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by William Hughes
Friday, Oct. 28, 2005 at 1:45 AM
On a sidewalk in front of the White House, on Oct. 26, 2005, anti-war activists, Cindy Sheehan, John Bruhns and Juan M. Torres, Sr., and others from groups, like “Veterans for Peace,” gathered at a Vigil to protest the conflict. The toll of U.S. military dead had just reached the grim 2,000 mark. Sheehan predicted the war will be another Vietnam, unless the people can bring it to an end.
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Washington, D.C. - Standing on the sidewalk in front of the White House on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 26, 2005, was the co-founder of the “Gold Star Families for Peace” - Cindy Sheehan. She’s a gutsy woman, whose remarkable activism has breathed new life into the anti-war movement. Her son, Spc. Casey Sheehan, age 24, was killed in action in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. It is fair to say that Sheehan’s hard work to end the war has rattled the Bush-Cheney Gang and their lackeys in the Right Wing media, such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and that repulsive Ann Coulter. From camping outside George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, TX to doing vigils in front of the White House itself, Sheehan won’t let him forget that his so-called, “noble cause,” isn’t worth anyone giving their life for.
Coming on the heels of the sad news that the death toll for U.S. military personnel has now exceeded the grim 2,000 mark in the Iraq conflict, Sheehan said, “There have been more U.S. troops killed in the first two and half years of this war, than there were at the beginning of the Vietnam War. It took four years to kill 2,000 Americans in Vietnam.” And not only are Americans dying: according to the prestigious British medical journal, “Lancet,” over 100,000 innocent Iraqis have also been killed, since the Bush-Cheney Gang launched its immoral and unjust preemptive war against Iraq in March, 2003.
Sheehan continued, “I don’t think America wants another Vietnam. We have to get our troops out. We’re going to leave anyway. We’re going to pull out anyway. Let’s do it before 50,000 more Americans are dead and before millions of Iraqis are killed. Let’s do it, now!” The Iraqi conflict was inspired by Neocon ideologues, like the then-Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz. He now holds the post of President of the World Bank. (1) It was pushed by powerful warmongers, besides Bush and Cheney, such as: Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), and the recently indicted - Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX).
Earlier in the day, Sheehan had traveled over to Arlington National Cemetery, located in Arlington, VA, just across the Potomac River, and south of the nation’s capital, to lay a wreath at the grave of “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” On this Friday morning coming, Sheehan, and others from the “Military Families Speak Out” and “Veterans for Peace” groups, will be going to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, to visit with U.S. veterans, who have been wounded in Iraq, delivering flowers and cards, donated by anti-war activists. The historic medical center is located in the northern end of the
district. It is, unfortunately, slated for closing by the Bush-Cheney Gang.
One of the untold stories about the tragic Iraqi War is the dismal fate of the over 15,000 Americans men and women, in the U.S. military, who have been wounded there in combat. They have come back home to an “overburdened Veterans Affairs system, which will need over 5 billion to pay for care and benefits over their lifetime.” At least, 7,159 of the returning veterans have been “severely injured, including 10% with spinal injuries, 10% with head injuries and 8% who were amputees. Among the 420 who lost limbs, at least 44 were multiple amputees.” (2) To date, the Iraqi War, without including the above expenses, has cost the American taxpayers $ 203.7 billion, and that number has been rising at a rate of over billion a month. (3)
Juan M. Torres, Sr., whose only son Juan, Jr., age 25, was killed in Iraq on July 12, 2004, said that Bush acts like “the Iraqi war is a game. He talks about winning. It’s not a soccer game. It’s the lives of our children that he is talking about.” Torres was standing on the left side of Sheehan, along with a veteran of the Iraqi War, John Bruhns of Philadelphia, who was on her right. Bruhns served in Iraq, in 2003, with the 1st Armored Division, where he obtained the rank of sergeant. Bruhns wondered, “If Iraq is such a noble cause, than why aren’t Bush’s daughters over there? Why don’t they (the Bush-Cheney Gang) offer their own flesh and blood?” He labeled Wolfowitz’s appointment to the World Bank sinecure, as “a miscarriage of justice - a disgrace.”
Finally, Sheehan reminded everyone that “Dick Cheney,” whose has incestuous connections to the controversial Halliburton company, a contractor who has made billions off this conflict, (4) had said, “the Iraqi war would only last six months and that the oil would pay for it. Now, he’s saying it will last a dozen years.” With respect to the expected federal indictments of top White House officials in the Plamegate affair, (5) Sheehan called it, “a first step in addressing a culture of corruption.”
2. New York Daily News, “15,000 Hurt Vets Need Care,” by Richard Sisk, 10/26/05.
© William Hughes 2005.
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘’No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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