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Cindy is a fighter

By       Message John Bruhns     Permalink
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The news of Cindy Sheehan making it onto the ballot to challenge Speaker Pelosi struck a cord with me. When I was in Iraq witnessing the death of young Americans I asked myself this question: "Where are the parents?" I know that many mothers and fathers protested the invasion of Iraq , but that news never drifted overseas to the troops on the ground. I left the Army in 2005 and relocated to the Washington , D.C. area where I began to protest the war. That summer Cindy Sheehan took the anti-war movement to Bush's backyard in Crawford, Texas -- my question was answered.

Members of Congress, celebrities, religious leaders, and average people from across America came out to support Cindy making her the face of the anti-war movement. She had the courage and talent to lead so she was a natural fit for the hand she was dealt.

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Shortly after Cindy ended her historical protest in Crawford I encountered her in Lafayette Park outside of the White House. We stood together in protest of the Iraq war. I understood that my service in Iraq could never measure up to her sacrifice - her son Casey. Counter-demonstrators holding signs that stated "Send Cindy to Abu Ghraib" "Cindy is the Bride of Bin Laden" spewed vile insults at us. Her son died for their cause and they hated her for being a grieving mother unafraid to take them on.

In the fall of 2005 many of the same members of Congress who jumped on Cindy's bandwagon for their own political gain started to distance themselves from her. I guess they figured she served her purpose for them and it was time for her to retire her cause and quietly fade away. They drastically underestimated her dedication to the movement. She wasn't in it for a photo-op with public figures or a seat at the table when called upon. She was for real and that was not something Washington politicians were used to -- nor anticipated.

Cindy refused to quit despite years of negative opinions from her former friends and current enemies. How could she? Why should she? She built a following that depends upon her. I think that supersedes the harsh criticism from those who claim she's just a publicity addict.

Over time I even became resistant to the extremity of Cindy's tactics and methodology. We are in full agreement that the Iraq war should end, but that seems to be the only issue we have in common these days. I consider myself to be fairly liberal, but compared to her I feel right of the center. However, she's a fighter and I admire that. There were many times when she was down, but she was never out.

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She'll go public in a heartbeat with what most politicians will only say behind closed doors.

Cindy took on the President of the United States. Now she is taking on the most powerful woman in America. And in the face of so many adversaries, she unflinchingly moves on because she stands for something and she knows it -- for that I tip my hat to her.

I have not spoken to Cindy for years so I'm not privy to her current intentions. But I still perceive her and her supporters to be "the true believers" movement in America motivated by one certainty: Don't place your faith in politicians who charm you with fraudulent rhetoric. You want it done, you just have to do it yourself.

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John Bruhns is an Iraq war veteran. He writes on politics and Mideast conflict.

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