She‘s become the face and unofficial spokeswoman of the antiwar protest movement. Her son, Casey, died in Iraq and her supporters credit her with giving new life to the antiwar movement. But a lot of people also accuse of her politicizing her son‘s death in Iraq.
Certainly, wherever she goes, there is controversy. Joe Scarborough welcomed Cindy Sheehan to 'Scarborough Country' for the first time.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, 'SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY': I want to ask you about your son, Casey. Obviously there‘s been a split in your family over your activities. Do you think your son, Casey would agree with what you‘re doing?
CINDY SHEEHAN, ANTIWAR PROTESTOR: I know Casey would agree with what I‘m doing. He didn‘t want to go to Iraq, he did it out of a sense of duty. He did it because his buddies were going. He died saving his buddies‘ lives and I know he wants me to continue that mission of saving his buddies‘ lives. So for people to accuse of politicizing my son‘s death, I don‘t think this is a matter of right and left or Democrat or Republican, it‘s a matter of right and wrong and people are dying. And people should never have died and the killing needs to stop.
SCARBOROUGH: What do you make of your other family members—your ex-husband and then of course that long statement that was given to the Washington Post last August, when you began your Camp Casey activities near Crawford, Texas. They came out and issued a long statement saying that Casey‘s father and grandparents and cousins—aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, basically, everybody on the family tree, disagreed with what you were doing.
SHEEHAN: Actually, my husband was not a part of that. And he‘s in fact, speaking out at an antiwar rally in Davis, California on Sunday. He has always been on the side that the war is wrong and he wants the troops to come home.
As for my in-laws, they barely even knew Casey, so I think I have a right to speak on behalf of my son and honor his death than my in-laws did. And that happened months ago and we just go forward every day. My husband and I are on the same page with this politically. Our son‘s death was horrible and it was very stressful for us and that‘s not really something that I feel comfortable talking about.
SCARBOROUGH: What‘s been the toughest part for you as a mother, during this time, when you‘re aware from the cameras, when you‘re away from the protests, away from the controversy, as a mother, what do you miss most about Casey?
SHEEHAN: You know, Joe, I miss—it‘s coming up on two years, April 4th, that he was killed, and the pain never goes away. The pain is constantly there. You just learn how to live with it better. And I miss him calling me. He called me at least once a day from Fort Hood just to talk about our days and what was going on. I miss his sweetness. I miss his presence. I miss his—He was a very stable influence on our family. He was so faithful. He went to mass almost every day, if he could. And you know, I just miss him. He‘s my oldest child and part of my heart and soul are missing, also.
SCARBOROUGH: You never get over that, do you? You never will get over that, will you?
SHEEHAN: You know, people say—if they haven‘t lost children, say it gets easier with time, but no, it does doesn‘t. I work every day to bring the troops home, but when this war is over and the troops are home Casey is still going to be not coming home, and that will be hard for me for the rest of my life. And I appreciate you asking about that.
SCARBOROUGH: On the political side of this, as you may know, I support this war. I think what the president‘s been doing is the right thing, but I just can‘t imagine as a father of three children how difficult it is, regardless of your politics, to lose a son or daughter over there. I‘ve talked to other people who support the war but who have lost their children and they say it is something that they will never get over.
SHEEHAN: We all have the same pain.
SCARBOROUGH: It stays with them every day.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Cindy, you‘ve said some tough things about the president. You said, "George Bush still continues his evil rhetoric, that he is waging a war on terrorism when he is really waging a war of terrorism against the world. We want the destruction of Iraq to stop and we want the destruction of America by the Bush administration to stop, also."
Cindy, there you‘re talking about the president‘s evil actions and I believe you‘ve agreed with others that he‘s one of the greatest, in your words, terrorists in the world. Do you really think George Bush is an evil man or do you think he‘s doing what he thinks is right in Iraq?
SHEEHAN: Well, his definition of a terrorist is someone who kills innocent men, women and children. And we know by a study taken last November 2004, that 100,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed.
And just because someone is an elected leader of a country doesn‘t give them the right to do that. The war was based on lies. It never should have happened. We should be bringing our troops home.
And you know as well as I do that he‘s destroying our civil rights and he‘s spying on Americans without due process. And he—you need to come down here to New Orleans, if you haven‘t been here recently and the Gulf States, and see the devastation that—not just George Bush, but years of neglect here has happened. And George Bush was playing golf and playing guitar and golf while the people here in New Orleans were hanging off their roofs.
SCARBOROUGH: And going back to the war again, though, and obviously you‘ve been critical of the Bush administration during Katrina, but I have supported this war.
SHEEHAN: I know you have.
SCARBOROUGH: But I want to expand out on your attitude not only towards this war, but other wars. That you think that the president was evil, do you think he was a terrorist when we went into Afghanistan? And you could ask the same question regarding civilian lives about FDR during World War II.
Certainly we killed hundreds of thousands of Germans, killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese. Do you think FDR was a terrorist there?
SHEEHAN: Actually, let me talk about Afghanistan first. 9/11 was a horrible time in American history and none of us will ever forget it. But Osama bin Laden and 16 Saudi Arabians that went through—a lot of them went through Dubai to get to America, they‘re the ones that perpetrated that crime against America, not the people of Afghanistan and not the people of Iraq.
And George Bush reacted inappropriately to that horrible event and Osama bin Laden is still at large, and he said he would get him dead or alive. And I think you go after the criminals, you don‘t go after innocent people.
SCARBOROUGH: So you oppose Afghanistan. Do you think FDR was a terrorist in World War II because hundreds of thousands of Germans and Japanese civilians died during those wars?
SHEEHAN: Well, let me tell you, Joe. I‘m a pacifist and I believe war is wrong. And if you look at the history, World War II happened because of World War I and the suppression and sanctions against the people of World War I. I‘m a total pacifist and I think finally now, this is the 21st century and we need to stop killing each other to solve problems, especially imaginary problems.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Cindy, we certainly disagree, but like I said before, certainly our thoughts are with you. Thoughts and prayers are with you .