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Cindy Sheehan: It's Not Enough to Criticize

"It's Not Enough to Criticize the President's Policies"

By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Statement

Thursday 09 February 2006

Remarks as prepared for delivery.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for coming today, and send out to my daughter, Carly, a big Happy Birthday. She is 25 today. She is now older than Casey was when he was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004.

I would also like to thank everyone from all over the world who has sent me emails of support and encouragement to consider a challenge to Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat. I literally got hundreds of emails. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

During the Vietnam War, Senator George McGovern stated the following on the Senate floor in September of 1970:

"Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood ... It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes."

The lack of courage of America's present Senate is partially responsible for my son's death and the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. Dianne Feinstein is one of the senators who expediently gave her Constitutional obligation to George Bush to invade an innocent country. Dianne Feinstein continues to vote to give George Bush more money to fund what she calls a "mistake." George Bush has been proven to be irresponsible with our young people's lives and with our tax dollars, but the senator keeps giving him more money and more power to prolong the murder and mayhem in Iraq.

I am standing here today to say "enough." It is not enough to "criticize" the President's policies while you are handing him more money to fund his policies. It is like giving an addict more money to purchase drugs when you would like him or her to quit.

It is not enough to criticize the President's policies when more and more flag-draped coffins are coming home each day and more families are being devastated by these policies while other people are putting food on their tables and becoming fabulously wealthy off of Casey's flesh and blood and the sorrow of scores of others.

I am here today to call on not only Senator Feinstein, but our other senator, Senator Boxer, who heroically did not abrogate her responsibility to declare war to the President, to quit "figuring out" ways to bring our troops home and start sponsoring legislation. The last Senate vote for increased funding for the killing was 99-0. How about cutting off the President's means for killing? It is not that difficult. There is not one piece of legislation in the Senate currently in opposition to Iraq.

It is not "enough" to say that one is critical of the war in Iraq. I and The Nation magazine have called on every Democrat of good conscience in America to oppose "pro-war" Democrats in the upcoming elections. If an elected official voted for the war, votes for the funding of the war, and doesn't call for an immediate withdrawal of the troops, then that official is "pro-war," no matter what he or she says. We in America are fed up with rhetoric, and if the actions don't match the rhetoric, then we are not buying what they are selling anymore.

I have been weighing my decision to run for Senate here in California carefully, even before Camp Casey. My entire being since Casey was killed has been immersed in trying to end the occupation of Iraq before any other mothers have to fall on the floor screaming for their child who should not have been in harm's way in the first place. In making my decision whether to run or not, I had to decide which course of action would bring the troops home sooner. Is my being on the outside, putting pressure on the inside more effective, or would a Senate campaign help bring our kids home sooner? If I thought that running for Senate would bring our young people home more quickly, I would do it in a minute, but I am not convinced that that would be so.

I have decided not to run, but I am calling on all Californians and Americans to support all anti-war candidates to promote a paradigm of peace in the world, and I will be supporting and working for dozens of anti-war candidates all over the country. Our emphasis will be holding all of the pro-war candidates accountable for their tragic mistakes, and voting in representatives who will hold George Bush and his administration accountable for all of their mistakes in Iraq and here in America.

We Americans are looking for ways to become involved in our political process. We are tired of being complacent and we are so tired of business as usual.

Gold Star Families for Peace and Code Pink are sponsoring an International Women's Day for Peace on March 8 th. We are holding rallies and events all over the world that day. Specifically, we are trying to bring two Iraqi mothers whose children have been killed over from Iraq to speak at our event in Washington, DC, and they are being denied visas from the State Department. My freedom of speech and my civil rights were violated last week for wearing a t-shirt; now these Iraqi women who have paid the ultimate price for our leaders' stupidity and greed are being denied the right to come to America and tell their stories. We are urging America to call the State Department and demand that these two women be given visas.

We are also encouraging grass roots Americans to demand that the Senate start doing something to end the travesty in Iraq. We believe that it will be the women who lead our nation to peace and we are especially calling on America to put pressure on Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer to be the leaders that our nation so desperately needs. It is time.

It is too late for me. My life and the lives of nearly 2300 American families have been tragically altered by the ennui of the Senate and the callousness and incompetence of this administration. I will never get to see my son or hear his voice again. His future was robbed needlessly from him. The complicity of the Senate has guaranteed that my future is one of pain and longing for my son's presence. It is not too late for the millions of people still in harm's way.

I, as an American, and as the mother of a hero, pledge to do what I can as a citizen to end the occupation of Iraq. I am not running against Feinstein, but I will continue to be a thorn in the side of the senator and anyone who is not stridently working for peace. That is my promise.

To get information to pressure the State Department and our senators and for information on the International Women's Day for Peace, go to:

Thank you and God Bless America ... Please!!!


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