Thursday, August 11, 2005

WHIG of the Week -- Stephen J. Hadley, National Security Advisor and member of the White House Iraq Group, meets with Cindy Sheehan

We summed up last week's WHIG of the week with the transcript of a conversation between Jim Wilkinson and a woman from Texas named Brenda in which all the White House Iraq Group talking points were ably parroted. This week our WHIG of the week was the presidential surrogate sent out to placate the woman who is being called "... the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement," by Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus. "She's tired, fed up and she's not going to take it anymore, and so now we stand with her." That quote comes from a story on CNN.com as does this summary of her meeting with Stephen J. "Steve" Hadley.

CNN.com - Soldier's mom protests near Bush's ranch - Aug 6, 2005
Sheehan, 48, didn't get to see Bush, but did talk about 45 minutes with national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin, who went out to hear her concerns.

Appreciative of their attention, yet undaunted, Sheehan said she planned to continue her roadside vigil, except for a few breaks, until she gets to talk to Bush. Her son, Casey, 24, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. He was an Army specialist, a Humvee mechanic.

"They (the advisers) said we are in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that the world's a better place with Saddam gone and that we're making the world a safer place with what we're doing over there," Sheehan said in a telephone interview after the meeting. [emphasis added]
Compare that summary of Whig Hadley's remarks above to Whig Wilkinson's remarks quoted last week.

Here's a short first-hand, and slightly more opinionated, account of the meeting taken from a post by TXSharon on Daily Kos:
Like something out of a movie, a caravan of suburbans, vans, and cars swooped upon us and with synchronized precision, SS agents got out of the vehicles and surrounded us. It was eerie, frightening, and thrilling! Two men who appeared quite important walked up to Cindy. Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs played good cop and sat on the pavement looking up at Cindy. Joseph W. Hagin, Deputy Chief of Staff was the bad cop so he sat in one of the chairs we had brought. They went through the same old trite bullshit party line spiel we have all heard a million times! The only problem is that Cindy is fully informed, intelligent, quick-witted, calm and focused, and disarming in her honesty and directness. Effortlessly, she made them look as foolish as they are!

Hadley reminded her that the Iraqis could now vote. She showed him Casey's pictures, told him that she had give birth to him after carrying him for nine months. That she had nursed him for over a year. She said a few more things about Casey then asked Hadley if he thought she had gone through all that so Iraqis could vote. She cried just a little and everyone was quite touched. We applauded for her several times during their meeting.
The Rosa Parks analogy might not be as farfetched as it first appears. Rosa Parks hasn't always been "ROSA PARKS." She wasn't always a heroine of American history. She was a woman who wanted to take a seat on the bus. She started her life as one of millions of African Americans subjected to apartheid regulations that many white Americans saw as reasonable, or at least traditional and acceptable. She never could have anticipated how she would become a symbol for millions because of her ability to show a clear injustice in simple terms. And the White House Iraq Group, with all its abilities to fix intelligence, stay on message, catapult propaganda, and create media echo chambers, may be no match for one mother who wants to know why her son died.

Crossposted from Whiggate Update (whiggate.org)

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4 comments:

alan s said...

Cindy Sheehan a modern day Rosa Parks. Give me break. One fought for human rights and the betterment of her race. Cindy Sheehan only cares about getting herself on TV. She is a hypocrite whose son is now rolling over is his grave. The President made us whole again. The president sucks now. She is a liberal mouth piece. She voted for Kerry who stabbed his fellow commrades in the back. Drudge is reporting some of her family isn't happy. Story still developing.

True Blue Liberal said...

Alan, we don't know what the significant historical memories of August 2005 will be in 40 or 50 years. Cindy Sheehan may be a footnote, or less, just as the names of most of the hundreds of thousands who worked very hard for racial justice in the early sixties are forgotten. But the possibility that Ms Sheehan will become a symbol for the current peace movement, in the same way that Rosa Parks became a symbol for racial integration on public transportation, is definitely real. Historians, like reporters, like an individual that they can use to help tell a story -- Ms Sheehan could become one of those historical figures, whether you like it or not.

alan s said...

I wonder if Cindy's Family will come a Whig of the Week. They seem to not like what she is doing. They realize her son is rolling over in his grave because his Mom wants fame at her son expense. Are you ever going to post how Air America stole 850,000 from the Boys and Girls Club of NY on your Blog?

True Blue Liberal said...

Hi Alan, The groundrules for becoming WHIG of the Week here and at WHIGGATE Update are simple. You need to have been a member of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) == a very exclusive group with eight known members (though some with close connections to the WHIGs might be added as honorary WHIGs at a later date -- Judith Miller? Dick Cheney?). The relatives of Cindy Sheehan and Casey Sheehan are free to say anything they want about members of their own family.
[Any member of Air America (or any radio station) who stole 850,000 dollars from a charity deserves to be fired and jailed. Period. But you comment is the first I've heard of this story. I don't listen to the station myself, or much radio at all.]