Monday, August 22, 2005

A Few Thoughts--Not My Own--On Cindy Sheehan

I listened recently to a podcast of NPR's Left, Right & Center that dealt with the Cindy Sheehan issue. Arianna Huffington lionized Ms. Sheehan, proclaiming that she had a unique moral authority to speak on the war since she had lost her own son in it and denouncing those (meaning conservative columnists and talk radio hosts) who would dare question her motives and beliefs.

On her and her crusade, I have nothing to say. I'll leave the comments to this nation's warriors and the Iraqis they liberated. First, from a Navy SEAL:

I do not know what Casey Sheehan’s reason was for reenlisting, but since he was certain that he would be deploying to Iraq it seems reasonable to assume that the instinct to fight for his Nation was something that Casey felt deeply. That he answered his Nation’s call to service with the sacrifice of his life indicates to me that he is worthy of honor and gratitude from his fellow citizens and especially his family.

For that reason, I believe that his mother’s very public effort to steal his honor is one of the most despicable acts that can be perpetrated by a family member of the fallen. Nothing would bring me greater shame than to know that my own mother was using the willful sacrifice of my very life as an opportunity to garner public attention for the belief that my life was wasted. I am utterly disgusted by a woman, her loss notwithstanding that would allow her son’s enemies and those of the Nation he died to defend to profit from his death. Her self centered actions have created what amounts to a pack of hungry hyenas fighting over the corpse of her fallen son. The honor and respect that Casey is entitled to is being torn apart by the likes of, Michael Moore, Code Pink, the Kossacks, and the MSM anti-war establishment for the whole world to see.

Casey, as a brother warrior, I bid you rest and pray that you have not seen what your mother has wrought. RIP.
And this, from a grateful Iraqi:

You are free to go and leave us alone but what am I going to tell your million sisters in Iraq? Should I ask them to leave Iraq too? Should I leave too? And what about the eight millions who walked through bombs to practice their freedom and vote? Should they leave this land too?
Is it a cursed land that no one should live in? Why is it that we were chosen to live in all this pain, why me, why my people, why you?

But I am not leaving this land because the bad guys are not going to leave us or you to live in peace. They are the same ones who flew the planes to kill your people in New York.
I ask you in the name of God or whatever you believe in; do not waste your son's blood.
We here have decided to avenge humanity, you and all the women who lost their loved ones.
Take a look at our enemy Cindy, look closely at the hooded man holding the sword and if you think he's right then I will back off and support your call.

We live in pain and grief everyday, every hour, every minute; all the horrors of the powers of darkness have been directed at us and I don't know exactly when am I going to feel safe again, maybe in a year, maybe two or even ten; I frankly don't know but I don't want to lose hope and faith.

We are in need for every hand that can offer some help. Please pray for us, I know that God listens to mothers' prayers and I call all the women on earth to pray with you for peace in this world.

Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause…No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom.

His blood didn't go in vain; your son and our brethren are drawing a great example of selflessness.
God bless his free soul and God bless the souls of his comrades who are fighting evil.
God bless the souls of Iraqis who suffered and died for the sake of freedom.
God bless all the freedom lovers on earth.
And that's all I have to say on the subject of Ms. Sheehan. Now, please read of the heroic circumstances of her son's death:

Casey Sheehan grew up in a devout Catholic home. He served as an altar boy and then as a key member of his church's youth group for years.

When he was old enough, Casey joined the Boy Scouts, becoming the very second Eagle Scout out of his troop.

He enlisted in the Army when he was twenty years old. He decided to be a mechanic. He would undergo Combat Lifesaver training - a class on how to give IVs and treat trauma only second in intense learning to combat medic training. He was also certified to assist with giving communion to soldiers while in the field.

Specialist Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army in 2004 knowing full well that he could be sent into a combat zone.

Casey Sheehan was a Humvee mechanic with the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.

On April 3rd, 2004, forces loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al'Sadr stormed police stations and government offices in Sadr City (a city of over 2 million). They knew the Americans would come, and they wanted a fight. Muqtada Sadr was working them up into a religious frenzy. And he had his thugs murder anyone who he thought might stand in his way - even other Shi'ite clerics. His forces were known as the Mahdi Army.

American forces quickly surrounded Muqtada al'Sadr's quarters.

On April 4th, 2004, al'Sadr's Mahdi forces blocked roadways and bridges with burning tires, vehicles and trash. Visibility was less than 300 meters anywhere in the city. They began to attack American vehicles on patrol throughout Sadr City - some were protecting Shia worshipers (Holy Arbayeen) while others were escorting city government vehicles.

A battle raged across Sadr City. Insurgents assaulted American troops while looters and mobs formed and stormed through the streets. Word spread quickly across the American FOBs that there was trouble.

Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed with RPGs and pinned down and dying. While fighting off an attack himself, the Commander of the 2/5th, LTC Volesky, called for help. A Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was formed of volunteers - their mission was to go out and rescue the American troops.

Casey Sheehan's Sergeant asked for volunteers. Sheehan had just returned from Mass. After Sheehan volunteered once, the Sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission. According to many reports (and according to his own mother), Casey responded, "Where my Chief goes, I go."

The QRF was launched. Not long after entering the Mahdi area, the QRF was channeled onto a dead-end street where the roofs were lined with snipers, RPGs, and even some militia throwing burning tires onto the vehicles. The Mahdi blocked the exit and let loose with everything they had.

Sheehan's vehicle was hit with multiple RPGs and automatic-weapons fire.

Specialist Casey Sheehan and Corporal Forest J. Jostes were killed.

A second QRF was formed - all volunteers - to go rescue the first. Specialist Ahmed Cason was hit in the second QRF - but kept fighting until he bled to death.

Seven men died with Casey Sheehan on Sunday, April 4th, 2004.

They were Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, Spc. Ahmed Cason, Sgt. Yihjyh L. "Eddie" Chen, Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, Spc. Israel Garza, Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, and Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell.

It was Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday commemorates the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem. Back then, the palm frond was a symbol of victory - laid beneath the feet of those of the highest honor and triumph. Some believe it was this honor fit for a king that forced Jesus's enemies to act and crucify him.

In recognition of Casey, the Catholic Chapel at Fort Hood, Texas (where Sheehan was stationed) named the Knights of Columbus chapter the "Casey Austin Sheehan Council".

Casey also received the Bronze Star for his Valor that day.

Palm fronds for the most honored.

Thanks to Blackfive for this post. The story of Casey's bravery should accompany any discussion of the merits of Ms. Sheehan's crusade.


At 5:43 PM, Blogger dorsey said...

I cannot speak to whether the war is right or wrong, although I consider that Iraq and the world will be supremely better off without Saddam.

I can speak to the sacrifice of Casey Sheehan. I am grateful to that young man for his bravery and commitment to America. I am ashamed on his behalf of the political whore that claims to honor him. I cannot express my disdain for her atrocity strongly enough.



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