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From Tony Snow to Cindy Sheehan: Drink Gatorade

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"Look at all the stone people."

This is what one of my children said years ago when we drove by a military cemetery. Row after row of stone people, standing on mounds of dirt, covering the flag-draped coffins of real people. Real people now numbering 2,822 in this war that is beyond catastrophic. Almost 2,600 of these are U.S. soldiers.

Thousands of Iraqis are dying each month. Coalition troops are perceived not as liberators of grateful Iraqis free at last from the grip of a tyrant. Instead, we are occupiers and our incursion has unleashed sectarian violence that shows no sign of abating. Life is so bad in Iraq that its citizens long for the days when Saddam Hussein was in power.

Just last week, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. commander for the Middle East Gen. John Abizaid uttered the reality-"civil war." This must strike revulsion in Donald Rumsfeld, that pompous war pimp who is denying he ever painted a rosy picture of war. Certainly, George Bush couldn't have been pleased with Abizaid's admission. After all, in nearly every speech the puppet president reads, he says "total victory" over and over to his hypnotized base while so many "apathetics" tune to America's next top something or other.

Bush has said that there are days when we don't hear the good news about the war in Iraq. Is it because the only news out of Iraq is horrendous? And that this news is matched only by the atrocities in Lebanon?

Meanwhile, George is vacationing in Crawford. While charging a hill during an almost hour-and-a-half bicycle ride, the president yelled, "Air assault!" As our troops ride in poorly armored vehicles susceptible countless times a day to improvised explosive devices, George, surrounded by Secret Service agents, is impersonating a soldier on his 1,600 acre ranch.

His new neighbor, Cindy Sheehan has returned to Crawford, hoping to ask, face to face, the question she posed last year when she sparked the antiwar movement: "For what noble cause did my son Casey die in Iraq?"

White House press Secretary Tony Snow, in Crawford with Bush, was talking to reporters about Israel and Lebanon when someone said: "What are the plans for either meeting or not meeting with Cindy Sheehan?"

Snow's dismissive answer characterizes the condescension of the Bush Administration. "I would advise her to bring water, Gatorade, or both." One of the reporters should have reminded Snow about his first televised briefing when he assumed his post-Fox News assignment. Tony wept while discussing his recovery from cancer and that his mother died from the same disease when he was 17. Seems Tony becomes emotional when he talks about his own misfortune, a bout with an illness from which his physicians say he has completely recovered. For Cindy Sheehan, who suffers a loss for which there is no healing, he shows not a scrap of compassion-only the flip suggestion, let her drink "water" and "Gatorade."

It is Tony who requires his liquids. He has to be dehydrated after the long bicycle ride with his boss. And from all the tears he's cried over the lemons life has tossed his way.

As the Bush team vacations in Texas, they occasionally appear in suits to convince us that they respect the seriousness, if not the dead, of their foreign policy cauldron.

To each, I quote Dr. Elton Trueblood: "A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit."

Bush should be planting shade trees for Cindy Sheehan in Crawford. Sadly, George won't. Instead, he may clear a little brush on his property and again ride his bike with shouts of "air assault" while the Middle East boils and those of us who mourn the dead and the dead to come wonder what country will next feel the wrath of his ice-cold heart.

"Look at all the stone people." There will be many more before George Bush leaves office.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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