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I was so saddened to see the dueling diaries between starkravinglunaticradical and Cindy Sheehan this morning.  I do not doubt the sincerity of starkraving's pain nor do I question the righteousness underlying the rant of starkraving's diary.

That being said, however, let me offer some perspective about being a mom whose child was sent off to fight a needless war halfway around the world. My son is still alive and has not been injured - so I imagine that my experience is only a fraction of that which Cindy endures daily, so take these examples and multiply accordingly...

Every single time that my phone rings, my first thought is, "Is that someone calling to tell me that something happened to David?"

Every single time that my doorbell rings, my first thought is, "Is that someone calling to tell me that something happened to David?"

When a news report says, "American soldier killed, identification delayed pending family notification," anxiety strikes until I know my child is safe...and then I feel guilt because someone else's child was not, and often cry.

Every day, when my mind is not running on overdrive, my thoughts always go to, "How is David?  Is he safe?  How is his soul faring, given the things that he must see and do?"

As I unpack boxes to decorate for the holidays, I stumble across ornaments that were David's favorites or that he made - and I have to stop for a crying break.  I'm crying just writing this, by the way.

Another crying fit bgeins when I go to the shelve where I keep my cookbooks, I see the "Christmas Cookbook" that David's kindergarten class made.  His entry was for "Christmas cookies."  His recipe reads:  

There is this roll of cookie dough stuff you get at the grocery store.  Cut the dough into cookie slices.  Eat one piece of dough for every 5 cookies you make.  Put the cookies in the oven at 500 degrees for 10 minutes.  Put icing and sprinkles on cookies."
You guessed it - time for a crying break.

I can be driving in my car and a song will come on that reminds me of David.  I cry.

I walk past his bedroom several times a day and catch fleeting glimpses of "Mr. Bear," the nappy teddy bear that we bought him while I war pregnant, that we diapered in parenting classes at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, that slept in his crib and his bed for years, that now sits atop his former bed while.  I cry and pray that Mr. Bear will never have to make a return visit to Walter Reed to visit an injured David.

As I prepare for a large family meal today, I can already feel the tension rising, as I consider having to "break bread" with members of my husband's family who still say, "George Bush is a good Christian man.  It's better to fight the terrorists there than here.  You should be proud of David and support what he is doing.  It's people like you that are putting our soldiers in danger."  Said members of the family of course have never served in the military nor sent their own children into the military...with the exception of my father-in-law, who almost choked at the dinner table two years ago when I demanded that he tell me a single thing in Iraq that he was willing to have my son/his grandson killed for.  NOTHING is the same anymore in our family.

I could go on and on about how pervasive it is to be a military family member, especially a mom, during a time of war - it literally seeps into every facet your life.  I fight every day to help prevent my son and other people's loved ones from suffering the same fate as Casey Sheehan - so does Cindy, and in a much larger way.

Our fight is one that is fought through our tears.  Words often fail us as we try to explain things to people.  My life and Cindy's intersected on a fateful night in April 2004 in Sadr City, where our two sons, fresh from Ft. Hood, fought their first major battle and valiantly tried to save their buddies.  Eight soldiers died that night.  Casey was one of them.  I will never forget the sound of David's voice when he called me that night, telling me about how he held pieces of his friend's arm together.  I cried for hours and never felt so completely helpless in all of my mife.  What do you say to your shell-shocked child when he calls to tell you these things?

I once asked Cindy, "I never know what to say to you or other Gold Star parents.  I feel guilty that my son survived (so far) and yours didn't.  There are just no words that seem adequate."  Cindy's response:  "You don't have to say anything.  Just give us a hug."

Originally posted to Sharon Jumper on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 02:59 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  your diary is eloquent (4.00)
    and should be widely seen, which is why I will recommend it, even if it keeps my diary from the box.

    I know how thankful you are that you have not received "the call" or "the visit."  I know friends who are policemen whose wives have experienced the same worry, especially when the phone rings when husband has a night shift, or if they hear that a policeman has been shot and the name is not yet released.

    You - and all families with those serving  - are in my heart and thoughts today.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 03:03:38 AM PST

  •  Well written and recommended! (4.00)
    It's tough to be sincere and write about these sort of things. Takes guts for sure. I think that the whole diary thing earlier was just a case of who are all on the same side getting into it and it just bubbling over.

    Right now, all of our emotions are drained, and we still have possibly years of this struggle ahead of us. But those troops over there deserve nothing but everything we have to get them out of there, and we've got to be in it for the long haul.  

    Hopefully, those diaries will die down (though if they're still on the rec list in a few hours when the East Coast morning crowd hits, I imagine we'll see em hit the 400 comment zone before it's over with.

    People feel strongly, and this is a place where we encourage voices to be heard, even if sometimes it leads to a frustrating spat like we saw.

    Either way, I think we just need to cut each other some slack as we remember that we're on the same side and need each other to get through this long night.

    John Murtha = Walter Cronkite. The tide is turning. -4.75, -4.41

    by Aethern on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 03:18:30 AM PST

    •  this should hit recommended about 6:30 (4.00)
      I got onto the list with only 4 recommends shortly after 6 am.  I now have 6 and I have slipped from 3rd to 8th on the list

      since both this diary and mine (which was posted shortly before) are near the top of the recent diaries, they will have additional opportunities for others to read, and if the community decides they are worthy they will rise to the recommended box.  And if they don't rise, that is an artifact of the judgment of the community as to the value they place on these and on comepting diaries.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

      by teacherken on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 03:23:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This diary should be a reminder... (3.81)
    ...of what's really important.

    I can't imagine having to endure every day with the fear of that knock on the door. And with all of what you are bearing, you are still more tolerant of StarkRaving than I would be.

    His rage is justified. I also have justifiable rage at having much of my family and history lost in the Holocaust. But if Cindy had referred to the the debacle in Iraq as a holocaust, I would not have been remotely offended. And I certainly would not have attacked her.

    But in the end, what's really important is that there are thousands of families suffering like Cindy's and tens of thousands more like yourself. The reality of that is so profoundly sad that it dwarfs these trivialties that flare up here.

    I hope your son comes home soon. I hope they all do.

    •  I hate to tell you (2.33)
      but I don't think Stark's rage was a "triviality."  Her grief is just as real as Cindy's, which you seem to consider the only "really important" suffering.  The suffering of a mother who has lost her son in a senseless war and the suffering of a people who have lost their land and generations of sons and daughters are mutually incomparable.  You can't compare suffering.
      •  Please re-read my comment. (4.00)
        I was not comparing suffering and I did not say Stark's rage was a triviality.

        In fact, I affirmed the justification of Stark's rage. The triviality I referred to was the flame wars that erupt here. I think Stark's rage should be directed at what happened, not a few words that were used to describe it. Native Americans do not own the phrase Trail of Tears, just as Jews do not own the word Holocaust. And even if Stark has some sensitivity to someone else using the phrase, I think it is wholly inappropriate to attack that person, especially when it was used as an apt description of what is going on now - and especially when she clearly meant no disrespect.

        I was taken aback by Stark's assault. For someone who clearly feels deeply about the pain and tragedy that occurs in the world, it seemed stunningly insensitive to turn that rage onto another who is also suffering.

      •  Quilty, (none)
        How's Lo?

        The Chimperor Has No Clothes

        by DC Pol Sci on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 04:55:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  you're not a parent, are you, Quilty? (none)
        Because if you were, you would never EVER say that.

        You obviously have absolutely no FUCKING idea what having a kid is like.

        And since you don't, you should refrain from commenting as if you do.  

