Now Hear This

Regarding Cindy Sheehan:

Her refusal to acknowledge her son’s moral authority is contemptible, and borders insanity.

In how many major media sources did you hear that identification even remotely alluded to? You didn’t, anywhere. Care to entertain why?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Billy Beck on August 15, 2005 at 22:24

    You have a "clue".

    Now, you have to think about it.

  2. Pastor Hank on August 15, 2005 at 20:14

    How about a frikking clue as to just what you are trying to communicate here?

  3. Kyle Bennett on August 16, 2005 at 06:49

    That's why Billy's at the top of my blogroll: the quote above, and that last comment.

  4. Kyle Bennett on August 16, 2005 at 13:30


    To recognize her son's moral authority is to recognize that George Bush was not the cause of her son's death, and that by speaking out against the war, it is *her son* she is speaking out against. She certainly has the right to do so, and it is our right to ignore the giant non-sequitur she is propogating.

  5. Billy Beck on August 16, 2005 at 16:50

    "Though Cindy Sheehan's vigil was certainly kick-started by her son's death, I don't believe her protest is directly related to her son's death."

    Then everyone involved should get off this moral authority of motherhood rubbish, and she should say so.

  6. jez on August 16, 2005 at 11:00

    this in no way diminishes her belief that the war was wrong. Perhaps that is what you should be addressing, instead of turning to straw man fallacies.

  7. Doug Wolf on August 16, 2005 at 13:19


    Gotta say, I disagree with this one here. Mrs. Sheehan is in no way disputing her son's right to go to war. She's exercising her *own* moral authority to focus a spotlight on the duplicity of the president and to very publically highlight her belief (and drum up support) for her supposition that this war is wrong and detrimental to our country. Regardless of where you stand on the war, you've got to admit that (so long as she doesn't violate the law) it is her perogative (and duty!) to speak out strongly against something she so adamantly opposes.

    Were she claiming that it was not Casey's right to make the decision to go, I would absolutely agree with you. But she's not. She wants an explanation (as many folks do) from the man who started and authorized this war.

    If more people were willing to take a (peaceful) stand over issues they feel strongly about, the country (and the world) would be a better place.

    — DW

  8. Doug Wolf on August 16, 2005 at 15:13


    I'll agree that (given an all volunteer army) Casey Sheehan's decision to enter a war-zone was his own. After reviewing a few of the news articles (very few of which have any depth to them), I don't believe Mrs Sheehan is trying to find out why her son died. (I think it's pretty obvious why her son died.) She claims to want to ask the president two questions:

    1) Why are we fighting this war. (i.e., what's the benefit to the country?)

    2) Since Mr. Bush has very publically stated that a young person's highest calling is to join the army and fight this war, why hasn't he strongly encouraged his daughters to do so?

    Though Cindy Sheehan's vigil was certainly kick-started by her son's death, I don't believe her protest is directly related to her son's death. She's looking for the answers to two very valid questions.

    If she were stating "Mr Bush is responsible for my son's death", she would very clearly be wrong.

    A comment for Trae: who Sheenan is "in bed with" is in no way germain to the rationality of her argument. An argument or point of philosophy should be judged entirely on its own merits, and not on the merits or the perceived social associations of the speaker. It's possible for a Nobel prize winning scientist to spout gibberish (see Linus Pauling on vitamin C!) and it's possible for a patent clerk to radically change our understanding of physics. (i.e., Einstein.)

    For the record, Sheehan isn't really all that high on my radar… I'd just a fan of keeping discussions logical. 🙂

    Richard, Kyle, and the rest… I may not agree with you all the time, but I'm always pleased to meet people who are capable of rational, thoughtful debate. You guys rock. 🙂

    — DW

  9. Stan Stillingfleet on August 16, 2005 at 15:54

    It appears to be pretty simple to me.

    Here's a woman who has the guts to get off her grieving butt and channel her anger into resisting an almost unbelievable torrent of lies from a utterly corrupt and thoroughly dangerous US government and still one finds acid commments belittling a mother's right to demand TO BE HEARD for God's sake.

    The point is her son died for nothing.

    No weapons of mass destruction, no link with Osma and Saddam, nothing except lie after lie after lie in favour of oil, oil and more oil.

