Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
August 11, 2005
The shameless savaging of Cindy Sheehan continues.
Bill O’Reilly says she’s a tool of “far left elements.”
The New York Sun echoes the charge, evidently reading the same rightwing talking points.
In an editorial on August 11, it says Sheehan “has put herself in league with some extreme groups and individuals.”
This is old-style McCarthyism, straight on down to the red-baiting.
The editorial quotes Sheehan about some of the groups she’s involved with, including Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.
It then notes that these groups are on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, along with the Communist Party USA. (A person representing that party is one of the forty-one members who was voted onto the steering committee.)
This classic guilt-by-association trope just shows the reflexive response of the right: When your critic has credibility, and you can’t find anything else on her, destroy her with the old standby: You’re a communist dupe!
The Sun also points out that Sheehan is working with the Crawford Peace House, and it says that group’s website “includes a photo depicting the entire state of Israel as Palestine.” Actually, it depicts a protester holding a sign showing four maps of what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories, noting how Palestinians have been allowed less and less land over the past 60 years.
“Nobody is anti-Israel here,” says John Wolf, one of the founders of the Crawford Peace House. “We’re just asking for peace with justice and respect for international law.”
But for the New York Sun, the Crawford Peace House’s view of the Israel-Palestine conflict is convenient enough to tar Cindy Sheehan with.
Rightwing talk show host Phil Hendrie goes even lower, writing an article amazingly entitled “Anti-War Mom: Another Ignorant Cow,” Hendrie called Sheehan a “self-righteous ignoramus,” and then went into full mockery mode: “A mother grieving her loss. The inhumanity of war. Oh, the wickedness of it all.”
I’ve seen callousness before, but this piece may top them all. And catch Hendrie’s defense of the Iraq War: “This war was unavoidable, brought on by an historic clash of culture and ideal, powered by the American people themselves, rising to meet the future, pissing off the rag heads.” Rag heads?
By the way, Hendrie’s screed was posted on the website, freerepublic.com, which calls itself “the premier online gathering place for independent, grassroots conservatism on the web.”
Sheehan responds to her critics: “Nothing you can say can hurt me or make me stop what we are doing. We are working for peace with justice. We are using peaceful means and the truth to do it.”
From: "Rick Wise"
Date: August 16, 2005 8:16:05 PM CDT
Subject: Cindy Sheehan
What is absolutely killing me over the Cindy in Crawford ordeal is that NO ONE has these right wing ass wipes what loved one they have over in Iraq fighting for this "noble" cause. My step son is in Iraq and has been since the first of the year, and the reason he joined the guard (you remember the guard - that kept you outta the war just ask shrub) was to pay for college. He did not sign up to die for this country in some unnecessary war over oil or a personal grudge of the president. Yes, he is my step son but he has been for more than 20 years and I have cared for him as my own son. And yes, I feel Cindy's pain and the devastation that the idiot that started this mess will not take a few minutes from his 5 week vacation to talk to her and explain his position. But he also didn't take a few minutes from his vacation to think, just think, about the threat of Bin Laden prior to the September 11th attacks that killed 3000 civilians and kicked off this entire misguided mess.
From: "Wayne Bukwa"
Date: August 16, 2005 6:23:32 AM CDT
Subject: Cindy and Michelle [from China]
Where is all this hate coming from. Is this a country of little repect and a dearth of love? Frightening!!!!!!!!!! Hate is inside the person who hates waiting to prey on someone to express itself. The people who hate are truly pitiful for they are unconcious.
Date: August 15, 2005 3:28:15 PM CDT
Subject: Cindy Sheehan's stand is grand and gives hope to many
Cindy Sheehan is one rare human being and all the invectives from media types and the patriot fringe you listed, only answer some of the reasons we have arrived at this place of violence and global disgrace. This nation has been duped royally and it won't end until more Cindys make a stand. Our War president cuts brush and rides the local bicycle trails; a fun vacation for him while he ignores the serious mess of his own making and the deaths that touch none of his own or those of his terrifying associate war lovers making bad policy-- Rove, Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney to name a few.
I also respectfully applaud The Lone Star Iconoclast online, Clifton, Texas for keeping a steady coverage; a daily write-up for all who would like to be there but cannot but support Cindy's courage.
