Thanksgiving 2005 outside of the Bush vacation ranch near Crawford, Texas with Cindy Sheehan.
Daily reports and photos to come . . .

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

 

Cornered in Crawford

President Bush seems to be cornered by the peace movement with peace camps located on both exits from the Western White House. But since he doesn't go by land anyway, and we've only seen him once in the 16 days here, we've decided to offer him the opportunity to land right here at Camp Casey. The construction crew is working overtime in the limited space we have to make sure that a helicopter pad is ready for Marine One to land upon Bush's return to Crawford. Naturally, the landing site meets or even exceeds FAA regulations; in fact, the FAA has already come out here to survey the site (okay, not really). We've found an environmentally sound location for the pad, and noise controls have been put in place so as not to disturb the cows. Furthermore, we will have a bicycle at the ready in case the President wants to continue his 5-week exercise program. He can ride home on a red carpet if he wants-- after all, it's only a block or two from here. The landing pad will be ready in the morning, with pictures to follow.

No excuses, Mr. President.

 

Into the community

We definitely do more than sit in ditches around here, and tomorrow's main event is proof positive: at 11 a.m. we'll be caravaning from the Crawford Peace House to the VA hospital in Waco to protest its imminent closure. Texas has the nation's third-largest population of veterans, and the hospital in Waco provides what is considered the best post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and blind rehabilitation facilities in the country. Over 250,000 veterans entered the VA health care system this fiscal year; 40% of them are from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a figure that highlights the decreasing average age of vets. Yet Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson says it needs to go, along with 17 other VA hospitals around the country. As many Vietnam and Iraq vets here at Camp Casey have asked, "Is this how we treat our veterans?" Think of us tomorrow, and even better, find out about the fate of VA hospitals in your area. After all, when we send our soldiers to war, we'd better make sure we take care of them properly when they return.

 

Quick!

If you're reading this at 9:30 central, 10:30 eastern time, head on over to www.bradshow.com to hear their streaming broadcast of Joan Baez's final performance here at Camp Casey.

 

"My Response to George"

Cindy's still in California taking care of her mother, but her commitment to demanding accountability from George Bush has not diminished. Her latest post on Daily Kos is probably her most powerful yet. I encourage you all to read it to the end.

Read Cindy's post "My Response to George"

 

Doctor, doctor!


Heat stroke and sunburn and fire ants, oh my! These are just a few of the routine medical concerns afflicting our brave Camp Casey participants. While we try to stave off the first two ailments with lots of water, shade and sunscreen, fire ants seem to be an inherent hazard of ditch-living in rural Texas. Here one of our volunteer medics, Carl, attends to a participant's fire ant bites by applying hydrogen peroxide. Carl has served as a medic in British Columbia, California and Guatemala, and reports that his introduction to the medical arts began when he helped his father, a veterinarian, perform a C-section on a neighborhood dog. We're hoping to avoid similar surgeries here at Camp Casey.

 

Come one, come all!

This upcoming weekend (27th and 28th) is going to be HUGE at Camp Casey! It's the last weekend we will spend in Crawford before heading to D.C., and we want to lots of people here to experience the wonder of Camp Casey.

Saturday we will be having a fabulous Texas-style BBQ at Casey II, to which we have invited the President and First Lady (though I suspect the food will be more authentically Texan than they are).
Sunday is a National Day of Prayer for the troops; regardless of your political persuasion or position on the war, this is a day for you and your community to pray for/meditate on the troops' well-being in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When you come to Crawford, please try to carpool, caravan, or rent a van or bus. We are trying to limit traffic flow and gas usage.

************************************************
If you can't come to Crawford this weekend, we urge you to set up Camp Caseys in your hometowns! Pick a safe, conspicuous area, and bring lots of water, umbrellas and suncreen. Make pro-peace posters with your favorite (appropriate) slogans. Engage in stimulating political discourse. Get each other excited about taking an active role in the peace process. Listen to some fun music. Etc.


FOR ALL PRO-PEACE ACTIVISTS/CINDY SUPPORTERS: Our goal here at Camp Casey has always been peaceful demonstration. Even when pro-Bush people come by and heckle us, we just smile, wave and say, "Thanks for coming! Peace!" We do not want to get involved in shouting matches or any other escalated confrontation. We know that no argument can be made against our work to save American and Iraqi lives. So if ever confronted, just take a deep breath and enjoy being in the right :)

 

Rebuilding Iraq... and soldiers' lives

Adele Kubein's daughter probably never should have been deployed to Iraq in the first place. Following a civilian accident several years ago, her leg was held together by an 8-inch metal plate and 9 steel screws-- an injury that could have allowed her to opt out of service. But instead she "felt she had a duty to her nation," according to her mother, and went into battle anyway.

The following is the story of Adele's daughter as told to me yesterday evening at Camp Casey. Adele cannot use her daughter's name as she is still active duty military. She speaks of her daughter's deployment to Iraq, injury in a helicopter crash, and the long process of physical and psychological recovery. For it is not just the families of killed soldiers who suffer; according to the website Iraq Coalition Casualty report, the wounded now number 13,877 and counting, meaning 13,877 American families must care for their loved ones returning from Iraq with missing limbs, burned skin, and other tragic physical disabilities.

