Thursday, August 11, 2005

Is War All About Casualties?

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line rightly asks:

Have you ever read a history of war that focused almost entirely on casualty figures (with an occasional torture story and grieving parent thrown in), to the exclusion of any real discussion of tactics, operations, and actual battles? I haven't. But that's what our self-proclaimed "rough drafters" of history are serving up with respect to Iraq.
That was precisely the thought on my mind after I read this front-page story in the L.A. Times about Cindy Sheehan, the grieving Iraq War mother who has taken to protesting the war. The story seems fairly balanced, but the first few paragraphs tell us everything we need to know:

The 48-year-old mother of Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in an ambush in Baghdad last year, is consumed by the kind of grief that turns into a furious determination to do something — in her case, to confront the president and force him to explain why her son died.

Now, in the space of just a few days, what started out as a seemingly quixotic personal mission has become something of a phenomenon — with media swarming around Sheehan, leading liberal and antiwar activists parachuting in to try to make her their long-sought voice, and political experts in both parties working to assess what role she may have in galvanizing the public's gathering unhappiness with the increasing American casualties in Iraq.

Antiwar leaders hope that putting the spotlight on Sheehan will motivate Americans who oppose the war, creating a political force strong enough to compel the Bush administration to change course. and other liberal groups have rushed to provide support, offering media expertise and attempting to assemble a corps of others who have lost relatives in Iraq or have family members serving there.

Liberal voices have swung into action on the Internet as well. On Wednesday, Democratic media consultant Joe Trippi organized a conference call with Sheehan for bloggers, aiming to garner more publicity. By Wednesday afternoon, "Cindy Sheehan" was the top-ranked search term on, the search engine for blog postings.
Much has been said about Ms. Sheehan. I will make only two comments:

1. We are at war, and people die in wars. War is the most horrible of all human endeavors. I am the parent of a son who is interested in serving in the military. If he does join, my wife and I will continue to bear fully in mind that our armed forces are volunteer forces, and that he has intentionally agreed to be put in harm's way on behalf of our country. We will be proud of him, worried sick, and praying continually for his safety and welfare. The dreaded possibility that he may be harmed has been with us continually. We have already acknowledged that if our worst fears are realized, he will be a hero who volunteered to serve, and that such heartbreak is part of the territory he will have chosen. We will not blame the government.

2. It is painfully obvious to anyone (even the L.A. Times reporter on this story) that Ms. Sheehan is being used by the Angry Left. She has become a pathetic tool for people like The whole thing is a charade. I hesitate to give her efforts even the limited additional publicity this blog provides. This will be my only post about her.


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