    What kind of President refuses to see this woman on the grounds that he has to keep a "balanced" lifestyle? He's talking about maintaining HIS health. Good grief.

    It's one thing to have a gentle cit-chat and a "rational, thoughtful debate" but quite another to take a stand against what you believe to be serious injustice which has resulted in needless deaths of young American men, and more importantly, thousands of civilian Iraqis, a large proportion of which are children.

    The siege of Fallujah was a absolute media censored bloodbath where God only knows how may died. And with long range, hi-tec weaponry I can pretty much guess the ratio of death on that one.

    And in case we think Sheehan is isolated in this there are others, includiong these guys who lost their son in Iraq recently:

    “Our comments are not just those of grieving parents,'' Paul Schroeder said in front of the couple's home. “They are based on anger, Mr. President, not grief. Anger is an honest emotion when someone's family has been violated.''

    They deserve our admiration not the easy, armchair criticism that has become part and parcel of a seriously compliant media.

    I suggest we all get up-to-date on exactly why these crooks are in office and begin to get as angry as Sheehan. Maybe then actions can speak louder than words. Or else we will essentially lose what little democracy is left in the US.


  10. Doug Wolf on August 16, 2005 at 17:11


    You'll note that it's the *pundits* that are asserting Sheehans "moral authority as a mother", not Mrs. Sheehan herself.

    Sheehan herself is only (so far as I know) asserting her authority as a citizen to ask pertinent questions.

    Ignore the circus that has grown around her, ignore her purported political affiliations (whatever they may be), and ignore the pundits of both the left and the right… and still: the two questions she asks are questions *every* citizen of the country has a right to have answers to.

    Don't confuse Cindy Sheehan with the media circus, camp followers, and sundry hangers-on that have accumulated around her.

    — DW

  11. Doug Wolf on August 16, 2005 at 17:29

    Time for ol' Doug to eat some crow…

    I just found an interview with Cindy Sheehan, and I quote:

    BuzzFlash: Your son Casey died April 4 in Iraq. Whom do you hold responsible for your loss?

    Cindy Sheehan: George W. Bush.

    As much as I detest this war, and as much as I revile the duplicity of the current administration… Mrs. Sheehan will eventually need to accept that it was *her son* who put himself willingly and voluntarily in a war-zone.

    (The same cannot be said for tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.)

    So guys, you're right at least in your assesment of Sheehan's mindset of who bears the responsibility for her son's death.

    Hmmm… crow. Tastes like chicken!

    — DW

  12. Trae on August 16, 2005 at 14:49

    I think I would have more of a inclination to consider her argument if she wasn't in bed with Had she done this completely on her own, it might be something to consider. Just like if someone wanted to protest a liberal situation and had funding coming from the NRA or something, it's hard to consider it a serious argument.

    Now to the statement at hand, I have to agree…do anyone's children have the guarantee of safety when they enter the military? And since you are no longer forced into service…who really holds the responsibility.

  13. Mauser*Girl on August 16, 2005 at 15:51

    It's very sad and shocking that many people don't realize that Casey was not a little boy but an adult who made an adult decision – twice.

    First time, he decided to enlist. The second time, he decided to re-enlist knowing full and well that his unit would be sent to Iraq. He even had a choice to go, as I understand from the articles, and chose to go to Iraq with his unit.

    If Cindy claims to be speaking for her son, she is certainly not doing a good job.

  14. Billy Beck on August 17, 2005 at 14:55

    Look, fool: "diviseness" [sic] is a natural and necessary consequence of different principles. And anyone who runs that complaint is behaving like a goddamned idiot. You're not thinking: you're simply hawking outright rubbish that someone else cooked up and knew that idiots would pick it up and start running it without thinking about it.

    And there can be no rational or productive discussion with anyone like that. Period.

  15. Billy Beck on August 17, 2005 at 16:52

    "Your very first sentence is false.

    I know for a fact it's possible to have discussions with people that subscribe to very different philosophies without it ever being implying that they are an idiot."