  •  my friend (4.00)
    you know you, your family, and especially david are in my heart.

    i should be asleep now...going back down to crawford to confront the emperor of doom.

    have as good of a holiday as you can...as for your in-laws, i have those too. and their grandson is dead.

    thanks for being so courageous in working for peace.

    your love for david and the rest of the troops is evident and obvious!

  •  it's always easier (none)
    to judge other people's problems than to judge your own. I know that solutions to my friends' problems are much more obvious to me than to them. (I need to trade with someone and get my own fixed :p  )
    Even moreso when it's someone you don't know well; there's none of that pesky background info to further flesh out your understanding of them. Better yet if it's some anonymous internet personality, that removes accountability as well.
    I am grateful that I have nobody close to me involved in this war whom I would need to worry about. That of course makes it easier for me to comment on other peoples' experiences, as my judgement is not clouded with real-world experience!

    Cindy, I'm going to ignore my advice to withhold judgement and say GO TO BED. I'm in Spokane WA and it's not as late here as it is wherever you are, and if I'm tired, then everyone else is too. Turn off the site on your way out!

  •  My Mother said almost the same thing (4.00)
    When I returned from Vietnam.  I can't begin to imagine what parents are going through when their son have gone back a 2nd and 3rd time.  Watching out the kitchen window and hoping no car stops out side.  Coming home from shopping and looking to see if a military sedan is parked anywhere the house.  Watching the news every night but not wanting to see your son in combat.  I never saw a camera crew except at the Bob Hope show in 67 when we came out of the field.  
    My mother walked in Cindy's shoes but got to take them off when I came home.  She reminds me everytime we talk about Iraq.      

    David Brooks IS the Queen of Sheba.

    by namnick on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 03:52:31 AM PST

  •  It's Thanksgiving (4.00)
    and I have spent an hour reading Cindy's and Starkraving's and this diary. The result has been a heavy heart.  I want to grieve for so much and at the same time find some sense in all this.  I have felt the fear of the dreaded phone call and I have cried tears of deep grief although not over one of my sons.  This war, these times and times past which we cannot change are filled with error and greed.  Is it too much to hope that someday, we will respect the lives of all people and not treat others like they are expendable because they are roadblocks to our individual goals?  I wouldn't treat a wild animal the way our government treats the Iraqi people, the poor and sadly, our own soldiers by sending them into this needless war.  This day, please people, love one another.

    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Gandhi

    by japeechen on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 03:55:19 AM PST

  •  Such pain, such suffering--why be thankful today? (none)

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodet? (Who will watch the watchers?)

    by The Crusty Bunker on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 04:24:05 AM PST

  •  thankful I have daughters I guess (4.00)
    Crying here (too) over the wonderfully written words I just read. I read the other diaries hours ago had second thoughts if I wanted to give this blog concept another try. The language is often vile and it's hard to find safe places to keep informed. The attack against Cindy seemed over the top. Made me rethink whether I wanted to read this list regularly - glad I came back for another look.

    My daughters are 20 & 22, both in college  but it breaks my heart to know what this war is doing to their generation. It's going to take them a long time to fix what "our" generation is doing to this country.

    •  please come back (4.00)
      it's not always like this and it's a shame it had to be this way on Thanksgiving. wading through the vile language is worth it.

      Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

      by missreporter on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:20:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sharon (4.00)
    Thank you for the diary and we will keep David and all those he is with in our hearts and souls and POSTIVE thoughts today and every day....

    Take a moment to exhale and know there are so many that feel your pain and will hold your hand..

    Peace,

    Barbara, Tirawa & Winston

  •  Don't let them get away with that (4.00)
    I still run across plenty of willfully ignorant scumbags who try to run the standard "Preznit Bush is a good Christian" baloney by me and it sets me off like a rocket ship. I can't bite my tongue anymore hearing that lie.

    Don't you let those in-laws shrug off the danger this president has put your son in by hiding behind some fake religious morality that makes it ok to lie about war. Don't let them off the hook until they admit this president lied to this country and he is no "good" christian.

    Exactly what has this president done to prove he is a christian? I don't think I remember reading in the bible where Jesus cut taxes for the wealthy while cutting programs for the poorest citizens... Or where he lied about reasons to take his followers to war ( Because last time I checked, the evidence was even stronger that Saddam Hussein wanted nothing to do with Al Qaeda...)So why are we in Iraq?

    Sharon, today be thankful you have the truth on your side and turn the screws on those lying relatives a little bit.

    •  I had to tell warn my family as not to set me off (4.00)
      don't bring up Bushco during Thanksgiving unless you are looking for a fight.  Only way to a peaceful day.
      •  That's smart (4.00)
        And I'd be willing to bet they kept their mouths shut because things aren't going so well for poor little Georgie right now... Because you know they wouldn't be physically able to keep their mouths shut if the "mandate" was still in effect.

        Unbelievably, I still have a brother in law who loves to actually start conversations about the subject. He is so far off the reservation I can't even reason with him... thankfully we stayed on the east coast at our house this holiday, just the 2 of us and our giant puppy - no threat of me carving him up instead of a turkey;)

      •  I bring up Bushco all the time at the table... (4.00)
        ...but my family are ALL good Dems.  Not one word is raised in their defense.

        The Chimperor Has No Clothes

        by DC Pol Sci on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 04:56:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As they're so Christian (none)
      A framed copy of the beatitudes would make a wonderful gift for them this year.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction -- Pascal

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 10:17:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you Sharon (3.91)
    I'm very sorry to see such a fracas erupt here.  It was totally unnecessary.  Some people are just jerks.

    We owe all of you military mothers (and fathers, and families) a HUGE debt.  

    My son is only five, but I am working as hard as I can to make sure that he will never have to be killed or wounded in a needless war.

    I wish you and your family all the best for today.  I know it will be tense, but try not to "engage".  It won't help anything or change anyone's minds.  Just remember that we're here and we agree with you.  

    May your son come home safely.

    New Orleans will never die

    by hrh on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 05:37:05 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this diary (4.00)
    I just finished reading the two diaries and I'm surprised at the vitriol in the comments.  History is filled with criminal and heartbreaking genocidal events.  Humans don't seem to learn from their mistakes.
    We are living in the present now, and in the present, the great injustice of our time, is this illegitimate war and the death of our children  for a lie.
    You and your family will be in my thoughts.

    If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything-Mark Twain

    by Desert Rose on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 05:37:55 AM PST

  •  Thank You Sharon (4.00)
    For once again Sharing your own HeartFelt Feelings!

    I just posted up a reply at: Cindy and Stark: Mitakuye Oyasin!

    This was what it said and was a reply to another I had posted:

    Cindy....

    Came forward out of the Tragic Events of loosing her Son in the Present History!

    There has been One Thing about Cindy's Emergence, as others came before, that has Fasinated me!

    I may be doing some Wishfull Thinking, or am abit Blinded by the Fact of my Activism Against what Has been Happening In Iraq and Yes even in Afganistan, but it seems that Many of that which brings Cindy forward Happened For A Reason!!

    It started for Cindy being in a Pro-Peace Commercial looking Shy and Extremely Sad by the Death of Casey. A Simple Request to Speak at the 2005 National Veterans For Peace Convention, held in Dallas, and a Simple Act the Next Day, have Brought her into the National/World Spotlight! and she seems to come forward, especially saying and writing her thoughts at the Precise Time and with the Precise Words that Make Us All Think and Many Act, especially those who never did before!!

    For some Reason her Choice of Words came out on this of All Days, what we call ThanksGiving, what a Perfect, and I'm Sure not Intentional, thought those Three Words have Brought about causing this Discussion on this ThankGiving!!

    Cindy is but One Player in what has happened, it brought about the Second Player starkraving, which brought about this Diary and I've seen a few others, and I'm Positive Others will not only be Replying but Writing their Own Thoughts on this Subject and Related Subjects!!

