Beatrice Saldovar has come to Camp Casey to represent the Torres family whose son-- her nephew-- Daniel was killed in Iraq in February 2005, and she has done so with the utmost grace. Whether speaking to the press or the Camp Casey participants, Beatrice's words both honor her nephew's memory and condemn the injustice of the Iraq war. Around camp, she is always giving people hugs, helping with whatever needs to be done, and using every ounce of remaining energy to voice her opposition to the war. She has become so dear to everyone here. I sat down with Beatrice last week to hear the story of her nephew's last visit with his fiancee Sofia; how she had to break the news of his death to Sofia, then 7 weeks pregnant; and Sofia's difficult road ahead without her baby's father.Listen to the first part of her story hereListen to the second part of her story here
Photograph by Emily Sharpe, copyright 2005.
We had an incredible evening yesterday up at the new Camp Casey site. Now, as you read the rest of this post, keep in mind that the new site is literally within spitting distance of Bush's ranch--
though we wouldn't actually spit, as we're trying to behave ourselves. And besides, why stoop to vulgar behavior when we have a sound system so loud the words "No more war!" can surely be heard in the man's bedroom?!?
Other statements that boomed over the loudspeaker tonight, besieging Mr. Bush and his pro-war agenda:
- Rev. Peter Johnson of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (pictured above with three Gold Star mothers) intoned, "If George Bush is right, then Mahatma Gandhi was wrong. If George Bush is right, then Martin Luther King, Jr. was wrong. If George Bush is right, then Jesus Christ was wrong!"
- A Gold Star mother who lost her son in 2003 (speaking, above): "When I first met George Bush after my son was killed, I told him: I'm going to follow up with you! And here I am, following up with him!"
- Juan Torres, father of a soldier killed by his superiors in Afghanistan for whistleblowing alleged drug trafficking on the base: "When I came to the U.S. from Argentina, I was looking for the American dream, especially for my children. Now my American dream is buried six feet underground."
We at Camp Casey are blessed by what generous supporters have donated to us and the courageous people who share their stories with us. Tonight we ate food donated by Food not Bombs
, sheltered by a huge tent erected on the property of our dear friend Fred Mattlage. We gathered together after dinner to listen to the stories of a brawny Marine who was brave enough to come out of the closet on national television; a Minnesota state senator who buried her son this past May; two civil rights legends who walked with Martin Luther King, Jr.; and many other military families who are grieving their dead sons and daughters. Before the speeches, we were all a bit tired from the intensity of the past few days, but I think there was a definite rejuvenation last night as we grasped the significance of raising hell on the President's doorstep. Here's to 11 more days of hell-raising!!!Photograph by Emily Sharpe, copyright 2005
Hypocrites and Liars
Sat Aug 20th, 2005 at 08:55:38 PDT
The media are wrong. The people who have come out to Camp Casey to help coordinate the press and events with me are not putting words in my mouth, they are taking words out of my mouth. I have been known for sometime as a person who speaks the truth and speaks it strongly. I have always called a liar a liar and a hypocrite a hypocrite. Now I am urged to use softer language to appeal to a wider audience. Why do my friends at Camp Casey think they are there? Why did such a big movement occur from such a small action on August 6, 2005?
I haven't had much time to analyze the Camp Casey phenomena. I just read that I gave 250 interviews in less than a week's time. I believe it. I would go to bed with a raw throat every night. I got pretty tired of answering some questions, like: "What do you want to say to the President?" and "Do you really think he will meet with you?" However, since my mom has been sick I have had a chance to step back and ponder what I started in Crawford, Tx.
I just read an article posted today on LewRockwell.com by artist Robert Shetterly who painted my portrait. The article reminded me of something I said at the Veteran's for Peace Convention the night before I set out to Bush's ranch in my probable futile quest for the truth. This is what I said:
"I got an email the other day and it said, `Cindy if you didn't use so much profanity .... there's people on the fence that get offended.'
"And you know what I said? `You know what? You know what, god damn it? How in the world is anybody still sitting on that fence?'
"If you fall on the side that is pro-George and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out."