From: "JANET CONTURSI"
Date: August 15, 2005 10:11:47 AM CDT
What is interesting about those horrible comments about Cindy Sheehan is the sexual/gender language used to condemn her. This says more about the speakers and our society than it does about the issue. I wonder if the outrage would be so strong if the dead soldier's father, rather than his mother, was out there protesting. And, by the way, where the hell is he???
From: John Addy
Date: August 13, 2005 11:29:51 AM CDT
You wrote that Phil Hendrie is a right wing talk show host... You are wrong... He is a comedian who uses points of view to piss people off... He takes stands that sound looney like you to those of the far extreme right just to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up... It is a shame that your are not progressive enough to be in on the joke...
From: "Rita Jean Johnson"
Date: August 11, 2005 9:24:47 PM CDT
Subject: Cindy Sheehan
To Whom it may concern:
Cindy Sheehan does not represent me as a mother or a citizen. This woman is blatantly blinded by her grief and she is being over-exposed in our media. While I feel sorry for her, I also feel sorry that she does not bring honor to the many servicemen and women who feel a noble duty to continue to serve in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan does not need to daily force her grief on me as a citizen via her media attention.
President Bush does not need to answer her beck and call, which is all she is doing out there in Crawford. Quite frankly, there is nothing that anyone could say to this woman at this point, she is blinded by her grief. I believe in America and I am a patriot. Her son made a choice to serve. It is my opinion that she is dishonoring him right now as a war hero.
- Rita Jean Johnson
More ugliness on my morning scroll of rightwing blogs.
“It's hard to feel sorry for a bully on a search and destroy mission.”
This is The American Spectator’s website, and the quote appears next to a T-shirt that says ‘ACLU: Enemy of the State.’ (Except that the “C” is turned into a hammer and sickle. How retro is that?)
Also from Diane Smith at the same site: “It would be fitting if George Bush could bestow the Medal of Honor on his neighbor, who, in typical Texas style disturbed the ‘peaceful’ assembly by firing off a few blasts from his shotgun.”
And here’s some from the Freepers at
“She needs to learn how to look more authentic when she starts ‘crying’ on cue for these photographs. At least use some eye drops to make it look like she's actually been crying.”
“I expect the men in the white jackets to haul Cindy looney Sheehan away any time now . Just to watch her for two minutes is unbelievable . I say pull the feeding tube now !!!”
“Cindy Sheehan is a traitor. That her son died in Iraq is irrelevant. IF this was 1943, she would have been detained long ago and no one would have heard from her again until after the war.”
“Man, that pic of her in the hat is the absolute ugliest woman, if she is actually a woman (I'd get a a Barr Cheek Cell Test on her) that I have ever seen. I mean gross! No wonder the husband couldn't wake up in the morning looking at that mug!”
“Sure, she is a liar, but the kicker is that Casey probably joined the Army in rebellion to her anti-patriotic attitude. In this respect she is responsible.”
Or, these comments, from littlegreenfootballs, which says it does not endorse any postings from readers: “I have wondered since all of this started of the possibility that her
son Casey joined the military as a way to rebel against his mom's leftist ideology.”
“Since there have been overbearing parents, there have been children who at the first whiff of freedom will go out of their way to do the exact opposite of the what they think their folks would want them to do. And that might explain why her mourning has morphed into this ridiculous attention grabbing sideshow. Pathetic really.”
“Islam is still a perfidious pigshit cult. on topic: cindy sheehan is a blithering idiot. she shames the memory of her son, has no respect his beliefs, and endangers the lives of our sons and daughters in her mindless quest for attention.”
“Damn, man, I thought my mother was an insane, psychopathic bitch. She's only a borderline violent schizophrenic who sometimes has blackouts due to rage. I never had to shoot her, but there were times...I think you win the "nutcase mom" contest. My condolences.”
Newly Updated August 16, 2005
The hateful rhetoric on Cindy Sheehan just keeps on pouring forth:
“JUST SHIT OUT ANOTHER KID TO TAKE CASEY'S PLACE!”
“What the media should be saying is that this woman has lost her sanity and contact with reality, as recognized by her family, and that her exploitation by the anti-war left is akin to terrorists using the mentally retarded as suicide bombers.”
[ Parent ] (User Info) (#14)
(a posting on redstate.org)
“Cindy needs some good ol' Texas hospitality such as some poison oak right on fire ant bitten rear."