    I don't know if Other Worldly/Non-Worldly Forces are being Played out, but it seems that Something Is Occurring to Each and Everyone Involved, from the Diary Posters to the Responders on This ThankGiving[?] Day!!!!!!!!!



    For whatever reason, Sharon, you are Sharing your Feelings because of what has been started, you seem to be Touched also to become an Important Messenger again on this day we call ThanksGiving[?]!!

    I'm sure that whatever is going on Many reading your's and the other's Diaries and Responses have Changed the Thoughts of this day in Many Minds, All For The Better, and Most being an Act Of Attempting To Cleanse our Souls of the Sadness and Hurt we Feel!!!!!!

    Thank You Again!

    ThanksGiving? What is there Really to be Thankful For, seems Anything that can Come To Mind is Quickly Wiped Out with a Planet of Inhabitants Causing Destruction, in So Many Ways!!
    James Starowicz
    USN '67-'71
    '67-'68: Meridian Mississippi/Naval Air Station
    '68-'70: GMG3, Panama Canal Zone/Rodman Naval Base
    '70-'71: GMG3, Coronado Calif, CounterInsurgency/S.E.R.E. School, Vietnam in-Country COMNAVFORV
    Member: Veterans For Peace

     

  •  Thank you Sharon (4.00)
    from a mom who has a son.  My daughter has a friend who is in the Marine Reserves, half of his group has already been to Iraq, he may well be called up to go, and the thought kills me.

    My son is 14, big for his age, yet like a little puppy all the same.  Last night we were watching tv and he put his head in my lap, something very rare these days.  I held him tight and wanted to just keep him close to me forever, away from those who would send others to do something they would not do themselves.

    This day I say prayers that soon your son will be home, safe, with you and your family.  I pray that those who so easily take us to war start to realize that wars are not the actions of first resort.

    God bless you Sharon and Cindy.

    "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

    by SanJoseLady on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 06:12:48 AM PST

  •  Sorry (3.07)
    Your pain, worry, and sacrifice, along with all the other parents of soldiers around the country, are apparently no more than the idle whining of the petit bourgeouisis who fail to realize that they are on Indian land.

    And please don't eat any potatoes tonight. My Irish forebears had to forsake their native tongue and their mud huts at the hands of British persecution. The sight of a potato makes me dizzy with pain and anger. Let my people go.

  •  Sharon (4.00)
    I have not read the diaries the posters are referring to, but I do not have to walk that mile. I have a son your's and Cindy's sons's age and I KNOW I would be experiencing the 24/7 feelings of terror as you are. All my best.
  •  Thank you, Sharon (4.00)
    from another mom with a twenty year old son.  I'm sitting at my computer, tears pouring down my face.  My son is not in the military so I can't even begin to imagine your tensions.  But I do think about every child over there, every parent over here, and if there is any peace at all in knowing that the honesty of your words and Cindy's words propel others to go to the streets and write letters to newspapers and even speak to those heartless war supporters, please know that it is done honoring your families.
    Sending you love...
  •  Unconditional love (4.00)
    Our boy's back from one tour in Baghdad, alive and unmutilated. Every day he was there, we cried. He was recently married to another active duty military member, and we cried when they weren't deployed together back to Iraq.

    God damn these chickenhawks who send our children to their deaths to support their adolescent dreams of a New American Century.  God damn them to hell- Bush, Cheney, Rice, Feith, Libby and all the other arrogant incompetents. They claim to represent some Christian faith, but they are war criminals and murderers, doomed to burn for all eternity for their sins.

  •  Thank You! (4.00)
    Its Moms like you who remind us what this is all about.  Keep Your chin up.  I hope this time next year your son and all the sons and daughters over there in that mess we call Iraq, will be home celebrating Thanksgiving with their families.
  •  The Propriety of Misery (none)
    This Turkey War has provoked me.

    So I up and wrote a diary about it. :)

    Everyone has a right to the orgasm of their choice. :)

    by cskendrick on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 06:59:13 AM PST

  •  I pray you have the strength (4.00)
    to deal w/ your inlaws today.  Everybody has them.  Mine are on my dad's side and live in small town North Carolina.  

    It's not easy being a Floridian.

    by lawstudent922 on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:11:31 AM PST

  •  In defense of Cindy (4.00)
    Starkraving had an ax to grind- that's all there is to it. He was  hateful towards Cindy, essentailly hijacking her & her purpose to make his case. Starkraving should go elsewhere if he wants to rant about the mistreatment of Amrican Indians. I agree with him on this point, but not about where and how he did it.
    Starkraving- I hope you understand exactly what you did: you took a person with a noble purpose and a heart of gold and brutally trashed her, to promote your agenda. Go hang your head in shame. Seek help from God /Great Spirit, that your soul may be at peace. Then come back and apologize to Cindy on this forum.
    Cindy- you did not earn his anger in any way. You chose a set of words that this person was looking to fight over. Stark's decision to pick a fight was made before you spoke a word. You words are apropo, because they represent what our government has done to our children and our American Indians ancestors- killed them for no good reason.
    We are with you, as always. You cannot be expected to be blindingly eloquent all the time. You're human, as are we. But we know, through your sacrifice and your deeds, your heart, and that is what matters.
    I, for one, would gladly walk a mile in your shoes.
  •  Thanks, Sharon... (4.00)
    I read. I cried. You're hugged.

    "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

    by kredwyn on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:40:41 AM PST

  •  I'm glad I missed the dueling diaries (4.00)
    Got up later than usual for my morning dKos fix. What I did read was a story in today's Oregonian which suprised me that they carried it. It was about an 83 year mother who lost her son in Viet Nam. That the big "O" would put this on the front page of the Living section instead of the usual happy type of Thanksgiving story is most unusual.

    "The times they are a changin'"

    What time can't heal
    One mother's Thanksgivings haven't been the same since her son died in Vietnam

    Thursday, November 24, 2005
    GABRIELLE GLASER

    Frances Rauschkolb does not look forward to Thanksgiving. She has a beautiful home and wonderful china and a lace tablecloth that has been in her family for generations, but frankly, it is a day she is just as happy to have pass. She is not bitter, not unhappy, but Thanksgiving has simply never been the holiday it once was, back before the oldest of her five boys was killed in Vietnam.

    Our culture talks a great deal about closure. But as Fran, who is 83, can tell you, it is all relative. The passage of time does not stop a person from retracing the steps that led to the cataclysmic event that ripples out to survivors, even 36 years and six months later.
    (The full story at the link)

    Set an extra place at your table today for those who have passed, its what we do every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

    Here's a little extra thought for the day.

    Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
    Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
    And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
    Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
    An Angel writing in a book of gold:

    Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
    And to the Presence in the room he said,
    "What writest thou?" The Vision raised its head,
    And with a look made of all sweet accord
    Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."

    "And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
    Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
    But cheerily still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
    Write me as one who loves his fellow men."

    The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
    It came again with a great wakening light,
    And shoed the names whom love of God had blessed,
    And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest!

    Abou Ben Adhem
    Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)

    Peace to all,
    BOHICA


    "The truth is a noble cause".
    -BOHICA

    by BOHICA on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:49:29 AM PST

  •  I'm glad to hear that David is still ok (4.00)
    Sharon,

    I remember the heart wrenching stories you posted for us on the Clark Community Network back during the presidential primaries and campaign.  It really takes me back that your right wing relatives still take the position that they had back then.  They must truely be among the hardcore...

    I'm not sure I could sit at the table with them the way you must later today.  I'll say a prayer for your family, and a few for David.

