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Being the masochist that I am, I am signed up for email alerts from the beacon of top-notch political analysis that features such inventive and illustrious minds as Ann Coulter and Bob Novak as regular columnists. Call me crazy""sometimes it just takes a little right-wing hysteria with my morning coffee to get my blood pumping.

This week, I received an email soliciting submissions for Town Forum Press's upcoming Cindy Sheehan smear book titled, you guessed it, Letters to Cindy Sheehan. Their staff of small-minded hacks is trying to scrape together "letters written by 'everyday' Americans; people like you (emphasis mine) who don't want Cindy to speak for America."

Again, being who I am, I am also a new member of Military Families Speak Out, a group made up of over 4,000 families of US service members who oppose the war in Iraq and various other Bush Administration policies. I was amazed that so many military families were willing to speak out publicly against a United States military action. The number might seem appallingly low compared to the number of men and women serving in the US military, but if you have any doubts that it is impressive, please see a previous piece of mine entitled "Big Brother" for clarification.

In light of my special circumstances, as an antiwar advocate, progressive writer, and the wife of a United States Marine, I was particularly horrified by what came next in this message: "When Cindy began her protest outside the President's ranch, she catapulted onto the national stage as a leading figure in the anti-war movement. She and hundreds of anti-war fanatics swarmed to Crawford, Texas to support her anti-war crusade. A mother of a fallen veteran, the mainstream media proclaimed Cindy to be a hero. They say she speaks for America."

I would find it amusing that they chose the word "crusade" to describe Cindy Sheehan's activism after their Golden Calf was censured by much of the world when he used this word to describe the war on terrorism (Christian Science Monitor). I would find it amusing that they had the gall to make light of the sacrifice made by Sheehan's son in service to his country, and the sacrifice of his mother, who must forever live with the grief that his death has caused her. I would find it amusing if it hadn't sent bile rising in my throat.

Tis a tale, told by an idiot"

You see, this is one of those classic examples of irrational hypocrisy we are asked to swallow daily by the voices of the right-wing media. You must support the troops, and that means you must support the President and the war and torturing prisoners and illegal wiretapping and Karl Rove leaking information about CIA operatives to the press, and if you don't support all of these things, you cannot possibly support our men and women in uniform.

Your husband/brother/sister/daughter/father died in Iraq? Well, the American people thank you for your sacrifice. Wait! You are against the war? Well then, you are sympathizing with the terrorists, you'd rather see Saddam Hussein eat babies than see the Iraqi people free, you must hate freedom, you obviously know nothing and are no longer worth my pitiful excuse for gratitude. (Sorry""that was my very best Bill O'Reilly impression""it works better in person.) Once you show your true colors, that's when they really show theirs, and their colors are not available in the Crayola 100 count box. They are vile and twisted and filled with vicious invective until all you can do is try vainly to wipe the sh*t from your eyes.

Full of sound and fury"

"Disillusioned by her son Casey's death in Iraq, Sheehan claims to be searching for the reason her son was sent to war."

I claim to have read all of Dickens' Bleak House. High school students claim to have participated enthusiastically in Key Club on their college applications. Ann Coulter claims to understand politics. Cindy Sheehan does not claim to be searching for anything. Cindy Sheehan is, in fact, searching for answers. And whether you agree with her views or not, she has a right to them, as does every loved one of a fallen soldier, as does every American.

Signifying nothing"

Of course, what would I know about it? I'm just another pansy-ass liberal who wants to gut the military and let ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein go on killing and torturing people and have every American sucking off the teat of mother government while they let me do their thinking for them. I'm just another family member of a US soldier who could die tomorrow for God knows what purpose and then, because I am who I am and would join Cindy Sheehan on the White House lawn even if she and I were the only ones there, I too would be just another American who hates freedom, at least in the eyes of the right-wing smear machine. My sacrifice wouldn't count with them any more than Cindy Sheehan's, because I continue to try wiping away the sh*t.

If you are interested in submitting a letter to Town Forum Press to be considered for publication in the upcoming book Letters to Cindy Sheehan, please click here here.
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Katherine Brengle Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Katherine Brengle is a freelance writer and activist.
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