Her protest amounts to a terrorist threat

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, August 18, 2005

By Staff
My heart goes out to Cindy Sheehan, the mother who is protesting the war with Iraq by camping out on a small strip of public property across from President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Ms. Sheehan lost her oldest son, Casey, last year, who was killed only five days after arriving in Iraq.
The Vacaville, Calif., woman, who describes herself as a full-time political activist, has been camping there since last Saturday and is refusing to leave until she meets personally with the president.
As you can imagine, her protest is drawing lots of attention and is bringing on a growing pilgrimage from others who share her opinions of the war.
While I have much sympathy for Ms. Sheehan and feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for her son's sacrifice, I don't agree with how she's handling her personal protest.
As most who have read my opinions printed in this space know, I'm not our president's number one fan. However, he is our president and is deserving of our respect.
And, while I also don't agree our war with Iraq is an effective way to combat our threat of terrorism at home, thousands of American men and women have left their families and put their lives on hold to fight this battle on our behalf and they and our country deserve our very best support.
Ms. Sheehan is demanding a meeting with the president and vows not to leave until she gets that meeting. In my opinion, that threat amounts to terrorism in its own right and our president should not agree to meet with her under those terms.
As President Bush said in a press conference on Thursday, Ms. Sheehan is entitled to her opinion and is entitled to express it in whatever legal way she chooses.
However, we can certainly all see the terrible precedent it would set if he agreed to meet her in light of her threat.
The sad part about the demand she's made is I'll bet he'd love to meet her and talk with her. In fact, he did meet her in June 2004 at Fort Lewis, Wash., soon after her son died. She says she was still in shock then. She's angry now and wants to share that anger with the president.
He must want to thank her, again, for her son's sacrifice. I'm certain he wants to convey to her how much he appreciates her pain. He must want to share with her his reasons why he believes the war with Iraq is necessary for the security of our country. I'm sure he even wants to let her vent her anger and frustration. I'll bet he wants her to know he hears what she's saying.
But he shouldn't meet with her because of her threat and I hope he won't.
I hope, too, she realizes that in the end, she will have done little to further her cause and may even harm it by alienating those of us who sympathize with her but who also support our president.
Wasn't Niles Riverfest wonderful? It gets better and better.
For much of that, we have Tom Majerek to thank.
Tom's incredible energy and love for this community shows in so many ways, none more poignant than Riverfest. He's retiring as chairman of the Anything That Floats raft parade, and he will be missed. But we hope that means he will simply immerse himself in another Niles project and improve it like he has Riverfest.
Many thanks, Tom, for a job very well done.