    Liberals and conservatives are two gangs who have intimidated rational, normal thinking beings into not having a voice on television or in the culture.

    by Dave B on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:50:34 AM PST

  •  Tell your family... (4.00)
    that "good Christians" do not slaughter the children of others in order to save their own children. I recall a bit of the bible.  There were a number of instances where people were called upon to sacrifice their own children for one reason or another. I don't reacall any where people were called upon to sacrifice others children to save their own. That is really what "fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" means.  It means that we are allowing the deaths of Iraqi men, women, and children in order to protect our own.  If there is a
    God, he cries every time anybody says this.  
  •  I have an eight-year-old son, (4.00)
    an only child, and I cannot even imagine enduring what you and other mothers and fathers are enduring.  

    The obscenity of this war combined with the disgraceful and disrespectful use of our military will, I suspect, go down in history as one of the blackest periods in this nation's history.  There are no words to describe the depth of hatred I feel for George Bush and his henchmen.

    Jesus + Fetus = SCOTUS (math by Jon Stewart)

    by lightiris on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:01:03 AM PST

  •  Bring David home NOW (4.00)
    Sharon, my heart sank after reading your diary.  I can not express how angry I am that your family is having to endure what is going on right now with this war.  My prayers are with you and your family and especially David, that he comes home soon and safe.  You and the rest of the military families are having to carry this war on your shoulders and you are doing it with much dignity and strength.  

    The rest of us can relax and enjoy our holiday but you and your family will have that empty seat at your table today.  When I think of the why's and how we enter this war, I want to scream but I can only imagine what you feel in the pit of your heart right now knowing what is being reported.  Please keep us updated about David.  Can we send him or his buddies care packages?  

  •  I think.... (4.00)
    ...you are being VERY charitable still to s'raving.

    I've seen and heard native people speak who were abused horribly -- not their ancestors, they themselves, sexual and physical abuse in residential schools. They testify, they don't grandstand. And they don't leverage others' pain. That cheap trick is the classic and absolute sign of insincerity.

    S'raving just wanted to hurt someone, and chose the most vulnerable target that could be found. It was a petty, slimy action, the work of a coward who just couldn't stand anyone else being acknowledged as a sufferer. I don't think s'raving should be allowed to hide this smallness of soul behind the undisputed facts of history -- it's like the loony wing of the Zionist movement using the Holocaust as an excuse for whacking Palestinians.

    But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

    by sagesource on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:03:10 AM PST

  •  Sharon Jumper (4.00)
    I will be thinking of you and your son at dinner today...

    Thank you for this diary. It is expressions like these that keep this unjust war and the needless slaughter of human beings at the front of my mind. People question my obsession with this war and hatred of the Bush regime because I don't know anyone in it, I haven't lost anybody to this war. Then I think of the recommended diary underneath yours that says "we are all related."

    Please try to enjoy your holiday ... I have Bush-worshipping family too and although it doesn't erase the strain at the dinner table, I've found the best thing is to avoid all talk of politics, even if they try to bait you into it. It will cause too much hurt and pain.

    Keep your head up. David will be home soon.

    Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

    by missreporter on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:16:58 AM PST

  •  Pain... (3.00)
    I understand what it feels like to lose loved ones.  None of you who have lost a child in Iraq has a sole market on pain.

    Imagine waking up one morning and going in to wake up your child and discovering he had died during the night.  Imagine carrying twins to almost full term then having both of them die and delivering two dead sons.

    Imagine having your father die much too young and being the one to have to order his life support terminated because the hospital did not honor his living will and connected life support against his written wishes.

    I see things that remind me of my son, my father, my cousin, friends, my twins and I cry too.

    It doesn't matter how you lose a child, it hurts.  It is why I can empthasize with how mothers who have lost their children in Iraq feel.  However this constant attempt to tell us to walk in your or Cindy's shoes makes me want to suggest you try to walk in mine, or anyone else who has lost more than I have because?  There are those who have.  

    I realize this probably won't be popular because if you dare to say something slightly anti Cindy you get down-rated.  But?  So be it.  If I loose TU over saying how I feel then I guess it wasn't really worth much to begin with.

    We don't remember days only moments

    by psyche777 on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:23:48 AM PST

    •  Perhaps you're missing (4.00)
      somethin? Mothers like Sharon and Cindy Sheehan not only live with constant pain, but they also live with the knowledge (and outrage) that their pain is inflicted by their government - and could have been prevented.
      They live with that day after day and night after night - and neither Sharon nor Sheehan have ever stated that their pain trumps yours or mine. That's in your head only.

      Pre-empt Vergangenheitsbewältigung!

      by Petrasays on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:52:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  have i ever said (3.88)
      that i am the only one in pain?
      have i claimed that my pain is worse than anyone else's. i don't think i have.

      The only thing is that I am trying to use mine to prevent more pain.

      Forgive me if I ever gave you the impression that I am the only one in this world suffering any pain.

      Peace soon
      Cindy

      •  with all due respect to your mourning, (none)
        your celebrity status is all that some people can see.  I think that ultimately you don't care about the cameras and the promotion of Cindy Sheehan, but some people see that happening and assume it's your intention.
        Most celebrities are comfortable in front of the camera because it's all they know how to care about, but a humble, ordinary person could be comfortable in front of the camera because they don't care about it at all. It's easy for us as TV consumers to mistake the appearance of one for the other.  
        When they play the sound bites of you on TV with your now-famous question, "For what noble cause did my son die," it would be easy for someone to forget that you'd rather be an ordinary person.

        I don't think you have ever done anything to communicate that impression. I do think that your efforts are a form of self-therapy, and other people in mourning for the same reason that you are might hurt more for lacking a theraputic outlet.

        I have thankfully not lost any friends or relatives to this war, and I must admit that sometimes my interest in events wanes. At the same time, I feel that you and your efforts have been of inestimable value towards horsewhipping the mainstream media toward their proper function of keeping our leaders accountable.
        On this Thanksgiving day, that is what I am thankful for: the leverage which "we" have achieved thus far against the military-industrial cabal, and for the efforts of those, including you, who have enabled it.

         

        •  what celebrity status? (4.00)
          gimme a complete #%@%%!!! break. Has anyone vilified the mother of that girl who went missing on a lark to a tropical island? Has any one told her to shut up, go home and get over it?

          Cindy Sheehan is heroically trying to do what she can to make sure no other mother sits down to a Thanksgiving dinner to look at an empty place that should have been occupied by her son or daughter. I am fed up with those who criticize her and the next one who does so in my presence is gonna get a can of whup-Mom opened up on 'em.

          •  Natalee Holloway (none)
            interesting point.
            I feel that the media used her disappearance as a ratings stunt or distraction from political events. Her mother probably did not intend to spark an international news frenzy, but in a position of desperation, was also unlikely to decline it when foisted upon her.

            It looks to me as if you read my comment as critical of Cindy; let me dispel that. My intention was to refute the idea that she is a publicity hound or Professional Victim. I call her and her efforts heroic as well.

            •  sorry (none)
              I didn't mean to direct my rant at you, personally. I live in Dallas and our local newspaper ran an editorial this week calling Mrs. Sheehan "tiresome." The implication in what they wrote was that she was seeking publicity for herself.

              It is tiresome to be confronted by the consequences of our bad judgment and failure to do our jobs. I think that is what the editors of the Dallas Morning News are really reacting to. They eagerly jumped on the war bandwagon and failed to fact check the case for war, too.

