Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan, Crawford, Texas
You Prevail, Where Others Have Failed
Dear Ms. Sheehan,
From your grief over the loss of
your son, Casey, in Iraq has come the courage to spotlight
nationally the cowardly character trait of a President who refuses
to meet with anyone or any group critical of his illegal,
fabricated, deceptive war and occupation of that ravaged country.
As a messianic militarist, Mr. Bush turned aside his own father's
major advisers who warned him of the terroristic, political, and
diplomatic perils to the United States from an invasion of Iraq.
He refused to listen.
Thirteen organizations in early
2003 separately wrote their President requesting a meeting to have
him hear them out as to why they opposed his drumbeating,
on-the-road-to war policies. These groups represented millions of
Americans. They included church leaders, veterans, business,
labor, retired intelligence officials, students, women and others.
They are among those Americans who are not allowed through the
carefully screened public audiences that are bused to arenas
around the country to hear his repetitive slogans for carrying on
this draining, boomeranging war. They each wrote President Bush
but he never bothered even to acknowledge their letters simply to
say no to the requested meetings. Not even the courtesy of a reply
came from their White House.
Ever since then it has been the
same-exclusion, denial, contempt and arrogance for views counter
to that of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and the tight circle around
them that composes the inner tin ear of this Administration. Why,
they even refuse to listen to objections by their own government's
military lawyers (JAG) over repeated violations of due process of
law. When will he realize that he is supposed to be the President
of all the people, not just those misled into supporting his Iraq
Perhaps the breakthrough will
begin this hot August in Crawford, Texas, with the devastating
loss of a beloved child transformed into a mission for the soul of
our country. This rogue regime, led by two draft-dodgers and
officially counseled by similar pro-war evaders during the Vietnam
War, is not "our country." Millions of Americans,
including military and public servants in his Administration, and
many in the retired military, diplomatic and intelligence
services, opposed this war, still oppose it and do not equate
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney with the United States of America.
Our flag stands for
"liberty and justice for all." Our flag must never be
misused or defiled as a bandanna for war crimes, as a gag against
the people's freedom of speech and conscience or as a fig leaf to
hide the shame of charlatans in high public office, who violate
our Constitution, our laws and our founding fathers' framework for
accountable, responsive government.
You will be goaded to cross the
semantic line against a President who himself has crossed the much
graver constitutional line that has cost so many lives on both
sides and continues to cost and cost our country in so many ways
domestically and before the world. Neglecting America for the Iraq
war has become the widening downward path trod by the Bush
Authenticity, bereft of
contrivances, is what must confront this White House Misleader.
And authenticity is what you are and what drives you as you demand
to see this resistant President. He is on an intermittent month
long vacation, with spells for fundraisers and other insulated
events. His schedule provides ample time for such a meeting. You
reflect the hopes and prayers of millions of like-minded
Should he relent and opens his
doors, be sure to ask why he low-balls U.S. casualties in Iraq,
deleting and disrespecting soldiers seriously hurt or sickened in
the Iraq war theater, but not in direct combat. Remind him of
those soldiers back in military hospitals who, with their
families, wonder why they are not being counted as they cope with
their serious and permanent disabilities. (60 Minutes, CBS
Ask him why, despite Pentagon
audits and GAO investigations about corruption, waste and
non-delivery of services in Iraq by profiteering large
corporations totaling billions of dollars, this Commander of Chief
accepted campaign contributions from their executives and proceeds
to let this giant corporate robbery continue without the requisite
Consider bringing to him a copy
of President Dwight Eisenhower's famous "Cross
of Iron" speech, delivered in April 1953 before the nation's newspaper
editors in Washington, D.C. And add statements by Marine General
Anthony Zinni (ret.), a Middle East specialist who strongly
criticized the Bush-Cheney war policy before and after March 2003.
May you and your associates
succeed in galvanizing the public debate in this country over why
a growing majority of Americans now think it was a costly mistake
to invade Iraq and want our soldiers back, with the U.S. out of
that country. He knows that his support for how he is handling
this war-occupation is falling close to one third of respondents
in recent polls-the lowest yet. Even with the mass-media at his
disposal everyday, he now represents a minority of public opinion,
which should give him pause before closing his oil marinated doors
on majority views in this nation.
May you prevail where others
have failed to secure an audience with Mr. Bush.
Ralph Nader is a consumer
advocate and former presidential candidate. You can comment on
this letter on his blogspot at DemocracyRising.US.
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