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Letter to the Editor: Questioning loss of loved ones in war not unique to our time

By NED SCARLET Cleveland

Citizens who question the loss of loved ones in war are not unique to our time. During General Grant’s offensive in 1864 the Union Armies suffered horrible losses. Lincoln’s own wife called Grant a butcher. Because of the war Lincoln was cruelly caricatured as an ape or monkey. Many despised Lincoln because they felt he misled them about the objective of the war. Many had joined the fight only to keep the Union together, and wanted no part in a war to free the slaves. Now some feel the war in Iraq began only to protect us from weapons of mass destruction. They want no part in a war to help, or free a foreign people. These same people, who so often talk of peace and love, were then as now, very capable of spewing a vitriol of unbridled hate and anger.
What is different now is our ability to instantly research and find large amounts of information on any subject or individual that has caught the attention of the media. We no longer have to rely on one source of news. News that has gone through a Walter Cronkite type filter to emerge with a personal bias placed on it. In this century, as Paul Harvey says, we can learn the rest of the story.
All together the President has met with 900 family members of 270 killed in the war. Cindy Sheehan has already met with President Bush on June 24, 2004. At that time she said “I know now he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis.” She also asked the President to make her “son’s sacrifice count for something.” Since then Cindy has been quoted saying many hateful statements about her country and President. She recently said in a phone conversation with reporters that she has no animosity for the person that actually killed her son since our invasion and occupation are illegal and immoral.
Casey Sheehan’s actions show he felt differently. He was killed in firefight outside of Baghdad. Sheehan and another soldier had volunteered to be part of a quick response team when rioting broke out in Baghdad. His sister Carly says, “He didn’t have to go. He would do anything for anybody. He’d give you the shirt of his back. He was just a loving and caring person. It’s all he wanted to do was serve God and his country his whole life.” A year ago Sheehan’s father told reporters that Casey “loved the Army because it gave him a chance to serve his country.”
Citizens in this country have a right to speak their opinions. Cindy Sheehan and her new friend Michael Moore are no exceptions. It allows informed people to see them for what they are, and who they represent. I feel that when Jimmy Carter sat next to Moore during the Democratic Convention it did nothing but help George Bush win the election.
It is wrong to take the respect another person has earned even if it’s your son’s and use that respect to further your own opposing beliefs. In the case of Cindy and her son Casey Sheehan it is particularly sad. As Victor Davis Hanson says in a column written Aug. 19, “she [Cindy] reverses her own original position from the legitimate lament of a grieved mother trying to make sense out of the tragic loss of her brave son, to a deeply disturbed object of cynical partisan manipulation by Michael Moore.”

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