      •  Cindy, we honor your efforts to the cause (4.00)

        Let's stop feeding greed. In fact, propose we make it a commandment: The greedy shall not be fed.

        by idredit on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 06:21:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  walking a mile in a person's shoes (4.00)
      is to put yourself in their place and feel compassion, not to experience how much worse their pain is than yours might or might not be.  We all have pain and trials and they are very real to us and no less painful whether they compare to another's circumstance or not.  I think when someone says walk a mile in Cindy's shoes they mean put yourself in her place, of knowing your child was taken from you in an act tantamount to murder, to take the pain and outrage and grief we all feel about what has happened to the country we love, and multipy that times 100 or more to try to imagine what she and all the mothers that she represents are going through.

      "Someone's got to talk about accountability, someone's got to raise some Hell, it might as well be me." -Jimmy Buffett, Cultural Infidel

      by twitchybitch on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 02:49:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I won't downrate you like you did to me in another (none)
      diary.

      But we all have pain and you don't know my story, either.

      I hate what happened to you.  I hate all the unfair crap that happens to a lot of great people.

      Your anger is misdirected at me.

  •  OK - I cried reading this.... (4.00)
    I have a 17 year old daughter at home, an only child. So while I can't feel the trepidation at every ring of the doorbell, or the actual loss of a child, I can imagine what it is to be a parent and fear the loss of a child. I pray and hope that your son comes back from this senseless war intact, and can rebuild his life in a healthy way in this society.
  •  Zen Hugs, Sharon. For you and Cindy and (4.00)
    everyone who is hurting today.   That's the hugs I would give you if I were there.

    Thank you.  I needed a few tears to remind me how lucky I am to not have any children in harm's way.

    Pass a Zen hug along to David for me, please.

    "In the name of fighting terror, we have terrorized, and in the name of defending our values, we have betrayed them." Leonard Pitts

    by maybeeso in michigan on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:35:25 AM PST

  •  A book for your Bush-loving family (4.00)
    I am reading Baghdad Burning by Riverbend, the girl blogger from Baghdad. Her eloquence truly brings to life the fact that there is no need for your son's and daughter's to be there, and in fact many things are now worse, not better. An excerpt:
    The Myth: Iraqis, prior to occupation, lived in little beige tents set up on the sides of little dirt roads all over Baghdad. The men and boys would ride to school on their camels, donkeys, and goats. These schools were larger versions of the home units and for every 100 students, there was one turban-wearing teacher who taught the boys rudimentary math (to count the flock) and reading. Girls and women sat at home, in black burkas, making bread and taking care of 10-12 children.

    The Truth: Iraqi's lived in houses with running water and electricity. Thousands of them own computers. Millions own VCRs and VCDs. Iraq has sophisticated bridges, recreational centers, clubs, restaurants, shops, universities, schools, etc. Iraqi's love fast cars (especially German cars) and the Tigris is full of little motor boats that are used for everything from fishing to waterskiing.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that most people choose to ignore the little prefix "re" in the words "rebuild" and "reconstruct." For your information, "re" is of Latin origin and generally means "again" or "anew"

    In other words-there was something there in the first place. We have hundreds of bridges. We have one of the most sophisticated network highways in the region: you can get from Basra in the south to Mosul in the north without ever once having to travel upon those little, dusty, dirty roads they show you on Fox News. We had a communications system so advanced, it took the Coalition of the Willing three rounds of bombing, on three separate nights, to damage the Ma'moun Communications Tower and silence our telephones.

    Riverbend really brings home the Iraqi's side of this, especially the female Iraqi who has good reason to be frightened of a Muslim theocratic state after so many years of secular freedom. I plan to give a copy of this book to my nephew for Christmas. He loves to read, and his parents are the Orange County Republican born-again types that just love that God-fearing President Bush. He needs to see there are more sides to the story, and through him perhaps his parents may become more curious and even questioning as well.

    Every morning, waking up and hearing about the latest bombing in Iraq, and the statement of so many are killed, mostly Iraqi's and maybe a few American's (even though it's usually the Americans that are being targeted) I think of the families of 160,000+ US soldiers still over there, and the 26,000,000 or so Iraqi's that have gone from the frying pan into the fire thanks to BushCo. And I wonder, why? How can a group of people have so much hubris that they can still preach to us that their actions were right, that it was just "bad intelligence", that Iraqi's are better off now, that we have to stay until we "finish the mission"? How can they sleep at night?

    We need to start leaving, now. The Iraqi's are one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, and they can certainly figure things out for themselves of we would simply give them the chance.

    I sincerely hope your son, and all the sons and daughters, the fathers and mothers, the sisters and brothers, come back home safe and sound. Sooner rather than later.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

    by bewert on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:45:09 AM PST

  •  I read this diary... (4.00)
    ...and it was time for a crying break.  Beautifully written, Sharon.  You and your son will be in my thoughts today.

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:47:46 AM PST

  •  I don't want to misunderstand (none)
    but I'm not sure what you're saying here.  Are you saying that your position is harder to deal with than starkraving's experiences?

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

    by tryptamine on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:50:57 AM PST

    •  I advise you (none)
      not to go there.

      New Orleans will never die

      by hrh on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 01:45:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My point (4.00)
      starkraving took offense at a phrase, "Trail of tears," that Cindy used in her diary due to its historical connotation.  Attempts were made by Cindy to apologize - and she even deleted the diary in question.

      My point in this diary is that words often fail many of us when we try to express our most painful thoughts and feelings, especially when that pain is fresh.  Sometimes the words we choose may trespass upon the thoughts and beliefs of others, and we may inadvertently cause offense.  When this occurs, it is possible to tell someone that their choice of words was poor without attacking them personally - and if they apologize and try to amend their remarks when they are made aware of the problem, they ought to be allowed a graceful "out."

      Do your part for world peace - visit Iraqi Blog Count and interact!

      by Sharon Jumper on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 02:33:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  another person who is not a parent (none)
      Seriously, if you're not a parent, you have NO IDEA.

      Absolutely no idea.

      I don't care if you're  "Ishi, Last of His Tribe", losing a child is the WORST thing you can possibly imagine if you're a parent.  

  •  Sweet Sharon (4.00)
    It's amazing that we all come together here to grieve, love, fight, discuss, hope and fear together.

    Everyone here has passion.  A passion for living and about living.  In the end, that is what will save us and nourish us all.

    The fact that we disagree one day, and we make up the next, is a sign of hope for me, because it means that we can hope to apply those skills of forgiveness in the larger world view.

    I have a son, too.

    I remember thinking on the day he was born, that having a child, means that for the rest of your life, your heart will be walking around outside of your body, not inside.

    My mothering heart is with your mothering heart today.  I will keep you and David and your family, and all of the families of our created community in my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers today.

    As I give thanks on this day, I will also remember that this holiday, like so many others, has a number of different meanings, depending on who you are, where you have come from, and where you are heading.  

    I will give thanks for the illumination of other's pain, as part of an education unasked for, but sorely needed.

    I will give thanks for the work done, and be thankful for the energy and community to continue our work for the next year, and the year after that, until people see that peace is the only reasonable response to conflict.

    God bless and keep all of you safe, Sharon, Cindy, David, Stark and all of the Kossacks.

  •  Thank you, Sharon. (4.00)
    Recommended.

    Jim

  •  My response to this (4.00)
    controversy is here

    "I think the President should look across the country and find the most qualified man, woman, or minority."-Trent Lott

    by starkravinglunaticradical on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 09:01:54 AM PST

    •  Let it drop. (none)
      Now. Please.

      This is nothing short of the most absurd event at dKos. I'm glad I missed most of it.

      Take a page from Jon Stewart: Cindy's credibility comes from losing a son and taking a stand, nothing else. If you hijack her for other purposes, you not only hurt a great lady with a heroic cause, you hurt yourself even more.