    You're the one who moaned about "divisiveness". I pointed out the reason for "divisiveness". You then changed the subject to another anti-concept; distinguishing between "divisivness" and disagreement, quite without any sort of a definition for the former. You are simply making this up as you go along. And the "outright rubbish" that I pointed out is precisely that fact, originally manifest in that "divisivness" horseshit. I did not refer to bin Laden or anything else, and if you would only think about what you read, this would be clear to you.

    I will not assume what you suggest, in the face of the evidence. Forget it.

  16. Billy Beck on August 17, 2005 at 16:54

    Mr. Nikoley: I do what I can, when I can. I'm happy if you're gratified with the effort, sir.

  17. Frances Langum on August 17, 2005 at 10:11

    It would be interesting to know when Casey re-enlisted…before or after the military announced that there were no weapons of mass destruction. If he re-enlisted before, then he was lied to, as we all were. Downing St Memo proves, REALLY PROVES PEOPLE, that Bush was planning to oust Saddam before 9/11. The justification for that ousting was wmd's, which was a lie. Many soldiers went looking for wmd's and got killed over a lie from their commander in chief. That's what Casey's mom is mad about. Interesting that Bush and his cabinet (Condoleeza is a former director for Chevron for godsake, and don't get started about Cheney) are getting richer every day this war goes on. We're all wearing the blue dress now, suckers.

  18. Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2005 at 17:20

    Well, I'll be. Here, I missed out on all of this. Guess I need to put in a help desk ticket with TypePad to let them know that comments aren't forwarding to me by email.

    Well, by the looks of things, I'd probably have just been in the way, anyway.

  19. Lute Nikoley on August 17, 2005 at 13:44

    Now I know why this country is in big trouble, it's because of the crap and misinformation spouted by the likes of FL, DW and SS. It is obvious to me that your information comes from the likes of the N.Y. Times, the 3 major News Networks and CNN (Communist New Network.)

    There were many reasons for going to war in Iraq. But you left wingers, all you remember is the WMD's. The fact is that all the major itelligence gathering agencies in the world had it wrong, maybe. If you think George Bush lied about WMD's, then also acuse your favorite democrat senators of lying too, when they authorized the president to go to war.

    Who are the suckers? It's you doves who would cave to terrorists demands and just give up, to have your heads cut off.

    I've gone through war ( WWII) in Germany as a kid and I know what it is like. I damm well know that not one American gave a crap about the millions of german women, children and old men were killed by collatteral damage. In one bombing alone more than 300K civilians were killed.

    You people haven't got a clue as to what Cindy Sheehan's actions are doing to the memory of her son. Even her family have seperated from her actions. And, her husband filed for divorce.

  20. Doug Wolf on August 17, 2005 at 14:12


    One of the reasons this country is in big trouble is because of the *incredible* diviseness of the sort of attitude you've just shown. To ascribe the the descent of a nation to individuals you've never even *met* is to engage in the worst sort of disinformation campaign. When you point fingers at a false enemny, you're letting the *real* enemy escape notice.

    I'm educated, I tend to gather facts before speaking (at least I try), and I assure you that I love my countrymen as much as you do. Iraq *was not a threat to the United States*, at least not in any measure I've been able to discover. There are *real* enemies of the US (why are there 150,000 servicemen in Iraq instead of chasing Bin Laden???) and I would like to see *EVERY SINGLE TERRORIST* wiped off the face of the earth… but I don't believe we can do that by wasting lives and resources in a country that posed no threat to us.

    North Korea (which is led by a madman) has nuclear weapons. Iran will soon have nuclear weapons. Pakistan almost certainly already has them.

    I believe strongly that it in the best interest of *America* to A) deal with nuclear proliferation and B) Do what it takes to dismantle organizations of the likes of Al Qaida.

    The war in Iraq accomplishes neither of those goals.

    Lute, I presume you're a decent human being (you're certainly a passionate one!)… but to presume that everyone who opposes the war in Iraq is either a coward or a peacenick (and hence NOT a decent human being) is folly.

    Lute, if you'd like to have a rational, fact based discussion of why we should or should not be involved in Iraq, I'd love to. I suspect we have different political and philosophical beliefs, but that doesn't automatically make you an idiot in my eyes… and I'd appreciate the same consideration.

    By the way… what misinformation did I spout? (Other than the one I owned up to and ate crow for?)

