component of a democracy. It’s a value that came out of the Enlightment and is somewhat recent, whereas democracy is something like 2000 years old (I don’t know exactly and am not inclined to look it up).

    Now, she is free to be as hateful as she wants. Likewise, I can draw inferences from her statements. Her hate goes a good deal deeper than Bush, though he is clearly the focal point. Look at the comment about every member of Congress showing blood-soaked hands at the next SOTU.

    However, her attitude is one taking responisibiity for THIS country�s history (as opposed to the whitewashing of it or the minimizing of it) and that is not the same thing as hating the country.

    I see this quote of her’s differently than you. It seems to me, in the context of her other statements, that she is trying to paralyze us through guilt over past events and establish that we have no right to use force if we think it’s in our interest.

    I honestly don’t know how much more we can do about these things. The Civil War ended slavery in this country and unfortunately it took 100 years to implement the 14th and 15th amendments, but they were implemented through the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

    The tone of this comment suggests to me that she has contempt for this country, and a great deal of it. She seems to know very little of the good history of this country, how it was a miracle that it got created as it did, given the prevailing politics of the time (the prevailing thinking is a different story).

    In the end, I can only conclude that the shrew hates the country.