  •  Sharon, (4.00)
    I have a 17-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter and I can't even begin to imagine a world without them in it. I once told them that I would give my life to give them one more second of life, and they thought I was nuts. Cute but nuts. Despite everything, it's a comfortable world that I and my children live in. God bless your son. This war is wrong, but his job is to defend his country. He does it for me and my family and for all of us. It's our job now to fight for him and make sure that he comes back home safely and soon.
  •  Here's hoping he comes home soon. (4.00)
    I will add David to my prayer list today.

    Please email me with your mailing address. I'd love to send you a couple of our family's magnets for peace.
    Mike@peacepositive.net.

    No act of peace is ever wasted. peacepositive always.

    by peacepositivemike on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 09:50:28 AM PST

  •  God Bless You (4.00)
    Sharon,
    God Bless You and your Family.  Your diary is beautiful and terrifying at the same time.  After reading this we all look forward to the day when you and your son will be reunited.
    Thanks for the courage and the soul to write such a beautiful post.

    Gail and Steve

    "The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates. "Sure it is." Dubya. Because "It's good to be Da King." Mel Brooks

    by sww92498 on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 10:02:44 AM PST

  •  I'm (1.10)
    Sorry your son is in harm's way but did you not anticipate that one day there could be a spinning bullet with <your name here> on it for him when he decided to enlist in the first place?

    Halley Seven, United States Nil - You see, it can be done!

    by ian1973uk on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 10:06:13 AM PST

    •  Unbelievable (4.00)
      What an asinine thing to say.  

      Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

      by Barbara Morrill on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 10:30:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It (1.10)
        might be fucking asinine but it's bleeding obvious - If you join the military it is a fucking occupational hazard that you might get killed

        Sorry, but I live in the real world, not the  world where war and soldiery are the equivalent of John Fucking Wayne hoisting an imaginary flag over Iwo Jima.

        Boo Hoo, so sad isn't it that when you start a war of aggression, some of your soldiers might get killed?

        Halley Seven, United States Nil - You see, it can be done!

        by ian1973uk on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 10:35:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're preaching to the choir here (none)
          Doubt of there is a single Kossack that doesn't want us out of Iraq as soon as possible (yesterday as far as I'm concerned) and not very many that wanted us to start this war in the first place. You might want to go over to freerepublic.com or redstate.org, where you might be able to sway some opinions of those that are for this stupid illegal war.

          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

          by bewert on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 10:43:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What a jackass (2.66)
          Replace "might be" with was, stop after "fucking asinine" and you would have nailed it.  Too bad you chose to continue...

          Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

          by Barbara Morrill on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 10:45:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  god what a fucking prick (2.66)
          You're talking to a soldier's MOM here, you jackass. Show some respect.
          •  Why (none)
            the fuck should I respect somebody whose son is currently engaged as a tool in an illegal war of aggression as a member of a military that is so unprofessional and uncontrolled it will happily destroy a city and all it's inhabitants?

            You Americans make me sick sometimes, sat on your fat arses guzzling the world's oil supply, killing a hundred thousand Iraqi's but hey, whose counting the sub-human towel-heads? Then coming across with blinding hypocrisy and fucking sanctimony about the mothers of your soldiers.

            Halley Seven, United States Nil - You see, it can be done!

            by ian1973uk on Fri Nov 25, 2005 at 04:18:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  keep this in mind (none)
              we are actually having a debate here.

              Yes, each Iraqi life is as precious as each American life; no one here would argue that.

              But this thread is about those relatives of American soldiers.  I agree it must be even worse for Iraqi's.

              Unfortunately, many of my countrymen don't value the lives of others very highly.

              But consider this:  our country is, in many ways, the strongest in the world.  Hence when we make a mistake or do something dumb and arrogant, the whole world knows about it.

              We aren't more evil than anyone else; but we are more powerful.

              When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

              by onanyes on Fri Nov 25, 2005 at 04:52:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fair play (none)
                But surely with great power comes great responsibility?

                Halley Seven, United States Nil - You see, it can be done!

                by ian1973uk on Fri Nov 25, 2005 at 08:13:24 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, I agree (none)
                  and I agree that we often have not lived up to the responsibility of having great power.

                  But, and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, has there ever been a great power that has done any better?

                  When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

                  by onanyes on Fri Nov 25, 2005 at 08:28:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  that's how terrorists think (none)
              are you a terrorist?

              You talk like one.

              This is an individual we're talking about, a mother of a son, not some collective soulless entity.

              We're talking about a fellow human being. THAT is why you should show some respect.

              If you don't, you're as inhuman as anyone you criticize.

    •  When David enlisted (4.00)
      he trusted that his country would not engage in an unnecessary, pointless,  illegal war.  

      Fascism will come to America in the guise of National Security - Jim Garrison

      by elveta on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:51:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hope your son stays safe 'til all this is over! (4.00)
    For I have 2 of my own, one almost ready to leave the nest, and my horror of this situation in the country today is driven by exactly similar a fear - a fear that they may have to face what Cindy and your son have. So in a sense, walk a mile in my shoes, and then try Sharon's!

    It is not that we are cowards - loss of a child is terrible, and living with the daily fear of such loss can be terribly draining.

    But what makes for so much real anger and bitterness, is the shallowness of the enterprise that puts their young lives at risk.

    And that's why Cindy and Sharon fight the good fight - God bless them.

  •  Blessings? (4.00)

    By Cindy Sheehan
        t r u t h o u t | Perspective

        Thursday 24 November 2005

        It was hard to feel blessed today as I sat at Casey's grave here in Vacaville, California. Sure, a lot of good things have happened in my sphere of influence this year, but the blessings are always hampered by the reason for the blessings.

        If Casey had not been killed in Iraq in George's imperialistic war for power and wealth, I wouldn't be on this path. I wish to God I weren't on this path. But I am, so here are the blessings I am thankful for this year.

        The main blessings that I can thankfully still count are my three children: Carly, Andy, and Janey. They are incredibly wonderful children who didn't ask for the trail that George Bush has set them on by the murder of their oldest brother. They didn't ask to have a mom who is away most of the time trying to make the world a better place to leave for them. They didn't ask for it, but they are handling everything with the courage and integrity that are the hallmarks of Sheehan children.

        I can look at the events of the past week or so and be thankful that some Democrats are finally displaying a modicum of courage in speaking out against the war and for bringing the troops home from this monstrosity. I hope we can look toward this with the expectation that the Democrats will finally unite against the immoral occupation of Iraq that has put an empty place at the holiday tables of over 2100 American families.

        I can also hope against hope that the war criminals in power that advocate and condone torture and use the same chemical weapons against innocent Iraqis that they hypocritically accused Saddam of using against his own people will finally have to resign in disgrace before a mostly complicit Congress has to impeach them. After George and Co. resign in shame, someone needs to haul them off to The Hague for war crimes trials. That would be something to celebrate.

        I am especially thankful for the inspiration that led me to Crawford in August to confront the criminal on his own turf. I am thankful to George, who very predictably did not meet with me and so sparked the Camp Casey Peace movement. I am extremely appreciative for the thousands of Americans who came out to Camp Casey over our three-week miraculous stay, and I am also gratified for the millions of citizens who stood behind us with their prayers and support. The peace movement is gaining momentum, and we will see our troops come home soon. This fact is overwhelmingly miraculous to me.

        I have met so many amazing, loving, and delightful people since I started my quest to end the occupation of Iraq. My Gold Star Families are especially dear to me. In their tragedies they have found a way to bring their horrible grief to the forefront of the American consciousness and help America see the terrible price some of us have had to pay. One of my Gold Star Moms had her son commit suicide two years ago as George was smirkingly serving the plastic turkey. Another dad got in touch with me this week to tell me that they are sadly burying their son on the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year. The Gold Star Families for Peace are handling their losses with grace, courage and integrity. The Bush crime family and their cronies can take lessons from them. This administration full of neocon crooks has ruined the holidays for so many people worldwide. I don't know how they can choke down their turkey!