This is what the Camp Casey miracle is all about. American citizens who oppose the war but never had a conduit for their disgust and dismay are dropping everything and traveling to Crawford to stand in solidarity with us who have made a commitment to sit outside of George's ranch for the duration of the miserable Texan August. If they can't come to Texas, they are attending vigils, writing letters to their elected officials and to their local newspapers; they are setting up Camp Casey branches in their hometowns; they are sending flowers, cards, letters, gifts, and donations here to us at Camp Casey. We are so grateful for all of the support, but I think pro-peace Americans are grateful for something to do, finally.
One thing I haven't noticed or become aware of though is an increased number of pro-war, pro-Bush people on the other side of the fence enlisting to go and fight George Bush's war for imperialism and insatiable greed. The pro-peace side has gotten off their apathetic butts to be warriors for peace and justice. Where are the pro-war people? Everyday at Camp Casey we have a couple of anti-peace people on the other side of the road holding up signs that remind me that "Freedom isn't Free" but I don't see them putting their money where their mouths are. I don't think they are willing to pay even a small down payment for freedom by sacrificing their own blood or the flesh of their children. I still challenge them to go to Iraq and let another soldier come home. Perhaps a soldier that is on his/her third tour of duty, or one that has been stop-lossed after serving his/her country nobly and selflessly, only to be held hostage in Iraq by power mad hypocrites who have a long history of avoiding putting their own skin in the game.
Contrary to what the main stream media thinks, I did not just fall off a pumpkin truck in Crawford, Tx. on that scorchingly hot day two weeks ago. I have been writing, speaking, testifying in front of Congressional committees, lobbying Congress, and doing interviews for over a year now. I have been pretty well known in the progressive, peace community and I had many, many supporters before I even left California. The people who supported me did so because they know that I uncompromisingly tell the truth about this war. I have stood up and said: "My son died for NOTHING, and George Bush and his evil cabal and their reckless policies killed him. My son was sent to fight in a war that had no basis in reality and was killed for it." I have never said "pretty please" or "thank you." I have never said anything wishy-washy like he uses "Patriotic Rhetoric." I say my son died for LIES. George Bush LIED to us and he knew he was LYING. The Downing Street Memos dated 23 July, 2002 prove that he knew that Saddam didn't have WMD's or any ties to Al Qaeda. I believe that George lied and he knew he was lying. He didn't use patriotic rhetoric. He lied and made us afraid of ghosts that weren't there. Now he is using patriotic rhetoric to keep the U.S. military presence in Iraq: Patriotic rhetoric that is based on greed and nothing else.
Now I am being vilified and dragged through the mud by the righties and so-called "fair and balanced" main stream media who are afraid of the truth and can't face someone who tells it by telling any truth of their own. Now they have to twist, distort, lie, and scrutinize anything I have ever said when they never scrutinize anything that George Bush said or is saying. Instead of asking George or Scotty McClellan if he will meet with me, why aren't they asking the questions they should have been asking all along: "Why are our young people fighting, dying, and killing in Iraq? What is this noble cause you are sending our young people to Iraq for? What do you hope to accomplish there? Why did you tell us there were WMD's and ties to Al Qaeda when you knew there weren't? Why did you lie to us? Why did you lie to the American people? Why did you lie to the world? Why are our nation's children still in harm's way and dying everyday when we all know you lied? Why do you continually say we have to `complete the mission' when you know damn well you have no idea what that mission is and you can change it at will like you change your cowboy shirts?"
Camp Casey has grown and prospered and survived all attacks and challenges because America is sick and tired of liars and hypocrites and we want the answers to the tough questions that I was the first to dare ask. THIS is George Bush's accountability moment and he is failing...miserably. George Bush and his advisers seriously "misunderestimated" me when they thought they could intimidate me into leaving before I had the answers, or before the end of August. I can take anything they throw at me, or Camp Casey. If it shortens the war by a minute or saves one life, it is worth it. I think they seriously "misunderestimated" all mothers. I wonder if any of them had authentic mother-child relationships and if they are surprised that there are so many mothers in this country who are bear-like when it comes to wanting the truth and who want to make meaning of their child's needless and seemingly meaningless deaths?
The Camp Casey movement will not die until we have a genuine accounting of the truth and until our troops are brought home. Get used to it George, we are not going away.