Cindy Sheehan is good for Bush, and good for the war effort.
If you support the war in Iraq Cindy Sheehan is your unwitting ally.
This post at Politics from Left to Right sums up the left’s perception of Sheehan. Two excerpts:
Sheehan is an impassioned defender of her point of view. She has lost a son and while a lot of others don’t think that gives her moral authority of any sort, it does. It’s foolish to argue otherwise. Cindy Sheehan is not behaving logically. She is protesting. And she has a right to do so.
Cindy Sheehan is now a Lefty Cause Celeb and the spectacle that’s being created around her detracts from her message, just as the religious fervor surrounding Schiavo detracted from that cause. Sheehan has a more powerful message, too. It’s not cluttered up by worries about how you life may end or whether your family will honor your final wishes. It’s the heart rendering sound of a mother grieving. And if she can continue to deliver it in her clear sad voice, that message — why did my son die? — could resonate a lot further than her new-found supporters might think.
That’s the perception of the anti-war left, (also called the left nowadays), but the right thinks of Cindy Sheehan differently. We think of her own words.
Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full well that my son, my family, this nation and this world were betrayed by George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agendas after 9/11.
And the other thing I want him to tell me is ‘just what was the noble cause Casey died for?’ Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We’re not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism,” she exclaimed.
In short, Sheehan blames The Jews and the Oil Interests for the war in Iraq and wants to end terrorism by rewarding terrorists. (It wouldn’t work, for the record. Islamic terrorists don’t want the US out of Muslim lands- they want the US to become a Muslim land. They don’t want Israelis out of Palestine, they want all The Jews out of Israel.) According to some, the fact that her son died means Sheehan is right. Or, at minimum, she has unimpeachable moral authority.
But the right is familiar with, and has long rejected this tactic. This is the same argument that says men can’t be against abortion because we can’t get pregnant. “You can’t walk in my over-stuffed shoes so you can’t judge! My body is mine!” It says whites can’t be against affirmative action because they aren’t black. “You never wore the shackles of slavery so you can’t know how it feels! So shut it!” It says noboby can be against raising medicare benefits unless they are on medicare. “Grandma eats dogfood because she can’t pay for her pills and human food! You don’t know how bad it is ‘cause you aren’t old you greedy bastard! Silencio!!!” Et cetera. This is a strong tactic, and it worked for quite a while, but it doesn’t anymore. Even Sheehan’s powerful plea- “My son died and you don’t know how tragic that is so you don’t know war!” doesn’t quite work. The right, having identified it as a new variation on an old theme, just rejects it out of hand.
But this only innoculates the right against Cindy Sheehan, which hardly makes her a friend of those who support the war in Iraq. (The right already supports the war anyway.) The question is the effect Cindy Sheehan has on moderates and the left.
MATTHEWS: All right. If your son had been killed in Afghanistan, would you have a different feeling?
SHEEHAN: I don’t think so, Chris, because I believe that Afghanistan is almost the same thing. We’re fighting terrorism. Or terrorists, we’re saying. But they’re not contained in a country. This is an ideology and not an enemy. And we know that Iraq, Iraq had no terrorism. They were no threat to the United States of America.
MATTHEWS: But Afghanistan was harboring, the Taliban was harboring al-Qaida which is the group that attacked us on 9/11.
SHEEHAN: Well then we should have gone after al-Qaida and maybe not after the country of Afghanistan.
This puts Sheehan squarely in Michael Moore’s corner. Moderates, and the moderate left, disagree with her on Afghanistan, and are divided on Israel, while the radical left applauds her all the more. Cindy Sheehan therefore consolidates the right while she divides the left. Worse yet, (assuming you are against the war in Iraq) she is THE symbol of war protest. You are drawn to her or driven away by her. Her views on Afghanistan and Israel mean more people will be driven away from her, and thus from protesting against the war in Iraq. She’s selling the Big Mac, and a lot of people might want that, but to get her Big Mac you have to buy escargot fries (thinks Afghanistan is the same as Iraq) and a nice warm cup of whale shit (blame the Jews, er, neocons, and Israel for terrorism).
Most people will pass, even if they think a Big Mac is pretty tasty.