Yesterday, Bitch Ph.D. wrote about Cindy Sheehan, the woman who's camped out in Crawford, Texas, asking to speak to President Bush about her son, an Army specialist who was killed in Iraq last year.
Maureen Dowd is back from her leave and picks up the same issue in her column today. Dowd writes, the president's "rigidly controlled environment allows no chance encounters with anyone who disagrees. He never has to defend himself to anyone, and that is cognitively injurious. He's a populist who never meets people - an ordinary guy who clears brush, and brush is the only thing he talks to." She continues, "W.'s idea of consolation was to dispatch Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, to talk to Ms. Sheehan, underscoring the inhumane humanitarianism of his foreign policy. Mr. Hadley is just a suit, one of the hard-line Unsweet Neo Cons who helped hype America into this war."
Dowd mentions the 1,835 servicemen and women who have lost their lives in Iraq, along with 13,000+ who have been injured, many grievously. Yesterday, driving near a hospital campus, I saw a young, attractive woman in a wheelchair, missing both legs and one arm. My mother suggested that the woman may have recently returned from Iraq. I don't know if that's the case, but it's certainly plausible. How else might a young, healthy-looking woman have come to lose three limbs? A recent episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" featured an Iraq veteran, a 20-something guy using a wheelchair to get around because his legs hurt too much to walk. Then there was the memorial service in Ohio for the 14 Marines who had been based there.
As Dowd points out, all the president needs to do is invite Cindy Sheehan in for tea and speak with her face to face. Compared with the huge sacrifices so many have made for Bush's war, is it really too much to ask of him? He utterly lacks courage.
Just a note to add a link to Pat Oliphant's cartoon on the subject.