Suddenly, This Summer...
August 24, 2005
By Sheila Samples
United States is not nearly so concerned that its acts be kept secret
from its intended victims as it is that the American people not
know of them." - U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark
Folks who watch the "fair-and-balanced" coverage of
Fox News, or perhaps CNN, the most "trusted name in news," might
think Camp Casey is a neat new name for the Gaza Strip in Palestine
or even a teenage hideout in Aruba. They would probably be surprised
to learn the camp is at President George Bush's ranch in Crawford,
Texas, and is named after 24-year-old Army Specialist Casey Sheehan
who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004.
Casey's mother, Cindy Sheehan, has been living in a tent on George
Bush's doorstep since August 6th - three days after Bush assured
a group of Texas lawmakers in Grapevine that the slaughter of 20
Ohio Marines from one battalion in a single week would not shake
his will, because, by God, "we are at war." Bush crowed, "Our men
and women who've lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and in
this war on terror have died in a noble cause and a selfless cause."
That did it. Cindy Sheehan says she decided at that moment to
go to the Crawford ranch and ask Bush one question - just one. "What
was the noble cause that my son died for?"
Now, it would not be unreasonable for the president of the United
States to come out and answer one question from a grief-stricken
mother whose child was sacrificed in what Bush so giddily proclaims
a "noble" cause. But that's not how this president does things.
No one calls the shots for Bush; he does not make mistakes, and
he says the great thing about being president is that he doesn't
owe anybody an explanation. About anything. Especially about his
war, a noble cause which has settled gloriously around his shoulders
like a Cicerian ruff.
Bush steadfastly refuses to hear the voice of "the people" or
to even acknowledge they have a voice at all. The only call Bush
hears comes directly from God - not from the street rabble comprising
the cannon fodder required for his legacy, nor from their keening
mothers who are beginning to buzz around his head like pesky mosquitoes
at a Texas all-day singing and dinner on the grounds.
Parents shouldn't have to bury their children. Ever. It disrupts
the "natural order" of things. Unfortunately, most of the world
is in agreement that nobody is better at disrupting order than George
W. Bush. Thanks to his callousness and cruelty, the "one-question"
meeting with Sheehan that Bush could have resolved in less than
an hour while racking up some badly needed positive PR evolved instead
into a movement that is gaining both attention and velocity. It
is assuming a life of its own, and is sweeping non-stop across the
nation. Cindy Sheehan is emboldening Americans awakening to a nightmare
of murder, genocide, torture, abuse, assassination, rendition -
lies piled upon grisly lies - to break through the yellow ribbons
encircling the patriotic detention camp their nation has become.
Suddenly, this summer. Free at last.
Although Sheehan was called to her stricken mother's bedside last
week and remains in California, the number of sojourners to Camp
Casey continues to grow. These concerned citizens believe their
president should, as Fox News' Sean Hannity demanded in 1999 when
troops were preparing to go into Kosovo, "explain to the mothers
and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags
why their son or daughter have to give up their life."
The people are awake. Like Sheehan, they want answers. Yet, at
I saw NO religious leaders striding bravely through the shimmering
Texas heat in an effort to stem the flow of innocent blood. Where
are the peace-loving Christians who should be speaking out on behalf
of Jesus Christ - who minced no words when it came to peace and
love and mercy? Why do these Good Samaritans cross to the other
side of the street and skitter by fearfully, lest anything even
remotely resembling compassion should be expected of them?
I saw NO members of Congess from either side of the aisle with
the courage to throw a supportive arm around Sheehan's shoulders
and demand that Bush answer her single question. How can they? Like
dogs in heat, some are in pursuit of their corporate donors who
are marching triumphantly into Baghdad. Others, mostly Democrats,
are calculating the political risk of showing their faces in public
lest they be asked to take a stand on anything, especially a hideous
war for which ultimately they must be held accountable. The silence
surrounding the 78 elected women in Congress is as thick as an Iraqi
I saw NO objective mainstream media (MSM) coverage of Sheehan's
vigil. Those forced to acknowledge that something of historical
magnitude was gathering steam were very careful to "balance" a 10-second
Sheehan sound bite with interminable interviews with those who condemned
Sheehan for not supporting the troops in a time of war. It's easy
for those who get their news from U.S. state-controlled corporate
media to get the impression that Sheehan is an "activist mom," that
she is little more than an "anti-war advocate" who is being used
by left-wing political groups for their ideological advantage. 
Actually, the electronic MSM left the building years ago and are
little more than holographic images on our TV screens. Their goal,
especially CNN and Fox, is to do whatever it takes to keep the people
from challenging or embarrassing, as they like to say, "this president."
The gist of their coverage is that the Sheehan "ditch witch" needs
to just shut up and accept Bush's grand vision. Sheehan should leave,
for her presence there forces God-fearing, family-values-oriented
Americans to watch sausage being made in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, in spite of all they can do, Bush's noble cause is rapidly
becoming the people versus the sausage-making machine. The MSM are
indignant that Sheehan is forcing them to bother their beautiful
minds with such a messy process. Sheehan needs to show more compassion
when George Bush whines that he needs to "get on with his life."
