Cindy Lee Miller Sheehan (born
Sheehan is the mother of the late U.S. Army
Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan, who first
joined the U.S. Army in May
The family was active in the Roman Catholic church in Norwalk, and then in Vacaville, California where Cindy Sheehan worked as a youth minister at St. Mary's Church.
Sheehan has stated that she has "always been
a Democrat," and had initially questioned the
urgency of the invasion of Iraq, but did not
become active in the anti-war effort until after
her son's death.
Cindy Sheehan speaks at a protest outside of Fort Bragg, North Carolina on March 19, 2005. (Photo: Jeff Patterson)Sheehan and other grieving military families met with President George W. Bush in June 2004 at Fort Lewis, near Tacoma,
On July 4, 2005 she was again interviewed by a local paper in Fort Lewis,
Sheehan gave another interview on October 4, 2004 stating that she did not understand the reasons for the Iraq invasion and never thought that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States. She further stated that her son's death had compelled her to speak out against what she feels to be an unjust war, in order to help to bring the troops home and hold politicians accountable.
Sheehan is one of the nine founding members of Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization founded in January
Although she had spoken publicly against the Iraq war and occupation since
Sheehan's actions have led supporters such as Rev. Lennox Yearwood, CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, to describe her as "the
In her anti-war speeches and writings, Sheehan is blunt and often vitriolic, a characteristic that has been noted by observers on both the left and right, and which Sheehan herself does not deny.  Some of her statements have caused controversy.
Of greatest controversy is an incident about which Sheehan's detractors claim she has lied. In March, Sheehan sent an e-mail to ABC's Nightline that allegedly included the statements that Casey "was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel" and that he had "joined the Army to protect America, not Israel." Sheehan claims that the email was modified by James Morris to support his own personal agenda, and that she did not write the statements about Israel and a "PNAC Neo-con agenda." However, James Morris denies altering the email before sending it along to Nightline  on Sheehan's behalf (per her request for him to do so). And two other individuals, Tony Tersch and Skeeter Gallagher, received a copy of Sheehan's email directly from her; both claim that the e-mail they received is consistent with Morris's story, rather than Sheehan's. Tersch posted the email he received to the "bullyard" Google group. Opponents of Sheehan assert that this essentially proves that she has repeatedly lied about the content of her original e-mail.
Sheehan also gave a speech on August 5,
In a letter to author William Rivers Pitt, she stated, "And most importantly and devastatingly, this war is based on lies and betrayals. Not one American soldier, nor one Iraqi should have been killed. Common sense would dictate that not one more person should be killed for lies. One of the people, my son, was more than enough for me and my family. I will live in unbearable pain until I die. First of all, because my first born was killed violently, and second of all, because he was killed for a neo-con agenda that only benefits a very chosen few in this world. This agenda and their war machine will chew up and spit out as many of our children as they can unless we stop them now."
In a column relating her experience on a June 28, 2005 Larry King Live show, Sheehan described President Bush as having "moronic and callous foreign policies" and said Senator John Warner "fell in lockstep behind his Führer." She said, "this war is a catastrophe" and "we should bring the troops home and quit forcing the Iraqi people to pay for our government's hubris and quit forcing innocent children to suffer so we can allegedly fight terrorism somewhere besides America. How absolutely racist and immoral is it to take America's battles to another land and make an entire country pay for the crimes of others? To me, this is blatant genocide."
In an August 15, 2005 interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Sheehan told Matthews that she thought she would not have responded differently to her son's death had he died in Afghanistan rather than in Iraq. Sheehan argued that the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was "almost the same thing" as the Iraq war and that in both cases it was wrong to invade an entire country to fight an ideology that did not necessarily represent all of the people of that country. When Matthews pointed out that "...Afghanistan was harboring, the Taliban was harboring al-Qaida which is the group that attacked us on 9/11," Sheehan replied, "Well then we should have gone after al-Qaida and maybe not after the country of Afghanistan." Sheehan also argued that American efforts in Afghanistan were not "having any success" and that "our troops should be brought home [from both Iraq and Afghanistan.]"
In a speech given on April 27, 2005 at San Francisco State University, Sheehan is quoted as stating "We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush." Similarly, Sheehan wrote that "Casey was killed in the Global War Of Terrorism waged on the world and its own citizens by the biggest terrorist outfit in the world: George and his destructive Neo-con cabal."
In an interview given to Mark Knoller of CBS, Sheehan states her belief that the Iraq War has made terrorism worse and referred to the foreign insurgents coming to Iraq as "freedom fighters". "But now that we have decimated the country, the borders are open, freedom fighters from other countries are going in..."
On August 31, Sheehan wrote that "George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego, so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused. Recovery would be easier and much quicker if almost ½ of the three states involved National Guard were not in Iraq."
On September 16, Sheehan likened the National Guard presence in New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina relief to that of occupied Iraq stating, "George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power."
This Cindy Sheehan Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub