She’s been called everything from an anti-Semite to a traitor by right-wing bloggers. She has been accused of dishonoring her fallen son. She has ignited a national dialogue about the Iraq war. She is my prediction for 2005 Person of the Year.
Cindy Sheehan has started something big. She has given a harsh and callous thing the face of a lost mother in her attempts to get President Bush to describe what “noble cause” her son died for. She has stood up to the political machine.
We know the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. The Emperor, obsessed with surface appearance, sent his two servants to inspect a fine, light cloth that was invisible to the unworthy. The servants could not see the cloth, but did not want to admit themselves unworthy, and thus both praised the cloth. The emperor was dressed and showed off his new “garment” in a parade.
All the citizens praised the color, the design of the cloth. All were afraid to admit that they could not see it. Finally a small child noted: “But he has no clothes on at all.”
Sometimes the obvious can be overlooked because no one wants to look stupid. No one wants to be unpatriotic. No one wants to be a pessimist about something as important as Democracy in the Middle East. However, this does not mean the substance claimed to exist exists. Facts are facts.
The war in Iraq, for too long, has been the elephant in the room. It is a conspicuous and remarkable event that has been simply an academic exercise for most Americans who have been asked to give nothing. It has been mired in failures, from it’s first moments of conception—from faux WMD evidence, to lack of planning for post-war stability, to lack of troop armor protection, to Abu Grave. Every day “experts” who should have protected this country’s best interests are giving reports that this war is a total mess and unwinable and a shadow of Vietnam.
Cindy Sheehan has given all of this a face. She is the mother in your neighborhood who has given the ultimate sacrifice and simply wants answers. She, before this week, has had no political agenda, she did not go to Crawford, TX for media attention, and all of that has given her credibility. She is not a stuffed-shirt politician, all of whom who sponsored this war should be ashamed for not having the nerve of this woman to question the Emperor.
But how does the story end? The people soon realized the Emperor was indeed naked.
“The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought that the procession must go on now! And the lords of the bedchamber took greater care than ever to appear holding up a train, when in reality there was no train to hold.”
No doubt the President will attempt to continue the procession. But the procession has gone on long enough. It is time to talk about the administration and the war in truth.