Adele's story:

"My daughter deployed with the Oregon National Guard in February of 2003, already suffering from a shattered leg held together by an 8-inch metal plate and 9 steel screws. She was a 50 caliber gunner and convoy mechanic. By April of 2003, her unit was convoyed up to Mosul after the bombing there. On the way, they traveled on roads covered in depleted uranium dust. They were told not to breathe the "red dust."

I generally knew about her whereabouts. She and I would try to talk 3 or more times a week, but one time I didn't hear from her for more than a month. I was worried to death.

She was injured about 10 months into her deployment when her helicopter was shot down over Mosul. There weren't any fatalities in her helicopter, but there were in the one shot down right in front of her's. In the crash, her leg was shattered, it was absolutely pulverized. The impact broke the metal already in her leg. But she wasn't medevaced for two months after her injury; she was told that it wasn't serious, and that they needed her as a 50 caliber gunner.

She had already been medevaced a few months before that to Germany when she was suffering liver failure. 14 soldiers in her unit had liver failure, and 4 died. They had been excavating under Saddam's palace and think they were contaminated by something there.

When my daughter was finally medevaced, she was sent to Ft. Collins, CO, but they couldn't operate right away due to her earlier liver failure. Finally she had her operation. But she couldn't come home to us because National Guard troops only get 90 days of medical care after their period of active duty ends, so she was kept on "active duty" at Ft. Collins for treatment.

She was stuck in Colorado for a year and her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is severe! She would have nightmares all the time. One of her jobs in Iraq was to clean the body parts of her friends out of the humvees. She can't ever shake that.

We finally got her home because we worked with our congressman, a wonderful man named Peter DeFazio, to lobby Congress to have our wounded Oregon National Guard soldiers sent home to us. Thanks to his help they are all home, including my daughter, receiving care from civilian doctors and psychiatrists paid for by the U.S. government (there are no military bases in Oregon, so soldiers from Oregon can't be treated in their home state). I had to do press conferences all over the world to ensure that our troops be treated equally.

So my daughter is home now. They can't fix her leg-- she has special braces, but she will never be able to walk normally again. She won't get any better than this. And you know what? The Army wanted to re-deploy her!

She used to be an incredible athlete. She loved to go hiking and play all sorts of sports. I told her I'll drive her to the top of Mt. Hood now so she can look out.

She's still learning to deal with her anger. The first few months were really tough for her, but now she can manage going to the grocery store and running little errands. Before she was deployed, she was in the 5th year of a Marine biology program at Oregon State. She's really bright.

And it's really hard for us to deal with, too. When your daughter calls you from Iraq with mortars firing in the background, telling you that she just had to kill someone before they killed her, your heart just breaks. A mother's heart can only handle so much. We mothers cry all the time... my daughter was so misused, and I'm determined to speak out now!"

 

The media is only as liberal as the conservative corporations that own it

Press release:

Boise Network Affiliates Reject Cindy Sheehan TV Spot


CBS, FOX Refuse to Air Cindy’s Plea to President

BOISE, ID--A television ad in which Cindy Sheehan asks President Bush questions about the Iraq war has been rejected by Boise affiliates CBS and FOX. The same ad began airing in Salt Lake City on Monday on NBC CBS and FOX affiliates.

The timing of the ads coincides with the President’s visit to nearby Donnelly, Idaho where the President will be staying through Wednesday.

Representatives for the two stations expressed different responses for their rejection of the ad. The Vice President of sales at Fisher Broadcasting Inc., which owns KBCI (CBS) said: “In the spot, Ms. Sheehan accuses the President of the United States of being a liar. She claims the President lied about, among other things, the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There is no proof that we are aware of regarding the truthfulness of her claim. We require proof of claims such as this. Until that is provided, our station will not carry this ad.”

Media buyers were similarly asked to supply proof for a Waco television affiliate. When sent findings from the 9/11 Commission, the local station decided to run the ad. However, the Vice President of sales at CBS Boise responded, “If it was not known until after we took to war then it’s hard to understand how someone could have lied…hindsight is always 20/20…that’s our point.”

A representative for KTRV (Fox) said: “We are not accepting the spot because inventory is sold out. A very late order request makes it difficult to clear.”

Three stations in Salt Lake City aired the ad, Mark Weist-a spokesman for one of those stations-said, "There's programming and ads that we would not run because of our ownership and our position in the marketplace, however in this case, we felt this is one person's opinion and that there are others who express this same opinion. The bigger picture is by suppressing the message are we doing what is right under the First Amendment and in an open democratic society?"

 

"Our fight is an American fight "

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee gave an incredible talk last night at Camp Casey. We were so happy to welcome this long-time supporter of civil rights and women's rights to speak to us about opposing the war.

Click here to be awed

 

America the Beautiful

Joan Baez stayed an extra day with us at Camp Casey to meet with Iraq vets and military families. Last night she performed again, interspersing stories of her activism during the Civil Rights and Vietnam era. She opened by leading us in an a capella version of "America the Beautiful."

Click here to listen

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