Cindy Sheehan’s Memorial Day resignation as the face of the anti-war movement and her condemnation of the Democrat party shocked her family, but it did not surprise me. Since terrorists killed her beloved son, Casey, on April 4, 2004, I watched Cindy up close as she fell, then put on a show for the left, then collapsed.
In an exclusive interview on Memorial Day, Casey’s aunt and Godmother said her family knew nothing about Cindy’s plan to quit the anti-war movement. Cindy’s ex-husband Pat was on a Memorial Day run in California’s Capital, jogging one lap for every troop killed in Iraq. He didn’t know about Cindy’s agenda.
“I figured that when she called Hillary Clinton on the carpet, it was over,” said Cherie Quartarolo, Casey’s aunt. “Even though she’s a ‘progressive’ I figured it was a matter of time before it was the end for her.”
In her resignation letter to the world, Cindy wrote that she had given everything to the anti-war movement. Melanie Morgan and I were the first to tell the true story about the collapse of the Sheehan’s marriage, how Cindy had left her husband for other men and her jihad against President Bush. Everything was detailed in our book, American Mourning: A Story of Two Families, released in October.
“I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources,” Cindy wrote in her resignation letter.
Casey’s Godmother believes that Cindy will go home to Vacaville, Calif., and try to reconcile with Pat. Her two daughters live in Dixon, the town that abuts Vacaville’s eastern borders in Solano County. Her surviving son lives in Vacaville with Pat.
“Oh yeah! Pat is a meal ticket. He’s her fallback position,” Cherie said.
Cindy’s behavior crushed many folks in Vacaville when she became a household name in the summer of 2005. She said she had no friends left in the town, which means “cow town” in Spanish. People had remodeled her home for free, brought her food and money, and treated her with love. Then she up and left them.
While Cindy appeared on worldwide media, many Vacaville residents didn’t recognize the Cindy who used to go to church on Sundays and give them hugs, while raising her oldest son to be an Eagle Scout. She had changed into a cursing maniac who hated America.
Cindy’s three adult children have suffered tremendously since Casey died. Their grief was magnified when Cindy left Vacaville and traveled with the Kerry campaign to defeat President Bush. During Kerry’s failed candidacy, Cindy and one of her daughters made campaign commercials critical of Bush. Melanie Morgan and I found federal election documents showing links between Kerry and Cindy, and Cindy’s daughter bragged about working for Kerry. Cindy herself wrote to me from Florida as she campaigned for Kerry.
I am a columnist for Cindy’s hometown newspaper, the Vacaville Reporter, which honored the Sheehan family through its horrible and life-shattering loss. I wrote about Cindy before the world knew her as the “Peace Mom,” and was the first person to publicly criticize her, something I did not take on without contemplation.
“Any time a mother cries over losing a child, it is heartbreaking. It is a further tragedy when that grief is exploited for political gain,” I wrote in an Oct. 16, 2004, column. “She (Cindy) and others who are mourning must watch out for jackals that will prey on their emotions. The left-wing media are among them.”
My warnings went unheeded. I watched as she spun further and further away from reality and toward the crazies on the left. It was like watching a terror movie with a woman staggering among the walking wounded and rabid beasts. The left used her and her son in a disgusting and cold calculation that should earn them the hottest place in hell.
I went to Crawford to see how Cindy and her handlers manipulated her story. Ultimately, Morgan and I wrote our book about two families and their lives after their sons died in Iraq. The Sheehan family shattered. The Johnsons family, whose son Justin was Casey’s Army buddy, grew in faith and strength after terrorists killed Justin.
The same people on the left who ultimately turned on Cindy — because she dared to go after their Democrat idols — attacked American Mourning relentlessly for accurately reporting her story.
We wrote that Cindy was spiraling out of control and that her so-called peace movement was flailing, despite polls showing more Americans were growing disenchanted with the war on radical Jihadists.
That Cindy suffered a cruel loss was brutally real as she screamed for her boy when she first heard the news, then fell into an abyss that weakened her and allowed the left of this country to use her. I recognized the maternal screams. They were the same plaintiff cries I heard from my own mother when my 8-year-old brother died suddenly.
I felt for Cindy and warned her to watch out for the buzzards of politics who would use her for their own aggrandizement. She wrote emails to me, one that said, “they (the left) aren’t using me, I’m using them.”
Perhaps. But the Democrats moved away from Cindy as her ranting about the United States and President Bush grew wilder and more demented, and she coddled tyrants such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who just closed down opposition television in a move that would have made Adolf Hitler proud.
Cindy called President Bush the biggest terrorist in the world, and the radical Islamists who killed her son were just “freedom fighters.” Her words hurt other Gold Star parents, the Sheehan family and the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Al Jazeera, the Muslim news site that got exclusive footage of terrorists cutting off the heads of Americans, also feted Cindy as she attacked Bush and America as an imperialist force.
A group of Gold Star parents, including Jan Johnson, Justin’s mother, recently released a statement published at MoveAmericaForward.com, the largest nonprofit, pro-troop organization in the world. Melanie Morgan is president of the group.
“Throughout her public demonstrations, Cindy Sheehan has repeatedly been dismissive of the majority of Gold Star Parents who disagree with her stance on the war,” the Gold Star Parents wrote. “Cindy Sheehan does not speak for us, nor thankfully does she speak for most Americans. It’s time for Cindy to go home and put her life back together and realize just how fortunate she is to live in the greatest nation on earth.”
Cindy’s extreme grief had morphed into a poison that belched from her in outrageous words and behavior. Her stinging words continued on Memorial Day, when she said goodbye to the peace movement that fought within its ranks for attention.
“Good-bye America…you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it,” Cindy wrote.
“It’s up to you now.”
The media bears a tremendous responsibility for building her up, and then tearing her down for their own agenda. Shakespeare could not have written a more poignant, terrifyingly painful story.
But in the end, Cindy Sheehan wrote her own story. She lost her oldest son, then hugged and kissed President George W. Bush. Months later, she was working with the Kerry campaign to oust Bush. She left her husband and went to Crawford, Texas, demanding a second meeting with Bush. Cindy and high-paid public relations people set her up outside Bush’s ranch to inflame the anti-war movement. She posed on Casey’s grave for “Vanity Fair,” allowing the world to see that she had not yet put up a headstone for her hero son. (Two years after his death, Pat and Cindy had a tombstone installed).
Cindy was never alone, but always lonely. Professional PR people handled her calls, made media appointments and made sure Cindy was comfortable with massages. Her sister, Dede Miller, stood by her, marched with her and felt her pain. Cindy bought land near Bush’s ranch, and now she wants to sell it. She left Vacaville behind and said residents were right-wing flag-wavers, as if that’s a sin.
And now she is coming home. I pray that she allows herself to heal. The pain will always be there, but if she looks around at her family and remaining friends, Cindy will see that a seriously wounded mother can survive in America, which has the best citizens in the world. Like her son, Casey, many Americans are so selfless that we will fight for you and, if we must, lay down our lives for you.
Because we are a country based on a Judeo-Christian foundation, we are forgiving. Friends are waiting for Cindy in Vacaville. Perhaps the most difficult thing for Ms. Sheehan will be to forgive herself.