08/22/05 — Sad spectacle: Cindy Sheehan’s media frenzy

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Sad spectacle: Cindy Sheehan’s media frenzy

This will not be an easy editorial to write. Our hearts go out to Ms. Cindy Sheehan. She lost her son in Iraq, as have almost 2,000 American mothers.

Ms. Sheehan has gained worldwide media attention by demanding a second personal audience with President George W. Bush.

That attention has mushroomed. The Associated Press reported that 350 “anti-war” protesters joined her effort recently in Durham. The AP and major TV networks obviously have been embedded with Ms. Sheehan in her vigil outside the president’s ranch in Texas.

What most do not include in their daily reports is that the president met earlier with Ms. Sheehan to express his condolences and appreciation of her son’s service and sacrifice. Her earlier comments regarding that meeting apparently were far different from what she’s saying today.

Ms. Sheehan now demands a personal meeting in which she can call the president a murderer and liar about the war. She is joined in that demand by some members of Congress — including Sen. John Kerry and former Sen. John Edwards — who supported the war in Iraq on the basis of the same intelligence information provided to the president.

Was the intelligence lacking? Obviously. Was their decision based on that intelligence wrong? Possibly.

Does that make our president and the vast majority of our elected leaders — Democrats and Republicans — liars and murderers?

Not in our book.

Our impression is that Cindy Sheehan, in her understandable grief, has found not only some relief, but even euphoria in her sudden international attention and emerging celebrity status.

Today she comes across on TV not as the grieving mother, but as the smiling champion of opposition to the cause for which her son — who volunteered to be a soldier — died.

She is enthusiastically joined by the likes of Jane Fonda, the national news media and political opportunists.

Sadly, the spectacle demeans the service and sacrifices of the brave young men and women now serving and those who have been casualties of the war. And it offers encouragement to the real murderers — the cowardly terrorism planners who recruit young fanatics to kill innocent women and children and any others who dare exercise their freedom to move about in the cities of Iraq.

Mr. Bush’s refusal to meet again with Cindy Sheehan simply to give her the opportunity to unfairly and scathingly vilify him as a liar and murderer is wise. To do otherwise would be counter to security considerations and common sense.

Published in Editorials on August 22, 2005 9:54 AM