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Thursday, 03 August 2006 06:17

Cindy Sheehan: Won't You Please Come To Camp Casey

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by Cindy Sheehan

So your brother's bound and gagged
And they've chained him to a chair,
Won't you please come to Chicago just to sing.
In a land that's known as freedom how can such a thing be fair?
Won't you please come to Chicago for the help that we can bring.
We can change the world rearrange the world.
It's dying---to get better!

Chicago, Graham Nash

This song was written almost 40 years ago when it also seemed that our world was in flames and dying. Thousands of people heeded the call to head to Chicago to demonstrate at the DNC. I can remember, even as an 11-year-old, watching the TV in horror as members of the Chicago PD ferociously beat protesters with their night sticks and I was revolted when my friend, Genie's mom Maxine, yelled:"Hit the goddam hippies harder!" I can also remember thinking that the people who were there were extremely brave and they must have cared deeply about ending the war in Vietnam. When I travel the country and talk to people in the anti-war movement, many of them say: "If there were only a draft, people would get off of their butts and protest the war like we(they) did during Vietnam."

I don't believe in giving people an "out" by using the draft excuse. By 1968, 30,000 of our troops had been needlessly slain and countless numbers of unfortunate "collateral" damage Vietnamese citizens had also been brutally slaughtered. College students who had their deferments were shutting down administrative offices to protest their schools' defense research and collaboration with the war profiteers. Martin Luther King, Jr and Bobby Kennedy had already been assassinated and their were over 50,000 people who converged on Chicago to protest the "National Death Party" rubber-stamping another murderous four years of Lyndon Johnson's war. The draft and the burning of draft cards, most notably by the Berrigan brothers, was just one of the issues. Graham Nash wasn't about to be drafted when he wrote the song, Chicago: people just cared. While students were protesting to make the world better and soldiers were being ordered to go to Vietnam, against their wills, George was AWOL from the Alabama Air National Guard. He must have gotten tired of playing pilot -- or maybe his codpiece was on too tight.

Today, just a little more than 3 years into the bloody conflict in Iraq, 2579 of our soldiers have been killed and the collateral civilian damage reaches into the hundreds of thousands, with over 6000 Iraqis slain just in the past two blood soaked months. Our brothers are being "bound and gagged" and "chained to chairs" in Guantanamo, which contrary to what George said about wanting to shut it down, is being expanded and renovated so the sadists can carry out new and improved forms of torture. Israel continues to receive US support in slaughtering Lebanese civilians to consolidate its power in the region.

Politicians sit yourselves down, there's nothing for you here,
won't you please come to Chicago for a ride.
Don't ask jack to help you `cause he'll turn the other ear,
won't you please come to Chicago or else join the other side

In Vietnam, the National Death Party were the Democrats; it was after all, a Democratic war and the students who came out to protest were also mostly Democrats who wanted their party to do better. In the occupation of Iraq, the Death Party (and certainly the Executive Branch) seems to be the Republicans -- but I would argue, that with a few notable exceptions in both parties, the Death Party is bi-partisan. War is good business for politicians -- and the war profiteers are great at greasing every one's blood-stained palms with the mammon of other people's flesh and bones.

Recently, the Democratic leadership did come out and ask George for a "redeployment" plan for our troops from Iraq. Yes, they should be redeployed but to their homes. Redeployment is good for most of our soldiers, temporarily, but it just means increased aerial bombings on civilians and death squads. We also have to think of our brothers and sisters who are chained to the violence and death in Iraq. Additionally, call me cynical, but after months of begging our "opposition" party to do something about the bloodbath in Iraq, could they be acting now because they see a political advantage? Thousands of people have died while they waited for the right politically expedient moment to finally do something about it.

Somehow people must be free I hope the day comes soon,
won't you please come to Camp Casey show your face.
From the bottom of the ocean to the mountains of the moon,
won't you please come to Camp Casey no one else can take your place.
We can change the world rearrange the world
It's dying - if you believe in justice
dying - and if you believe in freedom
dying - let a man live his own life
dying - rules and regulations, who needs them open up the door.

Camp Casey in Crawford is more important than ever, now. Not only has this administration, with the eager approval of Congress, committed genocide on a massive scale, they are taking away our civil rights and our right to be heard and counted. We cannot allow these same leaders who accuse the peace movement of a political agenda to use our soldiers and the babies of Iraq as political game pieces in the folly of elections when there is so much overwhelming evidence that our elections have been compromised, and while election after election is stolen, no one does anything about it. It is up to us all, nobody else.

As long as we allow our leaders to continue killing innocent people to punish criminals, then the killing will never stop. As long as we sit on our butts on our couches and keep buying gas from Exxon, while we curse the insane and out of control war profiteers, then the killing will never stop. As long as we give our quiet consent of torture by not loudly speaking out against the inhumanity, then the killing will never stop. As long as we are silent about the crimes against humanity that BushCo committing, then the crimes will never stop and the killers will never be punished.

Won't you please come to Camp Casey, no one else can take your place.

If we end it now, we won't be singing the same tune in another 40 years!


Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Casey Sheehan, who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is heading to Camp Casey on August 6th to be in Crawford on her new property while George is there. She would like to invite everyone who cares about peace, love, and justice to join her.

For more information on Camp Casey, 2006, please go to: Gold Star Families for Peace.
To donate go to Camp Casey Donations.
To volunteer to help go to Crawford Peace House.
The lyrics to Chicago were used with Graham Nash's permission and the piece was inspired
by Vietnam Veteran Ward Reilly who sang the new version: Won't You Please Come to Camp
Casey at Camp Casey, Easter.