    — DW

  21. Lute Nikoley on August 17, 2005 at 15:12

    Billy Beck,
    Thank you, you are a man of reason and I appreciate your posts. Seems you have the ability to say in a few words that most can't accomplish in a long dissertation.

  22. Doug Wolf on August 17, 2005 at 15:14


    Your very first sentence is false.

    I know for a fact it's possible to have discussions with people that subscribe to very different philosophies without it ever being implying that they are an idiot. (And if they truly *are* an idiot… I just terminate the discussion.) Disagreement is not divisiveness.

    Your very last sentence was false as well.

    It is possible (and neccesary) to have rational and productive discussions with people who disagree with you. If forums such as this one are to amount to anything besides intellectual masturbation, then quit preaching to the choir, assume your audience is bright enough to follow a cogent argument, and show the same civility and respect that you would show in person.

    As to the "outright rubbish" that I an purported to be "hawking": Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida perpetrated a heineous attack on the people of the United States, and have threatened to do so again. Pouring resources into dismanteling that organization isn't "rubbish"… it's self defense!

    Perhaps you were implying that my supposition about rogue states (Iran, North Korea, Pakistan) possesing nuclear weapons was "outright rubbish"? Did I get my facts about those three nations wrong?

    Billy, assume I'm as bright as you are, and that I'm interested in the pursuit of knowledge. If you're interested in discourse and a chance to proliferate ideas that you (obviously) hold dearly, I'm listening. But if you're only interested in preachin' to the choir… well… have at it.

    — DW

  23. S. L. Cunningham on August 18, 2005 at 18:32

    Richard: In regard to Sheehan's "refusal to acknowledge her son's moral authority," I thought as much myself. Excellent post.
    See: Cindy Sheehan’s Protest – A Mockery of Civil Disobedience

  24. Doug Wolf on August 19, 2005 at 00:31

    Just in the name of accuracy…

    It would be difficult for Cindy Sheehan to be making a "mockery of civil disobedience" because she has not committed nor claimed to be committing (to my knowledge) any act of civil disobedience. "Civil Disobedience" is when one willfully breaks the law (in full sight of legal authorities) because they believe that law is unjust.

    Cindy Sheehan is not accused of breaking any laws. (Again, none that I know of. Feel free to correct me if there was some recent development I'm unaware of.)

    She's threatened to not pay her taxes this year, so it's theoretically possible she *may* commit an act of civil disobedience… but she has not yet.

    And if I hear one more person try to compare the U.S. Invasion of Iraq to the allied invasion of fortress Europe in WWII, I'm going to retch. 🙂

    (Something tells me I'd better find a safe retching place!)

    — DW

  25. Kyle Bennett on August 19, 2005 at 07:43


    Retch if you want, but there's a legitimate comparison on one sense: the strategic value.

    Normandy and Iraq are both beachheads. You think of Iraq as a distraction from dealing with Iran, I think of it as part of the strategy of dealing with Iran.

  26. Billy Beck on August 19, 2005 at 13:10

    "I still feel that strategically and morally, the invasion of Iraq was wrong."

    Stop "feeling" and start thinking.

    Saddam's Iraq could afford to — officially — "confine its actions" because it was rapidly becoming a hot-house for dirt-scratching savage aiming to hurt us who wanted its help.

    Bloody wake up, already.

  27. Doug Wolf on August 19, 2005 at 12:56


    There's some sense in that argument.

    The reason I usually find the comparison so ill-suited is that in the case of WWII, Germany has stormed across Europe, and showed no signs of stopping. In the case of Iraq, we were dealing with a nation with a weak army, no airforce to speak of, and confining its actions entirely to within its own borders.

    For the most part, I don't consider Iraq a distraction from Iran… I consider it a distraction from chasing *actual* terrorists (Al Qaida). I am perhaps being naieve, but I'd much prefer to have Osama Bin Laden in custody (as opposed to Saddam) because OBL actually *attacked* the United States. 150, 000 troops (that are currently in Iraq) could cover a lot of ground in the Hindu Kush!

    Iran (and North Korea) needs to be dealt with, but the beachhead scenario makes me nervous because I'm not certain an invasion of Iran is in the best interest of the United States. I don't believe Iran would ever pre-emptorially attack the US with a nuke for the same reason the USSR never attacked the US with a nuke: Mutally assured destruction.