(User Info) (#20)
(a posting on redstate.org)
“Code Pinko—The Cindy Sheehan Affair”
Click on photo to show a picture of Cindy Sheehan crying and the words “AMERICAN TRAITOR” along with some of her comments, and the final note: “Crocodile Tears.”
Newly Updated August 15, 2005
Yet More Invective Toward Cindy Sheehan, and Michelle Malkin.
Here are some more samples of the ugly sexism that Cindy Sheehan is being hit with in.the blogosphere. Not to be outdone, a few on the left engaged in similar vituperation against Michelle Malkin, who criticized Sheehan on the O'Reilly Factor.
"Cindy Sheehan = Attention Whore. In case you have been in a coma, her son joined the Army of his own ... FUCK THIS BITCH. SHE IS A STUPID PAWN OF THE LEFT. ..." (www.plus613.com/image/17938)
"This is one sick, liberal bitch! and beside that she's ugly ashell!! Propagandist Whore Cindy Sheehan--Her son is rolling in his grave at the disgust and hate for his Liberal whore mother and the way she has desecrated his memory..."
"Cindy Sheehan is a opportunist vulture, preying on the corpse of her own son to get her face on the camera. . . . Point blank: Cindy Sheehan is a craven, immoral old hag who is exploiting the sacrifice of her son to feed her own ego. I am convinced she is mentally ill for raping her own progeny's corpse for political gain. Nice one, Sheehan you fucking douche."
"I hope Cindy Sheehan gets heat-stroke, hit by a truck or bit by a rattlesnake while she protests outside of my friend's ranch."
(spaces.msn.com/member/aiamor, via The Washington Post and dailykos.)
"She doesn't give shit 1 about her son. His death is just another gimmick in her moonbat bag of tricks to protest the war. This woman was off the reservation long before her son died. Like most antiwar protestors, no death is too small for her to exploit."
Written By: Rob A.
"Cindy Sheehan should be ashamed of her actions. he son was not forced to go to Iraq he volunteered to go, this is an all volunteer military.
He went and served his country and we should all be proud of what he did. I know all of us in the military are. What she is doing is spitting on her sons memory and all he stood for and did. President Bush should not even think of speaking to her. What if the President was to meet with every person who lost a family member durring WWII thats all he would have been doing. Look at all those killed in Korea and veitnam. Only an idiot would expect the president to meet with her.
She should be proud of the job were doing. We lost 5,000 soliders on D-Day. We have only lost 1,800 in Iraq. That is out standing. I don't understand the media, we are winning hands down in all areas. So kick Cindy Sheehan of the news and out of the country."
"I hope the President continues to ignore the loony bitch -- and leave her out there in the sun... Once in awhile -- to show "compassion", he should send down some cold lemonade."
"Cindy is a communist whore and should therefore shut the hell up . . . In short, I think Cindy Sheehan is a shameless bitch who needs to either a) shut up or b) be shot."
And just to prove that people on the left can be as disgusting and sexist with their invective, here are two e-mails that Michelle Malkin received after she appeared on the O'Reilly Factor and criticized Sheehan:
"YOU STINK you nasty CUNT! Eat Shit and DIE bitch!!"
"Didn't you pose for Oriental Dolls magazine a couple of years ago? You look just like one of those little fuck sluts with her wide open legs and sloppy cunt - Oh no excuse me, that's your face."
Thanks to Daryl Westfall at noconfidence.org for pointing out some of the Cindy Sheehan ones to me.
Newly Updated August 12, 2005
The invective toward Cindy Sheehan seems to know no bounds. Phil Hendrie’s “ignorant cow” line drew some criticism at the posting site, but it also attracted the following remarks:
“In a more civil society, we’d toss her ass in jail for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
“This woman deserves nothing more than a swift kick in the ass.”
“The only pain I hear from this woman is the pain of having to live in a nonsocialist society.”
“I think her son would call her worse things.”
On drudge.com, the Drudge Retort (as opposed to the Drudge Report), there is a long exchange on Sheehan. Here are some of the uglier comments:
“Shut your pie hole bitch. Let your son rest in peace.”
“Another lying liberal bitch with an agenda.”
“What would have been funny is if this crazy ho was to blow herself up on live TV.”
If you find additional outrageous comments on Sheehan, especially from rightwing media figures, please forward them to Matt Rothschild at The Progressive, at email@example.com. I’ll try to post some of them here. Thanks, Matt.