        I am profoundly grateful for the life of my son Casey Austin. He always lived his life with grace, courage and integrity. His life has been a model for me in my resolve to bring his buddies home alive. Unlike George, Casey never got anything handed to him on a silver platter. Casey put himself on a silver platter and handed his young life over to save the lives of his buddies. I am not grateful for the way he died and the too many others who have tragically come home in flag-draped coffins, too. The atrocity has to end before too many more families experience the emptiness of a chair at the family table that once rang with laughter and now rings with sighs and forced, mostly false, mirth.

        Since Camp Casey, I do have hope that one of these days our holidays will have real joy and laughter again. I have hope that America is ready to take back our rights, freedoms and responsibilities. I have hope that people will be held accountable for the needless death and destruction they have caused the world. I am intensely grateful for the return of hope.

        I also have high hopes that we are at a unique point in history where we will be able to change the paradigm of our existence from one of perpetual war and killing to one of perpetual love and peace. This will be the best blessing that a mom could ever ask for! Maybe next year!



    VIDEO SPECIAL | Carly Sheehan: A Nation Rocked to Sleep

    Windows Player DSL

    Links to Quicktime & RealPlayer DSL & Dial Up At Site

    ThanksGiving? What is there Really to be Thankful For, seems Anything that can Come To Mind is Quickly Wiped Out with a Planet of Inhabitants Causing Destruction, in So Many Ways!!

    James Starowicz
    USN '67-'71
    '67-'68: Meridian Mississippi/Naval Air Station
    '68-'70: GMG3, Panama Canal Zone/Rodman Naval Base
    '70-'71: GMG3, Coronado Calif, CounterInsurgency/S.E.R.E. School, Vietnam in-Country COMNAVFORV
    Member: Veterans For Peace


  •  Only a mother can truly (4.00)
    understand your pain, worry, and fear.  

    About six years ago, I was urging my youngest (undisciplined) son to go into the military, as I thought it would teach him to focus.  He did not, thankfully.  I mean, who knew that Bush was coming down the pike, and would send our sons and daughters off to fight an insane war?  I cannot even describe the guilt I feel that I could have put one of my sons in harm's way.

    All I can say to you, and Cindy, is this.  You're in our hearts, and we will always be there for you.

  •  Bush was for sure (none)
    a cocaine user right? I thought he's admitted it? Chris Mathews is arguing w/ Paul Hacket about this saying its never been proven.  I'm so confused.

    It's not easy being a Floridian.

    by lawstudent922 on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 11:16:50 AM PST

  •  its sad to me (4.00)
    Its sad to me that there should be any kind of dueling about suffering.   It seems to me that we are all connected in our losses and in our hopes to find some kind of social justice and peace for all.  That our pain should connect us rather than separate us.  

    Despite the history of this day, and it is a bloody  history,  its good to be thankful for the gift of life, for the gift of love in our lives and to hope for a future in which we can do better, all of us together.  Its one of my best hopes for the progressive community here.

    Thank you for your post.  I choose to hope.

  •  Suffering is siffering. (4.00)
    Let's not insist on  squabbling over whose is worst.

    I can sympathize hwoever.  I had a husband in Saudi in the lead-up of the first Gilf Lunacy, and no one knew if hsi squadron would return on schedule or stay thre.  Even when it's a routine deployment, things go wrong and peopel die.  You pray that you won't see an offocier outside your door with a chaplain.  you pray that the phone call isn't from someone with bad news. You wait by the phone hoping he'll call collect and you can hear his voice.

    I don't think someone who hasn't had a spouse or child in the military  can truly udnerstand what it's like.  In my husband's alst squadron, they left and were unreachable except by snail mail (at unpredictable intervals)--no email, no phone calls, just a call fromt he MCPO oince a week tellign you theya re alive and in one piece.  That was it. You weren';t even told where they were going, let alone when they'd be back.  They were in Kosov and Afghanistan and Iraq.  We gotlucky--he was allowed to retire though they promised him promotion if he stayed and then tried to use stop loss.  I'd have been a wreck the entire time if he'd gone.  

    Misery is misery.  I have a friend who is half Abenaki, and I know what the reservations can be like and how ill-treated the first people in AMerica have beena t the hands of white settlers. I know therea re children starving in Darfur, people being slaughtered all over the world, poverty ad AIds worldwide.  I do what I can, which isn't a lot.  

    But respect our personal griefs and losses too.   It's a bit like the old song from Hiar: "You care about the bleeding crowd/How about a needing friend?"  We cannot all be aid workers and doctors--but we can hel;p wipe the tears of those we DO know, even if only in cyber space.  I have received  an unexpected kindness from a Kossack thsi week--and it helped lift my spirits a great deal.  What we cannot do for the suffering folk in other lands, we can do for eathother.  Even if it's just saying, "I hope thigns get better for yiu."

    Briught Blessings.

     

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 12:22:31 PM PST

  •  you're not alone. (4.00)
    i was brought to tears by your diary too.  you're right.  i don't like this thing that i have been seeing from some more radical members of the native american movement that "your suffering, white man, cannot even begin to compare to what my people have gone through."  i have met only one person in my life (a lunatic) who thought that it was justified for the native peoples to be slaughtered because they were "savages."  overwhelmingly, it's difficult these days to find people who condone what happened to those here before the european settlers.  we also have a lot more educated and honest history about the atrocities done in america than you could find in places like in brazil were that type of subjugation and slaughter is considered a north american phenomenon.  (when really, it's not).  we could all use a better education in our history and what all peoples have gone through.  getting into pissing matches about whose ancestors were more humiliated and which genocides were more abominable brings no closure nor workable solutions.

    today we know that we are slaughtering a people in far off countries on a world that is getting smaller every day.  it shouldn't be difficult for any of us to identify the parallels with what happened to the native peoples, particularly, in our beloved country.  unfortunately, even thoughwe are a more awakened people with more access to information and ability to publicize and attempt to stop the atrocities, we cannot however bring back the lives of all those who have been killed and our rants and frustrations about what bush is doing and what we are outraged by cannot ever compare to the positions that our brave sons and daughters have been put in in order to carry out actions that some very well know is reprehensible.  the affects on the family and friends, who must feel overwhelmingly powerless is also something that we should all acknowledge and know that for anyone on this world to suffer it is a crime against us all and for anyone to commit crimes against another is not proof of what the group of which the oppressor is capable of, but of what we all as human beings are capable of.  let's try to remember that this "thanksgiving" if i may be so arrogant as to make a public suggestion and avoid pitting ourselves against others based on accusations of insensitivities to our own groups' historical losses and oppressions.  we are all in this together.  those crimes done in the past as well as today should not be put on scales.  we should simply do everything that we can to make sure that they are not repeated and that we can attempt to do whatever is possible to help those who have suffered by the crimes of the past (regardless of who was ultimately responsible).  i have not walked in your exact shoes.  no one has.  my heart goes out to you, your son, and your family and all people of this world put into such criminal situations.  peace and love and the best prayers to your son and all the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins of every family of this world.

    On the _9th_ day of Fitzmas, my true love gave to me.

    by lostinbrasil on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 01:42:31 PM PST

  •  I survived Thanksgiving with the in-laws (none)
    No drama or talk about the war at all.  I guess they're realizing that there is NO defense to the war or Bush and Cheney's assinine policies.

    Thanks for all of your kind thoughts, words, and prayers.  

