Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Every Mother's Son

George W. Bush hauled stakes for Texas and a vacation a few days ago. Cindy Sheehan followed. She got off a bus Saturday afternoon and started walking to the Crawford ranch. She wanted some answers and was going to get them.

Sheehan had met Mr. Bush once before. On April 4, 2004, just shy of a year after Bush stood on an aircraft carrier beneath a banner that read "Mission Accomplished," Cindy Sheehan's son, Army Specialist Casey A. Sheehan, was killed in Iraq when his unit was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. He was 24 years old.

After Casey's death, Cindy Sheehan was invited to the White House for a visit with Mr. Bush in June of 2004. Her first memory of Bush's appearance that day was when he walked into the room and said in a loud, bluff voice, "Who we'all honorin' today?"

"His mouth kept moving," Sheehan later recalled of her meeting with Bush, "but there was nothing in his eyes or anything else about him that showed me he really cared or had any real compassion at all. This is a human being totally disconnected from humanity and reality. His eyes were empty, hollow shells." Bush called her "Ma" or "Mom" throughout the whole meeting, and never got around to learning her name.

"The whole meeting was simply bizarre and disgusting," Sheehan said later. "Designed to intimidate instead of providing compassion. He didn't even know our names. I just couldn't believe this was happening. It was so surreal and bizarre. Later I met with some of the other fifteen or sixteen families who were at the White House the same day and, sure enough, they all felt the same way I did."

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