On page A3 of the Washington Post, staff writer Sam Coates seems to give anti-war/anti-Bush protester Cindy Sheehan wide latitude as to her reasons for protesting in Crawford. Mr. Coates writes: "This weekend is the culmination of the standoff between Bush and war protester Cindy Sheehan, who arrived 21 days ago. She came asking Bush to meet with her, even though he had done so before, to discuss the war. Her protest snowballed, with the arrival of Sheehan sympathizers and then pro-war demonstrators. Both sides planned major rallies over the weekend because it is the last one before Bush ends his vacation and Sheehan leaves."
Mrs. Sheehan did not want to "discuss the war" as Sam Coates suggest, but instead has spent some three weeks accusing the president of being a "terrorist" and "murderer," while insisting that "America is not a country worth dying for." This is not the dialogue, one would think, of peaceful discussion, as Sam Coates tries to imply.
Also, at least one side did not plan "major rallies" for the sake of the president leaving Crawford for Washington. The "pro-war" or "pro-Bush" supporters have reacted to the continuing demonstrations of Cindy Sheehan and her many liberal support groups. The rally that supports the troops and what they are doing in Iraq is called the "You Don't Speak For me, Cindy!" protest. It is more of a refuting of what Cindy Sheehan has said and done, as opposed to a out and out support party for the president.
Mr. Coates also lets a bit of fiction survive by not correcting some obvious misstatements by Mrs. Sheehan: "This is America standing up and saying this is enough. Mr. Bush, you always said that if you are not for us, you are against us. Well, Mr. Bush, we are against you," she said to a standing ovation at a rally of her supporters.
Bush has never said the above in relation to the American public. He has always said, though, to governments that do not take a proactive hand in defeating terrorism, that "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorist."
One wonders if this was what Cindy Sheehan wanted to "discuss" with the president if she meet with him a second time: "Why are we allowing him to continue to kill our kids, because he's killed so many already?"
But that is only half the quote, it seems. The other half of what Cindy Sheehan said, as reported in NY Newsday, was "We've had enough." For "those pro-war, pro-killing people" who are "out to smear" her, Sheehan said she's "not going away."
It is a mystery as to why Sam Coates left out this portion of Cindy Sheehan's remarks, as she is clearly referring to the "pro-Bush" supporters opposed to her, but that is what this web site is all about.
The media, in general, have adapted to calling those in direct opposition to Cindy Sheehan’s stance as "pro-Bush" or "pro-war" but not "pro-America" which is how one could also aptly describe the counter-protest against Cindy Sheehan.
But in regards to Mrs. Sheehan's "vigil," it has always been "anti-war" or "anti-Bush," but not "anti-American," as some who are down at Crawford are. The Washington Post, as well as the rest of the old media in general, have omitted these facts from the American electorate, as Mr. Coates does here today.
Finally, Mr. Coates might be accused of cherry-picking the protesters choice of signs: "The opposing sides booed at each other across the 10-foot no man's land. The pro-war activists held signs such as "You've made your protest, now it's time to MOVE ON" and "Cindy supports Osama," while antiwar activists displayed "Make sandwiches not war" and "America stands with Cindy."
The difference in rhetoric and message between both camp's signs are staggeringly obvious. While Sheehan supporters come across as peaceful purveyors of a more civilized and thoughtful message, supporters on the opposite side of the spectrum are cast as hateful and wholly unsympathetic of Cindy Sheehan, and combative to the point of aligning Osama Bin Laden with her. If true that those type of signs were indeed there, and I have no reason to doubt that they were, then Mr. Coates could have mentioned the multitude of reactionary signs held aloft by the Cindy Sheehan supporters for weeks now that has championed everything from anti-Jewish sentiment to labeling the President of the United States as a "terrorist."