After all, her son's life is over - why does she have to try to
The print MSM, although not as racuous, has uniformly enabled
Bush to act upon his spate of fantastical delusions, whether about
weapons of mass destruction, regime change, distributing freedom
to every individual of oil-rich countries as a gift from God, liberating
the denizens of entire villages by blowing them off the face of
the earth, or spreading democracy like a virus throughout an entire
region. Rather than address the critical questions that Sheehan
and others ask - have every right to ask - about why their sons
and daughters are dying, most reporters turn the issue into a political
"Certainly Sheehan has caught a wave, and the ranch stakeout was
very clever," Washington Post's Dana Milbank remarked on
Aug 18 in an online discussion. "But she has been seeking publicity
for more than a year ... and for the most part, the media ignored
her." Milbank admitted it is "possible" for Sheehan to have ignited
a movement that will continue, but added he believed "Sheehan's
story will fade after the Roberts hearings start." Milbank also
quipped that the only citizen who has a right to take a grievance
to the president is... Laura Bush.
In his own online chat the day before, Milbank's cohort at the
Post, Jim VandeHei, yawned, "The White House thinks this
whole story is a silly obsession of bored reporters with nothing
better to do during the slow August."
The blase' attitude of Milbank and Vandehei is shared by the majority
of their peers, with the exception of far too few editorial writers
such as the Atlanta Journal-Consititution's Jay Bookman and
the New York Times' Paul Krugman and, of course, Frank Rich
- who has no peer. While waiting for August to end, Milbank and
Vandehei could perhaps amuse themselves and their readers with a
rollicking account of the travails endured by a pack of their fellow
reporters and photographers who accompanied Bush on a 17-mile bike
ride on Saturday, Aug. 13.
Or not. I mean, after spending hours cycling through the Texas
Johnson grass and loco weed with the leader of the free world, a
"bonding" adventure if ever there was one, what's there to talk
about - the 1,868 butchered US citizens in Iraq, one of whom was
Casey Sheehan, whose mother is camped out at the front gate?
No? Well maybe the bikers thought to ask Bush why he stubbornly
continues to remain in a bloody IraqNam quagmire that continues
to suck our sons and daughters under at more than three a day, continues
to add more wounded and maimed Americans to the already 45,000 whose
lives are shattered forever, continues a murderous rampage against
innocent civilians in two countries whose existance on this planet
is so trivial their deaths are not worthy of counting.
Too much hard work? Well, I'm sure those stalwart journalist cyclists
were just bubbling with questions about the "nobility" of a cause
wherein a president is willing to sacrifice his nation's citizens,
its money, its very existance on an illegal, immoral, grandoise
crusade to spread freedom and democracy - only to back off at the
last minute and support the creation of an Islamist state. Surely
they are curious about such shuddering hypocrisy. For Bush to change
horses in the middle of the Democracy stream is the most deadly
flip-flop of all time. Bush's cowardly retreat screams an answer
to Sheehan's question and to questions of all mothers who are waking
up and realizing that their children have died - will continue to
die - in vain.
Milbank flippantly opines that when this August non-story is over,
Cindy Sheehan will be viewed as either "Rosa Parks or Lyndon Larouche."
I have news for Milbank and his fellow MSM holograms - this is not
last August nor the August before and, as Yogi Berra once earnestly
opined - "it ain't over till it's over."
The people have Karl Rove in hiding; they have smoked Bush out
and have him on the run. Bush is so rattled that he shouts "9/11!"
to any question posed to him, calls out "9/11!" to questions not
posed to him, and holds up a sign heralding "9/11!" to passers-by
on the street.
The search for answers began with a single woman stumbling along
through a tangle of weeds in a ditch beside a dusty Texas back road,
with a single question to ask the president of the United States.
She was ignored by the president, yet her presence ignited a movement
that roared across the country at an astonishing rate, almost instantly
becoming larger than one dead soldier and his heartbroken mother.
And it is not over.
The people are coming, and George Bush knows it. They want answers.
They want the truth and they will not stop until they get it from
Bush and his neoconservative handlers, from the heartless and destructive
religious right, the corporate military-industrial jackals, Congressonal
whores and cowards, from the hollow virtual media complex. And from
the murderous Donald H. Rumsfeld.
When that happens, this nation will experience its own terrible
and awesome "Suddenly, This Summer" moment.
Then, and only then, will it be over.
 Local media
across the nation did an admirable job of covering candlelight vigils
that lit up the entire U.S. landscape last week. Great photos and
- where attendees are encouraged to post photos from vigils in their
area - and here.
 The Internet
is literally pulsating with minute-by-minute reports from reporters
at the scene - reports that cannot be spun, watered down or scrubbed
by the administration or the MSM. There are far too many to mention
here, but check out Democratic
Iconoclast (Bush's hometown paper), and Air
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian
US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor
for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.