    Do your part for world peace - visit Iraqi Blog Count and interact!

    by Sharon Jumper on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 02:43:03 PM PST

    •  Me too. (none)
      We simply told his Momthat we'd join them after Graace.  I decided that since we cannot worship our Lord and LAdy under her roof, I wasn't gonna play along and pretend that I worship her Deity.  SO far, no repercussions.

      As always I am limited tot he weather and people's helath as conversational topics, sicne anythignt hat interests me would offend msot of the family.  SIcne I have spent my life as the Od Man Out, this is nothing new.

      I used tot hink of myself as weird. Now I have decided I just have a very small, very select peer group.

      Dinner was awful. How the blazes can you dry out a Butterball turkey??????? Next year I will make the turkey, in order to saoisd meta that tastes liek sawdust and dressing so mushy wet itlooks like cheap soft cat food.

      Rightnow I am thankful to have a place to go hide  for a few minutes.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 04:55:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You probably won't see this (4.00)
    because it is so far down the food-chain.  But I have to say that this diary moved me.  I've been estranged from my mother for over a decade.  Now I wonder how she felt during my deployments to Latin America and the invasion of Panama.  Ya'know, maybe I should give her a call.

    "I traded my Beatles White Album for naked pictures of Trisha Nixon"

    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 04:43:43 PM PST

  •  For those over there.... (none)
    Take that look of worry
    I'm an ordinary man
    They don't tell me nothing
    So I find out what I can
    There's a fire that's been burning
    Right outside my door
    I can't see but I feel it
    And it helps to keep me warm
    So i, I don't mind
    No i, I don't mind

    Seems so long I've been waiting
    Still don't know what for
    There's no point escaping
    I don't worry anymore
    I can't come out to find you
    I don't like to go outside
    They can't turn off my feelings
    Like they're turning off a light
    But i, I don't mind
    No i, I don't mind
    Oh i, I don't mind
    No i, I don't mind

    So take, take me home
    Cos I don't remember
    Take, take me home
    Cos I don't remember
    Take, take me home
    Cos I don't remember
    Take, take me home, oh lord
    Cos I've been a prisoner all my life
    And I can say to you

    Take that look of worry, mine's an ordinary life
    Working when it's daylight
    And sleeping when it's night
    I've got no far horizons
    I don't wish upon a star
    They don't think that I listen
    Oh but I know who they are
    And i, I don't mind
    No i, I don't mind
    Oh i, I don't mind
    No i, I don't mind

    So take, take me home
    Cos I don't remember
    Take, take me home
    Cos I don't remember
    Take, take me home
    Cos I don't remember
    Take, take me home, oh lord
    Well I've been a prisoner all my life
    And I can say to you

    But I don't remember
    Take, take me home...

    Phil Collins; Take Me Home

    "I aim to misbehave." Capt. Malcom Reinolds

    by Ralfast on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 06:34:02 PM PST

  •  this reminds me... (4.00)
    of when I was a kid.  My dad spent 23 years in the USAF; he served a 1 year tour in Vietnam (working on refuling rigs near the flight line) and then another 1 month temporary tour.

    When he went on the latter tour, we were living on Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan.  They flew out of Yokota Air Force base in those days; I remember my mom being in tears as we drove off and my dad standing in front of the airport entrance, looking lonely.

    Fortunately he made it back; others weren't so lucky.

    I remember our reaction in our Middle School (8'th grade)in Tachikawa when it was announced that the war was over.  It was joy, pure and simple.  No one cared that "we lost" or tried to argue that "we won"; what we knew is that our daddies weren't going to go over there and get killed anymore.

    My service (USN 1981-1985) was peactime.

    It was a truly happy day for us on that base.

    When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

    by onanyes on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:21:03 PM PST

  •  Sharon (none)
    I always enjoy your diaries. I cannot even imagine what it feels like to be you with a son in Iraq.  The fact that your son was in the battle that killed Casey Sheehan is an odd irony, and must make your fear even greater.  Your son is in my prayers, as is you.   Namaste.  

    Fascism will come to America in the guise of National Security - Jim Garrison

    by elveta on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:21:30 PM PST

    •  Duh? (none)
      "as are you," not "as is you." My bad!

      Fascism will come to America in the guise of National Security - Jim Garrison

      by elveta on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:22:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, Elveta (none)
      I wish that I could access the things that I blogged back in 2004 on the Clark and Kerry blogs as these events happened, but apparently, they are all archived.  It would be interesting to re-read them.

      Do your part for world peace - visit Iraqi Blog Count and interact!

      by Sharon Jumper on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 07:40:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sharon (4.00)
        My father and my step-father both served in WWII.  My step-father got a purple heart.  I could always see that blue shrapnel in his leg.  Well, after serving in WWII, he went to work for the Los Angeles Police Dept for 20 years.  About six months after he retired he went to work for the State Dept and spent 6 months in Iraq. In that he was 40+ at the time, I am guessing that he was Special Opps.  He never spoke of that experience. However, after he returned he was a changed man.  The only way I can describe it is that he was a man who had seen the worst and it changed his whole life.  He was restless; I was having a drink in a downtown LA bar one evening with a woman I worked with and he showed up and drank with us.  He died in his sleep about 4 months after he returned from Vietman at the ripe old age of 46 from "unknown causes."  That was before we had all heard of Agent Orange.  My step-dad and I never got along until he returned from Vietnam.  We were just starting to reconsile our differences and he died.  I was devastated.  It is a chapter in my life that I will never be able to close. My mother said, shortly after his death, that she did not think she would live very much longer, and she didn't. I HATE WAR!  No civilized society ever engages in WAR unless it is an absoute necessity to protect our country.  Vietnam did not meet that test nor does Iraq.  The insanity of the whole thing is that our country is being drug into wars by presidents who have never served a damn day of their lives the miliary.  Chickenhawks!

        Fascism will come to America in the guise of National Security - Jim Garrison

        by elveta on Thu Nov 24, 2005 at 08:24:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks (4.00)
    It is very hard for military families to speak out. I was very reluctant to come forward. I thought of hiding out, trying to ignore the news.  Didn't work.

    Then in August, we cancelled our vacation and spent a week in Waco. Best week I ever spent. I know we have to fight back and take action. I am enraged by Dems who sit back and wait, hoping to improve their political chances for 2008. My sons could be dead by then. I can't afford to wait.

    Last month we got a call and the caller ID said US Army. My wife took a deep gulp. It was a recruiter. But we both knew it could have just as easily been news of a serious injury or wound.

    I got a call yesterday from a Kerry supporter. I worked not to yell at the poor lady, but he has been an enabler for the drunk with power group that is ruining my life and the country.

    Thanks to any one who speaks up, especially military families.

  •  thank you sharon (none)
    I have often enjoyed the intelligence and analysis of your iraq diaries. but the pure heart and openness in this one really touches me.

    It reminds me why this issue is so important, as my very live and precious son sits near me on a couch... we are fighting for the lives of every mothers son.

  •  I'm Where You Are - It's Hell on Earth (none)
    My son is also in Iraq AGAIN!  This is the 3rd time in the middle east in the last 3 years (Afghanistan and Iraq twice).

    I am on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications now - they only mask the pain. The weekends (and upcoming holidays) are the worst - too much time to think about it.

    My therapist tells me I'm trying to prepare myself for something that cannot be prepared for.

    I want my son to see his 16 month old daughter grow up.  I want the screaming in my head to stop.  I feel guilty if I have a good time - my thoughts are "what's the point?".

    The bastards that caused this have to go - they have to be stopped and we have to stop them.  We have to turn the 2006 and 2008 elections around but in the meantime we have to keep the message alive.  It was a lie, it was treason, and we cannot stand for it.  No one should have to go through what the families of those who have been lost or the families that dread each passing day.

    Enough is enough.

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