Sheehan No Longer on Call for Hospital Protests

Marc Morano | Senior Staff Writer | Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sheehan No Longer on Call for Hospital Protests

(CNSNews.com) - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has apparently broken ranks with some of her fellow anti-war demonstrators by refusing to protest outside U.S. military hospitals. Although Sheehan last year personally participated in a protest outside the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., she is now urging her fellow activists to "leave our soldiers out of our protests."

Sheehan wrote an article called "Camp Casey and Germany," which was posted on Feb. 27 on the liberal website BuzzFlash.com. It announced that she was refusing to protest outside a U.S. military hospital in Germany and stated that no anti-war demonstrations should target wounded U.S. soldiers.

"Let's leave our soldiers out of our protests. They have been put through so much by their commander in chief and his callous cronies already," Sheehan wrote, regarding her scheduled anti-war protests at the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany next week.

Sheehan did participate in an anti-war protest on the sidewalk outside the Walter Reed military hospital on the evening of Oct. 28, 2005. It was one of the weekly protests sponsored by Code Pink Women for Peace, one of the groups that had backed Sheehan's vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, earlier in 2005.

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the protesters outside the Walter Reed Army Medical Center sparked controversy, not only for their choice of location, but for their signs, which read "Maimed for a Lie" and "Enlist here to die for Halliburton." The protesters stood in front of the same entrance to the hospital that some wounded soldiers and their family members were using.

According to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, nearly 4,000 individuals involved in the Iraq war were treated at the facility as of March of 2005, 1,050 who were wounded in battle.

In her latest comments about anti-war protests, Sheehan stated that "in the frenzy and excitement of my trip to France and Germany, some well meaning pacifists in the area have scheduled me to set up a Camp Casey outside of Landsthul, Germany, in front of the military hospital."

I won't agree to do that," Sheehan wrote about the planned March 11 protest. Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in the Iraq war in 2004, is the author of "Not One More Mother's Child" and the founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace.

"The Camp Casey in Germany could be moved to a place where people with decision making power can see it. The soldiers have very little to say in their fates after they enlist (which is an entirely different subject) but especially the ones who have already been wounded in the service of their country...no matter how evil and greed-serving the phony mission is," Sheehan wrote in the article posted on BuzzFlash.com.

Code Pink spokeswoman Allison Yorra declined to comment specifically on Sheehan's contention that anti-war protesters should avoid military hospitals, but Yorra did express her group's continued support of Sheehan.

"Cindy speaks for herself. Code Pink has supported her and will continue to support her. But this is an independent movement; these are people speaking their mind," Yorra told Cybercast News Service on Wednesday. Code Pink continues its weekly protests, but the group's permit for a spot in front of the hospital entrance has expired, forcing it to move the demonstrations to a less prominent location a block away

The spokesman for a conservative group that conducted counter-demonstrations outside the Walter Reed hospital greeted Sheehan's latest statement.

"We are pleased that Cindy Sheehan has recognized that it is inappropriate to protest the war at military hospitals," Kristinn Taylor, the co-leader of the District of Columbia chapter of FreeRepublic.com, told Cybercast News Service.

"These protests have a profound effect on the morale and the emotional well being of the soldiers, many of whom are fresh from battle and still carry the psychological scars from seeing their comrades killed and wounded right next to them," Taylor said.

Taylor, however, did not believe that Code Pink and other anti-war groups would follow Sheehan's lead and give up the protests. "(Code Pink's) goal is to undermine the morale of the soldiers," Taylor said.

While Sheehan no longer believes in anti-war protests at military hospitals, she has not given up her activism.

"Let's set up Camp Caseys in front of recruiters' offices to stop our children from even enlisting to wear a uniform for the war profiteers," Sheehan wrote.

"Let's set up Camp Caseys in front of the Pentagon...Congress...Congressional offices...embassies...the White House...propaganda media centers...war profiteers...President's vacation homes...Karl Rove's DC home...the list for valid protest locations is endless...but not in front of our troops," she continued in her Feb. 27 guest column on BuzzFlash.com.

"Our struggle is with the industrial military complex and the people who put our soldiers in harm's way in the first place for no valid reason and who are keeping them in harm's way despite all evidence that this war is a nightmare and a mistake," she added.

See Related Articles:
Anti-War Protests Target Wounded at Army Hospital (Aug. 25, 2005)Anti-War Group Suspects it May be Victim of 'Infiltrators' (Aug. 30, 2005)
Code Pink Praises Murtha, Picketed Military Hospital (Jan. 20, 2006)

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