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Monday, 31 July 2006 02:15

Cindy Sheehan: Camp Casey III and Iraq

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by Cindy Sheehan

After BushCo's stooge, Nouri al-Maliki was in America last week thanking soldiers for their sacrifices in helping the USA kill and oppress his very own people and thanking Congress for giving George a blank check to spend how he sees fit to kill and oppress the Iraqi people, almost 4000 of our soldiers in Alaska's 172nd Stryker Brigade were shown how much they are appreciated by having their enlistments extended another 120 days.

I saw the Angel of Death in the skin of Donald Rumsfeld say, while he was busy rushing in or out of the Pentagon (it doesn't really matter), that it is "unfortunate" that the soldiers have to remain in Iraq. I think it is unfortunate for our troops and for the innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan that Donald Rumsfeld has to remain as the Secretary of War.

I can't imagine how disappointed the families and the soldiers must feel. The 172nd has been in the violent Anbar Province for almost a year and I am sure they and their families were starting to really look forward to their homecoming. I can imagine that there are more than a few mothers out there who were allowing themselves to start breathing again. I am sure mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, children, aunts and uncles, and extended friends and family were already planning coming home parties and anticipating the enormous hugs and overwhelming sense of relief that would accompany their soldiers home, too. Now the 172nd will be redeployed to Baghdad to be right smack dab in the middle of sectarian violence and back in the thick of things. Four more months of heat, spiders the size of puppies, MRE's, anxiety and peril; as their Secretary of War and Commander in Chief drive around DC in cushy air-conditioned and up-armored SUVs and also get to sleep in comfy beds cozy in the fact that the sacrifices of our children and their families are guaranteeing Exxon and other war bandits billions of dollars in profits.

Right-wing people who support the killing of innocent men, women, and children, are trying to stir up crap about my land purchase in Crawford, Tx to run Camp Casey. The worst thing that I have heard a Crawford resident say is that I am a "dumb Democrat." The crap that NEEDS to be stirred up in Crawford is that George and Co. have the nerve to go on vacation when our soldiers can't get home after serving in the vile mess that BushCo created. Instead of working for peace and stability in the region, our continued presence there is encouraging and causing the violence. Our troops need to be removed -- not increased.

Recent polls showed that 72% or our troops wanted to start coming home by the end of this year and 83% of the Iraqi people want the occupation to end. Those numbers are significant if only for the fact that they are probably low -- soldiers and occupied peoples have never felt at liberty, or even secure to share their feelings with the oppressors.

To this end of creating a peace plan that the Iraqi people want and can feel comfortable and secure with (it is afterall, their country), a contingent of peace activists, including myself, will travel to Amman, Jordan to meet with Iraqi Parliamentarians who don't parrot what BushCo wants them to say and would actually like coalition forces to be removed from their country. It is an historic and significant step in this abominable and shameful episode of our history. The meeting is also highly significant since our State Department has been transformed into an adjunct of the War Department and is headed by the Deputy Secretary of War: Condi Rice. We have no diplomats in our country: just war mongers who can clear brush, shop for shoes, and laugh at gullible Americans all the way to the bank while they are depositing their war profits.

We will be meeting with the Iraqi representatives in Amman on August 4th, and many of us will return to Camp Casey in Crawford on August 6th to outline the plan and present a way that Americans and Iraqis can work together to end the killing on both sides of the conflict. August 6th is also a very meaningful date for me because it is the same day, one year ago, that I originally sat in the ditch with other peace mongers and we were eventually joined by thousands of peace mongers from all over the world.

On that day, we will ask to meet with George again to brief him on our meeting with real Iraqis who live, work, and raise their families outside of the Green Zone and outside of the influence of DC. Due to past performance, I don't think he will meet with us (not very neighborly), but I am sure he will know that we are there and we have an Iraqi-driven plan when his only plan is to kill more people because so many have already been killed -- which is what "stay the course" and "honor the sacrifices of the fallen" really mean. George is so comfortable cutting and running from Crawford when he feels threatened by the truth, I wish he would cut our soldiers loose from the nightmare of occupation and allow Iraqis to run their own country.

Please come to Camp Casey this year, or donate to help promote peace for our time and our world.

Since George has rescheduled his summer to avoid us, we will reschedule our summer to not allow him the leisure of having a leisurely vacation while the Middle East is burning because of his policies.

If we can't count on our leaders to solve conflicts non-violently, then we must count on ourselves.

We need to get busy putting peace into practice. This is the time to do it and Camp Casey is the place where it will get done.


* * *

The Camp Casey dates have been changed to accomodate George's schedule and will be August 6th to September 2nd. Please go to the Gold Star Families for Peace website to stay posted on future exciting developments for Camp Casey III this summer.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan who was killed in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush. She is currently on Day 27 of the Troops Home Fast.