    I still feel that strategically and morally, the invasion of Iraq was wrong. If there is any strategic benefit, it is this: With the United States army deployed at its doorstep, it would behoove any Middle Eastern rogue state to act with civility. Sometimes the simple act of carrying a really big stick prevents you from having to use it… but the U.S. and the people of Iraq have both paid (and will continue to pay) a very, very high price for that stick.

    — DW

  28. Kyle Bennett on August 19, 2005 at 23:28


    You don't play much chess, do you? It's a common strategy in chess to threaten the opponet's queen, often repeatedly. Even high level players will use this when appropriate. It's not because there is any serious thought about capturing the queen. It is because the opponent must respond, he must take his next turn not to further his own offense, but to protect his queen.

    Another more central strategy in chess is to occupy the center. The entire opening 'book' is based around controlling those four squares at fourth and fifth rank, d and e files. Draw a line connecting all the countries of the Middle East that are hotbeds of terrorists – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan. They all cross in one place.

    The strategic value re Iran, and re the pursuit of the enemy thorughout the region including in the Hindu Kush, of being in Iraq is not that we will invade, it is that the enemy must act to protect itself at the expense of mounting an offense. The 'insurgency' in Iraq is not a mass offense against the US, it is a desperate fight to protect the enemy's defenses, to move us off the center squares so they can have some breathing space. It's not being fought primarily by Iraqis, and it's draining enormous resources and manpower from the fight they really wanted to bring directly to us.

    Don't mischarecterize the enemy in this war. It is not a country, it is not an army massed and marching to the sea, it's not one or two charismatic leaders. It is an ideology that is distributed throughout the world, mixed among friend and enemy alike. But it does have a geographical center that is its Fountainhead, the source of its money, its planning, and its moral support.

    That center transcends national borders. Iraq was never the real enemy, any more than Normandy was our enemy in WWII. Iraq is one of the places that the enemy had made its own, and more, the one place that connected all the other places that the enemy was occupying. And now that we occupy it, it is the center that threatens every other piece on the board. Because we hold it we may never have to move beyond it until the endgame.

    Hussein and his regime were little more than pawns to that enemy. Don't mistake the tactic of capturing a pawn that occupies the center square for the overall end of the strategy of checkmating the King forty moves later. And checkmate is not making them 'behave more civilly', the goal is, it should be, to destroy them, to destroy that Fountainhead.

    How many men do you want to sacrifice in overrunning the Hindu Kush? Do you realize what kind of ground that is? What it would take to so fully occupy it that one man hidden in a cave and constantly on the move can be found and trapped?

    Next time you reach for your Calusewitz, pick up Lidell-Hart instead, or Sun-Tzu. Wars have never been won by mass frontal attacks, particularly not modern wars. Wars are won by targeted application of force at weak points – at supply lines, at communications, at avenues of escape and maneuver. The final attack is just the coup de grace, if it's even needed at all. We can do that from Baghdad, to the extent that the effects will be felt from the Hindu Kush to Damascus to Riyadh and Mecca. We cannot make Baghdad or Teheran feel the effects if we operate from the Hindu Kush. Occupying the center is far more valuable than sending your pieces off on a chase to the edges of the board to capture a rook or a bishop, or even the queen.

    There is a master chess player in the Bush administration. They haven't issued a press release laying out the strategy, but it's apparent to anyone who cares to look for a guiding principle behind the supposed side-trip to Baghdad to settle a personal beef. You may pooh-pooh it and write it off as 'merely' the work of Karl Rove, (as if utilizing others more skilled is the mark of a weak leader), but the fact remains that Bush has assembled a team that knows its strategy.

    At least I hope they do.

    P.S. do you really think that MAD scares this enemy? Self destruction is one of their major weapons. Sure, the Ayatollahs may prefer to let others be the martyrs and keep their own asses safely planted on velvet seat cushions, but don't be so sure that when it comes down to it, when they start salivating over a technological opportunity to strike an epic blow for Allah, that they won't mind meeting those 72 virgins for themselves.

    And Doug, as Billy said, do start thinking instead of feeling. We don't know each other well enough for your feelings to matter to me the least bit.

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