We notice that the pro-war people believe that the Camp Casey people don't support the troops, which is untrue. Supporting the troops also means to make certain that we only send soldiers into battle for a war that is legal and honest. The Iraq War is not, so the military whose lives are on the line need to be supported by bringing them home.
Bush's portrayal of America as a nation besieged by a cruel enemy that has made Iraq the battleground is one of the reasons America's military families willingly send sons and daughters off to war. Yes, it's hard duty, but what goal is worthier than defending America? Stated that way, there's no argument, at least where I'm concerned. That was one of the reasons that I, along with many in my generation, suited up during the Cold War.
The country should be grateful to all who wear the uniform of the United States and to the families that are sacrificing to achieve Bush's stated mission to fight the terrorists over there, and "stay until the fight is won."
But what if something else is in the works? Suppose staying on the offense "until the enemy is broken," an applause line, is just that -- an applause line?
There are good reasons to ask.....
Which brings us back to the troops who are doing the suffering and dying. Are their sacrifices worth it?
Consider the Iraq now unfolding on the ground.
What's the value of Americans giving their lives so that cleric-dominated Shiites and northern Kurds can get their hands on political power and oil revenue?
Why are American women and men sacrificing lives and limbs in a country where women may have to settle for less?
Stay the course. What course? So religious-based militia can divvy up the northern and southern portions of the country? So Islam can be enshrined as a principal source of new Iraqi legislation?
Are any of those things worth dying for? Do any of those likely outcomes represent an American victory? They certainly aren't why Bush said we went over there.
Okay, the Bush folks also promised us weapons of mass destruction, and greetings with rice and rose water, and Iraqi oil money to pay for reconstruction, and a model new democracy in the Middle East, none of which has happened.
But this is different.
President Bush is out selling a vision of victory in Iraq while U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad are resigned to settling for less. George Bush can't make good on his original promise, and they know it. They also know that more Americans are going to die in Iraq for what may end up as a theocracy-tinged spoils system.
When those carrying the burden of this war realize what they have sacrificed and died for, the worst days of George W. Bush will have just begun.
It's a lot of sound and fury, but to find the significance, you have to go back to the question Sheehan wants to put to the president. And to recent polls indicating that more and more of us are beginning to ask the same thing.
Not just why did her son die, but why have more than 1,860 American sons and daughters died? Why have 14,000 more been injured? Why have an untold number of Iraqis also been killed and wounded? To find weapons of mass destruction? To liberate an oppressed people? To fight the war on terror? Some other of the shifting rationales that sound so tinny as the casualty count rises like floodwater?
Or, was it not all simply for the stubborn hubris of a man unable to admit when he has erred and the blinkered morality of a frightened nation unwilling to call him on it?
It's good that Cindy Sheehan is asking questions. But what's it tell you that until now, so many of us did not?